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I Love My ‘Wonderful’ Addicted Cheating Wife

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Dear Chump Lady,

This is the first time I have put our story out there into the infidelity community.

We have been married 30 years. We have 6 beautiful kids. My wife is kind, intelligent and beautiful. I like her so much as a person. She started drinking around 2007. It got worse and worse. I tried everything to help her. She started having alcohol withdrawal seizures 2 or 3 times a year. She stopped taking care of herself and began losing weight. We, her family, saw all this first hand. To the outside world she seemed great. Even in her decline she was kind, beautiful and smart. She published 3 very successful books. Made a great name nationally and internationally in her category.

We watched her decline with sadness and horror. After a while we could not bear it any longer and to protect our hearts we pulled away emotionally. Family still looked great to the outside world, but internally we were a shell of the loving family we had always been.

Right before the pandemic started our second oldest daughter told me mom was having a 5-year affair with another married man in town. We live in a small town. He was the perfect dad all the mothers thought. (My oldest said this story is the exact same a the TV show Pretty Little Liars.) His five kids had grown up along side ours. Our wives were good friends. I never liked or disliked the guy. Anyway, she had a 5-year affair with him. Starting around 2015.

I found out from very trusted people he was a sexual predator in our town. That he targeted women with low self-esteem and addiction issues. That my wife was like number 7 on his list of victims. My friend said have you noticed how many families have left town seemingly innocently. I said yes. He said look more closely. Almost 6 families sort of unexplainably had left town over the years. Then I looked more closely they were all members of our childrens play group that this guys family belonged too.

I also know from things I read and her friends that he kept my wife drinking to continue the affair. Once confronted, my wife said she did not want a divorce that she wanted to work things out and stay together. She is still drinking. I love her and I know she loves me. She told me she thought I fell out of love with her a long time ago. I said it was the drinking, I could not bear to watch you hurting yourself. But her affair is now part of her addiction. One cannot stop with out the other stopping. The affair guy was not happy we want to work it out. It is my understanding he never intends to leave his wife. But he still wants my wife on the side even if it destroys her.

Here it is in a nutshell. Even though all her closest friends have told her he is using her she will not believe them. She thinks he is her friend or lover. During the 5 years she told her friends and him I was abusing her physically. She kept going to the hospital and falling down while drinking and had bruises everywhere. She told everyone you would drink and have an affair if you were married to him.

Our kids are older and have stood by me so everyone now knows this is not true. They love their wonderful mother with all their hearts but cannot believe she has done these things. My wife is a romance writer. I feel so much guilt that I drove her into the arms of a predator I cannot bear it. I love her. But like the drink, she is now addicted to the affair and him I have been told. Who knows. I can no longer tell up from down.

Our marriage began a rebirth in the summer of 2020. He was not happy, but my wife and her friends said she had made a clear decision to be with me. That she never saw a future with him nor wanted one. Then in Oct 2020 she had a massive seizure. She has been in the hospital since then with brain damage. She may never be the same. I have stayed by her side all year in the hospital and will never leave her till she recovers, if that is possible. She asks me all the time how can you still love me after what I have done to you? I ask her the same about me. I tell her I will stay by her side forever. The only way I will ever leave is if she asks me too. That me caring for her is not an exchange. She could tell me now she no longer loved me and will leave me once well. I will still care for her till that time. My heart will be broken but more than anything I want her to be happy. If not with me so be it.

Her cognitive baseline can be very low and very high. Who knows what the future holds only God. I recently brought her home after a year in hospital. I am scared beyond words this will not work. Her thoughts can be all over the place, so he comes up sometimes. It is never “I want to be with him. It is like he is a friend and the sexual part was meaningless.” An escape or as she called it before the seizure, recess like in school. There is no way to deal with this while her brain is so injured. There is no villain or good guy here. Just two people who got lost.

My mind goes all over the place. Happiness she is alive and we are together. Fear the moment she is well a day or 5 years from now she will seek him out. That I will never be able to trust her again. She told me throughout the year I was alway the one she loved and wanted to be with. That she was shocked I was so devastated by the affair because she thought I no longer loved her and would not care. That she had decided to throw her life away. Why not? She had lost her husband. Her kids and her career. Why not have an affair to escape? I hate this guy more than I can say. Everyone including my wife’s friends have said take the high road. I try. I am not an innocent bystander in this. I did make my wife feel this way. I do not care if she was drinking, I could have shown more love. She is the most wonderful human being I have ever met. More than anything we have always been friends. Maybe there is no way to figure this out except take it one day at a time. This is probably unanswerable.


Dear John,

Oh, it’s answerable. She sucks.

This is how you want me to read your letter: You’re a noble man loving a wonderful woman through a difficult journey and you shall be rewarded for your steadfastness! No matter how much she hurts you! Her happiness is all that matters!

(Are you sure you’re not a protagonist in one of your wife’s romance novels?)

This is how I actually read your letter: Spackle. Spackle, spackle, sweet hopium delusion! Snorting spackle. Freebasing spackle. Injecting pure-grade spackle into your veins… Spackle shakes…. more spackle.

We are not a unicorn methadone clinic here, John. I am not the person who’s going to tell you to work with this. I traffic in bitch slaps. And I don’t even know where to begin…

How about: You think she’s wonderful, and she tells people you abused her.

Nonstarter? Or how about you pick-me dancing with not one but two adversaries — the bottle and the Other Man. Either one of these things makes her UNAVAILABLE for a healthy relationship. Two of them? Fuck this shit, John. You’ve got nothing to work with.

Even in her decline she was kind, beautiful and smart.

She’s not kind. She cheated on you. Lied to your face for 5 solid years. Risked your health with STDs and COVID. Beautiful? Delirium tremors aren’t a good look. Smart? She’s an idiot who risked a loving marriage and six children for fucking strange. An escapist who thought she’d be the heroine in her own bodice ripper.

Why are you polishing her image? Where is your anger? Why is SHE the victim here?

I found out from very trusted people he was a sexual predator in our town. That he targeted women with low self-esteem and addiction issues. That my wife was like number 7 on his list of victims.

Bullshit. Here you want me to believe that, what? He raped her for 5 years? Later you say she says it’s an escape, like recess in school and the sex was meaningless.

Seems to me your wife has plenty of self-regard. She thinks she can fuck around on you with impunity and hand out bullshit excuses for it. Her Happiness is the most important thing.

This trope, that the affair partner is a wily predator, is a staple character of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Oh poor Waywards! They know not what they do! They were lured by that mean, mean Schoompie.

Adults have AGENCY. She consented to a 5-year affair. It’s a decision she made — that “smart” woman.

Moreover, she BLAMES you for it. Oh! I didn’t think you loved me!

Do you see the ever-shifting mindfuckery here, John?

Even though all her closest friends have told her he is using her she will not believe them. She thinks he is her friend or lover.

Here’s some irony. Do you have any close friends telling you that your wife is using you? While you persist in believing she is your friend?

Is it okay with you that your wife wants another lover? Is that the marriage you want?

During the 5 years she told her friends and him I was abusing her physically. She kept going to the hospital and falling down while drinking and had bruises everywhere. She told everyone you would drink and have an affair if you were married to him.


I feel so much guilt that I drove her into the arms of a predator I cannot bear it. I love her.

You did NOT drive her to an affair. You didn’t do ANYTHING to make her cheat on you. We don’t compel people to abuse us. She could’ve had an honest conversation, therapy, consulted a divorce lawyer. Instead, she chose a 5-year affair.

Do you think imposing a small consequence — emotionally withdrawing from her alcoholic chaos — made her cheat? The recovery professionals will tell you to Detach with Love from addicts. Where is HER self-recrimination for cheating and drinking? All I’m reading here is how she wants to retain her good opinion of the Other Man.

she is now addicted to the affair and him I have been told.

Who told you that? It’s bullshit. Anyway, even if you believe in sex addiction (I believe in sentient adults with agency who do asshole things for escapism), her addictions are NOT your problems to solve. They’re HER problems. And you don’t control it. In the scary can’t-save-her sense AND in the this-isn’t-your-fault sense.

There is no way to deal with this while her brain is so injured. There is no villain or good guy here. Just two people who got lost.

Who wrote this story? I feel like your alcoholic, cheating romance writer wife wrote this. How tidy. How devoid of accountability. I’ll just say my husband was beating me for 5 years to garner sympathy for my abuse of him. No villains here! 

Our marriage began a rebirth in the summer of 2020.

Uh-huh. In that she’s still cheating and drinking kinda way.

He was not happy,

WHO CARES, JOHN?! But I get it, joyous rapture… you thought you won the pick me dance.

She asks me all the time how can you still love me after what I have done to you?

I’m wondering that same thing.

I ask her the same about me.

That she was shocked I was so devastated by the affair because she thought I no longer loved her and would not care. That she had decided to throw her life away. Why not?

Apparently she has enough cognitive function to mindfuck you.

Was she going to discuss this with you? Or her 6 children? I suppose they didn’t love her sufficiently either. Nice how it’s everyone else’s fault and she’s the sad sausage.

Everyone including my wife’s friends have said take the high road.

You reference your wife’s friends a lot. They aren’t your friends. They knew she was cheating on you and didn’t tell you. They’re co-conspirators. Anyway, what they think doesn’t matter. This is YOUR life — is this marriage acceptable to you? You owe her nothing, brain injury or not. Work out a settlement to cover her insurance and be free, is my vote.

I am not an innocent bystander in this. I did make my wife feel this way.

John, if you have superpowers to make your wife feel things, then I’m sure you would choose to make her love you and treat you with respect. It’s so funny how your superpowers only conjure rejection.

She is the most wonderful human being I have ever met.

In that My-Husband-Beats-Me lie kinda way.

I think you need to meet more human beings.

Or like, actual human beings.

More than anything we have always been friends. Maybe there is no way to figure this out except take it one day at a time.

Maybe call a divorce lawyer.

If she feels threatened by that, say, hey we’ve always been friends!

If you can live with the incongruity of words and deeds, so can she.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Honestly, nevermind the drinking or the cheating (gulp..!), her slandering you with criminal offenses alone is inexcusable.

    She’s a horrible person..

    And not a coincidence that she’s the same one who drank and cheated.

    • In dv advocacy, there’s a common reminder from the clinical literature that abusers drink IN ORDER to abuse, not the other way around.

      Remember Prohibition? It all started because the prevailing medical authorities got the above ass-backwards. Carrie Nation, a domestic violence victims advocate, simply took medical authorities at their word that demom whisky was the root cause of domestic abuse and lobbied to prohibit booze. She gets mocked and blamed in history but it was actually doctors playing the RIC refrain that set off that dark and weird period and set the stage to galvanize organized crime in the US.

      • “Abusers drink IN ORDER to abuse, not the other way around.”

        There’s a grain of truth there. People who want to abuse need a catalyst that lets them of the hook of *responsibility/agency.* Thanks for that.

        The ex fuckwit described his violence towards me as a *result* of drinking too much, never that he actively wanted to abuse me, and the alcohol gave him an excuse to do so. Heh.

        • Thank you so much for this. It’s helped another piece of the puzzle to fall into place for me.

    • Thank you.

      Sometimes I wonder if I’m caught in some peculiar ‘reality’ game show, where words mean nothing except what people choose to give them. Humpty Dumpty. Aaargh.

      Words *matter*. Words *mean* something.

      To quote your Abraham Lincoln : “You can call a tail a leg. That doesn’t mean it’s a leg.”

      Words to live by.

    • I apologize for going dark. I had to think about everything that was said. Why did I send this letter? I felt so alone. I felt exactly the same way when I went to my first AA meeting. After that meeting I did not feel alone. I was not unique in fact there are lots of people like me. That is how I felt after reading all the comments. I was not alone anymore. My story was not unique. You all had so much to offer. Not reconciliation with my wife but shared pain. About the multiple names well I got nervous. I really had no idea how big this site was. Each time I tried to answer I got more nervous. I meant to put John. About my grammar. I cannot spell or write anything that is not one big run on sentence. I also have dyslexia. I used to joke that was why I married an English major. Also, the alcoholism was the battle front I had been on for the last decade. Ten years ago, I went to my first Al-anon meeting. Our marriage was crumbling apart before the first Al-anon meeting. Got a male sponsor and called and spoke with people. Also, I have a male AA sponsor. That day is when the focus shifted off my wife to me. Then to the kids. My entire focus has been on the kids since then. Getting closer. Getting them therapists. Helping them with college. Maybe you can point to things you think I did not do. I did everything I could think of with the help of professionals in the field of addiction and mental health to try and help them. I was not perfect. Why did I not leave much sooner? Most of you were probably right on that point. I loved her. Denial. I can save her because I could not save my dad from alcoholism. One thing was if it was a bad separation my feeling was, I was going be seen negatively by the courts. She was smarter than me. The kids might be separated or worse go with her. Now maybe some of you are going to say there he goes the martyr or hero card again. All I can tell you is no because if someone would say you’re so great I would think BS if I was so great, I would have left a while ago with the kids. You are all right I should have left I knew this. I guess it comes down to I could not do it. You can all pile on now and tell me what a horrible father I am. The affair blew me out of the water. Never saw it coming. Am I angry OMG? I am alcoholic resentments make us drink. Personal opinion alcohol is a symptom of something else usually depression. People do not have a choice about depression. Depression is a different animal all together for me. Only my opinion. I am trying to answer everyone because I got so much from all of you. I have been sparling ever since I learned about the affair a year ago. Trying to make sense of it. Maybe it is simple. She got tired of me and wanted to fuck someone else. Or my personal favorite one I was not good enough so she went to find someone better even if she could not have him, he was still better. I look pretty good on the outside for someone who is raging on the inside. I am so angry at my wife (partner). Maybe like many of you when it happened. Everything I write nice about my wife is my anger just trying to sugarcoat it because how could you do this not to me. Forget me how to the kids. I do know I got our kids out of the burning house. There will be burns but not like it could have been. I guess I am a chump and in the right place.

      • Backbone and self respect.? If she was not an alcoholic and was just a run of the mill cheater, your response will still be doormatish!

      • You’re full of shite. Find yourself another forum. We’re not buying what you’re selling.

  • Run. Run to the therapist. Run to the lawyer’s office. Run from this abusive marriage.

    This is not love. She is not wonderful. Free yourself.

    I left a disabled vet. Turns out LTC Fuxkface wasn’t too sick to cheat. Cheaters find a way to cheat.

    You deserve better.

  • Oh John. Please read this response by Chump Lady. It’s one of her best.

    You’re being held hostage by someone who has abused you and taken you for granted for decades.

    My God, man – what kind of example have you given your children? The girls will give themselves free passes to cheat, and the boys will lie down and be abused themselves.

    WAKE UP.

    • ^^^This, John, this! If not for yourself (I know it is difficult after being devalued for such a long time), stand up for your children. I think Lola Granola nails it down as to what is being modeled to your kids. (((Hughs))) and please do wake up.

  • John, I was also falsely fingered for domestic assault while trying to be the understanding husband who who work through anything to keep the marriage and family together.

    She doesn’t care. The bottle, her fuckbuddy, the approval of her friends, her public image — EVERYTHING is more important to her than you.

    This woman does not have the cognitive or emotional capacity to understand what love is. Would she make the same type of false accusation against one of your children? What would you think of her if she did?

    She’s severely damaged goods. Continuing to devote yourself to her in the way you describe sets a horrible example for the children you should be protecting.

    • I just checked legal definitions — I (and from your descriptions, you as well) were falsely accused of domestic assault *and battery.* That’s up to $1000 and 2.5 years in jail in my state.

      And her response would be: The bottle made me do it? My fuckbuddy made me do it? John made me do it?

    • Yup, yup, yup. After I busted her affair my loving, kind XW claimed I raped her, that I was “dangerous around children” and she tried to have me committed when I was in the hospital for a gastro-intestinal issue.

      Even after all this (and so much horrifying more) I was still utterly delusional, in the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. I remember sitting across from my brother who stared at me in disbelief as I kept making excuses for her through all this. He said “Can’t you see that you are being severely abused? This person is wicked. You have to get out.”

      Yet it still took a few more months tied to the whipping post for me to act. She carried on her affair in my face as I slowly died inside. She watched me and our young children weep with suffering and sneered.

      Ten years later I seen it all with a shameful clarity: I was in a completely delusional state. Every defense mechanism was running: denial, self-blame, rationalization, hope, desperation, and more denial, denial, denial that this was not a bad person.

      It’s rough, man, no doubt. But you must act. Those voices that tell you anything other than she is a bad person who does not love you or your family are lying. Don’t listen, and get yourself to a divorce lawyer now. It can get much, much worse. Save yourself. It really is that melo-dramatic.

      • My XW did similar things to me all along our 20 years marriage, but shit got particularly nasty during her affair and the divorce proceedings. Since your wife’s bad-mouthing and falsely-accusing you is a long-standing pattern, I would expect more of this shit as you go for the divorce (which nevertheless I think you should do ASAP – easy for me to say, I know). Try to avoid being alone in the same room with her and see if you can audiotape any future (strictly necessary) interactions with her, if no contact is impractical for you (definitely contact through lawyers only is the best option). Try to talk as little as possible as well, and remember: this is not the time to nudge her into admitting to anything. It should be for your self-protection only. Any smartphone has a voice recorder app with a pretty good range. I know from my own experience that it sucks a lot to have to be that suspicious and cautious around your former “best friend” (and then to manage the giga-bytes worth library of shit that is produced), but better safe than sorry. I should however point out that I am not a lawyer and really don’t know shit about the law. This was advice I got from my lawyer and I write from Brazil; maybe recording someone else without express permission is ilegal in US? I don’t know. Man, I think you should get a lawyer looking into this situarion of yours immediately. Wishing wise decisions and good luck, John!

        • Recording others without permission is illegal in only 11 states. The states that ban it generally have loopholes that if taping and disclosing is in the public interest, it might be given a pass. Last I checked, California will allow if a crime is caught on tape.

          These laws and how they’re enforced change so best to consult with attorneys and/or private investigators to know exactly where the line is.

          • Also, states that ban unconcented recording will generally still allow into evidence recordings taken in places where unconsented recording is legal (all parties would have to be in the “legal” location at the time of recording).

        • I used a recording pen to catch an elderly alcoholic family member verbally abusing their spouse.

          Your wife will probably be savvy to the phone tactic. You can turn the pen on and leave it to record her talking to others when you’re not in the room as well.

          • I used a go pro camera hidden and caught my ex wife taking sexual photos of herself in the kitchen with the kids rather literally in the other room.

      • After D-Day, as my “loving wife” began to realize that division of assets and custody were not going to happen as she had likely been fantasizing about for several years, she made an attempt at falsely accusing me of assault that, if successful, would have landed me in jail and would have been used against me for custody purposes. Luckily my lawyer and I caught wind of her plot before it could fully unfold and I got out of there.

        Interesting how quickly she transformed from “loving wife” to plotting to have me jailed on false charges. Or was her character always bad and I just never realized it until it was almost too late? Knowing what I now know about her, I’ll choose the latter explanation. Good riddance!

    • Same here with my ex wife. 12 months prior to her cheating being discovered I heard her telling friends and coworkers how she was glad that I was not abusive as her friend was escaping a truly abusive relationship at the time and magically once she was caught fucking over 20 men and being got on tinder, all of a sudden I was an abuser who was hitting her. How very convenient.

      • Yep. XW described me to her coworkers as a “saint”. A year or so later, I was a financial abuser (because I kept track of all the bills. She had the passwords to all our accounts but never used them. I guess because I didn’t give her a year-end powerpoint of our financial position?) and then a physical abuser (because her car got dinged in the parking lot, she assumed it was me doing it and told our kids I was dangerous. And stuck a nail through my tire in revenge).

        Keep in mind that my XW is on the mild side on this site. She obeys 90% of our divorce decree. Hasn’t missed a single child support payment. But the need to be the victim is so strong that they’ll find some way to twist the narrative like that; even if they aren’t going to use it as legal leverage, they need something to tell the neighbors. In most places it’s still not OK to dump your perfectly good spouse for your affair partner … but if your spouse is abusive then everyone gives you a pass.

        • They all near play from the same cheater manual.

          My ex wife wasn’t very smart in the street sense. She admitted via messages she was not physically scared of me and she admitted in writing that she had assaulted me several times and promised she would not assault me if she brought the kids round for Christmas last year. My lawyers basically face palmed themselves when I showed them the messages. So glad my divorce is finalised and I’ve moved on in my life.

        • I, for one, have got the bad rap since the beggining of our legal marriage, initially with our FOO, then with her coworkers, then with other parents in our kids’ schools, lately with AP and new boyfriends. I became aware of that by walking into conversations that changed subject suddenly or getting the occasional stink eye from some of those people. Never knew what it was all about till recently, but at first I thought it was not a big deal, she had the right to vent and express her frustations, right? Or maybe I could be a little paranoid with the stink eye thing. I really am a bit of an oddball afterall, and have a weird body language. Maybe it was only disgust. Turns out I was a boiling frog. After I discovered the affair I suddenly became an emotional and psychological abuser in the opinion of her friends and coworkers (some of them therapists; she told me so). When I wrote a looooong text message the day after DDay#2, nothing short in self-deprecation and sugary of the now infamous Joseph’s letter, it was emotional manipulation (even if I did not ask for explanations or to reconclie – I asked for nothing indeed, only thanked her for the 20 years and the 2 kids, acknowledged how I drove her to the affair by not meeting her needs and said goodbye… sigh); when I stood up for myself and ask her to leave her job if she really wanted to reconcile, it was guilt trip and emotional blackmailing, and I was cornering her into financial abuse; when I called her a cheater it was verbal abuse; when I finally decided to divorce, detached myself emotionally and adopted minimal contact, it was silent treatment, also abusive (I only gave myself permission to not engage in emotional reasoning with her anymore). Finally I was charged with threatening to expose her affair to her bosses (already wrote about that in other comment). It looks like the only way you *maybe* will not be called an abuser is if you enable your own abuse. In silence. Shush! Oh, no, silence is abusive as well… maybe sing a happy song?

          • When in stealth info gathering mode during forced cohabitation, I saw some texts between her and a friend, in which her friend agreed that “the silent treatment is definitely abuse.”

            Everything is abuse to a narc when they don’t get their way.

            • Exactly the same here, UXWorld, down to the almost exact same words, the only difference being that my XW showed me the exchange herself to convince me I was an abuser since the friend is a certified psychologist/therapist.

              • There is a huge difference between stonewalling (see Gottman’s work) and not engaging with an abuser, biding your time until one of you moves out.

  • Alcoholism is a terrible disease. It kills alcoholics and their loved ones. Alcohol rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous for the alcoholics and Al-Anon for the loved ones is one possible solution for recovery. Sorry to read this sad story.

    • “Alcoholism is a terrible disease.”

      I don’t believe it’s a disease.

      A disease is something you have no choice over, like cancer.

      No-one *chooses* to have cancer, or any other terrible disease.

      A person *chooses* to drink to excess, they *choose* to pick up that bottle.

      I agree that there are people who may be addicted to alcohol, or any other drug, but again, it’s a *choice* to drink, stick that needle in one’s arm, swallow those pills.

      Just like it’s a choice to do something about it – see a doctor, go to AA.

      I agree with everything CL says on this one. John’s wife is a truly horrible person, but for some reason he’s * chosen* to buy into all her bullshit.

      I think he sees himself as a romantic protagonist in a doomed relationship, and get’s off on all the drama of it. This vile woman has accused him of abuse, in public, to her friends! And yet he still excuses her. This is masochism of the highest order.

      It’s those poor children I feel sorry for.

      • Also, which I should have said in my first post, people with a disease, like cancer, have no *control* over how the disease progresses, but addiction to a substance, an addict, does control how that addiction progresses – they either pick up that bottle/needle, or they choose to control it by therapy, going to 12 Step meetings, etc

        Velvet Hammer, I see that you reacted to my post with anger, which I’m very sorry for, because I admire you so much. But here’s the thing, VH, you *chose* to *control* your addiction by facing up to it, and *doing something about it*. You go to therapy, you go to AA, Al-anon, and you put your daughter first. And that is so admirable and brave.

        • “Disease is an abnormal state of health characterized by specific signs and symptoms. Alcoholism has that. Disease has a chronic, progressive course. Alcoholism has that. We don’t know the causes of alcoholism yet. We don’t know the cause of other diseases like cancer, but we call them diseases. These diseases cause biochemical and anatomical changes. Alcoholism does that. You say it’s not a disease and I’m saying OK, then it’s not a disease. Then give me a reason. There has to be one. If not, then they’re bad, dumb, evil, weak. Of course none of those fit. Endorphin and cephalin metabolism in the hypothalamic primitive brain center is responsible for the compulsive drinking. Alcoholism is a biogenetic disease with a psychosocial background. Of course you have to abuse. That is where the emotional and psychosocial factors come into the disease, but the disease itself is biogenetic.”

          Dr. Douglas Talbott
          From Courage to Change (1984)

          His chapter is the best I have ever read describing alcoholism. Eight pages long. I recommend it to anyone who wants the best succinct nutshell on the disease.
          He was a pioneer in the field
          of alcoholism recovery and founded a respected treatment facility which exists today.

          Of course it is incumbent on the alcoholic to treat their disease, but the catch-22 is that crossing the line into alcoholism means the person has LOST the ability to choose and the alcohol is running the brain (thinking, decisions, everything). It’s a powerful drug. C2 H5 OH. Ether. Alcoholic or not. Under the influence is a literal description. Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you don’t have a disease, which is one reason people don’t seek treatment. I’ve met a lot of alcoholics in Al Anon over the years, not sober themselves yet seeking help for the alcoholic in their life. To assign the power of choice to an untreated alcoholic is tragic ignorance and deeply upsetting for me. It also does not mean we are excused or relieved of our accountability or responsibility, BTW.

          Because people do not seek treatment, because they do not understand the disease, because they believe inaccurate information, myths, and fallacies, because they then die or continue to suffer and cause unimaginable suffering to those around them, I am deeply offended and very upset whenever I encounter inaccurate information, myths and fallacies on the subject. I try to speak within my experience and education, which is extensive and lengthy, but I have found there is alway more to learn, so it is ongoing.

          Maybe only one in a hundred are lucky enough to enjoy the recovery and length of sobriety I have been granted by some miracle, which is why I get so upset when I encounter misinformation.

          If I have any bravery, that came later with the support and help of those I met when I made my first
          phone call to the cavalry. I sought help because I was in terrific pain, was thankfully out of ideas (a miracle alone for the smartass know it all I was at 22), had been exposed to recovery because of my sister, and some miracle/luck/accident of fate.

          • “Alcoholism is the only disease that tells you you don’t have a disease.”

            Agree. I just want to point out that this is also true of cluster B personality disorders and certain mood disorders, which fit Talbotts’s definition of disease (as cited by VH) as well. Implications: 1. There’s a reason that a lot of cheaters act like addicts: they’re “addicted” in their own disordered way to emotional supply, or what CL calls kibbles. 2. It’s no more productive to argue or engage with a disordered cheater than it is to argue with an alcoholic or other addict. 3. The DETACH (Don’t Even Think About Changing Him/Her) model from Al-Anon works for dealing with people with personality disorders (for which there is no clinical treatment) and with untreated mood disorders.

          • Thanks for taking the time to say all of this VH. I have grown weary of trying to explain to people who still do not understand the nature of alcoholism

            One of my favorite people is now taking care of her 21 year old daughter who has been critically ill with pancreititis for well over a year now. Due to drinking – and not that much and not that long. She is a demonstration of the intense deadly reaction someone with the disease of alcoholism can have to just a bit of alcohol…..think someone with type 1 diabetes. She knows she must never drink again. She is scared shitless because she knows that ‘self-knowledge avails us nothing……..’

            Unless you are alcoholic how can someone ever understand? (Not all drinkers are alcoholics – even a lot of heavy drinkers are not alcoholics which can be very confusing to ‘lay people’ to understand.)

            It is truly a baffling disease.

            I think of people trying to understand it from the outside looking in are similar people not understanding that cheating/adultery is abuse. Or that I was not/ am not responsible in any way for what Mr. X chose to do with his penis. I am a victim of lies and deceit.

            I know I didn’t ‘get it’ until it happened to me – big time….found out Mr. X, love of my life, father of our beloved children, was a serial cheater and had been cheating throughout our 30+ years together.

            A bitter pill to swallow and I would have done everything, and I did try everything , in my power to banish that truth from my consciousness.

            The truth remains in ACTIONS not theories.

            Luckily, in the field of alcoholism there is concrete evidence now that wasn’t around 40+ years ago when I first entered the world of 12 Step Recovery….

            I agree with all that VH has stated based on my own personal experiences.

            Because of my experience in program I have been able to apply the same principles to recovering from infidelity.

            Am I still susceptible to the charms of a cheater? You bet I am but I now know about NC which to me is akin to abstinence from said drug of choice….

            As long as I say ‘no’ I am safe from infection and I only get that protection via surrender…..

            Go figure.

            I have to add that I also know how powerful denial is and what it takes to break through and not only see reality but to accept it as it applies to me.

            And a quick few words to the original poster today.

            Al-Anon was created for folks like you.

            We all ‘get it’.

            Hopefully you can find a meeting on-line or in person where you live and get the support you need to free yourself from the horrific mess you are in before it gets too late and you are left caring for someone who will run you into to the ground never looking back. She is a sick, sick woman.

            Years ago the message was to stay and be supportive….that message has thankfully changed now. You deserve a life of your own IF you want it.

            • My dad is a recovering alcoholic. Or a non-drinking alcoholic, not sure which name as you’re always an alcoholic, whether you drink or not. It took him FIVE tries to finally get sober, over about 20+ years of heavy drinking. And even now, it’s a constant battle for him – he doesn’t take it lightly and is vigilant on his sobriety. I think if he could have chosen to have the first time work to stay sober, he would have.

      • Chumpnomore6, you callous comments regarding the very real disease of Alcohol Use Disorder really hit a nerve. It is just as misinformed as the opinions of people who think being chumped is the fault of the chump not the cheater.

        Many alcoholics in my life -it is definitely not a lifestyle choice and there is no easy cure – telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking is like telling a depressed person to just be happy, or a person with schizophrenia to just stop hallucinating. Do you blame people with melanoma for their disease because they like having a suntan? Alcohol Use Disorder (alcoholism) is a medically recognized disease. A complicated, genetic influences, difficult disease – not any more a lifestyle choice than cancer, asthma, eating disorders or sexual orientation.

        Please take the time to read the article above and educating yourself before leveling hurtful opinions that have no basis in fact.

        • I read the article, and it basically says what I’ve said, people who abuse alcohol (or any other substance) *choose* what to do about it, and choose how to *control* it.

          1) They recognise they have a problem which affects themselves and those they love adversely.

          2) They *choose* to do something about it – they go to a doctor/therapist.

          3) They *choose* to find ways to *control* their addiction by going to therapy, 12 Step programs.

          People with cancer or any other disease can’t do any of the above.

          I don’t think my comments are callous, I’m pointing out the difference between a disease that is *involuntary* and people who abuse substances which is chosen and can be controlled if they have the courage and grit to stick with it.

          Your conflation of substance abuse with something like cancer is specious.

          There may be a genetic predisposition to abuse substances, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it is something that can be controlled, if people choose to do so.

          • Chumpnomore6, bless your heart for setting me straight.

            You have been here long enough to know that you were spoiling for pushback with your comments, not sure why or what your motivation is but your lack of understanding and more importantly your lack of willingness to consider there is more to alcohol addiction than just not drinking alcohol through grit and your definition of courage is simplistic at best, willfully ignorant at worst and most certainly specious.

            • “You have been here long enough to know that you were spoiling for pushback with your comments, not sure why or what your motivation is…”

              What utter rubbish. I make comments because that is my *opinion*, I don’t give a rat’s arse whether there is ‘pushback’ or not. And I am capable of accepting others may disagree with me without being ‘offended’ that they disagree.

              A cancer victim can go to a million 12 Step groups, that won’t control the progress of the disease.

              An alcoholic, or other substance abuser, goes to 12 Step meetings to *control* the desire to drink, and with grit and determination, often succeeds.

              In any case, whether one accepts that alcoholism or other addictions are diseases or not, doesn’t change the fact that an addiction can be *controlled* with willpower and determination; a cancer victim cannot control the growth of the tumour by going to 12 Step meetings.

              • Im with you on this .. it starts as a choice. Cheating, drinking, drugs or gambling, the main addictions all start with choices.

              • Well, to be fair, a person with cancer can choose a treatment…or not. Many people with religious or other objections opt out of cancer treatments entirely, and then die as a result. Perhaps this is not exactly like an alcoholic choosing to not drink, but it illustrates some similarities in personal agency. I might also add that alcoholism at many stages can progress all on its own, especially if someone has been drinking so long that their body will shut down if they stop…much like untreated cancer, the disease takes its toll without intervention. Some people report, after years of sobriety, that they still feel alcoholism running through their veins. So, it at least psychologically progresses on its own.

                In any event, it seems we all agree that getting and staying sober is very difficult for some people–to the point where they can’t seem to ever do it. Call it an addiction or a disease or whatever. That’s semantics. The question as it applies to this thread is–is being an alcoholic an excuse for cheating and abusing your partner? Absolutely not. There is no excuse for that.

              • Your comments and perception of the disease of alcoholism are your own and I see the debate of Nature or Nuture is still alive in the world.

                I lost my “choice” of being a social drinker from my first drink. My belief and life have shown me that I qualify. I know a little but I’d rather be happy than right. Or “specious” which I had to look up btw.

                Grit, Determination and willpower are not things this alcoholic puts faith in. They’re half-measures. And as mentioned earlier …avail US of nothing.
                I have many Friends of Bill W and Dr Bob here. And everywhere I go. If I’m not mistaken alcoholism is classed as a disease in DSM medical circles. Just as Covid is a disease. “Dis” “Ease”. Having the human condition is a disease evident in the reality that homosapiens have become very adept at killing homosapiens.

                John, if you’re reading this your wife is gone. She left years ago. You’ll come to this conclusion. Eventually.
                But you have to walk through the pain to meet us on the other side. We’ll be waiting for you. Either way.

              • Truth.
                That’s the mother of all false equivalence.
                Somebody who has had cancer, or any other serious illness that was not related to choices they made and was not treatable by going to a 12 step group, might feel insulted by that comparison.

              • Similar to alcoholism, many cancers and other serious illnesses are directly related to lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes anyone?

                Hopefully none of these people saying alcoholism is a choice are obese. Hate to see that kind of hypocrisy around here.

          • Ok, who in your life was/is an addict? Because this sounds like personal pain to me.

            By your definition, I, as a person with celiac disease, do not have a true disease because I can “control” it by avoiding certain foods. Diabetes doesn’t count as a disease to you either? I’m just thinking of ALL the conditions that fall under the umbrella ☂ of “not a disease, therefore we can judge away and enjoy a moral superiority”

            • “Ok, who in your life was/is an addict? Because this sounds like personal pain to me.”

              Oh, for fuck’s sake. One can have an opinion without having ‘personal pain’ on the subject. ????????

              No-one in my life is, or was, an addict. I’m simply stating an opinion. If you disagree, fine, it doesn’t need any comment on my state of mind.

              Your comparison of various ways of controlling, or mitigating, the symptoms of the diseases/conditions you mention with that of substance abuse, doesn’t hold water. Of course some diseases can be controlled(mitigated) by diet, exercise, a healthy life style, just as diabetes can be controlled/mitigated by insulin treatment. Or cancer mitigated by chemotherapy.

              A substance abuser can control/mitigate his/her addiction by getting sober and staying that way, through 12 Step programs, therapy.

              We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this.

              You also imply I am “judging, and enjoying a moral superiority”.

              Yes, I’m judging. Why not? But I certainly don’t feel I have a ‘moral superiority’ over people who suffer from addictions. I feel empathy for them, and admiration for those who control it and overcome it.

              Now can we get back to the OP?

            • The difference is that you did not cause your disease by voluntary overindulgence in gluten and you can’t cure it by going to Gluten Eaters Anonymous.
              Addiction is a disease, but the origin of it is in choices the person made. The same is true of heart disease or diabetes if they are caused by lifestyle factors such as over-eating and lack of activity. Those diseases can be cured by changing your lifestyle. You can’t cure celiac disease. You can only treat it by avoiding gluten.

          • I agree with chumpnomore. Alcoholism is a strong chemical dependancy, coping mechanism, habit and usually a family dynamic history intertwining emotional crutches.

            I’m sorry melanoma or heart disease is not substance that is abused. Alcoholism is. It is certainly an unfortunate choice to partake in. That choice over periods of time is bolstered by strong addictive chemical pulls.

          • If we partake of a few sips or tokes, maybe in a social setting, and discover that we’re amongst the unfortunate few who have the disease of addiction, are our lives a sudden downhill spiral, from that moment on?

            Hoping not.

            Hoping Chump Lady is right. Hoping we have agency.

            I spent money on a babysitter every Tuesday evening for about eight years to attend Alanon meetings.

            John, I was like you; I believed in my man. He had potential. He had talent. He had a good heart. He was handsome. He loved people. And people loved him.

            And I was in it to win it, til death did us part.

            He wasn’t trying to break up our marriage by becoming a cocaine addict. He didn’t want to have an addiction, and he tried to quit. Over and over.

            But I kept going to Alanon. And there I learned to respect him. I learned to respect his agency as a person. He could turn towards the drug, and the long-term pain of losing his family, or he could turn towards us, and go get help.

            He chose the former. And he lost us. And gained the freedom to drink and drug at will, with no one watching and no one knowing, and no one acting like the martyr or the suffering saint. And he did that for a few years, and then…

            … he went to a counselor who pointed out that the losses because of the drug were far more devastating than the losses that drove him to the drug.

            This respect that I found was a respect for him as a person. That he knew what he was doing. That he was acting on his own behalf, and that he was aware of the possible consequences of his actions before he did them.

            So in a sense I stepped back and passively watched as he chose – over and over again – the path of self-destruction.

            He had agency. And I respected that. I decided that it was my way of loving him.

            The way I was loving him before that was enabling him to sink further and further into addiction.

            And then, after he realized that he was choosing loss as a constant companion, wherever he went, he decided to lose it. Suddenly he wanted gain as a companion!

            So he did what was necessary to kick the drug habit.

            Many times since then he has thanked me for saving him by clearing the field so he could realize his position. Which was nowhere.


            I’m not just telling my story here… I’m trying to help you, John.

        • I would appreciate if we keep the comments to the OP and not about the nature of addiction.

          It’s skein untangling.

          If the OP’s wife was a paranoid schizophrenic who had visions of harming him, she’d have a disease. And she’d be no less a threat, whatever was going on in her brain.

          People in the throes of an addiction are not available for relationships. Their primary relationship is with a substance. This entire site is about NOT pick me dancing. With people or things.

          • Oops, sorry…. I’m in my car on my phone and it took me a while to comment. I chimed in a little too soon. Just now seeing your referee comments, Chump Lady!

            Love them!

          • …(sic) Addicts are not available for relationships.

            Old timers in AA will sponsor their “pidgeons” (new members they guide) to NOT have any romantic relationships in their 1st year of sobriety. We call that, “13th stepping”.

            No truer statement can be said for a practicing addict.

            Man makes drink
            Man takes drink
            Drink takes man

      • One of my parents was an alcoholic. I completely agree with you. They have more control over it than they would admit, though once alcolholism has progressed past a certain point it does become harder to control. The whole “disease” label with alcoholism bugs the crap out of me. They choose to start drinking. Like you said, no one chooses cancer.

        • Thank you.

          Sometimes I wonder if I’m caught in some peculiar ‘reality’ game show, where words mean nothing except what people choose to give them. Humpty Dumpty. Aaargh.

          • This parent was a binge drinker, therefore claimed they were not an alcoholic, if you can believe that. They would go off it for a few weeks, then drink with impunity, then start the cycle again. Thus, my parent said, they were not an alcoholic, because they could “contol.” it. This parent also became quite wealthy at a young age (before thirty-five) playing the stock market, yet could not/would not stop drinking and had a shortened life. If you can manage to control spending to invest your earnings, take calculated risks with your money and become well-off enough to retire at forty, you can stop drinking. I’m sorry, but calling it a “disease” enables addicts.

      • Chumpnomore6 – You are spot-on about the children. John seems to be caught up in the drama of his tumultuous relationship so I’m betting their children get less than no attention from either of them. She sucks all the oxygen from the room and he’s hot on her heals with an oxygen mask. Sadly, I don’t think there is a “sane parent” for the children to turn to. John needs to wake up and put his kids first.

    • I kept hoping my X would get help, but he’s always rejected it. Myself, our family, and friends, found him three different rehabs, set him up with therapists, psych evaluations, and nothing took. He rejected the rehabs and kept drinking. I guess some people will never give it up, and that is their right, as it’s their life. A LOT of people got hurt, though, that’s for sure!

      • Free woman, I was married to an alcoholic myself, for a long time. I am not an expert so I don’t know, or care truthfully, whether it is a disease or not. I do know my husband’s actions, as an alcoholic, put me in severe physical danger and pretty much ruined my life for many years. Stockholm Syndrome is real.

        My advice to John or anyone dealing with any kind of addiction is to get out or they will take you down with them.

        If you have not dealt with this personally you may find this harsh, but it’s the way I feel. It’s no way to live. You are not qualified to help them, so you can only help yourself.

        • I hope you’ve found healing and love Elaine. We wish things could have been different, but we did bring our A game! I’m sure you, as I also did, took care of effing everything, for years! So, yes, let’s take good care of ourselves now ????

          • Thank you so much, FreeWoman! I never did find true love yet, I found the Cheater ex. It really messed me up more than usual because this guy knew my past, and used it against me. But that’s okay, I have a good life with my child and myself. I hope you have found happiness as well!

            • I’ve found peace, and that’s great. What I meant was love in the pure sense, from any source you choose! I love my garden, for instance. Now I can enjoy it more, because the abuse is gone. ( the X was also humiliating me, and ruining us financially, among other things) I’m grateful to have a simple life now, that I’m in charge of!

          • Oh, yes, FreeWoman, I did take care of everything!! The alcoholic didn’t work the last few years before he died. He would quit jobs because he was mad, get fired, etc. In the end, he was not functional enough to work. It’s a terrible thing. He just about bankrupted me, financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, even sexually. Never again will I put myself through that for anyone. Except my child, I would try to help her, but anyone else, I’m sorry, no. You will have to help yourself.

  • Dear John,

    Your letter infuriates me! Grow a pair of balls, pull-up your big boy pants and leave this woman!! Haven’t your 6 children suffered enough?
    ChumpLady is spot-on in her reply. Please get your head out of the hopium cloud and see a lawyer … TODAY!!


    • Agreed. What kind of example is he setting for his kids? Be a pushover? Take abuse? He should see a lawyer then immediately get to therapy. Oh, and dump HER friends as they clearly do not have his best interests in mind and have absolutely no respect for him.

  • I am puzzled as to why he wrote CL…did he think he was going to be declared The Unicorn?

    When this site was very new and I was still deeply deluded in my Wreckoncilitaion, I think I posted some sparkling glurdge here about saving my marriage. I was years into the mire and had no idea of the extent of the treachery.

    Dude, look at my name. It would more accurately be Unicornever

    • Oh, I should have added…

      I was raised by an alcoholic mother. My father mistakenly trusted her to parent me and my sib while ignoring how her disease would impact us.

      Im 57 and carry much pain from the years where her behaviors and selfishness hurt me around every turn. Would you like an explanation of what it feels like to not get shoes (“we cant afford them”) while mother miraculously finds enough ready-cash for booze and cigarettes.

      As an adult, I have visited towns I lived in as a child and realized that I could point out every liquor store (where she was on first name basis with them…she even bought my tampons at the liquor store where she commented to the cashier that buying them was a wretched inconvenience).

      Who has been buying the tampons while she drinks and fucks and you pine away? If you have no sense of that, then your kids have been neglected.

    • Either John has read too many of wifey’s books or wifey wrote this about this “ever-suffering spouse who will prevail at the deathbed” shlock of a letter. For this reason, I’m not a romance genre fan. I used to be, but now understand that the plot is the same: one suffers abuse at the hands of the other, until the abuser “realizes” their mistake & then falls madly in love with the one they kicked-around. Yeah, only in the movies (and books). In reality, the abuser seems like they love/need their abused when they’re down (like wifey here), but the moment they’re not, they are back abusing their target. John, you’re being conned. I would toss this romance novel into the fire.

      • The best romance novels are not the ones where the victim falls for their abuser. It’s the ones where women are empowered to discover themselves.

      • When I was at the town library, twelve years old, a teenage library volunteer said hey, I know some books you’d like. She showed me the romance novel section and I checked a couple of them out. I was just starting to get interested in boys, but I thought those books were the dumbest thing in the world. Back them it was the doctor and the nurse, the cowboy and the school teacher, etc. When I was in the hospital for a week a few years ago there weren’t any good books to read when they came around with the book cart, so I read some romance and mystery novels, not my usual fare. That sort mass market paperback was all they had. OMG, romance novels are pretty dirty now. When I was a bookstore manager the employees called them “housewife porn.” Now I see why. And you’re right, its generally about how the wayward man needs help seeing what a prize the female is, and when he finally does, they ride off in the sunset and live happily ever after. As we all know, life isn’t like that, and jerky guys only get worse.

        • Yup, these romance themes keep chumps chumped thinking relationships should be patterned after them ????

    • ” I am puzzled as to why he wrote CL…did he think he was going to be declared The Unicorn?”

      Yes, it puzzles me as well. CL’s flagship statement is unambiguous, “Leave* a cheater, gain a life”.

      Perhaps he thought CL and the rest of us were going to fall over ourselves in awe if his wonderful ‘steadfastness and committment’.

      All I see is a drama addicted masochist who doesn’t give two hoots about his poor children, it’s all about him and her. Blech.

      • I really do not get off on this. The first couple of months yes I did. I was desperate to show everyone I was not this monster she described.
        No longer now everyone knows the truth. Thank God the kids are getting through this. I am in regular touch with there therapist’s. They tell me all things considered they are in good shape and strong.

        • Forgive me but I find that very hard to believe.

          My young adult children were severely impacted by my divorce of their cheating father. No alcohol, no seizures, no hospitalizations. Just plain cheating with an AP that they knew. 10+ years out we discuss the damage and how it impacts their current lives.

          I find it impossible to believe that 6 children who have witnessed the absolute chaos you described can be in “good shape and strong”.

          And what does YOUR therapist say???
          That is key. Do you have one?

          Chump Nation is big on 2x4s when someone is totally delusional. I’m sorry to say this because I don’t know you but you have some major issues to deal with yourself.

          Your letter is beyond normal even for a group that has seen and heard just about everything. I’ve been here a long time and this is one of the strangest versions on whatever the truth is that I have read.

          • Totally agree it sounds like it was written or at least edited by novelist wife. If not there is some incredible hysterical bonding going on. The narrative that John is telling himself of star-crossed love for the ages, ripped apart by the bad behaviour entirely caused by the alcoholism brought in apparently by a predatory affair conveniently removed agency from both him and his wife and leaves them in some kind of gravity loop where they can only exist in a soup of so called love and pain. True love does not conquer all sometimes we need to save ourselves and our children

            • I think in this case CLs old anecdote stop looking at where and how the fire started and just get out of the burning building is the most useful. I read some literature a while ago tgat talked about straight spouses getting hung up on whether their partners were gay, bisexual or whatnot when they slept with other men. That site then said for purposes of dealing with the behaviour they then would simply say men who have sex with other men. Whatever the exact interplay of factors that sparked it, and continue to perpetuate it, ypur wife is a women who drinks and cheats and you need to protect yourself from this.

          • I agree, thanks for your clarity on this. Nobody can live through divorce alone without all the other obstacles John describes and be in good shape and strong. He doesn’t seem like he sees his children any more clearly than he sees his wife. Thanks for your courage to state your opinion so clearly Rebecca.

        • John, why did you write this letter? Why are you here?

          There is no way your six kids have a brain damaged severely alcoholic abusive cheating mother are “in good shape and strong.”

          The story you told is of a family full of lies, addiction and emotional abuse. The story you told is of a family that is unhealthy and suffering at the hands of your wife’s selfishness and alcoholism.

          Maybe it’s just a story. But if it’s not –

          You have a duty to protect your kids, so that they don’t become addicts as well. Alcoholism kills generations of families.

          Recast yourself in this story from the guy who somehow forced your wife to be a terrible person, to the hero who stood up to protect his kids from addiction and abuse. They need a sane parent right now.

          • I had an alcoholic mother and even still in my late 30’s I can’t stand the smell of drink. Seeing drunk females or the smell of drink on them just instantly takes me right back to all the days and nights of my mother passed out drunk on the floor. It ruins people for life. No way on this earth will those six kids not be scarred for life with everything they are experiencing.

            • And by the way, six kids is way too many. A mob of sibs that size damages its members and makes a shambles of the parents’ lives. Assuming you’re for real and not just having fun winding up the posters here, your wife is clearly an abuser, but no blame on her for turning to drink. Shame on both of you.

              • Is the last bit of your comment aimed at the OP or me? I’ve been on CL for over a year and on the Reddit group so pretty sure it’s aimed at the OP.

              • What is the proper amount of kids?

                I’m curious because I come from a family of eight children. We are all very close despite the wide variety of pathways we’ve chosen for our lives.

                We are all well grounded, successful people. Not perfect, but definitely productive net-contributors to society.

                As far as our parents go, they adored us and each other up until the day my Dad passed away.

                I truly wonder what the optimum amount of kids would’ve been for my family and how badly we’ve been held back because of our large family,

            • Yes, as a child of an alcoholic, I can’t stand that smell, or being around really drunk people. In a way it’s helpful, though. We avoid that sort and can see it right off.

        • Go see a lawyer, John! Free yourself and your kids from this cycle of abuse and neglect. From all you described above your wife is not a good person and do not have her family’s best interest at heart. She is not worth your “sacrifice”, leave alone that of your children’s sanity. You can pay for her health expenses, if it gives you some peace of mind, but extract yourself emotionally from this abusive situation. She being that messed up, you can be one of the few fortunate chumped dads to have an unimpeded road towards full custody of your kids. I am not saying to be cruel and deny her access to her children, only that she will not be able to do that to you either, plus you get to decide what is best for your kids without the input of a lunatic (sorry for the harsh language, it is meant to help you). I’ve been through a lot of circunstances similar to yours: her heavy drinking, long-term bad-mouthing to whoever would listen, false charges of me threatening her and, of course, trying desperately to reconcile (for the kids…) just to find myself abused and humiliated all over again. I am now divorced and have 50/50 custody of my kids (I wish it would not be a war to try and get 100), but with a firm grip on whatever financial decision that may impact their nutrition, housing, education or health insurance. It wasn’t always so and I can tell you, it was HELL (my XW ruined our finances repeatedly). Go see a lawyer, John.

        • The kids are in good shape and strong.

          This seems like it might be the typical lack of awareness of the non-drinking parent who’s become entrenched in the alcoholic home, rationalizing, tolerating bad behavior and making bargains with the addict to save the marriage at all costs instead of saving the children. At 81, my mother is still unaware of the suffering my siblings and I experienced growing up with an alcoholic father. Don’t let this be you too John.

          Millions of people across the world seek help from the 12-step program Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) to recover from the immense trauma of a childhood impacted by alcoholism. Not because they were in good shape and strong as children.

  • Why do the bad women receive this kind of devotion, while we faithful women get treated like crap? That’s all I could think about while reading this.

    • To quote Taylor Swift “Boys only want love if it’s torture” ????????‍♀️

    • Because she’s “beautiful” ? Alcohol will ravage her looks and health.

  • Ugliness is as ugliness does. Corruption is what it is. No further dressing up, no excuses, no justification, no explanation needed.

    • It’s the unhealthy “we want what we can’t have” dysfunctional thinking. In essence, John doesn’t have his wife completely – between the drinking & OM – so John keeps engaged in the power struggle to wholly win his “prize”. He really needs to figure out where this thinking is stemming from. Healthy people appreciate faithful. Unhealthy do not.

      • Interesting perspective. Something is definitely off with this one – I was initially thinking it’s completely fabricated trolling or he’s leaving out some really significant information about his own behavior. But this explanation would make sense as well, especially given the wife’s success.

  • #Sometimes … The Most Loving thing you can do is … #WalkAway

    Kinda like your Namesake … This is a Bible Verse: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Voice Translation)

    And know this: in the last days, times will be hard.
    2 You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people.

    They will rebel against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, without restraint, savage, and haters of anything good.

    Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God.

    Even though they may look or act like godly people, they’re not. They deny His power …

    Make no mistake: God can’t be mocked.

    What you give is what you get.

    What you sow, you harvest.

    Those who sow seeds into their flesh will only harvest destruction from their sinful nature!!

    Compared to YOU:
    The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit:

    Unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

    You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this.

    Your Description of Your Wife… Was the Same of my Husband … Except he had the “Quasi Decency”
    to Divorce Me …



    #Sometimes … The Most Loving thing you can do is … #WalkAway

    • I’d like to add to this since the statement “Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is walk away” can be misconstrued. One may think that this statement solely means walking away from the abuser/perpetrator so that a 2×4 can hit them over the head and they will see the consequences of their actions. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? That people that have to deal with the consequences of their actions actually change and become better people? Yes, it would be wonderful, but that’s not real life. I don’t believe people change. I take this saying to mean that the person that needs to be loved is the one that has been putting up with the abuse. I never really understood the saying ‘learning to love myself’ until years after my divorce as I untangled the skein of fuckedupness in my own way. I realized that I no longer had to allow anybody to hurt me in any way, shape, or form. That includes my youngest son who seems to have followed in his fuckwit dad’s shoes. (He also cheated on his wife.) My youngest son has written me out of his life (for the past 4 years) because I disapproved of his bad behavior. I alluded to this yesterday (on the blog of Bridezilla) when I said that I wouldn’t attend the dress fitting with my husband’s ex-skank. I will no longer allow anyone to cross my boundaries. And that includes fuckwit children. I may have lost what little relationship that I have with my youngest, to include relationships with possible grandchildren from him, but I will not allow anyone to abuse me again. Those are not the kind of people that I want as friends. If someone wants me in their life, then they will treat me with respect. I reciprocate respect and love. If someone does not give me respect, then I don’t need them in my life. I have finally learned to love myself and that is the most loving thing that I can do. I walked away from all abuse.

      • @AmazonChump

        Absolutely … That is what I meant … Sometimes FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH … You need to remove yourself from a Toxic/Abusive Life situations…

        GOSH, I AM SO SORRY about your Son! What an AWFUL position to be in!! And Bravo Zulu to you for standing up for boundaries!!

  • Good people don’t cheat. If they know their marriage is not working they do the kindest thing they can. They tell their partner and leave the marriage. You are talking about FIVE.LONG.YEARS! So you have a wife who cheated and lied, for five long years.

    Why do you love her? It can’t be healthy. What did you do, or not do, to make her think you did not love her? Talk about addictions! I think you can’t see the forest for the trees. This is you trying to make that mule be a unicorn. It’s just a mule.

    If you have been aware of the Ghislaine Maxwell trial you are aware that her defense is trying to make her an innocent bystander as her boyfriend ruined the lives of hundreds of girls and women. It is how people use the argument of “Are you going to believe what I say or believe your lying eyes. You can’t make a mule a unicorn.

    • Five years that he knows of. This one guy that he knows of.

      I’d say, “Ask me how I know,” but we all know how I know.

  • Dear John,

    I am an alcoholic, in recovery for 36 years now. I am also an adult child of an alcoholic. I am also a recovering co-alcoholic (codependent is the word we use now). Your wife is an alcoholic. You may be too, for all we know. You are at least a co-dependent. You don’t understand the first thing about alcoholism. But this is the core of the issue here. Cheating is just another symptom.

    A great therapist who understands alcoholism/addiction/its effects on the family would be a great place to start. Al Anon, which I also began attending in 1986, would be the other great place to start. That’s what I started with in October of 1985. I could not be more grateful.

    Those are the only places I know of where you will find the truth and the solutions to what is going on. Where the answers are.

    You do not have A Wonderful Wife or a Wonderful Life. You have a life that is very typical of life with an alcoholic. It’s a family disease that affects everyone in the family, and everyone in the life of the alcoholic. I’ve been listening to stories just like yours for 36 years. I’ve been recovering from living through a similar story, which began when I was a child in growing up with two alcoholic parents. (BTW, I did not know both of my parents were alcoholics until I started attending Al Anon. I thought my sister was the only alcoholic in our family, which was good-looking crazy. More is always being revealed, to this day).

    I will be going to meetings on Zoom today. AA, Al Anon, CoDa, ACA, whichever and whatever I need today.

    I hope you will consider reaching out to your local chapter of Al Anon. It’s where everything will start making sense.

    I am extremely grateful for the recovery I’ve been able to achieve after reading your letter today.

    You can have the answers but you will not get them if you keep your head in the sand. You need the expertise, experience, and outside help of others to get them. But you have to be the one to reach out for the help.

    Check out the HBO documentary Addiction. Check out the Documentary Warning: This Drug Will Kill You.

    Alcoholism left untreated leads to three destinations: jails, institutions, death. Your wife is well on her way and will be taking you and your children, all untreated, with her.



    • PS…

      I never cheated on anyone.

      “But her affair is now part of her addiction. One cannot stop with out the other stopping.”

      Absolute bunk. Not true. And again, I never cheated. The first thing that has to happen is sobriety. Only then can one deal with other the issues. You certainly do not need to deal with other issues before or at the same time as getting sober. You actually can’t deal with anything effectively until sobriety is achieved. It’s Job One.

      I highly recommend getting to at least six Al Anon meetings, as close together as you can, and listening listening listening. There’s just so much, too much, in your letter to address here and there is where you will start understanding what is really going on and learn what to do in response. Connect with the men in Al Anon….get their phone numbers…start calling them and talking with them.

      Good luck.

      • Thanks for separating addiction from abuse. Not all substance addicts are people-abusers. The personality disorders involved with most abuse are not the same as mental illness. Someone with an organic brain disorder might become violent to others (albeit statistically less frequently than average) but won’t have the wherewithal to:

        –Cover it up
        –Reverse blame
        –Triangulate and collect ptoxy-abusers
        –Systematically coerce victims into silence through threats and terror
        –Conceal harm to others for long periods and get away with it

        Anyone capable of the above has what’s more akin to a criminal disorder than mental disability.

        Abusers use substances in order to abuse. They seek the disinhibition to facilitate the “deindividuated” state of rage or release (sex crimes, mob violence) as well as the built-in alibi (“Substance/the devil made me do it!”).

        Anders Breivek, the Norwegian mass killer, admitted to deliberately using a drug cocktail to snuff empathy in preparation for his attack. That’s a far cry from, say, a dv victim drinking to counter cortisol and PTSD.

        Though I’m not that familiar with the genetics of addiction, it’s known that the gene for “Asian flushing disease”– which is just the dark side of an otherwise positive immune allele with mild cancer-fighting properties (that is, if not exposed to alcohol)– that’s carried by about 30% of people from Japan, China, Korea, etc., and which also ironically increases risk of alcohol addiction. So, who knows? There may be some truth to what my Cherokee friend says about Native Americans and “fire water” as well as other susceptible ethic groups with regional alleles that have an Achilles heel of substance susceptibility. But to argue these same ethnic groups are genetically more criminally inclined and prone to commit violence gets into the dicey territory of eugenics. Addiction and abuse may overlap but are different animals.

    • Thank you VH! This whole letter is about alcoholism as a family disorder. Alcoholic, codependent, enabler. The writer is caught up in the family fable.
      Nothing can heal or get real until the alcoholism is treated. The rest of the story is just bull shit that drunks and codependent tell themselves so thay don’t have to face the painful truth.

    • Thank you for the information on alcoholism. I commend you on your self work and sobriety. I come from a family of alcoholics. I thought heavy drinking was normal as it was all I knew, so when my stbx was a drinker I thought nothing of it. Like many alcoholics they can appear fine to the outside world, this is how my family members are and my stbx. It wasn’t until I was faced with handing 3 minor children to him that I freaked out and realized his drinking was an issue. I still haven’t really had to do this yet, for various reasons with him being unwilling to settle. However, his cheating, compulsive lies and severe narcissism make him a bad candidate for parenting. I know I am not alone with this as I’ve read so many comments over the years. I never really put the pieces together that his alcoholism was as big of an issue or a driving factor in the dysfunctional behavior. He is a pretty severe narcissist that has gotten so much worse over the years. Thanks for the perspective.

    • I have been in AA for 25 years. Go to Al-anon regularly. Hard to tell right.
      My dad died at 46 from our disease. I was on a treadmill and did not know it. Kept hoping God had some plan. Kept close to the rooms. I guess I thought I could save her like I could not save my dad. My wife used to say “I have done the worst thing I could possibly do make you relieve your childhood”. My head has cleared over the year. My wife was the one who got me into AA. I have learned from her sister she was ill long before I met her. Two loving alcoholic parents and sexual abuse. Felt this crazy loyalty to her. I could save her. The kids are fine. Everyone says you two did something right because your are great.

      • John,
        We do pick what is familiar. Once things settle and with time I think we often see so clearly how we’ve repeated the exact pattern we’d hoped to end. Glad you hear you and the children are doing well. Have you remained with her?

      • You can’t save her.

        And your kids AREN’T fine.

        Do you have an individual therapist yourself? I think you need someone who is on your side, because you clearly aren’t on your own side.

      • Your letter reminds me how cunning, baffling, and powerful this disease is.

        I have not graduated or gotten a master’s degree. None of us get to. There are just more onion layers to peel. I’ve been peeling a lot of them since I found out four years ago that my husband, whom I met in recovery and was with for 27 years, was still a liar, cheater, thief.
        I do not know what is real about half of my life, spent with him.

        I will be honest. Yes, it was not evident to me at all by your letter than anyone was in recovery. And that makes your letter extra sad for me, and helpful, essential for me to read today. I am sorry. ☹️

        I can also tell you that in the four years since he left, and I have been on my own, doubling down on my recovery, which has always involved outside help, I have been astounded by the denial I was in, the onion layers that I have been assigned to peel, what I see now that I couldn’t see before, the blind spots I had. The More That Has Been Revealed has blown my mind.

        We see when we see. We hear when we hear. We don’t know what we don’t know until we are able to know. We stay hooked until we can unhook.

        • a great response, VH.

          this is a painful letter for many different reasons, some out in the open, others hidden.

      • As I once heard in an Al-Anon meeting: “FINE stands for Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional. NEVER say you’re FINE.”

        John, you say you attend Al-Anon regularly – do you have a sponsor in that program? I’d recommend it. And an excellent therapist. And a top-notch divorce lawyer.

        You are not helping her by staying by her side, you are enabling her. Put the oxygen on yourself first.

      • Yea, the kids are NOT fine.

        After re-reading your letter and follow up comments, I just gotta say,

        1- big whoop!, your wife is a well known romance novelist. ????

        2- you may not beat your wife but you sure the hell have contributed to the abuse of your children. JFC!

        3- that you continue to paint her as helpless and a victim?! This is sick, you need help. But you have to want the help.

        I feel so sorry for your kids. Damn

        • Gosh, yes. Let me be another voice saying that your kids are NOT fine.

          My exH is very narcissistic and was a binge drinker. I’ve been divorced from him for over 10 years. Our five kids are still not fine and they have not been through as much as your kids. Your kids are pretending to be fine and they will keep up the pretense as long as they can. But chances are, at some point, one or more of them will fall completely apart.

          My kids still occasionally tell me something new about their childhood. Most of the kids are no contact with their father. I wish I had divorced him sooner. The best thing you can do for your kids is to divorce their mother. You are modeling a horrible dysfunction.

      • Your children grew up in that mess but they are fine?
        Your wife had her fun recess at your expense but she is wonderful?
        She falsely accuses you of physical abuse etc…and you proclaim loyalty to the end?
        Whoa something is so very off here. Not only with your wife but you.

        Your flowery words flow like a dramatic unreal novel and seems almost like what you wrote is fiction. Some people want what they want. Then I’d have to say they deserve it.

    • “Your wife is an alcoholic. You may be too, for all we know. You are at least a co-dependent. You don’t understand the first thing about alcoholism. But this is the core of the issue here. Cheating is just another symptom.”

      This is the core of the issue, indeed. Well said, Velvet.

    • Don’t forget the book, THE
      DILEMMA of the Alcoholic Marriage!

      I had to read it before divorcing my first wife per my sponsors orders.

  • I’m ashamed to admit I could have written something like this a long time ago. I found out my husband was addicted to porn and prostitutes and using the mortgage money to fund it all. But he said he felt distant from me, like that I didn’t love him. He talked about his mom cheating on his father and how that affected him, and how it was causing trust issues for him in our marriage, blah blah. I bought into it all. I reassured him of my love, helped him get counseling, spiced up things in the bedroom to make it more interesting… I was rewarded with more cheating, lying, stealing, etc. It took some years before I realized he didn’t actually intend to quit. He enjoyed being exactly who he was.

    Once I caught him lying about his cheating, when he had promised to break the addiction by being honest when he was tempted to go back to it. I asked him, “Why didn’t you tell me the truth?”

    He yelled, “Because if I told you, you’d make me stop!”

    I feel like that was the most honest thing he ever said. But then a few minutes later, he was back to claiming that he felt like I didn’t love him, that he WANTED a good relationship but he was just scared, etc, etc.

    Eventually he decided he was tired of me interfering with his chosen lifestyle and he dumped me. I think the same will happen to the author of the letter Chumplady answered today. It’s not quite there yet, but soon, unless she dies of alcoholism first, this woman is gonna run off with some other alcoholic, because her husband keeps going on about her drinking and wanting her to be responsible.

    She already made her choice. She just didn’t choose him. He doesn’t want to accept that, but that’s what happened.

    • PS If this guy does get dumped by his wife though (and I’m about 95% sure it’s about to happen), he should brace himself for her to circle back around. She’ll run out, drink a lot, hang out with losers, blow through her money… and then try to come back claiming she is ready to change. My ex did the same. Occasionally, he still does. He took a trip to Mexico with his girlfriend recently. It must have gone badly, because halfway through the trip, he notified me that he decided he still loved me and wanted to get back together. Uh… no… He’s her problem now.

    • My husband was into porn, too. Yes, of course, it was all my fault, I didn’t hold his hand in public, I took to long getting ready to go out, blah blah etc. I think part of the reason he hid his second life was he didn’t want to stop. Would promise he would but didn’t. Also think he got off on the secrecy and control. But I agree with you, I suspect she will eventually leave him if she can, notice she didn’t admit to the affair only when confronted. She doesn’t want to stop, she’s just in a position where she needs him right now so it’s beneficial to lay low. Remember, we’re only useful to them until we are not.

  • 1) I see no question in John’s letter. It reads like a narrative with enough detail to figure out who the wife is, enough “but this is different” vibe to counter a series of stereotypical arguments against his choices, and a “pay attention to me” instrument. I see no clear intent on his part to do anything but stay, so I can’t see what there is to comment on, really.

    2) That’s an interesting segue into the selfish thing I need to say. ???? Which is, I need to spend a lot less time online in general (for a bunch of reasons), which means spending less time here. I hate to say it, because I do love interacting with so many of you, but I also didn’t want to just ghost out on you.

    I just need a life re-budget. Not saying I’ll never be here, just that it needs to be less frequent by a fair amount.

    There really aren’t words to express the actual real live love I feel for those of you I connect with here, so I won’t try. That includes you, Chump Lady. Big love for sure.

    I now return you all to the topic of discussion that is NOT about me. ???? STAY MIGHTY. Every damn day. ????

    • “I see no clear intent on his part to do anything but stay, so I can’t see what there is to comment on, really.”

      Spot on. ????????????????????

      Come back soon, Amiisfree, I love your posts. You’ll be missed. ????????

        • Big love to you. Part of gaining a life is knowing when we need to re-prioritize. I tend to come and go on the main blog because the folks here have got things in hand.

    • You’re a Mensch, Ami, and I have many of your posts saved in my notes, to read again!
      You stay mighty, too ????

    • Such an interesting and accurate observation. I have to agree. Think I am stepping away for a bit too. I will just say again to anyone out there – no contact is the best way to heal. Step away from the crazy.

      Best to you all!

      CL you rock.

    • Amiisfree, I think of you as the kindest chump here. I always read and appreciate what you have to say. FWIW, months ago, you responded to comments folks were making about OPs that sounded a lot like fat shaming, and I really admired how you went about it. Thanks for your contributions here; they have helped me through the hardest time of my life.

      I don’t have social media and used to lose track of my phone for days. Find it hard to be “present” or focus on what feels good when I’m hooked on my phone, so I hear you. I hope you find the peace and balance you seek!

      • That’s all so kind, B&R, and I’m especially very, very touched to know how much that helped. I want us all to feel good the way we’re made. ???? Thank you, and all my very best to you too!!!!

  • My heart breaks for John while reading his letter. Yes he is being extremely blinded by love and devotion to his wife resulting in him believing a series of unfortunate and life-ruining delusions, but it’s hard to fathom how someone could have a 5 year affair on someone that is so unconditionally devoted to and in love with them. John, I’m so sorry for what you are going through but you really need to read the response to your letter and take it to heart. Everything Chump Lady says is very true. Your wife is a terrible human being. Nothing you have said or done has caused her to cheat on you. She has enough cognitive function to continue to manipulate you and make you feel sorry for her. In my opinion, she probably has a lot more cognitive function than she is leading you to believe and is playing the wounded animal card to make you stick around despite her betrayal. You deserve so much better. Your kids deserve so much better too. I think speaking with a professional and hearing from them exactly what CL is telling you will help you come to terms with what has happened and make the best decision to move forward for you and your children. You have stood by your with through more than most would even if the affair hadn’t happened. I think you deserve to start living a life that makes you fulfilled and happy without having to share a home with someone you will never be able to trust again.

  • John – It is far more likely that your wife will relapse and die of drinking alcohol than resume an intimate relationship with this man. It is also likely she will die without fully accepting responsibility for the impact of her choices on you and your family.

    If you choose to be her caregiver, you will need a support team which provides medical treatment and not romance story lines. Was pursuing your own therapy already suggested by her doctors? Are one or more of your children already involved in a 12 step program?

    You shared so much about the man your wife had sex with as though he would determine your family’s future. Perhaps you are also a fiction writer. It’s an ugly story.

  • Your wife is not a Victim. She is an adult woman, with free will. Therefore, she is an Accomplice. Cheater, co- cheater , adulterer. Not a Victim.

  • John: Love and support your wife. Wish her recovery and happiness while you work with YOUR DIVORCE LAWYER. Continue to sing her praises after your divorce is finalized.

    Show your kids what they should do if their future spouses treat them terribly. Divorce is a good thing. Divorce is a part of life. You had a good marriage until the marriage was over. You did not fail. Now it’s time for you to be with a woman who actually loves you back.

    Divorce will heal your cheating wife. Divorce will heal you. Divorce will be good for your kids in the long run. They already know everything, good and bad.

    And for the love of all that is holy, make sure the wife of the serial cheater knows every detail of her husband’s activities.

  • Believed my wife was wonderful and loving… CHECK
    Wife began using alcohol (and other substances) to escape… CHECK
    Wife was writing a Romance/Sex/BDSM novel… CHECK
    Wife was openly engaged in an affair as a way out… CHECK
    Wife began telling everyone I was abusive in our marriage… CHECK
    I was still in love with her and did not want divorce… CHECK
    Divoced my former wife and I am now in no contact with her… YOU NEED TO CHECK THIS BOX!

    • Romance writing often involves a lot of rape fantasy and veiled sexual abuse. Personally, I’m extremely wary of anyone who consumes this genre or most modern crime fiction which has become increasingly violently pornographic.

      It’s an axiom that every abuser/rapist/batterer/
      chronic betrayer has internalized their own childhood abuse. In my estimation, this also goes for any woman who romanticizes rape, whether she consumes or creates that kind of content. Somewhere, somehow, she’s learned to recast abuse as not abuse and that’s a risky trait. To underscore this, there was a study that found a correlation between “rape myth acceptance” and “infidelity tolerance.”

      Anyway, another red flag for the chump “warning signs” list.

      • I’ve thought about this comment since I read it yesterday.

        You make several inaccurate assumptions here. First, you state that “every abuser/rapist/batterer/chronic betrayer has internalized their own childhood abuse.” That’s not an “axiom.” Not all abusers or rapists or batterer was abused as a child. MyXH #1 for example tried to choke me to death; I had to have armed guards in the hospital. He was not battered, nor was he raised in an environment of domestic violence. He had tot been raped or choked himself. He was just a drugged-out selfish, manipulative jerk with a temper problem.

        Second, you have this long list of people who do bad things–abuser/rapist/batterer/chronic betrayer–as if these behaviors are all alike. A “chronic betrayer” is not the same as a rapist or batterer. Anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted (#metoo) can explain the difference to you.

        Third, there is a world of difference between fantasy (which is what fiction is) and wanting something to happen in real life. I read romance novels, although I tend toward female empowerment narratives, romantic suspense, and comedy. I’ve read books that include rape fantasy but I don’t find them interesting or anything I want to experience in FICTION. So not “any woman…who consumes…that content” is “romanticizing rape.”

        Fourth, I’d like to see that study on “a correlation between ‘rape myth acceptance’ and ‘infidelity tolerance;.” If it is in fact a well-conducted study, I wonder who is “accepting” a “rape myth,” how that term is defined, and what “infidelity tolerance” means. Who is doing the “tolerating,” the person who fantasizes about raping? the person who reads romance novels that feature women falling in love with men who push boundaries? Of course, there ar women who like bad boys who push boundaries of all sorts and men who like to abuse and dominate women. But just as I can enjoy a zombie show without wanting to put an ice pick through someone’s head, I can read romance novels without emulating the behavior of bird-brained romantic heroines. Just as I can enjoy a romantic comedy while knowing full well it is build on a myth of near-instant love covered over by superficial conflict.

        But by all means, put us romance, mystery, and thriller readers on your no-dating list. I don’t think you realize how this comment reads, at least to me, as misogyinistic.

  • After I finally figured it all out, 3-4 years post divorce, I realized it was never me. It was the fuckwit. And he was such a great liar that he made me believe, without a doubt, that it was me. He made me believe that I never appreciated him enough, that I never took his feelings into consideration, etc. This guy’s skanky-wife has done the same. John, you’re writing one of your infamous wife’s love stories. You’re putting yourself as the guy who’s going to save this tragic heroine, as you stand with an open shirt showing your hairy chest and large pecs, hair flowing in the wind as you stand next to a ship’s mast… Stop. You’re not that. You’re just plain human and your heroine is a skank. She CHOSE to put you last. She CHOSE to not give a shit about you or her kids. She isn’t wonderful. She is a skank that used you and continues to use you in her travesty of a ‘love story’. If it wasn’t this homewrecker of a dude that ‘preys on vulnerable women’, it would have been another guy and she would have spun another sad, sad story to justify her fucking around on you for 5 years. This wasn’t a mistake. 5 years of fucking around on you was a choice made daily. It isn’t about him. It’s about her and the fact that she doesn’t give a shit about you. It’s all about her! FUCK HER! As CL says, get a lawyer for a divorce and let her insurance take care of her. Stop living the romance novel and come back to reality. Real life is not fiction.

    • ????????????

      I was told constantly “you don’t love me” “you hate me” – that I was “cold” “mean” “frigid.”

      In my youth it used to make me shower him with love and attention. Anything to show him how I love him. To prove him wrong.

      Took me too long to realize it’s just a sick manipulation – to be told everyday you are awful when you are actually a slave to the other person.

  • You did not drive her into the arms of a predator. She did that all by herself.

    You may love your wife, but she doesn’t love you.

  • Wow, your friend of a wife is building a case of abuse against you. You are in serious danger. I would not go near her with a 10 foot pole at this point. Her accusations of physical abuse along with the bruises to show for it, you are in danger. She very well may be getting her ducks in a row planning to go after you with all of her documentation of abuse from friends and hospital records. You need to run and go no contact. All I can think about is that you are not safe at all. Read CL’s response 1,000 times if needed. Believe what she says. You are living in a hell and you’re trying to decorate the walls and set up a home there. Get out!!

  • I will probably write a few more comments but wanted to get this one out. Thank you all. I was not familiar at all with CL when I wrote this to her. Never knew I would be raked over the coals like this, but it is good. The last 15 years I have raised our kids. Paid the bills. Put them through college and tried to provide support for all of our children. Nothing special I did what any parent is expected to do. According to all the theripists and friends in the rooms of AA and Al-anon I did a good job. We did a good job. There will be baggage from this. How is that not possible. Yes, I made some big mistakes but being sober stopped this from being even worse. If I can make one thing, clear alcoholism is a mental and emotional illness. An alcoholic my not be responsible for their actions but they are accountable. I have always had trouble with the cancer comparison too. I came into our marriage a drunk and my wife was sober. She pointed me to AA in the first year of our marriage. She said she would leave if I did not do something. She changed my life. Gave me a life I never even dreamed was possible. I know I should have bailed a while ago. I could not. She gave me this incredible gift I had to try and save her. I was a fool.
    I do have balls. I was scared of being alone. She was the only women who had ever loved me unconditionally. Please know this and then keep unloading on me. My wife paid the price. She has permeant brain damage. She will most like never be left unintended again. She will never write again or drive or go outside by herself. I may have to put her in a nursing home. No matter how terrible someone is do they deserve this?

    • Yes, this group will brutally tell you things you would rather not hear. Good for you for reading them. And like AA-take what you want and leave the rest. I understand your appreciation for your wife’s support. It sounds like she took advantage of your good Will. She did abuse you, gaslighted you, lied to you, cheated on you, lied about you. That’s is a lot of shit sandwich to eat. Did you deserve that?pretty high price to pay. Find a place for her and carry on recovering from years of her abuse. Model good parenting for your children. That may be the kindest thing you can do for your wife. Hugs!

    • So here’s the thing – she didn’t and doesn’t love you unconditionally! STOP believing that!

      People who love unconditionally do not willingly cheat, lie, risk the health of and criminally accuse their partner.

      As has been said here before, your wife didn’t trip in the supermarket and fall onto strange penis. Is that blunt enough?

      Does someone who willingly and willfully destroyed the lives of her family and 6 children deserve this? I’d say yes.

      Many of us chumps have suffered far worse than never being unattended or going out on our own.

    • Unconditional love is a dangerous and nonsensical idea. Of course adults have conditions on love. When people actively harm us, repeatedly and knowingly, it is fine to walk away. In fact, to continue to “love” someone whose actions have revealed contempt for you and disregard for your safety and the safety of your children is irresponsible and destructive.

      You deserve so much better. It is painful and difficult, but hoping you can find the will to choose health and reality more than fear and guilt.

      • “Unconditional love is a dangerous and nonsensical idea.”

        Thanks for pointing this out, Nomar. And it’s particularly dangerous if one “loves” an addict or an abuser.

    • I’m an alcoholic with 8 years of sobriety. My ex husband was an addict/alcoholic. He was in one of his sporadic periods of sobriety when he arm twisted me into treatment. Not literally. He said he’d take the kids unless I went into treatment for my drinking. I will always be grateful that he did that. However, he didn’t stay clean and sober. He went back out there. He liked the grunge and high of the addict lifestyle. Stealing and lying and manipulating. It was horribly chaotic for me and our two children. I was finally the sane parent. I was also mostly the sole breadwinner as the ex kept getting fired and spending all his and our money on drugs and alcohol. I kept thinking that if I loved him enough, he’d get clean. If I tried harder and paid him back emotionally for his gift to me when I finally got sober, he’d change. I stayed for an awfully long time, trying to make amends for my drinking and to get him to want what I had in sobriety. It didn’t work. He just got worse and I asked him to move out. It was while we were separated that I found out that he had been cheating on me all along. Almost our entire marriage. I filed for divorce when he showed up at his grandmother’s memorial service with his mother and his “fiancee.”

      He died of a drug overdose just seven and a half weeks after our divorce was finalized in 2020. He was in jail when our divorce was entered. Jails, institutions and death really are the end result of untreated addiction. I couldn’t save my husband from the rocket ride to hell. John, you can’t save your wife either. You are not beholden to her and making her better. You may have gotten sober as a result of her prodding in the beginning, but you did the work along the way. You can let go.

    • Why has your name changed at least three times in the replies? I hate all this teasing with additional bits of information. I recognize the pattern, as well, as I am the child of alcoholics, chump of alcoholics. It’s keeping the reader ‘hooked.’ I encourage you to just tell the truth, but I’m skeptical of the situation.

      OTOH, great information and insight on alcoholism, addiction, abuse, and volition. Thank you all as always.

      • I think the poster may be a troll of sorts. The Harlequin romance prose style, changing “his” name with additional info, etc.

    • Not sure what you’re looking for here, John? An audience? It doesn’t seem like you’re looking for ways to change, and change is the primary focus here.

    • “No matter how terrible someone is do they deserve this?”

      That’s the wrong question. The right one is do YOU deserve this? Being stuck as a caregiver to an emotionally abusive cheater who falsely accused you of physical abuse to cover up her alcoholism?
      I say you deserve a life. You’ve decided to give that up to be a nursemaid to somebody who mistreated you terribly. I say don’t do it. By all means put her into a nursing home, since you are legally responsible for her. Then get a divorce and get a life. It may seem harsh, but it’s kinder than the way she treated you. You will still need to pay her nursing home bill, and it’s the right thing to do, but that’s a small price to pay for finding yourself again, and perhaps finding somebody who will genuinely love you. You have made yourself so small to accommodate this woman’s dysfunction that you have lost sight of your identity, other than being her husband. I usually dislike the term codependent, but if it applies to anyone, it applies to you.

      She didn’t save you from alcoholism. You did it yourself, because she threatened to leave. Let that sink in. You had a problem and *she would have left you* had you not fixed yourself. Then when she had the same problem, plus was a cheater and a vicious, slanderous liar, you stayed and you found a way to blame yourself. She didn’t feel loved, she said. They ALL say that, and it’s horse manure. It sounds to me that if anything, you loved her too much. Much more than she deserved.

      It’s awful that she has a brain injury. But it’s not your fault and not your cross to bear. You have every right to decide that no, this is not the life you deserve, selflessly tending to a woman who still speaks fondly of her twu wuv affair partner.

      BTW, alcoholics are responsible for their actions. To drink is a choice and therefore anything one does while drunk is a choice. Recovering from addiction is certainly difficult, but *you* stopped drinking. So could she have, if it was important to her. It wasn’t. Being a cheating ho and blaming you was important to her. She didn’t cheat because of her addiction. There are chumps on here who were addicts, yet they never cheated. They chose to get sober just like you did. Your wife was not going to make that choice because she just didn’t care. Some people become addicts because, though they are good people, they use it as a way to cope with traumatic life experiences, because they have addict genes in the family, and what have you. They can and do recover. Others become addicts because they are escapist, weak and narcissistic by nature. They seek to escape not trauma, but adulthood and responsibility. They want to be eternal adolescents. They are less likely to recover. I don’t know her, so I can’t be certain, but it sounds like your wife is in that category. People can have a mental disorder (like addiction) and be assholes, too, and sometimes they develop an addiction because they are assholes. Being an addict is not a get out of jail free card for cheating and lying.

      • Some alcoholics and addicts finally get clean when they suffer massive consequences like time in prison or serious health problems. Or not. They continue to lie to themselves or there is too much brain damage.

        • Yes, my brother has lied to himself for 45 years and is now too brain damaged to get sober. He’s going to die from this.
          There was no trauma in his life he needed to cope with and there isn’t a history of addiction in the family. He became an alcoholic because he refuses to deal with his emotions and wants to feel high all the time. It’s very sad. He’s not even able to work anymore and depends on my other brother, who gets a disability check. He will be getting a pension in a couple of years and will drink it all away.

          My fw drank totally by choice, to escape and have fun. He admits it and it was very easy for him to quit. It might be that John’s wife’s drinking was part of her “recess” plan rather than a true addictive disorder.

          • A family member had a stroke from his decades of being a “ wine connoisseur” over ten years ago and is still drinking. His wife, also an alcoholic and probably worse from what I know (at least 10 servings per day), is starting to show signs of alcoholic dementia. She’s fallen several times and has hit her head. Anybody that suggests she has a problem is cut off and put on her “shit list”. Two highly educated scientists and college professors. It takes all kinds. Tragic.

    • It’s not whether your wife “deserves” this; it’s that alcoholism is a progressive disease. My therapist used to say that addiction either ends with the addict in recovery, in prison or dead. The decisions your wife made to continue drinking are what got her in this situation. She didn’t deserve it but she chose it.

  • Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt…. I’m so sorry John that you are stuck in this horrible phase of justifying your tolerance of abuse. We all know how painful it is to face the truth and break free especially when the abuser is likely your meal ticket. I’m glad you wrote and CL published your letter and I hope you are reading it and the replies. That you are reading CL means you are in conflict with the dissonance of your life. That is a huge start. Keep going and thinking and turning away from this mess you are in. Your wife had no problem using and abusing you, you are perfectly justified in leaving now. Actually this is probably a good time cuz she is probably not drinking and has her care figured out. Take the children and build a new life. Hugs and good luck. You can do this! Get yourself free!

    • That has been the big admission to myself the last year my denial. The kids and I would leave her if we could. She was once a wonderful mother and wife.
      We have all accepted the situation and agree we will not abandon her.
      Appreciate your words. On a ego point she has had writers block for over 6 years. I was the meal ticket.

      • Who asked the kids and got their agreement? You? The entrenched, enabling, co-dependent non drinking spouse???? Children shouldn’t be forced to eat the constant buffet of shit sandwiches served up in an alcoholic home despite how beautiful the drunk is. It’s mind-boggling that you feel your children are capable of making a mature and rational decision in this situation and that you refer to their self-preservation solely as abandoning her. Please get real professional help John and not from someone in the RIC. And your kids need serious help from from an experienced clear-thinking child advocate which isn’t you or your wife’s coterie of flying monkey friends.

        • YES!!! ???? You’re so right. Kids come first and John is way worse off if he doesn’t realize he is enabling her abuse of their innocent kids.

  • ” if you have superpowers to make your wife feel things, then I’m sure you would choose to make her love you and treat you with respect. It’s so funny how your superpowers only conjure rejection.”

    This is so true. My ex would tell me I “made” him do horrible things – scream at me, abuse me, cheat on me. I “forced” him to cheat. I didn’t know I had that kind of power. If I did, wouldn’t I have used it to make him love and respect me?

    This letter is very sad. I was in this position once (not quite so extreme). It took time and distance, therapy, and a kick-ass lawyer to get me to drop the fantasy of him being a “good person” who “got lost” and start seeing him as the abusive, cheating asshole he really was.

  • Alcoholism is so pervasive in our culture that I wonder if there is a family that has not suffered the consequences of this disease? I know Prohibition did not work, and I enjoy an occasional libation myself, so I really cannot offer a solution. I suspect it is like most things — we need education and truth not fakey fake glamorous stories. What I find difficult to believe is why do we continue to believe in these delusional stories about the lives of others which are full of details of deceit, and selfishness? Why do we say “I’m fine” when we clearly are not fine?

    I watch the news, and a few entertainment shows because I do enjoy movies. I realize the movies offer an escape from reality and actors are not “real” people. But I go back to my real life, and I know it is fantasy. Sometimes I learn new (to me) truths from things I read or watch. But I understand I was not born into wealth and privilege. I am now retired and single, so it is highly unlikely I will ever live a “fabulous, wealthy, glamorous” lifestyle. In addition, I am actually content with the life I lead.

    My guess is that people who feel they must present the details of their life in a public manner, and declare details of their wealth, and possessions, and illnesses, and connections to all their fabulous friends and family members, are actually very empty inside. They do not see themselves as “enough” just living a simple life. They consider people who live as I do, or who live in dire circumstances, as the “less than’s” of the world. If you are not fabulous and glamorous, and oh so “hip and woke” you are not worth consideration. Only the glamourous can suffer in a significant way.

    I feel sorry for the pain in John’s post. I have an uncomfortable feeling about whether or not it is an accurate description of his situation. I don’t believe any children, so-called friends, or other spouses in this story would not be damaged if the details are accurate. No one in this story is fine. If we believe all the fabulous details presented, we are not fine. If this situation exists, my advice would be to get out of the fantasy and into the real world. Get serious help and therapy.

  • Just imagine the torrid novel your cheating, addicted, lying asshat could write when you leave! Since you are so very giving consider that a gift to her– the real life drama she can weave into her work of how she is the poor abused one here and has to raise 6 kids alone while having her hot flings with hunky dudes.

    Leave her before you are arrested for battery and your children are only allowed to see you during supervised visits. Don’t think that would ever happen? Your wife writes fiction for a living and has already lied about you in the worst of ways.

    If you continue one minute more down this path you are no longer a victim. You know what she is. Get out. And no matter what you do expect a terrible battle for custody as she lies under oath about what a horrible father you are so she can grab 6X child support and the court doesn’t let you have them because you are “so dangerous.” Mindfuck TV only has three channels, and she has already done Charm and Self Pity like a master and all that is left is burning Rage.

    This is no fucking joke. She is evil. You have been warned.

  • John, you need to jump off the page of that completely sick, twisted romance novel you got trapped in and throw an iced cold bucket of water over your head.
    You are in a deep hopium trance that is sinking you to the river’s bottom. You must start swimming to the surface.
    Read CL’s post over and over again until you realize that it is the only pure and genuine truth in your life that exists right now!
    The post is brilliantly written, with hopefully enough ‘wake the f up’ slaps to help you snap out your fogged over view of reality.
    Your wife is an abuser, you need to get yourself and most definitely and quite rapidly, your kids, to safe ground and never ever look back.
    You owe her absolutely NOTHING! She’s destroying you all. Yeah it’s all sad and miserable, but it’s not your sad and miserable, it’s her choices that put her there.
    She robbed your family blind and you keep offering up more for her to take.
    What about the jewels and cash in the safe, my dear kind, intelligent and beautiful trash of a wife?!Can I make you a quick sandwich before you run out the door with everything the matters to me in this world and more?! Let me help you to the getaway car my love.
    Do not let her steal one more damn thing from you or your children, do not let her have another second of real estate in your mind. Run away from that chaos!
    She is stabbing you continually in your heart and you are handing her the knife to do it.
    If you’ve given up on your own life, that’s deeply tragic and miserable to hear, but you cannot give up on your six childrens lives.
    It is your obligation as the only half way sane parent at this point to stop the shit storm from rolling down the road.
    I barely care what she is doing to you at this point John, you appear to be okay with letting her destroy you.
    It was a hard post to read, I actually cried after I read it.
    It makes me so angry the level we let these people annihilate us and then we keep taking more.
    No more, don’t let her hurt your family any more.
    She is not a salvageable human, if she was ever one at all. She does not care about you or your kids. I know it’s so crazy hard, but believe what you see, not what you wish to see.
    I don’t care how damaged her brain is, you should not feel obliged and guilt ridden to stand by during her recovery.
    Let her affair partner recoup her, you have enough to do with getting your family to safe ground and back on track.
    Don’t worry what others think, the only person with the right angle of view on this is you and you need to take a really good honest look.
    Her train is derailed and she is the only one responsible for taking it off the track. It is not your fault, you didn’t do this.
    It’s all really sad, I do get that. But please please listen to CL, ignore your wife’s friends’ suggestion to you, they don’t have your best interest in mind either.
    Taking the high road is horrible and dangerous advice.
    Your wife sucks John. Get out.

    • I couldn’t agree more. This was heartbreaking to read. John needs to turn the spotlight of his love to his children and himself now.

  • Tupac once said: “Just because you lost me as a friend doesn’t mean you gained me as an enemy. I’m bigger than that. I still wanna see you eat, just not at my table.”

    It’s way past time that you remove her place at your table.

    You don’t have to hate that deceitful, fake, unloving, lying, cheating abusive wife. You just have to love yourself and YOUR CHILDREN more.

    This site has helped me set boundaries and truly find my self worth. Keep reading. But…

    You John, also need some therapy, and you need to really look inside. Who ARE you?

  • All I have to say is that this may be the oddest day on Chump Lady that I’ve seen in five years of reading this blog.

    The letter writer’s story reads like bad fiction. If we can believe his replies here, that it is really his life makes him either an outlier or winner of the “freak” award.

    The fight between long time commenters over how we approach alcoholism makes me sad.

  • Let’s recap the story so far:
    Wife: serious alcoholic / addict, liar, cheater, abuser, neglectful mother and abusive partner, manipulator and user who is still in ongoing 5 year affair
    John: nurse and purse, enabler, codependent, hopium addict and co-signer of wife’s disease, potential sane parent (but only if he puts down the hopium pipe and sparkle first.)
    6 children: true victims
    The addict will always put their substance(s) first.
    That’s their primary relationship. Without the serious consequences of divorce and no/ very low contact there can be no happy ending here.

    • Should be spackle obvs but sparkle works too in context where the wife is in the drama of her own romance novel while all the players revolve around her and her illness(es). The star! Auteur! The still point of the turning world…
      The wife is an addict but so is John who is addicted to his wife and her drama. He needs to rewrite the storylines of his own narrative and seek the help he needs to free himself and his children. Someone has to be the sane parent.

  • Hypothyroidism is a disease. Asthma is a disease. Cancer is a disease. Alcoholism is a disease. Herpes (thank you, Traitor X) is a disease. A-Fib (thank you again, Traitor X) is a disease. I have them them all (except the cancer which has been treated). No one is saying alcoholism is THE SAME as cancer or COVID or any other disease. They all have distinctly different physical/neurological/etc manifestations but all are diseases. It’s my responsibility to treat all of them. Which is a pain in the ass every day but if I lived a long time ago I would have died from any/all of them. So I greet my pill organizer with gratitude every morning. ????‍????

    They are not THE SAME diseases. They They are not interchangeable. They are different. The treatments are different. For Pete’s sake. ????

    A Tesla is not a Prius is not a Ferrari. They are all cars.

    But alcoholism is the one now medically recognized disease that says you don’t have a disease. That you’re fine. And lots of society helps you stay sick and suffering by denying it’s a disease. Of course the inflicted person is responsible for treating it. But the addicted brain means the pharmacological substance of choice is running the brain and profoundly influencing/determining thinking and decision making and choosing and behavior.

    Even being just sober and sleep-deprived as a new mom, even being sober and CPTSD, my “choices”, for which I am responsible and accountable for no
    matter what, were often WTF?! in retrospect the next day. That still happens! WTF did I decide to do that?!
    I have no one to blame but me. Damn.

    Biological Psych was my most difficult class in college and a great education about the degree of how
    in charge of my choices I really am….

    For Pete’s sake.

    I figured I better speak up because one of the diseases, all different with different treatment responses and modalities, might pick me off before the end of the day today.

    Wisdom and knowledge are two different things. Don’t be fooled if I use a big word here and there. I have no idea if I have any wisdom to share around here, but my intention is to hopefully help someone who shows up here, and me too.


    • ….and the longer I read here, the more linkage I see between cheating and untreated alcoholism/addiction. It seems to go together all too often. IMHO.

      • This!! It’s my (limited) experience that alcoholism/addiction and cheating often go hand in hand and can’t be separately addressed. My XW was always looking for the next high, which had to be more extreme than the previous one – I believe that there was a quick progression from drinks with the girls, to all night ‘dancing’ and hooking up with random bar-flys (we are in our 50’s). She is still looking for the hero in the bar and on the 4th partner (all of which were the one) she has introduced the kids to since d-day 2 years ago – they are a mess

    • Thank you, VH. Truth indeed.

      I found myself in a conversation with a friend yesterday over the alcoholism as a disease model. I tried to tell her about my firsthand experience of getting sober, and the fact that for me it was a gift of a moment of absolute clarity from Spirit. I saw what my life was, where it was going, the effect on my son, and the way out of that hell. With it came the utter knowledge that I could be free if I simply put the plug in the jug, went to meetings, and did what they told me. I was liberated from the obsession and the compulsion in that moment. It was not a choice, it was a gift from Spirit. That was 48 years ago. I take care of that gift by doing the things necessary to maintain it. My friend doesn’t believe that, but then she has never walked this road herself.

      Those of us in long term recovery, all have been given that gift in one form or other, and we all work hard to maintain it.

      Thank you VH for your voice of wisdom on this subject.

  • john, this is painful.

    i don’t know what to say beyond the fact that we all, consciously or unconsciously, pick partners that we “know” in some way. and we are all damaged children inside, looking to right the wrongs of our childhoods. that’s why, as an adult, you go back to your family of origin (FOO) and take a good look around. it’s rich for material, i find.

    as complicated as your story presents, it seems to me that you’re looking for love and you picked a partner who DOES NOT have the emotional capacity to love. that’s it. so cut your losses and start again. you’ve got 6 kids watching and learning from you, in much the same way you watched and learned from your parents–and it is THIS generation that can break the cycle of addiction. invest in THIS generation, john. they need you. they’re genetically loaded for addiction.

    full disclosure. at 57, i’m in the midst of a divorce with my alcoholic husband who also is a narcissist. i was raised by a narcissistic mother and “trained” to not be good enough, to try to please, to rebel/act out, to ignore mom’s nonsense, and to, ultimately, not feel properly loved. it’s a lingering pain. do you see the connection? i do.

    good luck.

  • I have known plenty of people with substance abuse problems who didn’t cheat on their spouses. One does not necessarily follow the other. please seek a therapist to understand alcoholism as well as people with impulse control issues. Also talk to a therapist about why you feel like you deserve to be treated this way.

    • You make a good point. My XH the substance abuser didn’t cheat with another woman (although from time to time I wondered). But he abandoned me socially and emotionally, spending every weekend with his drunken friends. I saw the janitor at work more often. It’s a special kind of discard–I got dumped as a “partner” while keeping my status as “wife appliance” and “paycheck.” And by staying, I enabled his drinking in so many ways.

      • Oh god LAJ -I went through a similar scenario.
        But my situation was very confusing because my FW was with his pals from his 13-step program. Hours of inline meetings a day ( meetings went digital in Covid(, lots of texts and meeting up with same guys. It e lushes our live together and he was with people who asked gor no accountability and treated him as a victim.

        He was actually with them, and distanced himself progressively from our relationship.
        I didn’t see it because I regarded the 12-step pals as his therapy.
        What a confusing g mess. Partial truths were so confusing-I could t make sense of it and thought maybe he is trying to.recover from narcissism
        No- he just got more lavish supplies from them.

  • She sounds like a horrible monster. If you cannot leave her for your own survival And sanity then do it for your kids. What lesson do they learn from all this hell? Just stop with the self sacrificing. You need alanon You have to take care of that half broke bottle of cheap wine?? Forever?? You got several years to live happy. Go. Be happy. Just because alcoholism is a disease doesn’t stop me from hating them for ruining their family. It’s the most selfish disease. I say this as an ACOA. I have no mercy left for drinkers.

  • Re-read the sage advice from David’s brother: “Can’t you see that you are being severely abused? This person is wicked. You have to get out.”
    I re-read something you wrote: “he kept my wife drinking to continue the affair. Once confronted, my wife said she did not want a divorce that she wanted to work things out and stay together. She is still drinking.” How did HE keep your wife drinking, and if he is to blame, how and why is she continuing to drink? Is someone buying alcohol for her now and forcing it down her throat? Or is she able to drive, shop and do what she pleases?
    You also wrote that she lost her kids and her career. Yet you said that the kids still love her, and there is nothing keeping her from her career writing other romance novels. She can work at her own pace, she can use speech recognition softraare to dictate if she can’t type, and plenty of writers have gone on after brain injuries to write fiction and non-fiction books that require far more ability than it takes to write romances.
    Why do you think your unwavering devotion now will yield better results than it did before her five-year affair? Please focus on yourself and your kids. Stop putting her first. Her seizure and her brain injury are a direct consequence of her choices. You didn’t mention the ages of your kids, but they need the parenting and the example that they didn’t get before.
    You wrote, “he still wants my wife on the side even if it destroys her,” and that she continues to talk about him remaining a friend. You wrote, “She told me throughout the year I was always the one she loved and wanted to be with.” If she ALWAYS loved you and wanted to be with you, why didn’t she focus her time and attention on you, instead of the man she had sex with for five years? I suspect she told you that for a year because she had little or no choice in the hospital; due to Covid, they probably didn’t allow the other guy to visit her–although for all you know, she could have stayed in contact with him remotely or even in person.
    You may feel that you are being noble in her time of need, and that you will be rewarded for standing by her. You stood by her for the five years –that you know of–that she ignored her vows for better or worse. She did not get character or decency. She is not a new person. This is not a romance novel, it’s real life. Read Chump Lady’s book, and the archives here. when you read more of the facts, I think you’ll see your wife is the viallain, not the heroine. You can’t love her into being good.

  • I’m pretty sure both my parents could be diagnosed with alcoholism. They have never lied about abuse or cheated on each other. I mean, my dad gets drunk and gets super nice, very jovial and sings the praises of God and sunsets. Not exactly dignified but not malignant in any way, shape or form.
    Your wife is accusing you of abuse while abusing you (which is also, like, classic).
    Also, in some ways I am fine. I have a nice home, a job I am passionate about, a fantastic kid. I’ve also been through a lot of therapy to understand how to really feel my emotions and how to get out of an abusive relationship. But I’m “fine.”

  • ” I did make my wife feel this way.”

    Nope. You didn’t, John. One of the first lessons I learned in therapy is that people “don’t make us feel things.”

    The very best thing you could do for your wife is to tell her “quit drinking and get into treatment or I’m getting a divorce.” Putting aside the cheating for a moment, there is zero hope for your life if you are in a codependent relationship with this woman. The cheating is not your fault. It’s very likely related to her drinking. Anyone as far gone down the alcohol trail as this woman comes to prefer the company of other drinkers, socially. Your role is not “beloved husband, loved, and companion.” Your role is ENABLER. Your role is to take care of her and maintain the “happy family” facade–when she’s not blaming you for abusing her to cover up her drinking.

    Her lover’s role is to be her drinking and social companion.

    The fact is, John, you know nothing about addiction and how it works. You aren’t helping your wife. At all. You don’t need to divorce her to step out of your enabler role and start figuring out why you have this wreck of a human being on a pedestal. That will probably take therapy for you and a lot of reading and study on addiction.

    I read a lot of stories here about alcoholic cheaters. And yes, cheating is a terrible blow to the person who is betrayed. D-Day and the months after was the most acutely painful time of my life–largely because the betrayal was layered on top of a lot of other emotional debris. But cheating is not the primary issue with an alcoholic who isn’t in treatment and doesn’t want treatment. The “cheating” started when alcohol or drugs became the primary “relationship” in the addict’s life. As CL says, your wife is NOT AVAILABLE for a relationship with you; her “availability” to her cheating partner is part and parcel of her primary relationship to alcohol. She wouldn’t “pick” him for an affair if he weren’t enmeshed in her drinking. And of course she wants both of you. You enable the drinking in different ways.

    You are so invested in this martyrdom and codependency that I doubt you are interested in saving yourself. CL’s reading of your letter is right on target. Maybe it will help break through the wall of denial you live behind.

  • There are enough CodA groups around if you wish to change your codependent thinking.
    She thinks only about herself and you think only about her; there is no one here for you.
    Plus, you would make new friends, have a local support group to help you gradually see that you have abandoned yourself long ago. {{big hug}}

  • John,
    It seems to me you are simply trying to be the one at the finish line with your wife. As if after years of addiction, abuse and dysfunction, you being the one holding her hand on her death bed will make it all worthwhile or make sense.

    I was raised Catholic and the impulse to martyr myself runs deep. The notion that we stick by people through thick and thin and sacrifice everything to care for them is strong. The only thing that pulled me out of it was knowing what I was modeling for my kids. I would never want to see them endure the mistreatment I endured, so I left it.

    Your kids may be more or less fine now. The thing with kids who grow up with this level of dysfunction is that it revisits children at every new stage of development – they reprocess it with their new awareness and maturity. When they become adults and begin to navigate relationships and coping with life’s enormous stressors is when you’ll see how what you’ve modeled has impacted them, and I highly doubt you’ll like what you see.

    Having said that I can also see you’re between a rock and a hard place. If you leave her you know she may likely drink herself to death, leaving your children heartbroken and you feeling like you could’ve done more. If you stay with her you live with abuse, martyrdom and damaging your children further. Until you’re ready to embrace the notion that you must save yourself and remove this dysfunction from your children’s lives you will remain stuck.

    I’ve lost a sibling to alcoholism and it was horrible and the guilt I felt was horrible, but it was her path. Sadly, many people have tragic paths and we can’t save them. You can save yourself. You can be there for your kids – something you can only truly do if you stop care taking her.

    • Hi skeeter, I hope you read this. I so appreciate your comment about your upbringing and martyrdom. I used to jokingly refer to my Italian/Catholic mother as the official East Coast distributer of guilt. Not so funny now that I look back on my life and the choices I made that were clearly tethered to that notion.

      Your observation that he is trying to make it to the finish line with his wife is very astute. I realized that is what I was doing with my controlling, cheating narcissist of an ex – I was actually proud that I had survived so many years with him in spite of his behavior – makes me cringe now just to think about it. Thank you for putting my situation into words and giving me a bit more clarity!

      • You’re very welcome, Chumperella.

        I was where you were too – just wanting to get to the rocking chair on the porch and old age – relishing all that we’d survived together. Unreal. I never would’ve made it that far – the abuse would’ve killed me.

  • John won’t know the full impact of this woman’s addiction and narcissistic behavior on the kids until they are older. How many will become alcoholics? There is a genetic component to alcoholism. How many will marry an addict, having learned that the “right thing” is to fix people? How many will go from relationship to relationship with no idea at all of what a healthy relationship looks like? How many will stay enmeshed with the addicted mother? How many will pass on these maladaptive behavior on to their children? Many of us “adult children of alcoholics” look fine on the surface. Nice home, nice clothes, good jobs, advanced education, fun hobbies. Under the surface, there are monsters.

  • I find it unlikely that any hospital kept someone on site for a year, or more, during a pandemic (October 2021 – December 2021).

    Every bed was needed and many were turfed out to rehab centers to minimize risk of getting Covid too.

    Plus who could afford it? Insurance companies fallback position is to kick everyone to the curb regardless asap to minimize costs and maximize profits to the shareholders.

  • John, I understand you mindset. The advice here is harsh but understandable. All of us here have been through some type of abuse.
    It changes your brain when the person you’re closest to is the person who is abusing you.
    Please find a counselor/social worker who specializes in Stockholm Syndrome. Take it one step at a time. Protect yourself and your children. Keep a diary and document everything!
    Start a checking and savings account with only your name on it. Have enough money in each for you and your children for 3-6 months of expenses. Also open a credit card with your name alone on it. I can’t tell you how many people here get cut off financially by their spouses.
    Good luck…

  • Man…sunken cost fallacy to a T. John, I know you’ve spent 20ish great years with her, but you’ve wasted the last 10ish. Move on with your life…she doesn’t even feel regret in what she did, even as you care for her as this guy likely wants no part of that. On top of it, does his wife know he’s a serial cheater? Or does everyone in town keep this secret for him?

    On another note, I think literally all of us chumps have heard some variation of the the line “I thought you stopped loving me” from our cheater ex’s. Hilarious how all these cheaters use literally all the same lines.

    This website is insane. Just when I think I’ve heard it all…

  • John, so don’t have too much to add to the great advice you’ve already received from Chump Nation. You need to protect yourself from her. She’s not your friend. She doesn’t love anyone but herself. Please get out, and get a lawyer STAT before this whole situation gets worse. And it can absolutely get worse.

    The only other thing I’ll point out is that you had the ability to “pull away” from her when you realized that her drinking was abusive. It’s a little puzzling to me why you can’t see the cheating/lying/manipulation she’s also doing as JUST as abusive. This is definitely something to unpack with a therapist.

    You need to forget about your “wife” and what she “needs” – turn the focus to you, who are you and how can you reclaim your self esteem? You are not defined by a relationship. Don’t believe that nonsense. And you are not at fault for your wife’s choices. Full stop.

  • I’m confused. Are you, John, and JF the same person? If you are, you’re presenting two very different stories.

    The OP, John, presents a scenario where the cheating alcoholic wife has betrayed him, and gone down a long spiral of drinking bouts, etc, etc, which has resulted in her hospitalisation with possible brain damage. JF represents himself as an alcoholic who was pointed towards AA by a wife who wasn’t an alcoholic, but now is?

    You need to get your stories straight my friend.

    Either way, John/JF, you evince a very perfunctory attitude towards how your children are affected by this terrible scenario.

    Your children’s therapist ‘tells’ you the children are OK, and ‘coping well’ and that’s *it*?

    What do your children tell you? What do you tell them? Are you in actual contact with them?

    Or is it all about Cathy and Heathcliff?

    Your children should be your *Number 1* priority, not your fucked up wife and your fucked up relationship with her.

  • Yup, he should focus on the kids not the boozy cheater

    Does he want praise for being a martyr ?

    As one therapist told me ‘feel free to stay in your lousy marriage, many people do for their own reasons.’

    I did not take her advice, but I ‘got’ her meaning. His choices, his consequences. He’s an adult.

    • “As one therapist told me ‘feel free to stay in your lousy marriage, many people do for their own reasons.’”

      Straight talk.

  • Dear John,

    I understand that besides your love for your wife and willingness to forgive there is the fact that she is currently hospitalized and you may be affraid of delivering consequences to her in such a frail condition. Also, you do not know what the prognosis is. Let me tell you why I think you should not stand still through her convalescence. It is from my personal experience.

    On November 1st 2020 (5 months after DDay #1) during a custody exchange, my then STBXW pulled a kitchen knife in front of our minor children and threatened to kill herself so that I “would not be divorced, but widow”. I promptly disarmed her (without excessive force) and called the cops. The cops couldn’t care less (she is also a cop, and they believed whatever she has told them; I never learned what it was and they did not talk to the kids). I also called the ambulance, but they were taking forever to get there and she had by the time taken a large dose of clonazepam and was almost fainting. I took her and the kids to my parents’ house for the night and her to the ER by the dawn. She was also bleeding profusely from what I have reasons to believe was an unsafe self-induced abortion (only realized that as she woke up). The doctor wanted her commited. She physically assaulted me and the nurses. I would have to sign for her to stay in the hospital and get transferred to a psych ward or sign for her discharge. The doctor strongly suggested the first option. I was falling apart and didn’t want to make a decision on her behalf so I asked her parents to decide and come take care of her. Her mother signed the hospital discharge. My lawyer strongly suggested that I filed for a restraining order immediately. Thing is, if granted, such an order would probably deny her access to the kids in the following hollidays. I couldn’t do so. Oh, boy, how I regret those decisions. First day off the hospital she petitioned to stop the divorce proceedings (then amicable, not litigious) and after that applied herself to the task of making my life as hellish as possible. Fast forward some months and it was me dragging my ass to a police precinct to explain how I was threatening to expose her affair to her bosses (I have never done so; her XAP and coworker did expose her though after he dumped her and she transferred him to a very dangerous part of the town). Most humiliating experience ever. Nothing came out of this since it was plain lies and as such totally unsubstantiated, but I still feel the shame.

    My question to you is: why subject yourself (and your kids) to such things? I still can hear my oldest son crying over “dad going to jail”. Act now. There will be plenty of time for apologies and even reconciliation after (I doubt she will make the effort), but protect yourself now.

    • That is a horrible story Brazilian Chump but happens time and again sadly.
      I still remember sitting in my bedroom falling apart and defending my XW to my best friend. She had done all the usual horrible things these idiots do but I still kept believing I was to blame. My best mate (who was clearly getting frustrated with me by now ????) said stop looking at what she is saying and start looking at what she is doing. Of course it still didn’t get through straight away but like everyone else here when that gets through boy does that get through!
      You know it starts getting through and you push back with boundaries etc and then you see them flip out and the anger starts as you are no longer being a good appliance and sitting in the corner.

      John you can forgive her if you like and that’s fine but you will never trust her, be able to confide in her or be happy in your own home again. Get out and make a new life with friends and your kids. Fill yourself up with the people that deserve it and she will slowly be pushed out of your mind.

      Of course you will read this and do none of those things as you are not there yet. But I’m sure sooner or later you will tire of the drama and notice your friends distance themselves because they don’t need that in their lives and then you may decide what’s more important.

      PS those friends that are excusing her behaviour? Boot them the f**k out of your life as they are not your friends.

  • John – I used to think my X loved me and that we were “married.” I believed that the man who cheated on me, lied to and about me, stole my dreams, fucked with my mental health, traumatized my children, used me up, threw me into poverty, and humiliated me publicly was “my best friend.”

    I believed the man loved me just because he cried and sometimes said words that momentarily eased the pain of his horrendous actions. I didn’t have a marriage, John. I had a trauma bond. And I fought to remain a victim because I didn’t know that love isn’t supposed to hurt. I didn’t understand that there are people who get their thrills from betraying you. It makes them feel powerful and sexy. And, in order to do it, they need you to believe they’re your friend.

    I wanted X to be the fantasy he pretended to be. I wanted the great guy everyone else thought he was. He never was that great guy. I don’t believe your wife is great either. I think she’s disordered. I think she’s sweet now because you’re taking care of her. But once she’s better, you’re going to be an obstacle to her happiness. You may think it’s cruel to leave her now, but she will deliver that cruelty to you when she is able.

    The year before X left, he had a total hip replacement. Before, during, and after the surgery, I took care of all his needs. I had to be trained to nurse him correctly. I drove him 2 hours to the hospital, stayed in the hospital with him, nursed him at home, bathed him, fed him, changed his dressings, monitored his progress, did all of the administrative work. His full recovery took 12 weeks because he is an athlete and had to be completely reconditioned.

    The entire time, he was texting and talking to his lover, making plans to leave me, funneling money into a separate account, and telling his family lies about me. If I could go back in time knowing what I know now, I’d have driven him directly from his surgery to her house, dumped him in her driveway, and tossed the divorce papers in his face.

    Don’t live to regret being used. It’s painfully humiliating, and you can’t undo it.

    • ChumpQueen, this isn’t a response to the OP, but to your comment. What you describe is very similar to some of the chapters in my oblivious years as a chump. I nursed my ex (also an athlete) through two surgeries and sobriety, and he acted as if it he was doing me a favor throughout. I remember him “threatening” me the night before one surgery that he’d have his sister take him instead because he was angry at me for “something”; I told him to go ahead and call her – ask her to wake up early, drop her kids off at childcare, take off work to spend the day with him – and of course he never did. I did the chores, massaged, bathed, shopped and cooked for him while he behaved like a spoiled brat. Recently dawned on me that I went through two far worse surgeries as a young adult, and I took it in stride with far less drama. I also took care of my ex’s mother through her surgeries and illnesses while he was away and/or drinking too much to keep himself together, let alone be relied upon by others.

      He was cheating – texting, emailing, calling, fucking other women – the whole time. I made many sacrifices, and he never made me feel appreciated, nor did he reciprocate, but I didn’t feel like a martyr because I believed in taking care of people I loved. I wasn’t getting what I needed, but my own needs didn’t feel very important to me then. Still, I would never have done any of it if I’d known who he was and what he was doing, or that he didn’t truly care about me. I have accepted this now, but I still have a very hard time facing just how much someone used me. It is still hard to believe the person I felt closest to in the world, who I trusted with my life,was such a greedy, selfish coward. These are some of the memories that keep me awake at night and surface when I least want them to. I’m not worried about forgiveness, I just want to learn how to move past all of the violations. I’m glad it’s over but am sorry you, too, are still weighed down by the painful memories and the very real consequences (poverty, public humiliation, etc.).

      • bread&roses – I’m sorry you went through that too. I didn’t feel like a martyr because I had no idea X was actively betraying me at the time. I just did what you’re supposed to do when your spouse needs you, right?

        It’s hard to reconcile the dignity of being a good person with the humiliation of being taken advantage of. That’s the place where bitterness and cynicism creep in.

    • “I believed that the man who cheated on me, lied to and about me, stole my dreams, fucked with my mental health, traumatized my children, used me up, threw me into poverty, and humiliated me publicly was “my best friend.””

      Yes, to all of this.

  • That is terrible. I am not sure my wife will ever recover from her TBI. I have already thought about being used again and decided I will take my chances. Our marriage was not always like this. Maybe I am a fool but I can live with it. There are no more secrets in our family. The kids and I are not surprised anymore.

    • Dear John, Huntley or Jj
      Legit question: why did you even write to ChumpLady?
      If you can even think this stuff you write let alone believe any of it — what was even the point of reaching out to her and the community on this site?
      What response did you think you’d get? Were you perhaps hoping for validation and were you in fact really seeking a “No, John…you’re the exception and your cheating abusive alcoholic wife is the exception, your love and your marriage will conquer all!!!” Lol that you would expect this response from the toughest crowd on the internet in terms of infidelity. But maybe that was the point: to present this audience with the ultimate cheating/staying is ok **in this unique special case** conundrum.

      Well the verdict is in. See above for confirmation. Neither she nor you are the exceptions! You are BOTH the rules. This thread says so.

      You are either a troll OR you are actually the abusive cheating alcoholic romance novelist wife herself posing as the martyr husband (this, despite the traumatic brain injury *cough cough*) OR you’re the finest example of what not to do that anyone has seen on this site.

      You have not seemingly absorbed one bit of the sage and extremely hard won wisdom not only of the esteemed Chump Lady herself but nor either of the responders here from Chump Nation who have taken time to respond. You have not responded to the incredible expertise on alcoholism from the sobriety veterans in the Chump Nation ranks. You’ve avoided discussions re the real fallout issues of your own children.

      You’ve dodged it all. You’ve not addressed anything substantial. In short, you don’t ring true.

      I’m leaning towards the conclusion you are not John, you are in fact the cheating alcoholic abusive wife posing as “John” looking for self pity kibbles and trying to position yourself as the victim with the TBI. Classic Narc sad sausage tactics. The trickle truth of your posts, the evasive and dissociative remarks over the kids being “fine”, and the inconsistency in your selectively placed replies says so. Even your reply about your wife getting you into addiction recovery doesn’t ring true. So now she is the reason for your “recovery” and yet she herself is the current addict. Yeah-Nah. Not buying it. Any addict with an ounce of actual recovery work over 25 years would not be taking the stance you are. They would even sound like you, whoever you truly are. You’re an addict of something that much is clear, however I’ll completely defer to the sobriety veterans on this as that’s just my gut feeling.

      Conclusion: I’m calling BS on your whole post. #Sorrynotsorry

      • Totally a troll -or worse. Surely no spouse of an internationally acclaimed writer could write with such inconsistency, numerous spelling and grammatical errors and other indicators of low literacy. Not believable. The rank outrageousness of the story and how it’s told don’t add up.
        CN rules as usual though -because people came out strong on the alcoholism issues which are valuable to hear coming from impassioned veterans of those struggles. Same applies to addictions, cheating, lying behaviors.
        He “can’t” stop himself …or he just doesn’t care to.
        Every CL column is a refresher course on why going NC is required for those harmed by the integrity disordered behavior of liars and cheaters.

  • John, I feel so bad for your children, they deserve better. This “wonderful woman” is horrible. And, it sounds like she found the perfect victim in you, John. This is not romantic, it makes me nauseous to think about how horrible she is, and how you voluntarily put up. Do you honestly think your actions are honorable regarding this selfish mom and wife? This is anti-romance. Is this a real letter? Your children didn’t ask for any of this mess. Your wife is a terrible mom. John, you need to focus on the real vulnerable and innocent people here, your children. You need therapy if this is a real letter, for yourself and to learn how to work with the real victims – your children – in this mess. You were a victim, but your letter appears that you are knowingly enabling this awful wife of yours, and your children will be the ones to suffer. Someone needs to be on their side. You speak about your wife like you married a stuffed animal. She’s 100% to blame for her brazen, affair. The other man didn’t hurt you, your wife did. The other man isn’t your children’s mom, your wife is. I hope that you get a lawyer, and a therapist, as soon as possible.

  • #Sometimes — You Can Be Wrong — About a Person!!

    @John — Reply at 6:09 pm:

    After reviewing ALL the comments … With your last reply all I can say is:

    “Is Marijuana LEGAL in your state?”

    Cause I think the cognitive dissonance is such a state your ENTIRE house and Family is a —



    The Southern Woman’s favorite CURSE: “Jesus bless you!!”

    (With a Brain — Cause You Don’t Have One!!)

  • This story hits very close to home. Mine was a second marriage, no kids between us but she has 3 teenagers and I have 2 20 and 30 somethings. We dated for over a year and were only married 10 months. Thank God! In my situation it was drugs – prescription pain pills, then pot, and who knows what else. I’m not sure I would have escaped without this website. During several arguments and over the course of 3 months I reminded her repeatedly that she was not the victim in the situation she created. And twice I told her to stop mind fucking me with her shifting of the blame. At the end of the day my STBX is a child in an adult body. She has to touch the burning stove before she realizes it is hot and she gets burned. Even then she does not learn because each stove is different – she has no critical thinking skills so there are no lessons to be learned. When she gets caught she lies and has lying down to a professional skillset. And if someone tells her not to do something she will do it because no one tells her what to do or not to do. Sort of like an oppositional child. Worse. When things got really difficult she ran away like a 12 year old and hid for 4 days with a fuck buddy she did drugs with in the past. Sorry John but you have nothing to work with so cut your losses and get the fuck out.

  • Your wife now has a brain injury. I belong to a brain injury support group because my daughter has a severe brain injury. I’ve seen loads of couples where one of them gets a brain injury and then have to get divorced in order to afford care. It’s called the Medicaid Divorce. You will find yourself in the situation where your savings, your health, and your sanity are depleted. At least with a Medicaid Divorce, your wife will be poverty stricken enough to get state aid.

    I myself could not bring myself to take care of a cheater, but I know it’s done. I know at least 2 spouse caretakers in my group who have said something like “At least they can’t be out drinking or cheating. The tradeoff is worth it.” I have sometimes wondered about their masochism.

  • Hi everyone – I’m relatively sure we’ve all been trolled today by “John”. His writing style, fantastical stories and tales of woe are virtually identical to an individual who did the same thing in the WaPo Carolyn Hax advice column comment section. He’s been kicked out of at least 2 forums that I’ve been part of. I suspect he’s landed here for the time being.

    Not every internet stranger is on the up and up.

    • Name, IP address and wife’s occupation all check out. So no, I don’t think we’re being trolled. John may have sought advice at other forums though. That’s often a thing.

      • You are the first one I have written too. Maybe I was looking in the wrong places but I could find nothing like I have read today about addiction and affairs. I know such a fucked up story. Nothing was made up.

      • Sometimes I feel like these stories are just too fantastical to be true. I mean, really: how could you find someone a “beautiful” person that falsely claims that you physically abuse them? Or someone who cheats and lied to you for 5 years “beautiful”? Or risks your health repeatedly and doesn’t care??
        I’m sorry, it’s just not a believable story. I think it’s made up.

    • PJS_1965? He’s internet herpes.

      But I think this tripe was written by the cheating wife as some sort of “will it work?”/trolling for a new work of fiction.

  • John, I’ll suggest another 4th step. Then 5th,6 & 7 with a male sponsor.
    My Dad, my 1st wife, her father and my grandfather were all alkies. My brother died a heroin addict on my mother’s garage floor.
    They’re All dead.

    Convinced against your will
    Of the same opinion still?

  • I know the world of addiction because I am one (clean for 25 now). This story hit me like troll bait at first too, but trust me…’s not unbelievable. Also, John’s behavior while seeming delusional to us, is not out of the ballpark.Talk to any codependents lately? It’s sick and yes John, you’re gonna need some outside help. Years of mental abuse can do that to anyone. You are mistaking love for feeling sorry and wanting to fix or take care of someone. You are in fact enabling her. Addicts only respond to one thing……consequences. Yep, surprise it’s not love…….that helps later when they’re clean and able to accept it in a healthy way. As to the cheating part……I haven’t seen a fix for that one yet.

    • ” You are in fact enabling her. Addicts only respond to one thing……consequences. ”

      Ain’t it the truth .

  • “John”, I think I might know you and your wife (and Chump Nation can be pretty tough love!) If the small town you live in starts with a C in a state of T, feel free to reach out to your online teacher, through that platform, in the class you took in Spring 2019

  • What is it with writers and other creative types that cheat? Is it the tendency for escapism that’s supercharged or that they’re just in love with the idea of the myth of the creator hero who’s Beyond Good and Evil? I know, I know, skein untangling. Fuck this is triggering.

    (Not forgetting that a lot of ‘creative types’ are drug and alcohol addicts, so the tendency towards escapism is kind of baked in. Not to mention Cluster B personality disorders.)

    John, your wife sucks and isn’t special. She’s a user like every other cheater out there. Listen to CL and everyone here.

  • This poor guy has been manipulated so badly he doesn’t know what way is up. I remember being this much of a chump, John, you’re not alone. Men get so much pressure from the women in our lives to forgive cheating wives or sanitize their actions. It can feel like you’re crazy if you treat her like a cheating piece of crap instead of a timid forest creature like the irc admonishes. They lack perspective. Ignore them and stand up for yourself.

  • “ I tell her I will stay by her side forever. The only way I will ever leave is if she asks me too.”

    Here are my 2 cents. If you really still love her after all of this, and think there is a chance she could be a unicorn and turn things around, you still need to set strong and clear boundaries. I would get all my ducks in a row now – meet with lawyer, secure finances, etc. Continuing the relationship would be conditional on certain clear boundaries not being crossed, such as she would need to be no contact with the other man. Another would be no alcohol. Maybe insist on completing rehab and/or her continuing AA meetings. You choose what you would need to feel secure in the relationship.
    Any crossing of those boundaries – even a text to wish the guy Happy Birthday – deal is off, divorce papers get filed. Period. If she cannot choose to do this, then she has already chosen not to be with you.

  • Ah, being a martyr is thankless work. I guess self justification is needed because no one else cares much.

    It is your life and what you do with it is up to you.

  • I played the pick me dance because I was afraid of what life would be like alone after 27 years of marriage and also what it would do to my kids. Turns out life is MUCH better without him, and the kids are doing just fine. It’s ok to leave.

    Coincidentally my sister-in-law law left my ex’s brother not for cheating but for alcoholism. She and I are both better off without them- no one needs to live with cheating or alcoholism and certainly not both!

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