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Living Together Until Cheating Wife’s Affair Partner Is Free

Avoid feelings of paralysis

Dear Chump Lady,

I need some real advice as I am not doing well.

I met my wife in 2000 and we married in 2003 and we have 2 girls ages 12 and 14. Our marriage has had its ups and downs and sadly is currently falling apart, which has me in a deep dark depression that I’m seeking counseling for.

In early 2021 my spouse stopped being intimate with me. She had turned 50 and was going through menopause and told me it had zapped her desire for sex. I could see she was going through a rough time so I didn’t push the topic too much but over the next few months when things didn’t change and she continued to avoid intimacy I begin to get a bit frustrated. I started to ask more and wonder why we couldn’t find an afternoon here or there to be alone and be together. Sadly she found excuses to brush it off and intimacy never came back.

In July of 2021 my requests for sex started to frustrate her and she said if I needed it that badly that she would be fine with me having an extramarital relationship with another women to satisfy my needs which I thought very odd. Her excuse was that she wasn’t sure if desire for sex would return and if so when. I wasn’t sure if she was telling the truth or was testing me.

Eventually we hit a breaking point and she sat me down and admitted to me the reason she was not allowing intimacy was because she had reconnected with a high school friend during covid lockdown online and they bonded over what they felt were unhappy marriages. It went from an online connection to meeting to sexual intimacy and she capped it off by saying they were in love and he was her soul mate. I was blown away and wasn’t able to breathe. I left the house and didn’t come back for about 3 days.

When I did come home my wife advised she and her soul mate planned to get an apartment together and take my 2 girls to live with them which I had a real problem with. Obviously this was not well thought out on her part as she makes very little money and he (the affair partner) had not told his wife about the affair. After the 2 had some discussion her timeline changed although likely not at her choice. The AP seems to run the show.

As we jump to December of 2021 now, my wife and I are cohabitating and coparenting. This man my wife is apparently in love with is married, he has 5 kids that range from twins who are 7 years old to early high school aged children. He has not revealed his infidelity to his wife and has asked my spouse to be patient with him so I understand as he wants to get some of these 5 kids up and out of high school before he tells his wife what’s going on and then moves on with my wife to a new public life I guess. I’m not sure if he’s being genuine or stringing my spouse along.

So yes, I’ve known since July my wife has had and is carrying on an affair. I’ve asked her to stay or to seek counseling with me and she’s declined as she feels she loves this man. Yes we are still living together, again for various reasons most of which are due to my inability to see myself alone and ask her to leave and lose her and my kids. This situation has broken me and I’m very depressed and in a bad place so I’ve tentatively agreed to remain together at home under this arbitrary 3 year timeline this man is looking for in a small hope the affair will die, the affair will be found out by the spouse or my wife will come around and choose me over him. I realize it’s fantasy thinking and I need to fend for myself at the moment, but truly I am not near being emotionally ready to formally separate and divorce and move out to separate locations and lose my family.

I’m not sure what my question is here but I need help and guidance. I’m not doing well.

Guy Chump

Dear Guy Chump,

Yeah, I’m not surprised you’re not doing well. This is completely unsustainable. You know that, right?

I am not near being emotionally ready to formally separate and divorce and move out to separate locations and lose my family

You are not going to lose your family. You’re going to lose a fuckwit. And it’s long overdue. I’m sorry.

Every single person here understands the cosmic injustice of this. Of losing time with your children. Of paying for the privilege. Grieving the intact family you so deeply invested in. Of being fed head-first into the meat-grinder of divorce.

And we will all tell you — through lived experience — how you are living now is WORSE.

There is so much wrong with this letter, I’m just going to dive into the clusterfuck line by line.

she would be fine with me having an extramarital relationship with another women to satisfy my needs which I thought very odd.

That was your clue (also played as Let’s Open Up the Marriage!) that she was cheating, you just didn’t get the memo.  These freaks often take your temperature about this. (Of course, there is a huge difference between a consensual open relationship and cheating.)

Eventually we hit a breaking point and she sat me down and admitted to me the reason she was not allowing intimacy was because she had reconnected with a high school friend during covid lockdown online and they bonded over what they felt were unhappy marriages.

So, she’s risking everyone’s life — your life, your children’s lives — during a global pandemic to fuck around? Catch a lethal pathogen just as long as she isn’t Unhappy!

Christ on a ventilator. I can’t with these people.

When I did come home my wife advised she and her soul mate planned to get an apartment together and take my 2 girls to live with them which I had a real problem with.

LAWYER UP, MAN!

Obviously this was not well thought out on her part as she makes very little money and he (the affair partner) had not told his wife about the affair.

Stop sitting on the sidelines of your life and letting these fuckwits call the shots. YOU tell the chump wife, Guy. YOU DO IT. I’m sorry, is this all very inconvenient for them? Please get professional legal advice and start protecting yourself!

A) You should do this for your own mental health and self-respect, and B) You should do it because you have a window of opportunity. Let her think Married Dude is going to whisk her off to Never-Neverland. And get your goddamn settlement.

After the 2 had some discussion her timeline changed although likely not at her choice.

WHO THE FUCK CARES? I mean really, who cares if they run off at Summer Solstice, or wait until they can save up for a new futon at Ikea. She can make any fool plan she wants to — what is YOUR plan?

Sitting politely while they decide your fate? No wonder you’re stress sick. THIS IS NOT OKAY. She is not going to see reason and start considering your feelings or your children’s. (See “Fucking Around During a Global Pandemic” above.) Take the reins!

The AP seems to run the show.

Yeah. He runs YOUR show. You okay with that? Is this acceptable to you?

You only control you. That’s it. You’re the only person who can save yourself and be a sane parent to your children. Please start advocating for that guy and fuck these people.

As we jump to December of 2021 now, my wife and I are cohabitating and coparenting.

Your wife is eating cake and you’re inquiring, “More frosting, dear?”

This man my wife is apparently in love with is married, he has 5 kids that range from twins who are 7 years old to early high school aged children. He has not revealed his infidelity to his wife and has asked my spouse to be patient with him

And she’s asked you to be patient with her, while she awaits fuckbuddy liberation. This is so messed up, Guy. Just because she’s entitled (and delusional), doesn’t mean you have to cater to her bullshit. Nor do you have to listen to the details of her affair!

He has not revealed his infidelity to his wife and has asked my spouse to be patient with him so I understand as he wants to get some of these 5 kids up and out of high school before he tells his wife what’s going on

Get a lawyer. Get your settlement. Then tell that chump woman and blow his shit up. What she does with that knowledge is her business, but she deserves to know the truth about her life.

I’m not sure if he’s being genuine or stringing my spouse along.

WHO CARES?!! Guy, I’m so upset with you for this sentence. It’s a view into your chump mind now, how beaten down you are. Oh, the poor moppet — might her Twu Wuv be stringing her along? Or will he do the Honorable Thing and abandon five children for her? #genuine

So yes, I’ve known since July my wife has had and is carrying on an affair. I’ve asked her to stay or to seek counseling with me and she’s declined as she feels she loves this man.

There’s your answer. The marriage is dead. Now bury the corpse and get on with your life.

I. Know. It’s. Hard.

Like, I created an entire blog to help people get to the other side of this. I’m not being flippant. I’m giving you the bitchslap you so badly need. As only a fellow chump can deliver it. (Which will probably be followed up with a hundred more CN bitchslaps.)

Yes we are still living together, again for various reasons most of which are due to my inability to see myself alone

You are alone. You’re worse than alone. You’re being abused and continually devalued. And you’re taking it. Every day. Solo life is summer picnic compared with this.

ask her to leave and lose her and my kids

Please lose her. (She’s already gone, and Guy, please don’t want her back. PLEASE. You miss who you thought she was, not who she is.)

We always fear for our children in divorce. It stops people cold. But you cannot continue this way. I’m sorry she blew up your family. Don’t model dysfunction to your children. Get in front of this and see a lawyer. There are hundreds of thousands of chumps here who have survived half time with their children. I know it’s unjust. But it is also SANE. And peaceful. And free from chaos. And there is the possibility of a new loving partner someday.

You cannot keep living this way. You may think you’re holding it together, but the threat of her flaking out or running off with your kids is always there. So PROTECT yourself and get a legal custody arrangement.

This situation has broken me and I’m very depressed and in a bad place so I’ve tentatively agreed to remain together at home under this arbitrary 3 year timeline this man is looking for in a small hope the affair will die, the affair will be found out by the spouse or my wife will come around and choose me over him.

You really want to sign up for three more years of brokenness? Why so passive? Why would you want to be Plan B?

The hopium is killing you. And I sense you’ve been on Reconciliation Industrial Complex sites (the AP for affair partner lingo). This whole, she’ll come out the affair fog and come back to me, bullshit.

They don’t come back, Guy. Except to abuse you further. Get out.

I’m not doing well.

Save yourself. You can do this. We’re here for you.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Your marriage is over. She will never love you again and probably never really loved you. It’s better for your children for you to get a custody arrangement than for them to live in this household, to see you so depressed, her abusive, and to internalize this as an acceptable marriage.

    Get out and build a new life. You’ll do fine. There are a lot more available women out there than men, so you’re lucky to at least be a male chump. You’ll definitely find someone who appreciates a faithful, caring, financially stable man. And you’ll be a lot happier.

    But first you have to get a divorce & custody arrangement, then go no contact. You have to do the work. It’s like you have to go through college before getting a good career. Metaphorically, it’s time for you to go back to school. NOW. Get out.

    • Guy Chump, this is spot on. You sound like a freaking Barbie Dream Date because you have the super power of empathy. You know what being cheated on feels like and to the enormous population of good, solid chump women who were dumped by some cheating, cake eating, mid life crisis asshat (like your STBX’s twu luv idiot AP) you are a prize.

      Do not be afraid to go out and find a faithful companion, one who will value you and model good character to your kids. We are out here. Oh, and we won’t be withholding sex.

      You can do this.

    • Jennifer Abrams is so right!!!

      From this time on the wife is an ex-wife emotionally. It’s the worst nut-kick of all time to have your entire life blown up like this. However, the other side of this is an outstanding new life.

      Document everything! Go gray rock with her forever. Do ALL your financial homework. Be a complete silent ninja warrior of divorce. Process your emotions with fellow chumps and give it whatever time it needs. Juts don’t shre an ounce of emotion with the wife, ever again.

      That bitch is your sworn enemy. Play it just right and save your life and make it better for your kids. F that bitch.

    • Guy, Jennifer is spot on. What she says is true both in my experience and that of the guy Chump I’m seeing.

      Don’t subject yourself to three years of limbo/purgatory PLEASE. I did 2 1/2 just waiting on FW to get his legal shit together. It is soul-killing. I am not the person I was.

      Divorce is going to suck, no lie, but rip off that band-aid. Even if she comes back to you, do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who is capable of hurting you like this? With someone who is capable of throwing you away and then expecting you to wait in case she feels like coming back to pick you up? NO, guy. You can’t un-know who she is. You are worth so much more than that.

      Your kids are worth more than that. My older son has had a difficult time with divorce, but I wouldn’t go back to FW anything. DS was not doing great to start with, when FW was cheating and I didn’t know. At least today I have a hope that DS’s life will be better and more sane on the other side. Considering the age of your girls, NEVER think they won’t pick up on what’s going on. My nine year old boy was 100% aware of the tension and dynamic and it was 100% affecting him at school and home. Think about what you are teaching your beautiful children by staying in this unjust situation.

      Live in truth, Guy Chump. Very very sincere best wishes to you and your girls.

  • Big, giant hug. I know the pain of compassion when being a chump. I really do. I also know that this is abusive, manipulative and straight up toxic stuff. She needz him. Fine. She can have him. You don’t want to hurt people: the kids, her, the other kids and so forth so you are taking the pain on yourself. Perhaps this is a pattern of behaviour. It is/was mine. I took everyone’s burden on and eventually I broke… Look up Narcissism and Echoism. It might not apply to your situation but something about the way you write really resonated with my own tendencies. Also, allow yourself to imagine if just for a moment what it might be like to be righteously angry about what has been done to you. Even better, would you do this to her? If the answer is hell no then you have insight into why this is wrong. My therapist asked if I would consider taking a lover given that my husband was so uninterested in me while morning his twu luv and I said that I would never do such a terrible thing to him given how devastating it all was. But, he could do it to me and she is doing this terrible awful thing to you…

    • This is all you really need (thanks ChumpiestChump):

      “[W]ould you do this to her?”

      Seriously, you don’t need any other advice. Just answer this question and think about the implications. Respect. Character. Etc. ChumpiestChump, great job getting right to the core of things. I would NEVER and that’s what makes the difference between gold (Guy Chump) and tarnished brass (not naming any names).

      So my name should be NerdChump but I searched up “gold vs brass” after writing that, and I think you all should too.

  • Guy,

    You are working in a COVID ICU wearing no PPEs and doing extra hours in a TB unit also with no PPEs.

    How do you expect to not get infected and stay healthy? Does your FW even cook (decently) for your children in this arrangment that is absolutely high risk for your mental health? I bet a million dollars that she doesn’t!

    There is no pain free surgery, but it cures. Life requires us to be corageous. You WILL get better when you leave. Please believe us!

    Taje care!

  • Guy needs a good therapist. It’s not good to carry this alone. And he needs to come here everyday. He is
    catastrophizing, which is a stage we all went through. He’s telling himself he can’t cope with a divorce. But the reality is he can. And his life will improve when he gets away from this heartless liar and cheating wife. The coldness of this woman … to ask him to support her ass while she f’s some dude !

    His children are older and they will have a say where they live. And part time parenting is not so bad. Sure it sucks at first, but you get a routine and it is very doable. It truly is. Self love goes a long way here.

    Half the country is divorced, many never married. Life changes. We grieve the changes and soldier on.

    I’d be calling this dude’s wife. No way would I play along as their f’g stooge. Man needs to get mad!

    • My thoughts exactly. Guy’s children will have some say in where they want to be so I hope he can do the right thing and those kids will come running. As for the wife’s skank, “he wants to get some of those children through high school so needs three years”. Are the 7-year olds child geniuses who will graduate at the age of 10? Please Guy, save yourself, for your children’s sake as well as your own! You CAN do this!

      • Exactly.

        GuyChump, she does NOT get to just walk out and bring your children with her to an apartment with the other man. That’s absolutely NOT how it works.

        First off, like Mitz said, your children are old enough to actually have a say in this. I doubt they will be like “Okee dokey!” when mom tells them they’re moving into a new place with OM. If I were a teenager and my mother had told me that I would have more than a few things to say about it. She’s living in a complete delusional fantasy world if she thinks they will just merrily roll along with this.

        Second, she clearly seems to assume you’re either not going to ask for any custody, or that the court will not award you any. I’m aware of the stereotypical belief that courts don’t care about fathers, but here’s the thing: That’s actually not true. I did actually look this up, and found a solid study on how often men are given custody. A few interesting points I found:

        1) Courts do not award custody to men who don’t ask for it. You have to ASK for it. In 60% of cases where fathers asked for either full or partial custody, it was awarded. I’m sure your cheating wife is operating under the assumption that you’re not going to fight for any custody or just that the court won’t give it to you. Well surprise bitch, if you actually ask, you’re likely to get it. Especially if it’s a situation of infidelity where she plans to yank them out of the home and replant them with her AP. That’s some sheer what the fuckery there.

        2) Men who went into their divorce cases with the assumption that courts would not care about them ended up not asking for custody, thus they were not awarded it, thus reinforcing the idea that courts favor women. It was a self-fulfilling cycle. If you go in already having decided that the court won’t listen to you, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Speak up for you and your kids!

        3) Male abusers were awarded custody in 100% of their cases. Yes, 100%. Why? Because the abuse survivor was forced to appear in court with her abuser, making her emotional, fearful, and inarticulate. The abuser, calm, cool, collected, was able to make the victim look unstable.
        This is terrible, however, the point here, is when you go to court with your wife, you need to be the sane one. You have to maintain composure, consult with your lawyer, and show yourself to be a reasonable, collected person. You can go have a break down in your car after the case, but while you are at any custody hearings, you MUST maintain composure at all times.

        That said, your wife clearly thinks she can do what the fuck ever she wants and you’re just going to go along with it. She clearly thinks EVERYONE is just going to go along with it, including the kids, since she thinks she’s just going to go flounce off to a new apartment with the kids in tow and live her life with her new twu wuv. …Cheaters all seem to live in the same fantasy world where everyone is hokey pokey with their plans for everyone’s new lives.

        Well show her she’s wrong. Yes, you do need to tell the other chump. Your wife and her OM seem to think you’re not going to do that. It’s obvious she thinks you’re just going to keep quiet about it for the next three years otherwise she wouldn’t have told you all this shit. How dumb and submissively compliant does she think you are? …Just WOW that’s the biggest insult to injury there. How about no. You go to the other chump, you tell that poor woman what’s going on. She may not believe you, but one way or another, that information needs to get to her.
        Second, you lawyer the fuck up. Actually, I would lawyer up before you tell the other chump. So your wife and the nitwit can’t get ahead of the game. Get your lawyer, tell them everything, including the part about where she thinks she’s going to take your kids, and then tell the other chump.
        Your wife thinks she’s got her whole new life planned out. Hell she seems to think she’s got YOUR new life planned out, his kid’s new lives, and your kid’s new lives. Uh, no, how about you blow a huge hole in that fantasy and serve her.

        I mean, if it’s not that big of a deal for them to cheat and decide how everyone is going to live next, then it won’t be that big of a deal for you to speed up the process of that right? It’s what they wanted isn’t it?

        You can laugh once she starts protesting. See how fast it becomes a big deal once you take control of the reins.

      • Yes, 2 teens/almost teens are NOT going to want to be living in an apartment with NINE people, 7 of them children.

        The AP is NOT going to leave his chump wife. He won’t want to do the work for FIVE kids, much less the 7 kids with Guy’s wife’s kids.

        Guy, you’ll be waiting for the Apocalypse for AP to make a move. Not three years. In the meantime, you’ll become a shell of your former self if you stay, and that’s if you’re lucky and don’t die from cancer, a heart attack or a stroke.

  • “When I did come home my wife advised she and her soul mate planned to get an apartment together and take my 2 girls to live with them which I had a real problem with.”

    This more than anything should get your dander up and move you toward the righteous anger you need to move forward. SHE has decided that your daughters are going to live with her? SHE came to this decision through . . . what? Careful thought and debate? Seeking advice from specialists in the field of child psychology? Her credentialed expertise in such matters? No, it’s her entitlement — this is the way it should be, because she is the only one that matters.

    She has aptly demonstrated through her actions that you are of no consequence to her as a husband, partner, etc. But dammit, she does NOT get to make a decision like that unilaterally. Use this aspect of your situation as the guide for moving forward, I guarantee that the fog of indecision will lift on the other aspects as well.

    (Mine magnanimously told me: “When it turns out that I get majority custody (of our 2 daughters, same age as yours at the time), I want you to know I’ll work with you on the (child support) money.” I turned to her and asked what made her think she was automatically going to be getting majority custody, she looked as if the thought had never once occurred to her. That more than anything got me moving. Oh — and I was holding knives at the time — it’s a wonder either of us got out that conversation unscathed.)

    • You said it before I did. This is the part where we learn how much this woman knows about healthy relationships. ZERO.

      SHE planned? Uh, no. Marriages are “WE planned” when the plans concern other family members. She and High School Boy made plans for your life and your daughter’s lives? Uh, no. Go get your own parter, A LAWYER, and make some plans of your own. Start making calls. TODAY. STAT.

      And please tell High School Boy’s wife. TODAY. STAT.

      The only counseling you need after your spouse pours gasoline all over you and your children and your home and your life and then hands the matches to their fuck buddy is LEGAL counseling.

  • Guy,
    CL advice is solid. I was in your shoes once, hoping my wife would come around. Now I’m glad she didn’t. You want to ake your divorce as clean as possible and your window of opportunity is indeed now. She is on cloud nine and delusional. She’ll want to divorce too, because she wants to bee free to be with him. So now is the time to get a settlement.
    If you wait too long and she comes back to actual reality and realise he isn’t going to eave his wife, thats a different ballgame. All her energy will go into taking you to the cleaners and you’ll be the punching bag for the bad feelings she has, because he won’t commit. It will all be your fault and you and your kids will suffer. Or worse: she’ll lure you back in. You will be vulnerable and will want to get back into a life of hell. But it’s what you know.
    Sorry man. Your marrigae is over. Accept it and leave asap

    • 100% on this ^^^^^

      I was able to get my cheating stbx to give up the house and any claim to my retirement funds while she was in the throes of Twu Wuv with Prince Charmin, aka her affair partner. I also got all 3 child tax credits. Strike while the iron is hot!
      BTW, it’s hard but you MUST advocate for yourself and the kids.
      Two weeks after our divorce, cheating ex-wife married the AP.
      Meantime, I worked on me. Went to the gym. Meditation. Lots of reading. Healing.
      Several years later, I met (and later married) a wonderful woman. We have a fantastic life together! It gets better, I promise. And yes, you will love again — for real.

      • Yes, I also put a clause in my divorce decree that we’d split the two child tax credits, but if Dracula fell behind by even one red cent in child support, that I’d get both child tax credits. Which I knew would happen, as Cluster B’s can’t keep a job. He’s now $25,000+ in arrears. 🙄

      • I would be happy to tell you the abbreviated version, Guy. It starts out a lot like your story, actually.
        Wife started cheating and I was basically the last one to know. I could sense something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it. She told the kids to lie to me about hanging out with her affair partner (I work, she doesn’t).
        When she asked for a divorce, it came out of the blue (for me). Thought she was joking. I’d seen some troubling signs, though: noticed she was always giggling into her iPhone. She’d taken off her wedding ring. I asked her straight up if there was someone else. Oh, of course not!
        That night, couldn’t sleep. Started digging. Found messages between her and the new guy. “You’re my soulmate,” the usual cheater pablum.
        Confronted her and she denied everything even though I had screenshots and IM logs.
        The next day, confronted the guy and told him to back off. He said he would.
        She and I went to marriage counseling where she agreed to stop seeing the guy she wouldn’t admit she was cheating with. Eyeroll.
        Needless to say, they were both lying. I caught her over and over, going to his house.
        Still I thought she would come to her senses. Now I’m eternally grateful she never did.
        Took me 6 months to get my head on straight. Her story was that the divorce was all my fault. She “loved me but wasn’t in love with me.” Matter of fact, she’d been “unhappy for years.” (These are lines straight out of the cheater instruction manual, as I later discovered).
        She moved out to “find herself” in a rental house. Translation: easier access to AP (who immediately moved in with her) without me getting in the way.
        A few more months of googling and reading and I realized she was a covert narcissist and this is just how they roll: lovebomb, devalue, discard. It’s a cycle.
        She wanted a “civil” divorce. Translation: give her what she wants and shut the hell up.
        I managed to pull my head out of the fog long enough to get her to sign an agreement that gave me the house, my retirement, all three child tax deductions. She got the car, a chunk of change, and her beloved Prince Charmin. She signed during the first 3 months of the affair, when cheaters are like heroin addicts. Wait too long and trouble enters paradise. Then your chances of getting out alive drop tremendously.
        In exchange for the separation agreement, I didn’t fight the divorce. Two weeks after the ink was dry on the decree, she married the guy. Even wore white. The next year, she got pregnant. It would have been easier if they’d settled in another zip code. But she likes to twist the knife. So the two of them built a house just down the street from me. In my neighborhood. Eyeroll.
        But by then, I was coming to terms with things. My relationship with my kids improved 1000% from how it was during the marriage, because Mrs. Controlling wasn’t around to micromanage everyone.
        Still, there were occasional bouts of hair-pulling-out when, for example, demanded (but denied demanding) that the kids call her new prince “Dad.” Took my name off the emergency contact list at school. Refused to share report cards or medical information. Changed the kids’ addresses over to her address du jour (she’s moved like 5 times since moving out). Tried to substitute Prince’s last name (Charmin) for the kids’ last name (mine) on everything from baseball mitts to Panera membership accounts. You know, the usual cheater entitled behavior.
        Did this crap make me furious? Of course. And I used that fuel to power my comeback. Spent every morning at the gym. Every night meditating. Listened to podcasts. Quit drinking. Educated myself about this particular personality disorder. Came to realize that she would have done the same thing to any other guy. Because I was nothing special to her. Never had been.
        Not only had she stolen my future. She had reached back and sullied my past. All of it was suspect. When did the cheating start? When did the lying start? Did she ever love me? Was any of it real?
        This was the most personal betrayal I couldn’t really take personally, because it wasn’t about me. I was just a supporting actor in this drama. Nothing I could have done would have saved the marriage because… lovebomb, devalue, discard.
        Fast forward several years. I swore I’d never remarry because – why subject myself to that again? The whole episode taught me that it takes two to marry, but only one to divorce.
        So I had a girlfriend for a couple years but I was honest about how I felt about marriage. She wanted more, so that didn’t last. Started dating lots of women.
        One night I was just finishing up a date when a different woman I’d been talking to started texting me. Why don’t I come meet her at her friend’s house, which was – get this – in my neighborhood?
        So I did. This woman wasn’t my type, and I wasn’t hers. But her friend, my neighbor? That was another story. When she answered the door, it was game over.
        She lived right behind my ex-wife, thought my kids were all Charmins (that’s the impression management skill you’ll find abundant in Cheaterville). Had no clue their father lived just up the street. Or that he was a nice guy.
        And she had sworn off men, thanks to a recently-broken engagement. With a covert narcissist. We compared notes. These narcissists really do run plays off the same playbook. That broke the ice.
        Four years later, we’re happily married. Yeah, I broke my vow not to tie the knot again. Moved to a big house with lots of room for the kids (and her/our dogs). Big backyard. Boat. See, my new wife has a good job too so it’s not just me trying to support everyone by myself.
        The ex-wife still doesn’t work. Their twu-wuv-child is about to go off to kindergarten. That’ll give her a lot more free time, but she still won’t take a job. Ask me how I know.
        But I hardly ever think about her anymore, except to roll my eyes at the latest attempted manipulation. For the first time in my life, I have a partner who wants to be a partner. We’re a team. And we’re in love.
        A year ago, my oldest child decided that he didn’t want to live in the Charmin household anymore. So he’s living with us now. He resents the way she tried to alienate him (and his siblings) from me. When he tries to talk to her about it, he gets the old “sorry you feel that way but that’s not what happened” gaslighting routine. Absolutely no accountability. Which only reinforces his decision.
        He wants closure. I keep telling him, you have to learn to accept the apology you never got.
        It’s been seven years since the betrayal. And I’m truly happy. Going through the fires seared my soul and opened up my heart. I’m convinced I would have been incapable of this happiness without the traumatic experience. So I’m actually kind of grateful to Prince Charmin now. When he broke into my prison, he set me free.

        • Yeah , been thru all this too..but I got full custody right off the bat as she’d moved 7 times in six months. Cited her instability , lawyer said this would be a cakewalk. It was. this was many years ago but the playbook never changes…except my EW’s AP left her for another after 5 years. Poetic justice indeed.

    • Listen to this man ^^^. When the affair tingles wear off and she realizes she fucked up her own life, she will come after you with hammer and tongs and the full weight of the family court.

  • Even if she does “come back” to you, it will be hell on earth. You’ll never trust her again, and she will just find someone else if this guy doesn’t pan out. This is an EXCELLENT window for you to GTFO of this mess. She’s preoccupied and thinks she has a safety net. Don’t wait until she has no one to run to.

    I understand not being emotionally ready to let go yet. It took me a few years to get to that point. But get a lawyer NOW. You don’t have to be emotionally ready in order to protect yourself and your kids. Looking back, I wish I’d kicked my cheating husband out even though I loved him and wanted him back. But like you, I hung on hoping he’d give up his AP. He didn’t. I wasted several years on an abusive asshole I thought I loved. It broke me too, and it has taken years to heal from that.

    I know it hurts and it’s scary and the sunk costs are huge. But like CL said, those of us who have been through it and made it to the other side know that what you are living right now is far worse than being divorced and losing some of the time with your kids (it SUCKS, but now that my ex is dead and I am a full-time single mom, I can say that shared custody has its upsides as well).

    Get a good lawyer, protect your assets, kick her out, tell her fuckbuddy’s wife what’s up, and get yourself some therapy (my therapist helped me SO much) so that you can begin to live your own life again. If your depression is severe, see a doctor. I needed an anti-anxiety medication to get me through the worst of it because I was so depressed and stressed from the ongoing abuse I couldn’t function. Once I got that under control, I was able to think straight (eating and sleeping are kind of necessary for this, and I wasn’t able to do either without the medication) and move forward.

    The other side is so much better. You may not think you’ can ever see it that way, but you can and will. Believe me, I thought I’d never be okay, let alone happy. And I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.

    • Dear Guy,
      Don’t underestimate the real seriousness
      of your depression. Thinking you might
      have what I once had “Double Depression”.
      Situational depression (external cause)
      + Body depression (internal cause).
      Once it takes hold, it takes on a life of it’s own. You’re in a Catch 22. As long as you stay in your situation, YOUR BODY (endocrine system, limbic system, circadian rhythm, immune system, nervous systems)
      IS BEING DEPLETED DAILY.
      People who haven’t personally experienced clinical depression don’t/can’t understand how Paralyzing & Exhausting this medical condition makes somebody. IMPOSSIBLE to “pull yourself up by your boot straps” or “positive-think” your way out.
      PLZ get a quality evaluation ASAP which will probably be followed by a RX. After only 1 month (or less) of the right medicine,
      you’ll be much improved & able to do battle.

      • I’m my goodness, THIS^^^^, exactly! I’ve been dealing with this very thing for a hot minute now. And I constantly feel like I’m falling apart. Constantly. Headaches, stomachaches, nausea, body pain, can’t eat and if I do eat I either spend hours being nauseated or I throw it all up.

        Guy, I’ve been feeling like this for a year and 3 months. Nothing has gotten better – it’s all gotten worse and worse as time has gone on.
        You won’t survive 3 years of that shit. Get out as soon as you can. I’d already be gone if I could find a place to rent. As soon as I do, I’m OUT.

        PS- to everyone- The blow up between STBX and I finally happened and he knows I’m leaving. You would not believe the sad sausage woes I’ve had to hear the past few days. And he tried to make me feel bad for the “situation” that ***I*** am leaving him and his kids in. I straight up looked him in the eye and said, “I’m not putting you and your kids above myself and my children ANY more. Figured it out like I’m having to do. “

  • Dear Guy, I am so, so sorry this is happening to you and your girls. I’m so proud you took the step of writing to Chump Lady and through her, to your peers, thousands of chumps just like you who are looking to live an authentic, genuine, honest life. Guy, please listen to Chump Lady; you are suffering horribly while your cheating wife is eating cake and sniggering with her AP about how they are manipulating you. Do you honestly think this 3 year plan will work out? Her AP hasn’t told his wife and wants time because he DOESN’T WANT to be with your cheater full-time. He’s eating cake too.
    For the sake of your sanity, lovely Guy, to keep your self-respect and dignity, and to model good boundaries and self-respect to your girls, line up your ducks and divorce. Don’t worry about your ‘tentative agreement’. This is a war zone and you have to take off the gloves and take control. And now is the perfect time.
    Please come here often to read, Guy, and join the Facebook or Reddit for more support. The whole of Chump Nation has your back ❤

  • Oh, Guy Chump. I hear the pain in your words. I’m so sorry.

    Please advocate for yourself. Do you want your children to grow up thinking this is OK? Do you want them to let their future partner treat them this way? Or worse, emulate your wife’s abhorrent behavior?

    I need to also point out, gently, being a doormat is not attractive. Your wife clearly doesn’t respect you and likely never will.

    Lawyer. Settlement. You can do this, and we are here for you at every step.

  • Dear Guy Chump,
    Good morning and welcome to CN.
    The greatest thing about CN ( other than CL who is the greatest ) is that there’s always a chump who has it worse than you can imagine. You are #1 now.
    What do you get for this accomplishment? Well, if you don’t listen to CL you get an STD and a miserable life with an awful person.
    If you DO listen to CL ( please listen to her ), you get a life!!!! No contact and remember your wife sucks ( maybe a trashy tramp is a better word ).
    Everything that is wrong with your life has been my life this past year, however, I found CL, read her books, listened to CN and I dumped that trash.
    You probably don’t see it now cuz of the depression, but you got this. Lawyer up and leave her. Take care of you, fix you. Your children want an awesome dad who they can look up to they don’t want soggy cake— which is what you are right now.
    For perspective, I was 1/2 hour away from suicide, but the words of CL got me slowly away from that. Day after day, I worked on me as best as I could. I ran. I did stuff I wanted. I slept. I listened to why I was depressed and I moved on.
    It’s not easy, I’m only on Wednesday afternoon here and Tuesday seems impossible, but CL made me understand that Wednesday morning is waaaay better than a single moment with a trashy freak. Do you hear me?
    You got this for you and for your children. Your life will be awesome the moment you leave her. Now, leave her. Now. Like right now, she’s trash trashy trash.
    I wish you the best and happy holidays.

  • Guy,

    No wonder you feel terrible: You’re drinking poison every day thinking it’s better than the alternative.

    Nobody is ever “ready” to rip the band-aid off. We do it anyway because the alternative is far worse.

    If not for you, do it for your children. Your wife is putting all your lives at risk during a global pandemic so she can fuck strange. She’s *already* upended your children’s lives psychologically; kids aren’t dumb, they know something is wrong with Mom and Dad.

    What if she’s fucking with the finances? What if she drains the kids’ college savings?

    “Oh but she’d never…”

    Yes she would! She’s already fucking over her own children. What WOULDN’T she do?

    Dude, you need a lawyer like yesterday. DON’T tell your wife. Keep everything close to the chest until your lawyer gives you the ok.

    You’re going to feel like shit for a while. It’s inevitable. But you’ll start to heal when you move forward with a lawyer (and a therapist for yourself and probably your kids).

    You’re in a hostage situation. You need to get out of there. If you can’t do it for yourself right now, do it for your children. They can’t protect themselves from this lunacy. You need to be their papa bear right now and protect them.

    Again, DO NOT tell your wife. Your marriage is dead and your wife killed it. She’s the enemy. Confess only to your lawyer and your therapist.

    • “…oh but she’d never..” Oh yes she (already) is! Already plotting and scheming. I found out just before the first court appointment that he had drained the bank accounts. The judge was NOT happy about that. Start amassing documents- bank accounts, savings, income of any kind. Document what she says and what she does- with stealth. Go grey rock. Be boring and slowly get your ducks in a row. Listen to your lawyer. Not listening cost me a year and $60,000. Have your home assessed. Understand everything. And get a team of people behind you that you can rely on.
      This is all wrong. Your girls need YOU. And like someone else said- they will have a say in who they stay with and when.
      Dear Guy- you can do this. Take care of yourself. Do the next Right Thing. And then the next Right Thing, and keep doing that until you are free and have your confidence back.

      • Yeah, not to scare you, Guy, but Chump Lady has a whole tag here in the archives on financial abuse.

        Read this: https://www.chumplady.com/2018/02/financial-abuse-d-day/

        Cheaters and financial abuse usually go hand-in-hand. This pattern shows up again and again through thousands of stories here at Chump Nation.

        Don’t take this lying down. You need to act today: Lawyer up and start documenting.

      • Ditto, when I finally started looking, I discovered all sorts of documents were missing. Bank books, savings bonds, birth certificates, SS cards, marriage license, bank statements, etc. I had just admitted to myself that my wife was a lying cheater, but somehow I still couldn’t believe she was also a thief. My hesitancy cost me dearly. I suspect she hid at least $100K that I was never able to prove or recover. I’ll never know the truth.

  • Guy Chump:

    You’re going to get a long strand of tough-love coming your way here. CN posters have run the gauntlet with Cheaters. We aim to get you to higher ground. It might sting to hear it, but you need motivation.

    Where, oh where, did you get the idea that it’s OK to roll over and lie down when someone starts abusing you? The problem here isn’t that your Cheater wife doesn’t have motivation or the will to do what SHE wants to do. She’s well attached to her fantasy future and has misguided plans to use you, your kids, and anyone else that stands in her way. Nothing good can come from this. Leave her to her fantasy future. Don’t stick around watching it all unfold – at your own personal, financial, and emotional expense!

    Get an attorney. Move the divorce gears into motion. Prepare a settlement. Develop a custody plan so that you know how your children fit into your life ahead. Plan for where you’ll live, what changes and supports are needed ahead, and how your new single life might look based on YOU.

    It appears that the Cheater did you more than one favor. First, you’ve found out she’s not the quality person you thought she was, so you now get to throw the garbage out. Second, it sounds like you may need to do some work on yourself to discover why you lay down and curl-up during abuse. It’ll help your children so much to see you stand-up, develop a plan, execute that plan, integrate them into your new single life, and NOT take abuse. You’re their role model. They need YOU to show them how it’s done.

    Chump Guy, this is more than an unfortunate experience you’re up against. It’s YOUR learning curve to grow and become your personal best for yourself, your children, and your future.

    • Excellent. Chump Guy, listen to Latitude69. We chumps got your back, but listen to the tough love that’s going to wake you the F up.

      • It’s the final legal agreement when 2 people decide to divorce re: division of assets, child custody, etc.

        You need this to protect yourself on many fronts (emotionally, physically, legally, financially). You don’t want an abuser with the emotional range of a toddler having any control over your assets or the ability to make healthcare decisions if you went to the hospital.

        Cheaters also aren’t known for their responsible decision-making or ethical activity. I know a few who got in trouble with the law. Chumps need to wash their hands of it and get away ASAP so they don’t go down with the cheater’s ship.

        • Yes, you need those papers to protect your kids. I’m fortunate, Dracula moved 2,000 miles away from me & kids. But my lawyer warned me “without those papers, he can take the kids anywhere he wants, he is their father”. Now, if he doesn’t abide by the divorce/settlement papers as to visitation, I can call the cops that he’s stolen the kids, Amber alerts go out, etc. Literally the first thing the police will ask you is “show us the papers”. It is THESE papers that Literally rule your entire life till your kids are adults. That’s why you don’t delay on getting divorced. The authorities can’t do anything for you without them.

      • Settlement is the agreed upon terms that are legally binding once divorce is granted. It is the outcome of the divorce. Settlement applies to division of assets, child custody and parenting matters, and all the arbitrary issues that once were mutual and now will be separate.

        • And… (I’m
          A lawyer, but not your lawyer), these types do not agree to anything approaching fair. Ask me how I know. Push the divorce as far as you need to. On custody we got through the first mediation with no settlement. I subpoenaed his psych records and moved for parenting, psych, and drug assessments. XH caved and gave me full custody. On finances, the second mediation was also unable to get a 50-50 agreement. I went to a 10-day trial. Judge gave me an unequal 80%+ in a community property – no-fault state nonetheless. I too NEVER wanted any of this (split/divorce/non-intact family). But, XH refused to stop, and, he was not compatible with me (despite 26 years together). I divorced despite not “wanting” to. Fast forward 5 years from divorce, 5 from Dday. Life is wonderful. I’m engaged to a wonderful, loyal mensch. He wants to be monogamous with me. He wants to spend the rest of his life with me and only me. He’s not in “twu luv” with anyone else. He’s not “confused.” He doesn’t lie or blame me for anything.

          In the past 7 years since Dday I forgave myself for the pick-me dance I did for months, for my desperation, for my terror in facing the devastation of 26 years of my life. I learned about trauma bonds. Sunk costs, narcissist abuse. I learned that my scarcity mentality was not immutable. I took X off the pedestal and turned to myself (I had pretzeled myself into such a small ball that I could barely ask myself what I wanted in life.).

          Get a lawyer. Go grey rock (look it up). Come here daily. Join our Facebook and Reddit forums for real time support. Act “as if” you matter. Your future self will thank God you did.

          P.S. not that it matters to my well being at all, but XH has continued to devolve. He’s still with young AP. He’s also cheating on her. He’s aged 20 years in 7. His health is terrible. The kids despise him. His own family has finally turned their backs on him. It was never me. On the rare occasions I see him I think, “yuck, thank goodness he’s not my husband!” Trust he sucks, that’s my motto.

      • You do the settlement agreement first with terms negotiated thru the lawyers to make sure you get a fair legal separation of assets, parenting time, division of ongoing costs for children (health insurance, medical costs, extracurriculars, braces, childcare etc). Both parties have to agree and sign a legal SA which gets incorporated into the divorce decree. If you can’t agree, the divorce will go to trial and the judge will decide FOR you with a lot less care and consideration you might get otherwise.

        There are costs involved. My SA took over a year because ex FW would not agree to anything. The no contest divorce was approved two months later. I actually had to file at fault divorce in order to get things moving. Fortunately We settled pre-trial. Cost was approx $25k for each of us. Going to trial would have taken another year of my life and cost another $25 k in legal fees. I got a decent and timely settlement only because I got the very best and experienced lawyer I could find. He played hardball and was able to advise me of the process. Don’t try to go thru this without a lawyer. Mediation instead of lawyers with cheaters is more sticking your head in a blender. Although I did not experience this, I believe it when people here talk about the honeymoon period with the twu love cheaters—get a settlement ASAP while they are euphoric from the new relationship—you will get a quick and advantageous terms but once the shine’s off and they realize that AP might not leave the wife for them, they may balk at the divorce entirely and make things very very difficult.

    • Do NOT, do NOT move out of your family home. She wants out of the marriage, so she gets to leave the home. Not you.

      So, so important that you get your head in the game. Put a team together. Don’t keep her secrets. Tell people who will support YOU 100%, and make a shark divorce lawyer one of those people.

      It’s painful to watch you put up with this load of absolute crap from her.

      • I just love when people here recommend ‘shark’ or ‘bulldog’ lawyers. That there are chumps out there who stand to get more than a shit sandwich warms my heart to no end.

    • Thank you for this Latitude69. My case isn’t as severe as guy chump’s but there are some parallels. I needed to hear your words.

  • Here are some things I hope you do:

    1) Decide what you want in a divorce. For example, hash out some preferences regarding the children. Do you want the kids full time? Do you want shared custody? Do you want the kids to stay enrolled in their current school system with their current friends and activities? Do you want to move somewhere new with the kids? Plan a future.

    Once you are clear about your preferences, start doing any work necessary to justify the choice. If you want primary or shared custody, take the kids to the ortho appointments, get to know their teachers and friends, pay attention to what size shoes they need and how often they are purchased. You may need to demonstrate that you are an active parent. Make lunches, talk to coaches, be present. Regardless of how parenting has been divided in your home, step up and do more now in anticipation of the divorce.

    2) Consider what you will need financially to make your new life work. Can you afford to keep the house? Would you rather start fresh in a different home with the kids? What if you are expected to pay alimony? Budgeting for future scenarios is almost always worrisome, but once you understand what you have and what you’ll have to change, it is easier to move forward.

    3) Gather documentation. Make sure you have records of all your household financial records. Make sure you have copies of social security cards, birth certificates, life insurance policies, mortgage paperwork, old tax returns, etc. Store these somewhere outside of your home so that you retain access to them if you choose or must leave the house suddenly.

    4). Document the affair. If the AP is not confessing to his wife, you may be able to use your information about it to negotiate a better divorce settlement.

    5.) Go see a lawyer. You sound very non-confrontational, so make sure you hire someone who is good at standing up for their clients. You may need to visit a few different lawyers to find one that seems like a good fit for you. And once you hire them, trust them to do their job. Your soon-to-be-EX wife will try to sweet talk you or guilt you into undercutting the lawyer’s strategies. The lawyer is your ally, not your cheating spouse.

    6). Don’t tell your cheating spouse you are doing any of this. Your wife has inadvertently given you the gift of time to get your act together. Accept it, use it, and don’t feel apologetic about “starting” the divorce without her knowledge for one minute.

    And here’s one thing that is really bothering me. Your wife seems to be proposing a 3 year timeline in order to support the needs of the AP’s kids–especially the ones on the verge of leaving high school. If you have a 14 year old now, in 3 years, that kid will be at the end of high school and his/her world will be upended by divorce in exactly the way that is not acceptable for the AP’s kids. Your wife is putting the needs of her AP’s children above her own. That should tell you all you need to know about how important it is for you to get out of this marriage and establish a sane household for your children.

    There is nothing healthy in your marriage. I hope you leave it. It will be hard, because I predict your wife will beg you to stay, and you sound tempted. But her treatment of you is abusive and cruel and unforgiveable. I hope you are able to see that soon.

    • This is excellent advice and a good action plan.

      Guy, you didn’t deserve any of this. Your depression and anxiety are fully understandable. It may be hard to internalize this, but you’ve been emotionally abused for quite a while and part of this process involves your abuser training you to prioritize their needs over yours. You get used to making your own needs small.

      One of the most empowering things you can do is to interview and retain an attorney. Learn your rights. Develop an exit plan. Find out how to set yourself up for the maximum custody you can. When you’ve lined everything up, then file. Don’t tell your wife about any of this because she will instantly switch to channel rage.

      I would add one more item to the action plan above: seek therapy from someone experienced in dealing with relationship trauma. If your counselor doesn’t see infidelity as abuse (ask them), then go elsewhere. You may need medication in the short term, but you’ll also need to have longer term support as you start to peel away the layers of trauma you’ve endured and as you learn how to be content in your own skin.

      Make that two items to the action plan. If you have the wherewithal, see a divorce financial planner. Divorce is about strategy, and while everyone takes a financial hit, if you plan your settlement, you position yourself for a faster recovery.

      Best of luck!

      • Please find a trauma-informed therapist. You’ll learn that the severity of PTSD (single-event, like D-day) and Complex PTSD (long-term shaping abuse) is determined, to large degree, by the ability or inability of the victim to ESCAPE.

        Many of us immediately resonate with where you are right now. You’re trauma-bonded to your FW wife and so you feel like you have no choice, no say, no control. It wasn’t until a brave friend looked me in the face and said, “This is abuse! You can get divorced, and you should,” that the scales finally fell from my eyes. I realized that the door to the cage was open.

        Then I discovered CL and CN. My regrets are not finding this resource sooner, and not taking action quickly enough once I did.

        Your story has many of the same plot elements as mine, and thousands of others. Cheaters are nothing if not hackneyed and banal. All the comments so far are spot-on. Read them over and over. Believe them.

        Whatever you do, no matter how much you want to, do not believe anything your cheater says. Instead, make a note of what she says, then come to this blog and compare against the archives. You will find thousands of examples of other FWs using the exact same phrases from their f’d-up playbook.

        Every time you make the minuscule choice to not believe her, and to recognize her for what she is, you are slowly reprogramming your neural pathways. Eventually you will come to a head knowledge that she sucks. Then you will get to a full unquestionable acceptance.

        Every step away from her and toward yourself and your girls will make you stronger. You will think more clearly. You will gain the capacity for the righteous anger that will propel you forward.

        Come back often and let us know how you’re doing? (((hugs)))

    • Also, if he acts quickly, he can name the AP in the divorce (or threaten to). That might put a rocket up their asses!

    • Why do you think my wife will beg me to stay? She’s made it clear she no longer loves me and all her emotion and heart has been given to this AP. I don’t know if they will fall apart Bc maybe he’s stringing her along but I don’t see her ever asking to come back. Even if she did I’d not accept it.

      • Because you do the parenting while her mind is in la la land.

        You make life easier for her by being a responsible spouse and parent.

        And because you keep up the appearances of a respectable family.

        And the financial benefit she gets of being in a marriage.

        Plus, she enjoys getting attention (whether positive or negative) from multiple sources. AKA “Kibble”

        As CL says, as unjust as it is, YOU have the be the one to put the bullet in this dying animal. The cheater won’t.

        I highly recommend Chump Lady’s book: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. It gave me the confidence and righteous anger I needed to take the leap from the door of the plane.

  • Dear Guy. You poor man! I’m another who was left for ‘soulmate’ exgf from school following online and in my case cross-Atlantic relationship (thank you Linked In). As my therapist says (and I’ve had a lot of therapy to get my head round this after 26 years together), ‘MW, it’s fantasy land’. But, my life is precious and I’m not playing games with cheaters because I will not win. Let them do fantasy and you do the hard reality of getting a lawyer and protecting yourself. I agree with telling the AP’s wife to enable her to make wise and safe choices for herself should she be minded to do so. I so wish someone had told me e.g. exgfOW’s husband. Do not let yourself get to my age (61) and find yourself being dumped, again, then. It is so hard to rebuild when you’re older. Not easy when you’re younger, but perhaps easier. Is this fair? No but it is what it is. Do not hesitate, move quickly, and process your feelings when you are safe. Two years out I’m at the feeling processing stage. Now’s the right time. If you and your wife stay together, he will always be ‘the one that escap… (cough) got away’. You deserve much more than that. Wishing you well.

  • Guy Chump, trust me on this, if you stay with her it will only get worse. I speak from experience here. You children will suffer watching the fucked up interaction between you and your cheating wife. We have been through this! The cheater playbook never changes. Get lawyered up and get out!

  • OK now that my jaw is off the floor and I have regained the power of speech …

    Guy – listen to Chump Lady.
    Lawyer up immediately – best divorce lawyer you can find -and get that settlement done while she still thinks the world well lost for her fuckbuddy. Heck, go all out for custody too. Go for the full extent the law in your jurisdiction allows.

    However don’t tell your soon-to- be ex wife. Let her think you are still complying with her timeline while you make your plans. And then serve those divorce papers, kick her to the kerb and change the locks.

    Whatever happens to – DON’T TAKE HER BACK.

    Or you’ll be back here again, wishing you’d listened the first time.

    This stuff sucks but it sure sucks less when you are driving and not her AP.

    Good luck, guy. I feel for you – we all do. Lawyer. Now.

  • Guy,
    The cold hard reality is that you marriage is over. You need to focus on you and your kids. Fuck her, she needs to get the hell out and as the person who is sane, the kids stay with you. Gather you evidence, take pictures of anything and everything. Copy texts to and from you skank of a wife and Peter the Pool Boy and see a lawyer like ASAP.
    You are feeding her and she is just getting off on your wonderful nice guy pick me dance. Stop dancing and run. Kick her ass out. You did nothing wrong. Your lawyer will advise you on how to keep your kids. She will not automatically get custody. Don’t take her opinion on this, I am sure she is not a lawyer. While you gather up you anger, please tell his wife. She deserves to know.
    You are dealing with a real FW, get her out of your life. Do you really want to live another three years with her knowing what she is doing? I wouldn’t.
    Most of us here both male and female have been through this. I went through a DDay and went to RIC but they wanted me to take blame for the years long affair with Schmoopie. That was not going to happen. I then got the next DDay while gathering g up evidence. I lined up as much as I could and lawyered up and served the cheater. He got the hell out but not without protest. My son who is. 25 also gathered evidence and went no contact. FW tried on Thanksgiving to contact son and was told not interested. I then got texts (switched numbers so that one was not blocked) laying the blame for his son not speaking to him on me. My response was, not my problem, speak to your attorney. Hey if he wants to use his attorney as therapist, he can pay the guy in those lovely six minute increments. So basically the process has ups and downs but getting the FW out starts your healing.
    Yes, you will eat shit sandwiches fr a time but you can get free with your kids. Don’t make the shit sandwiches and eat them. Good luck and keep us posted. All here at CN wish you well and hope you use this sage space to vent.

  • Chump Guy, the only thing stopping your wife from moving YOUR two daughters from their home to an apartment with a strange man…

    WAS HIM GETTING COLD FEET?

    Get your head out of your own pity party and start showing up for your daughters!

    Yesterday already

  • Re the kids – why do people think kids need a 2-parent household to thrive and be happy? As a child of divorce it was a shock when my parents said they were divorcing. I was in high school with 2 younger siblings. My parents never fought, but there was an underlying tension that I didn’t know existed until my dad was gone from the house. Once he was gone I NEVER wanted my folks back together. My mom blossomed and became her own person. I love both my parents, but they are better apart.

    Do this for your kids, and I don’t mean staying with this untenable situation.

    • When she moved out, one of my sons said “Dad, the house is so peaceful now”. Kids are way smarter than given credit.

        • Yes, my younger son said similar. Early in COVID, he said to me “Mom, I always come to you when I have an issue or a problem and you fix it. I’m coming to you now to fix this Coronavirus thing”. At that time, he was 8. Dracula left when he was 2.

  • Holy crap Guy. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to read your story – but I completely understand where you are. I was there at a point. Then I got support, legal advice, and righteous anger driving me. I hope you find these things soon. We’re here online to support you. But you’ve got to do the heavy lifting.

    Be the sane parent for your daughters. They need you. Don’t settle for less than 1/2 time with them. It’s likely the best you (and they) will get unless their mother is much worse than a garden-variety cheating fuckwit, but your girls deserve to have you in their lives as much as legally possible.

    Get legal advice and separate yourself from your wife financially. She’s probably already been siphoning off money. Get some counseling from a therapist that agrees with the statement, “cheating is abuse.”

    Keep reading and posting here. Take care of your physical health too. You will get through this.

  • Wow OK I wish I had time to write more this morning.
    I filed for divorce in February 2019. My husband had already started heavily texting and sexting online – had been for years. I agreed to let him stay in the house in order to keep things peaceful , and cheaper, so he could prepare to move out.
    He never did
    he never even looked online for an apartment.
    But he kept sexting. Until BINGO
    He got a live one to take the bait he had been putting online and actually began a sexual relationship.
    Then Covid hit. Then he he actually had a real life sex partner But he still expected to stay in the house.

    What I realize now Is all I did was maintain a home, and give him a safe secure place with Which to continue to cheat and abuse me and make himself more secure in the divorce. And his next relationship
    He finally moved out in December 2020. I lived like that for a year and a half

    What I learned was that I
    literally gave him time to adjust and prepare himself to be even more cruel and nasty a nd create a support system for himself in the divorce
    It didn’t make him nicer it didn’t make him kinder it didn’t solve any problems. It didn’t cause us to reconcile.
    And it was emotional torture for me because I didn’t want to divorce I was forced into it

    I have adult children who are not in the home but even they were confused. I can only imagine what a 12 and a 14-year-old will be thinking. You are also condoning her behavior for them

    Ex then tried to flip the narrative on the divorce. Because when I finally had my attorney force him to move out due to his Covid exposure because he was with unknown people – He told everyone he had to move out quickly and therefore he had a disadvantage in the divorce and was quite difficult during the property settlement – because he didn’t have enough time to remove his belongings properly
    Complete bs
    And he is continuing with that narrative that he was so responsive and he moved out immediately
    All allowing him to stay in the house in the name of being calmer and easier did was actually create a more gut wrenching and difficult scenario for me.
    And it gave him his cake. Which he took
    Advantage of every second
    There is no way you can live with her for three years everyone here has made that point. And if the relationship breaks up you’re stuck with this person who has put you in an absolutely inhumane dynamic.

    There is no way you could function as a normal family for those children. Better to have them on your own terms alone
    I’ve been there please learn from my experience
    You have my total empathy.

    • Exactly. My situation was pre-Covid and had a shorter timeline, but the basic story is the same. Everything I did at his request to aid his search for a new home and resettlement was taken for granted. Every promise he reneged on during this process was evidence that I was a bitch.

      A person who lies and cheats on you behind your back is not going to treat you any better once you start standing up for yourself. They will just start lying and complaining about you to a bigger audience.

    • “He was at a disadvantage”….said the abuser liar cheater thief traitor fraud snake oil salesman, etc.

      They dish it out in boatloads and then they’re the poor widdle victims when the boomerang comes back upside the head.

      Gets me every time.

    • “What I realize now Is all I did was maintain a home, and give him a safe secure place with Which to continue to cheat and abuse me and make himself more secure in the divorce. And his next relationship.”

      This description fits you, Guy.

  • Guy fellow male chump here. I can feel your pain right now. Literally. You’re scared about being alone and losing time with your kids. NONE OF WHICH YIU GAVE PERMISSION TO!!! I get it. It’s not fair. You tried to build a family and invested in something that was stolen from you. It’s total injustice and you had nothing to do with it. The question is, what are you going to do living forward? You’ve lost sight of you calling as a man and it’s time to take that back. You lead this situation from here on out. She gets no say in anything, only the court does. I’m also not saying this to be flippant, I’m saying this as someone who was forced to walk it. You WILL fell better when you take control of your life. She’s out and you’re solely in charge now. Shows those sweet little innocent kids how strong their dad is. Do it. Today. I’m sorry brother, I’d give you a bro hug right now if you were here because I know how painful it is. Take your manhood back. Don’t let two f’ing idiots steal that from you!!!!

  • Hey Chump Lady, after your AMA this week, I read around own the infidelity subreddit and found a post early similar to Chump Guy’s post today.

    The moderator has locked this post with the following, “This is your 7th time posting your story on this sub alone, and every time you reject all advice given. I’m going to lock this and refer you to your past posts”

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Infidelity/comments/raz4po/serious_question/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

    • Guy has so far been paralyzed with fear.

      Unfortunately, there are many people who think being alone is worse than staying in an emotionally abusive relationship. It jeopardizes their physical and mental health but still they stay.

      I used to be one of them.

      I hope CL’s and CN’s bitchslaps might get through to Guy; apparently the infidelity subreddit tried but he’s still stuck.

      As CL says, living with a known cheater is WAY worse than being alone. I know because I tried to do it and I was miserable. It’s depressing and draining. It’s not living, it’s existing. Clinging to a marriage broken by a cheater is like relying on a broken main parachute and failing to use the reserve chute: you’re (emotionally) dead, you just don’t know it yet. But it’s not too late if you pay attention to advice from experienced skydivers (chumps).

      • This —> “Clinging to a marriage broken by a cheater is like relying on a broken main parachute and failing to use the reserve chute: you’re (emotionally) dead, you just don’t know it yet.”

        After 9 months of the pick me dance, I finally realized how emotionally dead I was. And then I found CL and CN. Feels like an emotional resurrection.

      • Fight, flight, freeze or fawn in the face of an attack. He’s in freeze (and fawn ?) mode right now.
        Guy please get in fight mode for your own sake, and for the benefit of your kids.

    • Yes, it looks to be our letter writer today.

      This is where the wisdom is, IMHO.

      Take it or leave it at one’s own peril.

      I for one am glad I took it. It’s painful but the only way to go. The pain of leaving is finite; the pain of staying is infinite and far worse.

      • “The pain of leaving is finite; the pain of staying is infinite and far worse.”

        And there we have it in a nutshell.

        It’s the unknown that’s scary. But, take that leap, man. It WILL be better on the other side.

      • The pain of staying IS far worse. I saw it happen with two of my mother’s supposed friends. Lots of rage directed towards their spouses, which was terrible for their respective children. Nobody wants to spend time with the Bickersons. One woman is still alive (92) with dementia which I’m convinced her husband’s decades (5+) of abuse caused in addition to her abusive childhood.
        I wrote “supposed” to describe these two friends of my mother because I think they envied her post-divorce freedom in a perverse way. And lashed out at her. Mind you, my mother was dumped twice (two legal separations) by my abusive father. It would have made a world of difference if she had NOT taken him back. Instead she framed it as “If a man like that doesn’t want me, what does that make me ?”

        Guy ,you sound very stuck. My thoughts are with you that you find a way forward and getting away from your abuser, on to a better life. ❤️

        • Yes, please escape that horrible situation. The marriage is over. The only thing left to do is to (1) decide if you are going to stay on the floor while she does whatever she wants because she is soon going to leave with everything you hold dear (I’m talking the kids), and she’s going to get her way down on paper or (2) get off the floor and get things down on paper before she gets to it.

          Basically, it’s done; there’s nothing to save. Now, whoever moves first will be in a better position.

          Be the one to move first, particularly while she’s on her honeymoon period with the AP. Get off the floor, move first, and see a lawyer.

          • The abuse, abandonment and divorce did my mother in. Horribly abused as a child, she didn’t have a solid foundation to start life as an adult. She should have left a couple of years into the marriage but didn’t. She had the right instinct to seek therapy but we all know there are a lot of incompetent or outright fucked up therapists out there. Nobody was talking about narcissistic abuse in the 60s, 70s or even the 80s. Even today, most therapists don’t see cheating as a form of domestic violence.
            Oh well. Thank the heavens for Tracy, her experience and strength (and oodles of time) to maintain this blog and create this invaluable online international resource. Ten year anniversary next year !

    • Ug – he’s been getting such terrible advice on reddit too when you look at his post history.

      Guy, you can TRUST that everyone on this site has been in your shoes and knows how you feel. There is no magic fix to turn wife into the person you thought she was. She was never that person. It was a mirage.

      Your marriage ended the moment she decided to lie and cheat. SHE chose that – not you. The rest of your life is up to you now. Make it amazing for you and your kids.

  • Dear Guy,
    It’s already over, your marriage. There is literally nothing for you. Nothing for you to work with, nothing that is healthy for you, nothing that is healthy for your kids. What you’re clinging to is only propping up your wife, whose behavior is quite obscene, not only in the lewd and indecent meaning, but also these synonyms; vile, foul, shocking, foul. We all really understand the impact of such shockingly horrific behavior and the temptation to try to understand it, because in most other areas of our lives, understanding something helps us change it for the better. Unfortunately, this is all the understanding you’re going to get: your wife is now your wife in name only, and there will never be a better time to get a good settlement for yourself and your kids. That’s it. The why doesn’t matter (because she could), the how could she doesn’t matter (she is broken and feels entitled), the devastating wish to return to a more innocent time doesn’t matter (are you sure this is the only time she has cheated? It’s quite common to have more than one affair…). What matters is that you get out of the shock and depression. GET MAD. Get mad and let that energy carry you into finding a lawyer, getting a settlement, getting your wife into that apartment she wants so badly (my guess is she really doesn’t want that and will fight you for the house…) and making plans for the rest of your life. GET MAD and GET OUT. Good luck.

  • Guy Chump, you’re sitting on top of a gold mine as far as divorce is concerned and you don’t even realize it. Let me lay it out for you.

    (1) If you’re in a state that recognizes at-fault divorce for adultery or abandonment (depending on how your state defines the latter) you have grounds for both. Sex with a spouse after an affair is disclosed is often considered forgiving or condoning it, which you haven’t, since you haven’t had sex. Furthermore, your wife has admitted that she stopped being intimate with you and engaging in the marriage since she reconnected with her sweetheart. Although alienation of affection suits are hard to come by and rarely yield results, you have the perfect grounds for one right there. Those laws were defined with situations like yours specifically in mind. Nothing will throw a grenade on this romance more than your wife’s husband being listed as a corespondent on your divorce or getting subpoenaed.

    (3) Your children aren’t babies, so you don’t need to worry about this man supplanting you as their father or becoming a father figure to them (in the event he does make good on his promise to leave his wife). They’re old enough to understand concepts of cheating and the consequences of it and they’re also old enough to decide with whom they will choose to live.

    (4) Your wife cannot whisk your kids away from you unless you allow it. You and your wife have a very outdated view of custody arrangements; the default custody arrangement in most places is 50/50.

    (5) If your wife is truly delusional and wholeheartedly believes she has a future with this man, then you can totally capitalize on this by getting her to agree to a settlement that is less than what she is legally entitled (for example, a single lump-sum payout in lieu of a share of your 401K or selling the house) if she thinks it’s enough for her to settle into her own place and be able to entice her beloved to liberate himself from his wife.

    (6) This time that you’re currently spending in limbo can be used to consult with a lawyer and put a strategy in place for how you can get a favorable settlement and custody arrangement. You can start putting money into your own savings. You can document your caregiving activities with the kids and work around the house. You can track how much time she is spending away from the home with her AP and how much she is spending outside of the marriage. While she’s in LaLa Land, you could be creating a solid paper trail and nest egg for yourself.

    (7) But even if you’re unwilling to do any of the above, you could quickly end the affair simply by telling his wife. I can say with about 90% certainty that this piece of shit OM has no intention of walking away from his marriage, tarnishing his family man image, significantly downgrading his lifestyle, paying child support for 5 heartbroken children, and residing with a pair of angry teenagers who are likely to hate his guts, just for the privilege of fucking your wife on a more consistent basis.

    Once the affair is blown up, you can then decide whether you feel like it’s worth remaining married to a woman who, at best, is settling for you because the man she really wants has discarded her, or, at worst, actively despises you for driving her soul mate away.

          • I also live in a no-fault state. Texas. However infidelity effects property settlements/ division and custody issues With minor children.
            Here, no-fault means you don’t have to prove anything for divorce, but if you have cause it can be used. Other areas that effect settlement include abandonment, mental illness etc. Again see a lawyer

          • New York does have an adultery option for fault-based divorce if you have concrete evidence (such as from a private investigator). It won’t impact your financial settlement or custody but the cause would become a matter of public record for both your wife and her AP.

          • Even in a no-fault state, you can threaten to depose the AP to find out if she has dissipated marital assets, etc. Guarantee your wife won’t like that.

        • Nope, not where I live in the US… there are only at fault options in my state. The plus side is a divorce can be finalized in 30 days from filing.

    • Lulu, Number #7 I completely agree with!!! Guy should tell the APs wife with evidence so the wife doesn’t go into denial. Guy should record a conversation with his estranged wife after he gets legal advice. That grenade right there would be just desserts for AP and guys wife.

      • Agreed. Just to clarify, I think he should tell the wife regardless But the ideal situation would be to go through 1 through 6 and then drop the bomb after the ink is dry on the divorce.

  • Guy, So sorry you’re going through this. You have been blindsided so your reality/history immediately changed. You are in flight/fight/freeze. Right now you are in freeze stance. Chump lady is advocating rightly to shift to fight.

    You have an advantage a lot of chumps don’t have in that your estranged cheater wife thinks your compliant with her timeline wishes. While she thinks everything is going her way get your ducks in a row. Even if you live in a no fault state. Get top advice, get evidence of the affair, especially during pandemic. Maybe since she makes little money it adds insult to injury that she will get half plus whisked away by AP and not see the children as much. Maybe not so if you talk to a good lawyer. Some no fault states do evaluate greivous behavior in dividing assets. Also you may get custody primarily if she endangered her family with COVID-19 without regard for them. Also check for STDs I know you haven’t been intimate for awhile but she may have been a cheater long ago judging by her lack of morals.

  • Also, one of my male chump friends recently lived your scenario. First with a wife that wanted to ‘open things up’ but really just wanted to be with her horizontal tango partner. Next, she blame shifted and said it was all him. This dude is a really kind, supportive soul who genuinely loved her. I heard his anguish. They lived together for a while but eventually things came to a head and she moved out. He was heartbroken but NOW he is doing so much better. It took months but he healed and realized what hell he was being put through. He’s now sorted his stuff out and I think found a measure of peace. Some version of this could be you.

  • I think Chump Guy has been posting over on the infidelity subreddit.

    A post from Dec. 7 describing very similar circumstances was locked with the moderator leaving the following comment:

    “This is your 7th time posting your story on this sub alone, and every time you reject all advice given. I’m going to lock this and refer you to your past posts.”

    • GuyChump posting 7 times is concerning… that means the situation has been ongoing. Huge compassion for him as the trauma bonding / Stockholm Syndrome is keeping him stuck. He needs to realize it will only end when he calls time. And the longer he stays the worse it will get. This was a tough post to read.

    • I read through his subreddits and agree that it’s depressing that he won’t do what needs to be done.

      However, I freely admit that that used to be me too. I wanted my marriage. I wanted my husband. And I was prepared to endure anything to keep it all tied together.

      I was given a lot of really good advice that easily can be boiled down to “Fourleaf, WTH? You’re taking him back!?! Don’t take him back again! Under no circumstances should you ever take him back!” Past-Fourleaf’s response to all that advice that I didn’t want to hear or implement in any way was: “He’s changed! He says he wants a reconciliation and that he’ll work on our marriage. You’ll see. We’ll be stronger than ever and I will *not* end up a divorced, single mom. Those affairs of his was just a blip on the road that we’ll laugh about together when we’re old and grey, you’ll see.”

      Guess who was right? The people who had been in my situation before and knew better.
      Guess who wasn’t right? Me.

      I see a lot of my past self in Guy’s posts, here and on the subreddit. I was looking for some sort of magic spell, or pill, or theory, or *anything* that would hold my marriage together in any way, shape, or form and I was not prepared to do what needed to be done. I even reconciled with a cheater who cheated all throughout the reconciliation and I also just “raised the white flag” thinking, well… this is Hell on earth but at least I have my family all together under one room; at least I have a husband.

      Until he packed his bags and left for GF#3/Wifetress’s house. Something he promised he wouldn’t do. And I ended up without my precious family all under one room anyway.

      Guy Chump, I didn’t listen to help and I didn’t take any of that good advice until it was too late. I didn’t want to hear it and I didn’t think I was capable of implementing it. I would have rather kept my surrender flag flapping in the wind in the hopes that he would stay with me somehow and save me from being divorced.

      Then he left. And I thought of how horrible it would be if he saw a lawyer first and made the first moves to take my children away from me. Erase me as a wife first and then erase me as a mother too.

      I got off the floor. I started listening to all that advice I didn’t want to hear. I started doing all the things I didn’t want to do.

      I was on antidepressants at the time, living in legal poverty, had been left with two dependents still being potty-trained, *and* was still in love with my cheater FW. And somehow, I did it. I gathered paperwork. I called a lawyer. I felt like throwing up every day. I hyperventilate while my mother drove me to the lawyer’s office. I sobbed like a madwoman in that lawyer’s office. I lost weight, hair, and I generally looked like a skinny, puffy-eyed ghoul 24-7.

      My life was getting ripped apart and *I was not doing well,* not at all. But I did it anyway because my children were watching me. I had to at least pretend I was strong… so I pretended. I pretended hard. My throat burned from the daily puking (I stress vomit).

      In short… the advice you’ve been given here, Guy, and on that subreddit is spot on. You need to start moving on this. You need to see a lawyer. You need to ensure the safety of yourself and your children and that is *not* by staying with a cheater. You’re dying every day you stay in that house.

      Get off the floor and start moving towards the exit sign. Some days it will be in big ways (like phoning a lawyer! That’s a big step!), and some days it will be in very little ways (like making sure you don’t forget to eat and maybe making a few photocopies of some personal documents before you decide that that’s all you can take for the moment). But move towards the exit sign (and salvation) every day. Big steps, baby steps, doesn’t matter.

      I don’t fault you for “giving up,” “giving in,” and waving the white flag just to avoid getting divorced. I used to be that way too and it got me nowhere except to the bottom of a deep, dark pit of depression that my cheater kicked me into. I know you don’t want to hear it because I didn’t want to hear it either but… start climbing.

      • Thank you for your honesty, Fourleaf. I’m new to posting, but your heartbreak resonates with me as I begin divorce proceedings to end a 30-year marriage. The level of cruelty and casual disregard of these cockroaches truly knows no bounds. If there is any “benefit” to be realized from the ravaging abuse, it’s the ability to journey with another. The pain you’ve endured helps me walk (and sometimes crawl) through mine.

      • Fourleaf,
        I salute you for telling your story. It’s going to help some chumps like nothing else can.
        Guy Chump needs to repeatedly read your bittersweet, powerful, compassionate post.
        – There just ain’t NO Magic or Escape –

  • I wish all the chumps in the world had my wonderful mother. She is now passed on, but is smiling down from heaven.

    My mother was a devotedly Catholic till-death-do-you-part kind of woman. But when I was a teen, her good friend got divorced and was totally screwed over by her ex-husband. My mother told me, as a teen, “don’t divorce lightly, but if you ever do divorce, get your own lawyer and file first”. It was my late mother’s voice that I heard in my head that awful DDay night. I followed Mom’s advice and it served me well.

  • Please get into therapy. You need to be the stable and sane parent for your kids, but also do it for yourself. I understand that you were in shock and reeling, but please don’t leave the house and leave your kids with your wife again. If you want 50% (or more!) custody, you need to be able to put your kids needs ahead of your own. Part of that is getting a grip on your mental health so you can be a good parent. If your wife wants to fight you over custody, you don’t want her to be able to show the court that she is the primary parent. If you have typically left most of the parent stuff up to your wife, start getting on school email lists. Find out who their doctor and dentist is. Go to parent teacher conferences if you haven’t before. That way you can hit the ground running during your time with your kids. You don’t want there to be any question about your mental health (even if it’s caused by your cheating wife) and your ability to parent. But you also deserve to take care of yourself.

    • Guy – None of this is fair or fun for you or your daughters.

      Not only do you need therapy, so do your girls. For their own sakes and because many courts will look upon you with favor for thinking of their mental health.

      Do the financial worksheets. Check out, sign up and ATTEND any of the court’s “Co-parenting with your Ex” classes. That will make an attorney and the court happy.

      This isn’t good for you.

      She is horrible. Put the trash out via divorce.

  • THANK GOD FOR THE BITCHSLAP!!!! Guy, for the love of God and your daughters STOP this madness now, lawyer up and get the fuck out of this shit show. The damage that you are doing to yourself and your daughters by staying in this shitshow of a relationship is far worse than you getting out…..promise! Get mad! Get the fuck out! Tell the other chump spouse so she can save herself and her 5 kids! And, fuck your cunt of an ex wife. (Yes, she is already your ex because she has told you repeatedly she does not want to be with you).

  • Chump Nation is giving you excellent advice. You have got to take control of yourself, and do your own planning, or you will never feel good about yourself again. You are passively awaiting a decision of action from your FW and her married AP. Seriously? If you cannot muster taking action for yourself, do it for your children. You are in an excellent position to gather evidence, separate your finances, get sound legal advice, and MAKE YOUR OWN PLAN. You are in the better economic position, you are the sane parent, you can make plans to change your life. You do not have to accept the way you are being treated.

    Your whole life may change. Speaking from experience, it may be tough, but I believe it will change for the better. You can live without many material things if you need to, you can spend more quality time with your children. Having a “partner” now is the last thing you need to be concerned with. You need to know you can make it on your own.

    Just for perspective — everyone needs to know how to be independent. You could be in a great relationship, and your partner could suddenly die tomorrow. Would you die, too? You could not, you have children, responsibilities, a job, a future. You have a right to live your own precious life. You will be amazed if you just start taking steps in the right direction, one day you will wake up in MEH.

    Therapy and research, and a complete self-evaluation will help you eliminate those ideas of “normalcy” you have which are weighing you down. Even though you perceive that you are a hapless victim here, believe me, there are things you need to change about yourself to help yourself be a healthier, happier person. It doesn’t mean you caused this situation, in any way, but in subtle ways, ways you were taught to think when you were young, you have been programmed to accept your spouse’s bad behavior. That is not OK. You have to purge these thoughts, and you will learn it is OK to love yourself and look out for your own self interests. It will make you a better parent, too. You will model good behaviors for your children, and they will learn not to take crap from their future partners (hopefully).

    Fixing your picker is shorthand for all the things you need to do to change your life for the better. When you feel better about yourself and get on the other side of the tragedy you are living now, you will be amazed at how attractive you will become if you choose to start seeking a partner again in the future. Ask the survivors of chump nation how much they would like to meet a good and loyal partner, who has a job, and who loves his children. A partner who respects himself. (or herself) I can tell you from where I sit — that would be extremely attractive! We don’t need to hear about how bad your partner was. We need to be able to see how awesome you are.

    • Something which helped me “get over it” was how uncomfortable a woman friend/acquaintance made me. Maybe she was Borderline Personality in addition to Bi-Polar. Maybe she suffered from CPTSD. I don’t know and I stopped caring.

      I realized I couldn’t ask other people to fix my situation. That was my work to do.

  • Get a P.I., have him take pictures, send them to AP’s wife, or go tell her yourself. Then let the chips fall where they may. They will most likely fall in your favor, which means the SHTF at his house, since he most likely had no intention of ever divorcing his wife and leabing his family. Then leave your wife in the dust. Let them live out the consequences if their actions, while YOU stay ahead of the game.

    • My lawyers during my divorce stated that in their 30 years of experience dealing with divorces from adultery that 99% of AP’s run a mile once the woman ends up divorced and are faced with the reality of a divorced cheater with kids in tow.

  • Guy, your wife sucks. And you are smoking the hopium at levels that have left you supine before her. Take a cold, hard look at what she’s laid out for you. She feels entitled to live with you (and on your dime) for three years because her cheating partner doesn’t want to upset his own life. She’s dancing to his tune and you, in turn, are dancing to hers! Fuck her and fuck that guy. Get up off the floor and take control of your life. I and a lot of other now fuckwit-free former chumps can guarantee that’s the only way you’re going to start to feel better.

    The unequal distribution of power going on in your marriage is breathtaking. Forget that “tentative agreement” you’ve made. Why would you feel bound by that promise when she wasn’t even bound by her marriage vows? You’re seeing your “tentative agreement” as binding because of all that hopium you’re smoking, and all that hopium has left you catatonic and unable to act on your behalf. You write as if you have no agency. You want her to come to her senses; you want the other man’s wife to find out. You want something to come along and happen to make the situation better. But the only way the situation is going to get better, the only way you are going to feel better, is when you act.

    As others have said, your marriage is over. Your wife has devalued and discarded you, but still wants the benefit of your support, emotional and financial. Fuck that. She sucks. You can trust that she sucks, and you can trust that she sucks because she has shown you that she sucks. She lied to you for months. She lived a secret life for months. She devalued you and your daughters because she was willing to expose you to the coronavirus just so she could have the thrill of illicit sex. She’s willing now to subject you to the emotionally devastating situation of living with a spouse who doesn’t love you because it’s convenient for her. Her entitlement is breathtaking! Her lack of empathy is complete. She even thinks she can go live with her cheating partner and take your daughters, who I doubt very much would look positively on their mother’s acting as if their father can simply be replaced by another man. She wants what she wants because she wants it and everyone else is supposed to act to give her what she wants. No consequences.

    Again: She sucks! Epically! Trust that she sucks. Act accordingly and go see a lawyer. Acting and trusting she sucks have a reciprocal effect. Once you trust that she sucks and act to protect yourself and your daughters, you’ll lose your taste for hopium. And taking action will also help you see that she sucks.

  • Dear Guy Chump,

    I feel so much sympathy for you right now. You are being abused, terribly. You must extricate yourself from this situation as soon as possible, for the sake of your own life and mental health. Getting out of that house (or your wife out of it) has to be done as soon as possible. When that happens, you can start to grieve for the life and future you thought you had, because as the others say, it’s gone. The wife you knew was a hologram that no longer exists. It will be terrible and at times very, very dark. But the only way is through, there is no way around.

    Your wife has treated you terribly and is undeserving of you. You didn’t do anything wrong here. She has used the pandemic as an excuse to break her vows. My fuckwit did something similar. Instead of talking to me and opening up he decided to spill his guts to some guy he met at work and had known for all of three months. The difference between us and them is that when we were having a tough time (we were ALL in lockdown remember, not just them) we didn’t start trying to fuck someone else. Your wife did. That action betrays a massive character flaw that should be a deal breaker. You invested in a life with this woman on the understanding that you would both be there for each other, whatever happens. Not there for each other until things got a bit tough and then finding some crusty old dick from high school to have sex with. You certainly didn’t agree to hang around like a lost puppy while she waits for THREE YEARS to go and set up a life with some other married man. Not OK. Appalling behaviour. It must seem like she has been possessed by some evil spirit, like she’s had a head transplant and that she’ll pop her old head back on pretty soon and you can both forget about the whole thing. No. This is the real her. What has happened is that the mask has slipped. Watch what happens when the consequences of her actions (i.e. you kicking her to the kerb and filing for divorce) come knocking at her door. You will see more lies, more manipulation and more gaslighting. There will undoubtedly be a fuck ton of blameshifting. This is not your fault and it is all on her. Do not let her discard you and swap you for some arsehole she thinks she knows. That’s not OK and you have to stand up for yourself here.

    You need friends and family to help you with this, if they can. Therapy alone will likely not be frequent enough. Once a week didn’t cut it for me and from what you say I don’t think it will cut it for you either. Go and stay with a close friend or a loved one if she refuses to leave. I don’t know what the laws are like where you are, but I think it’s unlikely you’ll be able to kick her out, sadly. Use the support network you have. Times like these are what these networks are for. It will help you immeasurably to have some pressure taken off, even if its from some mundane tasks like cooking or cleaning or doing some laundry. Take some time off work. A couple of weeks at least. Go and see your doctor and get whatever medication you need to get you through this. Talk to your boss and tell him what you’re going through. You don’t want to be surprised with conversations with management about any grief induced poor performance.

    Get a lawyer now. The best one you can afford. She talks to them now, not you. Fight for your children. They will be better off with a parent who isn’t prone to this kind of insane behaviour. Document everything you do to be a good dad for them and document every time she slacks off her responsibility to go and fuck her true love in the back of her car down some godforsaken side alley. The sooner you do this the better. You won’t regret it and it is one of many steps you need to take to get back your sense of self worth.

    I hope this has been helpful. Join r/ChumpLadyNation on reddit. It’s full of people from all over the world who have been put through the same thing as you. There will be someone awake at whatever time you choose to post and however often.

    The best of luck to you. Take charge now. Don’t look back. You can walk away with your head held high.

    • Excellent points. I would add that private investigators are very helpful for getting car-humping videos, etc., which chumps should never attempt to get themselves (unless the humped-in car is parked smack in front of the chump’s house).

      But PIs are professionals and courts accept them as such. Thus PIs evade the optics of “stalking” because a) good PIs respect the law and know where the legal line is; b) all good lawyers use and work with them; c) many judges appreciate that legally-gotten hard evidence tends to shorten and simplify contentious cases so everyone can clear their desks and get home for dinner.

      Hiring a PI on the advice of a wise attorney friend was well worth the money and the smartest thing I did in the middle of my chump haze. I had previously thought doing so was “creepy” but soon learned it’s a respected tactic in the legal arena, never mind what dopey bystanders think. Secondly, it added to my posse and made me feel less alone: my experienced PI had heard and seen everything and gave expert philosophical feedback, talking about other cases and other chumps (obviously without naming them) who landed on their feet. He also made me laugh for the first time in ages. Thirdly, it put me into a bit of a predatory mindset and closer to constructive anger which shook off my deadly paralysis and helped me keep things closer to my chest.

      All in all, hiring a PI and lawyer who worked well with each other made me realize that one big reason for my paralysis wasn’t as much to do with heartbreak as sheer terror. I was in full blown batered woman Stockholm syndrome because FW had– for months– systematically and subtly implanted the fear that I could lose custody of my children because my reaction to pre-D-day gaslighting had affected my health and sleep terribly, which FW used as grounds to suggest I was an “unfit” parent. For instance, he hinted my weight loss was proof of “eating disorder” = “mental illness,” etc. Both the PI and attorney laughed that notion away, especially in light of the smoking gun surveillance photos and videos of FW and his (and I quote) “dumpy drunken bimbo” stumbling out of bars while FW texted he was “working late.” The hard evidence totally foiled FW’s terror tactic.

      Rather than being traumatized by the surveillance pix, I became very fond of them because just the fact they existed assured I would keep majority custody of my beloved children. As my terror faded, so did the sense of captor-bonded ersatz love and I felt freer.

  • There is nothing original in this letter that has been done or said or felt. Here is where you will hear from the people who have seen and heard and felt EXACT same things. Here is where you will also learn the only sane responses to this complete and utter cruel selfish bullshit that will lead you and your daughters back to a life of stability and security and safety.

    Your wife made a deal with the devil. Now she’s asking you to co-sign on the contract.

    DON’T.

    If not for you, for your daughters. Don’t teach them that this is OK by buying in
    and signing up. I would have a hard time staying out of jail if a future partner did this to my daughter, and I would be setting her up for exactly that by staying. Our house (she is mid-teens) is Cheater Response school.

    Get a LAWYER.
    Get a great therapist (someone who understands that cheating is ABUSE, and that what your wife is doing now is further ABUSE).
    Come here and read to get your head in the right place and get support.
    Gather trusted friends for support.
    TELL High School Boy’s wife so she can make the informed decision that her so-called husband and your so-called wife deprived her right to make.

    When your horse dies it’s time to get off. Your wife chose to kill your family instead of taking actions to strengthen it. Like a sociopathic nurse who kills her patients.

    There is no way to know for sure what she’s done or will do in the future. NO WAY. She is an iceberg you just saw the tip of.

    Read up on former senator from Oklahoma, Ralph Shortey. That’s the league she and High School Boy belong to, and who you’d be married to. You don’t have a marriage. You have a MIRAGE, and to stay in it you will need to anesthetize somehow.

    ALONE IS BETTER THAN IN A BAD RELATIONSHIP.

    I am so sorry for what has happened. This is the lifeboat. Please get in so we can row you to safety. Let the morons stay on the Titanic swapping deck chairs.

  • Ask a lawyer if it helps in your state to have evidence of infidelity for a fault divorce. If it does, hire a private investigator now before schmoopie dumps her and get what evidence you can which will hold up in court. I am sure that will help on the financial side, if nothing else.

    I found out klootzak was cheating (again) while 7 months pregnant. I literally brought my child into the world knowing I would likely be sharing custody down the road, so I have had years to absorb it. It is still hard but I finally realized that, until my child is old enough to have a say, it is better for him to spend half his time with a sane parent than full time with me and a disordered person who controls us both and creates chaos and drama. One of the attorneys I interviewed asked what I am seeking for custody. I said I would want full custody with visitation because a child has a right to know both parents. However, I am a realist and in my jurisdiction, the courts want split custody. So I told the attorney that, hard as it will be, I understand that I may need to accept splitting time. Klootzak has three times the income I do and a wealthy family which may back him up. I don’t have the financial wherewithal to fight klootzak for full custody. In truth, I suspect klootzak will want plenty of free time to chase women and I will document every time he declines to take our child for his time. But yes, losing time with your child is the penalty for breeding with a fuckwit. And delaying just keeps your kids more exposed to full time toxicity.

    I have been taking my time lining up my ducks to get out. I see the finish line where I will file probably in the next 3 months or so. I don’t like change. It’s scary. But it’s the right thing to do. You really have to wrap your head around that and take action. You have the financial upper hand so it will be easier for you than for many of us. Klootzak controlled all the credit so I was only an authorized user and had no major cards of my own. I had to get that rolling and improve my credit score so I will be well positioned for taking my first mortgage. There were a few things that took time. But at least I am clawing my way out, like the guy in Shawshank Redemption. Someday klootzak will come in my office and move the calendar on my wall to find a tunnel dug with a spoon. But Guy, you have to start digging. Your days of being victimized and run over by these people must be over. Make a plan. And I think telling the chumped wife and providing evidence will help. You are not the only victim in this and helping your daughters (into counseling with you!) and the chumped wife will maybe help you get out of your funk and start moving you forward. But YOU have to start.

    Lawyer up!

  • Every time I think I’ve read or heard it all…

    This post brought anger and tears to my eyes. I’m speechless, but even if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be able to add anything that ChumpLady and her loyal followers haven’t already eloquently stated.

    I’m also a guy Chump, and I have young children myself. While I haven’t been in your exact shoes, I’ve gone through it. I promise you it’s better on the other side. You’re not going to lose your kids and they will continue love you fiercely. If you lived in metro Detroit I would willingly help you through this.

    Please update us on your VERY SOON TO BE divorce.

    Good luck my man. We are all pulling for you.

    • It’s terrible, isn’t it? I feel so, so sad for him being put through the ringer like this.

      Spaceman’s right, we are all pulling for you.

    • [Off topic: Spaceman Spiff is the BEST username! I smile whenever I see it. Thanks for reminding me of the wonderful Calvin and Hobbes. Infidelity sucks… but humor helps with healing.]

      • Ha thanks. I went with Tracer Bullet as my handle once before as that’s my favorite “character” Calvin plays, but it occurred to me that may not be the most appropriate handle.

  • Oh boy…this is a giant mess of a situation. My heart breaks for you, Guy.

    Sounds like the AP is manipulating and gaslighting your wife the same way she did to you. Karma will get her in time. I know it hurts. But it’s quite comical she thinks she will have a life with this other married man. I’d bet it never happens. But I digress…I second what CL says. Take control of your own life. Show your kids that you are strong and know what you deserve. You are not a doormat and you will not stand to treated like this. I’m not saying you have to share everything with them. But kids know when something isn’t right and they can feel what you feel. Take your power back. You seem like a caring father and loving partner. Someone will value you for that. You got this!! You’re in a dark pit now but you can get out of it.

  • My ex was the “enlightened” philosopher who argued that open marriage is the way to live. I said no, but he got on Adult Friend Finder and had threesomes anyway- then because he was so “honorable and honest” he told me. I freaked. He said sorry and swore he’d never do it again. I believed him.
    Flash forward 10 years: he had just taken it all underground. He had two current mistresses (one from Craigslist, one an old GF) and our 27 year marriage with our 5 kids. Too much secrecy he said. Too hard to manage all three of us! Do an open marriage or I’m leaving!
    I played the pick me dance, consumed hopium by the lungfuls, waited for the fog to lift. My adult age kids also played the pick me dance. What did he do? Ordered sex toys for the Craigslist mistress on the family Amazon account and say “I love you too” to the mistress in front of me and the kids. Honesty, after all!!
    It was HELL.
    18 months later the divorce was final. Five years later and I’m still recovering less from the secret affairs and more from those 18 months of an “open marriage.”

    I remember the fear and the hope that kept me from acting. But trust me: while it’s not been pleasant the last 3.5 years (money, loneliness, the whole shit sandwich), the very worst moments have been a thousand times better than those 18 months. I should have left on Dday. Hell, I should have left after the threesome ten years earlier. The faster you get out, the faster you’ll heal and get your life back. Promise. Promise. Promise.

  • I hear you OP and how you are feeling but divorce and leaving this selfish monster is not as difficult as it may seem. I was in the same position last year in April when my now ex-wife’s cheating was exposed. One main AP and caught cheating with over 20 others. I went straight for divorce. Got my own new home, new job and my my life now being divorced is a million times better. I’m dating and having a great time and wish I had never met her/left her years ago.

    Also realised I have not been angry in months and months now. Been divorced for 10 months and honestly the best thing I ever did. You will get through this. Trust me, you may not see it now but there are thousands and thousands of women out there who WON’T ever treat you that way and in time you’ll wonder what you ever seen in her. CL has the right terminology “lose a cheater, gain a life”.

  • Guy – I am so terribly sorry for what has happened to you, but I PROMISE you that your life WILL BE BETTER on the other side of this shitshow. I didn’t believe it either, but I promise you. Separate yourself from this woman now and embrace your life. You will be healthier and happier. I know it doesn’t seem that way during the dark days in the beginning, but your life will be amazing once your separate yourself from this abuse. Get a supportive therapist that is trained in betrayal trauma. EMDR therapy is excellent. Get a lawyer. You will get through this and life will be amazing again. I promise.

  • I’m glad I was directed to this site and posted my current situation. I appreciate all the guidance and advice I’ve gotten so far. I know I should be taking action to separate and divorce as quickly as possible although I’ll be honest my fear of being in a small apartment alone and feeling the anxiety and depression from this situation which has caused me to lose weight and nkt take care of myself has severely disabled me. I’m having a hard time functioning to be honest and live on at least one Xanax and day if not too. I want to get from dad and broken to just angry and disgusted but I can’t get there.

    • One step at a time.

      Pick up the phone and call a lawyer. That’s all you have to do today.

      You can’t be brave without first being afraid. Just take one step right now.

      Big hugs. You’re not alone — you have a tribe right here on your side.

      • Consult with the most ruthless divorce lawyer around. Even if you don’t end up using their services, it will prevent FW from being able to use their services once you’ve consulted with them.

    • You can and will get there. You are in shock and are processing the cognitive dissonance between who you thought your wife was and who she really is.

      Shake it off and value who you are. You need you. You children need you.

      • Absolutely. If you are not feeling brave and strong for yourself then that’s fair. Instead, feign bravery and strength (fake it until you make it… that got me through *months* of horror, to be honest) for your children.

        Their other option is a cheater mother. If you don’t stand up (even if you are faking it; faking it is okay) then all they are left with is a cheater mother. You are the better, stronger, more moral parent. They deserve to see your strength and dignity… even if you have to fake it at first.

    • “Should be, fear, anxiety, depression, weight loss, severely disabled, hard time functioning & can’t “
      THESE are ALL Clinical Depression Words!
      Plz consider my earlier post. (11:11am).

      • I was on antidepressants for years. Not what I ever wanted to do, but I knew the depression was absolutely debilitating me and I had to start moving forward. I needed the help.

        • Fourleaf, Same here. Want you to know,
          I think you’re wise & wonderful. Believe your posts today are going to touch & help many. Pray precious, generous You gets Blessed. often. abundantly. ((hug))

    • You won’t be alone. Your stock as a loyal and good provider trades very high. Not that I’m recommending jumping into a rebound relationship but you will learn with each action you take to get free that most of your current paralysis and deoression are due to proximity to an abusive mindfucker who has boiled you like a frog for the duration of your relationship. Every inch yiu step away, you’ll find more oxygen and the way you feel now will change.

      I remember this old episode if Star Trek I saw as a kid where Captain Kirk was trapped on a planet controlled by a giant, pulsating evil alien brain in some kind of space bell jar. The more time he spent on the planet, the more he would lose his identity until he was on his knees gripping his head muttering in that Kirk way: “Losing…all sense…of self… can’t remember … name…” His crew had to get him off the planet entirely to loosen the psychic grip of the pulsating brain. Then Kirk was like “WTF just happened?”

      You are… trapped… on Planet Cheater… infested… with demented cheater reality and warped… cheater thinking…have lost… all sense… of… self… must escape… must escape….

      • This is so great and true, and exactly why I loved the original Star Trek.

        Equally relevant is the episode where the women take pills and are transformed from disheveled and depressed into vibrant and beautifully coiffed…and the pills are revealed to be placebos….

        Infidelity recovery is a long term battle of the mind.

    • Come here and read all the archives

      See your doctor for a referral to a therapist (NOT a marriage counselor)

      Talk to a lawyer about keeping the house and getting primary custody of the children. Most lawyers offer a free 30 minute consultation. Do as many of these with different family lawyers as you can.

      You are being misused and you don’t deserve this.

      You are in the ‘shock’ stage. This will pass. I lost 40 lbs and half my hair fell out in that stage. You may need a course of an anti-depressant, speak to your doctor and get a depression screening.

      • Meds work for some but the caveat should be added that about 8- 11% of people who take SSRIs can react badly, developing akathisia or even rapid onset psychosis, including appearance of or worsening of suicidal or destructive thoughts. It’s right there in the Black Box warnings on these meds (searchable on RX-isk.com)

        No one knows exactly why some react this way but I saw the effects when I was doing advocacy for dv survivors who were given these meds like candy. This was sometimes unhelpful and sometimes disastrous. In response, I began attending professiomal conferences to learn about drug risks and the politics of prescribing practices from pharmaceuticologists (not Scientologists, by the way).

        It seems some of the older antidepressants carry these risks as well– maybe to a lesser extent but they’re less popular because they csn carry uncomfortable effects (constipation, etc.) Or are off-patent and not making real money for industry. In any case, the risks are real with any medication. It’s happened to people with no previous mental conditions who took the drugs by pharmacy mistake (being given, say, Celexa instead of Celebrex, etc.). It appears serotonin syndrome and drug-induced akathisia may even involve immune system response snd could be a kind of allergy. That’s why it’s important to explore this option only under the careful oversight of cautious practitioners for whom drugs are never the first line of treatment. The “reluctant” shrinks are often better and more experienced and tend to be more honest and forthright about potential side effects or risks of dependency and more canny about patients in acute crisis mixing drugs with alcohol.

        I think many doctors have been forced to be more cautious since the opioid scandal, but it’s probably best to be careful of pill pushers who don’t keep a hawk eye on patients for early signs of adverse reactions. Too many shrinks are drug addicts and gaslighters themselves.

        • Hell of a Chump,
          Thank you for everything you wrote.
          I was very anti-medicine, so tried other methods before I finally, reluctantly agreed to take any psych med. Had bad side effects a few times, within a few days, so I immediately stopped taking AGAINST “medical advice”. F them. After I kicked up some dust complaining about being treated like a lab animal,
          I was offered a different practitioner who offered this $350 Mouth Swab Test.
          Results came back with antidepressants listed under 3 columns:
          YES (compatible); CAUTION (watch for
          side effects); NO (not compatible).
          Physicians Assistant said she never saw results like mine before. Several meds were “Yes”, but MOST antidepressants were listed under “No” column!
          After taking the Right-for-me Rx, I felt better within 1 week & much better by end of 1 month.
          YES, Yes, yes – Find a qualified, experienced Practitioner, Read warnings, Do your own research, Ask questions, Listen to your body, No alcohol drinking when in any psych med, Start at low dose & IF you don’t NEED Rx, just don’t.

          Guy Chump is taking anti-anxiety Rx.
          To me, his words drip with depression. After all research I’ve done, people are being prescribed antidepressants to treat anxiety & depression. Same Rx for both.

        • This is an excellent point. There is also no pill that can magically take pain away. It’s not abnormal to feel horrible grief when a spouse cheats, a loved one dies, we lose a job or get sick.

          These things just plain suck and the only way out is through the grieving process.

          Taking drugs or drinking stops that process from happening and we get stuck. Xanax (which is addictive) may numb the pain, but it prolongs it greatly, sometimes for decades.

          • NotAnymore,
            You’re right. Grief is normal/natural so it shouldn’t be drugged. Tears contain toxins, so grief-crying
            is even healthy. Most can probably
            get through the grief process without any drugs. Some don’t. Some can’t. Instead they get sick with real Clinical Depression. IMO, there’s a difference between grief & depression + grief can turn into depression. Sometimes Rx
            is truly needed. There’s NO magic pill.
            All are UN-natural & have side effects & do interrupt good grief. Sometimes it’s a matter of choosing the lesser of
            2 evils. (Kinda like voting).
            Only heard tough anti-anxiety tales.

    • Guy/Op,
      It might help to know that a major part of why you feel too weak/sick to move now is illusion. The sense of terrifying aloneness and lack of confidence that you can make it on your own is the result of abuse. It’s a lie pushed by abusers because it helps them keep the upper hand. This is why “No contact” works wonders. You shake off the fog and realize that the weak, hopeless feelings were all BS. When you come out of the fog, you’ll probably realize that her abuse started long before the affair. I’m sure you feel still loyal now, and being oh so fair to her. But you’re bearing the scars of standard abuse 101.
      Abusers drive away friends who “get you”, appreciate you, encourage you, and help you love yourself. So you are used to feeling isolated/alone and dependent on the abuser. When you have shined the most, felt the best about yourself, the abuser cut you down with insults or insidious mind bombs which caused self doubt. This sense that you’re not strong enough to leave has been cultivated in you. The only way to break free is to stop drinking from the poisoned well.
      You have good instincts coming here. Validate that. Also, you know you’re not doing well, and that this is unsustainable. Don’t push yourself into more sickness by listening to that voice which says wait. Sometimes waiting is good, and sometimes it is paralysis which will keep you trapped until soul death. Even talking to lawyers will help break the spell, once you start seeing yourself and your options more clearly. Sitting alone in the dark ruminating, or talking to the abuser will only make you feel worse. Cultivate your strength. We’re cheering you through this walk through hell to the exit door. Don’t turn back!

    • Oh Guy Chump!! I know you are hurting, but you have to get that fire going my friend!!
      Your worth as a human being is NOT tied to this relationship! There is much more to you than being a husband! This woman is ABUSING you. It’s infuriating to read that this woman is getting all of the cake: she is maintaining her family life AND her affair! Where are the consequences?! If she is going to do this, she needs to get the WHOLE experience: custody agreements, financially supporting herself, divorce, etc. She needs to experience the full consequences of her shitty actions- stop letting that AP control the narrative!
      He is thrilled that you are allowing all of this to happen- because it allows him to continue to not make any decisions either. If I were you, (after lawyering up) I would let his wife know all the details. Affairs aren’t fun anymore when they secrecy is gone and the consequences start! You are allowing their fantastical Lala Land to continue. Put a stop to that shit!
      Hugs to you. You will get through this, and you will wish you had made a move even sooner. Take back your power- it’s the road to healing!

      • It’s worth noting that your wife is USING you. She’s using you for your paycheck and for someone to take care of the kids while she carries on her affair. You are no more than an ATM and a childcare provider. SHE’S USING YOU.

        That’s a cold, terrible thing for one spouse to do to the other. And even if the AP gives up the affair, you will just be stuck with someone who thinks you are a combination ATM and doormat. You will never be able to trust her.

        If your wife had a scintilla of decency, she would move to an apartment and carry on her affair from there. The kids would visit her on weekends or whenever it is that AP is not around. But she’s not decent. She’s selfish. And a user.

    • I get it. I lost 45 pounds and couldn’t sleep more than a few hours a night. I’d wake up with such severe anxiety that I felt like I was jumping out of my skin. I was a total wreck. My friends (who didn’t know what was going on) told me later that they thought I had cancer and was dying.

      I had to take action before I felt strong. You can too. Great advice here to contact a lawyer and begin. Don’t tell her until you have lined up your ducks. One step, then another. You will slowly regain your strength and one day you’ll be hungry for a good meal and sleeping through the night and you’ll wonder how you got there. Every day that you spend away from her and focused on what you need to do will take you there.

      If you are in a small apartment during this process, you can set it up the way you like. The furnishings you choose, the food you like in the fridge, the shows you like on the tv. Spend your free time doing things you enjoy. Take walks if you like to, or go for a run if that helps. Exercise and nature can be very healing.

      Your strength will come.

    • Have you heard that question: how do you eat an elephant? (ANSWER: one bite at a time)
      Make just 1 tiny goal for today: Call an attorney and schedule a consult.
      Don’t try to get everything all together right now. Just do that one thing, Now.
      5 years ago, I went from feeling terrified and paralyzed with depression before my appointment with my attorney, to feeling hopeful and significantly less depressed, all after just 1 hour of sound legal advice.
      Trust me, it will do you worlds of good.

    • Do you have someone who can go with you to those difficult meetings? My mother went to every lawyer meeting with me. In fact, she had to drive me there because I was too anxious, sad, and unhappy to drive anyway. And… let’s be honest… if I didn’t have someone driving me to the place I didn’t want to go (lawyer’s office) then I likely would have blown off driving to the place I didn’t want to go (lawyer’s office) and would have kept crossing my fingers and praying for the nightmare to end all on its own.

      God bless my mother for driving me there to those stupid, painful, difficult, and ultimately wonderful lawyer meetings. Bless her for hauling my butt there every single time.

      One thing you can do for yourself today is start thinking about your allies. Is there anyone you can turn to during this (very very) difficult time? Is there someone you can lean on? Talk to in person? Is there even a person who you could trust to be both your cheerleader and your coach by both supporting you and, sometimes, picking you up and hauling you to your feet in order to get moving on this?

      I mean… this is hard… *hard* stuff. We need people in our corner. Particularly people who, after we turn around and look at them with panicked eyes, saying “I don’t want to do this!”, stand firm and don’t let us panic and give up by saying “You *are* going to do this. I believe in you.”

      And… truth be told… sometimes we even have to be that person for ourselves. But I hope you have a beloved friend or family member that you feel could be a shoulder to lean on.

    • Actions first. The feelings will catch up.

      You can’t get to a happier life (with your kids, not alone!) if you keep yourself in a abusive situation.

    • Trust that she sucks. It’s not fair – you’re right. You’re stronger than you think. Get that lawyer and get a therapist. Your load is heavy, but you’ve got this, and we’ve got your back.

    • Your symptoms are normal for what is going on and I think it’s safe to say we all have been there. Just last week I slept eight hours waking up only once for the first time in four years.

      Do you have a trusted friend or two or a few that can act as your executive assistants to help you take action?

      You can assemble a To Do list here and then ask trusted friends to help you check things off.

    • Please pick up that phone! Depression will never get better without moving forward. Picking up that phone is the beginning of putting one foot in front of the other until you reach safety.

    • First, try to get her to move out. If she won’t, then leave. Think of the small apartment as a safe place, a healing space where you learn to stand up again. Alone (meaning by yourself) is safe. Where are you are right now is very much alone, and not safe.
      In the morning, make that phone call to set up a lawyer consult. Then, get a small apt (if she won’t leave). Set it up in a way that is comforting to you, with stuff from your favorite hobbies. Books you like. Things that make you happy.
      Hang in there. We’re on your side.

    • Always pay attention to the language you use:

      “I want to get from dad and broken to just angry and disgusted but I can’t get there.”

      1. When you tell yourself “I can’t get there,” you are giving your brain an order. So reframe: I’m struggling to find the anger and disgust that will help me move forward.” There’s a world of difference there. Pay attention to how often you say “I can’t” or “I should do X, but..” There is zero evidence, for example, that you “can’t” pick yourself up and do what you need to do, even if you have to ask a relative or a friend to hold you up while you do it. Reach out. Therapist. Parents. Siblings. Close, committed friends. Tell people you need HELP to get yourself free of the situation. If you can’t face the conversation, print out the letter you sent to CL and give it to the people in your support system. You’ve laid it all out. Just choose carefully whom you tell–don’t confide in anyone who will say “stay in the marriage no matter what.”

      2. You are way too focused on your own emotional state as a reason not to act. Every single person here has had to pick themselves up and go to work every day, to feed the kids, to take care of toddlers and sick parents and pets. You are probably doing some of that, too. You can’t get out of this mess without taking steps while you feel you can’t even function. That might mean getting both to a therapist and your primary care doctor to get some medication.

      3. You don’t necessarily have to divorce just yet. But you should FILE and start the gears of separation in motion because more than anything else you need to be no contact with this abusive wife until your mind clears and you can make good decisions. Filing sets in motion the mechanism to get custody of your kids. Lots of people stay legally married for a year or two because of the legal issues, so you don’t have to wrap your mind around divorce itself for a while. But staying in this house for three years? That’s just nuts. Take whatever steps you need to take to get into separate households and give yourself some time to regain your sense of self.

      And if I were you, I would hire a private investigator to get evidence of the affair. Document everything she says about the affair. Document what you do at home and for the kids. AND STAT PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE MONEY SHE SPENDS.

    • Hi Guy

      I don’t write here a lot but feel compelled after reading this. Your story is nearly exactly the same as mine. The ex BF who she decided was her twu wuv soul mate. The depression you are feeling now. The worry about what will happen to your kids. And if you are like me the fear she will run off and be soooo much happier with the fuck wit.

      Mate I am 12 months from where you are right at this minute and while I am not all the way there now I have separated, have my kids 50% of the time, used the time to improve myself and all the other relationships around me and most importantly have peace in my own house.

      One of the the hardest things by far (and I suspect you may be feeling it) was not being able to believe the person you invested so much into would do this. She probably tells you she loves you still or that you will always be friends etc. I have trouble with these things as well but Guy the person you thought she was, this beautiful woman that you had a life with is and always was a figment of your imagination. She does not exist and never existed. The fuckwit who will cheat, lie and gaslight you is who she is and she has stolen years of your life. If you can’t believe it then listen to what CL says – TRUST THAT SHE SUCKS because she does. Look at what she has done mate and be f*****g pissed off.

      My depression went away about 5 minutes after she moved out and that’s because who wouldn’t be depressed being stuck in a house with a troll that is mentally ABUSING you. Check with a lawyer on your best move but one of you has to go for your own health. Be a strong father for you kids and leave that vacuous black hole of a woman behind because she no longer has anything for you but pain.

      She has hurt you in ways most people will never understand mate so boot her the f**k out of your life and put your love into people that deserve you. I don’t believe in much but I do believe in karma and that bus will come for those two eventually. My advice to you though is not to waste your life watching and waiting for it to happen. It gets easier Guy and I won’t lie it is a slow process but the worst day you will have without her will be far better than what you have now. Live your best life with your kids mate because they deserve an awesome dad that puts time and energy into them.

      And I will say it one more time for emphasis. Look at who she is now, what she has done and how she is treating you and your kids. It is disgusting and you need to find the fire to fight for yourself mate because you are better than what she is giving you.

      Chin up Guy and keep reading CL because what you will read on this website is 1000 times more useful than you will find anywhere else.

  • Guy,

    Hmmm, the point CL made about blindsiding cheaterpants (while she’s on cloud 9 and delusional) in order to get a better settlement and custody arrangement might be hampered if you told the AP’s wife right off the bat. Upon being exposed, the AP could balk about running off into the sunset with your wife. In fact, he could bail on the affair and appear to recommit to his wife. No longer on cloud 9, your wife may get nastier than ever and try to fleece you unfairly in a divorce, accuse you of God knows what to get full custody just to be spiteful, etc.

    So the ideal might be if both you and the AP’s wife could scheme to do things on the down low at first to get ducks in a row. But you can’t control what the AP’s spouse does so talk to a lawyer and carefully consider timing.

    The above brings uo another risk of continuing to live with your cheater: ask a few other male chumps here about being falsely accused of domestic violence by their cheating spouses (while the same women physically attacked their chumps).

    I was a dv victims’ advocate and can attest that it’s exceedingly rare for women to prevaricate and fabricate assault. Most reports are real but not taken seriously by authorities and women die because if it. But false reports do occasionally happen. In dv advocacy circles, we detest those types. They muddy the water for everyone. And I can tell you the exact type of woman who fabricates: women like your cheater.

    Established compulsive liar- check.

    Personality disorder– check.

    Flagrant disregard for the welfare, health or lives of others, including their own children– check.

    Places personal and sexual gratification above all other values– check.

    She-creeps exist. And don’t ask me why but personality disordered liars always seem to get more social support for fake victim reports than genuine victims of dv, sexual harassment, etc. Maybe it’s because, while the liar allows one delicate tear to decorously trickle down a powdered cheek as they simper out their fabricated tale of woe, real victims are either ugly crying or quasi-catatonic and just not as charming.

    Anyway, watch your back. You and your kids are in more than just emotional danger.

  • the paralysis is something. i recall listening to my heart beat, the blood swoosh through vessels, the muted thump in my ears. that paralyzed.

    i wonder what a set of measurements on heartbroken folks would uncover. there are heart conditions related to heart break–the Japanese call it Takotsubo cardiomyopathy–but most of us are just stunned. it’s a lot to take in.

    can you imagine rounds? a crowd of doctors around a rumpled bed. “patient Y is 12 days post D-day and exhibiting severe insomnia, rapid weight loss, and, most significantly, muted heart sounds. take a look at her ECG–the QRS is rolling instead of spiking, a sure sign of muting. dx: heart broken. can anyone tell me the treatment protocol? anyone?”

    • One day, while trying to believe a liar, I caught him in another lie. A sort of innocent one but it symbolized to me that he does not understand truth like I do. I was so heartbroken to hear yet more deception even if it was just him rewriting our story in a better light, that I fell into a very deep depression. My heart slowed and became erratic and I got days of chest pain. I am a relatively young, fit woman. This was quite literal heart break. I realized after it was getting worse and I was having a hard time drawing breath that somehow I had to mute my emotions if only to remain alive for my kids.

      • I had this sensation that a poison or electrified micro-pellet had been injected into my blood stream and every time it circled around through my heart it would release a “zap” of either poison or deadly voltage. I realized that the trauma might actually shorten my life. As the one relatively sane parent of young kids, I didn’t have the option of letting this disaster continue.

        • Hell of a Chump, the electrical jolt of heart break makes total sense to me. it’s amazing what our bodies do with our emotions–reframing it so we can be the sane parent is essential.

          it’s a lesson in resilience, as fucking painful as it is.

      • CCinChumptown, i hear you. it’s not a surprise to be struck with palpitations, pain, irregular heart beats. it’s quite literal heart break. i know that feeling.

        i’m in it for my kids, too. onward.

    • I was diagnosed with A-Fib last summer. My treadmill test and my ultrasound showed my heart is structurally sound. Both cardiologists assigned to my case, after speaking with me about what is going on, agree that the stress from what happened to me is absolutely responsible for the onset.

      We are not designed to withstand a sustained state of fight or flight as we experience with infidelity. It floods our system with chatecholamines, which can and does cause the onset of A-Fib.

      Another chronic condition thanks to those motherfuckers.

  • Hi, Guy:

    I remember how awful the pain and shock are in the beginning, and how difficult it is to start taking action. I get that. It’s the worst.

    What you need to do is to start getting angry, and then let that anger drive you in getting your life back. It will be different. But what you can’t see from where you’re standing is that it will also be so much better. You will feel strong, competent, and in the driver’s seat. And you will be able to build your life up, maybe meet someone who makes you happy. Imagine that!

    Dig down deep, get angry, and take action!

  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
    Your mission is to get yourself a good lawyer, divorce her ass and never look back.
    You have a big advantage here, her mask has fallen, you get to see who she really is at her core. Don’t let the love you have for her block the reality of the morally devoid person she actually is. Believe what you know to be true. She does not have your back.
    It doesn’t matter if it works out with this loser or not with their bogus BS mapped out 3 year plan. There will be another loser after him and another and another for the rest of your life with this entitled, superficial woman. It’s who she is!!
    This isn’t her soulmate, it’s another person willing to destroy their family for their own selfish wishes, that’s what they have in common.
    These aren’t quality ppl Guy Chump, these are disordered ones that find one another and detonate bombs on others so they can feel special and entitled.
    I know how the shock of it can leave you in a catatonic state of paralysis. (Boy do I know it!) But you don’t have time to feel right now, back burner the feeling, get angry and stand up for yourself, you are in a battle to save your soul from destruction by this woman. She WILL destroy you!
    Be as uncaring about her as she is of you and your girls.
    Obviously you are not looking to destroy someone, but you are seeking justice for a very big wrong inflicted on you and there is nothing on this earth wrong with defending yourself against abuse.
    Divorce her as quickly as you can. When the trauma settles down and you get to take a deep breath, you will become aware of how many ways she abused you in your life, how you always took the high road and gave her a pass because of the love you had for her.
    I wrote a list coming out of the fog after I went no contact ( so essential!) that is titled. “ The ways he tried to hurt me through the years” and it is 60 pages long on a yellow legal pad. ( 6 years dating and 38 married, so I have a lot of material!)
    Trust that she sucks. She does not have your best interest in mind, cut that cord as fast as you can and believe it to be true. You don’t want her in your life.
    I know how much it hurts, but you didn’t make her that level of selfish, it’s who she is and you can’t fix it.
    You will not lose your family, you will all go through deep turmoil and trauma readjusting to a new reality, but I firmly believe your girls will eventually understand that their mom is a broken human.
    But their dad is someone solid that will always have their backs. That’s the heart of a family, safety, trust and love. Their mother is to into her own journey to care about anyone else. Let her go.
    Glad you got to CL so soon, it’s a big part of the ongoing healing that is tremendously beneficial.
    Good luck to you, lots of deep breaths and be your own best friend. You got this.

  • Be fast, dump her before high school boy dumps her and you get stuck with high school girl. And please dump her before telling his wife because he is going to drop her like a hot potato, kick her out first.
    You are a man, not high school kid and the only high school drama you should be dealing with are related to your beautiful daughters.
    I’m sorry she did not value you, but some people are like that, they change real gold for rust oleum spray gold. You are pure gold, your love for your family proves it. High school boy? Rust oleum.
    Best of luck to you

  • Danger Will Robinson! Danger! One phone call to the cops and you will be dragged out of your own home. The truth does not matter. Sadly, divorce lawyers “suggest” women fabricate false DV charges as a standard legal tactic. Then she will use that against you in the custody battle.

    D-Day, I confronted my XW with unequivocal evidence. She knew the jig was up, so she threatened to call the police and have me removed from my home because I was “upset” (but in no way violent). The smartest thing I’ve ever done was run straight into my teenage son’s room and ask him to be my witness so she could not invent false DV charges. I told her we would never again be alone in the same place, ever. She flipped out, screaming, pounding, throwing things. It was heartbreaking seeing my son realize his evil mom was trying to fuck over his dad. It was pure self-preservation on my part.

    That was the moment I got angry and flipped the script. I had been playing the role of helpless victim, poor me, my soul mate was cheating on me, woe is me, waah. I took control and started calling the shots. I went straight to my lawyers office. I ruined her scam so she moved out that afternoon!

    As a side effect, my kids developed amazing respect for me when I stopped acting like a soy boy and started fighting for myself and them.

    Don’t give her 3 years to plot and scheme and strategize behind your back.

    • (A soy boy ? Guessin’ you don’t order soy lattes or eat veggie burgers 🤣)

      Stellar advice QC. Let’s hope he takes it sooner rather than later.

    • That must’ve been terrifying for you, QC. Meanwhile, my physically abusive (large, gun-carrying) ex made a not-so-veiled threat to call the police on (tiny, nonviolent) me because he has friends in “high” places and is a known Nice Guy. His words, “It wouldn’t be good for you.” He said this after he hurt me. Fucker. The scenario in the Petito case is extremely common, as a recent letter writer (Don’t Call 911) shared.

      No matter their gender, manipulative cheaters do not hesitate to lie and harm others to get what they want. So many of our comments today warn Guy Chump to protect himself and his family, ASAP. I hope these real-life examples help him find the strength to act now.

  • Guy Chump – As you read (and implement) suggestions on next your steps, please keep this in mind.

    Everything you are now being forced to do were options for your wife.

    She could have pursued therapy, she could have consulted with a lawyer, she could have looked at her budget and job skills, she could have arranged her own living arrangement, she could have done all this without fucking someone else or blowing up two families.

    See? Everything you are about to do is what healthy people/parents do.

    Hopefully, you’ve read about grey rock communication. Hopefully, you haven’t shared this Chump Lady blog with her. Time is of the essence. You can do it.

  • I apologize for the bluntness but you need to hear this. You are modeling for your children what relationships are supposed to look like. Are you prepared for the day your son or daughter comes to you totally destroyed by a cheater? Will you be able to look back and say I gave them the best examples of what to do? Can you say to them ” well they fucked someone else and its ok you can repair it”? Can you get your mind to a place where you can look at your wife and not see someone else banging her and in turn fucking up your and your kids lives? Are you able to forgive? Are you able to soldier on wounded beyond reason? Are you going to let her and by proxy him while their feet on you? 3 years,? Fuck that! Pretend she’s asking you to be her stop gap or provider or protector all while hanging by your balls for that 3 years! She may be in “affair fog” or have ” new relationship energy ” or any of that other horseshit Ester and her band of merry fraudsters sell by the quart, the facts still remain that no matter what her problem lusts or feelings are you and your kids are collateral damage to her soon to be detonated shit bomb. The piece of shit low life muthafucker that is her “soul mate ” (another crock of bullshit sold by relationship gurus) doesn’t have the means character or BALLS to blow up his own life like he has assisted your doucheprincess in doing with yours. My man as I’m hardened by my past I implore you to seek legal assistance. I would have blown my stack by now an the shit would have gotten real! I don’t promote violence or dangerous behavior but throw every monkey wrench you can at this bizarre version of “Love Story”. Lawyers are skilled at clearing both “affair fog” and ” pick me dancing, ” dude your kids are watching her get away unscathed and doing incredible harm without consequences. Fuck her up,! Never stick your dick in the meat grinder of her stupidity. Be tge knight in shining armor for you kids

  • You may not see it that way Guy, but this is your chance! If she didn’t stray up tell you you may have been in the dark for years. She gave you a perfectly good reason to get out. She showed you the door AND gave you the key. So now all you have to do is get up and get out. It’s hard when you’re depressed but if not for you, do it for your girls. Talk to people who are knowledgeable and have your back: a therapist, a lawyer, some close friends. That’ll help you get a clearer idea of what is going on. Reframe. You’re clearly the provider, you should be able to keep at least partial custody on your children. Show your girls your spine and kick the bitch out. Good luck!

  • GuyChump,
    I tend to agree with Hell of a Chump above. I’m all for telling the AP’s wife, the other poor chump on the far side of this mess, but since you are here, and clearly suffering, you need to “put your own oxygen mask” on first and hold off dealing with that side — at least for now until you’ve got all your ducks lined up. Don’t tip your hand yet. Allow your cheating wife to think you’ve fallen in line with her insanely selfish plan. Meanwhile, hit the phone. Call your lawyer. Find out your options. Get your situation situated!! Your marriage is over.
    Deal with getting your legals and financials quietly done while your abusive wife is still enjoying her “Ho high” with her cheating accomplice father of five. It’s up to you to stabilize the family home for the intact family of you and your two lovely children who desperately need you to steady and then guide the ship. You’ll feel so much better once you take control of this shitshow. You are feeling beaten down and that is completely understandable however your kids need you to be strong now. This means you have to act. Quietly, get going on this. Get some meds to lift the depression and quell the anxiety. Get therapy – online if necessary. Go or learn about gray rock communication techniques with your wife. Tell her nothing about how you’re feeling “Cool / Bummer / Wow” toolkit for response control. Just get busy sitting out your life. That will eventually sort out your soon to be ex-wife.
    Lots of chumps are over on Reddit…. Come find us. There is always a chump awake somewhere in the world! Lastly – you’ve had the best advice on this thread that you could possibly want. Please take it. The time to act is now.

  • Dear Guy Chump,

    I am so sorry. I used to be you. And I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone but there I was and here you are. “Welcome to the club no one wanted to ever join,” said the online support group I found and I’ll say it to you as well. I went through hell and they helped me out. And they got me to do things I didn’t think I could do and things I didn’t want to do and, to this day, I am grateful, grateful, grateful for all that advice. Listen to the advice here. The posters are right… it will sting but staying where you are–as you are–will kill you. You have to start moving on this and the time to move is now.

    I say I used to be you because your writing sounds an awful lot like my personal testimony used to sound. I was a doormat. My husband walked all over me and I let him. I would cry and stare, dead-eyed, at the wall while my husband told me about the plans he and his AP (GF#1) were making for their new awesome lives. She was his soulmate too. All his girlfriends were his soulmates, including the one he ended up marrying. They’re all soulmates. Well… that word definitely means nothing to me anymore.

    My online support group told me to get up off the floor (even if you don’t feel like it) and to start getting my ducks in a row (even if you don’t feel like it) and to find a lawyer (even if you don’t feel like it) and to keep it all a secret from my husband (even if you don’t feel like it).

    I was advised to begin the separation, to be followed by a divorce. I DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT. I was in love with this man (who treated me like I was gum that he found under his shoe) and I never, ever, ever wanted to be divorced or to be a single parent!! I didn’t want this!!

    Guess what? It wasn’t my choice. My husband made that choice for both of us. I WAS going to be divorced and I WAS going to be a single parent. He set that plan in motion a long time ago. It didn’t matter how much I loved him, how much I didn’t want to be divorced, or how much I didn’t want to be a single parent because it was happening. Destiny was knocking.

    I used to be you because I sat by passively on the sidelines for so long while FW had his affairs and ripped my heart out daily by telling me about his soulmates. I still tried to organize my life and my suffering around him; I made him central. “Would he like it if I did this?” or “Geez, it would really hurt his feelings if I did this…”

    What got me off the floor (where depression had kicked me to and where doormats are usually found anyway) was my children. At some point, the idea was planted in my head that HE was now living in a newly-minted two-parent/two-income household, and I was now living in legal poverty as a single parent with an extremely low income and two dependents… well, this fear that he was going to file for sole custody based on his “better” circumstances entered my brain. The idea that not only had I lost my husband but I could potentially lose my children got me off the floor in a hurry.

    Sobbing, I lined up the ducks. I hired a lawyer. I organized the paperwork. I got my STD tests. I did everything to ensure that my children were not going to be taken away from me. And I did it all while wishing I was dead and praying for my marriage to still somehow miraculously work out because I didn’t want to be divorced. I did it because the idea of losing my children, on top of everything else, was absolutely terrifying.

    Looking at it on a time-line, I did all this (under duress but I did it anyway) *while* he was blissfully in a honeymoon lovey-love-love period with his soulmate AP. During this period, FW was on Cloud Nine. He was “finally living with his soulmate” and his discarded wife (me) had “finally come around to the idea that the marriage was over and we should just all move on and get over it.” THAT is the time to move–even when your heart is breaking. Move while she is in this honeymoon period because–and we will all tell you the same thing–after the cheater comes down off Cloud Nine, they are not generous, happy, or accommodating. They get hard and they get cruel.

    My lawyer (who kept a tissue box on her desk for me whenever I came for a meeting) got me full custody. Not everyone here can say that and I do not, not, not want to come off like I’m bragging. I offer this up to show you what could be (potentially) possible if you move while your cheater is on Cloud Nine and more willing to agree to things just so you’ll “leave her alone to live happily ever after.” I wasn’t expecting to get full custody (I was expecting 50/50 but trying to avoid him getting full custody at all costs), but I asked for it (with the legal stipulation that I would never knowingly block his access to the children if he was interested in spending time with them) and… I got it. He signed off on that right away without fighting it. He was grinning from ear to ear when it signed it too; he was thrilled that I was not blocking him from his “happily ever after” and that I was the one doing all the emotional and legal legwork. He was so happy to get it all behind him and drive home to his true love that he very nearly would have signed anything, so high was he on soulmate bliss.

    He would have NOT signed that same divorce contract later, let me tell you that. But, he was blinded by bliss at the time. That bliss runs out and they get cold and mad. GF#1, it turns out was not his soulmate… or GF#2… right now he’s on GF#3/Wifetress who *is* his soulmate. Doesn’t matter… I secured what was absolutely the most precious thing to me during his honeymoon period of “GF#1 is my soulmate”: my children’s safety.

    In short, I know your heart is broken and you don’t really want to move on this right now. I get it. But move and move now. Get checked for STDs. Gather up the paperwork you’ll need. Find a great lawyer. And don’t let her know that you are doing any of this. Do it while she’s on Cloud Nine with her current soulmate. Because after she’s off of that cloud she will come after you and take what little dignity, resources, and time with your children that you have left. Even though we don’t want to think this about the people we married, whom we still might be in actual love with, remember this: at first, the cheater thinks of you as an obstacle to their happiness but later, you’ll be the enemy of their happiness. Get stuff down in legal writing that favors you while the cheater only thinks of you as an obstacle.

    The good news is that moving on this now gives you something to do. To write up what everyone here (who has been through this hell) has said: move on this NOW and do it for your children. You–and they–are living in Hell right now. Time to walk out of there.

    • “Do it while she’s on Cloud Nine with her current soulmate. Because after she’s off of that cloud she will come after you and take what little dignity, resources, and time with your children that you have left.”

      🎯💯Quoted for emphasis Fourleaf! But everything you wrote here to GuyChump is gold.

    • Excellent advice. I too am a doormat though mine was a classic cake eater who wanted to keep his wife appliance and girlfriend.

    • He deserves whatever shitty thing happens to him for taunting you with his soulmate bliss stories. These people are beyond cruel. Good for you for mobilizing when it was so hard to do so. They take their cruelty as far as they can to the point where we’re so demoralized we can barely move, but you

    • Guy Chump,
      Read & reread CL’a reply & all other posts written for you here today. Then read & reread every.single.word. from Fourleaf.
      IMO, her writing is custom-made gift to you.
      🎁

  • No reason you can’t get custody of the kids, child support and even the family house as it’s easier on the kids. I thought I was going to have to share my two boys but as it turned out, my XW didn’t want to spend any time with them. I had them 95% of the time. Sure, I miss the intact family and splitting holidays stinks, but I’m so much better off than with the cheater they moved into her bed buddy’s place.

    Get out, get better. I promise the other side of this is so much better. FWIW, I’m 7 years out.

    • My uncle was a chump as well. His wife had a lot of secret boyfriends that shortly became not so secret. He was devastated and humiliated. They had children. He got a lawyer and got full custody of them. After he had secured full custody of the children for himself he willingly shared time 50/50 between him and his now XW.

      As he explained it to me, “She went off the deep end. She became a weird and scary alien… perhaps she always was. I fought for full custody of my kids because if she ever… *ever* does anything to hurt them or if she goes off the deep end again then I’m well within my rights to restrict access. But, if that never happens, we’ll go 50/50. I don’t want my kids to grow up to resent me because I never let them see their mother.”

      I thought his approach was very thoughtful and I modelled it for myself when my husband dropped multiple D-Days and APs on me. I wanted full custody “just in case” but I would also never restrict access because that would just backfire on me. Plus, I always admired him for being a pillar of strength for his kiddos while being a divorced, chumped, single Dad.

      I see you out there, chumped Dads. You’re awesome.

      Epilogue: my uncle never restricted access to his kids from his XW (she never did anything over the top that made him fear for their safety) and those kids shared 50/50 time with both parents. They’re adults now and both have chosen to live close to their father; neither one wants anything to do with their mother. But they arrived at that decision themselves without any interference from their Dad.

  • Well, this does it. I’ve followed CN for the last two months, but today I became an official Patron! Your words and wisdom, Tracy, are pure gold. The healing you offer by speaking truth to misery is almost spiritual. As part of my healing from 30 years of abuse, I pledge to donate to this site for every gut punch received during my divorce. Thank you, Tracy! May your coffers grow by leaps and bounds!

  • So AP and WS intend to take the seven children and live in an apartment? Where’s an apartment that big? Buckingham Palace? AP is definitely not planning on leaving his spouse, so it is time for YOU to check your wallet for your man card, pull it out, take your children by their little hands and present yourself and your babies on his doorstep and have a little chat with AP’s wife. Buddy, you need all the allies you can get and I promise you, she’ll be second in line behind your lawyer – who should be the person you chat with next. As my FW, WS said: “They never leave the wife”. I guess he should know. At any rate, you need to take control of your situation. Don’t let depression glue you to the mattress. I promise you will feel better once you go on the attack. While you are waiting, purchase a $3 seam ripper from amazon and set about cutting every third stitch in the seat of all her pants. If she’s going to peddle her a&& all over town, she might as well show it every time she sits or bends over.

    • Do NOT have the little kids accompany you to share the news with your abusive wife’s husband. That’s abuse, in my book.
      The kids will have enough to contend with-parents’ divorce, a disordered parent (their mother).

      • Correction

        Don’t bring your preteen and teen daughters with you to tell the ap’s wife. Their mother is already dragging them through the mud with her behavior.

  • “ so I’ve tentatively agreed to remain together at home under this arbitrary 3 year timeline”

    3… 3 YEARS? Guy, no. No no no. I did that shit for three MONTHS and it nearly killed me. I Deeply regret every second of those three months that I spent in that torturous humiliation. I, too, was desperate to protect my kids, terrified of being alone, horrified at the thought of losing time with my kids. I thought I could tough it out, and either he would come to his senses, or that relationship would fall apart. Wrong wrong wrong. Five years later, I have a wonderful life, and I have my self respect, and a fabulous relationship with my children, whom I have told repeatedly that I regret they saw me sticking around to suffer at the hands of their father, and I would never want them to allow themselves to be treated like that for a second let alone three months. They see their father for who he is and they have my back 100%. They tell me all the time they are glad I got out. Yes, it sucked losing the dream of intact family and lifelong marriage. But I know now I was never going to have that with that guy. And more importantly, I’ve learned that being divorced is not the bottomless pit of pain that I thought it was going to be, but staying would have been. That’s what you gotta get through your head right now: staying is infinitely worse than divorcing. Divorcing is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your children. I promise you it’s true. Please for your children’s sake and your own sake, go see a tiger of a lawyer (on the sly), divorce that narcissist, continue to be the wonderful father you are, and come join us on the other side of this nightmare. I promise, a wonderful life is waiting for you and your kids

    • “ so I’ve tentatively agreed to remain together at home under this arbitrary 3 year timeline”

      I can’t remember, Guy Chump… did you say whether or not you agreed to this on paper and had it notarized or legally officialized somehow…?

      Because, if not… you sure don’t have to keep that promise you made there. Start planning your escape. Serve her papers. Tell her to enjoy her new apartment with her soulmate while you and your lawyer secure the house for you and your daughters to live in. Kick her out.

      Who’s going to complain that you broke your promise? The person who broke their vows?

      For me, my cheater left me twice. Once, I was the one to pack up my babies and leave our place to him (he moved GF#1 in right away and posted selfies of the two of them on bedsheets that he and I had been given as a wedding present) and after D-Day 2, he was the one to move out into GF#3’s house and leave me and my babies in the house (that I had found on my own).

      So, I’ve done it both ways. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you escape. Talk to a lawyer (or several) and figure out what path would be best for you to walk: either leave or kick her out but you do not have to cohabitate with her any longer. Unless you’ve penned yourself into a concrete, notarized contract saying that you *have to* stay at that home with her for three years (sounds like a nightmare) then break that oral promise and escape.

  • Asking a betrayed person to wait around until the cheater and her whore get all set up is just cruel, just the asking is cruel. The betrayed doing it is self inflicted abuse. I understand the self inflicted abuse because most of us did it for a short time hoping for some miracle of winding the clock back. Or the cheater “waking up”. Won’t happen.

    But, my point is just the cheater asking shows who they are, and how sick they are.

  • Guy,
    My heart just bleeds for you. I was in your shoes a few years ago. CL and CN saved me. I read every archived post and her book. It helped me realize that I wasn’t alone in my agony and confusion.

    I put up with terrible abuse, as you are, because I was in such a daze of disbelief. Once you make the decision to SAVE YOURSELF, as you must, it becomes so much better. Please please follow the excellent advice here. If not for you right now, then for your daughters who will need you so much.

    After a year of being told by my now-exh that he had to be with his exgf that he’d started cheating with–she was apparently the love of his life—I finally said, you know what? I’m going to file. It’s me or it’s him. It’s time to let go. It was a real struggle to get to that moment, but once I did everything got easier. It was like I was out in the ocean trying to lift an anchor to swim with it to shore. All that did was exhaust me and take me under. I finally let go and swam to shore and you can too.

    During that terrible year, I kept thinking I could fix things if he came to his senses. I got really stuck on that. I understand now that even if he’d had some incredible epiphany, it never could have worked again. My trust in him was gone forever.

    My life is good now and I’m happy. My sons (who were teens then) are happy now too. I told them at the time that their dad had a girlfriend and that was unacceptable so we would be divorcing. I never said anything else about him. No need to editorialize, his actions spoke for themselves. I’m definitely at MEH about exh. Just wish I hadn’t given him a year to destroy me.

    Is it going to be her or you? Choose YOU.

    You can do this. You deserve to be valued and loved. ((Hugs))

    • “It was like I was out in the ocean trying to lift an anchor to swim with it to shore. All that did was exhaust me and take me under. I finally let go and swam to shore and you can too“

      Beautiful analogy! Yes that’s it exactly. Let go, Guy, let go and swim to shore. You’re drowning right now. Save yourself. For you, and for your children

    • “During that terrible year, I kept thinking I could fix things if he came to his senses. I got really stuck on that. I understand now that even if he’d had some incredible epiphany, it never could have worked again. My trust in him was gone forever.”
      ^^^
      Same and same, Rain Is Gone. Trust and respect was gone, and therefore – my love. And my ex did have an epiphany. It was very convincing. Several, actually. It’s all part of the cycle of abuse. Cheaters believe whatever is convenient. Their epiphanies, just like their commitments and their “love,” mean absolutely nothing. So glad you’re free!

      • Bread&roses, it’s interesting that you say these epiphanies are part of the cycle of abuse. When I was finally coming to my senses I posted a music video on FB that ex realised meant it was over. He was living in his van at the time, but chumpily I was allowing him to come to our house to wash clothes, shower, have a hot dinner. Because I loved him and didn’t want him to suffer. He messaged me to say he’d had a Satori moment (epiphany) and didn’t want to lose me, that he’d got really really angry and didn’t want it to be over. I caved in immediately and he was back in the house. He then told me that in his anger he’d ‘had a flash of ‘she’s not going to be the one to end this’.’ If I’d only recognised that for the desire to control red flag that it was! We had another 9 months of sadness before an incident with my son showed me how it was hurting my children and I told him we were moving and he wasn’t coming with us. Then he was angry again because the caravan he’d been setting up all that time as plan B ‘in case reconciliation doesn’t work out’ wasn’t ready yet. This caravan was in the front yard of the OW’s great friend, and I’m now convinced his weekend ‘alone times’ when he vanished off in his van, was spent with the OW.
        So much cake!

  • Guy-please don’t do this! I was in your shoes, with a spouse who tried to have a retroactive open relationship or something. You are not Plan B! Do what everyone says and stay clear headed, capitalise off her current moment of being in “lurve”. Make it seem like you’re being reasonable to help her to get out. Stay in the house. Get her to agree to things that she wouldn’t normally. Stay calm. Once she figures it out and she’s out on her ass, she will turn and blame you and become a person you won’t recognise. That’s what these fuckwits do. My ex was happy that I kicked him out. Yay! More time with the OW! But then when he had to pay child support, he became and even more abusive asshole. As CL always says, they don’t like consequences. You are making it so nice for your wife that, why would she leave? It’s so much nicer to stick around and take advantage of you and use your money.
    Guy, take it from each and every one of us here, with love, get the fuck out of your marriage. It’s over – she’s not the person you thought she was.

  • Guy Chump,
    Even if you’re not sure yet you want to divorce, please see an attorney just to protect your kids. Your wife isn’t thinking clearly, and that will probably put you all in financial jeopardy. Get a perspective check. Also, financial and legal advice will improve your position, even if you still want to go through 3 years of the AP calling the shots.

  • ‘You are alone. You’re worse than alone. You’re being abused and continually devalued. And you’re taking it. Every day. Solo life is summer picnic compared with this.’

    This. Spot on. I stayed on to protect my kid, initially hoping that FW would come to his senses, it took a long while for me to admit to myself that he wasn’t out of his mind and had deliberately chosen to destroy our world. In the end I got a fairish settlement, but I won’t get those years of waiting back, and putting up with all kinds of abuse made it really hard for me to climb back up and take control of my life.
    Don’t make the same mistake. When it’s all over you’ll look back with relief.

  • Guy.
    Lots of advice. Just want you to know that you are NOT alone. I am here, thanks to my XW.

    Life will get better. Your stock will trade high with women that will VALUE you for your family values.

    Come here for support. Hugs to you.

  • I see how I used to think reflected so strongly in this. Everything CL says is true. All her advice is rock solid. See a lawyer. Make a plan focused on yourself and the kids. Enact that plan. She doesn’t get a say in that plan; don’t let her manipulate you. Tell the wife of the AP so she is given the chance to escape her abusive relationship. What she doesn’t know will hurt her: https://hopeforspouses.com/dont-know-will-hurt/

  • My heart breaks for you but the most healthy thing you can do for your children is get healthy yourself and that means immediately start proceedings and get your ducks in a row. This person is not a person you know but a complete alien. I still wake up in disbelief but I had to accept it as reality. I will never understand it.

    Learn words like modified no contact and parallel parenting. Yes, I did try coparenting with a fuckwit. Learn acronyms like JADE, BIFF, CRAP, and DARVO. This is a long difficult journey, but the sooner you start it, the sooner you and your kids can heal.

      • JADE- Don’t justify argue deny or explain when our on the defense by a narcissist or person who derails the conversation. Don’t engage.

        CRAP – narcissists criticize reject abandon or punish to manipulate or gain power or control over others.

  • So sorry Chump Guy but even if it ends with your wife and the other man, your marriage is toast. Get going on the divorce while she thinks she stands a chance of ending up with the jerk. Once the other man dumps her and he will dump her (oh he may leave his wife eventually but not for your cheater wife) she will get nasty and take it out on you. She will see you as the person that blocked her from being with the one she loves and really hate you for it. You see her life has not changed…she depends on someone else to pick up the slack (that would be you) so she can afford to live in fantasy land. Once she is burdened with reality (bills, no money) she’ll want major spousal support and everything else. Get out now and get into therapy.

    • One of the few wise things columnist Dan Savage aka Mr. Monogamish says is couples should discuss pro- or anti-vaccination before they think of getting married and having kids. A dealbreaker in my book.

  • Guy,

    Your kids deserve better than a check-out mother who prioritizes her lover and his kids over her own. They deserve better than a father who is paralyzed and bullied by their mother.

    You don’t want to lose your kids? Fight for custody. Be the sane, active, involved parent. Get into individual therapy so you can deal with the depression. Find a therapist who understands that cheating is abuse.

    You are sucking on the hopium pipe, with the idea that your wife will come to her senses in 3 years. Chances are her lover is enjoying the cake and doesn’t want to pay child support for 5 kids. So you will forever be dancing to his tune. That’s a terrible way to live.

    It may not have occurred to you, but you need to establish what is acceptable to YOU, and if you have any thought that the marriage can be saved, it will probably take a year or two APART for you to see your wife clearly—and to see how badly she’s abusing you and the kids. Imagine your goal as filing for divorce, getting majority custody, and getting your self-efficacy back. (Self-esteem follows self-efficacy, in this case, standing up for yourself, driving your own life, being the champion for your kids, and embracing your ability to manage your life as a divorced person.

    You can do this. I think you wrote to Chump Lady because some part of you knows you are allowing these two selfish people to destroy you. Don’t let that happen. Your wife has checked out on you and the kids. (She wants them because CHILD SUPPORT.) You need to put on your mighty Papa Bear self.

  • Guy Chump,
    Let me warn you the future looks like. She has already devalued you sexually. It often gets worse. For instance, this comment: https://www.chumplady.com/2014/12/anti-cheating-doesnt-mean-youre-not-sex-positive/#comment-118747. Just brace yourself that your wife might get cruel when her house of cards comes down. There’s no cruelty like intimate betrayal. Oddly, it creates trauma bonds, leaves you cuddled on floor, and makes it even harder to leave.

    It might sound reasonable that “this can’t last” means that you’ll keep your family when the AP will dumps her, and she comes to her senses. Sure, some dignity loss, but you get to keep your family together. Sounds like a worthwhile trade off? It doesn’t work for others, but it might work for you since you have such reasonable(small) expectations. That is the dark side whispering, depression, paralysis. I hope you don’t find out the hard way. She might just turn cruel instead, and knock you down further.

  • Here are your important things to do.
    Buy anything that can record any conversation you have with her. Never be without it.
    See an attorney. Take care of your money.
    Tell the other spouse asap. She needs you as her advocate. It might save her years of being lied to.
    See a dr for tests and, if needed, something to help you sleep
    Stay off alcohol and any drugs not prescribed
    Find a buddy to help you
    Come here and read. You will find great wisdom and some needed humor. CL is a genius.

  • Guy Chump, it seems pretty clear that your cheating wife is headed for the karma bus, no matter which road she takes. Unfortunately, this isn’t what you’re looking for; seems you just want for your kids to be okay and your life and family to remain intact. I always appreciate how CL reframes this problem, and today’s response is excellent as always.

    I am struck by more than the recklessness of pandemic cheaters like your wife. They are soulless and shallow. When we are all facing our own mortality and struggling to get through every day, these cheaters turn their backs on their nearest and dearest. Rather than feeling compelled to love and protect, they are fixated in on cake. Makes me think of the chumps who post here about being discarded when pregnant, sick with cancer, or grieving.

    Cheaters are incapable of love and will abandon when needed most. Guaranteed. Good riddens. You may not fully feel this way yet, but get free and give it a year. I am with the chorus of other chumps who say that getting out of the abusive dynamic is the only way your nervous system will have a fighting chance at settling down. I was a wreck for as long as I stayed in contact with my ex, and I remember that time like a confusing nightmare. It nearly killed me to let go, and now, I wouldn’t go back if my life depended on it. Have faith, Guy.

  • Guy,

    Time heals, but you haven’t started the clock yet. You need to send her on her way, divorce her, and fight for your children to be with the sane parent. Trust me, you will survive. You and your children will survive. Your family and allegiance is with your children. Please accept that she is not who your brain thinks she is, and run like the dickens.

    Draw a circle of positivity around yourself, and your children. Lean into your future without the cheater. And, no contact, or at least gray rock contact, is the way to go. She is not going to “pick” you, and if she does, from experience I can say that it is almost impossible to ever feel the same way again, and you will never trust her. She is brazen with her bullshit, which is a giant red flag of her lack of empathy. Show her the door, but retain an attorney first, and get his/her counsel before you start changing locks, etc.

    Your children may need therapy, as their lives have also been yanked upside down. You need some good counseling, and a lawyer. If you have close family, confide in them so that you are not bottling this up out of shame. The only shameful people are these two cheaters.

  • And after you file tell everyone that can be a source of support. They all want you to be quiet. We become as sick as our secrets, don’t keep her secret.

  • Sweetie, his kids are 7 years old. He is not telling his wife in 3 years when they are just 10 if he wants them all to be in high-school when he leaves. He is indeed lying and stringing your wife along and maybe, just maybe, he might be with her when his youngest kids are in high-school. That’s another 7 miserable years. Are you going to live those years in this awful limbo, hoping he’ll tire of her and end it? He very well might, but even if he does and your wife decides to stick with plan b (that being continuing to use you while looking for another “soul mate” AP who will be free to financially support her disgusting whoring ass), you’ll be with a person who treats you abominably and is going to leave eventually. Don’t let her do it on her terms. You’re the injured party, so she should leave on your terms. She’s cheating right in your face and expecting you to tolerate many years of her waiting for her affair partner to leave his wife while she continues to fuck him. My God, the arrogance of this bitch! She’s utterly delusional as well. This guy is using her. Soul mate? Give me a break, he’s just a pig at the cake trough, gobbling up the rewards of marriage while he fucks other women and lies to both wife and AP. He’s not unhappily married, he’s happily a cheater. This is not his first rodeo, by the sound of it. He sounds well experienced in the art of manipulating silly bints like your wife, filling her empty head with fantasies of a perfect, everlasting love so she’ll continue to spread her legs. She is not emotionally mature or smart enough to understand that this is just standard cheaterpants bullshit.

    Look, I don’t know where you live, but most places 50/50 custody is standard. So you won’t lose the kids. See a lawyer. She cannot run off to some shithole apartment with your kids and cut you out. You have legal rights. Exercise them and dump this asshole. You can’t force her to leave the family home, but you can tell her to get the fuck out or you won’t give her a dime in support to pay for her apartment, but if she does and agrees to a 60/40 custody split in your favor (or whatever you prefer) you’ll make it easier on her financially and not fight her in court. She can’t afford a good lawyer or even a lawyer at all on her own, so the prospect of a court battle will likely scare the shit out of her. She arrogantly assumes you’ll just go along with her crazy plan? Oh hell no. Check with your lawyer about all this first. Also, in some jurisdictions the longer you stay with her, the longer you’ll be expected to pay spousal support. You need legal advice ASAP.

    This horrid woman does not love you and is abusing you, my friend. Stand up for yourself, your rights, and your children’s future. Do you want them living in some rathole with an AP? That’s what she plans, and if it’s not with this guy, she’ll find another and expect you to fund her new life.

    Look, there are loads of good women out there (including me!) who would love the opportunity to treat a good man like you as he should be treated The sooner you dump the cheater and get her out of your head, the closer you’ll be to a healthy, reciprocal relationship instead of the slavery she’s got you under. You are never going to get her back as a wife in anything but name only, but why would you even want her back? She absolutely, unequivocally SUCKS. Internalize that and you can get free of her.
    I’m so sorry she has done this to you. You deserve so much better.

  • Cuckold…..look that term up if you don’t know what it means. NO FREAKING WAY do you support her while another man waits in the wings. Get a lawyer NOW!!! Have some dignity even if you cry in the corner every night till you figure it out…….at least do that. She needs to move out now. That’s what she wants right?!?! It’s so hard to process it all at once I know, so take it in steps. What do you do when you have cancer? Cut it out!!! Go from there. Get the lawyer first…..she’s actually been dumb enough to give you that time.

  • Guy Chump,

    All these heartfelt responses and you have nothing to say in return? You “need help and guidance” but you don’t appear to be taking any of that stuff in. It’s hard to help you if what you want is to hear that it’s a great idea to spend years waiting around to see if your wife’s lover is going to leave his family. It would be good to hear what you have to say about the unanimous advice to file for divorce.

        • Keep us updated whenever you can, Guy. We’re worried about you and, yes, we are those (anonymous internet) friends who are going to keep telling you what you don’t want to hear.

          I am (mostly) on the other side of Hell and I never would have gotten out of Hell if I stayed put.

          What have you done today to start crawling out of Hell? Phoned a lawyer? Had a healthy, good meal? Booked an appointment with your doctor to check your health? Booked an appointment with your doctor to discuss your medication and if you need to change based on your current situation/symptoms? Decided on a potential ally to prop you up, cheer you on, and maybe even drive you to those unhappy appointments? Maybe even just started gathering up some file folders in preparation to start photocopying and printing out important documents for later? Started drinking more water?

          I kid you not. One day I forced myself to eat a pudding cup. And that was it. That was all I could do to move forward that day. But I counted it as a victory because I realized that I hadn’t eaten for a few days.

          Check in when you can; we’re worried about you.

  • Guy,

    My sense from your letter is that you don’t have people around you to tell you what the experienced, kind, fellow chumps here are telling you. This is just a guess on my part, but I wonder if you’re in a situation like I’m still emerging from, where almost all my close relationships had a power imbalance I was unaware of because I’ve never known anything different. You may not have anyone on your team.

    My last boyfriend never really showed any real pain to have lost me, and still wants to act as though he’s the greatest guy, even though I broke up with him because he showed such weak boundaries with women. He told me “maybe we can try again in a year or two” — like, after he’d explored what he wanted with other women. The messed up attachment is so strong, that I still have to use my faith and intellect and maturity to just gently rein in my puppy-like heart that still jumps up when I see him. I keep coming back to CN.

    After distancing from him, and beginning to grow and believe that I deserved to be treated well, my other “close” relationships began to show their cracks, because they weren’t built on respect-for-Magnolia. They were built on people believing they were such awesome generous souls for spending their precious time with poor me (both I and they believed that). I lost the two “closest” women friends I had in the world last year about this time: one lied to me to get out of a promise to stay in a COVID bubble so she could go to a party with lots of people, then wanted to get back into our bubble once party season was done; the other dumped me after a couple of years of me voicing desires to address tensions and be closer (also after me taking her back, because she cried, after I’d ended my friendship with her for her shitty, cold, absent treatment of me during a tough time).

    I finally found myself really psychologically alone, without the people I called close. I was in that proverbial apartment all alone, like you imagine. I won’t lie; it is hard. But it is absolutely better than still being in the fog of people treating me like shit and calling it ice cream.

    I would have said before that I know I deserve better, but knowing and believing are two different things. It’s impossible to act in the world and get what you need and want when you don’t yet *feel* your own worth and all the valuable things in your body and mind that you bring into a room. My FOO stuff means that I didn’t ever learn from anyone that I brought valuable things into a room (oh, except money I brought home, or chores I could do, or prestige from report cards/awards/public status). But a person’s honesty, kindness, genuineness, perceptions, voice, etc are all beyond precious. Not everyone knows this. Sounds like you don’t know this about yourself and are around people who don’t know it about you and can’t reflect your own value back to you.

    You have to learn to feel it yourself. You have to get away from a person who shows you with her actions that she does not care that she has damaged your trust and that your kindness is just something for her to use. You need to spend time talking with yourself and supporting yourself so you become both supporter and supported to yourself, and you’ll learn what a good person you are.

    My vote is for team alone in an apartment! Decorate it nicely, light some candles, play some jazz-funk and make pizza with your kids. Take the time to learn who you are and the good people will come into view.

    .

    • My vote is also for Team Alone in an Apartment. I had to break off from my cheater after the first D Day. With babies in tow, I found a new place I could afford for us to live in, which ended up being a dumpy little shack that the previous owners didn’t maintain very well. FW got to keep our previous family home all to himself (he immediately moved his GF in). The new place the kids and I moved into was run down, low income, leaked, and only had one bedroom which the kids got (I slept in the living room). That place sucked and I was depressed and humiliated that I had ended up there. You know what else?

      I loved that dumpy little shack. It was independence. It was peace. It was my own space with no eggshells to walk around. I could finally breathe again.

      Get out of the poisoned situation you are in. If that means finding a new place to live then find a new place to live! Make it your own. It may be the best decision you ever make for yourself.

    • I vote for CheaterWife moving to the apartment, since there is no way she can maintain the family home financially.

  • Dear Guy

    Fellow male UK chump here and I feel your pain, my circumstances are very, very similar to yours. Please, please listen to Chump Lady, get a lawyer and some how get her out as soon as possible.
    Once she realises its hard to manage on her own with no or low income, she will come after your income, this isn’t the same as wanting you! She has already shown she has no morals and is willing to sacrifice 2 families financial security and happiness for her own. She will have no problems taking all your money if she can. If you need a chat or advice let me know.

    Chumpchamp

  • Dear Guy,
    your story sounds so familiar and similar to mine, I too did not want to be on my own and suggested co-parenting in the hope that it would fizzle out and if I did enough pick me dancing, counselling together etc. she would see what she has got in me … she too announced 4 month after D-day she would move in with her Twu Wuv … I too was more concerned about her (and her financial status) and what it would mean if her Twu Wuv would not follow through … in my case the children are older (on both sides), but aside from that very similar;

    First of all no surprise about how you feel, your entire life has just been upended, emotionally, financially socially – everything you have built and invested in has been uprooted;

    Secondly, don’t beat yourself up about hoping that this could work out between you and your wife … it shows that you have been deeply invested, it shows that you care, these are good qualities.

    However here are my top tips to get through this and what I think you need to do to get to a better place

    Self Care
    1. Tell some friends you can trust and rely on of what happened, not just one but multiple … explain to them what your wife has said to you, how you feel, what you are planning to do … get support from your friends and family, any invitation you get, take it up, even if you do not feel like doing anything – make yourself solcialize and go out – this will slowly but surely show you that there is life after D-Day … my friends and family support have been key to getting better;

    2. Take up a new hobby or re-start an old hobby … again make sure you spend time on yourself and doing something that you enjoy … even if you don’t feel like it – do it, life and enjoyment will come back;

    3. Get a good therapist, one that can help you process some of the abuse and devaluing you experienced, someone who will help you to think straight again and help you give back a healthy sense of self – you are very likely extremely confused by what happened and will have a lot of unhealthy and unrealistic thoughts about yourself and reality in general – unfortunately Gas Lighting and lies do that to a person;

    Children
    1. Under no circumstances use them against your wife, do not use them as a bargaining chip, do not speak badly or devalue your X in front of them, when the time comes you can explain to them in age appropriate terms what is happening and why … discuss how this should be done with a Therapist;

    2. Support them through it … keep doing the things with them that you would normally do – try and enjoy time with them, gently try and gage where they are at (you did not say if they knew anything of what is going on), be the rock for them, everything is changing for them, so if they can perceive you as still being there for them, dependable solid they will have something to hold on to as the sands underneath their feet are shifting

    Legal
    1. Start getting legal advice, prepare for divorce (I know you do not want to hear that right now – but it is inevitable), get all the paperwork prepared, assets, income, potential spousal benefit payments you have to make, the child benefit payments you have to make etc. also get advice on if you can evict her from the home (you may have to help with payments for the apartment, but it also means that she may have to find full time employment before she can actually claim any payments)

    2. Based on the legal advice and finance draw up a personal financial plan – there is a lot to think about going forward (housing, what you can afford etc.)

    3. Depending where you live, try and get custody or at least joint custody of the children – here in the UK that should not be a problem, courts take the welfare of the children as top priority and seeing both parents is considered to be fundamental for the welfare of the children (in normal circumstances)

    The X
    1. Don’t engage in any discussions with her about her plans about her future or about your relationship (usually it simply ends up you feeling more shit about yourself – let me guess she already told you that it is (at least partially) your fault that she is having an affair).
    2. Don’t tell her about you getting legal advice
    After legal advice:
    3. Suggest to her that she needs to move out (Again dependant where you live, but in the UK you can not be forced out of your home – I assume it is jointly owned – but your legal advice will be able to help)
    4. Suggest that she needs to pull her weight financially and get full time employment

    None of this will be easy – it will most likely be the most painful and difficult period of your live … but there is light at the end of the tunnel, you need to get into the mindset that you are no longer under any obligations to your wife … every decision from now on is determined by 2 things only – your children’s wellbeing and your wellbeing, your wife’s “wellbeing” should only factor in as far as it affects the children’s wellbeing;

    • ThankGoditsOver the law in the Uk is fair but not always applied fairly, when one partner has not worked the system tends to sympathise with them. Our Caffcass officer actually told the children it would be Daddy moving out of the family home and the court fully accepted her statement that she couldn’t work(even though she was, cash in hand) and that I had to continue to work more than full-time and way beyond my planned retirement age to fund the 70/30 split of the equity in the house.
      Dont get me wrong am very glad that I now see her true colours and will be better off mentally and emotionally in the long run, and I know others have it far worse, but the financial cost is high.

  • Good morning everyone. I wanted to thank you all for your input and compassion as it relates to my situation I’m going through. I have dealt with anxiety and depression and have for some time, well before any of this life event came to be so having this rear it’s ugly head has just added so much hurt and fear to my life that I have had a hard time coping. I wish I could be one of those men I hear from who seem to easily get moving and kick the wife out or begin the divorce process immediately and maybe don’t look back. Sadly, at least at the moment that is not me. This affair and loss has shaken me to my core and has for the 5 months I’ve known. I’ve not had a calm day in that time frame and have lost quite a bit of weight, I don’t always remember to take care of myself forgetting to change my clothes from day to day or skipping showers. I’m overlooking paying bills and my work is suffering and sadly and frighteningly I’ve felt at times maybe not living would be easier than this pain I can’t seem to get rid of. I need help, real help to get through this. I’m on a wait list at my local hospital to enter into an IOP program which is intensive outpatient psychotherapy to try and help me get back on track. As I understand it, it’s a program from 9 to 1 pm every day for 10 days straight with a team of professionals and group sessions to try and address the anxiety and depression from both a talk and pharmaceutical perspective. I have my fingers crossed I can get in and get help. I’m praying that once I have this treatment it will give me to strength and tools I need to use to get done what needs to be done.

    I love my family and I love my wife, even if she’s gone outside the marriage. It hurts, its a very painful time I’m
    Having that I can’t walk myself out of or sleep off or just wish away. I can’t even sleep without dreaming about it and at times I wake up having panic attacks.

    Again, everyone has given great advice and I can see what I need to do for next steps. As it’s come up a lot in messages as suggestions, I would love to find out who my wife’s affair partner is and then be able to reach out to his wife to tell her what I know is going on but I’m having a lot of trouble finding out any data about him. I am the owner of our families cellular account but when I look at numbers that call my wife’s phone or she calls out too, no odd or repeated numbers come up. Honestly as I’ve sat and watched her, 99% of her interactions with him come via text on her iPad. The texting as far as I know does not show up on our Verizon bill and I get even less data on the bill from her iPad activity then I do from her iPhone so I’ve very little to go on. I don’t have the six digit code to get into her iPad so unless someone knows a way around it, I can’t get in. My wife does not see this man very often Bc the times he can see her are times he has to sneak off from his wife and 5 kids which seems to be limited. When then do meet up, at least since I’ve known about the affair it’s quick hour to 90 minute meet ups where he will text her he can get away and they both drive somewhere to be together and then she will come home. On occasion she will have a night out, maybe once a month which I suspect are with him when he convinces his wife he’s going out with friends. At times I will know about these dates a few days in advance and I’ve asked a good friend out here to l, the next time she does this, to follow her and see if he can’t get a photo, a license plate number or any data on this guy that I can use to look him up.

    I just want to say in closing my wife has been a wonderful and caring mother and spouse for the many years we have been together and as painful and horrible as this current situation has been, I do take blame in getting her to this point to some degree. I am not perfect and take stock in likely not being the best husband she could have had at her side over there last 2 decades. I could have and should have done more, been more affectionate and loving and seen the signs and been much more proactive so I think as much as her affair hurts me I also have a lot of guilt for not being a better man myself and for letting her down as well. I think this is a big reason why I don’t want to let her go and that I want to show her I can be the compassionate and caring partner she needs. So while I’m clearly in pain and upset about her stepping out on the marriage I admit I am not blameless and could have been a better man. A better husband and life partner.

    • Guy Chump, don’t waste any time on the AP or his chump wife. You cannot win this rigged pick-me dance for your wife’s brand of love.

      Either her cheating is okay with you or it’s not. If it’s not, lawyer up.

      You can build a better life without someone who’s literally making you sick and destroying your mental well-being. It’s scary, yes. But the life beyond a cheater is a million times better.

      • Agreed. You have your hands full with your own journey right now. Forget about the AP. He’s not worthy of your focus right now.

    • You didn’t cause her affair. That’s just your excuse to try and stay in this. Right now you are your own worst enemy. Unless your mindset changes you’ll get more of what you’ve gotten.

    • Guy, very glad you’re active here on the site! Every one of us knows we could have been a better person during our marriages/partnerships. Nobody here is perfect. But NONE of that is any excuse or reason for our partners to lie, betray, deceive and turn us into Plan B appliances. Cheating is not a response to unhappiness, loneliness or dissatisfaction with your partner. It is a character flaw. Please read up on Trust That They Suck. Just like me, probably you could have done better. But if our spouses were truly committed to and bonded with us, they could never have hurt us the way they did. Don’t get lost in the might-have-beens. Look squarely at the situation today. Is she treating you honestly, compassionately and with respect? No. Why? Because she can, because that’s her nature. She has chosen this. She could have done things differently. Never blame yourself for cheating, it is 100% NOT YOUR FAULT.
      Many many best wishes to you and your girls in this awful situation, Guy. And please keep reading and posting. ❤

      • Oh and please read up on the pick-me dance because it looks like that’s the way you’re headed, Guy. Heart-breakingly, you can never be ‘good enough’ for her because she doesn’t want what you offer. More importantly, she is not good enough for you because she is a cheater. I was married to a ‘good guy’ for 23 years and nobody, but nobody saw it coming that he’d devalue, discard and leave me and his kids for someone half my age that he’d known for 3 years. It happens.

    • Chump Guy, she is not going to get better; she’s going to get worse. Ask me how I know. Ask anyone here how we know.

      Ask your future self, who looks back and wishes you would have advocated for yourself sooner, how you know.

      It doesn’t matter that you love her. She doesn’t love you. I loved my husband too and I still began the process of divorcing him *while I was in love with him and while he was living with his mistress.* It’s hell but it can be done. If I can do it, you can do it.

      It sounds like you’re getting more medical/psychiatric help. That’s good. That’s moving forward. Clearly you are nowhere near admitting what you already know to be true–that you are already a divorced man–so take victories where you can get them. Getting physical and mental help is good. It will get you on the road and get you moving towards…. let’s be honest… towards what you know you need to do.

      Be thankful that your soon-to-be-exwife is a good mother. That’s good. Be angry that she’s a horrible spouse. Speaking of which, have you had your STD tests yet? Your health is important; don’t gamble with it by letting something fester.

      Keep coming back. We will kick you in the butt (when I was you I needed a hard kick in the butt!), not tell you what you want to hear which is “just do nothing; that’s all you are capable of doing right now.”

      You are capable of so much more. You know this.

      Get the physical and mental help you need first. Rally yourself for the days ahead.

    • I really understand all these instincts. I could send you reams of journal entries and poetry that would attest to that fact. (I was also depressed unknown to me before the bombs started dropping of which I was completely oblivious. I thought it was just one twu luv and I was very wrong. He had been unfaithful throughout our marriage. I would have never guessed. He’s very good at enlisting sympathy from me) And if the only way you can grow right now is through healing your own wounds and trauma then I applaud you. Just keep building yourself. I would humbly suggest that you let go of any hope that you and your wife get back together. Just embrace what is real about your relationship with her (such as it is) and co-parent. Don’t get drawn into her drama. Don’t feather her nest. Just exist in parallel and quite frankly this is an AWEFUL way to live but if it’s all you can muster at the moment, so be it. Also YOU belong HERE. You have been wronged. Maybe you don’t entirely want to subscribe to that yet but we’ll wait. When you are tempted to make her feel special, try to reign in that energy and do something for you and your kids. You don’t have to be cruel but you do need to develop authentic compassion for yourself. You really do deserve better. Once again, hugs.

    • Guy,

      THIS ISN’T YOUR FAULT! No one on this planet is the perfect spouse. We all have faults. Nothing you did, or didn’t do, would have forced her to have an affair, or stopped her from starting an affair. NOTHING. She is gaslighting you. If she is so unhappy about your marriage, SHE WOULD LEAVE, regardless of whether she has someone lined up or not. A lot of people get divorces because they are unhappy…that happens. But she’s not doing that. Your wife is an immoral person. She may not have always been that way, but she is NOW. You don’t want to be married to someone who has those types of ethics, morals, or character. The person you love is the person you remember her to be. You don’t love the person she is NOW.

      If you don’t take your life into your own hands, it will hurt not only you, but your kids as well. Take the reigns!

      • “Your wife is an immoral person. She may not have always been that way, but she is NOW”

        100% spot on SS. I had great trouble recognizing this as well. I don’t think my EW was always like this but she is NOW.

        My favorite bit is how she tells me she is now an empath….that has hurt and destroyed everything and everyone around her. Substitute the word vampire for empath and that would be about right!

        You will get spoon fed a lot of shit about how “special” they are now. Soul mates, she’s an untrained medium, they are both “light warriors” fighting a global conspiracy of paedeophiles trying to depopulate the planet (try co-parenting with someone that it turns out is a hard core QANON nut job).

    • Sorry that you’re in a mirage.

      Sorry that you still think there is something worth saving.

      Sorry that you are looking at your shortcomings as the reason for the failure of the marriage.

      Sorry that you have been duped and conned (like many of us here) and you cannot see your way clear from your delusion that you have a marriage worth saving.

      The sooner you realize that you do not have a unicorn the better your life and your children’s life is going to be.

      You will make many mistakes because of your state of mind.

      If you give your wife your power she will use it against you until you are left homeless and children less and destitute.

      One reason for depression is living with a person who is disempowering to you and you fail to make the connection.

      Keep coming back here. Its a place you can get your head screwed on straight.

      I like shrink4men dot com

  • Guy Chump, I just want to hug and hug and hug and hug you. You came to the right place. I know my fuckwit wanted this same arrangement from me. It is cake with an extra layer of abuse. You’re not broken, you are in the very thick of truly vicious abuse. I’d also like to comment that your spouse appears to be truly stupid.

    If nothing else, don’t model the acceptance of abuse to your sons/daughters. Your spouse is already modeling how to be a great perpetrator. And don’t collude in the abuse of chump wife.

    Lawyer up and kick wife out. Be mighty! Keep us posted.

  • Stop being her chump. Set your kids down and tell them the truth. Your mommy has a boyfriend his name is ***** ******. We can’t be married anymore. She can’t take your kids away from you. 50% custody is the norm. At their age they may want to stay with you 100%.

    Seek out a good dive lawyer. Find out If adultery is applicable in your state.

    Dump a cheater and gain a life. Stop being helpless. You aren’t unless you choose to be.

    • Guy: Remember someone has to be the sane parent for your children, someone has to put them first. Glad you are going to get some medical help, etc. You need to recover enough to do what is best for your children. Also do you have friends and relatives who can help you if you need them. Take some of the great advice on this site and start protecting yourself and children. Your wife only loves herself and the thrill of cheating, triangulation, etc. Nothing about cheating is consistent with love for a spouse and children. NOTHING! No matter how good things were with your spouse in the past, this situation is impossible. There is no reciprocity of your love or anything you are doing. When someone cheats, etc. and asks their spouse to keep on living with them for three years until lover boy can be free that is a DEAL BREAKER. She is asking for you to support her, provide housing, etc. until lover boy is free. He will never be free. When he is gone she will find someone else. This sounds harsh but it is reality. In most cases once a cheater, always a cheater. It is quite a painful life to try to live with a cheater. Get better so you can be the sane parent! You need to model good behavior for them. Things will never get better as long as you are with your wife. Cheaters lie and Liars cheat. You certainly do not want your kids living with lover boy if he ever gets free and have him model behavior for them. He is not a prize. Married and cheating with a married woman and thinking of no one but himself–not his kids or yours. Your kids do not need to see someone (you) modeling the behavior that abuse is acceptable. Your wife is abusing you and your kids. Sorry but that is what cheating is ABUSE. Get help and do what is best for you and your children. Best of luck to you. Keep reading CL and CN and accept the support that is available here.

  • Guy,

    Four years ago I couldn’t start my day without reading this blog. Today, I go for months. Because, as everyone else has alluded to…things can and will get better without the albatross (cheater).

    The thing about your post that resonated the most to me was your kids. Here’s my advice. Do not model dysfunction for them. Boys or girls, this situation is not okay! It is not okay for them to think all is well when your spouse abandons the relationship. It is not okay to just sit back and take that. Model strength for your kids; never accept being treated as a doormat.

    My daughter was 14 when her father left for his 8th grade girlfriend. There was no chance that, in front of her, I was going to fall apart. I didn’t and don’t want her to think that women are anything but in control of their own destinies. I would and will sacrifice my short-term happiness for her long-term happiness. Period.

    Btw, I survived an ugly and protracted divorce… because I did exactly what chump lady said… I got a lawyer, a good one.

    Is my life different now? Lol, yes. In many, many ways. Numero uno being I don’t have the stress of living with a cheater. I have peace…and that is what my daughter feels and chooses every time over the chaos that is her father’s life. He has reaped what he has sown. Not my monkey, not my circus.

    Meh.

    Trust CL.

    HUGS.

  • Guy, you didn’t make your wife cheat on you. You don’t have this much power. That’s the first tough lesson I had to learn from Chump Lady too. Cheaters are also master liars and manipulators. Right now your wife is using all the tools in her box to devalue you because it makes it easier for her to manipulate you and get what she wants. I too thought that my husband was a great guy until he walked out. That was *after* years of put downs and abandonment and a whole year of discard. The worst was that I was getting blamed for symptoms that he caused, being hyper vigilant and tired all the time, because I was overworked and depressed. The problem is that I couldn’t see it until I was no longer in contact with him. It took me months of no contact to finally see things clearly and get out of my depression. You do need therapy and you need to get better informed about narcissism and narcissistic abuse. It can take many forms but my guess is that you are dealing with a covert narcissist, which is harder to pin down. Read LACGAL, Cheating in a Nutshell and the covert passive aggressive narcissist by Debbie Mirza to start. One step at a time. You can do this.

    • And FYI 4 years ago I found CL and kept coming because I needed to read all the stories here to know that I wasn’t crazy. You’re in the right place, keep coming here. You’re not crazy, you are just in a crazy making situation. Also you are not alone, there are millions of us.

      Take care.

    • Yes, yes, and yes. This is the mindfuck that keeps on giving. The idea that a person who is being held hostage by lies and deceit, often robbed of knowledge snd free will to choose — think a bank robbery — after which, the criminals have the audacity, (sanctioned by cultural legitimacy of infidelity, “Oh, well. Yawn. Move on.”), to say the victims are agitated, crazy, and hypervigilant. As someone who escaped two months ago, I second the need for a safe spot in which to understand the nature of this imprisonment. The only saving grace is that I’m now filled with compassion. Long-winded, I know, but my rage is running overtime.

      • Yep.

        I have gone on to live a content successful life. I am loved by a wonderful man who I love back.

        But, knowing that I made life decisions for 20 years based on lies and deceit. Big decisions all went his way, and I was ok with it mostly because I thought I was making decisions based on a solid marriage. I wasn’t, he was making decisions on the truth that only he and his whore(s) knew about.

        I loved the first house we lived in, and he convinced me to sell it and buy a lesser house so that our son could go to the same grade school he did. Was it really about the grade school, or was it because it freed up more money for him and his whore?

        This alone is why I can’t help but feel happy that she is living in a shit hole trailer park, with barely enough to scrape by on, and he left her with a huge debt for a big ass RV. I don’t know but I suspect the RV place just repossessed it. Can’t get money out of a rock. The trailer she lives in was put in her sons name so it couldn’t be taken away from her. And her son is a druggie, so I am sure that will go down well.

        When my son told me how this all went down, I just said well she wanted my future, she got it.

  • Guy, hope you are surviving and moving forward each day no matter how hard that seems. I know you just want to shrivel up and die. Your posts range from the majorly alarming “Sometimes I just want to end it all” to the less alarming but still extremely alarming “I can’t do anything about this; I’ll just live with her and do whatever she wants even though it kills me every day.” I ran across this quote today and thought of you.

    “If they get you to the point where you consider destroying yourself to prove your love, you run. You run and you don’t ever look back.” -Kalen Dion

  • So my “wife” is going on a date with her affair partner Saturday and I’ve been asked to watch the kids. That’s fine, I feel badly when my kids are away from me so dinner and a movie a d a few hours with them while moms a whore is what it is.

    I’ve decided to have a close friend follow her when she goes out. I want to get this mans license plate and if I can a photo of him to show to his wife. I’m hoping a license plate number will allow me to track him down. I know it’s petty but she feels she has this wonderful love affair going on with this man and no care she’s not only ruining my family but another family as well. So hopefully a license plate number will lead me to his name and address and I can track down his spouse.

    Wish me luck.

    • I wish you BOUNDARIES. Just STOP this already, Chump Guy. STOP IT.

      Start the consequences and LAWYER UP.

      You’re playing marriage police. It would be great if you knew who the OM is, (solely so you can tell the chump wife), but it’s not necessary. GETTING OUT AND PROTECTING yourself is necessary.

      Look at all the ink spilled on giving you heartfelt advice, from lived experience.

      This doesn’t end well, and your situation is not exceptional. Please, love yourself more than you love her. You’re modeling terrible things to your children living like this.

      • I disagree. Not only should the chump wife be told, but knowing who the AP is and having proof of the affair in tangible terms-names, phone numbers, addresses, dates times and places of meet ups—can be very very useful in negotiating a Separation Agreement or, if you have go to trial, getting a good settlement from the judge —regardless if it is a no-fault state or not. In fact, adultery is the exception to most no-fault states, but you have to be able to concretely prove it. This is where the PI comes in, or Guys sneaky friend. He can testify, make a sworn statement or take pics—but it has to be more than circumstantial evidence. My FW confessing to multiple affairs was actually all the proof that was needed, but they can subpoena the AP and ask very probing question upon discovery. Discovery is a long book of questions in legal form, that your lawyer will send to your FW and they can ask very pointed questions if they have enough information. The FW will lie under oath at their own expense. This also is instrumental in getting back the marital funds that were stolen to carry on the affair. The lawyers can use this information to leverage compliance, terms and good settlements, including and especially custody arrangements. Guy should be the same parent and go for as much custody as his lawyer thinks he can get. I personally would wait to tell chump wife until after I got my lawyers advice on how to proceed.

        Get ANGRY Guy. Get a lawyer, play hardball, and take back your life and your kids. FW was never your tribe anyways.

        • I get where CL is coming from.

          But I do agree sometimes getting some proof is really important. My state was no fault, but I had three years if I remember right of gifts and dinners and large cash with large cash withdrawels from the bank that did not match our outlay.

          I lived in hell for the last thee months knowing what was going on, but I was frozen in time I think. Looking back as bad as that was I think it helped me get a better settlement. My lawyer had all those charges, and my testimony of his horrible behavior.

          I would tell anyone, go with your gut, but get out if you need to. Cheaters are all pretty much the same but the situations of the BS’s are all a little different.

    • I can understand why you want to know. The revelation of an affair turn me into a full time detective, I don’t think it was worth the effort.

      I would recommend taking the opportunity of her absence to change the locks and put her stuff outside. Getting her out of the house will be the best thing you can do.

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