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I Need to Know the OW’s Identity

mindfuckDear Chump Lady,

I learned last year that FW had been engaging in an emotional affair and physical affair for 6 months. He’s a massage therapist and the Other Woman was one of his clients. I say was because allegedly before anything got physical she stopped being a client. I guess that’s where morality kicked in — I can’t fuck a client, but I can cheat on my partner of 12 years with whom I share two children with without any problem.

Anyways, we tried the whole reconciliation thing, turns out no unicorns here. He still doesn’t take any responsibility for his actions and blameshifts any chance he can get. So now we are in the process of trying to separate, but still residing together while we try to figure shit out. Initially, I thought we had to ‘be friends for the children’ but now realize that is a bunch of BS (thanks to your blog) and have implemented the 180 and grey rock.

This is where I’m struggling. I can’t stop thinking about the OW. He never told me her identity but I’ve been able to piece things together through context clues and think I’ve figured it out. I do know she’s married. I want confirmation that it’s her but not sure how to get it. I’m not sure if I got confirmation that I would tell the (other chump) or not, as that could have devastating consequences for FW, not that I care about him but if he loses his livelihood then that just puts more on me.

Believe me, I want him to experience ALL of the consequences and often have to fight the urge to go nuclear. Part of me just wants to know who the OW is so I can have the satisfaction of knowing he didn’t get to keep that from me (he’s got enough over on me) and part of me wants him to reach out to warn her that I know so that she can live with the anxiety of wondering when her life will be blown apart, like I have for the last several months. My family tells me I’m wasting time and energy but I can’t seem to let this go. Help!

Thank you

Need Perspective

***

Dear Need Perspective,

Well, you’ve ruled out the one good reason to know Schmoopie’s ID — so you can tell the other chump. Not as a matter of revenge on the OW (although I understand the urge), but because that guy deserves to know.

How and when to tell are delicate issues, as it could impact your settlement. As in, he loses his job. But really, how much does a massage therapist make? And could your FW not find another job? Perhaps the massage industry does not need a creeper who hits on clients, and he could go into, oh let’s say sewage drain repair.

I say was because allegedly before anything got physical she stopped being a client.

Uh-huh. Sure. Because cheaters are so honest about their timelines.

It’s really funny how people who have zero impulse control when it comes to throwing away their families, have deep reserves of honor and self-control when it comes to crossing romantic boundaries.

If you believe that, join me for Bible study at the Motel 6.

Anywho…

Your FW is playing power games. If he admitted, that yes, he fucked a client, that would be giving you power. Which he rightly understands that you, or your attorney, could use against him. So, he lies.

Same with telling you who the OW is. He gets to enjoy his secrets, the duper’s delight of knowing something you don’t know, plus he protects himself. Of course this is enraging. It’s also very revealing about who he is. Should you have any wobbles or doubts about divorcing him — remember, he behaves like an adversary. An enemy. Not someone you can be vulnerable with or who will be your “friend” in co-parenting.

He’s a tinpot dictator. And those sorts of people often provoke deep feelings of rebellion.

You don’t want me to know who she is? I WILL FIND OUT WHO SHE IS.

But this tug-of-war keeps you stuck in his power games. Throwing energy at him, at marriage policing, at the OW. Makes her larger than life, a mythical beastie.

She’s an orifice. No one special. If it wasn’t her, it would be another appliance. We’re dealing with a tinpot dictator here, and everyone is of use, until they’re not.

Who is she? A really classy person who fucks their massage therapist. A discerning sort of person. If it weren’t your husband, it’d be the guy who paved her driveway.

If I were you, this is what I’d do. I’d ask my lawyer if I really need this information. Will it affect my settlement? Would knowing provide my lawyer any leverage? Could your lawyer threaten to depose his workplace? Get a list of clients? Call them all and ask? I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice — but I would see how any of this impacts you right now. As you’re trying to get the hell out of this nightmare.

You only have so much energy. Devote your reserves to sane parenting and protecting yourself during this divorce process. Also it’s a real power move to not engage in his mindfuckery.

Ooh. You have a secret? Whatever.

(Excuses self to clean lint trap.)

Also, consider that you’ll probably find out in time. He may introduce Schmoopie as a girlfriend. (Yes, this happens, even when they’re married. The mind boggles.) He may introduce her to your kids. He may tell you to goad you into the pick me dance, because he’ll miss his centrality.

All of these are possibilities. He may also enjoy “winning” the mindfuck game. Let him. Don’t untangle his ugly skein. Step away. Cancel him.

The real question isn’t: who is she? But, who are you?

I say, you’re a badass who’s above his bullshit.

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.
  • Need Perspective: BOOM! CL aced her response to you in every way necessary for you to cut the rope. You won’t find better guidance elsewhere – take it to heart. It gets worse before it gets better on the way out and forward. Best wishes!

    • Of course you cannot talk to the spouse without knowing who the OW is. And to find that out is a ton of energy and engaging in a power struggle with a FW. If OP knew, that would be a different dilemma.

  • As per usual, CL’s advice is terrific–ask your lawyer if knowing the AP’s identity is in any way helpful! And follow the advice of your lawyer. If you don’t trust your lawyer enough to follow their advice, get a new one. There is no point in paying big sums for professional insight if you are not going to take it!

    I know all the reasons we should tell other chumps, but I disagree that a spouse losing a job, in this case massage therapy, won’t impact the settlement. It is possible that if the soon-to-be-EX is unemployed while Need Perspective is employed, she would get less custody or less support. You’d think a court would say that a person who was fired for violating the ethics of their profession wasn’t a great parental role model, but courts often just look at availability. Is unemployed Dad around to “save” the kids from after school care? Yes? Well, great he gets them while Mom works to support them. Should Dad pay child support? Well, he’s unemployed and thus state formulas suggest he should pay no more than $50 per child per month due to his unfortunate (entirely of his own making) economic position. Some states and courts are smart about these things, some aren’t. Your lawyer knows–which is why they get the big bucks!

    Don’t upset that applecart unless your lawyer tells you to. There is time to unmask the affair partner after all the important documents have been signed!

    Play the long game. I have no doubt you can and will learn the “client’s” name eventually if you want, but don’t trade away any advantages right now to get it.

      • Yes, I imagined all sorts of revenge ideas but many of them left my Cheater at risk of financial peril and he was the primary breadwinner, so those needed to remain only in the realm of my imagination. In the end, that tactic likely did help my overall situation.

    • Maybe get the divorce and settlement, then tell the other spouse? I wish somebody, ANYBODY, who had known about the FW’s affair(s) had told me. Yes, he gave me an STD he picked up at some point.

    • Her attorney would be the obvious source for good info on this, but it’s not an absolute truth that ex being unemployed = no child support or maintenance from him. Judges can and will impute an income on the non-working spouse if they are capable of earning more. It would likely just be easier for her to not rock the employment boat though.

    • Elionwy:

      Good points. Better to take the legal advice if you have a good attorney……..My first thought about the identity is maybe he is not disclosing it because his wife knows her. Or maybe Op does not know he is married. Attorney can decide if the unspoken threat of calling OP into court is worth what might be lost.

      • I got OW’s identity (he thought I already knew and said her first name. I said, “oh, so her name is [kibble ho].” and I think it scared him more that he had inadvertently given himself away than that I knew). It was a situation that could impact or even destroy his career. I still hunted down the other Chump and told him, after I filed.

        Both us Chumps wanted to keep the cheating to ourselves and not report unless necessary, primarily because both FWs needed to be able to support their kids.

        My exFW refused to negotiate during the divorce. We were 2 weeks out from a court date when I told my lawyer to call other Chump as a witness. As soon as FW saw this guy’s name on the paperwork, he signed an agreement that was… acceptable… and we never went to court. He’d had no idea I was talking to other Chump for almost 2 years, and was more scared of being outed than I was of losing child support.

        Knowledge is power, just my 2 cents. Ask your lawyer.

        • That’s how my Mom got a half-way decent settlement. She had proof almost by chance. Took a photo of Dad’s car that she discovered parked outside the OW’s place late at night. Her lawyer threatened to call the OW into court. Kind of sexist conservative judge, but adultery made a difference in that state, and judge didn’t like it that Dad had lied to him at first (claiming no new relationship, just tired of being married). So Dad had to concede something rather than expose the OW, and Mom (30 year marriage, SAHM) ended up solvent.

          Lawyer would know best if proof would be a help.

          Sorry to sound so brutal about Dad. He was not 100% bad to me growing up, but difficult to label him a good person either. TBH I learned or figured out more after he died than I even knew before. As in, he spoke in ways that made Mom fear for her life. That affair was also far from the first, I am now morally certain.

        • Absolutely agree that knowledge is power. I became my own investigator, and found out all kinds of useful information. I subpoenaed 3-4 of the scumbag ex’s skankensteins to testify about all the money he spent on them, the jewelry, the cruises, rent, cars, the favors for their relatives, his gambling, etc. That’s what finally made him sign the settlement, after he dragged everything out for years trying to make sure the kids and I got nothing. My ex was an attorney (and I put him through law school). Idiot.

    • I’m playing “the long game”.
      Call me petty but I’m happy to wait to cause his house of cards to implode.

      During the divorce I was very careful not to jeopardize his job. Would have been easy as his AP was/is his co-worker and his firm didn’t approve of such relationships. But that would have messed with my lovely alimony.

      I had to sign a non-disparagement clause which said I cannot say anything negative about him OR HER or my alimony would stop.

      I have 4 more years of alimony and then the non-disparagement clause is invalid. I will then happily report him on his current illegal activities.

      I haven’t been hanging around all these years focused on revenge and have focused on making a wonderful life for myself. But he’s made my life difficult over the years since the divorce and I cannot seem to get away from his awful self due to the grandchildren. Just my story. Not for everyone.

      • Just curious- why did you sign that? It sounds to me as if your legal position was solid enough to refuse. Was it because you didn’t want to go through a legal battle to get the alimony?

        I don’t think you’re petty at all, btw. You want justice just like all of us do. He cheats, makes your life hell and yet you’re not allowed to “disparage” the dirty fuckers by telling the truth? I’d be furious.

        • There was no getting around the non disparagement clause.
          We both had high-powered lawyers and the judge was on my side. I also could have subpoenaed the AP and chose to settle the case.

          I traded the non-disparagement clause for lots of investments and cash. I cared way more about my financial future than telling their firm.

          Back then my kids would have been upset then if I caused him to lose his job. Now they see him for who he is and could care less.

          Divorce is picking and choosing your battles in a fast moving chess game. I had a great lawyer who kept me focused on the best end game for me. She also knew I had the patience of a saint to wait to ruin him later if I choose to.

    • I was lucky enough to have been told the dirt by workplace whistleblowers who provided heaps of background information and evidence that I wouldn’t have gotten without them. It exposed the AP as a pathological, scheming loser and the entire affair as dysfunctional dogshit. This really helped in demystifying the affair so I wasn’t left temporarily building it up into something sparkly in my blindsided, chumped brain. I took it further and hired a PI and the sheer quantity of embarrassing facts clearly greased the settlement process and maybe dissuaded the AP from any potential bunny-boiling antics. But it came close enough to FW’s employers finding out that I was able to look down that barrel. I feel even luckier that these workplace whistleblowers knew FW had a child with health problems, considered potential consequences to my kids and stopped short of complaining to HR or filing suit for “negative work environment” and “favoritism” because Schmoops started out as nearly a direct report.

      I have three kids– one with chronic, expensive medical issues– and it would have been a real tragedy if FW had lost his job in a competitive, insular field that had just been walloped by #MeToo scandals. In my gut I sense that he would have been made an example of. I would have had one shining moment of satisfaction from him and the AP irreparably damaging their career prospects and reputations but my kids would have paid the price. In the long run it’s satisfying enough that FW and the AP had their delusional self-images deflated by finding out they were being laughed at and talked about by coworkers to the point that the gossip overflowed and I was sought out and warned. There was even a dose of poetic justice because part of FW’s and the AP’s DARVO narrative was that I “didn’t know how to get along with people.” Whoops, projection! They’d made themselves into punchlines, ha. But even that little last laugh would not have been worth it if my kids had suffered any consequences.

      In my past experience working with domestic violence survivors, I learned that intimate abusers in general are pretty predictable and unoriginal and nothing I learned after D-Day changed that impression. I hope that other chumps who might not have gotten all the dirt can apply those basic principles to their own situations and trust all the more that cheaters and co-cheaters and any flying monkeys involved are gross and awful and not as well liked or admired as they think. They’re all warty, lying liars who lie to and exploit each other because they don’t know any way to relate other than coercion and manipulation, otherwise they wouldn’t be cheaters.

      I was still gutted for awhile and nothing really allays the initial heartbreak of finding out a marriage was a mirage. But even if the cheaters/co-cheaters are “twist villains” as my daughter calls it and had managed to utterly fool chumps and everyone else, rest assured that affairs are all cringy, delusional shitshows in the end and can never lead to anything good. Another thing I learned is that even if cheaters seem to have enablers who may even get off on chumps being victimized, there may still be ethical, empathetic witnesses around but these people might not have enough rock-solid evidence or the nerve to give the heads up. Anyway, this is all by way of saying trust that they suck.

  • CL gives the best advice ever. I wish I had followed some of it (that would have been impossible since much of my misery predated CL, but you get the gist). I didnt and landed in miserable wreckonsillyation for 7 years.

    I ask you to reconsider the “engaging in an emotional affair and physical affair for 6 months” and shorten it to “fucked strange which abused us” – we give them too much credit when we allow the nuances of their betrayal to matter and use nice words for it.

    My experience was that “emotional affair” was endless mindfucking abuse, cruelty and gaslighting from the one person I trusted most on planet earth.

    Anyone willing to do this with them is a wretched human and CL is right, you dont need to know who, searching for them is lost energy you need for other stuff and the info will fall into your lap one day anyhow.

    We’re sorry you are here but relieved you found your way here. Be strong, you are mighty

    • “My experience was that ’emotional affair’ was endless mindfucking abuse, cruelty and gaslighting from the one person I trusted most on planet earth.” This.

    • “My experience was that ’emotional affair’ was endless mindfucking abuse, cruelty and gaslighting from the one person I trusted most on planet earth.” absolutely spot on.

      • Yes, spot on. And what chumps might not see, at least at first, is that the mindfucking isn’t reserved for just us.

        When I saw the emails between FW and OWs, I saw he fed them the same manipulative BS he was feeding me, especially when he was trying to Hoover me. It was so phony and lame, and I was offended that he was treating me, his longterm partner he had a life with, like these shallow strangers. But it let me finally see him for who he truly was: a one-trick pony; an abuser who repeated the same behaviors and dynamics with everyone. His words and actions were cliched, hollow and worthless, and I couldn’t spackle his personality any longer. It wasn’t me, it was him, and it was so deeply ingrained that he was engaging in the same patterns with every single woman “in his life,” no matter who they were or what the nature of the relationship.

        He was not special. I was not special. We were not special. But I WAS worth far more than that.

        • When I got chumped I left him immediately. He wasn’t admitting to the full truth from the get go so I just didn’t see how we were going to come back from it. When he got discovered he was all tears and promises but the damage had been done and relationship was destroyed as a result. However he seemed genuinely remorseful and I naively thought that me leaving would be the wake up call he needed to sort his life out and not mess it up the next time round.

          Fast forward a year. His current girlfriend emails me to let me know that she too is breaking up with him. He was cheating on her. In fact, current girlfriend did some digging and found out that he did exactly the same thing to the woman before me – lovebomb for years, devalue (tell everyone she’s crazy/controlling/psychotic, blameshift his behaviour onto her during arguments), discard (cheating while pretending the distance and coldness was due to work stress). We compared notes and he told us all the same lovebombing phrases, took us on the same dates. She was solid and smart – glad she got out and thankful that she told me what had happened. It gave me a lot of closure to realize that I didn’t cause his behaviour and I couldn’t have prevented it. This was a longstanding pattern which will unfortunately continue.

          I was both relieved to know that it wasn’t about me but also sad that he’s never going to change or improve, just continue hurting other women in the future.

  • The Need To Know The Deets is totally normal when chumped. This blog can airlift you out of the quagmire, so be sure to come here and read when the skipping record player in your mind is driving you bonkers. If infidelity is soul rape, as Divorce Minister says, and I agree, I think it’s normal to want to know who one of your assailants is. I also would want to tell the partner of the assailant.

    I did find out who the main “she” was, and that she wasn’t the only “she”. It actually did keep me from scanning the face of every female that crossed my path and wondering if she was the She. It also helped me find out he had been hiding money from me. I used the knowledge of her identity to find out other information which led to my financial gain in the divorce.

    I would say that any information which helps YOU is good information. Any information which is useless and only hurts you is BAD and unnecessary.

    I also gave myself permission a long time ago that to do whatever I want that makes me feel better and isn’t illegal or harmful to anyone. So, pay attention and watch for what helps you feel better, and what doesn’t.

    • ……and because of the number of stories I have read here where the co-homewrecker is a “best friend”, or neighbor, or some other trusted but actually two-faced person in the world of the chump, you’re damn right I want to know who it is so I can make sure there’s no other traitors in my orbit.

      • …..and “traitor” includes people who knew but did not tell me. The identity of the soul rapist can often help uncover other traitors.

        • Finding out that almost all our mutual friends knew and not a single person thought to tell me (or even just ask for my side of the story or you know, if I was okay) helped me clear a lot of people out of my life. I don’t need “friends” like that.

          I knew the identity of OW from the start, so I didn’t have OP’s dilemma, though. She was a coworker/friend.

          • I am quite sure that the “mutual friends” part did me more lasting damage than the adultery. The feeling of being totally abandoned, written off, unloved – that will never go away. My entire world view was changed by that betrayal. I say, find out who OW is and tell every person in her orbit.

            • But make sure before you tell every person in her orbit that you are prepared to weather all the “what’s the big deal? People have affairs/get divorced all the time” responses.

              • Agreed, Adelante. Shouting the news from the rooftop doesn’t always produce the results that we hope for; instead, it often only just turns over a log from which we see tons of “What’s the big deal?”s and “Affairs happen all the time”s and “Well, if he cheated he obviously was unhappy in the marriage, right?”s scurry out from under that log.

                Honestly, it’s not worth it. The results are disappointing and it gives the FW plenty of paint on his brush to paint a picture of you as a bitter harpy. If revenge is what you are going for then there is no better revenge than a life well lived with the FW and their APs cut loose from their position as central to your life. Nothing is more insulting to them than to demonstrate how unimportant they are to you.

                “I would say that any information which helps YOU is good information. Any information which is useless and only hurts you is BAD and unnecessary.”

                Now this is gold. I found out, years after FW moved out (again) and into GF#3/Wifetress’s house that there was an affair FW had had *even before GF#1*! A friend admitted to me that he knew FW had hooked up with his ex-partner months and months before GF#1 had even entered the picture.

                FW, of course, had never mentioned a word of this pre-OW#1 affair to me at all. He had ample time to tell me everything, of course, during the pre-Wifetress reconciliation phase where he, on bended knee, was begging me to take him back and that he would “always be truthful with me forever from now on.” He never breathed a word about his official pre-OW#1 affair; he kept that secret and that name tucked in his pocket. I don’t know if he even knows now that I know about her (I’m as no contact as I can get); it doesn’t matter. And I’m not even going to get into how disappointing it is to learn that some of my former friends knew about his behaviour and never told me, that’s beside the point here.

                What I learned was that learning about *even more* secret affair partners did nothing for me. It was not useful in any way. It did… explain some timeline discrepancies somewhat but by the time I had learned who the secret pre-OW#1 affair partner (that he never breathed a word about) was… it didn’t matter. I was too destroyed by what I did know and I found I *just didn’t care* about discovering what I formerly didn’t know. I didn’t have anymore space to take on new trauma. So, upon learning the new secret, I just shrugged, chuckled wryly, and said, “Well… how about that. That explains why she removed herself from my social media and disappeared years ago. I had always wondered what had happened to her.” And then I shrugged. And I meant that shrug. I had never felt more “meh” about FW’s affairs before than I did upon hearing that news. It’s like I just didn’t care about her or learning about her and FW at all. The feeling was so weird; I just couldn’t take on more pain, so I didn’t. I shrugged.

                I have never reached out to her or looked for her. She disappeared years ago from my life and I have no interest in finding her and confronting her. Why bother? If I turn over that log, I’m probably just going to find more evidence of other-other-other women that I formerly never knew about and I decided I just don’t care anymore.

                I thought I knew what the story was: my FW husband had three OW during the tenure of our marriage together. I had pieced together a story and a timeline. Then, years later, a friend told me that “Well, actually, I caught him having a hookup with my ex before he and OW#1 even started doing their thing.” Blew my whole “I think I know the whole, sad history of my marriage” theory to bits. I never knew the story; I never will.

                Like Jon Snow, when it comes to FW, I know nothing. Maybe there were three “official OWs” like I always thought and maybe there were a billion. Maybe he was sleeping around on me from high school onward. Who knows? Not me. I know nothing anymore.

                The more I learn about FW’s life during his time with me the more disappointed and sad I get thinking about him. And then I realize that I never knew him at all. He was smoke and mirrors and I bought into the act. And then I shrug. I don’t care if he had even more secret girlfriends tucked into his back pocket than I ever knew about; it doesn’t affect me and what I’m doing here and now. He’s literally just a footnote in my life albeit a sad one.

                We have to get further away from the trauma in order to stop caring about “learning all the details” of our FW’s betrayals. Time and distance will help empower those shrugs.

              • “Nothing is more insulting to them than to demonstrate how unimportant they are to you.” So true and a good reminder for newbies.

                As CL says in her book, “Remember, if you want to end things with a narcissist, nothing says fuck off louder than silence.”

                Early after D-day and in a moment of exasperation, I said to x, “I don’t care where you two (FW and the AP) go or what you do.” He genuinely seemed taken aback and upset. In that moment, I realized the awesome power of not giving a fuck, of making them know that they don’t matter.

                Which isn’t to say I don’t think of him. I mean, I make comments on this site almost daily. But the point is that he doesn’t KNOW that I think of him. As far as he knows, he’s not in my mind at all.

                NC is glorious. It’s a chump’s best weapon. And thanks to CL for the NC advice. I’m so grateful I came across LAC;GAL on, of all days. D-day. Live saver.

            • “I am quite sure that the ‘mutual friends’ part did me more lasting damage than the adultery.” Same.

            • Yes, Karmaistooslow, I agree. Losing everybody else was worse. It turned me into a different person. I’m doing pretty good now but I’ll never be the same again.

            • I think it can help to bear in mind that not all silent bystanders are on the side of cheaters. Like the OP of this post, some might face certain risks by disclosing and it may bother them forever that they didn’t do something to help chumps. Some might just be cowards who rationalize their inaction at the expense of victims but it’s absolutely guaranteed that they’ll be hoisted on their own petards because the rationalizations are lies. Anyone who programs themselves with lies is spitting in the wind and setting themselves up for eventual disaster if only because people who rationalize shitty behavior tend to lack filters in their own spheres and will get mauled by the sharks they let in.

              I don’t believe in the concept of Karma per se but as an ancient Greek philosopher put it, character is destiny. But what’s really sad is when the children of these filterless cowards pay for their parents’ lame rationalizations. Can it be called “Karma” when the innocent pay? But whatever you call that destiny/outcome and however slowly it comes, it’s mercilous. Real life example: the neo-hippie mother of a childhood friend expressed disdain for my father because he was in a standoff with certain neighbors. He wouldn’t speak to them and it caused a lot of tension that was, to my friend’s mom, not groovy, so she smugly made a showy point of “getting along with everyone.” Then my friend’s family adopted a mixed race toddler and found out why my father wouldn’t speak to these neighbors when one sicced their hunting dog on the baby. The dog was destroyed but the baby ended up severely traumatized and with a permanent scar. Had my friend’s family asked, they would have found out my dad wouldn’t talk to these neighbors because, when we first moved to the block, the neighbors wrongly assumed my dad was like them and tried confide in him that they’d shoot or attack any [insert heinous racial slur] who came into the neighborhood. When my dad turned a cold shoulder, the teen son of one of the neighbors tried to sic the same dog on me but my dad stopped it, tore the kid apart verbally and called the cops– thus the tense standoff. But I remained unscathed and assured my family put me before their own social grooviness or emotional comfort.

        • I can’t go no contact because we have a child and a business together. So, at this time it is MInimal Contact.

          Traitor X evidently had plans to position the Main She as someone he started dating after we split up. Not OK with me at all as we have a child and I won’t stand by while he/they gaslight her and attempt to rebrand the grimy Craigslist cockroach as someone innocent and trustworthy to my daughter, who has a right to know the truth of who she is as well.

          I am a dyed-in-the-wool little boy from the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

          • My ex says this as well. He calls her his “partner” and gives her respect. He had it all planned to make it look like they met after we split. His narrative was that our marriage was hard for a long time and we finally mutually agreed it was over. People bought this shit. In reality, he wanted to stay married to me but have her as the side dish sex slave “sub”. He wanted to keep his hooker habit as well-but just sometimes he said. His image management is impressive. In terms of legal settlements I’m always jealous of hearing how it works in some US states. In this country it’s 50/50 no matter what shitty, horrible things have been done to you. It’s presumably designed to protect women, but it doesn’t anymore. I feel fucked over by the system here.

          • Further, this is unbelievably painful and there is no way around that pain, try as I might. There are only ways to lessen it or exacerbate it.

            Finding out the identity of the assailant was LESS painful than my relentless imaginings. My imagination was far worse than reality, and reality shut off the imagination looping thoughts.

            • Then there’s the tale of Creepella, the resident of a VERY small town where I live who was the OW of my dear friend. Creepella broke up with my dear friend’s husband not long helping break up Dear Friend’s marriage. She then joined the volunteer fire department , having set her cap for married fire chief who was married with two small children. He joined her in an affair. He lost his job and she was kicked off the volunteer fire department.

              Adults are responsible for their own behavior….this fire chief and Dear Friend’s husband included. But there is such a thing as disordered people who only seek out people in committed relationships.

              Creepella lived in a very small
              community and it was known she had no interest in single available men.

              If I believe cheating is abuse, and if I believe cheating is a form of domestic violence, which I do, staying silent about the identity of anyone involved is collusion and enabling, and I am not going to do that.

        • Excellent points! It can be psychologically perilous and even compromise chumps in divorce and custody standoffs to have undiscovered traitors in their midst. I also added above that knowing who FWs are messing with can be about safety in the case APs are bunny-boiler types. But if neither scenario is the case and trying to unearth this information would hurt settlements or children, I agree it’s not worth the risk.

          I’m of the mind that no information is pointless but only as long as it’s actually true. If anything chumps learn about affairs or affair partners continues to wound their psyches beyond the first stages of discovery/recovery, I would guess the bit of info is probably not true and just an artifact of cheaters’/co-cheaters’ image management. If it’s really true you’re eventually going to either cringe or laugh (after throwing up) because that’s the nature of cheaters and cheating. I don’t think that principle includes the lingering shock that bad people and evil exist in the world. That’s something that takes a lifetime to grapple with but the more we grapple, the more we develop bonding points with others who struggle with the same philosophical mess. Every worthwhile human being on earth eventually comes to face that reality and is stricken by it for a time. I love the grapplers. To me it’s the only glamour that exists.

  • “Trying to separate”? While “_we_ try to figure shit out”?
    There is no “we.”

    Serve him, Danno (if that hadn’t happened); let the lawyer(s) figure shit out, including the separation agreement.

    Just my two cents.

    • Yes!
      FW used ‘we’ a lot when separating finances. He even said he returned the very expensive guilt jewelry he had bought me (or
      OW, who knows, I just happened to find the receipt) so that ‘we’ could put the $ towards the costs of divorcing 😂

      • Yeah, funny how “we” becomes a part of their vocabulary only after they’ve blown up the marriage, after which when they say “we,” it’s to avoid consequences, better their position, or manipulate the chump.

    • True, there is no “we” but I expect he will try to use it to suck you back in.

      I would bet that her husband makes more money than than your cheater and when she learns he is dealing with real consequences, she will distance herself and your cheater will try to do damage control.

      I had no idea why my cheater chose to return home but I have a strong feeling that his OW (who had set her sights on a rather high standard of living) finally did the math and realized what money he would actually have after divorce and it wasn’t enough for her.

  • ‘It’s really funny how people who have zero impulse control when it comes to throwing away their families, have deep reserves of honor and self-control when it comes to crossing romantic boundaries.’
    👏

    • Right? LOL!
      Shortly after Dday I was trying to be all “180” and “sophisticated” and not the blubbering ball of goo that I felt in my heart. So I quipped to Manchild, “I never said a threesome was out of the question, but we all do need to be in the same room!” Trying to cover my pain with humor.

      Manchild’s dead serious response: “Oh, no she would never do that – she’s Catholic!”
      So a married woman sleeping with a married man, together destroying over 50 years of marriage is OK, but not a threesome! HUH?
      To be clear – I actually had no interest in that, but was trying to be “cool.”

  • I needed to know. I found out. Done lots of pain shopping (don’t be me). I called her husband and left a voice note asking him to call me. He did but I let it go to voicemail…. His voice sounded so kind I just wasn’t able to ring him back. I wish I had, I regret not being brave enough. Looking back this should have been the only reason for me to find out and I’m not too sure even now why I needed to know. I have never been pain shopping since. Looking back (don’t do this too much) knowing who she is was totally irrelevant…. FWs behaviour was enough for me to drop the rope.

    Hugs to you all ❤️

    • Claire, I had the same experience. In the moment, finding out felt vital. In retrospect, it’s irrelevant.

  • You already have all you ultimately need to know about her.
    She’s a person who enjoys getting massages, she’s okay with cheating on her husband and putting her family at risk. She feels entitled to step on her family’s backs to take what she wants, she’s that level of special. She has zero empathy for anyone else caught in the crossfires of her romance, because it is her core belief that nothing in this world is more important to her than her own needs.
    So, yeah, she’s a low life moral less cheater scumbag, that’s her complete identity.
    And you get your spouse’s ID revealed at the very same time, a two for one deal.
    Sorry for the horrible pain you’re experiencing now, you do get obsessed with knowing the details,I get that. It feels like it will give you some control, but the masks are off and what you now know can’t be unknown again.
    Trust that they both suck, that’s the revelation you need to hold on tight right now, it’s the meta truth that will get you to the other side of this.
    CL and CN have got your back. Good luck with it all.

  • Get what you can right now (property, savings, etc.) because I’m sure your ex FW will not be reporting cash income he receives from clients. In fact he may give them a better deal if they pay cash. Be prepared for FW to barely support his kids. More often than not these FW’s resent parting with their income even when it comes to child support. So if you are not going to tell OW’s husband about the cheating, at least use it as leverage to get a good settlement.

  • ‘knowing something you don’t know, plus he protects himself. Of course this is enraging. It’s also very revealing about who he is’
    So true. And so hurtful.
    When FW wouldn’t tell me who my replacement was (younger underling coworker), I felt even more devastated. He wanted to protect her. It was like a knife turning in my heart. It was the lack of respect on top of zero respect.

    I did waste time on the mystery, and solved it when FW’s family proceeded to send gushing comments to her FB ‘I’m the winner, look what FW gave me brag pics.’
    BTW, pics of the exact same gifts he had given me!!! A true 1 trick pony.

  • ‘He may introduce Schmoopie as a girlfriend. (Yes, this happens, even when they’re married. The mind boggles’

    Yes! When I saw him endlessly texting after Dday I told him he couldn’t stay in our home one more minute because HE HAD A GIRLFRIEND- he thought he’d live with me while we organized the split.
    He replied like a proud 12 yr old ‘ you’re right, I do have a girlfriend’

    • When I referred to OW as “girlfriend”, he looked absolutely gobsmacked…like he had never actually considered that his special Twu Wuv Schmoopie was anything but the most special snowflake of wonderment and no one alive knew of the depths and heights of their love. Im not sure what using the word “girlfriend” did to him in that moment – maybe it brought his fantasy down to earth a bit. He actually looked horrified.

    • Mine said to the judge in the final court session, “My girlfriend pays my rent. Isn’t that how it is when you’re in a relationship? Total pouty ten year old attitude. I don’t know how the two attorneys and the judge kept from busting out laughing. My attorney followed up with a quick, “well, then ….that’s $765 a month that you don’t need for your bills so that could go into the pool to be split out for spousal support….” to which FW went into deer in the headlights (he did not understand finances at all anyway) and the judge just smiled and let him sweat. The the judge said to me, “You’re the one who took care of all of the financial decisions in this marriage, correct?” It was a great small moment of victory!

    • Oh yeah, they get proud of it. My ex just bragged to our son how long he’s been dating his current girlfriend. My son’s response? WTF?!

      He’s bragging about how he was dating a young girl through our marriage. He expects our son to be impressed by that. My son just told me he’s so sorry his dad is such an asshole.

  • Thanks CL! As always your advice is spot on. You’re right, I’m no longer going to play in his game of mindfuckery. Also thanks for the reminder, I am a BADASS and his days of having power over me are done!

  • I also was devastated when DDAY hit and I felt that it was imperative that I find out who she was. What I found out traumatized me further (15 years younger, under employed, immature and still mooching off her parents, looking for a sugar daddy, no concern for my kids whatsoever— sociopath) yet the monster that my XH really was chose HER over me and our kids (25 year marriage, both successful lawyers, business owners, 4 kids). At 48 I felt gutted on a personal level too— old and discarded—however, I became weirdly more conventionally “attractive” after losing 20 lbs in the devastated state. A lot of very successful gorgeous men were suddenly flirting and asking me to date when they found out I was separated (most of them were predators, though). I was obsessed by this younger AP that poached my mate. It was animalistic. I then found out that there had been many other affairs. A woman came forward who was in her late 40s, very hairy, big. She provided proof of a years-long affair that overlapped with the young AP. I was upset but it oddly helped me see it was all XH. He sucked and always had. It was a huge con game. I started healing then.

    • I feel your pain Motherchumper. I knew the OW because she was on a client project with us. Yes, I worked with my husband in a successful business and she was a very junior, very dumb person on a big project with us. She basically sat in a room with me, chit chatting about my family, my life, etc. while fucking my husband. It was hideous. She’s younger than me, looks nothing like me and is dumber than a post. My ex husband and I had a huge intellectual connection, and we built a professional relationship that was great too. Everyone (and me) thought we were the in-love power couple. But, here he was going for this young, dumb thing. He asked her to be his “sub” and she said yes. She was in a relationship with a woman at the time who she promptly dumped for my husband. I was 50. I felt like such an unattractive asshole – lame and boring compared to their S&M sex life. Well, my husband didn’t actually want to leave me. He figured he could keep her just as his side slave. However, he proceeded to tell me about all his other cheating that had gone on since our daughter was born, so 13 years of it. I kicked him out. But I couldn’t shake the sadness I felt that he shacked up with her and he’s still with her. He’s the biggest prick that ever lived, and she’s a whore, and yet I’m still having trouble healing from this mess. He stole money, lied and was a genuinely deluded fuckwit. I still feel like the discarded one.

  • ‘She’s an orifice’
    ‘ The real question isn’t: who is she? But, who are you?’
    Nearly 9 years post D day, I still have my moments but these two CL classics, on reflection, sum it up for me!
    I spent so much time majoring on her or them. Time has shown me that I needed to think about me! I didn’t know who I was! Concentrate on you and what your boundaries are. Get that legal advice; get rid of him and try your best to live your life with your kids. Good luck.

  • I never have found out the whole truth except for “I made many mistakes” “I had many emotional affairs”. I did find out the who the main AP was and told his wife. I have had the satisfaction of seeing how he now lives in an apartment. If my ex wife refused to tell me who the main AP was I would have gone straight to a lawyer. DON’T let the cheater dictate the terms of reconciliation. If you find out the AP please tell the husband. He has the right to know the truth.

  • I am always amazed when people say “Why didn’t you . . . immediately.” Why do you stay with an abuser? They act as if your actions do not have consequences.

    You have to think things through and handle the legalities. Keep your eye on the long-term. If you have children, there will be contact and costs, and life events. Scorched earth might make you feel better for a minute, but regret stays with you for a lifetime.

    I learned how to suppress my emotions a long time ago, to avoid violent or irrational responses. It’s not great for you if you never examine the problem, but if you can suppress until you are safe, and calm, and then look at it with the perspective of “what can I do about this” you can make a reasonable plan. You have to be the sane person/parent. That is your job. FW’s and details don’t matter in the long run, you can get over them on your way to MEH.

    • “I learned how to suppress my emotions a long time ago, to avoid violent or irrational responses. It’s not great for you if you never examine the problem, but if you can suppress until you are safe, and calm, and then look at it with the perspective of “what can I do about this” you can make a reasonable plan. You have to be the sane person/parent. That is your job. FW’s and details don’t matter in the long run, you can get over them on your way to MEH.”

      Portia, this is such golden advice. For me, it’s one of the “gifts” (hahaha) I’ve gotten from this sordid mess. Even with my attorney, I have to hold back rage and think what is in my best interest. Not easy, but really valuable to be able to remain calm for superior decision-making while the idiots run around literally chasing tail.

    • And I would like to add that a visit to the doctor and getting any anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication needed can be a big help. I had long been super anxious and when D-day hit, I would pace like a caged tiger. My mind would race and I couldn’t calm down. Once I had anti-anxiety medication prescribed, it only took me a half dose on a few occasions to finally settle down and see things clearly. Better living through chemistry!

  • Fraudster himself didn’t know who he was cheating with, once I showed him that the “woman” he met online and planned to marry with was a scammer, who may or may not have been the Colombian hooker in the photos “she” sent him. He then emailed the hooker, offering to “help her” uncover the scam, while continuing to email the scammer, begging her to reveal her true identity.

    Intentionally or not, throughout our separation he kept posting details of his dates on MY electronic calendar, with first names, restaurants and hotels. We’d had a shared calendar, but I blocked him immediately. I suspect he didn’t block me from seeing his because he was still trying to impress or hurt me. I could have blocked him, but I didn’t. At first it was so I knew to stay far away from where he planned to be, and to know which Switzerland friend he was seeing: when they called me for info and denied contact with him, I knew they were his flying monkeys. He was love-bombing fast and furious, and also busy writing, playing and posting songs to his new twu wuvs . He posted a song co-written with his next “Life Partner,” and also one that seemed to be lusting for the 15-year-old daughter of another woman he pursued. (If he had provided a last name, I would have warned the mother.) I readily found the third woman he proposed to; he introduced our tweenager to her via cellphone on their third date, and she dumped him on their fourth, all within a week’s time.

    The satisfaction I got was seeing how ridiculous and desperate he was.

    • Sadly the pain is so very real- but I swear these Fuckwits act like goofy high school students with their first crush!

      • The ex ran off with his exgf from school. During the brutal discard which lasted about 6 months, he flirted shamelessly with his early 20s niece at a family house party in front of not only me but her father, grandparents, sibling etc. None of them seemed concerned which was very odd. His niece is bipolar and she was drinking and snuggling up to him, gazing at him adoringly while this mid-50s man wobbled his little bottom around in his skinny jeans and pastel jumper and acted like he was the greatest man to walk the earth. It was stomach churning to watch. I even said to him ‘you need to watch your boundaries’. But he had reverted to being a 17 year old. This rather dull, unconfident person who needed alcohol to hold a conversation was so inflated by his long distance affair and the adrenaline rush of what was coming, that he was for then and the next 6 months or so a real Master of the Universe in his head. That changed and when I last saw him on a Zoom mediation over 2 years ago he was a shrunken, shrivelled, sulky thing. I struggled to believe I had been married to him for 26 years.

        Back on point, these people appear to have power and they desperately try to hang on to it. Apart from intensive therapy, what helped me to recover was deciding that I had discarded him because he was not worthy of my love. Yes, he left me, and I was devastated. Showing any interest in him or his women (possibly men too) fed him kibble. I had the last word by going no contact and closing every door to him and his family and friends. They became less than the grit in the treads of my shoes. That ‘need to know’ gradually diminished.

  • NP, Agree that it would be nice to know Schmoopie’s name so you could tell the husband. Your first priority has to be to get a great attorney. They will advise you on how to proceed. Plus, you need to trust that he sucks. Grey rock all the way. Move out or get him the hell away from you. Trust me, you cannot heal until he is out of the house (ask me how I know). Be the sane parent. Get the parenting app and push all kid communication through it or email. Don’t talk to him about the kids or text him, you want time and date stamps on everything which can go straight to your lawyer.
    You have nothing to work with. He showed you who is is- a sleaze who fucks strange. Schmoopie is the same a piece of crap who fucks service people (she probably has it going on with the pedicurist, pool boy and the plumber). They both get off on keeping secret. This is NOT NOBLE, it is them getting their high through keeping a secret and keeping you a chump.
    I knew there was a Schmoopie and when I found out about her, the information flooded in. The FW even “accidently” loaded their videos of their sexual exploits on my adult son’s shared photo account. Between the videos, the money spent on Schmoopie and being in a fault state, I am going to get a good settlement (ironing out last minute details at the moment). Once you know everything and file for a fault based divorce these FWs want to go no fault quickly. FW started to cave when his attorney said everything would be public record. In fact, he was offended that Schmoopie’s name is mentioned in the divorce case. You would think he would be proud that he got himself a young Schmoopie without a job or income. Enough said.

    Get yourself an attorney and be the badass you know you can be. Always remember he is not your friend so don’t give any information to him without letting your attorney know beforehand. Good luck. The process sucks (I am still in it) but as it progresses and you don’t have to see him, it just gets better.

  • I get wanting to know – but knowing and deciding what to do with that information are two different things. Understanding the legal and financial considerations are crucial.

    My FW’s exit affair was with a much younger woman from his company (different location but still same team – they hooked up on a business trip). I thought about reporting FW to his job but worried about the financial fallout. In any case, his Schoompie soon dumped him and left the company so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

    I was so determined to find out who she was, but the sad truth is that there are likely so many other affairs, betrayals, etc., that I don’t know about. Sometimes I wish I knew the whole truth so I could process it (instead of the constant wondering why I felt so off/confused at various times), but I already know more than enough to know that he was unfaithful, abusive, and lacking in empathy, remorse, or guilt for his actions.

  • I know you want to punch them both in the nose, but my suggestion is to take one thing at a time. Concentrate on the divorce and getting a great financial settlement first. Then, if you wish to, quietly push to discover the OW’s identity.

    • Wanted to add that my FW x-h was a fellow who literally ran to a public bathroom when we went out together. He stayed in there for 15 minutes. I don’t have an OW but plenty of anonymous guys. Was happy to get a great financial settlement and the mooch out of my life.

  • FWIW —

    I knew the name, home location and workplace of the Carrot Singer, whom I confronted as he came to my home for “Ditch Work for an Afternoon Fuckfest at UXworld’s House #3.” So I also new a little about his wife and 2-year old child.

    A year later, after my divorced was finalized, I noticed that CS was suddenly noticeably absent from his wife’s social media posts. I reached out to her via text, something very short to the effect of: “If you are in need of any information about your husband’s activities during the period of (month) 2015 and (month) 2016, I would be happy to provide some details.” She responded back with: “I have no need for such information. Please do not contact me again.”

    A few days later, I got a nasty note from the Kunty Kibbler: “I have been made aware that you’ve contacted the wife of a former acquaintance and I’ve passed this information on to my attorney. Please know that I’ve been counseled that any future unsolicited contact to either former or current friends and acquaintances will merit possible legal action.” (Simply more huffing and puffing .)

    Today, Carrot Singer’s wife appears to be in another relationship; mother and daughter seem to be doing fine. To the best of my knowledge, Carrot Singer is living in a different state and spends a good part of his time trying to give credence to QAnon theories.

    All of which is to say: Protect yourself at all times, never act without deliberation, but don’t stifle the impulse of wanting to upend the log and put some sunshine on the rot underneath. To me, it’s simply a validation that truth and transparency are always best in the end.

    • “Please know that I’ve been counseled that any future unsolicited contact to either former or current friends and acquaintances will merit possible legal action” – I just spit out my coffee laughing at this. What a middle-school attitude. They’re HER friends and YOU’RE not allowed to talk to them or her lawyer will get mad at you!

    • The way I read this is that she admits that she fucked “acquaintances” (or intended / tried to) while married. Euw (not shaming unattached people who are free to have sex with whoever)

  • “So we are in the process of trying to separate” – does that mean you have a lawyer yet? If you don’t, log off right now and go find one.

  • I had to accept that my ex husband had been doing shitty stuff since we met. And I knew enough of it that I have no doubts that divorcing him was the right move. I also had to accept that I will likely never know the full extent of his shitty-ness. I accepted that he sucks. And that I knew enough and that was enough for me. I really just don’t care or actually want to know anything more. But it’s also been nearly 3 years. I hit “Tuesday” awhile back. And the process is different for everyone. You’ll hit your “Tuesday” at some point. In the meantime, keep strong and trust that they suck.

  • Nah. I threw my energy and money at getting to the other side. My attorney suggested that we get a P.I. multiple times for leverage, but I said not unless we went to court. I live in a for-cause state, so that might have been useful if we had gone to trial, but we didn’t. We made another bold move and got it signed.

    I’m blissfully ignorant and plan to stay that way. My ex moved many states away when we separated, so I’m truly not on that committee anyway.

  • I was once in your situation. My ex had one confirmed OW, but I suspect he had other APs, including a woman who was engaged to a guy he knew and played DnD with on a regular basis. I didn’t tell the fiancé because I didn’t put it together until much later when I was no longer in contact with them. My ex admitted to hitting on the engaged OW’s single sister, but claimed she turned him down. This is a common cheater ploy: copping to a lesser offense to avoid suspicion of a greater one.

    My ex’s confirmed OW and his suspected OM were community college students he was tutoring at the time. I could have told his supervisor he was fucking his students, I wasn’t going to get any alimony from him and we have no children, but at that point I just wanted to be done with him and his drama. Obviously if his students had been underage that would have been a different matter.

    The point is it doesn’t matter who the AP is, whether there’s one or a thousand of them, or whether the AP is the same or the opposite sex as the FW. Even one affair is one too many. If you know for sure that this woman is the OW then yes please tell her husband so he can make an informed decision about what he wants to do about it. But don’t waste your time trying to prove your suspicions when you should be focusing on your own healing and what’s best for your children.

    • “Later, a shirt tail relation of schmoopie had cooed about her new secret boyfriend about a year before D-Day. ”

      That reminded me that about a year before fw left we were in a local breakfast type restaurant on the weekend with a couple other couples. Whore (who was fws direct report was working weekends there). She came by and one of the folks asked her something, can’t remember what it was but whore as she was walking away said I am dating a married guy. My best friend and I looked at each other as if to say whore, but it didn’t occur to me and I am sure not my friend that is was fw. He just sat there like the little weasel rat he was. I have often wondered if he got upset at her for that comment; or if it was part of their plan. Who knows.

  • I ranted in the early days that the married co-worker schmoopie was probably standing in line at the grocery store nd I generously motioned that she could go ahead of me since she only had two things………. I was PARANOID. I’ve lived and worked in this small community for 40 years, even worked for five years at their workplace at one time. He went into high protection mode to protect her identity. HE IS DISGUSTING.

    About a month after D-Day they were spotted together at a restaurant and the word spread like wildfire through their workplace. Then they immediately started flaunting it with handholding and cuddling the the hallways at work. Later, a shirt tail relation of schmoopie had cooed about her new secret boyfriend about a year before D-Day. Everyone in her family immediately translated “secret” to mean “married” so they were alert and waiting for the explosion.

    HE IS DISGUSTING. THEY ARE SO STUPID. Nothing to work with there. I do get pain from thinking about all the secret pillow talk that went on for months, maybe years?, at my expense. As CL says though, I would be the bank account that it wasn’t nearly as fun when I stepped out of the pick-me dance, he immediately married her to prove to everyone how much they were in love…….and then slowly he became aware that she was a full size human being surrounding those open orifices who had bad habits, a bitchy attitude and a trail of sketchy history to sell…….

    My advice is like CL’s – you will know soon enough. Let your attorney guide you. My attorney was so good at this type of mess – it was obviously not her first rodeo. She was immediately disgusted by his actions and went to work to free me.

    • “I do get pain from thinking about all the secret pillow talk that went on for months, maybe years?”

      Yes, this still haunts me. They were talking shit about me for years, plus he was talking shit about me to his friends.
      All of it was bullshit designed to paint himself the victim to justify himself when he dumped me. But he couldn’t, because OW didn’t want his dumb ass for real. If she had, I have zero doubt they would not have lasted. An affair is a fantasy, and as such it becomes unattractive when cold hard reality comes roaring in. That’s why FWs continue to make the chump the enemy, to preserve the fantasy that it’s the FW and his soul mate schmoopie fighting bravely against an evil entity. 🤮

      Of all the things cheaters do, saying mean things and telling nasty gossip about their spouse is in the top five of most unconscionable.

  • The only reason (outside of warning her husband) why you might need this info is for leverage. By that I mean you can use the threat of telling her husband (plus other people in her life, since you can probably find them on her social media) to get FW to cooperate and give you what you want in the divorce. You say you’re pretty sure you know who it is. That should be easy to confirm by hiring a P.I. to follow FW and/or your suspect. They’ll be getting together. He’s probably still seeing her.

    Or you could just let it go, as CL suggests. If you don’t have the stomach for messing with a FW and his twu wuv, it’s probably best you try to brush OW off your shoulders, because messing with a FW gets ugly. Think Elon Musk in a thong level ugly. I messed with my FW and it payed off financially, but there was a lot of tiresome drama involved. It sounds to me like you’ve already experienced more drama than Shakespeare festival, so consider carefully whether you can go through with it.

  • I told the other chump about the affair. It was stressful at a time when I wasn’t calm.
    It had significant consequences for me . I accessed a confidential database to get her number.
    I realized my error and self-reported and was put through the 3rd degree . Including a compulsory ‘data confidentiality’ course with a law firm,specializing in that sort of thing, costing $5000 a day. A disciplinary reprimand on my record.

    The wife of the AP, didn’t believe me, my ex accused me of destroying her friendship, with someone “who is just a friend”. A good friend, who helped her to assemble furniture in her new rental whilst his wife and daughter thought he was on a conference.

    Focus on yourself. Prepare the divorce, go to the gym, smell the roses. Leave the cheating fuckwit behind, a bright future awaits.

  • “…we are in the process of trying to separate, but still residing together while we try to figure shit out.”

    That sounds like pure hell. Remember, there’s no longer any ‘we.’ You figure out what you need, and get the social/emotional, legal and financial support (a/k/a ducks in a row) you need to make it happen. Don’t show your cards and remember that you need to protect yourself and your family’s because that FW has not/will not act in your best interests. You’re still in the manipulative fog, as long as you’re living with — even in contact with — an FW. It’s not safe, and it takes time and space, and not residing in the kingdom of a tinpot dictator, to find clarity and truly get your mind, voice and agency back. Cheaters love to “try.” (My favorite excuse from my ex, that I laugh at now, was that he was “trying” a o be transparent. Or “trying” to put my name on the deed as promised. Do or don’t, buddy…). As a longterm chump, I also “tried” to leave for many years because I knew I needed to, for my own health and happiness. Nothing changed until I actually did leave. It was sudden and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve never regretted my choice for a heartbeat. Hang in there, Need Perspective. Glad you found CL!

    • I came here to suggest that “Needs Perspective” actually needs perspective about what’s going on. She’s still in the “we” state of mind, rather than getting her ducks in a row so she can file for divorce. You don’t “try” to separate. You decide to separate and then start the process of untangling your life–finances, child care, custody, property and the like.

      People here have for various reasons lived with a FW during the divorce proceedings, but they weren’t “trying to separate.” Language can be very revealing. Needs Perspective wants to punish her husband rather than follow her family’s advice to stop wasting time and energy. I don’t think she’s read “Leave A Cheater, Gain a Life.”

      • Could be a case of trying to identify “the enemy” while she’s in a vulnerable position. Better to get out of that position.

  • IMO, whenever possible, tell the other chump! They deserve to know that their marriage, family structure and livelihood are potentially in peril. However, use your head and remember that timing is everything. There’s nothing wrong with playing the long game if it’s going to suit your purposes; unless the other chump gets hit by a train, you’ll eventually have an opportunity to provide them with rock solid proof of their spouse’s shenanigans.

  • “It’s really funny how people who have zero impulse control when it comes to throwing away their families, have deep reserves of honor and self-control when it comes to crossing romantic boundaries.

    If you believe that, join me for Bible study at the Motel 6.

    Anywho…”

    Brilliant. This message is for everyone, not just chumps. How does CL say so much with so few words, while managing to be hilariously snarky at the same time?!

  • I went through a period where I was obsessed with the OW. I knew her identity, but had not seen her in years. I desperately needed to know what she looked like. Was she better looking than me? Thinner? Smarter? Better than me in all ways? I could not find her anywhere on social media.

    My FW got our rental property in the settlement, but needed me to do the books while he sold the property. ( He had never learned Quickbooks, despite my prodding.). I finally just refused to do the books until he provided a photo. He sent me a photo within seconds. So much for true love! For all he knew, I could have been planning to hire a hit man, and he threw her under the bus without a second thought.

    Btw, she is horse faced with a bad dye job.

  • My concern is that the FW may be sexually abusing other clients. I know that from the evidence it looks like an affair has happened here (ie a mutual attraction) and that may be so. But this guy does not respect boundaries. It is possible he has crossed professional boundaries with other clients in a way that was not consensual. If he is afraid of losing his job if the truth comes out, then he probably should lose his job anyway. Other clients are at risk of his carelessness with boundaries. To be blunt: he shouldn’t be touching people.

    • I agree. It’s possible the OW initiated it and he is not doing anything to other patients, but knowing fuckwits like we do, it seems likely he is being inappropriate with others as well. In this case it sounds like she can’t afford for him to lose the job. Perhaps she is a SAHM. So she’s in a no win position. No wonder she is obsessing.

  • We have all been there, it’s a stage.

    In reality the ONLY reason you NEED to know is if you are filing under grounds of infidelity and need to serve court appearance papers on her. And that only applies in some states. Ask your lawyer about that one. Otherwise, try to forget it and focus on you and your kids and your FW free future.

  • Dear Need Perspective, first of all it sounds like you have decided on the important thing – to divorce him. It also sounds like your family is supportive & you aren’t going through this alone. Fantastic things in a shitty situation.
    But, you are still in a dreamworld. “We are in the process of separating” is too noncommittal & also relies on the person who has shown himself to be untrustworthy.
    You need to get ahead of this, even if you do it stealthily until you get your facts, and decisions ready. He may be at risk of losing his job, and you only know what he tells you.
    You need to seek out advice from an attorney. Start to see yourself as protecting
    1. yourself -get STI testing, don’t have sex with him anymore
    2. Your money – check that you have access to all your joint marital accounts. Check the line items to make sure paycheck deposits have been made & look at all expenditures. You’ll need all this information when you discuss real things with an attorney.
    3. Your kids – where will you live after you separate & wait for the divorce? Where will you live after the divorce? You’ll need to fill out worksheets on living expenses.

    Absolutely start thinking with only you & your kids in mind. “I am going to phone an attorney today.” “” I am going to check out apartments with my sister. ” “I can’t trust this person (STBXH).” “I know how much money is in my checking account, my joint account, and in the 401k.” “I want this kind of home for me & the kids.”

    When you start doing the real things you need to do to be safe, you will put your obsession aside and get out of that dreamworld.

    Who cares who she is? Your house is on fire & you need to take care of you.

  • I was devastated at the end of my 35 year marriage – he had spent most of our marriage being unfaithful -so.many.sex.workers ….but I was a Chump and he wanted to reconcile so I agreed to counselling. After 6 months of wasted time in marriage counselling with him still lying saying he had never had sex out side of our marriage – except with sex workers … as though that was a badge of honour …. reflecting that his commitment was to our life together. I wanted to know who she was so I still believe that the smartest thing I did during that ‘reconciliation period’ was to drop spyware on his phone and computer the day before I left him. I also wanted to get the crazies out of my head with all the gaslighting I had endured after years of lying. He had lied to me for so many years I wanted that satisfaction. Finding out who she was the best moment ever. Its not for everyone but it was the evidence I needed to show him I was no fool. It changed the narrative of our marriage from that day forward. He had always said that I didn’t have the ‘ability to trust’ as though the uncertainty I felt about him was a failing of mine rather than my correct sense that he was a lier. He was never able to describe himself as a victim again and which was something he loved and I took that away. Felt so good. I didn’t need to show the evidence I found to anyone or tell anyone ..but it was great to have it, tucked away . It made me feel powerful again. Also ……the satisfaction I felt when I contacted her and told her that I knew who she was and what she’d done was amazing. I told her that if I found out she was with my husband at family events that I’d tell my kids and friends who she was and what she’d done. It got rid of her and was a moment of great satisfaction for me. I told him to change his passwords and clean up his phone and cut him off completely. 6 years later I’ve completed a masters and have my own successful practice, I own my own home, I have new friends and a partner who is fit and smart and successful and who shares my values, Interestingly I have a much better relationships with my adult children now that he’s not there talking about what a victim he is. In the meantime he re-partnered (predictably) with a younger woman with a small child. I smile so hard when I meet them at family events … they look miserable – particularly him now in his 60’s with a 10 year old child. Don’t worry, you will get through this and be better at the other end. Now build the life you want. There is a gift in this but you just cant see it yet. Fuck ‘im

  • If not for the chump’s obsession, the FW’s secrets would just be pathetic. Once known, she’s just a skank, and no big mystery. I get wanting to know which woman was lying like that, but FW’s are skilled on making it hell to find out their pathetic secrets.

  • I know I don’t want to know and I don’t care. I had to see her since he was in SUCH a hurry to post it on social media which was just amazing considering our divorce wasn’t even filed. They are both losers, as someone who is dealing with this herself, don’t give him the satisfaction of even giving a damn. Find the identity of someone who will treat you right.

  • Agree with CL’s advice, 100%.

    That said…

    Just for information’s sake…

    Where I live, massage licenses are issues via healthcare policy, and one has to wait a long time (used to be three years back in my day) before it is legally permissible to even date a former client, let alone copulate with one. Penalty for violating the policy is immediate loss of license. Penalty for practicing without a license ranges from big money to jail time. And if a client does allege that the therapist inappropriately pursued them, even if it may have been consensual at first, that’s a crime, punishable by jail time. Abuse of power.

    Just sayin’.

    (Might be better to NOT know who it is, from a CYA perspective, lest ye be accused of helping out.)

  • “massage industry does not need a creeper who hits on clients, and he could go into, oh let’s say sewage drain repair.”

    Here now. I do sewage drain repairs to the tune of $98,000 per year income. Any stinky residue is easily removed by a nice hot shower and soap. My wife of 33 years has no complaints enjoying the night out for steak dinner and a theater show.

  • I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m going to be blunt, ok?

    You guys are over, there is no “we” anymore to “figure out.” Obsessing over the mistress’s identity is understandable, but it’s a distraction. You’re fixated on something that’s honestly inconsequential at this point. It happened, you can’t undo it, and you need to focus on what you CAN control. Right now you’re playing detective while your house burns down around you. You need to get the hell out before you’re consumed.

    Stop ruminating and focus on finding a lawyer. Fall apart later once you’re safely out, with your fair share of the assets, and without the fuckwit.

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