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The Phone Records Are Shady, Is He Cheating?

Mindfuck blenderDear Chump Lady,

So I have been with my husband for 14 years, married for one.

In late 2020 he started fighting with me often about me cheating on him, or just picking fights about whatever.

It started getting really bad, like he would make sure to fight with me every day before I left for work. Ruined my day and I would cry most of the day from the things he would say, and accuse me of.

One day I left work early to surprise him at his job and when I showed up, there was this girl there that we both know. She was walking to her car, I’m guessing they saw me pull up on the cameras. She got in her car and took off, I asked why she was there, and he said waiting for her uncle to come.

Later that day I asked when did Joey show up? And he said, “He didn’t, why?” He forgot his lie already. I said, you said so and so was waiting for him? He tried to blame it on a different day. I said I’m not stupid, and he continued to blow it off. He also had very long hair on his shoulder.

Fast forward to April 2021, we decide to go out riding together, because he was working “late” and weekends and we were not spending time together. He ran in the store to pay for gas and his phone rang, number looked different so I thought it was a scammer and I was going to mess with them.

I picked up, but didn’t say anything, a voice goes, “So I guess I’m not going to see you today.” My heart started racing and I didn’t say anything. I was like please be the wrong number and she was like, hello “his name”. I said, “Who the hell is this?” and she hung up on me.

I did a reverse look up and come to find out it was that girl from a few months ago! Him and her keep saying nothing was going on, but I went through his phone logs and she was calling and texting him all the time. He also had none of that in his phone and he never deletes messages ever. He uses the excuse that she needed work on her car. Okay, her uncle works with you, why wasn’t she calling him?

And if there was nothing to hide, why not tell me? You were the one accusing me all the time? Why delete everything? And why did she say that on the phone when I answered? “Oh you must of misheard.” I most certainly did not.

The phone records show there were talking for about 7 months. If you check his phone now, he has messages in there from 7 years ago.

Am I the chump? I think the hardest part for me is not getting the truth from either of them. I just want the truth and closure and I can’t move on from this. It’s been a year now and still can move on. Yes I am still with him and all his accusations stopped as soon as this all happened.

How do I get the truth or are they telling me the truth? Nothing added up that he is. What should I do?



Dear April,

You should decide whether this relationship makes you feel safe or unsafe. And if you want to continue to be the marriage police or shake down a guy for the “truth” who seems shady AF. There are more amusing past-times.

If I understand your timeline, all of this happened BEFORE you married him? Or right about the time you married him? A year ago?

And it took him 14 years to commit to you, and that was after you busted him cheating? (Yes, you were chumped. And yes, he was cheating. Of course he was.) And while he was cheating on you, he was accusing YOU of cheating on him? Utterly charming. Mindfuck much?

Yeah, it doesn’t sound like a solid foundation for a relationship, if you ask me. And you did. It really comes down to what you’ll tolerate.

But I’m skipping ahead. I think what you’re looking for is validation that you’re not crazy. Let’s start there.

he started fighting with me often about me cheating on him, or just picking fights about whatever.

This is a common tactic. He’s throwing you off guard, accusing you of what he’s doing. Some shrinks call this projection. The theory goes, his fragile psyche can’t handle his misdeeds so he redirects them at you. But I think it’s just a basic power play — best defense is a good offense. Before you can accuse him, he’s accusing you. He got there first.

Ruined my day and I would cry most of the day from the things he would say, and accuse me of.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who makes you cry? Who falsely accuses you? Oh sure, that’s not ALL of him. I’m sure he’s pleasant for entire stretches. But April, every abuser has hooks. If they all just presented as despicable human beings, no one would take the bait.

You’ve got 15 years invested in a fuckwit, but there are people out there who don’t emotionally break their partners into tiny bits before breakfast. You deserve one of those kind boyfriends. Not this lunkhead.

One day I left work early to surprise him at his job and when I showed up, there was this girl there that we both know.

People who love you are happy to see you.

He forgot his lie already.

He doesn’t even respect you enough to give you a GOOD lie. A sloppy lie is an entitled lie. He knows he’s in the power seat, and you aren’t going to question him that determinedly. He feels completely free to lie to you with impunity.

Here’s an example of a sloppy lie. Eons ago, I lived in South Africa during apartheid. One of my roommates’ boyfriend was a policeman. And the police there were known for their brutality. One day he tells me a story about how black people stab and shoot themselves in the back when resisting arrest. I’m like, that’s physically impossible. He’s like, Ach, they’re crazy. That’s what they do. I’m like, have you ever witnessed this? He insists that unarmed people routinely grab weapons from police officers and kill themselves in this way.

That’s a stupid, lazy lie. A preposterous lie. But he double downed on it because he could. Because no one had the authority to question him. So why expend the energy to come up with something remotely plausible? Part of the thrill of telling a sloppy lie is KNOWING it’s a sloppy lie.

“Uncle Joe” — forgettable Uncle Joe — is a sloppy lie.

he was working “late” and weekends and we were not spending time together.

And you’re a newly wed? Engaged to be married? And he’s elsewhere every evening and weekend? This is when it’s supposed to be WONDERFUL. This is when he should be bringing his A game. And he’s absent?

Put the cheating aside  — is that acceptable to you? Is that the kind of relationship you want to be in? With someone who doesn’t prioritize you?

Him and her keep saying nothing was going on, but I went through his phone logs and she was calling and texting him all the time.

So, you’re playing marriage police and he continues to lie to you. They’re seeing each other — you know that from the call and the SEVEN MONTHS of phone records — and he denies it. Still.

Ach, they’re crazy. That’s what they do.

Sloppy lie. Because he’s playing you and he knows you’ll rug sweep it and not hold him to account.

I think the hardest part for me is not getting the truth from either of them. I just want the truth and closure and I can’t move on from this.

Fuckwits are not going to give you the truth. That would be giving you their power. And he’s all about his secrets and his power. And she gets off on it too, conspiring against you, with him. He has you both doing the pick me dance for the wonderfulness of him.

Why would he give that up? Out of respect or consideration for you? He’s not in a respectful, considerate relationship. Because he is not a respectful, considerate partner. So do not expect respectful, considerate communication. He is a mindfuck.

What should I do?

Value you yourself enough to not tolerate this bullshit. Let him keep his secrets. He can go play enigma mindfuck on some other sap.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • April,

    The bad news is that he is cheating and you know that he is lying about what evidence you do have. Rest assured, regardless of what “extra” evidence you do find and challenge him over, he will lie about that too. The only thing that matters is that you have enough to know that this relationship is nether safe nor acceptable to you.

    The good news is that you have agency. Protect yourself (mental health, finances, etc etc), lawyer up and do what you need to do to get out on your terms. And do understand that you are probably going to have to get comfortable with the fact that you will never know the depths of his betrayal …. because he is never going to own up to it, regardless of what evidence you put in front of him.


  • Hi April,
    CL is spot on. Let’s pretend he isn’t cheating (trust me and your gut — he IS cheating… but let’s pretend he isn’t), do you STILL want to live like this — begging for his time, crying every day before work, questioning your reality? Of course not. He’s shady. He’s gaslighting you. You know in your heart that everything you’re seeing and hearing is pointing to lying and cheating. You even answered the phone and heard her. Trust yourself and please get free of him.

    Separately, I want to address the part where you said “ he started fighting with me often about me cheating on him, or just picking fights about whatever.”
    As CL said, this is a common tactic. CL called it projecting as a power play to keep you on the defense. I think it’s also a FW’s way of justifying what they are doing — they make you into the bad guy … in their own heads and as part of their story for the AP. In my case, FW and I didn’t fight much… but several months before DDay when he was getting in with AP, he’d pick fights to the point of nasty texting and sleeping on the couch. He used it to show that I must be so evil and awful. And AP bought it. And it became the story for him to defend his cheating to everyone. FWs are crap. Leave a Cheater, Gain your life and sanity back. Worth it.

    • Thank you, hearing this from others, is making me feel sane. When I saw that girl there the first time, I told out daughter who was 18 at the time, and she even was like no, don’t think that and that’s why I didn’t look into it much. And when she found out she felt so bad. Told her not your fault, it’s his.

      • How do you have a 18 year old daughter when you have only been with him for 14 years?

    • My fuckwit, the Lying Cheating Loser, used to pick fights so he could storm off and then not come home for hours, thereby creating pockets of time in which he could conduct his fuck shit.
      As our relationship deteriorated and the fights got worse and more frequent, I would occasionally flee the home, going so far as to sleep in my truck. He would accuse me of (you guessed it) leaving so I could go cheat.
      Ugh. So glad I ditched that loser and put that nightmare behind me.

      • I didnt have the enthusiasm (read: chaos created by ex sucjed the life out of me) or temperament (read: good victim material) to get into arguments but my ex got desperate for a DARVO one day and started yelling “for god’s sakes why did you park my car in ~ I’ll be late for work”. It was really a heinous crime and truly I’ll never forgive myself.
        Of course none of it made sense at the time.

    • Just to reiterate MichelleShocked’s message, THE dead giveaway of cheating is picking fights. Genuine sociopathy (zero empathy) is reportedly pretty rare and most cheaters have at least some inkling of right and wrong, a few weak pangs of conscience and definitely fear of consequences. Because of this, in order to betray, most cheaters have to create an effigy of their victims, meaning they project all sorts of things on the victim and/or the relationship that makes it seem the victim DESERVES to be cheated on and the relationship was “already bad.” If the relationship is not bad enough, they will do things daily to make it bad in order to keep their alibi greased. If you ever dare do something nice for them while they’re betraying you, they’ll downgrade your effort because you’re compromising their rationalization system by altering the script they invented.

      Generally the worse the betrayal, the worse the fight-picking behavior. That behavior was a confession and it’s an absolute certainty he’s bonking the shady chick you saw running away from his office. She sounds like a nasty piece of work who gets off on betrayal as well so watch your back, get an STD check and get your ducks in a row. You’ve had all the closure required to free yourself from this dangerous situation and these dangerous people.

      • Hell of a Chump wrote: most cheaters have to create an effigy of their victims, meaning they project all sorts of things on the victim and/or the relationship that makes it seem the victim DESERVES to be cheated on and the relationship was “already bad.” If the relationship is not bad enough, they will do things daily to make it bad in order to keep their alibi greased.

        Thank you for articulating so well what Cheater #1 did to erase a 20 year marriage. Basically rewrote history. If it was so &$%#@ bad for so long, why didn’t you leave? It wasn’t as if you were tied down, FGS. Oh wait!!! I know – if they make it bad enough that you leave and file, then it’s not their fault —- once again. They just love to put the chump in the bad guy position.

    • Yes. Justification. Mine picked fights, too. I think he wanted to be able to say that we weren’t getting along, which made his cheating somehow understandable.

      • Right, not getting along because of all the lies that made no sense…

  • You will drive yourself crazy playing the marriage police. I played that role for 12 years of my 16 year marriage. Looking back I see how insane that is! Oh, sure, I eventually caught him, but I wasted 16 years of my life and another five divorcing him! In addition to Leave A Cheater Gain A Life, read The Gift of Fear. It will teach you you don’t need anyone to validate your intuition, it’s already telling you!

    • It took me 14 years to get 100% proof of her cheating. It sucks.

      • The great thing is, we don’t have to get 100% proof of cheating, most of the time. Most cheaters are or become crap partners. And they get worse when cheating, in all sorts of ways.

        So what we do have to do is ask ourselves whether this relationship AS IT IS is acceptable to us. If not, we can ask whether we have done what WE can to get it to improve (improve our own side of things, make our wishes known, ask to go to couple counselling, do couple counselling if they accept ….), and if the answer to that is yes, and things aren’t better within a REASONABLE amount of time, get the hell out.

        Yes, even if there are kids. We are doing children no favours by modelling lopsided and/or disrespectful relationships for them, or by being miserable while we raise them.

    • The Gift of Fear is a good recommendation. I have learned to listen to my gut for EVERYTHING. And the more you listen, the more it tells you…trust it.

      • Absolutely, LACGAL and TGOF are indispensable! Also, if you can, please read Should I Stay or Should I Go by Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi. (One caveat: it contains the occasional chapter meant for the abusive man – please don’t give away any more of your power by asking him to do the book with you. Just keep it to yourself. ((hugs))

        • “Cheating in a nutshell” is also very good.

          Re the Lundy Bancroft title, is that the same as “Why does he do that”?

  • Oh sweetheart, he is *definitely* cheating on you. In your heart you know this, or you wouldn’t be writing to Chump Lady.

    Once you start playing the marriage police, that’s your gut telling you this fuckwit is up to no good. Listen to your gut.

    Everything CL said is spot on. Get out now, and don’t invest anymore of your precious self on this scrote. Hugs. Xxx

    • I was going to post something similar. You don’t ask Chumplady if you don’t have enough red flags to realize you’ve been chumped. Please do what you need to do to protect yourself.
      Honestly, my ex went all “we need to get married now” after her first affair. I think she thought that she wouldn’t have cheated if she was actually married. Looking back it was pretty sudden and obvious, but love and trust can really mess with your objectivity.
      From my desk chair, it looks like you’re either with a cheater or a jackwagon, either way, it’s not the best situation to be in.
      Good luck

      • My ex started cheating less than a year after he proposed. I think he thought that since he had me “locked in” that it was safe that I wouldn’t leave him. He was wrong.

        Less than 2 years later he’s engaged to a new victim, not the AP. I know his playbook. He has her locked in so if he cheats, she won’t want to leave him. Also, being a Christian woman, she will NOT leave him. And him being a Christian man, he is probably thinking that the commitment will help him not cheat. As if that ever worked before.

        They play on sunk costs. They think that will keep you playing the cake game.

        • “A Christian Man” This really chaps my hide. A faithful Christian tries their best, as a mortal sinner, to live the Commandments. One does not just pick and choose those commandments that are convenient. Routinely writing off # 7 through #10 is not being a practicing Christian. In fact, the trying to adhere to the personally difficult commandments are the commandments that define one’s faith and commitment to the Christian God. This “man” is not a Christian nor anything else godly in any other religion, either. /rant over

  • My ex did this type stuff with his tramp from work. All perfectly innocent – all those phone calls. I picked up calls from her where I didn’t say anything and she’s just talking away about their weekend plans. He also tried to catch me cheating lol and he would tip toe into the house. Once I realised how deceptive he was, I was scared. One thing I realized was how different he was while involved with her. Like, my real husband had disappeared. I couldn’t trust what was real anymore. My advice is to assume they’ve admitted that they’re cheating. Really, do you care at this point? Get your affairs in order, property details, numbers for bank accounts, and a stash of cash. Use birth control and don’t get pregnant. You’ll be stuck dealing with the his lies and be crying forever. Trust that this situation is not normal or healthy. Maybe you’ve waited a long time for this marriage to happen and it’s heartbreaking when your dreams come crashing down. You’ve got to find the strength now to run to a better future. My mistake was not giving up on the mess quick and trying to fix a marriage that was fundamentally broken early on by lies and gaslighting. I was innocent and very naive and it worked against me when dealing with his flawed character. Go. Run. Be happy. Don’t look back. Make you the most important person to consider at this point. You deserve that. Go. Hugs.

    • I was a good wife yet it was forever puzzling to my why we had times in our marriage where everything was fine and without any difficulty between us, he would become mean and withdrawn and impossible to deal with – nothing I could do would appease him.

      I think if a time he complained for months that “we dont go anywhere” (we had busy school age kids and I worked most weekends). I spent a month arranging a fun weekend away for us all. It was Friday afternoon and the bags were packed and kids in the minivan.

      He arrived from work in the wildest picking-a-fight mood I had ever seen. I refused to take the bait and he tried again. I finally told him me and the kids were going but he had some second thoughts. It was SO bizarre. At that stage, I had NO CLUE AT ALL that he was cheating (I didnt know that picking fights was a sign). Years later, after I learned he had cheated numerous times, episodes like this made sense in ways I never expected.

      The fact that they treat you badly when they cheat is to appease their guilty consciences. During wreckonsillyation, he asked me how he would ever know if I cheated. I told him “you know you are being cheated on when your spouse treats you like a person who deserved to be cheated on”.

      I was the most pig-headed, determined person and I kept trying no matter how unsuccessful my attempts to improve that marriage were. After it was long over, I realized that NOTHING I said or did you have EVER helped ever ever.

      Im sorry you are in this, it sucks

      • Thank you. It’s so hard. It got so bad he was accusing me of cheating on him with my son!!!! And now to think of it because the girl he was cheating on me with was fucking 18-19. I’m started to see things a lot differently now and I wonder why I let this go on as long as I did.

        • You have an 18-year old daughter and he’s cheating on you with an 18-19 year old? He’s a sick fuck. He’s projecting INCEST? I’m sorry. Please be safe and make a plan to get out of this.

          • And is he creeping around your 18 year old daughter? Hidden cameras? Stepdaughter porn? Is the schmoopie your daughter’s friend? Talk about projecting…????

        • Mine did this! My ex accused me of incest and I was so confused but then found out that he was having sex with girls as young as 16 (unfortunately legal) and having them dress up like toddlers and pretend to be his daughters whom he’s molesting.

          Anything he accuses you of is projection, like Chump Lady said. If he accuses you of incest, it means he’s incestuous.

          • Yes. For normal people, accusing someone of something that YOU are actually doing is wildly fucked up, but then again, they are wildly fucked up. It’s prolly a line of demarcation between selfish asshole and sociopath. A true sociopath has no conscience, a selfish asshole will know they are doing wrong and likely have moments of guilt (but not enough to do the right thing) they instead vilify you and project their guilt onto you.

            Something deep in me from childhood believed that it was horrible thing to accuse anyone of something unless you knew 100% they were guilty. I never accused him of cheating for 18+ years, but he accused me.

          • Omg Katie pig that is one sick f#ck( excuse the language). I’m so glad you are out of that.

          • That is fucking disgusting, KP…thank god you’re away from that evil monster.

        • OMG, April. He is deeply disturbed. Run for your life!
          If I were you I would ask your daughter if he ever tried anything on her.

        • He…he accused you of cheating on him with your own son???

          I think a little sick came up in my mouth reading that…

          I’ve heard some crazy accusations from cheaters but that one takes the cake. Does he even hear himself speak?!

        • I’m sorry, but as soon as I heard that your daughter said immediately, “no, I don’t think he would do that” (when he obviously is super capable of cheating), I wondered if your partner was grooming your daughter. Not necessarily for sex, but treating her in a way that makes her feel grown-up and special and attractive and maybe a potential threat to you, so that to her he’s an important source of affirmation.

          Then I hear the girl he’s cheating with is 18-19? I’m even more worried for your daughter.

          And then I hear that that he actively accused you of cheating with your son!?! That’s the sign of someone who believes that’s possible and easy and is projecting. Please get yourself and your kids away from this guy.

    • Yes, this, when I learned how deep is deception ran, and saw how he carried himself in this secret world, i worried for my safety too. I had no idea who this person really was. Read Gift of Fear as someone else mentioned.

    • You made a really good, really important point. “Like, my real husband had disappeared. I couldn’t trust what was real anymore.” I had a moment where I realized, I don’t know this man at all. And that’s terrifying. Because it means we don’t know what they’re capable of. We were basically living with strangers. April, you gotta get you and your daughter away from him and safe. You don’t really know him. He hid his real self from you.

      • Out of the blue after DDay, after a business meeting, Traitor X said to me, “I wasn’t always that guy, you know.”

        I replied, “I don’t know who you are.”

        That’s why his nickname is Benedict OJ Madoff.

        • I said this to my FW Velvet Hammer, about not knowing who he is

          He said ‘maybe you never did’. It still sends shivers down my spine

  • She needed work on her car for seven months? He must not be too good at his job.
    He has a burner phone now. Count on it.

    • That’s the same thing I said! His reply was we kept blowing her off, ok why didn’t she go somewhere else then?

      • April, you know the answer. It’s time to get your affairs in order and get out.

        For the record, you already know the truth: He’s abusive and he’s cheating. What else do you need to know? That’s a rhetorical question. You don’t need to know details beyond that. You think you do, but you really don’t.

        Hiring a lawyer is closure. Serving him his walking papers is closure. Getting him the fuck out of your house is closure. Separating yourself legally and financially is closure. Changing the locks is closure. Protecting yourself and your kids from him is closure. Waking up in the morning knowing you’re free of his harassment and can go to work without crying is closure.

        He’s a liar, he’s abusive, and he sucks. You’ll never get the truth from someone like him and frankly, who cares? His words are worthless, just like he is.

        Stop worrying about him and turn your attention to what you CAN control. Start calling lawyers immediately and focus on your escape.

  • 1. Definitely cheating.
    2. Treats you like dirt.
    3. Will never tell you the truth.
    4. Not very bright.
    5. You can do better.

    • Sweetheart, pay attention to this realistic and very accurate summary.

      Be realistic. Drop the ” I just want closure, I can’t move on until I get the truth” stuff. You won’t. Closure is you getting real and claiming the life you want and deserve. YOU make the choices. Sorry to be brutal.

      ‘Value you yourself enough to not tolerate this bullshit.”

      • Yes, closure isn’t worth the emotional investment.

        I wasn’t looking for it, but mine came when his attorney (early 60’s) turned on my ex and started sending verbal messages to me through my legal team that he despised his client and was trying to do all he could to settle it. My attorney (late 60’s) said he had never-ever experienced that much of a crossover. Sure, sometimes attorneys talk a little smack about their clients, but my ex’s attorney overshared and crossed the line, violating attorney-client privilege. There was also dirt on my ex that his attorney shared with mine, but I told mine not to tell me unless it went to trial. My goal all along was a negotiated agreement so I could move on without too much drama, and we eventually got that. My attorney retired, gave up his license, and passed all of his notes on to the associate who did closeout. His attorney died of COVID late in closeout. So as the associate observed, his attorney’s ethical breaches were effectively wiped out.

        No real closure from my ex. I have reason to believe that he’s still believing that he was greatly misunderstood and victimized.

        • My exh (not the cheater, but a covert narc) was bad enough that his lawyers (he went through a few of them with his ridiculous demands) all complained to my lawyer about him. At the hearing when it was finalized his lawyer talked to me after the ex left, and validated me and everything he put me through. It helped that these guys saw him for what he is.


    He doesn’t love or respect you. If he’s sorry or changes or not full of shit, then give it 6 months. But likely you leaving will reveal all.

    I hated living in that hell. It’s so fucking unfair of them to do to us.

    • So far since it happened, the blaming and fighting has stopped, not a single accusation from him. And I brought that up to him too. Again no answer just blew it off. But idk if it’s just me, he does seem like he’s sorry. But not sorry enough to be honest

      • He’s sorry he got caught and his double life was threatened. He’ll play good for awhile and then it will all come back. I unfortunately went through the cycle multiple times before I learned. I had to have my life threatened to smack some sense into me, so don’t feel like I’m judging here. I get it.

        He’s still not being a good partner, he’s blowing you off, not answering you, not being honest. That’s his best behavior. Really think about how terrifying that is. That’s his best, lying to you, cheating on you, and ignoring you when you bring it up. Oh, but he doesn’t start fights so that’s “better.”

        When you get out of this, and I think you will, I think you’re coming to terms with it. You’re going to be shocked by how much easier life is without someone like him around. I went through some hardship getting out of my marriage. I lost everybody but my son and two friends, I lost my only sibling over it. My income is about 1/6 what it used to be. I work full time and go to school full time. Anybody would look at my life and think it was so much harder than when I was with my ex.

        Yet, I wake up every day and marvel at how much easier life is without someone screwing with my head. It’s easy to underestimate the effect the crap he’s doing is having on you while you are in it. Once you’re out of it, you’re going to see it, and you’re going to wonder how you could tolerate it.

        • YES! Life after the FW is SO MUCH BETTER. Even when I struggled financially it is way better.

          “Once you’re out if it, you’re going to see it”. Absolutely.

        • “I wake up every day and marvel at how much easier life is without someone screwing with my head. It’s easy to underestimate the effect the crap he’s doing is having on you while you are in it. Once you’re out of it, you’re going to see it, and you’re going to wonder how you could tolerate it.”


          It’s WONDERFUL to be free. Amazing. My life is so much better than I would ever have dreamed when I was “in love” with my cheating ex and trying so hard to make it work (while he wasn’t, and was picking fights so he could run off and fuck his married coworker). And while my income was cut in half (and my expenses actually increased), I somehow have far more money than when I was married. Enough that I am taking the first vacation I’ve had in 14 years. We could never afford it. My ex was a drain in so many ways.

      • April,
        “Again no answer just blew it off.” Yeah there’s your answer. He does not respect; you he does not answer your questions. And he “seems” like he’s sorry. He is not sorry or he would answer your questions. Remember, he’s a known liar. I too fell for the ex’s proclamations of how sorry he was. I wasted 2 more years of my life with that lying cheating pervert. Please don’t do it!

      • April, he wasn’t sorry when you didn’t know! Never forger that! You want him to be salvageable … redeemable, but he is not. He will never be what you wish him to be. On this, you have my word.

      • April, any person who would accuse you of incest with your son is a dangerous person, in some form or fashion. Expect zero honesty from him. It’s up to you to walk away from this shit show and to stop marinating in the details and drama. He lied, he’s cruel, and he’s a sick-minded person. Stop associating with people like that, period.

      • Sorry is meaningless.. I hope one day that cheating is officially and legally aligned with sexual endangerment or battery (exposing an unwitting partner to potentially life-threatening STDs or actually giving them one due to cheating) and “coercive control” laws are added to domestic violence statutes. Maybe then abusers’ cheap “sorreeees” and hang-head-silently-staring-at-hands routines will more universally be perceived to be as hollow as they actually are.

      • If he was truly sorry he would be honest.
        This is how I knew my fuckwit’s many apologies were insincere. Being sorry means you change the things you are remorseful about. If he’s still lying, he is not sorry, and he will cheat again.

      • He wasn’t sorry until he was caught.

        Sorry = acting job

        Making amends means TO CHANGE.

        And fucking you over royally and intentionally, with assistance he sought, is a bell that can’t be unrung no matter what he does.

        If someone proves they can soul-murder you, don’t stick around so they can keep doing it.

      • If he was sorry, he’d be honest. Hell, he wouldn’t have cheated in the first place.

      • ” Again no answer just blew it off”

        Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know? He doesn’t respect you enough to give you a proper answer, and *not* answering you gives him a sense of power

        Put down the hopium pipe April. You have nothing to work with.

      • Please get away from this guy. He isn’t sorry. He is *saying* he is sorry. I can say I am Queen of England. However, I am not. Please run. Don’t believe a word he says. He has shown you who he is, and now he is faking. Get out. You wrote because you were worried you were crazy. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. YOU ARE POSSIBLY IN GREAT DANGER. YOU NEED TO RUN.

    • Blows it off and doesn’t answer when she mentions that he hasn’t been fighting, blaming or accusing her of cheating since this happened.

      He doesn’t answer because nothing has changed,
      he’s just gotten better at hiding it.

  • Here is what I think your days are like, knot in your stomach, trouble concentrating, especially at work, trouble sleeping, hyper alert all the time. It is unrelenting stress because your body recognizes danger even if you try to ignore it. That is not a life. It is a prison sentence.

    • Very true! I was promoted to plant manager before all this happened, and demoted back to manager End of last summer. I suffered at work and was constantly checking on him.

      • I’m so full of mixed metaphors today. We chumps get a certain intangible “smell” (metaphor #1) that makes people uncomfortable, sort of like finding a ticking backpack at the train station (metaphor #2). Hey, that ticking could be a stop watch or a child’s toy. But bystanders don’t know that and bystanders tend to be selfish and cowardly when confused. When someone gives off jittery “endangered” vibes, people just perceive danger to be nearby.

        It’s amazing how easy it is to be socially mobile again– make friends, impress managers, etc.– once abusers are out of the picture for awhile. We just don’t see what gaslighting does to us over time. There’s a term in pharmacology called “drug-induced anosognosia” (metaphor #3!) which means people on certain mind-altering drugs don’t perceive how bizarrely they’re acting under the influence. I think there’s such a thing as abuse-induced anosognosia. We get gradually boiled like frogs (metaphor #4) and wonder why random passersby cringe a bit and expect us to eat flies.

        Once this axe blade (metaphor #5) is pulled out of your head you may bleed out for awhile before things get better. But you’ll eventually be amazed at how much brighter the sun shines and how much nicer people treat you. Fuckwitectomies (metaphor #6) are also great for the complexion. But that’s when you have to make sure the picker is fixed because recently liberated chumps tend to attract further abusive types (I believe the statistical risk is about 50%). I think it’s that bounce we get in our steps when Meh finally shows up. I’m not sure if the increased risk of being secondarily entrapped is because (as DV expert Lenore Walker believes), many abusers prefer confident prey or whether, like a union of slave catchers (metaphor #7!), abusers don’t like seeing any former victims get away. So in that sense once you’re out of this trap and free, journaling over the details of the abuse may help you to identify red flag behaviors and identify your own body responses to abuse the better to vet new candidates in the future. Good potential partners won’t mind being vetted because they’ll be vetting themselves.

      • April, that’s no way to live your life.
        Accept the harsh reality of who he is.
        I’m sorry but he has no respect for you.
        Don’t accept less than you deserve, you deserve much better.

      • After I split with my cheating ex and we filed for divorce (he did it, but only because he knew I was about to), I got promoted at my job, with a sizeable raise. They really take so much energy. I was also crying at work every day (didn’t help that OW worked there too and I saw the two of them together all the time), tense, not eating, not sleeping. It was hell. Life is better on the other side. You deserve more than this.

  • “… waiting for her uncle to come.”

    I bet they were. How double entendre. CL, can this be a new site meme?

  • I could kick myself for all the red flags and warnings I had that I didn’t pay attention to. Don’t be me. The picking and criticism and grumpiness and denigration and insults and downslide into abuse absolutely shattered me. I will never be the same and finding myself has been near impossible. Get away from this idiot monster, honey. He doesn’t care about you; he cares about where he is dipping his dick. Save yourself now before it’s too late like me.

    • Not too late for you, either.
      Fuckwitfree is the first step. You did it. Now onto Step 2. Loving you. The rest comes. The rest absolutely comes.

  • Chumplady is right on point saying they make sure they do enough benevolent to keep the hooks in and spew and operate their evil abusive true selves under cover hurting everyone in their path because they are empty. They prey upon good souls like yourself. It is always the case where there is no closure or not enough closure to feel clear in your mind. They do this on purpose keeping their victims off balance by projecting, lying, gas lighting etc… Keeping you in limbo. Keeping you paralyzed. I remember him saying but most of the time I was just loving you and my family. Well it’s that pesky small very terrible breaking of those vows that ruins the whole lump! Some advice 2 cents worth from me is the longer you are aware there is a problem and the longer you stay the more your mental health crumples poisoned by the mental abuse so the sooner you can unstick yourself the better.

  • Oh yes, the projection goes hand in hand. Whatever YOU are being accused of is what he’s doing. Textbook cheating narcissist asshole.
    Run and don’t look back.

  • Thank you! This made me feel so much better! I kept feeling like I was wrong, like I was going crazy, but now see it better. It felt good to hear that I was not crazy. Yes, we did get married after all of this, I was leaving him and this was his option. I gave him plenty of opportunities to tell me, and I just can’t do it anymore. And some of the things he accused me of, most people would be like wtf. I try so hard every day to move on. I’m checking up on him all the time, I can’t be with him sexually, and I almost lost my job because I got so wrapped up in playing police. Checking his locations and matching them up with the text messages. Finding out that he was not working Sundays when he said he was or only working half days. Right now things are ok, the moment I found out I stopped all his bullshit, I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore it’s killing me and to please just be honest. But thank you it finally feels good to get this out after a year! I really can’t do this anymore.

    • Yes, please stop all of it. You’ve made a job out of monitoring him and it’s ruining your life. Take back your power and your life with your head held high. Walk away from this abusive and dramatic relationship. Make your own life.

    • He doesn’t care if it kills you.

      He. Doesn’t. Have. What . It. Takes. To. Care.

      These are soul sucking leeches.
      Continue with him at your peril.
      I used to think all people are good deep down. I was wrong.

    • April I’m so sorry you’re going through this.
      Stop sharing your thoughts & feelings with him. He disregards what you think & feel.

      Quietly, secretly, get your ducks in a row to leave. Plan carefully without his input.
      You are not being deceitful to watch out for your safety. He is not a safe person for you.

      You wrote “I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore it’s killing me and to please just be honest.” You’re begging. Don’t beg.
      Your next move is to say “ I can’t do this anymore it’s killing me. Goodbye. “

      Door slam in his face is your closure.

    • Asking a liar to be honest is like flushing money down the toilet. It’s pointless and you’ll never get that money back.

    • Pro tip: Stop telling him things. He’s the enemy. I cannot stress this fact enough. He’s played dirty your entire relationship, so don’t expect that to change now. Anything you say can and WILL be used against you. You say you’re suffering? He loves that! You’re thinking about leaving? He’ll whine, wheedle, cry, rage, make empty promises, tell you whatever you want to hear. The worst ones get violent or drain the bank accounts to sabotage your escape.

      So, don’t tell him you’re leaving. Don’t tell him ANYTHING. Cover your tracks and hide the money you’re using to secure the lawyer. Keep him in the dark until your lawyer says go, and follow their orders exactly. Sucker punch him.

      Google Chump Lady’s post on “How to Leave a Cheater” for specifics.

  • Classic cheater behaviour, the picking fights and accusing you of cheating.

    They pick fights because they don’t respect you. You are the dragging anchor on their joyride affair. You are the good influence in their life that twigs whatever guilt they can possibly feel, so they treat you with the resentment they feel towards anything that would hinder their affair. Plus, it gives them a good excuse to leave to go ‘cool off’. Bonus points because they can go tell schmoopie how much you fight and how awful the marriage is, and elicit sympathy. I found out during the marriage police phase that my ex had been telling schmoopie about completely fictional fights we never had, just to get ‘comfort.’

    They accuse you of cheating to get you on the defensive, yes, but they can also convince themselves that you are cheating. After all, they are capable of it, and they don’t think they are a bad person, therefore they believe everyone is capable of it. And if you’re doing it, it justifies them doing it. During false reconciliation, my ex told me that those times he would leave work and come home early, it was because he was trying to catch me cheating with a good friend of ours. Nope, I had just been home alone with babies all day, and pathetically glad to see him, and thought he was a wonderful dad/husband for coming home early. Apparently giving me that impression was just a beneficial side effect of his actual plan. Anyways, he used his belief that I was cheating to justify his own.

    They are lying liars who lie, including to themselves.

  • April, please use this website to learn how to move forward from here.

    Read the starter kit and follow the advice.

    You seem like you might be at risk of telling your husband all your plans to leave him. Don’t.

    Use that OCD streak instead to plan your exit, get lawyers, arrange your ow finances, copy and secure all key documents like passport and birth and marriage certificates. Find out whether you can keep your home and provide for yourself.

    Don’t involve him. Don’t tell him anything.

    He’s been checked out of your relationship for years now. Time to make it official.

  • April-
    Closure is not on its way to you.
    You will never get the full story,none of us do.
    But you already have more than enough info to leave right now.
    When you have to become Sherlock Holmes in your intimate relationship, the safety and trust is already gone and it doesn’t reappear.
    You are newlyweds and he’s pulling this crap on you! There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of him getting a personality transplant and becoming a man of integrity and honor.
    He is abusing you.
    His devaluation, angry morning outbursts, attempted gaslighting,his emotional neglect and lack of empathy, that’s all abuse. 100% abuse.
    He’s burning down your house and you will never have sufficient buckets of water to put it out, no matter how desperately you want to try.
    You don’t need his confession, he will deceive you and lie as long as he possibly can get away with it.
    Believe what you already know to be true, but don’t want to face. ( we get it!!)
    Your instincts are completely correct.
    He IS cheating on you and he MOST definitely sucks!
    Get yourself free.
    Sorry to have to welcome you to chump camp. When you begin feeling peace and safety enter your life again, you will feel a huge weight being lifted off your heart that you are barely conscious of now, and you will fully realize that you had no choice but to leave.
    Life is way too short and precious to waste it with an abuser.

  • He’s cheating on you. They are having an affair and they both respect you so little, they don’t even bother hiding it well. And he’s such a monster, he literally abuses you when you notice things. Or it seems, sometimes he just preemptively abuses you, for fun, to keep you confused and thrown off the trail. My ex did that too.

    I’m so sorry you invested 15 years with this FW. I invested 20 years with mine. I know it’s hard to get out but you need out of this. You aren’t going to get closure or the truth from them. Closure is acceptance. Accepting that you are married to a very bad person and his girlfriend is a very bad person and they both enjoyed abusing you.

    First you need a divorce and to go as no contact as possible with your abusers and all of their supporters. And they probably will have supporters, I’m so sorry to tell you that. I lost everyone except my son and two friends. But, once the cancer was cut out, I started to really heal. I accepted that’s who they are as people, it’s disgusting and I would never want to be like them. But it’s reality. Once you can accept a really hard truth like this, one that challenges your whole life, it has a lot of positive benefits. I’m calmer and more at peace than I ever was. Little things don’t bother me like they used to. And I don’t much care at all about other people’s opinions or judgments.

    But it was a very painful process to go through. I’m sorry that you’re facing it. Hang in there. It does get better. You just have to get away from the abuser first.

    • “They are having an affair and they both respect you so little, they don’t even bother hiding it well”

      KP this resonated deeply with me.

      When I look back on all the ridiculous shite with the rat faced whore and his flat; “she’s not living here, yes she’s staying here to help me decorate and she sleeps on the sofa, she’s staying here but she sleeps in the spare room”, I just can’t believe I was so dumb and trusting, *they respected me so little they couldn’t be bothered to come up with a decent lie*.

      Mind you, he pulled the same shite in Court, he told the Judge and my solicitor, “she’s just my lodger”. ????????????

  • I didn’t get the possibility of projection until I was regularly meeting with my attorney, eighteen months into separation. Something about his 40+ years of divorce law clicked with me more than what my therapist said. He said that you have to view this type of disorderly thinking like an iceberg — what you know is probably way less than what you don’t know, so believe what you see. Or as CL says, trust that they suck.

    The “sloppy lie” terminology is good too.

    • I didn’t get projection in the form of accusing me of any perfidy. He would not have been able to do that with a straight face,.

      I did get the constant attacking me for some little stupid shit, ex: a bottle of insect repellant had fallen over and spilled a little in an other wise organized clean linen closet, left my college book on the dining room table, just stupid little stuff that in previous years he would have not even noticed. doing a scream fest at me; then storming out.

      • “I did get the constant attacking me for some little stupid shit, ex: a bottle of insect repellant had fallen over and spilled a little in an other wise organized clean linen closet”

        Check. Fuckwit had a *titanic* meltdown because I’d put the wasp spray in the same cupboard as the tinned goods. Really insane, screaming, *literally* frothing at the mouth, throwing things around.

        Lots more examples of that behaviour, over tiny little things, I’m so glad I’m out of all that shite.

        • One day my ex screamed at me because my shoes were on the hearth. Screamed, called me names, and then stormed out.

          We both had been putting our shoes on the hearth for 10 YEARS. But that day he needed an excuse to get out of the house to go f**k the whore, so that was the day it was suddenly not okay to leave my shoes there.

          It’s really ridiculous what they use.

          • “But that day he needed an excuse to get out of the house to go f**k the whore, so that was the day it was suddenly not okay to leave my shoes there.”

            Nailed it. Xx

  • april, i’m sorry. you’re a chump. and now it’s time to take care of yourself. it’s really hard to let go of worrying/thinking about your X at the beginning–i found it difficult to shift focus to myself but that’s what is needed.

    go see your GP and have a full work-up and STI check. don’t forget hepatitis screening, too. tell your doctor what’s going on in your life–they can be a real support during this time. try to eat and sleep as well as possible, and exercise is a good thing. but your primary job is to get out of this relationship safely. get your documents organized and pack a go bag, and leave. this guy isn’t worth a polite email let alone a relationship.

    it sounds like you have support from your daughter and that’s great.

    • Also important to keep repeating the HPV panel and pap smears. Gen Z and younger Millennials represent 75% of infections worldwide so that generation of co-cheaters are particularly risky, especially since the cancer causing strains are asymptomatic and can be active for years. Though the cancer causing forms of HPV are rarer and most people clear them naturally, as a former DV victims’ advocate I learned about how stress/PTSD from abuse seriously impairs the immune system which might explain why abuse victims and survivors are more prone to breast and other cancers. I think the same principle should be extended to HPV risks. Abuse destroys your immune system. Anger (and rebelling) can boost it again but you can’t keep going through that cycle of abuse over and over without risking adrenal fatigue or collapse. Also a GYN warned me that the HPV vaccines don’t cover all emerging cancer-causing strains, that lab analyses can be faulty and any woman who’s been cheated on should repeat the pap + HPV test at least twice a year. My own doctor made that decision after I was chumped.

  • Yes, he’s a cheater. 100%. You have proof, so hold onto it. Phone records don’t lie and there is absolutely no other reason they would be speaking that much. If you want it confirmed, hire a P.I.
    In addition to being a cheater, he’s emotionally abusive. The guy is worthless and you deserve better.
    What you should do is get rid of him post haste.

    If you’ve spent any time here, you knew CL and CN would say to leave him.
    You know what to do. You just need support to do it. You have support here, so get your ducks in a row as per CL’s recommendations and do it.

  • People are obsessed with proof when it comes to cheating. I sure was, once upon a time. When you’re in a long term relationship, you often feel you need proof to justify leaving. But CL points out, rightfully, that proof can be a distractor from the important question of “is this relationship acceptable to you?”

    Maybe the proof can help you answer that question, but being neglected should be answer enough. Most of us are hard wired to try and make it work, above all else…it’s easy to overlook that you deserve to be loved and cherished by your romantic partner. If that’s not happening, then that’s not a real partner. Question answered.

    • I was living in a fault state at the time of being chumped and proof definitely helped my position, especially because I’d been married more than twenty years when he cheated and that counted against him in a big way. At first I was approached by workplace whistleblowers and then hired a PI to get the incontrovertible “smoking gun” proof on the advice of an attorney friend.

      Hiring a PI can be expensive and is not accessible to everyone. But if a chump can scrape the money together for a reputable sleuth, I think it’s money well spent. For one it could establish whether or not Schmoopie might be a bunny boiler with a criminal record. That was something a psychologist friend-of-a-friend immediately warned me about because she specialized in personality disorders and reported that side pieces are invariably disordered which increases the risk of having the house burned down with you and your kids in it. Then I probably saved a ton on attorney fees and things like forensic accountants because FW folded like a cheap card table when confronted with evidence, basically wrote confessions and admitted having a secret “affair credit card.” My attorney already had quite a case load and was pleased that the case had been simplified by rock solid evidence. Furthermore the PI became sort of a a pal and I felt like I had a team on my side that really understood the issues. The latter kept me sane when I had to deal with idiots and Swiss friends: my “team” were the benchmark of how people should regard infidelity and they made everyone else look lame and deluded by comparison. All in all, proof can help. I just think it’s best left to the pros if possible.

      • Yea, this information is important in a state that allows an at-fault divorce state (although all states allow no-fault divorces now, I believe), especially if it can significantly increase your overall divorce settlement, either legally or through leverage. I was thinking in terms of giving yourself emotional permission to leave. And also the importance of simply demanding more from a partner…because that’s what you’re worth. Also, it’s always a balancing act. As in, what’s your sanity worth? Is it worth the time, money, and energy of going down the PI route, and possibly coming up with no silver bullet, when you can obtain a divorce without doing this? Maybe yes, maybe no. If you can get a much larger divorce settlement because of it, or it can be used to induce your cheater to sign the papers…then it’s probably worth it. Otherwise, it can just be tantamount to pain shopping for some folks.

  • Oh boy-reading this sure brought me back…

    Same things for me: accusing me of having an affair, picking fights, denials, phone record proof-ALL of this…

    These cheaters have us SO gaslit that we don’t know our own name anymore!

    It’s been 5 years since I left-and life is BEAUTIFUL!!!

    It’s SO scary to leave-but the rewards are better than you could ever have dreamed of….

  • I have to admit that my first alarm bells went off at, “with my husband for 14 years, married for one”.

    What was it that took him so many years to propose or actually go through with the wedding itself? What changed? Even if he wasn’t an abusive piece of shit, men who are passionately for you and the relationship don’t generally hesitate to legitimise it under the law (don’t ever buy, ‘marriage is a piece of paper’, it’s a manchild lie).

    I also have to ask you; why did you marry into constant fights and abuse? If I’ve read this correctly, you married slap bang in the middle of the escalation. Did you see marriage and the ring as a magic wand?

    I’m not saying this to assign blame to you, merely to give you food for thought for the future. You can’t make scrotes into good people – and it isn’t your job anyway – but you can fix your picker. Love only conquers all if it’s felt equally on both sides and you can’t negotiate love.

    This ‘man’ is a waste of space and an abuser. You have your evidence, you aren’t stupid (though you’re desperately trying to unsee). These two are fucking and they’re trash.

    You need to learn to trust in your own perceptions because I have a feeling that 14 years with this POS has mentally eroded you. You sound absolutely broken and unless you want to go on attracting fucktards, this must change.

    “I just want the truth and closure and I can’t move on from this.” I want 1970’s Al Pacino covered in Lindor. I can wait until doomsday and it ain’t happening but I won’t let it stop me living.

    You are too dependent on the validation of this ‘man’. This is how he’s controlling you so effectively. You’ve essentially given all of your decision-making to an ill-disciplined toddler.

    A liar is not going to give you truth.
    A gaslighter is not going to give you closure.
    A dog isn’t going to start meowing.

    You must move on. Are you just going to keel over because some shitsack couldn’t love you properly? So your ENTIRE LIFE is going to revolve around someone not fit to lick your boots?

    My love, at this point, that is a choice and an extremely poor one. You CAN move on, you’re CHOOSING not to. Reclaim your power, over yourself and this situation. You will never inspire any respect in anybody until you develop boundaries and stick to them.

    “Yes I am still with him” You can’t detox by staying in Chernobyl. You MUST leave. He will try to hoover you, he will pull out all the stops to get you back. This is something you must resist because it is never sincere.

    I relate to the level of desperation in this letter, I’ve been you. This generally happens when you’ve been conditioned to centralise a twat at the expense of everything else so that all of your eggs are now in one basket. Friends, family, job opportunities, hobbies, all of it falls to the wayside until one day, him and his baggage and his nastiness are the only things that exist. But even so, all of a sudden, the prospect of losing that one shit-filled basket is too much to bear because there are no more. So you’re in a state of constantly trying to hit a reset button to the first few months where he lovebombed you. But the lovebomb wasn’t real, it was only ever the lure.

    Here’s the kicker; a healthy relationship doesn’t require 24hr attention, doesn’t require the sacrifice of your personhood and the constant putting out of calculated fires. Hollywood sells this lie very well, that conflict is passion and that pain is virtue, but grow and see it for the deception that it is. People who love you don’t hurt you.

    Look at it this way then; he knows you want truth and closure, I’m sure you’ve begged enough. HE’S STILL WITHHOLDING IT. HE’S FINE WITH YOU BEING IN PAIN. THIS IS NOT A MAN WHO LOVES OR EVEN RESPECTS YOU.

    I’m sorry if this hits hard but I’m telling you that the only way to make this better and to not repeat this is to work on yourself. There is a reason that this is your standard and it MUST be raised. Your bar is currently in hell and until you develop a backbone and a well-integrated, self-actualised life, you’ll just keep attracting smooth-talking dickheads like this.

    You’re not Build-A-Bitch. Divorce him, go no contact, work on yourself. Do the groundwork and you’ll never second guess like this again.

    • Very good analysis.

      This one seems dangerous to me and I think he will act out when she leaves. Either injure her, damage her property or damage properly belonging to the girlfriend do he can report it to law enforcement and blame her.

      • Thank you!

        I think based on this letter, I disagree with the prospect of him being dangerous. She should prepare for the possibility, of course, but I feel as though he comes off far too sloppy. I get the impression that he just wants a person to mooch off of in exchange for zero commitment and that if she leaves, he’ll just spread to another person like a disease. He’s still a mentally abusive loser, don’t get me wrong, and this should never be downplayed.

        I feel like most of the dangerous ones fall into three camps (and possibly 2-3 at the same time);

        1) The hard gender role believer. Me Tarzan, you Jane. Can’t see past his pride and any injury to this will be met with swift action.
        2) The porn sick limp dick. Has been indoctrinated to believe that all women are sluts and are ultimately less than human and thus all acts are permitted.
        3) The mummy issues boy. Watched his father abuse his mother and despite all the fear, has come to the effed up conclusion that the mother – and thus all women by extension – deserved it.

        This is just my opinion, of course, any insights welcome!

        • Friend of mine was in a very similar situation. She hired a PI and discovered he had multiple other girlfriends. He was so enraged she found out he slashed one of the other girlfriends tires, they called the cops and blamed my friend.

          That’s why I think this one is dangerous. He had extraordinary low regard for her.

          • That sounds like NPD coming into play as well as low regard. This is just my armchair psychology, mind, I’m not qualified.

        • I don’t think any person in a relationship with a cheater should rule out escalation to physical abuse. Cheaters are abusers, and I believe that most serial cheaters are disordered, too. This particular cheater is a controlling, manipulative POS who is having an affair with — a/k/a also abusing — an 18-year-old. He’s also accusing the OP of cheating, which is commonly listed as a warning sign for physical abuse. Also, Sally, why do you assume that the FW in this case doesn’t have any/all of the traits you list? And what leads you to believe that only those profiles are capable of violence? I think this is a dangerous assumption. Nevermind that mental/emotional abuse can cause serious damage, and many studies I’ve read say that women who’ve been emotionally abused are at higher risk of suicide than women who’ve “only” been physically assaulted (although TBH I don’t see how physical abuse could ever occur without emotional abuse).

          I, like many chumps here, came to realize that my longterm “partner” wasn’t who he pretended to be. I didn’t have any clue who he really was, and I was shocked to learn what he was capable of, including physical abuse. Cheaters aren’t safe.

          • “Also, Sally, why do you assume that the FW in this case doesn’t have any/all of the traits you list?”
            I said, “I think based on this letter….”. I don’t know if this guy is anything on the list, she didn’t mention it.

            “And what leads you to believe that only those profiles are capable of violence? I think this is a dangerous assumption.”
            Show me the part where I said ONLY those profiles. I said, “most” and then said I was open to debate.

            “Cheaters aren’t safe.” I did say that mental abuse should never be downplayed and I have mentioned my own suicidal ideation.

        • I’m pretty sure no one foresaw Chris Watts or Scott Peterson as potential murderers.

          A detective once told me we only know another person as much as they will let us.

          I now believe it’s safest and best to assume anything is possible if someone reveals themselves capable of intentionally harming others.

    • Great analysis except I beg to differ regarding marriage and commitment. While I have told my two daughters that the decision on getting married is of course theirs, I personally am not in favor of it, being both a lawyer and a chump who paid almost half a million dollars to get rid of my cheater. Wear the dress, have the party, and publicly commit to each other but don’t make it legal (or live in a common law state).

      • Right?! Or sign an iron-clad prenup. But even then, the divorce has to be matriculated, and a disordered person will always find ways to make that very difficult. As a non-religious person, aside from some tax benefits (maybe…that really depends on your personal financial situation), I don’t see a huge value to marriage anymore. It doesn’t guarantee stability or fidelity, and it can be the cause of great emotional and financial ruin if and when it ends.

        The better advice I give to young people, especially young women, is always be able to financially take care of yourself…always. Even if you take time off work to raise kids, don’t get professionally lax. Always keep one foot in your career or industry so you can return with minimal ramp up. To not do this is to potentially put yourself at the mercy of another person’s disordered behavior–even someone you’ve known for decades and thought you could trust. Ask me how I know.

        Marriage can be lovely for those who still want to do it. I don’t mean to bash it in general, but even then, when it’s great, one should always still prepare for their OWN future.

        • In defence of my point, I did only say, “men who are passionately for you and the relationship don’t generally hesitate to legitimise it under the law (don’t ever buy, ‘marriage is a piece of paper’, it’s a manchild lie)”.

          This did NOT say, “all men who propose to you are passionately for you”. This did not say, “marriage is a guarantee that you will never be betrayed”. You have to gauge this person’s attitude to you overall and over a period of a few years… but if he purports to love you yet refuses to make a solid commitment, I will question that, yes. To me, that’s a person keeping their options open.

          I’m not religious and I do believe there should be a prenup. I’m also a firm believer in earning your own money. These are not concepts that are exclusive to a marriage. Staying with the purely practical side, marriage affords the spouse certain rights and I believe that if you’re all in, you will legitimise them in the eyes of the law.

          That said, I do believe that marriage has importance symbolically too. I think concepts such as marriage and family are increasingly important in a society that grows evermore permissive of, “open relationships” and “polyamory” where no one seems to be happy and, yes, can be used as excuses to get and keep cake. We’re somehow losing marriage as an important concept but creating more socially acceptable terms for sleeping around.

          Marriage can’t wave a wand over a naturally irresponsible person but I think it needs to be seen to exist and still have relevance.

      • Yes yes yes! Grandkids entirely optional. In fact, please don’t. Who needs the grief? Besides, the world’s human population is 8 billion and counting. This won’t end well.

      • I get the impression that he just wants a person to mooch off of in exchange for zero commitment and that if she leaves, he’ll just spread to another person like a disease.”
        Agreed. Interesting that the marriage happened at the height of the discard, after 14 years of NOT being married.
        “Yes, we did get married after all of this, I was leaving him and this was his option.” I’m always up for some arm chair theorizing ——– Dude may have thought “Uh-hoo, she’s on to me. Better love bomb her up and get married real quick. Get my name on 50% of her assets while the getting is good. Bonus – getting married will throw her off the scent”
        Which speaks to Dirty Water’s advice to his daughters about not making it legal.

        • Gadzooks I’m full of BS mistakes today! Dirty Water may not be a he. Sheesh. I wish ability to edit a post for silly errors AFTER posting could be an option here.

      • Thank you!

        Christ, I’m sorry to hear that. That said – and I don’t come at this with any legal training or experience in the field – is there a reason you wouldn’t recommend marriage with a pre-nup?

        I don’t think common law exists anymore in the UK so that wouldn’t be an issue here.

        • Depending on where you live, prenups are often not legally binding just seen as intent. So still helpful but not a guarantee and don’t undo marriage.

          The best thing I did was not marry my cheater. I owned my house before we met and he didn’t pay anything towards the mortgage or upkeep. If we had been married he would have been entitled to half my house. As it was he got nothing. ( I also didn’t get any of his pension but I’ll take that ).
          April – could you get the marriage annuled ?

          • Don’t prenups require lawyers? There’s no point in them if they aren’t legally binding. Is this in more patriarchal countries?

            I thought you could only annul a marriage if it hadn’t been consummated or was never legally valid to begin with? Though I guess this varies from region to region too.

    • Sally, your post is some of the best advice I’ve read. “The sacrifice of your personhood” may well be the most appropriate description of Chumpdom I’ve come across.
      That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? I would venture a guess that most of us could attest that even if the cheating hadn’t occurred, our Fuckwits chipped away at the other parts of us too. That was certainly true of my 36 year marriage. And, based on April’s letter and subsequent comments, certainly true in her case as well. Abuse is abuse is abuse… all of it insidious and none of it should be tolerated, much less excused or forgiven. Living for the occasional and very infrequent crumb of kindness is no way to live.

      • Thank you!

        I think that’s the thing most of us never talk about, isn’t it. Maybe we’re embarrassed (especially if we are viewed as ‘strong’ in general), maybe we end up gaslighting ourselves with, “at least he doesn’t hit me”, “maybe ‘bitch’ isn’t THAT bad”, “he’s right, I am insecure”, etc etc. And when you’re then trained to push your own boundaries back and back and make your needs smaller and smaller… well, who can come out of that feeling worthwhile?

        “Living for the occasional and very infrequent crumb of kindness is no way to live.”
        Amen. Bring on chocolate-covered Pacino!

  • How did I discover the cheating? Phone records.

    We were also in the honeymoon of our relationship.

    I didn’t suspect cheating AT ALL. I was changing our cell plan and decided to be nosy and look at the call logs. I could only see one month. One phone number stood out – lots of texts and video. Including many on my birthday (thanks douchebag). Most of them were during his work hours, and he didn’t have a job conducive to texting at work. I knew that it meant he was cheating.
    I got the name of the woman. Texted him “who is schmoopie?”. He didn’t reply. I told him to get his things out of my house and get out of my life.

    I guess I was “lucky” in that he didn’t lie about it. And I was able to ask questions to get the details (how they met, timing).

    Now, I do know that he didn’t lie because he thought that I would forgive him. (and his Christian faith made him think that my forgiveness would absolve him). He never expected that it would change our relationship. In fact he accused ME of not loving HIM because I kicked him out over cheating. He thought if I had truly loved him I would work on it. (They always have to gaslight – maybe if he truly loved anyone but himself he wouldn’t cheat).

    In any case, do you want a guy that gaslights you, makes you cry, has baseless accusations, lies, expends his time and intimacy with another woman?

  • My tricky dick cheater wasn’t even on the same cell plan as me and my three kids. He conned me one time when he decided to switch services because he said one particular service had better reception where he worked than another and that I should stay on my plan, since I wasn’t experiencing problems, and that way we could compare which was the better one.
    He never did switch back to our plan, how convenient I made it for him to cheat, the slummy slum dog.

  • There are two words far more important than the three words that are often given weight to.

    TRUST and SAFETY. As opposed to I LOVE YOU.

    Trust and safety are the two bottom line essential qualities of a committed relationship, any kind of relationship that is healthy and worth being in. They are very easily proven.

    “I love you”, those words and that concept that are prized above everything else, on their own, are completely meaningless bullshit WITHOUT TRUST AND SAFETY. Trust and safety are evidence of love. The lack of trust and safety are evidence that love is not in the building.

    That means not in the building with you and him.

    That means love is not in the building with anyone they’re cheating with. Cheaters put their fingers in their ears, turn up the music really loud, take daily doses of Denial Kool Aid, are Olympic gold medalists in the sport in mental gymnastics. Those coping mechanisms are required to sustain a relationship with a person who has proven their untrustworthiness.

    If they’ve proven their untrustworthiness, they belong to that class of people, unless, as with bankruptcy, they’ve changed their behavior sincerely enough and long enough to restore their credit rating. I suppose it’s possible, but personally I will never ever date a person with cheating on their rap sheet.

    Why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone who cheats, or with someone who screws around with people in committed relationships, is a mystery to me. Laughable is that those same people would most likely never hire an accountant or a bookkeeper with sticky fingers.

    Common sense isn’t.

    If your relationship is not a safe harbor in this world full of fucked up, what on earth is the point of having it? It adds zero value to me and my life.


    • My favorite one liner reminder from Dr. Frank Pittman is “wonderful people don’t screw around with married* people and wonderful married people don’t screw around.”

      *or otherwise committed exclusive relationship

    • To clarify…

      When I said this

      “Why anyone would want to be in a relationship with someone who cheats”

      Who I was referring to was the cheating accomplice, not the invested chump who is in unimaginable pain, desperate to salvage their relationship.

      I have never in my life considered a married person as available to me to get involved with, and always found cheaters repulsive.

      When my daughter was in elementary school, I was friends with the librarian at her school and we often recommended books to each other. She recommended a book, The Snow Baby, the true story of the Arctic childhood of Admiral Robert Pearcy’s daughter Marie. I was thoroughly enjoying the book until it got to the part when Marie learns her father was having an affair. I was so upset I could not finish the book. This was well before I suspected my own husband of being a cheater. ☹️

  • This is such an obvious case of the cheater needing a spouse to make their cheating ‘fun’. Don’t continue in this game he’s running on you April. Please see it for what it is. He’s not exactly enhancing your life, is he? You were rocking your job, and all this chaos that HE is creating messed that up.
    I know how hard it is to think about leaving. Happened to me, too, and my life had become just nerve-wracking and insane with the policing. But we want the dream we had. For them to be like they used to be. It just doesn’t happen, they are doing what they want, and it’s bad, and underhanded. And your role in this game is to be the injured one, the one that gets hidden from. April, I’m sure that’s not what you want! Good luck, and keep reading CL ????

  • April, please run. My spidey senses are tingling that he’s really, truly a deeply fucked up individual.

    If I understand the timeline, he betrayed you for two years? With an 18 year old? Was she underage when this started? Was he grooming an underage teenager? Even if she was legal there’s something wrong with an adult man who would prey on an 18 year old.

    And, she’s the niece of his CO-WORKER, right? So not only is he a cheating, gaslighting FW, he’s that special kind of cheating FW – he’s okay with shitting on both his co-worker and your marriage. Which has the potential to mess with his employment, let alone damage the relationship with the co-worker.

    They were together in your home. One wonders, did they do it in your marital bed? Bringing her into your home is so disrespectful! Again, takes a special kind of fuckedupness to bring it into the home.

    Nothing is off limits to this guy. He’s okay with shitting in both his workplace and his home. And shitting onyour marriage. April, the blinders are coming off and you’re starting to see who this creep really is. Please don’t beat yourself up anymore. Or blame yourself – that you should have known. He’s been gaslighting you for years. As CL said, every abuser has hooks. If abusers abused right out of the gate they wouldn’t be able to hook any victims. The love bombing is an important piece in the cycle of abuse.He was able to love bomb you into marrying him even after all of this! Get your ducks in a row ASAP to leave this monster. 14 years is a lot of time to invest in a person, but don’t let this be a reason to not walk away. Save yourself, and please get your kids away from him.

    • It’s early for me. Sorry, I just realized you surprised him at work with the 18 year old, not at home. Doesn’t change anything. April, please protect yourself and don’t put up with his abuse anymore.

  • The thing where they pick a fight with you over something completely unfair? And then stalk off in a huff? Mine did that, too, and by the time he’d come back home he’d forgotten his lies. The way I figured out how long he’d been cheating on me, was when I realized what the game was and stopped and thought back about the first time he did that to me. My daughter was only an infant, and I was absolutely shattered at the things he’d said to me that day.

    • I relate hugely to this (barring the infant part, I’m sure that made it ten times harder and I send you love).

      There was always at least passive disrespect/taking me for granted but I was utterly knocked on my arse by such a steep level of escalation. It was obviously triggered by an EVENT rather than an evolving state of affairs… said ‘event’ in my case being a cheap piece of ass in her 40’s who dresses as Harley Quinn online for clicks.

      The Devil in me searched desperately for something in this woman’s life to ruin as payback, scraped the entire web and what I found… … …I felt cheated that she was doing a way better job of her own ruination than I could ever hope to inflict. It was sobering that I was worth abusing in exchange for this ‘prize’, this trash-tier woman who hadn’t achieved anything in her bloody life and appeared to live off everyone else while pushing, “peace and love”.

      I wonder what exactly they tell themselves to justify how vile their accusations have become. That we’re Satan’s spawn, that we ate their childhood pet? They generally go the “you’re insecure and controlling” route but I feel like, “you’re standing in the way of my special pee-pee time” is closer to the mark. It’s really the equivalent of a small child screaming “I HATE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!!” when you say no. Or a drug addict coming down.

      I also belly laugh at “desperate and insecure” when this particular Schmoopie (there were a few but she was the abiding one) gets her bolt-on tits out for her 15 faithful Twitch viewers on a bi-weekly basis but anyway…

      Mine would do the screeching/vile words/stalking off and then come back either as if nothing had happened, semi-frozen like a prey animal or with a very weak attempt to make it up to me (which actually stood out because he’d stopped making kind gestures years ago anyway).

      I don’t think they think any of it through. They don’t reflect on how nasty it is, how obvious, what consequences may be served them. They’re just that tunnel-visioned small child and the means don’t matter as long as the objective is achieved. Dumb cattle don’t get a say anymore.

  • April, oh honey, why are you holding on to this nasty man? He’s a liar and a cheater. You know that. Trust your guy.

    You don’t say how old you are. If you started dating this jackass 14 years ago, it might be that you were too young to realize that he’s a bad guy. If you’re older, maybe he love bombed you and you fell for it. Either way, try this: make a list of everything he’s done to make your cry, make you doubt your perceptions and your instincts, or to tear you down emotionally. He’s certainly cheating. That’s a given. You caught him.But that just opens up the question of why you settle for scraps and crumbs, rather than a whole, healthy relationship. You can do better but you have to be willing to let go of the fantasy you had at the start of this relationship. He’s not who you thought he is.

    You’re burning up years of your life with someone who verbally abuses you, lies to you and cheats. Time is the one thing we should not waste.

      • Lol, it’s a funny typo though! You just wanted to see if were paying attention. ????????

  • I lived this life for 14 years, went on to have two kids with him after the initial affair because I honestly thought I didn’t deserve better. I never did get anything but sloppy lies and power trips. I finally left him and have now watched him do the same thing to multiple people. He’s “engaged” now after cheating on the fiancé multiple times; she probably has no idea but to her he’s a sparkly turd. Grateful to have minimized him and his abuse.

  • Voice activated recorder from Walmart and Velcro – under the car seat. Should get you what you need to know. Also only use if it’s legal in your state, but software like mspy can also capture the phone calls and environmental sounds.

  • Reading this post made me think back to stupid spackling and second-guessing of myself I used to do. It is amazing how I feel so much less confused and anxious since I stopped being gaslit. Since I finally trust that he sucks. Since I made my mind up to get things in order and stick a fork in the sham marriage.

    Marriage is a contract. If one party to a contract lied about material terms of the contract, the whole thing falls apart. No court would hold you to adhere to the terms when you have been bamboozled. When your gut tells you, when you see the facts, you just have to stop the BS. You can say this is not acceptable to you and dump his sorry ass. It’s the legitimate, sane way forward.

    I find it embarrassing how hard I pick me danced. I think back and cringe. I read this post and cringed for OP. OP, you are not crazy. You know the answers to all this already. We all give you permission to file for divorce and not waste another moment on the fuckwit. You will be so happy to have a clear head and no contact with liars and cheaters. Stop waiting for answers you will either never get or ones you already know the answers to. Don’t hinge your ability to get out on waiting for fools to suddenly grow morals. Make a plan and get out. You’ll be glad you did.

  • This is a good example of how liars lie and cheaters cheat without even blinking an eye. In my own situation I wondered if my ex even knew the truth or was totally oblivious to it — making her not contemptible but pitiful. Either way CL is consistent in her message: is this relationship acceptable to you? That said, here is a link to an article on lying, cheating and self-deception that I found on Bottom line, people who lie and cheat lie to themselves and convince themselves they are truthful. They are reinforced by the reactions they get which apparently emboldens them more even when confronted with the truth. To me that makes liars and cheaters pitiful and the real truth is whether or not the relationship is good for me.

    • Thank you for this reference. Very helpful article, and I found other useful studies in Discover magazine. I try not to untangle the skein, but it is challenging to wrap my head around the double life and the complete sham. This makes a lot of sense to me.

  • The phone records were one of the confirmations to me that she wasn’t “just a friend”. No man is on the phone with another woman every day for HOURS.

    Your husband is 100% cheating. He is lying. It hurts like hell, but GET OUT. You will be so much better off.

    • Couldn’t agree more! To add to what ISawTheLight said…April, girl, people are dropping serious truth up in here.
      Please heed their words. I too benefit from the wisdom shared by folks on this site.

      My husband also has this “friend” that he works with. I confronted him about all the texts/phone calls and her needy behavior.
      Initially I thought the OW was an ex-girlfriend from many years ago (now I think I may have been wrong). The truth seems much closer to home, i.e. this coworker that he claims is “just a friend”.

      April, the red flags are there. If they talk a lot about somebody, if they seem to talk to this person a lot (about things that are not work-related) and they act shady or you catch them lying…some crap is going on.
      The fact that the girl took off the minute you arrived should tell you something. Women who have nothing to hide don’t act this way when they see a man’s wife or girlfriend.
      In my experience, these types of women will either be nasty to you (because they want your man) or they will run when you show up, because they don’t want to blow their cover.

      Some of these OW will scurry away like a damn cockroach when they see the wife.
      So basically that’s what you saw…he probably told her to leave so you wouldn’t suspect anything.

      • Possible Chump, the old girlfriend could very well be an OW, too. If you’re a trusting, commuted and loyal person, suspicion is not paranoia. Listen to your gut. This post is for you, too.

        My experience: I was at first shocked to learn that my FW ex had a “fling” when I was away. Prior to dday 1, in spite of ongoing relationship difficulties, I had never even suspected him of cheating. Over the course of several months, I learned that he’d been carrying out long term, simultaneous affairs with two much younger women for nearly a decade — and had many others waiting in the wings. Reading CL comments for over a year has shown me that this is the rule, not the exception. If someone has low enough character to cheat and blame shift (and with a teenager his daughter’s age, no less), then he likely has been doing these kinds of things for years. While I can believe that abusive behaviors and lying/cheating can escalate over time — LAJ has described personality disorders as progressive, like substance abuse disorders — I don’t think they come out of nowhere, nor can they be explained by twin flames, love at first site, soul mates, one-night stand, midlife crisis, irresistible seductress, etc. Cheating is about character. Poor character. For me, red flags are more about personality traits than they are about “warning signs.” The evidence is helpful, especially when you’re deep into a “committed” longterm relationship, and leaving means blowing up your life. However, patterns of behavior and characteristics pretty much broadcast that a person is/is capable of cheating.

        • Absolutely, B & R! This post spoke to me too (like you said).
          As to the ex-girlfriend…I thought it was her at first only because his mom implied there still might be unfinished business, but it turns out that’s not the case at all.
          I won’t lie, though, I was definitely on alert for a while.
          The ex isn’t a threat so I’m not bothered by her. It’s this coworker “friend” that’s the problem.

          Again, she texted him with yet another one of her issues (her 92-year-old grandmother died).
          He said she is “distraught”. While I’m sorry for her loss, it’s not his place to comfort her whenever some crisis happens in her life.
          It’s more the coworker that I’m looking at now. Thanks for your wise words!

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