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She Admitted to Cheating, Then We Had Great Sex… WTF?

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Good Morning Chump Lady,

I am probably going to word vomit on you, as I am still completely and utterly shocked. So I apologize in advance.

It’s been a week since I found out about my wife’s bang buddy. (I guess that is called D-day?). First some back story. We’ve been together almost 11 years, married 6, no kids, just 1 pup and a house. I had begun suspecting cheating this past summer (2021) with all the usual signs, distant, spending more time away from the house, more and more “girls nights.” We’ve had a rough two years prior.

We moved to a new city (she had never left her hometown before) in the summer of 2019 and she had a rough time adjusting. She hated her new job and had no friends other than me. She would fly home once a month or her parents would come down. Not the best way to adjust, but everyone does it differently I guess. We were struggling to connect in our new roles, as we worked a lot and just were not having fun. We were certainly not being intimate. COVID came and we both lost our jobs (We worked for the same company). We moved home, as our lease was ending soon anyway and we kept our house back home.

Work called only for me to go back shortly after we moved home to work with them through summer. Then they would find a spot for me as more things opened back up in the north. Well, summer turned into march 2021 before I could find a job back home. With my one salary, we were able to keep up our normal lifestyle, pay all the bills, and keep the roof over our heads. We even had money to pay for a trip to Mexico to celebrate our 5 year anniversary a little late. My wife was able to save all the unemployment money that she collected for a year, which was awesome.

As hard as it was, I felt it necessary to work and we talked everyday about how this would make us stronger on the other end. She said if I ended up finding a girl and something happened, we could move past it. I let her know that I have zero interest in other women. She was the only one for me. Once we found out it was going to be longer than summer we made plans for her to come down and visit once a month, or for me to come up to see her. Truthfully, I would have loved her to be there all the time, as it was a miserable existence for me just living in a hotel room by myself. But I thought, why should we both be miserable down here? So I never forced it upon her, I guess I was hoping she would have just wanted to be with me.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021, we have had miserable sex twice in about 6 months, just forced and no passion. I could tell she just did because she felt obligated too. So we talked about getting ourselves connected again, as the past two years were rough. It was a great conversation and things got better. I still had my doubts that something may have happened, but I pushed them down, as I had no proof other than a feeling. I told myself if I throw out the infideitely bomb, there is no undoing it.

Slowly we began disconnecting again. She was unhappy at work, she was losing a lot of weight, she got back on her anxiety medicine. Our trip to Mexico was coming up in late October and it could not have come at a better time. It would really give us time to reconnect. Might find this hard to believe, but the trip was awesome for the rest and relaxation, but not for us reconnecting. Sex was awful again, as it felt forced and no passion.

We came home and just got back into our rut. She had brought up the idea of an open marriage twice. The first time I just laughed it off and said no thank you. The second time I sat her down and we had a heart to heart. I told her it is not happening. It doesn’t make me comfortable bringing it up multiple times and that I married her and only her. I want us, not me and her and a few other people on the side. I said we need to invest in this marriage together and right now it feels I am the only one in it. She blamed it on being unhappy at work and it was bleeding over and affecting her whole life. She committed to being better and that she didn’t just love me, but was in love with me.

We were “happy” for a few weeks before the same thing happened. The distance, her phone habits changed (DND always on, notifications off, ect.). I caught her in the dumbest lie when she was pretending to be at home when I had stopped at home during work, but she didn’t know that. I asked her about why she lied and she said she wanted to go to work to get stuff done. Since it was her day off, she didn’t want me “harassing” her about it.

I type up all my feelings and what I call the rabbit hole I was down. I asked her to cancel her girls night, that I was not in a good head space and we needed to talk. I laid it all out there, from the thongs I washed on two occasions (she hates thongs and never wears them, even though I love them) to her phone habits, to her not being present to this lie about being home when you’re at work. I asked her if she had stepped out on our marriage and banged anybody else. Let’s talk about it now and move past it. I honestly would have understood if she picked up a dude during the past 18 months. I wouldn’t have liked it, but perhaps we could have moved forward.

She said she had not. She has had opportunities and was thinking about doing it, but had not. It was a great conversation. She said she was feeling distant since we’ve moved in 2019 and that I wasn’t there to help her enough. She felt abandoned. We cried a lot during the conversation. She suggested I get back on my anxiety medication because it would help with the thoughts. We had great sex after that conversation, like the kind we haven’t had in years. I felt really good. It was great…until it wasn’t. A week later she was just kinda the same. She blamed it on the Doctors appointment and the doctor unexpectedly taking out her IUD. It shook her and she wasn’t prepared for it. I could understand.

I was cleaning the house before work last week and I found her old phone. Not sure why I did what I did, but I plugged in. Charged it up and went through it. No texts or pics that I could find from any dudes, but I knew if anything had happened, her BFF would know. There it was, in blue text. She had banged another dude. Her phone stopped in 2019 and the only thing I could gather was that it may have started in 2018 (yes, before we even moved to the new city). Those texts are etched in my brain.

She came home from work and I asked her if she had ever cheated on me. She deflected, where is this coming from, yada yada. I asked her to just answer the question. She deflected. Then I simply asked who’s ? The color drained from her face. She said it wasn’t like that and she had not done it in a while and the past two years were rough. She said she had cut it off. We cried and cried and cried. I asked her why she just didn’t come clean a few weeks ago when I asked. She didn’t want to lose me and wanted to wait to do it in counseling, where it felt safer? We cried some more and I told her I didn’t deserve this crap. She was really sorry of course.

We ended up having porbably our best sex ever at 3am. I then asked her when we woke up to stay with her parents at least for the weekend while we sort this all out. I gave her a list of questions that I needed full and utter transparency too, for any hope of reconciliation. When she came back Sunday, she started off with lies, so I stopped the conversation. Told her she can go live with her parents for a while.

I got drunk naturally and broke down and asked her to come back and hold me. We cried some more and I just wanted her comfort. She was everything to me. I tried the next two days to see if we could start the healing process while living together, but we couldn’t. Or I couldn’t anyway. I asked her to stay with her parents for at least the next two weeks (when we go to therapy) and we can see what they suggest. We cried some more and I felt the guilt and I comforted her because I still felt it was my job. Feeling that is ultimately why I needed her to get out, so I can focus on my feelings and what I need to do.

I have a lot of whys naturally. Why do I feel the need to comfort her? Why I did have the urge to have sex with her after finding out and why was it so good?

How do I even begin to process this all and move on? Do I need all the details for that to happen? Why do I feel guilt? I feel guilty about wanting to leave her and how that will make her feel? How do I turn off the love faucet so this pain goes away? I love her family and my heart aches for them.

Is therapy even worth it for us? I want to go to get the story, but will that even matter? I signed up for my own therapy, starting before our couples therapy, which should help.

I suppose I am chump and most people would easily say GTFO instantly, but it’s just hard to erase the 10 plus years just like that. My heart is in shambles.

Should I just pack up my stuff, move out, and just ignore her calls and texts for a while? Should I ask her for no contact for a certain amount of days? Will that help?

How do I tell if she’s actually sorry or just sorry she got caught? I am currently firmly in the camp of she’s sorry she got caught.

I just feel so incredibly lost.

Any advice would help, although just typing this all out felt pretty therapeutic.

Signed,

I am going to need a new Tswift album soon

***

Dear New Tswift Album,

Hysterical bonding, or as I call it — the Pick Me Dance performed naked — is a pretty common reaction after D-Day. I’ll explain it, but then you have to promise me you’ll get on the no contact wagon.

Listen to Mr. Wonka — Don’t touch a thing. Your wife is not your friend, and she cannot be a source of comfort. Keep your wits about you.

A little skein untangling about hysterical bonding:

1.) You’re traumatized. And you’re looking to the one person you would expect comfort from — your wife. Except she’s the person who traumatized you. You’re looking for connection. She’s using you for kibbles to keep her in cake. I betray you and then you find me irresistible? Ooh. More narcissistic supply! Yes please!

The real her couldn’t be bothered. The her that thinks you might take away your useful salary and lodging? She can drum up an orgasm on demand.

2.) Bargaining stage of grief. You have been presented with a huge loss. Your reality was not what you thought it was. You’re going to grieve the person you thought she was, and the life you had invested in. Early days, there will be a lot of denial — it’s too much immense pain to digest all at once — and there will be a lot of bargaining. Well, maybe it’s not THAT bad. Maybe I can work with this. Maybe we can still have sex, or family dinners, or WTFever.

No. You are that Taylor Swift album.

3.) The sex feels heightened because you’re a raw nerve. Imagine sex after sky diving. Or if you were living in a war zone and thought this fuck might be your last. To suffer a D-Day is to be an exposed nerve. Open to every single sensory experience. It’s disorienting, and kind of beautiful in a falling… falling… way. If, like, you’re listening to Richard Thompson songs. MY GOD IT’S SO MEANINGFUL. And then, ages later, your life is normal and you’re like, Richard Thompson. How long was I freebasing gloom?

Do not waste your precious sexy self on someone who cheats on you.

Why do I feel the need to comfort her?

Because she’s manipulative and she has a sadz about consequences.

sadz

How do I even begin to process this all and move on?

Process later. Protect yourself first. See a lawyer, get your own support group and therapist, protect the finances, do STD testing. Read the archives.

Is therapy even worth it for us? I want to go to get the story, but will that even matter?

You know enough. Is this relationship acceptable to you?

Should I just pack up my stuff, move out, and just ignore her calls and texts for a while? Should I ask her for no contact for a certain amount of days? Will that help?

No contact is the fastest path to healing. Discuss the implications of moving out with an attorney. But yes, you should totally stop speaking with her and get your head clear. She’s going to throw her manipulation game into high gear now. Read up on the three channels — rage, charm and self-pity.

How do I tell if she’s actually sorry or just sorry she got caught? I am currently firmly in the camp of she’s sorry she got caught.

Dude, this blog is about to flip 40 million. She’s sorry she got caught. You do not have a unicorn.

I’ll turn over the floor now to CN for more support. Glad you found us. And please, get STD tested asap.

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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.
  • So sorry you’re here NTSA,
    Good for you finding this place so early in the process. He continued lying only makes me think she’s more sorry she hot caught. Her repeated requests for an open marriage was her asking for permission to continue doing what she was going to do anyway. I got something similar.
    Everything was terrible until NC, and was still terrible for a bit after that. I have no doubt it would still be terrible 7 years later if we had somehow stayed together.
    Hang in there

  • I think you actually have great instincts. You had a gut feeling that something was wrong for years, even when she lied and gaslit you, in the end when you trusted it you learned the truth.

    Again when she started to spin you up, you asked her to leave and stay with her parents. Your instinct was that you needed space. That you needed time where she wasn’t influencing you. That is so smart and means that you already have the tools you need to continue to protect yourself. Of course you love her, and the part of you that forms healthy bonds is reeling. But trust your gut, trust that little rational voice in your head while your heart is spiraling. Trust the voice that noticed her patterns over years. The pattern of behavior is still there. Her willingness to device you or find underhanded ways to get what she wants from you can’t be unknown.

    • I like to say, “Not everything you love is good for you.” He may still love her, but he needs to understand that she is not good for him.

    • One thing I got from the crazy making
      ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT

      If you think your partner is cheating- in 99% cases- that’s the reality

      One more thing- always be aware and on look up for a
      “ Do you believe me or your lying eyes?” Type of comments

      No honest, non cheating normal person would ever say that

  • Please don’t ask her for No Contact. This is usually interpreted as an invitation to bust your attempt to set a boundary. Just choose it for yourself and stick to it as best you can. It really is the short cut to healing.

    I read your story, and I will be frank: it sounds like you and your wife both have really poor boundaries. You might want to see a therapist individually about this.

    And please forgive me if I’m wrong, but you sound like someone who is a bit of a rescuer. Not a bad tendency – but rescuers often get Chumped and otherwise used by train-wreck people.

    I was concerned that your wife was unable to make any new friends when you moved. This is hard for her – I get it – but it sound like she’s not even trying to build resilience or even put on the big girl panties. Anxiety isn’t best treated with infidelity.

    I’d also see the inability to make new friends as a red flag in a potential life partner. Also requests for an open relationship, and complete unwillingness to have sex with you.

    Maybe get yourself some healing from the damage done to you by being involved with a woman who doesn’t love you. Learn what real love looks and feels like, and you will have a better chance of finding it.

    • She hasn’t put on her big girl panties but she has put on thongs twice that you know of. NTSA, the whole story is she’s been cheating a lot more than you know. Ask millions of us how we know. The advice here is great, don’t ask for no contact. Just do it. I would add to that, make it permanent. Two weeks is pointless. And most important of all, don’t go to couples counseling. Not only is it a huge waste of time and money, but it actually makes things worse for you. It’s an opportunity for your hopefully soon to be ex-wife to pick up some technobabble so she can manipulate you further. Couples therapy/marriage counseling is a platform for the cheater to blameshift on to you, owning “your part” of what’s wrong in the marriage, which then gets sanctified by the therapist! As Chumplady says, the therapist says “ tell me what you did to drive your partner to cheat“. This is total BS, but it’s the backbone of marriage counseling, that chumps get blamed for their abuse, and encouraged to sign up for more. Don’t do it!

    • I had the same thought….knight in shining armor syndrome.

      You can’t have an adult partnership with someone you’re trying to save.

    • Yes, to all of this, and I bet part of that reluctance to make new friends was her moving with you but still being embroiled in her affair, but not knowing whether that affair partner would commit and her waiting to see which way the wind was blowing. I bet if that affair partner had promised something she would have ditched. I agree with others who say this has been going on a lot, lot longer than you think.

  • Gosh, these poor cheaters (or should that be – ‘people who cheat’?!) they just suffer and suffer, while they’re off cheating and doing whatever they want, until they get caught.
    It’s really hard to wrap your mind around how little they value you beyond your use to them, but you need time and distance ie. No Contact.

  • Oh crap the hysterical bonding!! It can be overpowering, but CL is right about why it happens. It is not the best sex ever, it is a salve on a wounded heart and is temporary.
    I’ve been struggling with it too, and even though the moment felt amazing I often ended up crying hysterically afterwards.
    WTF is the right question to be asking. It says that you realize it is not normal and your spidey senses are tingling. Listen to your gut. No contact will definitely help too. Best of luck and stay strong!!!!!

    • Ah the hysterical bonding sex that I thought was good at the the time but the thought of it now makes me shudder, EEEEWWWWWW

      • Same here. I remember it being amazing and now look back and realize there was no connection at all. Just me hurting and wanting to feel like he was mine for a moment. Wish I could get the memory of it erased.

    • Yep, crying afterwards… same here! It is an altogether akward experiece I don’t want to have ever again.

    • I dumped the FW on D-day so I had hysterical bonding sex with myself. 🙂
      It was really good too. (And it was a lot). I didn’t know the term then. I am so so glad that I didn’t turn to him for those needs, but he disgusted me so much that it was a non-issue.

    • It’s also that you’ve been so starved of attention and sex for long and all of a sudden she puts in the effort afraid of losing you

  • Therapy with a known liar is a waste of time and money. Liars lie in therapy too. Get your own carefully vetted therapist. Ask that therapist if they believe infidelity is abuse. Schedule a STI Panel. Because liars lie about unprotected sex too.

      • Me too 😭. No mother of 4, 26 years into a what I thought was a monogamous marriage should EVER have to go through that.

      • I also learned the hard way that liars lie in therapy. I learned that Liars lie every time they open their mouth.
        Liars don’t change, ever. It’s who they are.

        • Liars? People who lie? 😏

          Seriously – self preservation is the ONLY thing cheaters care about. They will say anything to get what they want, maintain their image, feel better about themselves, whatever. They have no concept of truth. My user name says it all: Actions Not Words.

          NTA, you have nothing to work with here. Please believe Chump Nation when we exhort you DO NOT ENGAGE with your FW.

          Find a therapist who believes that adultery is abuse and who understands trauma bonding. Take all the desire to comfort and save and rescue and turn it upon your precious self.

          And see a lawyer. Once the divorce process starts you’ll really see the true FW and the depth of their evil. The sooner you get this over with, the less extra suffering you’ll have to endure.

          What you’ve already gone through is more than enough. Don’t allow her to traumatize you further, and for god’s sake don’t be like so many of us chumps who, in an attempt to be kind, loving, loyal, faithful, and forgiving, just kept inviting more abuse upon ourselves.

    • Lying liar continuing to lie in couples therapy was my experience too. But she was a wise therapist and did not allow her to continue to repeat her lies during our sessions. That was too much for XW so she exited or sessions early. When I met with the therapist alone she told me the STBX was seriously messed up and I will be better off without her.

        • That’s a unicorn therapist for sure! Mine said “I know it’s unprofessional of me, but I have to tell you, FW looooooooooves you. You should try to work it out with him”. Oh. My. God.

          • Sorry you had to hear that bullshit and glad you realized that it was bullshit. Hope you’ve found a good professional afterwards.
            My therapist is not into telling me what to do or how I should feel about something, but all about making me listen to myself and realize what is acceptable to me and what is not and what I want to do and don’t always realize I want. He asks me about my hypotheses for what FW’s motivations are for doing this or that that upsets me or our kids, and then just acknowledge them for what they are: reasonable working hypotheses that help me navigate this shitstorm. It’s up to me how much I want to delve into thinking about anything. He sometimes picks on some skein that he thinks is worth untangling (be it about me, FW, my kids or my FOO) and he helps me to do that. But it is always very open-ended. Validation from a mental health professional has been very helpful, as I’ve grown accustomed (trained?) over the years to doubt every single feeling or thought I had.
            I think I fortunately found a unicorn.

            • Mine therapist is like this as well. He actively tries to not give direct advice, but to help me parse through things. I’m quite good at tripping over my own thoughts. I think it’s something that got me into this whole mess — as you said, I, too, have grown accustomed over the years to doubting every single feeling or thought I’ve had.

              My sponsor reminded me of JADE the other day – Justify, Argue, Defend, Explain. She bluntly (but lovingly) pointed out that I do this with myself each time I mention my ex. Like I can’t just, you know, speak ill of him, but instead have to justify, defend or explain it with “maybe I’m bitter, but he’s selfish for doing xyz.” He is selfish, point blank, full stop. Why do I always feel the need to justify things? It’s probably tied to my family of origin issues and my self esteem. More reasons to stick with the therapy.

        • Absolutely. I had a therapist who never told me to leave. Even though he had mentally diagnosed the ex with a personality disorder. The therapist finally told me that when I went one last time to tell him he was a bad therapist.

        • I referred a few chumps to her, but she retired quite a while ago. She originally was an RN, before going back to school years later. I believe that is where she got her “street cred”.

      • I too had a good therapist who told me after the ex left our one and only session together, “Don’t ride the elevator all the way to the bottom.”

  • Definitely follow through on your plan to get a therapist for yourself. You need to process the trauma you are presently suffering, and you need to break the habit of being manipulated by her tantrums and self-pity. But –as noted–you have good instincts about protecting yourself, and where you have to finally draw the line. A good therapist–and don’t be alarmed if you have to try out a few before you find one that clicks with you–will help you through this. Learning to understand yourself better (so you don’t struggle with questions like “Why am I acting/feeling this way?”) is just one of the benefits that would help you right now. Learning how to set boundaries about what is acceptable to you would be another.

    And not that this is the misery sweepstakes, but plenty of the chumps here will tell you how relatively lucky you are. If you think the process of untangling your lives will be messy and complicated (and it will be, that’s why we have lawyers do it), just imagine adding 3 or 4 small children into the mix. Or after having invested another 15-20 years into this lie of a marriage. You’ve got some hell to go through–though a different hell from the one in which you are presently living. But the new, cheating-fuckwit-free life waiting for you at the end of the tunnel? Is going to rock.
    We are all wishing you the best here in Chump Nation.

  • “There are eight million stories in the Naked City” and all us chumps hoped ours was the one that would end happily. Nothing in this lengthy tale sounds promising in terms of the marriage. Get a lawyer, go no contact. You’ll be one day closer to your own dignity and happiness.

  • I could take up millions of comment characters about how your situation almost exactly mirrors my own.

    Instead, I’ll strongly suggest you follow CL’s advice and take a few (at minimum) hours looking through the archives. You’ll very quickly see that your fuckwit is following a universal cheater script. Every chump who comments here today will reinforce that she’d following all of the common habits and steps of a manipulator and resident of the covert narcissist spectrum.

    You’ll also see that you’re following the universal chump script — denying your gut instincts about the situation you’re in, rationalizing your fw’s behavior due to your one-sided investment in the relationship, focusing on the person you thought your fw was instead of who she actually is, etc.

    You’ve come to the right place. Stay and poke around a while. You’ll start to see the light from Day 1.

    • This 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 There really must be a cheater playbook. It seems to be followed by a sizable population. Trust they suck and get away! Start with no contact and lawyering up. You’ll never regret choosing YOU.

  • My heart breaks for this good man.
    As CL says, “you’re a stock that trades high”. It won’t mean much at all now, because you’re grieving, but in the future you will be loved so much it will make your old life pale, like a bad dream.

    Good things ahead, chump friend!

  • OP Here (NTSA)
    What a difference a few weeks makes. I feel better than I ever have. I wallowed in that misery for a bit and I embraced the suck of it all. Then I simply asked, what am I going to do about it? From that point on, my life has been remarkable. My mind is clear, my chest is untighten, and for the first time in probably a decade, I am so excited about the prospect of my future. The rollercoaster days will still come, I am sure, but I like roller coasters, so I’ll be just fine. We are in the process of filing for divorce. Right now its mutual consent, but I do have other options already ready in case she goes A-wall. And at the end of the day, we are just dividing a house and 2 cars. Every lawyer I talked too said this is pretty cut and dry. Best decision I ever made.

    I want to thank everyone that comments on this page and shares their story. Without these stories and this community, I no doubt would have went down the path of reconciliation first. That would have been a disaster.

    For those of you that find yourself in the position that you wind up here. READ. Don’t stop reading the stories, on this blog, reddit threads, wherever you can find them. First you will realize you are not alone and there truly is comfort in numbers. Second, you will realize just how common this is and how eerily similar the stories all are. You will realize that your partner DGAF about you in the slightest way. The faster you can get to that point of realization, the faster you begin to heal and move on. Share your story. Don’t hide from it. Run to it. Embrace it.

    I never would have thought that losing my wife like this would have been the best thing ever for me. But here I am and that is 100% true. Naturally, the only regret I have is ignoring the signs all along. What are you going do though?

    Much love to everyone here, as I truly am in this great head space, because of you all and the honesty.

    NTSA

    • OUTSTANDING. I cannot like/love/have hot sweaty mind-blowing sex with this response enough.

      Share your story. Don’t hide from it. Run to it. Embrace it.

    • NTSA,
      Congrats on taking the trash out.
      You’re still early on, but you sound pretty strong, so stay the course.
      Emotions? Loneliness? Just steps towards MEH. Work on you.
      No contact. She sucks, so let the pool boy, the cashier, the co-worker, the guy she saw standing on the corner, etc. have her.
      She can’t have you cuz think how awesome sexy time will be when you find someone authentic and committed versus sexy time with her ( garbage ) that is probably oozy, rashed, itchy and infected. Ugh.
      Nice work taking the trash out. You got this.

    • You got it!

      Mine was a “gray” divorce, and I used to naively believe that every marriage could be saved. If there was enough sex, enough counseling, enough whatever…it can work out.

      Now I believe some marriages should NOT be saved and that divorce can be a mercy. I had religious guilt too, but once I got past that, the clarity came when I realized that I had no trust in him. Without that, I personally had nothing left to give.

      • Gray divorce here, too. After almost 32 years together. Once the trust is trashed, there’s nothing to salvage. You never get it out of your mind. And dammit if they don’t violate the trust again (and again) and then get angry you don’t trust them. Better to weather the loneliness and sorrow than that shit.

        • Yes, John Gottman’s “How to Build Trust in Your Relationship” was a big help. I realized that my ex wanted me to trust with no basis and had done so many untrustworthy things that I had no reason to believe him anymore. My ex initiated the divorce, and I had to agree. He said it would be “easy” and immediately shattered that promise because he assumed that I’d lay down and let him run over me legally in that promise. I wasn’t as dumb about that as he assumed though and got a good agreement.

        • Gray divorce, I can’t stand that term. I heard it first from the FWs’ therapist I agreed to see in the first few weeks after discovery. He treated it like well shit happens. 42 years married, statistics prove out, gray = old. People move on. I am 65, live alone and almost always happy.

      • Same here, Elsie! It makes my heart sing to see the young ones get out quick and go on to a better life.

        And for us greys who have already used up so many of our allotted years, it is a mercy to finish our lives in dignity, peace, and freedom from control and abuse (whether that’s life tethered to a FW, high-demand religion, or whatever else).

        • Yes, I found peace indeed. Periodically I have a few scrapes with my adult children, but we always work it out. They have nothing to do with their father. I am going to dinner and volunteer work with friends tonight. Life is good!

    • Honestly I’m jealous of this strength. I’m happy for you. I’m 6 months in and still hysterical and sobbing most days. I can hardly believe this depression. I’m blaming myself for my daughter’s pain. I think I could accept anything to give her back her happy life. I really feel like if I hadn’t dug around I’d still be happy. How does one stop blaming themselves for that? He wants to stay together. I would eat that shit sandwich in a second except my daughter has said no way. I feel like my only option (moving on) is the one I least want. I feel so stuck. I feel so spineless. I’m terrified that this is how I will feel forever. I keep failing at no contact. I can’t stop imagining them together (7 year affair). I’m a mess. I don’t know what to do.
      I’m doing everything I should – got a lawyer got a therapist- but the pain is practically unbearable. I’m still so in love and I feel like an idiot for it. I’m letting down my daughter.

      • You are not spineless. No. You’re been betrayed. Betrayal is legit trauma, and it takes years to heal and recover. You are only six months out from discovery? This is going to take time. Be kind to yourself.

      • You are not letting down anyone. You are moving forward and dealing with a situation your ex signed you up for without your consent. You are showing your daughter that 7 years of deceit is unacceptable in a marriage

      • You are not spineless and you are certainty not an idiot. This trauma is fucking hard shit. Everyone heals differently, with different timing. I am so thankful we did not have children yet, or I am sure it would not have been this “easy”. And trust me, it was not easy. At the end of the day, when the good times start to creep back up, I simply remind myself, this person does not care about me. This person sat and lied everyday to my face. Is that the type of person I want to be around? The actions speak louder than the words. If I have too, I’ll remember the texts she sent about the affair. That grounds me and gets me back to me. And that’s what you need to focus on. You and your daughter. If you’re spending time thinking about those two POS, get a journal and log how many minutes you actually spent thinking about it. The next day try to take a little less time and so on and so forth. Slowly but surely, you will turn the corner and begin to see what the truth is. We are here for you, whatever you need. Stay strong and focus on you and our daughter. Happy, better days are coming.

        • Really encouraging news from you NTSA! Here is where it gets hard.
          -Stay in therapy. There is a lot to untangle, not about the STBX, but you.
          -Stay out of the dating scene. It will get you back into messy relationships until you are ready.
          -Build supportive relationships with others.
          -Pour yourself into your interests and passions. Sports, woodworking, pets, church, social justice issues, etc. Build strong involvement in something to deemphasize your perceived losses.
          -Stay with us on CL

        • Man, to think you’re just one week out DDay! You’re nailing it, mate! I am very impressed by your strength and single-mindedness. And such good advice you’re giving Lost! This time log is actually a great idea, maybe I am going to give it a try, as I still catch myself overthinking about FW XW sometimes (and I am almost 2 years out of DDay #1 and separated and happily divorced for five months now). Cheers!

      • Hugs. There is no one single roadmap, and everyone heals differently. I’ve been divorced from my ex for 4 years, am remarried to an amazing man, and I still shake uncontrollably when I have to be in the same room with my ex. I too blamed myself and was angry at myself for a long time. Keep going to therapy. If you like reading books, there are a ton out there on healing from trauma. You WILL get through this.

      • Lost,
        Your pain is temporary and will subside when your new life for you and your daughter takes hold.
        Your ex is not a Unicorn. He’s trash ( 7 years of lies that you know about ). So stay the course. 6 months from now you’ll be all “boy was he garbage, so glad I’m divorced and have a better life.”

      • Hi, Lost. First of all, (((hugh)))
        Many of us, me included, have been in your shoes. Just hang on and move forward (easily said than done, I know), feelings subside. Things will get better, I promise you. And please let go of the slightest guilt you may feel for the uprooting of your kid’s life, it’s not on you, you’re not the one to blame. She can have a new, improved life with you modelling strength for her and not taking shit from her father or anyone else for that matter. Seven years of deception and disrespect is unacceptable, you and your daughter deserve way better than this. I know these exhaustion feelings all too well, the desire that things just could go back to normal, but what we call normal sometimes can be very dysfunctional, we just get used to be ill-treated.
        I wish you healing and strength. Don’t waste any more of your love on someone capable of seven years of lying to your face (even if by omission). (((Hugh)))

      • Dear Lost, it is OK to be sad and a mess after just 6 months. You’re grieving, it’s a testament to how deeply involved you were in your relationship with your ex, and how shallow his investment was that he just walked away. I remember telling my therapist “but I still love him!” when I separated from my ex 4 years ago. I can’t believe I ever did now…

        Reread your own testimony, he continuously betrayed you for 7 years, he is not the person you though he was and your life together wasn’t either. That shit hurts! You can’t love that guy, that guy is a piece of shit. You’re still in love with that other guy who you thought he was, but unfortunately he is dead and buried, as well as the life you thought you had together. It’s devastating, go ahead and grieve, you have a right to do so (NC helps with that by the way) then move on.

        Reading books like LACGAL and cheating in a nutshell helps, because you can recognize your experience in others’. It is validating. Exercise helps to get out of your own head and gives you a break from your pain if it’s strenuous. Yoga and meditation are good too. Find your tribe, do things that bring you joy. You will heal and life will be a million times better on the other side. Take care.

      • Hi Lost, I’m lost some days too. I’ve had a few of those submerged, drowning days this week, but I got the courage to post here and to tell the truth. I received the warmest, heartfelt responses that made me shiver. Recognition and validation are the ultimate warm blankets. As I thaw from 32-years of hypervigilance and cruelty, I’m beginning to remember what human kindness feels like. Like you, I’m six months OUT (not “in” as you say in your post).

        One thing that helped me was my brother’s calm suggestion that I try to track my progress as a “general positive trajectory.” He meant that if I could look back and see a general trend — nothing huge — if I could take tiny steps to push that line upward a bit each day, then I could feel good about myself. At first, the bar was so low. I was staying at a guest house/AirBnb with shared kitchen and bath. My first step was to walk out of my room. I finally made it out of the house, and then I started to look for one tiny “daily delight.” I took a picture of something good, a positive that I found each day, and I sent the photo to my brother. I still do that. Sometimes he doesn’t comment, but the act of noticing life outside has helped me and has given me a trail to follow, kind of like those awful statistical lines that I abhor, but that I have become (tragically). I’m determined to keep inching that line up. I’m with you, Lost. I’m lost too, but not as much now that I have my daily delights.

        • Yes-thanks for bringing up the element of of constant
          hypervigilance. The energy that required was at a great cost to the nervous system and Though I can breathe easier at times, the habit of hypervigilance
          is hard to break because of living in an unsafe situation with ongoing gaslighting.
          Whenever no-contact is compromised for small communications about finances etc, I am thrown back into anxious unsafety through the small deceptions, obfuscations, weird messages without context that feel like something crazy is going on. Hypervigilance alert zooms to high again and is hard to dial down for days.
          Any contact at all does this-
          so I endorse the mantra of
          CL-CN- no contact needs to be in place to try to calm the nervous system and stop the brain drain
          caused by being on red alert again.

      • Lost,
        Your daughter’s pain was caused by the FW’s betrayal of the marriage and the family. He betrayed both of you. There is nothing you can do to change the past. Your future isn’t what you expected, but it’s up to you to make the best of it.

        Model for your daughter what is acceptable in a relationship. You and your daughter are a complete family without the FW.

      • Lost,

        Six months is a short time in the face of your grief. And it is complex grief. It takes a long time. Be kind to yourself; there’s no timetable and no deadlines. Healing is slow and circuitous. ❤️‍🩹

        One realization that has helped me stay on the planet is this: “feelings are not facts.” I say it over and over when the pain feels unbearable.

        When the person we loved most in the world rejects us, betrays us, lies, manipulates, and abuses it utterly shatters our self worth. Broken heart syndrome is a very real thing.

        The injury is devastating, Just like it can take years of rehabilitation to recover from a major physical trauma, healing a broken heart can also be a painstaking and incrementally slow process.

        We are here with you. ((hugs))

      • Dear Lost, So very sorry you’re in so much pain. Some of us are just made in such a way that we feel things very deeply.
        Prayer sent up for pain relief for you.
        EMDR treatment may be best therapy to treat your betrayal trauma. Prayer up for pain relief for you.
        Study done showed emotional pain & physical pain show up in the same way & in the same areas in brain, so over-the-counter pain reliever will work.

      • Lost – I was still deeply in love with my STBX at 6 months. Move forward with getting the best settlement you can. Create a place of safety and comfort for yourself and your daughter. It will get better more quickly if you are No Contact.

      • Dear Lost,

        Your daughter doesn’t want you to go back. She is rooting for you and loves you, and she has integrity. It’s so important that you were honest with her and with yourself. I just listened to a beautiful interview with children’s book author Kate DiCamillo for On Being: https://onbeing.org/programs/kate-dicamillo-for-the-eight-year-old-in-you/

        One of the major takeaways is how crucial it is to be honest with children, even — especially — about the tough stuff. Your daughter can’t and shouldn’t trust her father, but she can trust you. You passed the test. And now, she can trust herself to leave if she ever finds herself here because of what she watched you do.

        I’ll be honest: I’m still pretty depressed/anxious/lost a year-and-a-half after leaving. But I’m not in trauma anymore, and I no longer love or miss my ex. At ALL. That was the easiest part, and it came naturally once I went NC and created distance. I’ve never really seen anyone here report otherwise. You’ll get there. Be easy on yourself because we’ve all been there. Even CL. Everyone’s circumstances are different and make for different paths and timelines through it. Be nice to yourself, because you can — and your ex won’t. You’re free of him now.

      • Dear Lost,
        At 6 months, I wouldn’t expect anything less than being hysterical and sobbing! Yes, the pain is practically unbearable. But somehow you bravely managed to hire a lawyer and find a therapist! Yea for you. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for.

        Please don’t think you’re robbing your daughter of anything! The two of you ARE a family. And you will, in time, be a happy family. You are enough for her. And you have started to give her the best gift ever – modeling strength, self-respect and boundaries.

        You cannot give her back a happy family because it never was one. It was an illusion and kids often see the problems well before we do.

        You are not spineless and you are not stuck. You are suffering from abuse, gaslighting and the destruction of a marriage only you believed in. But you are moving forward. It feels so slow but every time you make it to your therapist or deal with your lawyer, you are moving forward.

        You break no contact? You start immediately and try again. Read how others have done it with journaling or writing letters that never get sent or other distractions. Read up on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. DBT teaches you to tricks like holding an ice cube when the pain is unbearable (breaks your spiraling thoughts) wearing a rubber band on your wrist to “snap” you out of your thoughts or cleaning your home instead of calling your cheater. Read every post here. Get out and walk your sadness away.

        And maybe try and find your righteous anger against that spineless FW who made you feel undeserving of real love and devotion.

        I promise it will be worth it ❤️

      • Lost, give therapy a chance. 6 months of this pain is tough but so long as you don’t have good boundaries with your STBX, you are going to stay stuck.

        So job #1 is to hold yourself accountable to no contact. You don’t say how old your daughter is, but if she is still under 18, you will have to have minimal contact for visitation, etc. Move all that to email. Make a 1-3 sentences rule for emails: “Received your message about picking up Daughter at 6 pm, not 5. I let her know about the change in time.”

        He had a 7-year affair and “wants to stay together”? Wow. That’s some cake-eating user you have there. What exactly are you in love with here? And if you knew on the day you got engaged that he would do this to you, would you have chosen him as your husband? What exactly do you “love” about a man capable of hurting you so profoundly? Your emotional state is not abnormal; it’s exactly the product of his abuse. He’s the person who hurt your daughter, too. Not you. In the end, therapy will help you sort this out but you have to give yourself time away from the mindfuckery in order to gain perspective and a sense of your own worth. The pain does end, but in the case of a 7-year affair, he’s such a liar and manipulator that you’ve got nothing to work with. The man you love is a figment of your imagination.The cheater is the real guy. See a lawyer, pronto, and get some distances from him. Give therapy time to work.

      • Dear Lost,

        Publically I had a relatively swift and painless separation from my FW. It was all finalized in 6 months and it was a display of civility and dignity of how two people “consciously uncouple”.
        Privately I cried every day of those 6 months. I was very depressed for a year. I cried in my bed, in my bathroom, in the train, in the plane, at work (in my shared space office, with other coworkers!), at my therapist’s. The tears just fell spontaneously from themselves. I just cried so much. I never cried as much in my life. I cried when reading happy books, sad books, watching movies with happy endings, sad endings, listening to any kind of music. I was moving forward with the separation but I was still in love, despite it all and grieving so much.

        You will learn to take that love you had for your FW and replace it with love for yourself! I just am writing this to say I had such a large gaping wound and it bled out to the whole world. and it closed ever so discreetly, so slowly that I didn’t notice until I was fine again.
        I haven’t cried about it in 1.5 years. When his birthday came around the second year after D-day, I didn’t even realize it until a few days later. Same with our anniversary date.

        You move forward. Your daughter is there to encourage you, support you and admire you. Trust that you can do it! Tuesday will come and you are mightier than you think.

    • DHAF… keep reminding yourself of that when the days come, and they will come, when you second guess your wise decision to end the marriage and go no contact.
      My mantra in the early days that kept me focused and determined to seek a better life was this:
      He wasn’t sorry when you didn’t know … never forget this.

    • NTSA, you are a Champ and a Chump! So relieved to hear you chose yourself and are getting away from that abuser. In a few years you’ll look back and will be eternally grateful you didn’t bring innocent children into this world with her for a mother— she would have abused them too. Cheaters are wired wrong. They are rotten to the core although they can wear shiny masks for awhile and fool us.

    • It’s so good to read that you’re doing that good! Here’s to your ever improving life, cheater-free and confuaion-free! Cheers!

    • This post is heartening. I’m so glad you took the time to let the truth sink in. Seriously, so well done. BUT, please understand that nobody heals from this circumstance in a matter of a few weeks. Yes, we can experience many euphoric ‘ah ha’ moments early on, and they can certainly improve our head space, but be very careful of equating those moments to successful healing. The most fickle thing of all about the healing journey are the wild swings that transpire for a very long time. I.E. one day/week you’re feeling strong and clear minded, the next you’re dealing with a ‘backslide’ that often stymies forward momentum and makes you feel as if you haven’t made any progress at all. For a lucky few–this begins to ease within the first year. For most–relief is measured in painful inches over multiple years.

      • I know long days are ahead, that’s why I am so grateful for forums like this. It’s exactly what anyone needs who has made the decision in moving forward, but will still ultimately have those feelings creep back in. I just try to take it one day at a time, try to stay level headed, never too high, never too low. And I just continue to come back to places like this to read and share my thoughts. The best thing I recognized early on was that I can not do this alone. And the worst thing for me to do would be to not tell anyone (As the wife suggested).

        • You will find triggers in unexpected places. I had panic attacks going to certain stores or places. But it gets better.

          I told everyone that knew us. I never blasted it on social media though. I did block him, his family, and mutual friends. They can have him. Of course she doesn’t want you to tell anyone. She doesn’t want her image tarnished. But she did that to herself.

          I recommend to avoid “pain shopping”. Stalking social media posts doesn’t help healing. And FWs tend to lie (obvs) and post fairy tales of their perfect life. Even when you know they’re lying it can still hurt.

          • I remember the panic attacks at unexpected places, restaurants we had been to as a family, standing in line at Home Depot, a few times I walked out in tears. I posted about my panic attacks on “Chump Mama” and someone told me I needed to go to restaurants, stores and feel the pain to get through it. Thank you to whoever it was, they were right. Occasionally Cheater will come to. mind when I’m somewhere we went together but it doesn’t bring me to tears or running out to my car. It’s more like what was I thinking. I was also worried about going to places we had vacationed together as a family. Evidently it wasn’t a problem for cheater, he vacationed with AP and married her at the same place we vacationed yearly as a family for over 20 years. So romantic…, and original. I wouldn’t be surprised if they stayed at the same hotel.

            • “he vacationed with AP and married her at the same place we vacationed yearly as a family for over 20 years.”

              Brit, that’s so lame and gross. Just goes to show that these sociopaths think of us as replaceable appliances. Before I heard the “appliance” term, I felt like “a cast member in the [FW’s name]-show.” OW was similar-looking and even had a very, very similar name to mine. It was like FW’s cake machine was wearing out and he went shopping for a new one 🙄

  • “She said she was feeling distant since we’ve moved in 2019 and that I wasn’t there to help her enough. She felt abandoned.”

    NTSA, this is classic blame-the-chump logic. It goes like this: I cheated because of something *you* did or did not do. Don’t buy it.

    I was lucky to come across CL’s site and book on D-Day. Hysterical googling!

    Two pieces of advice that helped me navigate the early days (from CL’s book, which I read and re-read, listened to and re-listened to multiple times).
    1. Being cheated on is not your fault.
    2. Trust that he (or she/they) suck.
    3. Cheating is about entitlement.

    Good luck! You deserve better.

      • Spinach, I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, I did not find CL right at DDay so I was in the RIC for a little over a month. Then I ordered the book and it was a total turn around. I was not comfortable with the RIC counselor because they were talking about my faults, what I did to cause cheating and how I have to accept my share of the blame. Once I found LACGAL, I saw that this was not my fault. I did not have al the superpowers to make someone lie, cheat and steal. It was such a relief. No Contact was next. That too changed the game. Also lawyering up made me feel tons better. It was just amazing how NC and lawyering up advanced healing. Whenever the FW tried to get me to engage my response was “Please take that through our attorneys”. He hated that response because he was no longer getting kibble or any pick me dancing. We are in the middle of trying to settle at this point (NTSA, it is going to be a wild ride no matter how much or little you have to divide up). FW is upset that we are asking for the money he spent on his 32 years younger Schmoopie back. My lawyer says what we are doing is totally fair and he would not do well if he came before a judge since we are in a fault state. NTSA, you will have your moments when this gets rough. Come here for comfort and a whole lot of truth. I am looking forward to being on the other side soon.

        • A fault state!! Woo hoo!!

          Love that you force your stbx to go through your attorney. How empowering!! Money well spent!

          X became enraged when I did the same. He hated that he could no longer control me, that attorney involvement cost more $$, that he lost EVERY TIME my much better attorney caught a whiff of his shenanigans, and that this 35-year long kibble source (me!) turned off the spigot.

          Good luck. Stay strong, Chumped for a Newer Model. You got this!

        • Yes, trying to settle is wise. My attorney was a gifted litigator but admitted that I might come out just as well with a negotiated settlement. Even being in a fault state, most judges do 50/50 anyway with the majority of the assets. They may tweak a little but not a lot because they don’t want appeals. And then you have all that drama and expense, plus the possibility of an appeal if your ex thinks the judge was unfair.

          Here, negotiated agreements are very rarely accepted for appeal. If you both signed off, the assumption is that you were both good at the time with the terms. My attorney said that even if something was hidden and came to light, negotiated agreements generally stand as-is.

          And yes, we got the agreement. I was happy with the terms.

          • Elsie, I agree. I am perfectly fine with settling out of court. The agreement has just got to be fair. Even though, I could probably go to litigation and get more, in the long run I don’t think it is entirely worth it in terms of time, attorney fees, aggravation and impact on physical and mental wellbeing. Mr. CL is right, some money is just not worth it. At the moment we are a lot closer than where it started at so I think as soon as my financial person says “yeah that sounds about right for what you need for a good future” I will sign. Getting him out of my life is worth it.

          • That’s the conclusion I came to also.

            My lawyer said filing at fault might shift asset division from 50/50 to 55/45, but would probably trigger an actual trial with lots more legal fees. If you get an extra 5% of the assets at a cost of $50k (which seemed likely, given what I’d gone through just in the lead-up to mediation), you need to be starting from a good million dollars in marital assets to make it worthwhile financially, even without factoring in the additional aggravation, ill-will, and risk.

            Also, at that time the only evidence of adultery was from my daughter breaking into XW’s phone, so I was afraid I would have to call my daughter to testify against her own mother. I wasn’t willing to go there.

            • IG, I agree. I just thinking that fighting over money will just prolong the association with the FW and I just want him out of my life. My son found much of the evidence in his shared photo account because FW let pics of he and Schmoopie upload there by not being tech savvy and logging out of my son’s shared account and back into his own. My lawyer has the photos and they have helped. My son is 26 and NC with FW after seeing the crap. He had said he was all willing to testify but I would like to avoid a long drawn out thing and I just don’t want this to drag on forever. What is currently on the table should allow me to have a comfortable life. I think with younger children this type of discovery hits much harder. My son although shocked and disgusted took it pretty well. He is in the Navy so he has seen some stuff I am sure but he is pretty grounded. He has got strong morals and ethics (obviously that did not come from his father). I am being blamed for the no contact by the FW but that is to be expected because they never do anything wrong.

  • “Is this relationship acceptable to you? “

    That’s a favorite question I’ve learned to ask myself, thanks to my trauma bonding and subsequent trip through hell.

    Followed up with my other favorite question; “What is your (my) worth?”

    I used to think saving a failed marriage had value. It does not. It only sunk my own soul into the pits.

    Reaching out was smart. Now put the oxygen mask on yourself first, follow all this advice and put the audio LACGAL on repeat while you walk the pup.

    It’s what I did. And it’s SO much better here in Meh.

    • For me, the question is: ‘Is this acceptable to me? And, if not, what am I going to do about it?” I knew my relationship with my ex wasn’t acceptable long before I found the courage, and loved and trusted myself enough, to leave.

  • Heart in shambles…incredibly lost…the simultaneous feelings of wanting her out yet feeling guilt about it…even your heart aching for her family. They sound like the words of a giver who’s been sucker-punched by a taker, and your reaction seems normal to me. You sound like a loving, compassionate person, T-Swift Album. I’m so sorry you’ve been betrayed this way. You are not alone.

  • Of all the humiliations associated with being married to a cheater, post D-day sex is perhaps the worst. Even 13 years later, the fleeting thought of it makes me sourly, strongly sick to my stomach.🤮

    • Hear hear. It’s my one regret from the dday explosion. I didn’t pick me dance, and he did a fast discard. It was hard and it wasn’t linear but it was short and I don’t regret how I handled it, even though I wouldn’t do it the same way again. It’s the best I knew at the time.

      But the sex. I regret that every time I think about it.

  • Get out. She has probably done it before and will do it again. She has her IUD removed, wear a condom or she will get pregnant and you will be forever linked to her by a kid and have to pay child support, so she can live with and bang another dude while you fight for custody. All the while trying to squeeze more money from you so she can live on your dime. You sound like a nice guy, so you will feel guilty and keep paying. You have no kids. There are plenty of nice women out there desperate for a nice man. Find yourself a nice woman who will cherish you. As men you can date whomever you want all age ranges. She will end up old and miserable. Live your best life. This is who she is. Character defect. I wish I had known about character defects and personality disorders. If I did I would be with a nice loyal man right now. Unfortunately, I didnt realize they can never change. So I gave him another chance. Now I have 2 kids and 20 yrs under my belt, back to chumpdom. She is who she is and now that you know, GO!

  • You know she’s not sorry for cheating because she’s still lying and not giving you the facts. A remorseful cheater would come clean immediately about everything and wouldn’t need to be in therapy to do it. This person is not remorseful and doing therapy with her wouldn’t be productive. She’d likely just continue to lie. If she’s not willing to give you the deets on her cheats now, she probably won’t be willing to do it with the therapist either. Plus I worry that it would be an RIC therapist who would only assist her in gaslighting and blaming you.

    You’ll stop loving her via internalizing that she sucks, added to time and no contact. In the early days, that’s unimaginable, but it’s true. I didn’t even have to go NC with mine. Just leaving was enough. Whenever I see him now, it’s like he’s some acquaintance. They burn the love out of you, but you won’t see that until you’ve had distance.
    Also, PLEASE do not have more sex with her and open yourself up to an STD. It can also harm your legal position if you live in an area where there is fault divorce, as she can claim the sex means you have accepted the infidelity.

    Just a side note to all our gentleman chumps- never ever have sex with a woman when you know she’s doing it out of obligation and is not into it. If you do that you are using her body and making her feel like you consider her an object. She will resent that and resent you for it.
    I’m not saying this is why women cheat, because we all know that’s about being selfish and narcissistic. However, you can kill your wife’s love for you and ruin your marriage by doing that. Please don’t. If you get the sense that it’s obligatory, STOP. Then talk to her about it. I can’t emphasize that enough.

  • I was with Traitor X for 27 years. Mirage-d (I know now had a mirage, not a marriage) for 20. In order to avoid having the seriously dysfunctional marriages of both sets of our parents, I asked to go to therapy a few months after we began dating, in a preventive maintenance, relationship-skill building way. He agreed. Therapy was part of our life for 27 years.

    HE CHEATED AND LIED ANYWAY.

    And he has continued to lie since he left four years ago.
    We have a child and a business we still own together.

    Therapy our whole entire relationship was a complete waste. Therapy after discovering infidelity? IMHO it’s like calling the fire department after the house has been burned down. By your “partner”.

    No one can tell you what to do. But where there is deception, there is no relationship. Where there is no trust and safety, there is no relationship. The WHOLE POINT of a relationship is loyalty, trust, safety. No truth = no intimacy.

    If you prefer appearances to authenticity and intimacy, by all means, stay.

    And I recommend laying off the booze. It is a depressant, it is addictive (if you haven’t crossed the line already), and it anesthetizes you and clouds your judgement and messes up your thinking.

    You need to be sharp and have every single wit about you. Which is always a good idea.

    • PS.

      After the lying liar who lies left, he nagged me, FOR A YEAR AND A HALF, to go to co-parenting therapy with him, so desperate was he to repair things with our daughter, whose relationship with him he also turned to ashes.

      I resisted because HE LIES. I finally caved in and we started going in October of 2020. Guess what happened? He didn’t do one thing he was asked to do, and he continued to lie.

      Surprise.

      All that came out of it was that I was validated, over and over again. Every single session from the first until the final last month.

      For 300.00 an hour.

      You can’t get time back once you spend it. Be a winner and spend it on fellow winners.

      As for staying with someone who abuses you because someone else might? I think it’s wise to leave anyone if you discover they are abusing
      you.

      (I read that gem of disordered thinking from a poster on Reddit. They reasoned that because there was no guarantee that they would be not be cheated on by another partner in the future, they should stay with the cheater they’re with now.
      The old idiotic axiom, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.

      I think the best policy is to run away from devils.

      🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯

      • “…so desperate was he to repair things with our daughter, whose relationship with him he also turned to ashes….I finally caved in and we started going in October of 2020. Guess what happened? He didn’t do one thing he was asked to do, and he continued to lie.”

        So revealing! I mean, if he were desperate to repair relations, one would think he’d do anything. I don’t get it.

        At the last minute, blindsided by his own adult kids’ complete refusal to engage with him post D-day, x consulted with a family therapist who specializes in kids and divorce. When he mentioned this to me, I calmly informed him that our niece goes to that therapist. “Now I can’t go to her,” he complained. My fault, again. To my knowledge, he made no effort to find another therapist even though we lived in a part of the country that brims with them. Anyway, it didn’t matter. He was a day late and a buck short. To fix things with his kids, he’d have to turn that dial back two/three decades, and he’s unwilling and unable to do that. The biggest impediment to reparations is his inability to empathize with them, to see that he did anything wrong TO THEM ( “This is between your mom and me”), or that he was anything other than a GREAT DAD. Not.

        It’s all so sad.

      • I’m vaguely considering agreeing to some co-parenting therapy, just to get some ground rules established that have eluded me for years. Simple things like (1) either one of us is allowed to say “no” to a request for a favor, with or without explanation – omitting an explanation is not, in and of itself, evidence of hostility (2) stick to facts: neither of us should speculate about the other person’s state of mind, or motivation, including asserting that the other person is hostile; (3) it is acceptable be away from one’s phone, in which case texts may be unanswered for minutes to hours – this is not, in and of itself, evidence of hostility; (4) we are not obligated to be friends, and therefore our communication may omit casual banter – this in not, in and of itself, evidence of hostility; (5) putting a question mark after a statement does not necessarily make it a question, and also one may reject the premise of a false dichotomy (e.g. “Will you agree to my request, or are you refusing to take the kids’ interests into account?”); (6) not answering an email which contains no relevant, actionable question is not, in and of itself, evidence of hostility. I guess there’s pretty much a theme here.

        If I knew it would just be about managing communication style to lower the level of animosity (and wouldn’t devolve into analyzing the failed marriage) I would consider it. Unfortunately, we did several sessions in the lead-up to the divorce and XW was unable to obey the counselor’s advice, so I’m not very optimistic that even if I managed to find someone who had useful, practical advice that XW would be capable of hearing and executing it.

        I think I’m just venting here.

        • I think you answered your own question. It would be a waste of time, because she would never adhere to any agreed on boundaries or ground rules.

    • Clarification:

      Therapy WITH HER is a waste of time IMHO.

      But I highly recommend going on your own. Even though therapy can’t prevent another person from hurting you, it is essential for healing you when someone does.

  • Dear NTA,
    I’m sorry for what you’re going through and glad you washed up here on CL’s shores. In my DDays this site and these people saved my life. Had the web search algorithms led me to other places instead, only God knows what would have become of me. So just you know, I’ve left my cheater and am currently working on gaining a life. I wished to open with this little testimony that there is life after betrayal. A much better one.

    Another positive thing is what you wrote here:
    “I feel guilty about wanting to leave her and how that will make her feel?”
    So, you do want to leave her and this is awesome. You know you want to leave. Not every chump is that strong-minded to realize that so quickly. I, for one, was not. Kudos and listen to yourself. You. Want. To. Leave. Her. So, leave her, you’re more than justified to do that. If you don’t feel so, it’s probably because of the confusion you’re already used to living with your cheater. It takes a lot of weakening our boundaries and second-guessing our assessment of reality to comform to living with this kind of people for any stretch of time. Let alone years. Here is were no contact comes in handy, as CL advises. You can address this undue guilt you feel later on with your *individual* therapist.

    You ask:
    “Should I ask her for no contact for a certain amount of days? Will that help?”

    No, you shouldn’t ask her, you should just do it for yourself. Just like it didn’t take the two of you to blow up your marriage (it’s squarely on her, don’t doubt it for a split second), it doesn’t takes two to initiate gain-back-NTA’s-sanity protocol. Just keep the communication brief, to-the-point, always about something practical – for the love of Jesus don’t discuss your or her feelings with her no more. Refuse to engage in talk about anything else. And by this I mean stay silent when the talk takes a turn. Be boring. Let her understand there is nothing more she can squeeze out from you. They eventually get it. Beware she can acuse you (I bet she will, eventually) of inflicting the “silent treatment” on her. Bullshit, it is not the same, talk to your *individual* (I can’t stress this enough) therapist about that, if the occasion ever arise. You have the right to not engage in pointless conversation with anyone, let alone some one who *abused you*.

    It goes without saying that I think you should stop cuddling with the cheater ASAP, let alone having sex with her. Maybe she is offering you weird, kinky, rough, passionate sex as of late? That shit will only get you more confused and entangled. Even if you’re not really into that, that shit is addictive. And some cheaters up their game big time in bed after they are caught – ask me how I know. In my case, I think she’s just assumed it’s every man’s secret wish to have the new things she was offering me in bed during wreckonciliation, but it turned out I am not into kinky stuff. So it was relatively easy to deflect the hoover down the line. But if I’m being honest, you will feel tempted. Stay strong. Take a cold shower. Masturbate (a lot) before seeing her (i.e., if you ever need to see her in person for some practical issue).
    I strongly discourage a rebound with someone else right now though. Take your time to heal. You will be gad you did it.

    As I have kids with my fuckwit ex-wife, strict no-contact is not a choice for me, as it most likely is not a choice for you right now that you’re still legally married. You should practice the lowest-possible-contact then. But after divorce, my friend (I do hope you go this way)… You’ve got it! Head towards your new life, cheater-free, confusion-free. It’s worth the fight.

    Cheers!

  • Look back at what you wrote: “With my one salary, we were able to keep up our normal lifestyle, pay all the bills, and keep the roof over our heads. We even had money to pay for a trip to Mexico to celebrate our 5 year anniversary a little late. My wife was able to save all the unemployment money that she collected for a year, which was awesome.:”
    What’s so awesome about her keeping every cent that she got while YOU paid all the bills and for the joint trip for your joint anniversary? You mentioned cleaning house before you went to work, so it looks like you did more than your fair share there, too. And also that while YOU were working and she was not, sometimes she went to you and YOU drove up to see her. And why did you, with your limited time off work, drive up to see her when it was your turn, while she flew to you? Why couldn’t she take on the travel, since she had nothing but time? Did she pay for any of her flights when you were living separately, or did you pay for the privilege of her company?
    I suspect she kept her money separately and may still do so. Please see a lawyer ASAP before she gets her greedy entitled mitts on the house and leaves you to a hotel room again.
    You didn’t have to give her opportunities to come clean; she could have done so on her own, or simply not cheated. But when she asked you to OK an “open marriage”–after she was already cheating–she conned you into thinking you had a heart-to-heart talk, while she continued to lie and gobble up all the drama of your heartfelt declarations of love. When caught later, she claimed she wanted to tell you while in therapy. When was that going to be, since it doesn’t sound like that was happening?
    Your selfish, immature wife not only wants cake, she wants to feast on your tears. She seems to revel in the drama and your pain. Read about duper’s delight. She enjoys getting away with her cheating. And brags about it to her friends.
    She won’t be close, she won’t be intimate, she won’t tell the truth, but she will cry with you. Is she encouraging your misery? Does she get off on it?
    “No Contact” is not something you request, it’s something you enact, without explanation. When you’re anxious, turn to the Chump Nation archives. Take the steps to protect yourself. Think about renewing your anti-anxiety meds to help you through. Try new ways to de-stress. Renew old friendships and look for new ones–but be wary of settling for the first, second and tenth woman who’s attracted to your integrity, loyalty, generosity, and housecleaning. There will be plenty, and you need to learn to avoid users. If you need a hug for comfort, cuddle your pup–or if she’s taken it, consider a new one. You’ll get through this to a better life.

    • “Your selfish, immature wife not only wants cake, she wants to feast on your tears. She seems to revel in the drama and your pain”.

      From my own experience and from all I get here in this community, this is usually the case. And it only make things more difficult because this is the sort of thrill cheaters cannot get from anyone else, except the betrayed, so they stick around and difficult their victims exit in whatever way they can. And even after we escape, I think that’s why they try to break no-contact so oftenly, to see if they still get to destabilize us. Twisted people.

    • I would watch out for that too. My boyfriend, chumped by his serial cheating wife, paid all the bills while she saved her salary (if she was working). Also, after the grand reveal of his prostitute problem, I okayed my husband to keep a separate account because he was supposedly using this to save up for hobbies and personal improvement (spoiler: he was secretly — or so he thought — taking out cash to use at sketchy places while on international business…because no one tells him how to show he’s sorry). Divide and conquer might have made sense in the confines of a marriage in which you two share finances and goals, but when one party is actively conspiring against the other, there is only divide. Lord knows what she wasted on APs, or what she will claim is still hers while you wasted your money supporting her unfaithful ass. Best of luck to you, OP. I do hope it’s swift and just.

    • This is why I continue to read CL, 6 months out from a divorce.
      Good friend, you wrote “she conned you into thinking you had a heart-to-heart talk, while she continued to lie.”
      That’s exactly what XH did – over and over. I didn’t have proof of his continued cheating & every time I felt insecure or unconnected with him, I pushed him into a “heart to heart talk” and then I would feel just a little better. Until I realized that we did not communicate unless I began conversations. And until I came across more proof of his secret activities on business trips. Looking back, the fact that he was deceitful for every bit of our marriage just astounds me. He was that good of a con man. I’m still leery of being around him. No contact for me!

      • UpandOut, that just sounds oh so familiar. After DDay I tried talking to the FW, went to the RIC and tried to fix things. The problem is you can’t fix it when there is nothing left to work with. NC is great because I am leery too and don’t want to waste my time listening to lies. It is just shocking how they lie about everything. The level of deceit is just too much to believe.

    • Thanks for the prompt to look into Duper’s Delight. It led me to this 10-year old TED talk by Pamela Meyer on “How To Spot a Liar.” I love her closing statement:

      “My world is gonna be one where truth is strengthened and falsehood is recognized and marginalized.”

      https://youtu.be/P_6vDLq64gE

  • Reading this makes me feel sad.
    Sad for NTA & every other betrayed person. How precious & how rare (these days) real love & real commitment are and how such gets so causally, carelessly, thoughtlessly, heartlessly trashed for temporary imitations.

    NTA, something about your letter
    got me immediately praying that you will retain your capacity to love well again. Take your capacity to love another & apply it to yourself.

  • I remember the hysterical bonding. After DDay I wanted to have sex with her so bad but as in Willy Wonka, I wasn’t going to give up my golden ticket. She was probably cheating on you for years. They only admit to what you have 110% proof of. She didn’t confess to cheating and get help on her own. She only confessed because she was caught. That tells you everything you need to know about how sorry she is. I didn’t trust my gut also. Good lesson to ALWAYS trust your gut over anyones words. Don’t move out until your lawyer gives you the OK because it could affect your divorce settlement. Be glad you didn’t have kids with her!

    • Totally agree with this: “ She didn’t confess to cheating and get help on her own. She only confessed because she was caught.”

      EH said those EXACT WORDS to a new MC.
      MC: why are you here?
      EH: Because I got caught.
      MC: And you both want to stay married?
      Us: Yes.

      I was SO ignorant back then! SO hopeful! SO trusting! And he wasn’t lying for those answers – he did want to stay married. It was just the pesky definition of marriage that was not defined, his continued lying by omission, and his belief that intentions were equal to actions.

  • Dammit CL you ruined Richard Thompson for me! I loved that guy. Wow was that spot on. What a simile.

    NTSA,
    I am a male Chump (we need a term for us, perhaps manchump or Mump). My Dday occurred last July and it was/is horrible. 18 years and was blindsided. I will spare you and the blog the details, just letting you know you are not alone.
    So sorry for what you have discovered and the shit show that is now your current situation. It is heartbreaking and your world is rocked. You have just boarded an emotional rollercoaster you cannot get off. Listen to the great people here, Read Tracy’s book if you haven’t already. The support from this community will guide you.
    Fortunately you don’t have children.
    You will spend countless hours trying to answer questions Like how can she do this to me? Why did she do this to me? Did she ever love me? Let me save you weeks. The answer to all of those is she is a narcissist. I know that doesn’t make it easier to swallow. Betrayal sucks but you didn’t cause it!
    Jordan Peterson says that our past is know and our future is unknown. Once we have been betrayed now our past is unknown and it causes chaos.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=jordan+peterson+betrayal&client=safari&hl=en&gl=us&prmd=vni&source=lnms&tbm=vid&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj6m9Gq9t72AhXxk2oFHW1xDGsQ_AUoAXoECAIQAQ&biw=320&bih=519&dpr=3#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:b8643711,vid:sVNu9Wz3PgM,st:0

    I hate the pain you are in. I hate the pain I am dealing with but it has improved. It has improved from where it was 8 months ago, from where it was a month ago and where it was last week.
    All I can say is it will get better. Follow the advice from Tracy’s book and the great people here. I will pray for you for peace and acceptance.

    • DrChump, I think the video you shared if from the same speech I saved to my Pinterest. Dr Peterson said Dante stated that betrayal is one of the worst evils and if you were betraying someone, the betrayer would be right beside the devil in the lowest part of hell. After d-day, my XH did all the typical gaslighting, lying, manipulating, projecting, blameshifting, etc like we are all too familiar with. One day after more discovery on my part, I said to his face, “What you did to me is pure evil.” And I was right, and it was nice to see it validated by great minds like Dante and Dr Peterson. 🙂

      • Great mind? I’m pretty sure Jordan Peterson is a narcissist, and in addition that that, most of what he offers are inane platitudes and his untested, often misogynistic and homophobic opinions. He once said incels should be given sex slaves by the government to prevent them from being violent. He called it “enforced monogamy.” On Twitter he threatened to slap a critic who gave him a bad review. I saw the tweet myself so I know it’s true. I have personally seen the classic shark eyed narcissistic rage in him when he didn’t like something a reporter asked him. His reply to her seethed with hate, and there was nothing wrong with the question. This is all public record and easy to find. Fuck Jordan Peterson. There’s a reason he’s beloved by the far right.

        • Subtracting Jordan Peterson from the equation I do think the statement he made is spot on. I don’t know about you but I am question everything that occurred from a 22 year relationship, What was real and what wasn’t. I even wondered for awhile if my S15 was biologically mine. That is chaos and a very bad place to be in. This was touched up in LACGAL.

  • Please get tested for STIs ASAP. You wrote that: “We had great sex after that conversation, like the kind we haven’t had in years. … A week later.. She blamed it on the Doctors appointment and the doctor unexpectedly taking out her IUD.” IUDs are removed when their effectiveness expires, something she would have known in advance. It may have been removed “unexpectedly” because she had pelvic inflammatory disease as a result of a sexually transmitted infection. (“Removal of intrauterine device as part of the treatment for women with pelvic inflammatory disease” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7390494/ )

    You also wrote, “I got drunk naturally and broke down and asked her to come back and hold me. We cried some more and I just wanted her comfort.” Alcohol is not your friend, especially if it encourages you to seek her out for comfort. It will make you more depressed and anxious. Part of self-care may be look into Al-Anon to look at drinking seriously and see if you have a problem. It seems that it is. If you got drunk “naturally,” it seems you routinely use alcohol to cope.

    Take care of yourself.

  • Dear NTA,
    sorry for what you’ve being through and glad you’ve washed up here on CL’ shores. This site and these people saved my life in my DDays and moving forward. I want to open with a little testimony: I left my cheater and am currently working on gaining a life. I feels good. There is life after betrayal, a much better one.

    You wrote:
    ” I feel guilty about wanting to leave her and how that will make her feel? ”
    Listen to yourself. You do know you want to leave her. So leave her. You’re more than justified in doing so. You can address this undue guilt of yours later with your individual therapist. That’s great that you came that quick to the conclusion that you want out. It took me time and distress to come to my senses.
    No-contact or lowest-possible-contact is the way to go to heal and get out of the confusion. If you practise it, maybe these guilt of yours subside. Oftentimes the guilt we feel is manufactured through manipulation. Block it. Keep your exchanges short and always about something practical that really needs to be addressed and that really needs your input. Not something she feels she is entitled to discuss with you. Not about feelings, please (yours or hers). Pray for the grace of learning to know the difference. You’ll get there eventually. And she too will eventually get that there’s nothing more she can squeeze out of you. Be boring. Maybe she will accuse you of silent treatment? Talk to your therapist about that. It is not the same. You’re not bound to engage in conversation with whomever let alone with someone that has abused you.
    It goes without saying that I think you should stop having sex with the cheater. I understand you’ll feel tempted, but it will only get you more coonfused and entangled with her. Maybr she’s upped her game in bed after being caught? Is her offering you new, kinky things? Even more addictive, even if you’re not that type of guy. My cheater just assumed it was every man’s wish to have what she began to offer me in bed and, though kind of disgusted by some of the things, it got me hooked for a while. If you have to see her in person for unavoidable practical reasons and you get the feeling that you may end up in bed together, I advise you to masturbate right before the meeting, as much as you think you need to be disinterested in sex for a while.
    I hope you go for the divorce and get to the point of no-contact eventually. I wish you lots of healing and a new life confusion-free. You sound like someone who’s up for a good start. Cheers!

    • I am very sorry for the duplicate (triplicate?) comment. I had troubles posting yesterday and tried several times. Now all of my almost identical replies are showing up here. 🤦‍♂️ I’m not a tech-savvy chump.

  • Wow, I needed this today. “Hysterical bonding” is something I’ve just experienced for the 1st time last week. It felt amazing and awful all together. D day for me was three weeks ago. He won’t leave. Keeps trying even though I have paid an attorney. This sucks so bad. My state has 60 day wait. I’m glad your ex moved out when you asked her to, that space is so needed for me right now! I do have hope for future happiness. Thank you original poster and CL. This site has been my lifeline.

  • I don’t know what is happening, I posted a comment and didn’t get the confirmation message afterwards. I thought it got lost, as I’m not able to see it here and wrote a new comment. Same thing, but this time I had copied the text beforehand. As I try to paste it back and send, the site says it’s a duplicate comment. Just seeing if this comment goes through.

    • I am not getting any email notifications anymore.

      It is hard to keep track without the emails. At least for me.

      • Me too, Susie, I was getting the usual notifications of new posts by email up to yesterday, but didn’t get one for this new post.

  • Remember this affair was conducted for years and hidden from you for years! That is an awful lot of deliberate lying. Nothing to work with here.

  • Dear NTA,
    sorry for what you’ve being through and glad you’ve washed up here on CL’ shores. This site and these people saved my life in my DDays and moving forward. I want to open with a little testimony: I left my cheater and am currently working on gaining a life. I feels good. There is life after betrayal, a much better one.

    You wrote:
    ” I feel guilty about wanting to leave her and how that will make her feel? ”
    Listen to yourself. You do know you want to leave her. So leave her. You’re more than justified in doing so. You can address this undue guilt of yours later with your individual therapist. That’s great that you came that quick to the conclusion that you want out. It took me time and distress to come to my senses.
    No-contact or lowest-possible-contact is the way to go to heal and get out of the confusion. If you practise it, maybe these guilt of yours subside. Oftentimes the guilt we feel is manufactured through manipulation. Block it. Keep your exchanges short and always about something practical that really needs to be addressed and that really needs your input. Not something she feels she is entitled to discuss with you. Not about feelings, please (yours or hers). Pray for the grace of learning to know the difference. You’ll get there eventually. And she too will eventually get that there’s nothing more she can squeeze out of you. Be boring. Maybe she will accuse you of silent treatment? Talk to your therapist about that. It is not the same. You’re not bound to engage in conversation with whomever let alone with someone that has abused you.

  • Dude. As a male chump who also experienced a long term affair. There is more, so much more than you know. Trust me. She will do everything in her power to hide it all from you. The path that leads to the lowest amount of heartbreak and pain for you is no-contact and divorce.

    I know it’s hard, I was with my ex for 8 years and we had known each other since we were children, but you can’t work with this level of selfishness. She’s shown she is willing to sell you out and hurt you just to feel desired.

    Bail, invest in yourself and find a person who isn’t a selfish asshat.

    • Yes, usually what we get to know is just the tip of the iceberg. And cheaters only admit to what you already know for a fact. If you have the slightest doubt about something extremely probable to actually have happened, they will spin this little doubt into you doubting your own sense of reality and sanity. It is crazy-making and worth keeping clear of.
      I am still a bit ambivalent about having pursued to know more than I did when I fisrt found out her funny bussiness. On one hand, it sure have hurt me way more and consumed a lot of time and energy that was badly needed then; on the other hand, I’ve got a clearer picture of what my life has really been, who she really was all along and what she is capable of (and with what sorts of people). So it really helped me with closure (to the extent that it is possible in these cases) and with protecting myself and our kids (and even herself, now that I come to think of it).

  • I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Similar story here- I know how difficult and confusing this trauma is. Have no doubt that it IS trauma. In addition to ChumpLady’s excellent book, I recommend reading “Cheating in a Nutshell” by Wayne & Tamara Mitchell for understanding how this trauma has a very real, physical toll on your entire being.

    My advice to you is to get out, get a lawyer, go no contact, and work on healing yourself. Get out before you end up having wasted 20 years on a marriage and three kids that keep you from going full non-contact with the ex. Take care of yourself and let her figure things out for herself. As my therapist keeps telling me- “she’ll land on her feet”.

  • Why do I feel the need to comfort her?

    One of your boundaries is maturing in a healthy way. Comforting each other is something families do for one another, which is a good thing. But it’s not good in some situations, for instance, users pretending to be family. Parts of you know this, and other parts are learning. It’s an excellent sign that you knew enough to ask this question. Still, this “need to comfort”/rescuer is a good topic for therapy. It’s a great quality, if you can protect it from predators.

  • All the above. The thongs, the open marriage gambit, not visiting while you work away, constant lying. Could she have Borderline PD? Frankly I think she does what she wants knowing you are right where she left you.
    See a lawyer, get tested, and stop letting her call the shots. That is YOUR life she is messing up.

  • There is Ultimate Frisbee, and there is Ultimate When They Show You Who They Are, Believe Them.

    I’m still looking back to see where I missed giant STOP signs.

    When my daughter was in preschool, one of her teachers told me the secret to keeping order was “I only ask one time.” Then the child was asked to sit at the little Time Out table for a minute or so, like the penalty box in hockey.

    I am definitely guilty of asking more than once, so many many times, when once should have been enough, and I just did not see the much larger pattern of being ignored, dismissed, disregarded, and disrespected. Because they were “little” things…..

    I mean, why should you have to ask someone more than once to please roll down the car window if you fart? And I’m going to leave him because he doesn’t roll down the car window when he farts and I have to continually ask him, for decades?

    No, it was just one small example of jillions of examples of I Don’t Think About Anyone But Myself.

    Hindsight is 20/20. I come here hoping to reduce someone else’s time with a self-centered soul-sucking jerk.

    • Staying with a cheater is like giving your money to Bernie Madoff to invest after the reveal of the Ponzi scheme.

      I wouldn’t consider latter, and thereby couldn’t shouldn’t wouldn’t consider the former.

      IMHO.

      If I ever date again, there’s always going to be the risk that someone will cheat on me. Therefore, my current plan is to become rock-solid on my own, strengthen my boundaries, get crystal clear on my dealbreakers, and become willing to walk away and let go of any relationship where I don’t feel seen or heard or respected.

    • “I am definitely guilty of asking more than once, so many many times, when once should have been enough, and I just did not see the much larger pattern of being ignored, dismissed, disregarded, and disrespected. Because they were ‘little’ things…..” Same here, VH.

  • NTSA, I’m glad you’re feeling better. It’s amazing how even a few weeks away from these people clears the mind and improves health and wellbeing. It’s like recovering after having to swim through treacle (or being pulled in by quicksand).

    BTW, one of most interesting aspects of this story for me is that she basically gave you a blessing to have something on the side, too. It’s good that you didn’t do it, though, because she would have used that against you. You would be the one who broke the marriage.
    I hope you stay well 🙂

  • Taylor Swift Fan,

    Do NOT have sex with this wingnut ever again. Even with a condom. She seems like the type to poke holes in it to entrap you.

  • Thanks for that explanation of hysterical bonding. It helps to know the why and how of it, because I still beat myself up for my six months’ long horizontal naked pick-me dance (and my rationalization of it), which followed and replaced my initial reaction (which was to divorce). My now-ex’s reaction to my announcement I wanted to divorce was full-out sad-sausage manipulation. It’s an enormous relief to read in black and white that I was conditioned by the circumstances to fall prey to his machinations, and why the sex felt the way it did.

  • The best sex is based on the highest degree of intimacy, which requires truth and honesty and the resulting warranted trust.

    It’s possible to have sex without intimacy, but why bother?

    IMHO.

    Yes, I had sex with him after DDay, which totally lacked all of the qualities above and makes me cringe to this day.

    I wouldn’t invite a murderer or a rapist into my home, yet out of the unimaginable pain and fear I was in after DDay, I let that total creepo AH into my body.

    Blecch blecch blecch.

    Lesson learned, and lest I forget, I get a periodic outbreak of herpes as a reminder.

    We had a crummy sex life because my body was onto him and my mind was not.
    Loyalty and integrity and respect are the ultimate aphrodisiacs for me. I leave the crude and the crass and the vulgar sex to others.

    • We had a crummy sex life because my body was onto him and my mind was not.

      So true! And all the while I kept thinking there was something wrong with me because my sex drive was so low. Now I think, why would I be turned on by a neglectful, lazy man who invalidated my feelings?

  • I think the great sex is because you’re feeling vulnerable and you’re dying to reconnect with her. My concern for you is you seem to be doing all the work in the relationship. This is what many of us chumps have had- one sided marriages where we were concerned with making the other person happy and they were unhappy and out there looking for others to fuck. I’ll never understand if this dynamic is that they are unhappy so they seek others out because they think it will help them feel better or if they do it because they like the drama. No matter- the net effect is the same-they are out there looking for/fucking others instead of being in the relationship fully. This simply doesn’t work. And us chumps sit around waiting for their crumbs of love until enough is enough. I think you need a good dose of….is this acceptable to you?
    Hugs, this is so hard and we’ve got your back!

    • FKA: “out looking for/f””king others instead of being in the relationship fully. This simply doesn’t work.” Well said. How could it work? No reciprocity for the chump’s love, honor, faithfulness, etc.

  • New TS Album,

    My halfpenny’s worth is that when your spouse suggests an open relationship out of the blue then they are not asking permission; they are telling you that you are already in an open relationship and that you just don’t happen to have worked it out yet.

    I’d also suggest the “If you happened to meet someone else … we could move past it” line is a bit of a red flag; when your FW used that she was actually talking about herself and in the past tense and not about you.

    LFTT

  • NTSA,

    You’ve given her a lot of chances to come clean on her own which she hasn’t done. You haven’t caught her at a bad time. This is the way she really is & will continue to be.

    It might be time to cut your losses.

  • Liars lie. Cheaters cheat. It’s who they are. That love you’re feeling so hard right now is wrapped and layered in so much pain you can’t tell the difference between the two.

    A husband living in a hotel, and a wife living in some other city with no job or kids keeping her there? WTF? I’m all for independence in a marriage, but that’s not a good example of it.

    Run from this woman, hire a lawyer, and then do some self reflection. You are worth far more than she has to offer, which you will see more clearly the longer you are NC.

    Stay strong.

  • So brutal and so relatable, NTSA. CL’s response is so sweet, and full of great hyperlinks and solid advice. Hope it makes it to the new chump’s first aid kit (my favorite feature of the new blog). Sure would’ve helped me!

  • Also, she got her IUD removed?? The doctor did that without telling her?? Sounds very…odd. Do not have sex with her again or she’ll get pregnant and then you’ll really be in the soup.

  • Chump Lady: Congrats on your new website! One thing…no more “OP says” search available. It would be good if there was a quick way to see where (if) the OP’s responses are in the comments. Thanks!

  • Others have already pointed out your good instincts. If she was willing to move in with her parents, you want to keep that status quo. Why should you look for a new place to live? You can either stay in your home and buy out her share (what I did) or you can sell it and start over. Either way, you being in the home and her being gone puts you in a position where you don’t have to pay the mortgage and live elsewhere. You can always repaint, mix in furniture pieces that reflect your style, etc., to make the place your own. You have the advantage here. Don’t let it slip away. See a good lawyer and go no contact.

    My other suggestion is keep the pup.

  • The story you get will never be the story, it’s just some rambling pack of half of what’s visible.

    The woman who asks you to open the marriage over and over? You’re already in an open marriage you just don’t know it.

    This person doesn’t really share your values. She is wondering ‘what’s in it for her’.

    There’s a lot of crying but you only note in one sentence that she is sorry. So- does she seem sorry? Or does she seem to be emoting and making sure you know her needs (can’t discuss without a counsellor, lies to you even when you ask her what is happening, even before and during COVID she let’s you work your ass off and continually heads off to mommas for coddling … but doesn’t seem to work on your relationship?) dude.

    Straight talk: she’s not who you thought. Now you’re getting it. She has been cheating, probably not the first or only, and definitely doesn’t care about your marriage- she cares about her first.

    Run. Run like your hair is on fire

  • I’ve been where you are but I layered in 30 years instead of 11. Don’t be me.

    BTW, There is far more she has not revealed to you sitting in the torpedo bay. You have enough information about her to know that you should get away from her. Don’t stall twisting in agony as I did essentially begging for her to launch a bomb of information—as if it would fix things.

    It won’t.

  • As soon as someone mentions open marriage/ relationship I would reckon they already have their sights set on something else. My bet is things would only get worse, and the longer it drags out the worse you will feel when things inevitably turn bad, and yes, speaking from experience. Rip the band aid off, New Album, she sounds dysfunctional. You can do better. Find someone who has similar values to you. In my experience people who want open relationships have serious issues.

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