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COVID Roommate Becomes Other Woman

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broken heartDear Chump Lady,

It’s been 6 months and I’m ready to tell my story.

In March of 2020, right when my city got locked-down for COVID, my husband’s (female) friend came crying to him that she needed help escaping an abusive relationship.

As a good person and supporter of women, I said she could stay with us for a few days. Because of COVID she was unable to work/earn money and therefore get an apartment. She quickly made herself at home taking over my household jobs and getting overly involved with my kids and my husband’s extended family: i.e., coming to our family Easter dinner.

I quickly started to feel unwanted and unsafe in my home. I expressed my concerns to him many times and he always had excuses of why she couldn’t be asked to leave. I endured a 4-month major depressive episode during which I wanted to end my own life for fear of being unneeded. I started on anti-depressants, but I was still suffering.

Over time I found out that he was sharing personal info about me and our family with her. She was openly disrespectful towards me. I asked him if he was cheating several times and he said no. Then, “Do you know how much it hurts that you don’t trust me”?

There was almost 2 years of this gaslighting, neglect and emotional abuse, until one night I decided to check his phone hoping to prove my suspicions wrong.

He had been cheating on me since 2 weeks after she moved in. In my room, with my two kids in the house, while I was at work (as a nurse during COVID times). The cheating was one thing. But the emotional torture is what hurts the most. That he could treat me like that when I was already hurting so much.

I’ve been on my own for the last 6 months. And I’m free and I am no longer small or unsafe. Even so, I’m still so hurt and angry sometimes.

COVID Chump

P.S., I did see a lawyer, and am waiting out the one year of separation until we can be divorced. They’re still together in my former home.

Dear COVID Chump,

I get a lot of sad, fucked up letters, but this might be one of the worst stories I’ve ever read.

You’re a NURSE, on the frontlines of a pandemic, risking your life every day to help others, and your charity even extends to housing this whackadoodle “friend” of your husband’s — and they were fucking IN YOUR HOME, gaslighting you, for TWO YEARS?

And you’re wondering why you’re still “hurt and angry” sometimes?

I wonder why you’re not awaiting homicide charges.

I wonder why you didn’t grind up glass and anti-depressants and sprinkle it over ice cream and hand your husband a spoon. And if he hesitated, why you didn’t purr, “Do you know how much it hurts that you don’t trust me?”

THESE PEOPLE ARE MONSTERS.

CC, I just know the bare outlines of what you suffered and my prefrontal cortex is going all primal: VIOLATION!!! REVENGE!!! FURY!!!

And here you are composing a letter to me! Lawyered up. Sane. Still employed. Parenting.

Do you know how MIGHTY you are? That this didn’t BREAK you? That you’re still standing here FREE and “no longer small or unsafe”?

Because I think I’d be standing in a pool of blood. And I’m only experiencing secondhand outrage.

(Public service announcement: We’re not actually about revenge at CN. If It Feels Good, Don’t Do It. Your mind, however, is allowed to go to dark places. It inevitably will.)

What is it again that I’m supposed to help you with? Because I think we all need to take a lesson from you in forbearance.

Oh right. Hurt and anger.

CC, you were abused. It’s totally normal to feel hurt and angry. Devastated and furious. Bereft and engulfed in emotion. These are HUGE transgressions!

He had you suicidal with gaslighting! He let you go on medications! The level of contempt it takes, from BOTH of them, to do this to you. It’s absolutely sociopathic.

Look, I’m going to now segue into my predictable Chump Lady sermon about boundaries and Is This Relationship Acceptable To You, but first I want to say: You’re a good person. The most beautiful things about you probably also made you vulnerable to these fuckers, but never regret your good heart. You took in someone you thought was in need. You did not deserve, or could’ve predicted, what happened next.

That’s the thing about sociopaths, they subvert your best qualities — generosity, empathy, selflessness — for their own agenda. The thing to know going forward is that: A.) YOU MATTER. And B) You can still be good, but you have to be discerning. Good people do NOT impose like those freaks imposed. You are allowed boundaries and you’re always free to walk when those boundaries aren’t respected.

As a good person and supporter of women, I said she could stay with us for a few days.

Okay, and that turned into TWO YEARS. At any point you could chuck the consensus attempts, CC, and put it to him: This isn’t okay with me. She goes, or I go. (At which point I would’ve told you it’s over because you’re having to issue ultimatums.) You are not required to hang in there and finder greater depths of understanding. Where the fuck was HIS understanding that this was killing you?

He was sending you a very clear message with his actions. He was devaluing you. Paying attention to people’s actions over their words is a lesson to take forward.

She quickly made herself at home taking over my household jobs and getting overly involved with my kids and my husband’s extended family: i.e., coming to our family Easter dinner.

Ugh! I get a feeling she and your husband had an affair before she moved in. How convenient her “abusive” relationship ended and the only place on the planet she can seek shelter is with her married guy friend.

You were in a pick me dance you didn’t understand. And he’s a sick fuck to pull this Sister Wives cake act.

I quickly started to feel unwanted and unsafe in my home.

Because you WERE unwanted and unsafe.

I expressed my concerns to him many times and he always had excuses of why she couldn’t be asked to leave.

You could ask her to leave. Not everything requires consensus. You tried consensus, it failed, the next step was to ask yourself Is This Acceptable To Me? No? Then vote with your feet.

Making your needs smaller, trying to be yet MORE accommodating, isn’t sustainable. You wind up sick, exhausted and used. Good people DO NOT REQUIRE THIS OF YOU.

She couldn’t find a job? Bullshit. People have been desperate to hire during the pandemic. Is it a good job? It’s better than no job. Her imposition stinks to high heaven. None of that story adds up.

I endured a 4-month major depressive episode during which I wanted to end my own life for fear of being unneeded.

Let’s reframe this. You had a major depressive episode because you were being gaslighted. Because your husband was contemptuously fucking around on you in your OWN HOME.

Being needed isn’t being loved. Or respected. This confusion has kept many a chump hooked. Adult love is RECIPROCAL. Everyone adults! Everyone cares!

She was openly disrespectful towards me.

Oh, really?

The cheating was one thing. But the emotional torture is what hurts the most. That he could treat me like that when I was already hurting so much.

You’ll never understand it because you’re not a monster. That’s good news, actually. Had you been able to understand these people — oh yeah, I’ll move in and fuck over my host for two years while driving her to suicidal despair — we would have to summon a war crimes tribunal or something. Who relates to this? Putin? You’re not a heartless despot who uses and abuses people. Yea.

Please stop trying to understand them (that’s Untangling the Skein) and just keep protecting yourself. You survived. You got away. That’s what matters.

Going forward your homework is: Being needed is not the same as being loved. Pay attention to actions over words. And — if it’s not acceptable to you? It’s not acceptable, period. You get to decide what’s next and you don’t need a fuckwit’s permission.

As for the hurt and anger — it fades. You never forget, especially if you bred with the freak, but it’s survivable. Look at you only 6 months out! CC, you’re navigating this nightmare admirably. Keep up the good work.

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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.
  • Do you know what is the best thing about divorce? It is not being married to him. It is not having to be contaminated with whatever those two are exuding.
    I have nurses in my family and cannot thank all of you for being part of the good guys club that has been on the forefront of this pandemic,ic. Bless you.

  • I hate to be writing this, but this is my story too, albeit long before COVID… My son was a toddler. She was a poor desperate younger howorker who needed help and shelter and safety. They fucked in my son’s bed. Repeatedly. And me? Oblivious, I made them coffee in the morning. She stayed for months, and he allowed her to continue to trample through my life for years. It was only when COVID hit that FW started to vomit (versions of) his “confessions” all over me. And I am just now – thanks to CL and CN – just finally starting to break free from all of his fukwitery. Turns out she wasn’t the first or the last. But I am finally strong enough to choose me.

    Thanks to CL and CN, I got to smile the other day when I was getting down on my yoga mat and saw the tires of his bike have the words “CAKE EATER” on them. That pretty much sums it up. Why file when you can be served cake on fine china with a platinum fork and cloth napkin every days for years? And yes, I did leave on a Tuesday.

        • Truly repulsive. FW told me OW hid her panties under our son’s pillow for an added thrill to see if I would find them. Just so incredibly disgusting and without any hint of moral character or humanity. And what did FW do? Did FW kick her recently penetrated ass out of the luxury apartment I was paying for? Nope. Instead he found it arousing and right back to bed with her her went. SICKOS. I was in the next room with our toddler and my recently widowed MOTHER was asleep in the bedroom on the other side. It boggles the mind (and completely destroys the ability to think clearly at all for a while too).

          • Also, it says something about FW that he would tell you this. I swear they like to brag about these sexcapades with their spouses. All of it is so sick and inappropriate. Oh, and cruel.

            • Yes. And he had the nerve to tell me that the reason howorker #3 only did it with him once is that she had a certain fantasy about how it would go down – but wait, I thought it wasn’t planned?!?!? – and he thinks it was that he didn’t live up to her expectations. SERIOUSLY? Did I really need to know that? “Well, you asked.” As if everything over the last decade hadn’t been a lie, and now this is the time and context for soul-searching reflective honesty of this sort. They are morally and mentally bankrupt! He expected me to feel sorry for him for being rejected by a HW half his age for “disappointing” her while I was at home taking care of our young child and working my ass off for our family. ARGHHHHH.

              • Tuesday
                My h during a confession told me about a girl he wanted to date, went for dinners a few times, after some time ended up in bed… yes, she didn’t wanna continue and he was “ obsessed and heartbroken “

                Yes, all that was happening when I was trying to finish my degree and take care of my two toddlers, pregnant with our 3rd boy.

            • Yes it did. We both knew something was wrong. We were both in deep grief, having just lost my father. Still my mother had the sense and gut instincts to tell me how howorker had no business in our home and that she needed to be told by me that she needed to take her ass out of the air and go home. She had a habit of laying on the living room floor and sticking her ass in the air like she was stretching. Little did I know at the time that it was her shaking it at FW. So disgusting. Who behaves that way? Unspeakable.

            • FW – fuckwit (the spouse or partner who cheated)
              OW / OM – other woman / other man
              AP – affair partner
              CN / CL – Chump Nation / Chump Lady
              ILBNILWY – I Love You But Not In Love With You
              DDay – day of finding out that cheating has happened
              XW/XH/STBX – ex-wife, ex-husband, soon-to-be-ex
              POS – piece of sh*t!
              COVID – coronavirus disease (just kidding, I know you know that one 😉 )

    • This is like the plot of The Duchess (about the Duchess of Devonshire played by Keira Knightly–ignore the trailer which brushes over the Duke’s horrendous affair) except– YAY– nowadays we CAN divorce without automatically losing custody to the POS cheaters!

      As a former advocate for battered women, I do a full body cringe hearing about women whose poaching approach to married men is claiming to be in an abusive relationship. In the five years I worked with one service, I never encountered a single woman who “monkey branched” out of a dangerous relationship, much less with a married guy. Recently I realized this may not be because some (I would say a minority of) battered women aren’t horrible people in their own right but because hybristophiliacs– aka, prison groupies or people with a pathological attraction to liars, cheaters, felons, murderers, etc.– don’t typically seek support services.

      For one, cheatery victims wouldn’t fit into the group support setting because virtually all battered women are cheated on. The following is a bit of skein untangling but from before I was chumped and I find it helps to understand why cheating is categorically abuse: Theoretically (and from what I’ve seen), batterers usually operate on a beat-by-need basis, meaning they use all sorts of less athletic, less legally risky tactics to dilute their own infantile dependency and crush victims’ agency before resorting to violence and cheating ticks off all the boxes: abusers can A) water down their shameful dependency by spreading it between more than one partner; B) it’s also among the most psychologically crippling things to do to a primary partner so it gives the abuser a comforting sense that the victim can’t move on while lying in a bleeding heap; C) to a kill-or-be-killed mindset, being the first to betray and abandon a partner allays abusers’ primary fears of being betrayed and abandoned.

      Anyway, most abuse survivors don’t take kindly to witting proxy abusers, which is what side dishes are in a nutshell: someone who aids and abets the abuse of another person. They’re nearly or sometimes equally as sick as abusers themselves. This seems more obvious when the victimization involves enabling overt violence but at this point I don’t really see much difference between enabling violence and enabling cheating. Like Velvet Hammer always says, affairs are three legged stools. They fall over when the victim leg is removed. The whole tingly thrill of it is victimizing another person.

      And that brings me to the thing that I’ve always had trouble contending with as an advocate: that there are people who actually embody the typical victim blaming trope that battering victims are attracted to abusers and go from one abusive relationship to the next because of it. For most abuse victims, the abusers expended huge amounts of energy pretending to be safe and sane to lure victims in. But this is obviously not the case with witting APs. They knew their paramours were abusers from the get-go. It galls me to recognize it because this is not the case with the vast majority of battered women who are often institutionally mistreated because of this disgusting stereotype. But– ugh– turns out there is this little subset of sick twists who, upon seeing the red flags that someone is abusive, run to the source of the red flags.

      These types muddy the waters for the rest. I’m sure they had horrible childhoods and should probably seek treatment but they don’t seek nor would find that help in group settings with their own victims.

      Nothing sums up most affairs better than that very simple interpretation: Abuser + proxy abuser. The end. Skein untangled. Nothing to work with there. It also exonerates the average abuse victim from the ugly victim-blaming stereotype: so you wouldn’t proxy-abuse another person? Then you’re not the type who was “attracted” to abuse and can ignore that victim-blaming trope and shun anyone who tries to foist it on you.

      • Wow! I’m reading _Should I Stay or Should I Go_ by JAC Patrici & Lundy Bancroft, and what you describe above could be a new chapter; you should pitch it to them for the next edition!

        I discovered Bancroft’s work through CN. Both SISOSIG and _Why Does He Do That?_ we’re so helpful in fleshing out Tracy’s assertion that adultery is abuse. I started studying this topic after I had already made the decision to leave the cheater and pursue my life (thank you, Tracy) but I have found these further works on abuse to be really validating.

      • Thank you for this analysis! I know it’s a bit of a skein, but my FW also moved one of his APs into our house under somewhat similar pretexts and I really liked the clarification you gave here.

      • “Like Velvet Hammer always says, affairs are three legged stools. They fall over when the victim leg is removed. The whole tingly thrill of it is victimizing another person.”

        That’s the part that will always hurt. That the thrill he got was from betraying me. He left her on d-day when I dumped him. Because she was nothing if I was gone. No more chump to cheat on, so no more fun.

    • My circumstances are a bit different but Covid Chump’s story resonates – as does yours, Tuesdays. Husband brought OW – a close friend who claimed to have a “difficult” marriage and was “going through a hard time” – into our home where they had sex on our child’s bed. There was also night-time backyard sex while I was out of town, and my children were sleeping inside just a few feet away. After d-day, I asked husband, what if one of the kids had woken and couldn’t find you? or wandered into the backyard looking for you that night? He started crying. Pitiful.
      Covid Chump, I’m glad you’re outta there. I’m so, so sorry for the pain. I’m with Tracy. You’re going to be okay. You already are. But it effing hurts. We are with you.

      • This whole subject matter reminds me of a couple on the show Adults adopting Adults. The husband in his 50s/60s? talks his wife into agreeing to adopt a twenty year old pregnant young woman from Europe. Trigger warning. He guilts her into this although there are red flags all over. He said to his wife he couldn’t guarantee he would not develop an attraction to the newly adopted woman. The show brings up he has been unfaithful and fidelity issues in the past. The wife is completely miserable and at a loss over it but goes along with his intention to adopt this woman, the husband vacillates between calling the young woman his daughter and also making open sexual inuendo towards her. The wife insists she sleep in the camper in their yard as a safe guard. The husband has a vhesire cat grin. It is a train wreck! This wife needs to read LACGAL and read CN wisdom here.

  • Dear COVID Chump, Adding to my prior post, I understand all too well the pain and misery you are going through, and the special kind of misery that comes from knowing it all happened in your own home and bed while you were busy being kind and generous and taking care of everyone and everything else. Thank you for sharing your story. You helped me to see mine for what it is and was, and I am grateful to you for that as well as for all you suffered and sacrificed as a nurse doing the COVID pandemic. As a good person and supporter of women who actually deserve support, kindness, empathy, and all that is good, I wish I could send you freshly cut tulips and some really fine home made cake. Grateful to have read your story and letter to CL the morning after I left.

  • Dear COVID Chump,
    I agree with CL that your story is heartbreaking, and there are so many heartbreaking stories here. It is imprisonment and abuse of the highest order and it pains me that this daily torture is not publicly called out for the travesty it is. A terrible human torture carried on innocents. It is tantamount to the worst hostage situations, but in those situations the hostage knows he or she is imprisoned — that something is terribly wrong. The deep sadness I feel for you is that you were held against your knowledge and will, trying to do good while your mind and heart knew the truth. I can only applaud your incredible strength and send my tears that you had to endure this horror. Again, for me, it is no different from a kidnapping. We are gaslighted and brainwashed to believe what we know is true is not true. Please get the support you need to heal — as you would encourage a freed or escaped prisoner to do. I am only four months out. Your story and courage fills me with hope. I am so sorry for your pain and suffering.

  • “I quickly started to feel unwanted and unsafe in my home.”

    “Because you WERE unwanted and unsafe.”

    Cheater told me that I lived in a “Siege Mentality” and I calmly responded “I am under siege”….I was criticized, insulted, and marginalized around every corner and the gaslighting was acting like my reactions to it were pathologic.

    Im also a nurse and used to work weekends when Cheater was alive. I will never know when or how he weaponized my career against me

    but this dear Chump…..the levels of betrayal here are fucking sub-human.
    The fact that you worked to make money that she lived off….I bristle at the whole idea

    I hope that in the finalization of your divorce that you recover the money they took from you even if we all know what the actually took was beyond price. They are FUCKERS, lying fuckers

    You are amazing and Im SO SO SO SORRY

  • I’m glad you have your guard up, CC. These two sorry excuses for human beings could have gotten you killed. If not by your own hands, the abuse could have made your immunity take a nose dive due to depression, stress, sleeplessness and loss of appetite and you could more easily get sick on duty. As a nurse. During a pandemic. And the world would have been deprived of a nurse (hero) and a very good person (taking people in need into your own home requires lots of autruism) for the cheap orgasms of a couple of sick fuckwits. COVID cheaters are the worst, but COVID cheaters abusing a nurse at her own home… I am at a loss for words here.

    How come these two pieces of shit, fucking in your home – at the exact moment you were out there risking your life to save others’ – didn’t feel shame??? How could they get aroused??? You won’t understand, CL knows better than to even try and understand and CN will most certainly not understand because what you were dealing with back then were two very twisted, sick, warped minds. I am so sorry you got 2 years of abuse at the hands of these freaks. They are not humans anymore (if they ever were). Not even animals, animals can’t be that cruel. They’re devilish.

    My heart goes out for you!
    Go on with your mightiness and proceed with whatever is needed for your liberation.
    (((Hughs)))

    P.S.: this line from CL bears repeating:

    “Being needed isn’t being loved. Or respected. This confusion has kept many a chump hooked. Adult love is RECIPROCAL. Everyone adults! Everyone cares!”

    • BC: Some people have no shame. Apparently these two rats did not even have any when they were found out. I can not identify with people who have no shame about lying, cheating, abusing etc. They only feel shame when thinking other people may find out. As a result of today’s letter writer, we have some really good advice and posts here today.

    • Brazilianchump– I can attest to the immune system tanking due to being under siege. I was sick all the time during FW’s affair and lost so much weight I was banned from donating blood. My doctor was completely baffled by my poor health and scrawniness because I’m a health fanatic and she even took notes from me. I had always fed the family a top notch, organic diet, etc., and don’t have any vices or serious underlying disorders. But my memory of the pre-D-day affair period was of dragging around on four hours sleep with a fever, viral arthritis and cough and tending to three sick kids while FW acted sicker than the rest of us. Meanwhile he and the bar fly AP were the skanky disease vectors because of their grossly unhealthy (and very expensive) habits.

      Fortunately this was all before the pandemic. I had Delta last spring and some post-COVID flares but pretty much sailed through it. The kids each had a fever for two hours and tested positive but then poof, recovered instantly with no aftermath. We all sleep better now too. Stress kills.

      • Yep I didn’t lose weight during the d-days and wreckonciliation which went on for 6 months but I got a long term lung disease from having so many bouts of pneumonia during that time. The abuse and stress does fuck with you physically

      • Tell me about it, HoaC!

        I never, like ever get sick. I can’t recall the last time I had a fever. I do mean it, no exaggeration.

        Enter DDays#1 and #2 and wreckonciliation: lost 15 kg within months out of sheer trauma (couldn’t sleep or eat); yeast infection on the tip of my penis to the point of small bleedings after sex+bath+towels; excruciating continuous pain due to an ear infection – had to take antibiotics (last time I had taken them I was a kid); tested positive for Chlamydia pneumoniae (didn’t get tested for the trachomatis species – the ER doctor I asked for STD tests got them mistaken in the form); stiff lower back with much pain going all the way down to the toes of the left foot. I am forgetting something for sure. There were days I thought I was going to die – even composed my jisei on one of those (that is how fucked up mentally I was as well – age regression, a jisei! 🤦‍♂️😅).

        Fast forward to now: almost nothing. Still very skinny, not hungry and sleeping badly, but other than this, only the stiffness on the lower back every other morning, usually after… stress. Usually after or before meeting with FW XW and things going or promising to go south somehow. And I am unfortunately smoking a pack of red Marlboro a day (trying to quit). Not. A. Single. Cough. Lots of strenuous physical exercise every other day. Not a dizziness, not shortness of breath, not exhaustion after. Nothing. Oh, God, it does feel good to be away from FW! She was killing me!

        Come to think of it, wreckonciliation was not the first time I experienced health issues. There was a time more than one decade ago that now, with hindsight, I am almost 100% sure FW was fucking other people (not sure who, but I have my suspects). A serious bout of depression and… yeast infection! “Oh, you’re sooooo mentally unstable that you get yeast infection due to your depression”. It was the other way around, fuckwit! First the infection, then the depression.

        Also, the second bout of depression, I got stuck in Toronto for a year. Don’t get me started on this! FW begged me to take the opportunity (I thought it was a bad idea from the start), she would like to travel, could take a leave from work, the kids would enjoy so much, she would definitely leave me if a failed to take this big opportunity, I had no ambition, yadda, yadda, yadda. I got there, prepared everything for their arrival. FW got there with the kids and her FW mother, detested and criticized just everything, picked up constant fights with me, was upset I had to go to work “everyday”. All this just in the first month. Then she and my FW XMIL took the kids to the US, where her brothers and uncles where living, and left me behind. “Don’t you want me to travel? Don’t you want me to see my family?”. Of course, I do, fuckwit! I just wasn’t expecting she would go back to Canada a month later and then straight back to Brazil. “I’ve changed my mind, things are too difficult here, back in Brazil I’ve got more structure”. (((Sigh…)))

        Alone, far away from the kids, living off 400 canadian dollars a month while sending thousands monthly to Brazil to support her and the kids (she already had her own very well-paying job and was taking a paid leave). I was riding a bike in the winter to spare the public transportation ticket! Wearing three layers of brazilian clothes!!! (not a single cough or sneeze though)

        I just found an old email from hers from that time the other day. She was so happy with the money I was sending! But she just could not find enough time to arrange for a skype session with the kids (this was before whatsapp).

        Then the mind games began. The kids were sick all the time, I had to go back to help her (I could not without fucking up our family financially and myself professionally bigtime); one of the janitors from our building was stalking her and she was all alone and terrified (bet it was a lie; wouldn’t be surprised if… you know what). It was not long before I broke down. Lost 25 kg along that year (not exaggerating again). Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. Barely functioning at work. Lonely as fuck. Went on antidepressants. Didn’t do me good. I got worse on them.
        Managed to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve back in Brazil because a kid was sick, but I was deeply depressed. She used to kick me when I was down. The last day in Brazil before going back to Canada was a sunny brazilian summer’s Sunday. She slept all day long while I packed my shit, weeping all along. I didn’t know what I did wrong. I had to beg her to take the elevator with me for the kids to say goodbye as I got into the cab to the airport.

        Some more few months of loneliness, depression, poverty, mindgames and character assassination (one close friend of mine and also the kids’ babysitter told me on my arrival that she was telling everybody I was not sendind *any* money home; truth was I was sending almost everything I earned) I was free to come back to Brazil. Here it goes: ***she scheduled an elective surgery for the very day of my arrival!!!*** Almost an aesthetical procedure, but with some good two weeks of recovery. I kid you not. I was exhausted and jetlagged from the trip and had to go back and forth between home and the hospital and take care of the kids (and her!!!) all by myself on my very first day back home!!! I totally understand if you don’t believe me (just in case there is someone still reading this shit). But it’s the truth. I honestly don’t know how I put up with so much shit.

        I kept the bike habit and used to go everywhere (work included) on two wheels just to save money. I’ve come realize it was suicidal behaviour when a friend told me so after witnessing my way of riding (I left him eating dust). Traffic in Brazil is not a bit biker’s friendly. There were almost no bike lanes and I would ride too fast among the cars and buses and trucks. I could have died any of those days. I am a damn lucky motherfucker.

        But the everyday danger did make me realize I did not want to die. And riding a bike turned into sort of a meditation thing, when I attained a state of clear mindedness (mu-shin – I trained martial arts from childhood till FW robbed me of that too, and the sensation was not new, I recognized it instantly). It did me good and I was finally not depressed anymore. Put up some weight, was feeling better. Began to withdraw emotionally from the conflicts of the marriage. Turned into almost all ears and very little mouth. Made my needs almost nonexistent. Worked a lot, earned some good money (all spent on kids and wasted on FW), finished my Ph.D., and finally got a tenure-track position (in fact, two – I had to turn down my dream position because… FW and creepy, probably criminal AP). Enter COVID and DDay#1…

        • Very late reply but– kismet– I’ve also had to travel a lot lately and my saga was also happening internationally.

          As for your story, just wow. I’m mentally reversing the situation because my particular FW was playing poor and spending on himself and an AP. He had been trying to sound like he was in your shoes and never stopped whining about the sorrow and suffering of his overworked, underpaid, miserable life. Meanwhile you probably never complained as you drove yourself into the ground.

          Just think about that for a minute. You’re the man he pretended to be. You’re the man all male FWs pretend to be.

          And now for a very graphic question: did your FW suddenly start full waxing? I ask because it increases risk all kinds of infections, including yeast infections, which are transmissible. Ask me how I know… the AP was a bum waxer and, yep, I kept getting thrush during the affair though typically I’m not at all prone. During wreckonciliation FW said that the AP used to go commando saying it was “healthier.” But of course, being a woman, I know the real reason she did (which is exactly why smart women don’t do this): to allay the swamp factor the causes frequent, especially severe yeast flares in bum waxers. The other possibility is that your FW was also having anal which causes yeast infections.

          Sorry if that stirs things up in a painful way. In retrospect I find it all hilarious and just wanted to share a laugh at their expense just in case the people presently around you are too dry to laugh at the madness. For instance, I remember FW investing in all these toxic or stupid hair regeneration products and it occurred to me that he could have just transplanted AP’s pubes on his head for the 70’s disco perm look. Also funny is these people needed us to pickme dance to make themselves feel better for basically pickme dancing so hard themselves that they were subjecting themselves to pain and risk and making themselves absurd.

          Here’s to your continued good health.

          • Hell of a Chump,

            thank you very much for taking from your time to read and reply to that much shit.

            “Meanwhile you probably never complained as you drove yourself into the ground. Just think about that for a minute. You’re the man he pretended to be. You’re the man all male FWs pretend to be.”

            Yes, I realize that and that’s a big reason for why I keep my story pretty much locked up inside. It’s almost unbelievable. Usually, men are dishonest takers and women are devouted givers. I’ve seen that a lot within my FOO. And in fact I was well trained not to be a cheater or a FW for that matter. I was committed to make my shitty marriage work no matter what. I thought giving so much of myself with no expectation of return was my duty and, yes, carried along without whining, except for the occasional pain grunt when things got unbearable (these were the times she used to kick me, pointing out how weak I was as compared to her other male role models).

            Please notice that mine – unlike your FW’s – was strictly personal poverty, I did not inflict it on my family, much to the contrary. I held well-paying jobs with good perks and my kids and then wife always had goods clothes, good food, lived in good places, went to good schools and had top of the notch health insurance. It was only me who was dwindling, and it was not a play for sympathy or praise from my part. I repeat: I thought it was just the way things are (thanks, mom, for modelling so much dysfunction for me!).

            For some time I did think I was a fuckwit (not a cheater, of course), in the sense of a crazy person. I think I have some pronounced autistic traits (some people disagree it is even noticeable). In fact, autism runs through my family, and now I realize just how much it got weaponized by my FW in so many ways. For one, I was easy to gaslight because I was always prone to take people’s word at face value and to doubt my own aprehension of reality, specially regarding social clues; she was sort of my dictionary to the “neurotypical” world (bad call). Also, my shyness and social avoidance gave her the headstart she needed for her character assassination attempts – my eccentricity gave it verossimilitude. Last but not least, there was the guilt trip for my sons developmental setbacks – all due to my “weak genetics” and poor parenting skills – that was always rubbed on my face and made me accordingly up my game and assume the heavy lifting in parenting.

            But guess what? Since I loosed my FW XW, my alleged quirkiness has not been a hurdle to me in the least. Everything is tidily set up, I am doing great at my job, bills are all paid up in time and kids are calm, healthy and happy. Very unlike everything was before. So I guess who was the FW all along.

            “And now for a very graphic question: did your FW suddenly start full waxing?”

            YEP! And that came across as a total surprise to me! It happened twice and coincided exactly with both my episodes of yeast infection. But of course it was just my crazy mind playing tricks on me and dragging down my immune system with it… 🙄

            I just had an a-ha moment. I mentioned I lost 25 kg in Canada and was deeply depressed. But… I did not have anything going wrong with my junk! Maybe because we were not having sex since we were countries apart? 🤔

            I also recall her all too frequent UTIs. She blamed it on me saying I was pushing her for too much sex, and that it was rough sometimes. Maybe too much taking into account what she was having unbeknownst to me?

            And since we’re being graphic here, sometimes (not often, thank goodness) she did smell funny. I thought it was normal, but now I doubt it very much (I doubt everything now).

            “The other possibility is that your FW was also having anal which causes yeast infections”.

            Haha! Tell me about her coming up with new sexual kinks all of a sudden. I do not want to get into the details, but you got it for one. Always around the times I now suspect she was fucking someone else. In fact, something that led me to DEFCON4 prior to DDay#1 was her showing up full brazilian out of the blue and doing something veeeeery funny and unlike her during oral sex. I remember thinking all along (while enjoying myself, I admit): “what the hell is going on with this gal?”. Keep in mind she has always played the prude.

            “Sorry if that stirs things up in a painful way. In retrospect I find it all hilarious and just wanted to share a laugh at their expense just in case the people presently around you are too dry to laugh at the madness”.

            No worries, I’m past that pain now. And yes, the madness is just too much for anyone with a seemingly intact family life to bear, let alone to laugh at. Also, I don’t share it outside this site. Not even with my therapist and close friends. My therapist encourages me to say the hard stuff out loud but I can’t help but be affraid of sounding (too) crazy.

            “For instance, I remember FW investing in all these toxic or stupid hair regeneration products and it occurred to me that he could have just transplanted AP’s pubes on his head for the 70’s disco perm look”.

            🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

            I assume he thought that would go amazingly well with his gigolo shirts and skinny jeans, right?

            “Here’s to your continued good health”.

            Thank you very much, best wishes for your and your kids’ health too!
            I am pretty good right now, just have to quit smoking for good, put up a little weight and go see a doctor for my lower back, but otherwise everything is fine.

            I am a little bit affraid to declare Tuesday (lest my hubris attracts my nemesis), but I think this is it. Now to Meh and beyond!

  • Just when I think I’ve heard every filthy dirty rat story!! I mean, where do people get the nerve to enter someone’s home and family, an invite based on kindness, and commit the worst social crimes with no consequences?!?! Grab your babies and run. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I can’t even.

    • Psychopath: noun

      psy·​cho·​path | \ ˈsī-kə-ˌpath
      , ˈsī-kō- \
      Definition of psychopath

      : a mentally unstable person especially : a person having an egocentric and antisocial personality marked by a lack of remorse for one’s actions, an absence of empathy for others, and often criminal tendencies

    • https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/602649/how-to-pronounce-knife-by-souvankham-thammavongsa/9780771094606

      This book, How To Pronounce Knife, by Souvankham Thammavongsa is amazing. In it, there is one short story about a couple where the woman brings her boss right into the home (I’m spoiling the ending of the story a bit). When I read it I thought, oh, all of CN might want to read this story; it’s stunning in the way it portrays the audacity of the cheaters and the numbness of the chump.

      Today’s letter reminded me of it.

      • This is a great help, Magnolia! Thank you for the reference. I find bibliotherapy so so so helpful in these early months of liberation. I’m ordering today.

  • I am almost 2 years out. Divorce was just final a month ago and I still have to deal with the international laws.
    I am only ready starting to heal now. Starting to process some of the trauma now. Allowing myself to not be well. Even if noone seems to understand in which state I currently am. Because I’ve been powering through so much and for so long… until I was finally free/safe.
    I regret feeling that lonely, but people don’t realize and cannot grasp the horrors I went through. I don’t feel understood nor supported. It’s exhausting being on my own.
    Letting it all out now. Unapologetically.

    • “I don’t feel understood nor supported. It’s exhausting being on my own.”

      You have us. We understand and support you. Do you need one on one support? Just let me know and I’ll post my email here. I’m sure other chumps would do the same. Somebody may even live in your area.

      We need in person chump support groups. I don’t know any other chumps in my area either. I’m thinking of placing an ad to start one up when Covid dies down.

        • The Reddit forum is private. Just message one of the moderators. It’s a great place to post questions and stories to get support and feedback. There are old-timers there plus newbies.

          • Actually there isn’t a way to contact anyone on the Reddit group, as it is set as private. I have tried on the app and on the browser, but didn’t find that option.

            • Reddit was difficult to get on, in my view.

              I just kept trying things and got no visible response. Then one day I noticed I got an email, and evidently was on it. But now I can’t access it.

              It is not user friendly in terms of getting initial access.

              I am sure I am missing something, but I don’t try anymore. Lost interest.

      • A few of our fellow chumps who were in the same RIC toilet bowl as I was and ditched it just in time started a little group on our own. It helped and helps! We mostly did Zoom meetings, read books together, supported, licked wounds and tended in times of crisis, also group chats. Some of the chumps have been meeting up to vacation together and celebrate in the light of the chump free life. I would be happy to be part of a CN group.

      • Thank you so much OHFFS and Chump Lady.
        I would love that, meetings, especially if it’s locally.
        I do have on-going therapy. I also am in the Chump Nation group on Fb.

        I am mostly talking about how non-understanding my family and friends are appearing to me. Lots of people have moved on quickly or taken their distances. Do they even accept what has happened? I don’t think everyone has my back. It’s too strange. I think they’re talking behind my back. I’m hurt that they’re not showing up.
        I have people in my family criticizing me (making comments about my “weight”, my “age”, lots of stressful and hurtful stuff). They’ve always been this way, but now with what I’m going through, I really am upset with their attitude.
        It’s a very lonely healing journey.

        • I can relate. My family was angry with me for leaving the FW. They stopped being assholes about it after awhile, but I could still see they did not understand. But I was lucky that I did have one very supportive family member.

          I hate Facebook, but maybe I should join the CL group anyway.

          • Thank you OHFFS

            It sucks to have been betrayed so horribly, and then, also feeling left down by many people… A long list of disappointments.
            On the positive side, I do have a family, they care about me (although they might not all be reacting very well), and that’s already the greatest comfort…
            They are not like the monsters I had dealt and lived with. A huge huge difference.
            Still, I have all that healing to do, and it’s a wreck. I’m exhausted, sad, hurt, upset, angry, disgusted, and very very depressed. That’s a lot, it’s heavy, and I wish it had never happened and also that people would understand me. Also I wish it would go away. I feel like I am making maybe to much of a deal with it, like I want to world to stop and only have one thing at the time to deal with… So really it’s just sad and lonely. And then some other days, it’s not what I focus on, and I even feel happy, hopeful, normal. People probably see that side and think that I’m actually ok. Or they don’t care. Or they don’t understand.
            I’m glad the divorce went through and that I am on the path of moving on.

            And really, this community has saved me. Helped me so so much. We can all relate and that is so comforting. This has been so important and life changing for me. This work done by CL and CN is really really important.

            Here is one email if you prefer: mathidoucanada@gmail.com I would really like talking with you too.

            Take care,

            M.

          • OHFFS I hear you on FB because it was FWs way of communicating with APs. I hate it and now rarely use it other than to go to CL page.
            FW for years refused to sign up for it. I only signed up communicate with my men’s rugby club because practice and game schedule was posted on it, and even then I would call a teammate for info and rarely signed in. One day I received a friend request from Then wife. I thought it was a fake account but no she “decided to see what it was about”. From then on she changed. That is around the time of the first affair.
            FB and social media make infidelity easy. There was a good TED talk on this
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gQGjAp4GXU4

        • Unfortunately some people need a “whipping boy”. Someone they can insult, trash and take their anger out on…apparently these defects have appointed you their whipping boy. You need to discard them immediately. Better to be by yourself than put up with their dysfunction.

          • Thanks.
            I have taken my distance, but not severed my relationships as it is with my main family members unfortunately. Although I am aware that this could become necessary.
            I have started the book “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” for instance, even if it’s also relatable for other relationships.

            Thank you so much for caring!!! 🙏🤗

  • I second the homicidal rage. CC, you are amazing! I’m pretty sure I would have beaten the shit out of both of them with a tire iron and I’d be in prison right now. That you survived the horror of being systematically broken by two ruthless psychopaths in your own home is remarkable enough, but that you did it while enduring the stress of long shifts caring for Covid sufferers is downright miraculous. Then you left with dignity, not with an assault charge. Give yourself applause! You’re a better person than I could ever be and light years ahead of those two pieces of reeking offal. I agree with everything CL says × 1000. I also think this affair started before she moved in. Her “abusive” (Hah!) partner probably found out and threw her slop-ass out, so they hatched their sick plan. They enjoyed watching you suffer right there in front of them, in front of your kids. The sheer, smirking evil of it beggars belief. CL is right- you won’t ever understand their sort and you’re better off for it. Who wants to look into that bleak abyss?

    This all must be horrific right now, but you’ll get through it. You have the stuff to not just survive, but thrive, and leave those depraved freaks eating your dust. I think you should write a book about your experience. You will triumph, but it’s okay to feel like that’s impossible right now, so be gentle with yourself. Thank you for all that you do.

    👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

    • the thing about this situation is when you are working like that you are too tired for homicidal rage. I was chumped during the pandemic. I work in a nursing home. I went 57 days without a day off. 16 hour days. You no longer trust your own perception, reality, and the people you love the most are telling you it’s you, your job, the way you think. and you don’t have time to get your head together. it is truly hell.

      • I am so sorry that you have also been through this special version of hell. While not literally chumped during the pandemic, I was made aware of the fact that I was a chump during it. And like you, while it was actually happening, I was so exhausted from working my ass off and taking care of our young child and my grieving mother that I actually allowed FW to use his mindfuckery on me to tell me that I was just exhausted and grieving the death of my sister and my father and that those were the reasons why I felt like someone was terribly wrong. Even my son’s preschool teacher knew something was going on and asked us directly if there were problems in our marriage and FW said it was just all of my grief. Turns out he was fucking howorker #1 while I was at my sister’s dying bedside. These people have no soul.

        • Revealing typo above. Meant to write “something was terribly wrong” but it is also correct that someone was terribly wrong, namely FW!

        • OMG. How vile! I’m sorry TR4H. Mine was with his mistress while I was tending to my dying father as well. He met with her the day dad died and I begged FW to come and support me. FW said he had to work, but he was with that whore. I found out from his GPS after Dday. He didn’t even remember the incident, that’s how little it meant to him. They are trash!

          • Mine was with OM one day while I was at chemotherapy. I had asked her to come with me that day or stop by to check on me ( oncology hospital was 3 miles from house ) and she said she couldn’t. In discovery I found emails between her and OM from that day talking about what time to meet up and later what a great day they had. Yes it went down at my house.
            They fucked while I had a day of getting poison in my veins and vomiting my guts up which continued for the next week. I truly believe she was rooting for the cancer

            • What the actual FUCK?!??? 🤬 WHO DOES THAT???? That is just pure 100% evil. I hope the Karma bus runs her over and than backs up over her while checking what that bump was…as it was on its way to drop a load of all the good stuff at your house! I hope you feel better. ❤️

            • DoC and CMCF thanks. Here is how the last couple of years have unfolded. At the end of 2017 I was at my job for 14 years as Asscociaate Professor of Orthopedic Spine Surgery, married for 14 years to a woman I loved and had an awesome 10 year old son Got cancer and went through 7 months of chemo. When I returned to work I was let go even though I have never had a malpractice suite nor had been in any trouble. That was devistating, but I looked at my wife and son and though he’ll I am alive. Start my own practice and work through complications of chemo and having to get hip replacement 6 months after starting new practice. Power through and get back to work. Dad gets cancer 6 months later. He dies 6 months after that. Next my buddy dies suddenly. Couple months later wife becomes distant and says she is “depressed” with what I see now to be all the signs of an affair. I spend next 6 months walking on egg shells trying to please her. She refuses help and slowly gaslights me. In June I find love note and then find her affairs, yes affairs go back to 2015. She moved out denied everything and told everyone she was “escaping abuse”. Since 2016 she has been telling everyone I am a monster. Took her playbook from Gone Girl movie. Only problem is there is no proof of abuse on her end and now Most now see through her. Some Mothers at school knew of one affair. It has been 8 months since DDay. Mediation is next Friday in out No fault state

            • Just for comparison: when my ( post-divorce) boyfriend was being treated for stage 4 lung cancer, I went with him to every chemo treatment and sat by his side throughout. When Covid made it so I could no longer stay with him, I drove him to every visit, FaceTimed into his doctors appointment and was there waiting to pick him up when he was done. That’s what a normal caring partner does.

              • 😥 I thought I had a caring partner. She was awesome for first 13 years of marriage. Thought I had a gift from God. Now I am finding out so much stuff. .
                You are a great person

      • I haven’t been in that position but I can imagine how awful it is. I’m sorry you were treated that way Trumaine. How are you doing now?

    • IMHO, the general rule of people that dastardly is that they always do unto others that which will cause the same chronic state that FWs walk around with under the surface all the time.

      I actually learned about this long before being chumped and I think it helped me get through so I’ll consider this skein-untangling to be “grandfathered in.” My dad, a partly disabled war veteran, had dealt with bullies in the military and on the streets of NY as a kid. He was never the victim but was like that character from the old film “My Body Guard”– he defended the scapegoats, one of whom ended up saving his life when he was shot in combat. He quite brilliantly untangled that skein for me during the time as a kid when I was bullied in school. He knew just how to deal with those types because he’d figured them out. I would do and say exactly what he recommended and, like magic, would watch the bullies turn pale and fuck off for good. I think this came from his street sense but years later when I was studying behaviorism I realized that modern science was aligning with Dad’s gut instincts.

      I changed majors so I don’t know if you’d call that tendency to “infect” another person with one’s own mental state a form of projection or transference. For instance, if what a FW does causes suicidal ideation in a generally non-suicidal person, then it’s the FW who carries that evil seed of despair, even if subconsciously, and is trying to transfer the horror to another person. If what the FW does causes a generally non-violent person to have violent ideation, then it’s the FW who regularly walks around with murderous thoughts.

      So I feel FWs are pretty much despair and violence vectors. According to some of my old textbooks, sociopaths break people like smashing clocks as a demented, cave man way of studying how the gears and cogs work. In other words, they reenact their own past traumas to understand how they themselves originally “broke” as if this could hold a key to putting themselves back together.

      I’m not arguing for amnesty for poor addled FWs since the same principle applies to serial killers. If it feels terrible to be subjected to it, I think it’s because FW betrayal is on a similar continuum. Violence, nihilism and death hover around these betrayals like a toxic gas.

      • Projective identification. Along the same lines, I found Sam Vaknins YouTube videos on mind control interesting. There’s some serious brain washing going on behind closed doors because the chumps posting on here seem like a very clever witty and perceptive bunch, and yet we were still coopted into an abuser’s fantasy that they are a wonderful trustworthy person (despite some pretty obvious evidence to the contrary).

        • Projection: a thought that strikes is about mirrors, the way we reflect others and they us. When one is projecting loving thoughts, one sees oneself as loving; when one is projecting hateful thoughts, one sees oneself as hateful. Intimate relationships compel the hateful to see what they look like, reflected by the suffering of the partner, and that’s tough for the NPD / BPD set to endure. Maybe that’s why they ultimately seek out to destroy their victims: by eliminating the witness, they erase the crime. Maybe. I don’t know.

      • >>He knew just how to deal with those types because he’d figured them out. I would do and say exactly what he recommended and, like magic, would watch the bullies turn pale and fuck off for good.

        HOAC – I’d love to hear your father’s advice on how to deal with bullies.

        • Belated replay since I’ve been on the road, so hopefully you ticked off the “inform me by email” option. My dad told me to tell a school yard bully “Don’t pick on me because your old man beats you up.” The kid turned three shades of gray and literally backed into a break in a hedge and disappeared with a petrified look on his face. It made me sad because obviously my father had read the situation correctly but it worked– permanently.

          The best tactic he told me about was one he invented during combat. There was a scapegoat in the troop who had been recycled to the front too many times. He used to jump every time a shell hit and the thugs in my dad’s outfit were giving the poor guy hell. So my dad figured out who the ringleader was and with great sincerity told the ringleader he’d been having bad dreams about him and to be careful. The lead bully got very jittery about the dreams, immediately stopped picking on the scapegoat and the rest followed suit. So, as mentioned above, the scapegoat later crossed a battlefield to pull my wounded dad out of a trench. My dad was deeply shaken that almost no one else in the unit survived that day even though he despised most of them.

          I used the tactic sparingly, once to stop some creepy friend of a former boss from harassing me. I’ve never seen such a magical turnaround. The creep was suddenly courtly and careful around me and recommended me for promotion.

          When my dad died, his friends shared similar stories about how he mopped up bullies.

    • I come here for the community and I swear I find more stupid shit that I lived through (and buried) all the time! I’m so sorry we’ve all lived thru this crap! My dead fuckwit actually asked if a ” gal friend” could move in with us (at the end before he died). She was a bar tender at a classier “wine bar” near our home and needed to get away from the abusive boyfriend (oh ya, she was like 15 years younger than we were). Said boyfriend was the idiot/never do well/entitled son of the local NFL team owner (ya, abuse was on TV-local and probably national) .
      I was like, huh? Hell no! She has no one else in the world? Maybe I was a huge chump but sirens were going off like no ones business. My stupid sparkledick fancied himself some sort of saver of Damsels in Distress (I figured this out after he died). I know he liked hanging with her and the NFL owner son just for the perks of it all-like some of it would rub off on him or something!!! I’m sure my fuckwit was banging her after she broke up with the boyfriend, and probably in my home while I was working weekends at the hospital. I’m just glad I never ok’d her moving in. Geez…again, sorry this happened to everyone…

  • CC is lucky to be alive! Shivers. Those two conspirators may have been trying to gaslight her into her getting her out of the way, hoping she would commit suicide!! Unfortunately, evil like this does exist. Grey rock ’em (because of the kids) but stay far away from those two as much as possible!

  • “That’s the thing about sociopaths, they subvert your best qualities — generosity, empathy, selflessness — for their own agenda.”

    Bears repeating.

  • Good morning COVID Chump and welcome to CN.
    Obviously CL has already primed you for your better life and so the best for you is to continue your mightiness and sail forth on her advice.
    Your story is heartbreaking and really shows how damaging COVID has been to the world— put many chumps on the verge of suicide ( myself included ) as it transformed freaks and fuckwits into even crazier and heartless monsters. I can just see your soon to be ex fucking the ho as you’re at work “why hasn’t that COVID killed her off yet. More lube. Faster. Softer.”
    Think about it, a fuckwit, in the same breath can wish you dead and ask for a French tickler from Tru Wuv, while you’re tormented and hurting.
    Having been in a similar boat as you, though not as turbulent, and just 6 months “ahead” of you, I can tell you that it sucks.
    The pain, depression and near suicide desperation of being played are really damaging and very difficult to manage. They are relentless emotions that wake me up in the middle of the night and remind me how lonely I am these cold mornings. It’s really really awful to be chumped.
    BUT!
    We are not with these monsters. Do you see the light off yonder? We are free of them. Slowly, slowly these awful emotions and memories are softening we chumps. Through all this fucking shit, and I’m so over it, we become mighty.
    Our mightiness is filled with compassion, love, insight, empathy and on and on, because we had to confront the situation and we had to look at ourselves. We had no choice. We were chumped. And so your life begins from there, from the amazing place of being a chump, a person who is not vapid and who can discern between wishing death on another and extra viscous lube. Your ex? Garbage. Trash. Vile that is what we New Yorkers call the “fatburg”— which is all the lube, condoms, wipes and poop that clogs up the sewers. That’s your ex. You? The gosh darn Statue of Liberty.
    I salute you and thank you for your service.

    • Thanks to everyone for sharing their dark moments. I was frank with a few friends that the betrayal had triggered “ideation” for awhile and one great friend admitted to having felt the same way during a really tough period in his life. We ended up having a macabre discussion about how all the various methods carry a huge risk of failure. People have attempted suicide and survived twenty story falls, bullets to the head, overdose, etc., so what’s the point and what is there left to do but find a way to get back in the saddle and go on living? By the end of the night, we laughing so hard we were falling over while dead sober. Obviously it wasn’t the subject matter that was funny but the relief of finally sharing experiences and a sense of irony.

      It’s in moments like this that you realize how horribly isolating these betrayals are. Getting consensus from someone with a similar take on life is like coming out of a prison cell (or digging yourself out of a mountain of shit) and seeing the sun for the first time in years. What is shared might be dark but the light comes from the courage that people have in reaching out to each other.

  • CC, I cannot believe what you have been through. I am glad you are out of this now. My heart breaks for you and what you went through. You are a true hero to have survived. You also have every right to be angry. Just go as no contact as you can with the psychopaths. Take care of yourself and your kids. Most of all be kind to yourself as you work through being you.

  • I also agree with CL about how they use what’s good about you agsinst you. It’s truely mind-bending how they use your trust, loyalty, decency, responsibility etc. etc. to hide their betrayal. I think it might be why we’re do prone to blaming ourselves.
    They ARE monsters, they have each other but who will they hide their misdeeds behind now you’re not there…this is one of those situations where they’re bound to turn on each other.

  • It is so sad to see how horribly good people are treated by FW’s

    Half the human race seems to be wicked and selfish and heartless

    • The older I get, the more and more I agree with this. So many people have a cycle of desperation, wanting to get what’s “theirs.” It’s selfish entitlement at the expense of others. I am also enough of a geezer to see a lot of karma play out. Sometimes it can take decades, but it comes one way or another.

    • I read this second hand but apparently an Auschwitz survivor who testified at Nuremberg made the observation that (paraphrase) “10% of humanity are always cruel, 10% are always merciful and the other 80% can go either way.”

      For what it’s worth, I thought this might sound more hopeful than 50-50, though only slightly.

  • From a podcast by Dr. Omar Minwalla:

    “The maintenance of a deceptive, compartmentalized sexual life in the context of an intimate relationship or family system, is a form of domestic abuse. It is particularly traumatizing in the context of an intimate partnership where there’s a lot of dependency and emotional investment, and especially in a family system where there are kids involved.”

    Plus, this was .INSIDE YOUR HOME…WHICH YOU OPENED UP TO HER TO HELP HER…..WHILE YOU RISKED YOUR LIFE AS A NURSE DURING A PANDEMIC OF EPIC HISTORIC PROPORTIONS…..

    Sweet smoking Jesus.

    I think you might also need some help getting angry and being OK with getting angry and processing the angry.

    I am totally on board with major secondhand outrage.

    Huge hugs to you and thank you for your service.

    • secondhand outrage is about right. it’d like to picket this guy, a big protest. a big chumpy protest.

      • I hope she tells her story to everyone once the divorce, custody, and financials are settled. Both perps need their reputations ruined for life. I’m so tired of living in fear of these people and how it makes us “look” if we say anything, or be in fear of what we could lose.

        • I have to second that. I’m all for moving on but also believe in never robbing anyone of their consequences. Write a book and do a junket for it on Nancy Grace. Or at least don’t lie about what they did if it comes up in certain company and learn to drop it ever-so-off-handedly in conversation so that you don’t appear to be particularly invested in order to maximize impact. And then by all means, let go and move on (hopefully with a bigger shit-eating grin).

        • You would think their friends and family would figure it out…the skank moved in and now CC moved out with the kids. Skank and cheating POS husband are still living together in what was once the family home. I don’t care what skank and cheating POS of shit’s narrative would be (and no doubt they have a doozy of a narrative) I wouldn’t buy it but I’m sure there are those that would…they are the ones CC should discard.

  • CC, what they did is truly awful, and you are justified in any anger and depression your feel. You were risking your life almost daily to care for patients, and the money you earned was supporting not only your your cheater but also his freeloading OW in your own home for two years.
    Please talk to your attorney about what to do if they try to use her lengthy presence and role in your kids’ lives as a factor in determining child custody. And also find out if your cheater owes you for her support in the financial division, since OW demonstrably lived off of your assets and earnings for two years.
    Both of them are despicable, and their behavior was outrageous. It’s incredible that you’ve been able to keep working through their betrayals. Fortunately, you have work and are working. Make sure you take time to take care of yourself and find things to enjoy by yourself and with your kids.

  • covid chump, your X is so disordered and you’re lucky to be rid of him. yes, you’ll have to deal with X because of the kids, but you are WELL rid of him.

    work with your lawyer for a good settlement and move on to your own life. take care of your self. go to regular therapy (EMDR) and surround yourself with folks who love and support you. eat well, exercise, and talk to your GP about what’s been going on in your life.

    the focus is YOU.

  • Good day CN,

    CC here and I just wanted to thank all of you so much for all of your kindness and support. It’s been a few months since D-day. I have moved into my own home with my 2 girls and we love it. FW and OW continue to try to get under my skin by accusing me of mistreating the girls and neglecting their medical needs. Just around D-day my youngest had her second seizure (first was a few months earlier and FW had tried to keep me from taking her to hospital) and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I have to work so hard not to engage. I’m still engaging in regular therapy to help me cope and my psychologist is absolutely amazing. On the hard days I tell myself that I am a superhero (big and confident in presence) for me and my girls and that I am safe.

    Thank you,
    COVID Chump

    • Good work mama bear! Keep documenting your ex’s shitty choices with his kids (at least by sending emails to yourself describing the situation, but hopefully keeping emails from him) and show it to a judge to get as much custody as possible. Document document! Email is better than texts and calls for this, but keep everything no matter.

      I have a treasure trove of saved emails, text screen shots, and voice messages from my ex in case I need them as evidence. I’ve also started messaging my daughter’s doctors with relevant information to create a paper trail there (now that messaging doctors is a thing)…such as “daughter is sick and her father took her to XYZ after she was symptomatic, and now she’s gotten sicker, can we have an appointment?”

    • Very happy to hear that you are in your own home and that your kids are with you.

      I hope your lawyer is as good as your psychologist. A strong custody agreement that works in your favor will be a blessing to you and the kids.

      And here’s a little thought: as a nurse, you are in a position to be a strong earner. Meanwhile VerminSchmoopie has been unemployed. Not a contributor. Without your salary, these two monsters will have to work. And they’ve lost all of their favorite games: “I know something you don’t know”; “You aren’t the boss of me”; “Let’s devalue our partners”; and that great favorite, “Let’s gaslight CC!” You left and took away all of their fun.

      • I was thinking the same thing about the lawyer. Covid Chump should be doing EVERYTHING to protect her finances including running credit checks and closing joint accounts.

        A chump once said she was able to change her own retirement beneficiary distribution from 100 percent to 1 percent without her spouse’s signature. That’s not the same has changing account ownership, but it’s worth looking into.

        • That chump was probably me. I was not able to remove klootzak as a beneficiary without his signature, but I was able to add my child at 99% and klootzak with 1%. If anything happens to me, klootzak would be able to use my child’s share for things above and beyond standard care and feeding such as to send the child to camp or pay for music lessons. Probate court would require an annual filing showing any expenditures. I was a child recipient of life insurance and that was how it was handled.

          If you really want to get fancy, you could talk to an attorney about establishing a trust. But I mainly wanted to transfer as much out of klootzak’s name as possible since I know I have a long road ahead to the divorce decree.

          • I remember the day after fw left, I was falling apart but I went into work and changed all my beneficiary’s to my son on my life insurance, my retirement, anything that I could legally do. I couldn’t leave my son any left over checks; but ass soon as he filed for D and I got the paperwork I did that.

            I did it all at least two times again after the D to make sure there were no errors.

            Letting that asswipe and his whore get one penny from me was not an option if I had any control.

            I also took 500 dollars of my savings account which and gave it to my son to keep for me. Back then 500 dollars was a lot. But, I got a good maintenance deal, and I was able to save a lot over the next year before my D was final. So I told my son and his wife to keep it.

            It was my way of giving my son something to make up for his shitty dad spending money on a whore while son and I scrimped.

            FW never went after half of my savings so it was ok. If he had, I would have just said it was to help him pay off his college loan. I think fw may have had some money hidden away and he didn’t want to get too nasty. But, I just wanted some seed money and out of that mess so I didn’t pursue it.

    • You are AMAZING. We are all cheering you on.

      Document like crazy, correspond with them only through writing in a parenting app, especially in light of your daughter’s new medical needs. She is undoubtably much safer in your care since you are a nurse, especially if you establish he won’t take her to the hospital when needed.

    • Good to hear from you, CC! Ha, I highly doubt your FW and OW have twu wuv if they feel the need to involve you at every turn. Hope you’re documenting their defamation attempts and hope your lawyer is as awesome as your psychologist.

      Funny how FW tries to accuse you of neglecting your children’s medical needs when he wouldn’t let you take her to the hospital for a seizure! Crazy making, all of it. Their minds are truly fucked up.

      Keep being mighty, CC!

    • You are my hero, Covid Chump. I’m so very proud of you and the steps you are taking to move forward. You, not I, are the divine one…

    • CC– My middle kid carries a very high, particularly dangerous late-onset seizure risk because of a medical condition in infancy and he was getting far more seizure auras during the high point of FW’s antics. You could have cut the stress in our house with a knife and I’m pretty certain that stress worsened my son’s condition (as well as making all of us sick all the time).

      FW also tried to DARVO me with the “bad parenting” thing before D-Day. I think he was just hunting around for any old thing to blame-reverse about at the time. His charge was preposterous but it put the fear of God in me. At first I was paralyzed with terror but eventually I was merciless when the truth came out because he’d dared to bark up the custody tree. He knew it was my worst fear because parents of medically fragile kids are often embattled, judged and easy to demonize. Go figure. If your child has cancer you’ll get sympathy baskets but if a child has chronic conditions, some bystanders love to find fault with parenting, particularly with mother’s parenting. In my experience, doing this is often just as an excuse for bystanders to abandon the family and get away from the “bummer” sight of a sick child without looking like corrupt twats. In any event, I had already been put through the wringer dealing with social rejections, schools’ denial of services and retaliation, so that oblique threat from FW snapped me into battle mode.

      Because of this, I take no prisoners with that crap and hired a PI to get rock hard evidence of everything FW did– for instance, exactly where FW was after FW gave us all the flu and my son was up four nights in a row with tics and pre-seizure syndrome.Where was daddy? At a bar and banging the office doorknob. On my attorney’s instructions, I documented everything like this. My lawyer explained that infidelity doesn’t factor very much in divorce even in our “fault” divorce state but that things like the latter look baaaad.

      In the end, FW had no intention of forming a long term anything with the AP and wouldn’t have trusted that bar fly to raise a gerbil, much less our kids, so he wasn’t actually preparing to steal custody and knew he couldn’t raise the children by himself. But in your case, it looks like these two psychopaths– like the batterers they are– may be all about causing maximum damage even at the expense of children’s welfare. It may be baffling that someone who seemed to cheerfully abandon you is soon going to be enraged that you’re moving on and that people to whom you’ve done nothing will be seeking revenge, but in the land of FW be prepared for anything.

      And beware. You’re about to be barraged with “children need fathers” drivel from every corner and from your story, you’re greatest strengths– empathy and kindheartedness and second guessing yourself to ensure that your actions are positive and decent– have become liabilities in the face of these monsters. Your ex nuisance may still end up with partial custody or at least visitation but you should retain as much (or all) custody as possible. Get a great, dedicated, experienced attorney who’s deft at handling such things and pull no punches that you’re instructed to level.

      Once the imposed isolation and trauma begin to fade, the sun is going to gradually shine brighter every day until one day you’re thanking your lucky stars to be out of smell range of that beast you were married to. Like others here, I find myself gaping in disbelief at what those two did to you. I’ve heard even worse stories on CN, ones involving murder of children and attempted murder of chumps. So the bar around here is already in hell yet your story is still shocking. Please bear that in mind. What you experienced was an extraordinary, criminal act and you deserve to take time to heal. But I have a feeling you’re going to be looking at much brighter days in the future.

      • HOAC,I am so sorry for the stress and sickness that both you and OP had to go through with your kids. I am glad my FW didn’t start his shit behaviors (that I know of ) until our son was out of the house. Not that he was ever a super dad. In fact, sometimes it just seemed that he was jealous of our kid. When your baby is sick you have to give him the attention he needs and the FW would always overreact. Give me a break, the kid did not deliberately get sick. Argh! I just hope this divorce will be over soon. The FW has become an expert at projection and DARVO of late. He has accused me of everything from being a raging alcoholic (not true) to being a cheater (projection?). The only answer I have given is for him to run whatever through the attorneys. He hates this and goes into raging emails. Those get sent to the attorney who has a nice collection of them now.
        There are just so many horrible chump stories out here that my heart cries at times. I am so amazed to hear that the chumps make it through considering what they have gone through. Chumps have so much strength and everyone here has proven they are mighty and they are survivors. I hope better days are ahead for all of us chumps.

        • Sadly, I am also routinely accused of being an alcoholic (projection much?). I have to remind him that I cannot remember the anger I expressed the night before because I was in full trauma brain where everything melts into a twisted mental disaster that tries to just erase itself, not because I was drinking. (FW: Why do you keep focusing on this? ME: I wish I never even had to think about it!). The most recent mindfuckery was FW accusing me of drinking through my pregnancy. Really? You mean all of those months that I was working my ass off and making organic fruit and nut breads every day while still waiting on you? This was a new low (maybe….?) that I could not abide. Thank you CL and CN for keeping me sane.

          • They’ll grasp at any accusation. Naturally the ones that first come to their dim little heads are either the things they themselves do or that the AP (or their mothers) did. As someone put it, “Remember every accusation by a narcissist is a confession.”

            • Oh thank you for this! It makes total sense. Every accusation is a confession. Yep. It’s part of their inverted universe.

    • To state the bleeding obvious, this guy is an abuser. These sorts get the new girlfriend in to continue perpetrating the abuse indirectly on their behalf, and then sit back with a massive stiffy thinking what a god they are. Triangulation is so arousing, especially when the kids are crying in the background. You don’t need to hear from him about his opinions as to your parenting. Reduce contact to the bare minimum – essential information about the kids can go on a parenting app and text in an emergency. There’s actually not that much communication required when it comes down to it – usually negotiating contact arrangements directly is a waste of time cos it’s just another opportunity to control. Get a lawyer or go to a mediation service. All the best.

  • This is why we are chumps. We make sacrifices, make do with less, put aside our own needs and desires, work harder, and give more. We have hope, we have trust, and we can bear hardship well.

    This is the type of unsuspecting, good-hearted bit of prey these sociopaths thrive on.

    To OP, and all of you, YOU make the world a better place. It’s a shame and it’s unjust that you and I have had to go through the wrenching heartbreak we’ve experienced.

    But I’m so thankful we’ve found each other.

    ChumpLady, thank you for this site, for your book, and for this most excellent reply.

    I’m currently learning more about boundaries and how to insist on certain things that are important to me. My preferences and desires matter too.

  • These are the dark-triads/dark-tetrads who want to replace you in your own life. And/or drive you and children to suicide, for fun, and to get the resources.
    It’s a conspiracy. The diaboliques.
    Sometimes she has a partner as a front, to make her beyond suspicion.
    They may target several married couples to see where they can get in.
    Then, pregnant, she is in control.
    With several children here and there. Blackmail. Insurance for life.
    Your husband a crazed man desiring the disappearance from the face of the earth of you and you children.
    Or he goes for the whole situation and pays up.
    These people are extortionists.

  • My wife is a critical care nurse.
    She wears the full head gear, changes protective clothing 20 times a 12 hour shift, calls patients families with the bad news and holds hands with dieing patients while the family sobs on the iPad. Not to mention the constant exposure to the virus and seeing her co-workers get sick.
    There is a special place in hell for these two.

  • So sorry you were betrayed in this hideous manner, COVID Chump. The only thing that comes close is FW’s grandfather moved in his mistress while his wife (FW’s grandmother) was home dying of cancer.

    Lawyer up, go no contact and get all the $$$$ due to you.

  • CC, of course you are sad & angry! And you can feel that way for as long as you do feel that way.
    These people are abusers!
    As you build a better life without these abusers, you will have fewer days in a week of feeling angry or sad. Then it will be fewer hours of a day here and there. That’s how I began to measure my progress, not by whether I never had those feelings barge into my consciousness but that it happened less & less & that it didn’t cause me to spiral down.
    You are bad ass for getting out! You said you feel safe now which is so important. I don’t think anyone can heal from trauma while they are still experiencing it. I like that you describe yourself as “not small now.” You have done so much already! 👏🏻 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • CC,
    Congratulations on finally getting to the bottom of this colossal mindfuck.
    I however just want to say:
    1) I think that he was cheating with her before she moved in.
    2) After the first week, YOU should have kicked her out of YOUR house by whatever means necessary.
    3) When you found out about the cheating, you should have kicked both of them out, and not left YOUR house (to them).
    4) Glad you are getting counseling. You had major doormat and/or self-esteem issues *before* her moving in.
    5) Lose your doormat act, and take him to the cleaners in the divorce. He deserves it.

  • CC…I am so sorry this happened to you. Your stbx and that skank are evil. Even the biggest asswipes would not stoop to their level. I would gather the skank had set her sights on your husband (easy mark) and the whole being abused story was just that a story. What a gig she had…didn’t need to work and made herself out to be queen of the household. I’m sure she did everything with flair and a look at me doting on the kids, cooking, cleaning, etc. She’s a sociopath and your ex is also a douche but someone she is using to support her skank ass. Sociopaths have an aversion to honest work so they find saps to sponge off. They work hard to ingratiate themselves as apparently Miss Skank did with your in-laws. So be angry, you should be but know that if it wasn’t for Miss Skank you would have went on living with the insipid piece of puss husband. You deserve better and they deserve each other. Oh and after your divorce is final get the popcorn as Miss Skank will start treating your ex like something stuck on the bottom of her shoe. It will not end well.

  • My former husband also had this issue it was disgusting, the old whore brought it into the house and still he wouldn’t get rid of her. “RUN” don’t walk these Narcissts are sub human animals!

  • Dear CC,

    Daaaaaaamnnn! You are a hardass. You survived two years of their abuse. You lived. You don’t see it but you are one tough Mama. I salute you.

    I hope they make each other just as happy as they made you. I hope that they spend years in agony. I hope that they grow a soul and suffer the torments they put you through. They suck and I hate them.

  • I read this and thought, “Holy crap!” and had to set down my phone and absorb the two years of hell CC endured.

    CC: I hope you don’t mediate or settle one bit. I hope your story gets before a judge in open court. That alleged “abused woman” probably was kicked out when her chumped husband caught on. FW and AP are absolute pigs.

    I communicate regularly with a fellow chump whose FW left the house. She often expresses that she can’t fathom what I must go through being in the same house with klootzak while I finish lining up my ducks and make ready to file. It isn’t easy but in the name of setting up things to ensure a better outcome, I feel it is worthwhile. As someone here once said, there is no justice and a generous settlement (and majority of physical custody of children) is the best the system can do. But choosing to stay on longer to improve one’s credit score and so on is nothing compared to being mindfucked by FW and schmoopie living IN YOUR HOUSE. CC has survived some nasty abuse and I will pray tonight that her little family gets better every day.

  • COVID Chump, your career choice, your actions in this messy swirl tell me that you are a good soul. Too good to even realise how nasty some people can be. I’m glad to hear that you got some distance from it all. This will allow you time to reflect of what happened to you. It might not get all uncovered at once, pieces of the puzzle will drop at unexpected times. Each piece will help you in your new life. It will come at the right moment, you’ll see.
    I’ve been there. Years after leaving my cheater, I still get glimpses of information, things I didn’t know at that time. It’s a journey in discovering human nature. And it’s not always pleasant.

    It irks me to remember how I invited for dinner a colleague of mine. All the “Hi hi hi” and “Ha ha ha” were actually her manoeuvres to hit on my husband. It didn’t work for her, he got angry and invited her out. But he never told me why, at the time I didn’t understand. You see, I needed more wisdom to realise what happened. A piece of the puzzle…

    I have trust that you will come to find all the pieces of your puzzle. Chump Lady already revealed that the “roommate” didn’t come to your home by chance. She came with an agenda, probably their agenda. You will make light of it.
    The most important thing is that you left all that mess behind and that you are safe. You can build from now on stronger foundation, with new found wisdom.
    Hugs!

  • My story exactly with my ex husband and the au pair. Some people have no moral center, period. There’s no worse abuse – particularly because we don’t even know we’re being abused. And then they’re allowed to raise our children 50% of the time – the abuse continues for another decade or two.

  • CC,

    I know that was horrendous but at least you know that fucker (husband) ain’t worth shit. Look at this charitable shacking-up-with-that-sicko-woman situation as a test…for him…that he so miserably failed. You did your best and you and your kids will shine on ✨

  • Oh yeah. The cheating hurt, bad. But the years of needless suffering…that’s what hurt the worst.

    If he wanted to be with other women, he could have simply said so or ended our relationship. But per his standard, he was so entitled to it all and such a user, clearly I had a role in his life since he kept coming back.

    He let me, he watched me suffer for years. I begged him to make it stop. Ending our relationship would have been humane.

    I guess his entitlement was greater than his compassion.

    Glad you are free. Don’t ever let anyone talk you out of or dismiss your feelings ever again. That’s my litmus test now: will they hear me when I raise an issue or not? If it’s not, then I am gone. I apply this to ALL relationships (well I try). Like CL says, always ask yourself: “is this relationship acceptable to me??”

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