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‘My Husband Wants to Date’

sobbingDear Chump Lady,

Am I being unreasonable for having a problem with my husband’s ongoing relationship with a woman he tried unsuccessfully to seduce?

One night about a year ago, we both got home from our respective jobs and my husband burst into tears. I’m talking, deep, rasping sobs. With his head on my lap he told me he’d been courting a coworker for a few months, buying her gifts and taking secret time off of work to take her on day trips. When he finally put the moves on her the previous evening (he often stays late), she shut him down and said, “not going to happen.”

At first I thought his tears were bitter tears of remorse, having almost ruined a twenty-year marriage. But upon further probing, I discovered that it was the rejection that had him crying in my lap. “Just once I want to be loved!” Excuse me, hello? Who said “I do” in front of our family, our pastor, and our entire church? He explained that he was having trouble forgiving me for my initial rejection of him when we were in high school and then he dumped a laundry list of problems he had with me that could circle the planet three times.

He said the almost-OW made him feel alive. I asked, “Well then sweetie, shall we separate?” He said no, there was no point. Oh well then, allow me to be your consolation prize! Long story short, we separated for nine months. Our fifteen-year-old son was furious with both of us. My husband and I stayed in touch and tried to work it out. He and the almost-OW never had sex and now we’re back together.

However… he has remained very good friends with the almost-OW. He texts her regularly right in front of me. I won’t stoop to snooping on his phone but I can see what he’s writing! It’s mildly flirtatious, which is how, incidentally, he describes their relationship. I’m positive they haven’t had sex because this woman is perfectly happy to be worshiped for free, but I have a serious problem with their relationship. When my husband announced that he was going to meet her after work for drinks last night, I made a very snarky remark and he was furious. He told me the courtesy of telling me he was going to spend time with her was over. He maintains that he is doing absolutely nothing wrong, they are just friends, and that I’m being petty. So, am I the one being a jerk about this? Technically he hasn’t cheated.

Yours

Insensitive Lady-Jerk

Dear Perfectly Reasonable Lady,

Technically, you haven’t stuffed his balls down his throat yet.

Is this a question about technicalities? Because uh, technically you’re still his wife and technically, he’s not supposed to go on dates until you are technically divorced.

He’s got some fucking nerve.

Sobbing about his failed dating strategies? You let this man drape his moist, snotty self all over your lap and wail about another woman?

Look, Lady, he’s a flaming asshole, but you have to stop being a chump. You separated and then took him back without any consequences or boundaries. He meets her for drinks? No, he meets her for CAKE. This whole “I’m going on dates and you’re not the boss of me!” is completely unacceptable. Start ACTING like it is unacceptable to you. Lawyer up. Why does he think you separated? Because you’re just mean like that? NO. Because he was openly trying to have an affair in front of you. He’s moves home, and then he goes right back to the same old shit?

Is this relationship ACCEPTABLE to YOU? Who cares if he thinks you are “petty” — do you think this kind of flagrant disrespect belongs in a marriage? If you don’t, then get your ass to a lawyer’s office. You don’t need a marriage counselor to explain to him that dating other women in front of you and then whinging about it is Wrong. If he’s that dim, you should divorce him for felony stupid.

No, he knows EXACTLY what he is doing. He’s being abusive. He’s being very in-your-face about his attempted infidelities to hurt you. To goad you into the pick me dance. To humiliate you. To belittle you into accepting his cake-eating as Right and Proper.

Lady, you need to shut that shit down.

For one thing, get to a lawyer fast before his employer does. You only have his side of this kibble love affair. For all you know, his advances are unwelcome and that woman is seeing an EEOC officer as we speak. This guys is walking the razor’s edge of a sexual harassment lawsuit. You need to get a settlement in place before he loses his job. She told him “not gonna happen” — next she’ll be telling that to Human Resources.

I’m sorry your 15 year old is in the middle of this, but he’s a kid and he doesn’t get to call the shots in your marriage. Staying with this asshole is modeling TERRIBLE things to him about how you treat a marriage partner. He needs to see you stand up and not tolerate abuse. He needs to see that there are consequences to disrespecting and endangering the people we purport to love. He might not like it at first. Kids want to know if their world is going to be safe (where will I spend holidays? will I see my mom and dad both? will I move away from my friends?) Get him some therapy and be the sane parent.

It doesn’t matter if the affair was physical or not. It matters that he is emotionally abusing you and refuses to stop. It matters that he’s blaming YOU for some perceived slight from high school.

He doesn’t get to do everything short of fuck her and then claim it’s A-okay because he didn’t consummate the act. The issue is that he wants to live like a single person, but enjoy all the rights and privileges of marriage. He demands to right to pursue his dick’s delight more than he cares about your feelings. You can’t work with that. You can only divorce it.

When you serve him papers, say “Just once you want to be loved? Here’s your freedom. Have at it.”

****

This one ran before. Another day of driving. But at least this time I managed to get the publish function sorted before I hit the road. 

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.
  • I would love to see an update from OP. I hope she filed and is living a life free of this wacko’s behavior.

    Klootzak tried to claim he hadn’t actually had sex with anyone else, either. His open flirting? He would play dumb like I was imagining it all. It’s all a mindfuck to keep you stuck. It’s no way to live.

    He felt slighted since high school. Let that shit sink in. The 20+ years they have been married that she has loved and cared for him are nothing and he deserves the right to date because she is so horrible and he felt slighted by her in HIGH SCHOOL. Holy crow. He has a million complaints about her but doesn’t want divorce because that would mean consequences.

    They are all so boringly alike.

    • Hoping for an update too. This post gets me every time I see it. The idea of that entitled asshat sobbing all over his wife because he’s sad he got rejected by another woman … omg, no words for that awfulness.

      I got suckered into that “not technically cheating” bullcrap too. FW was soliciting hookers and strangers off Craigslist while I was pregnant. He swore it was just “fantasy and flirtation” and chumpy me decided to believe him. And somehow I thought that if he hadn’t TECHNICALLY cheated, then I shouldn’t blow up my marriage. For years after that, he got away with dating whores right under my nose because they were just friends, I was just jealous, yada yada yada.

      For any new chumps who are caught in this mindfuck – he was lying to my face and fucking everything that moves until I divorced his abusive ass and went on to live a much happier, peaceful, fuckwit-free life.

      • Also for the new chumps – I forgot to say that I realized after D-Day I wasted years worrying about whether or not he was cheating when I should have dumped him for being an asshole to me, cheater or not. It’s such a common story here – the fuckwit is engaged in all sorts of abusive behavior but the chump is focused on whether there’s cheating and whether the relationship can be repaired.

        The biggest lesson I learned from this trauma is that someone is treating you poorly, LEAVE.

        • Agreed. And that “technically I’m not cheating” line they feed you is a lie. I 99.9% guarantee it. FW bent over backwards to assure me that while he was pursuing OW#1 that he would never, EVER actually cheat on me. “My God, how could you think that of me. You’ve got a lot of nerve!”

          When I showed him the STI results from my trip to the doctor’s he told me that I must have caught it at the hospital having our baby because “those places are full of germs.”

          After I took him back he started pursuing GF#3/Wifetress right in front of me and claiming alllll the way up until separation papers were signed (again) that he and she were waiting until those separation papers were signed to have sex “out of respect for me.” He was moving his suitcases out of our home and into his third extramarital GF’s house and still was trying to play the “I’m technically not cheating” card.

          I do not believe for one minute that just because they say so that the pants of a cheater stay on. They’re too heavy because their pockets are full of bridges they want to sell you.

          • Yeah, FW swore he wasn’t having sex with OW, she was “just a friend”, she wasn’t his type, he just wanted to do projects with her, yada yada yada. He called me crazy for suspecting more. He got angry when I pointed out his flirting with her. She swore there was “nothing going on”.

            He was fucking her from the beginning.

        • My story too. I wasted many years “wondering” and being abused when in fact he was for many years with multiple women Incidentally, most of them were high school friends because he was “slighted” too, as divorce interrogatories named them all,, all 8 of them in 10 years. I filed for divorce when he left after the one he is with now called and told me to let him go. Some “woman” she is! “Jolene, you can have him!! Dolly”

        • Yes, the bad treatment is why I decided not to reconcile. He idolized a former girlfriend of decades before and ran to the area of the country where she last lived when we separated. He had his male hormones and blue pills with him. He also shared with me about all the waitresses who were doting on him there and how generous and caring he was to them. I have a waitress friend who also had a “gray divorce,” and she said that she always warns the younger gals about overly familiar and generous customers like that.

          Later, my attorney said he “smelled” other woman all over my case, but I chose not to pay a PI. I just wanted it over with a decent settlement, which we got.

          My ex’s actions communicated everything I needed to know.

        • I agree! I spent so much time trying to convince myself it was “just” an emotional affair, but the emotional abuse was so unacceptable in any case. I remember having an out-of-body experience trying to explain to my husband of then 20 years why it wasn’t “okay” for him to have a “secret” friendship with a woman. At the time I could not believe that he was discounting my feelings so much, but in hindsight, I realize he had done so in so many ways, big and small, throughout the marriage. And of course the “emotional” affair did not lead to regret/remorse on his part, just more abusive and affairs until his cruel, brutal discard.

          • This describes my situation perfectly! He’s had “secret friendships” with three women in the last several years – that I know of. He’s sworn on his son’s life that he hasn’t had sex with any of them, but I’ve caught him in so many lies at this point, God only knows what the actual truth is. That out-of-body feeling you get when you’re trying to explain why their behavior and dishonesty is wrong is TRAUMA resulting from being gaslighted and devalued. I asked my FW two nights ago if he would date the one he admits he has “feelings” for if we split up. He said he doesn’t know, she lives two states away so he would probably just advertise on Match. Getting my ducks in a row…

      • I completely agree with your statement about the sobbing asshat. One time the cheater and I were at a bar and he returned from the restroom and started bad-mouthing a stranger to me. At the time I didn’t understand what was going on, but now I’m 100% sure he came on to her, was rejected, and came to me (HIS WIFE!!) for commiseration. What an asshole.

        • After the FIRST long-term AP was discovered (yeah, I was a chump), the marriage counselor told me that I needed to help HIM get over the loss of his married OW. He had a sadz and was so distraught about losing his skank that I had to bury my feelings and focus on his pain.
          And I tried to do it through lots of horizontal pick-me dancing, not bringing up the affair and plenty of alone time for him while I continued working full-time, doing all household chores and raising our kids. Really, this was not much different than before DDay other than the further crushing of my spirit while trying to please someone who could never be happy unless he was continually on the prowl for new partners.
          Why should we have to console these disordered pieces of shit when they are the ones who are hurting people?

          • The crushing is so invisible that one doesn’t even realize that one’s own choices and actions are doing it… until later.

      • I got a face full of that before D-Day. One February I had traveled with the kids while our son received extended medical treatment. FW was supposed to show up where we were for Valentine’s but tried to change the travel dates using work as an excuse. I was shocked so he relented and flew in the morning of the 14th. I could see the rage on his face the instant he showed up. Little did I know that Schmoops/howorker had gone into a blind rage when she learned she’d only get side chick Valentine’s Day, not the real day which would have been taken by her as a sign she was winning the pickme death match and wasn’t just a cheap bit on the side. She broke it off with him for three weeks to punish him. He took it all out on me and was like Jack Nicholson from The Shining that week, just without the ax. For the first time, the binge drinking that he’d hidden for two years became visible to me and the kids. I wouldn’t say he was acting mopey and heartbroken, more like a crackhead drying out in prison or a serial killer whose prey got away.

        I heard later from one of Schmoop’s frenemies that she’d held a drunken war council with friends after FW bailed on their V-Day plans and the council decided that three weeks was the proper amount of time to punish his dick and get him into line. After that period she began casually calling and texting again, the affair cranked back up for another month or so before the cat got out of the smelly bag. It seems her blathering anger over Valentine’s Day and subsequent plan to get accidentally-on-purpose pregnant breached the office gossip levies and is what led to two workplace whistleblowers sending me evidence.

        • Oh wow. The council. That is funny but it’s not.
          Valentines Day was the best opportunity for his cake and kibbles. One year while we were separated he comes to my workplace with a flowering plant and beautiful card and then goes to her. This happened several years. Apparently I was the frog in boiling water because by the last one, I was was just watching it like a movie as he made some excuse about leaving quickly. Of course, he was going to her house.

          • I love Valentine’s Day because it’s the day I had fuckwit served. The rat faced whore opened the door to the process server. 🐀😂

            The process server told me afterwards, “he looked absolutely furious”. 😂🤣😂

    • MrWonderful’sEx, this struck me too! He married her and spent DECADES with her while supposedly holding this petty resentment all the while.

      My ex tried to pull that shit too, when he whined that Schmoopie did xyz for him and I needed to pick me dance better. Ok, I said, tell me exactly what your problem is. He led with shit from 10-15 years ago, some from when we had been dating for just a few months and barely knew each other – all from before we had kids. Are you kidding me?? For the sake of argument, let’s say that his complaints prove what a horrible bitch I am. Why the hell did he propose? Then he had 3 more years to reconsider before I was pregnant, and nary a word to me about any concerns he purportedly had. I called bullshit on all of it.

      Either they are pathetic cowards that sit around and stew over petty resentments without saying or doing a damn thing about it, or they are pathetic cowards that make up lame resentments just so they don’t have to take ownership of their own actions.

      It doesn’t matter which, I’m not going to devote my life to a pathetic coward either way. Hope she divorced his weak, cowardly ass.

    • And of course he hasn’t REALLY felt slighted since high school. He probably didn’t even feel particularly slighted then! This is oh so typical retconning – combing through a lifetime of potential “slights” to find some justification for what he wanted to do anyway.

      I hope the OP snapped out of it.

  • ah… the “emotional affair” excuse- I fell for that for 15 years. Every “friend” I talked to about the affairs encouraged me to stay with him, and some even pointed out some of my “flaws” as the cause of the cheating. It wasn’t until HE asked for a divorce (and then didn’t actually file) that I finally saw what he was. Hopefully, the OP got out of this. The audacity on this one is all. too. familiar.

    • Same here, from the “emotional” affair that was such an abusive mindfuck, right down to asking for a divorce and then not filing and because he was already “divorced in his mind.”

      • Oh dear goodness, yes. The “I’m already divorced in my mind so I can do what I like because I feel single” line. He fed me, the “very much in love with him and very much married in my mind to him” wife that one too.

      • We were married to the same guy… continuously flirting and dating and letting me do all the work including filing for divorce in the end. Nobody could control him and tell him what to do… especially not mean mommy-wife. Well I quit that job, OW can have it.

        • Mommy-wife. Lol– EWWWWW.

          I always cringed when women would joke about “jealous” they’d be once their sons began dating. I just don’t have that chip. I’ll be happy when my sons partner up and I would tell them to shape up if I ever found them mistreating girlfriends. By the same non-blurred-lines token, I have zero attraction to adult manbabies who try to put me in the mummy role.

  • I hope she divorced his lying ass. My ex said he and my cousin were just friends. They never had sex. He only kept her secret for 4 years. I do not think that any adult dates for long periods of time and do not have sex.We are only friends is just an excuse and another lie.

    • Cuzchump, I agree. There is NO WAY FW is going on daydates and to bars repeatedly and not getting any. He’s a liar. But it’s a great way to manipulate and gaslight right? How can she leave him if he isn’t “technically cheating”? You can hear how confused it makes a Chump. Meanwhile FW tells AP, “my wife knows I am seeing you. She lets me and doesn’t care.” Easy peasy triangulation.

      • Well, there is one way – if the “OW” is in no way an OP but is someone he is sexually harassing. We only have the FW’s version of his grand romance. On the other end of his story could very well be a woman trying to figure out a way to politely refuse her creepy boss’s gifts and attention without torpedoing her career.

        • “On the other end of his story could very well be a woman trying to figure out a way to politely refuse her creepy boss’s gifts and attention without torpedoing her career”

          Fuck no. The whore was still texting him, and “going out for drinks” right in the OO’s face. The whore was fucking him.

          I so hope the OP kicked that fuckers arse to the kerb.

          • My thoughts exactly. I worked in a male-dominated field, and never-ever went out solo with a coworker for a drink after work. Not ever. It just seemed off to me even though that was ages ago before these things were really talked about. I also didn’t call them at home. That was before cell phones, but I kept it all at work and professional. Sure I had male friends at work and sometimes rode in cars and had lunch with them alone (sorry, Mike Pence). I had a boss that I went to the opera with because his now-husband hated the opera. But there was a line that I never crossed with people at work.

            This OW is crossing the line.

          • HE is texting HER right in the OP’s face. HE is telling the OP that he is lavishing gifts and attention on a woman who…. won’t fuck him or have a relationship with him? HE is the one who sobbed in the OP’s lap when the object of his desires put her foot down and said no. HE is the one who continually chases her.

            There’s one version of these facts where the other woman is intentionally taking him for a financial ride. And there’s another version where a woman is trying to walk the tightrope of holding a creepy co-worker at arm’s length without enraging him or “being a bitch” so that everyone blames her when he tries to ruin her career (or worse).

            I’m really glad if you don’t know anyone in that second situation, but let’s not pretend that a FW who cries to HIS OWN WIFE because another woman refused to fuck him is the kind of guy who has good professional boundaries and treats his female colleagues with respect.

      • My ex also insisted he never had sex with any of the other women he was courting behind my back. It does screw with your head so much because you want to believe the marriage can be fixed if there may not have been intercourse. Someone had also told me there needs to be some sort of evidence for a divorce based on adultery.
        Another post a while back made the analogy between dating someone while married and “not having sex” to showing up at a bank with masks, loaded weapons and a ransom note. Just because you don’t complete the robbery and walk away with the cash doesn’t mean you didn’t break the law.
        Anyway, that analogy helps me get through the times when I question myself. I hope the OP was able to break free from the craziness.

      • Or this is just the one he’s chasing for the moment but there have been many others who were more easily had. The latest object of his fixation being hard to get might have been what made him break down enough for a dab of truth to come out but the OP’s FW sounds like he’s banged many a rando in the past and so was UNACCUSTOMED to being told no.
        If the current fixation wasn’t mutually flirting, there may have been a slight chance she just thought this was some work mentor being friendly or that she felt slightly intimidated and was playing nice to keep her job. But since the OP reports the woman is flirting back, I’m wondering what she’s getting out of it. Sounds like a work-related hustle for promotion or perks or they both have a mutual coke habit and she’s getting stash from him. In any case, she’s hardly clean and it’s problematic enough when a partner starts hanging out with scumbags whether or not they’re having sex.

      • my wife knows I am seeing cuz. She lets me and doesn’t care.”
        I found it on his profile!!

    • “I hope she divorced his lying ass.”

      Yep.

      In a marriage there is no dating, it is called adultery. He didn’t like it when I told him that. He then made it clear that he made the first move on whore. Like that sanctified her. I am pretty sure that they behaved just like alley cats. She arched and stretched, and he hopped on it.

      Yes that is a bit graphic, but I am so sick of the romanticizing of adultery. It is basic rutting. If it wasn’t and the whores (both sexes) were so wonderful, they would not lie about it and sneak around for years. Take the sneak out of it, all the excitement dies down.

      • Divorcing his lying ass leads to more consequences than a chump can imagine. Yes, we initially take a hit yet they can no longer cry in our lap. Least we not forget they likely tell the many more lies to snag the desperate ho. And one day they wake up to the worst mistake of their life while we are free! I doubt the AP thought she’d have to budget for depends or his back going out every time he cheated. Nothing romantic about scoring a cheater

  • Chump Lady – no offense, but you need to invest in an editor. There are a number of errors in your reply above, in addition to improper capitalization and punctuation errors. I also found errors in your “about” bio and was surprised to find that you are a native English speaker. I’m sure this comment will sound trivial to you, but you are a writer… and you should write correctly, if not well. I’m sure there are other people out there, like myself, who enjoy your wit and tough love approach, but could never imagine buying your book, for fear of losing my mind in errors. Just saying… finding someone to proofread your replies & your website text may help with book sales.

    • In case CL doesn’t have the opportunity to address this while on the road, I will. This is not a blog about how to be a better writer. This is a place for chumps to vent and learn. This is also CL’s safe space. You are completely out of line. Who are you to criticize and make abusive statements like “(I) was surprised to find that you are a native English speaker.” WTF? Indeed your writing full of “…” , which isn’t grammatically correct either. BTW, Grammer Nerd, “grammar” is spelled with an “ar.”

      Just stop, ok? Wrong place for this kind of garbage. Yours is not constructive criticism and it doesn’t belong on this site.

      • Unacceptable, “Grammer Nerd.”

        Couldn’t imagine buying her book, for fear of losing your mind??

        Then don’t buy the book.

        I smell a troll..

        • It’s a troll. I’m very familiar with this type of “person.” It’s “oh so concerned” and just trying to help because “Heaven’s to Betsy, you wouldn’t want to look STUPID, would you?”

          It took it too far with it’s insults though. No sane person thinks chump lady sounds like someone who learned English as a second language. Anyone who claims they are SHOCKED to learn she’s a native English speaker is simply a liar looking to insult her.

          Grammar Nerd has said fucked up things here before. It’s either a FW or a whore.

        • Grammer Dooshe must surely be aware that books are edited before being published, so the comment about fearing errors in the book was moronic.

      • I get annoyed with typos and grammar errors as well, but at no time would I have ever thought CL was not a native English speaker. That is just an absurd statement. I also just let it go, because shit happens.

    • yes and sometimes CL uses capital letters IN the middle of a SENTENCE it’s an ABSOLUTE disgrace and someONE must be SACRIFICED to the grammar BEAST and I nominate Grammer NERD

    • There is a special narcissistic brand of person that picks apart grammar when they don’t like the message….

      • Nobody has perfect grammar or spelling all the time, least of all our lovely new friend Grammer Doooshe, so we should not expect it of others.

      • Yes, and we know how they love believing they’re SPECIAL. Winning the prize must have caught up with the. TROLL.

    • Grammer [sic] Nerd,
      Unless your moniker “Grammer Nerd” is supposed to be a play on “Gramma” (grandmother) you don’t have a leg to stand on. It’s “grammar,” not “grammer.” As for “like myself”? The correct form is “me”; myself is a reflexive.
      And, if you don’t know it, CL makes her living by writing. People pay her for it.

    • For some reason I was suddenly inspired to Google “Miss Manners bad houseguests” just now. There is a wealth of information on bad houseguest behavior, how to deal with bad houseguests, and how to be a polite houseguest.

      “Etiquette does not require you to accept being insulted in your own house. Nor does it allow you to insult your guest, and Miss Manners congratulates you for getting around that by confining yourself to a frigid tone and assistance with transportation.”

      I have no idea where this urge came from. It may be because we are talking about cheaters here at Chump Lady’s house.

      I do want to take a moment to thank Chump Lady at group level for inviting me over to her house today.

    • Grammar

      — is how one types an em dash but a comma is the preferred use here.

      “About” bio

      Like me

      Ellipses require a space both before and after the three dots. You have also used them incorrectly here.

      Spelling out “and” instead of using an ampersand would be a better stylistic match for the pompous tone of your reply.

      The phrase “losing my mind in errors” should be “losing my mind from errors” unless you intended the Freudian slip of losing your mind in errors of your own making.

      Just sayin’.

      • I have always enjoyed a designer/decorator from the early days of decorating TV. Christopher Lowell is his name, I think. I can’t read his social posts that are really blogs. They are so poorly written, and not edited at all. I so want to send him a message of support — his design is so much about balance, editing, a “clean” look, his writing not so much. But I don’t because it’s rude. And I write for a living.

    • “Grammer Nerd” – After reading the responses to your comment thus far, I’m surprised that no one else has said what many are probably thinking. So I’ll say it:
      FUCK OFF!
      And I sincerely hope you took offense.

    • You are either a troll or just a pain in the ass, suck the oxygen out of the room dolt. Oh and feel free to knock yourself out correcting my punctuation.

    • “I’m sure this comment will sound trivial to you”

      Well, at least you’re aware of how frivolous your comments are. So why did you post them?

      Since you’re all about proper writing, I have done you a favor and edited the errors and inept writing out of your post. I kept your ideas intact, but focused on the clumsy way you expressed them.

      “Dear Chump Lady,
      While I mean no offense to you personally, I believe you need to invest in an editor. There are a number of errors in your reply to today’s letter, including improper capitalization and punctuation. I also found errors in your bio and was surprised to find that you are a native English speaker. I’m sure this comment will sound trivial to you, but you are a writer, so you should at least write correctly, if not well. I’m sure there are other people out there who, like myself, enjoy your wit and tough love approach, but could never imagine buying your book for fear of losing their minds over the errors. I’m just saying that finding someone to proofread your replies and your website text may help you with your book sales.
      Yours truly,
      Some Silly Fucking Troll”

    • WOW! Gaslighting much!
      Is that enough capitalisation and unnecessary use of exclamation marks for you? *note: there is an incorrect use of a comma in your response – I’ll let you find it 😉

    • Your username and comment have spelling and punctuation errors. You might want to fix that next time you appoint yourself somebody else’s editor.

    • lol, this guy. It’s a blog dude, turns out perfection is not required and, indeed, is sometimes exactly the wrong thing. CL’s casual way of writing is pure magic. Go troll someplace else.

      • Elegant reply, CL, especially considering English isn’t your first language.😂😂😝😝😂😂

      • My money is on Grammer Nerd being a guy. Graham or Graeme. It’s already been noted but “grammar” is the correct spelling, NOT “grammer”. It bore repeating. 🖕🖕🖕

    • No offense, but you spelled “grammar” wrong, Dear. Even if it’s intentional, it is terrible optics to criticize someone’s spelling when you have something misspelled yourself.

  • I think there is a stage in recovery from betrayal where you read stories like this and think what the hell are you doing ~ run. It isn’t stage meh but it must be close. Anyone going through this now please stay on CN until you get yourself out of the cognitive dissonance that keeps you tethered to these lying abusive wankers. I was gripped in the first year or so after D Day with the stories of betrayal on SI, and the pages and pages of advice people were given trying to work out whether they should leave. I could totally relate. Now I read one line and think isnt it obvious? Why are you going around in circles, why do you need strangers onthe internet telling you what to do ~ run! Thank you to CL and the people who patiently post on here providing guidance to strangers on the internet helping us through some very dark and confusing times. I suspect you have saved some lives along the way. The obvious isnt at all obvious when you are being lied to and abused.

    • Here, here! Today marks my one year anniversary of freedom from cheating bastard ex. The day after tomorrow will mark the anniversary of purchasing LACGAL on my Kindle app.
      During a phone conversation with a dear friend last night, I made the statement that while I wouldn’t wish what I went through last year on anyone, it has been the best year of my life.
      There is no way to quantify how much CL and CN has helped me on the journey to meh.
      During those early days, reading the brave stories that constantly reinforced my decision to walk away was life changing for me. And I would never have known how crucial it would become to go NC and stay that way.
      So yes, Weedfree, I stand as testament of a life being saved.
      Turns out, I wasn’t irretrievably broken, but fucking mighty. And divine…😊

    • “Anyone going through this now please stay on CN until you get yourself out of the cognitive dissonance that keeps you tethered to these lying abusive wankers.”

      I agree.

      I so wish I had CL in my dark days. Fear, humiliation, shock. I didn’t understand that within a few months the man I was so afraid of losing would soon make me physically ill. I think in many cases (certainly in my case) we had been abused for a while, and just kept taking it because we thought that guy we knew would snap back and all the pain would disappear.

      We don’t know until later that even if they do snap back, they are still the person who brutally betrayed us for month (or years).

      I sometimes envy those whose fw immediately begged them to come back and supposedly dumped the whore. But, now I know that in most cases all that did was drag out the pain longer for the betrayed. That hopium can kill you emotionally; if not physically.

      • Yes, it takes so very long to get out of the fog and get your head together. I’m very sympathetic, but yes it jumped out immediately for me too. Just say NO.

        There was a gal locally that I was helping in our type of situation that started playing games. I actually ended a meeting with her because I had to pick up a car, or a relative couldn’t leave on a business trip early the next morning. I told her how long I had, and we were over time as it was. When she became demanding, I told her that technically I’m never free (work, relatives, managing my health, etc.), but that I can give my time when I choose to do so.

        Later she texted me when I was having dinner with family, wanting to talk. I told her that I was unavailable and that we could talk at a better time for us both. Nope. Silence. I’m not going to be bullied. I’m done with manipulators. I wish her well.

  • I sure hope the OP is free now. This is typical FW behavior, they want to be married and to be able to date. It doesn’t work that way. Sure, everyone has grievances about their spouse but taking it back over 20 years is a bit over the top. No one is perfect but this guy is plainly a cake eater. Taking him back is just giving him more cake. Put him on a diet and serve him for divorce.

    • That’s right!

      That reminds me of when my ex FW decided to walk out on me and our kids out of the blue, and ask for a divorce without giving any reason. I was supposed to go for it and soldier on, « for the kids ». I was so angry at him for this and how horribly he had treated me for years, and especially the last one when he was trying to get rid of me. He was serving me word salad about how he got married too young and should be allowed to fuck (sic) whoever he liked. I lost it and told him « you’re like a fat kid who is hiding to eat cake. You can hide, you’re still fat. ». It was before I found CL and CN, but cake eating is such a perfect description for what they do.

      • Yes!!! I just passed the one year anniversary of DDay1. When I confronted him at the time, the word salad just poured out. He brought up things I said like 30 years ago!!!! Of course, I was the one to blame for everything! Once I found CL (two months after DDay1), I saw the pattern. He just wanted me to do some more active pick me dancing. That did not happen. I lawyered up and then the crap got worse. It has been a huge battle over the last six or so months. He thought he could abuse me through the legal system but my lawyer shut that down. Now that he has to pay my attorney’s fees, he seems more willing to settle. I think the judge is now well aware of his lying as is his lawyer so my hope is that this will start to resolve.

  • This story is so fucking predictable. Cheaters and their apologists control the narrative until they are stopped with consequences.

    If you’re still with a cheater, read the archives for how to plan and implement those consequences. Justice and healing begins with no contact and filing for divorce.

  • ILJ,

    By your definition your husband isn’t cheating because he “technically hasn’t cheated.” I’d suggest that he’s “technically” doing a great job of trying to cheat … and that’s before you consider that you only appear to know what he’s telling you. Please understand that Cheaters will do everything that they can to downplay their activities and to deny that they are up to no good ….. like that time that now-Ex Mrs LFTT tried to convince me that she wasn’t a having an affair and that she had been secretly meeting up with an old boyfriend of hers for quite some while was none of my business.

    I would respectfully suggest that you push the bar up a bit ….. well, a lot actually.

    LFTT

    • Yep wouldn’t surprise me if they did the deed and then she dumped the clumsy oaf and he was heart broken.

      • SL,

        Part of the mindf*ck here is that the OW seems happy to be courted by a married man – but not go the whole way – and that the married man seems to revel in doing so, even though he is aware of how it traumatises his wife.

        I really hope that ILJ kicked him to the kerb and got their son some help; he (the son) needs to understand that it’s OK to get mad at his dad for what his dad has done/is doing, but that he doesn’t get to get mad at him mum for saying that this is unacceptable.

        LFTT

  • This FW sounds almost exactly like my ex. He hired teenage girls as summer help in his construction business–only teenage girls. And he would “kindly” give them a ride to work in the morning–to do outdoor work in July, dressed in mini-shorts and tank tops. I kept trying to protest that it looked weird and that he should hire some boys too, but he always insisted that girls were better workers and that I was just paranoid. Then I caught him texting one of the girls while she was on a family vacation about how much he missed her and “how is the vacation going”? I told him it was inappropriate to text teenage girl employees personal stuff. He said, “She’s my friend!” I said, “You are 50 years old! You can’t be friends with a 17-year-old girl!” He said I was just sexist and dirty-minded about their relationship, and he said he couldn’t run his business if I kept interfering. Then when she left to go back to college, she stopped responding to his texts, and he actually came home and cried to me that he now realized he was “nothing more than a boss to her,” and that she had only texted him to keep her job. Well, duh. What 17-year-old girl thinks texting 50-year-old obese dudes is a fun afternoon? I later found evidence in a sexual fantasy he secretly composed about her. I don’t think he ever acted on it, but only because she stopped responding to his texts.

    My ex always seemed to have this vision of himself as perpetually 21 years old and good-looking. When the marriage blew up, he told me that I was too old for him now, and that he was more attracted to college girls. I was ten years younger than him. He now lives alone in a mobile home park in Texas, and he can’t seem to fathom why those hot college girls aren’t lining up at his door.

    • I remember the first time I got really pissed about ageism against women. It was when I was in my late 20’s early thirties’, still young. I adored Dean Martin’s singing and I was watching him on a talk show. He said in answer to a question about becoming a grandfather “I have no issue becoming a grandfather, but I don’t want to sleep with a grandmother”. Hated him after that.

    • “He now lives alone in a mobile home park in Texas, and he can’t seem to fathom why those hot college girls aren’t lining up at his door.”

      A perfectly fitting end for him.

      • Wow! I feel like my ex could have written that! The circumstances weren’t quite the same, but pretty close! And yes, he encouraged the girls to tell him all about their lives, their boyfriends, their complaints about their parents, etc. I would say, “You don’t need to know all this stuff! Stop talking about boyfriends and crushes with teenage girls at work!” And then he would tell me I was paranoid, and the girls liked to talk to him, etc, etc. The difficult thing was that I am strongly in favor of girls having equal opportunity in the workplace. If he had reasonable boundaries, it would have been fine. But I knew this was really his fantasy about finding some young, hot girl to replace me.

  • First, I do enjoy how trolls are eaten as a delicacy breakfast around here.

    Second, I agree with many here who are remarking about the degenerate patterning of entitled-cheat-whine-complain-gaslight-repeat. If I had found CL and CN years ago, I’d be divorced years ago. Simple reason? Cognitive dissonance and denial are survival strategies when you’re being abused. It’s a match made in hell. It’s why children don’t call the cops on parents who abuse them. It takes a while, and pulling back, to see what’s really going on and let that sink in.

    For years I kept a log of asshat’s abuses and rages under the title of “Books to read,” knowing he’d never look there on the computer. After secretly reading another book about abuse I found in the library, the entirety of this problem came into focus: I’m keeping a LOG of his ABUSE. And I’ve been doing it for NINE years.

    I’m four years out from kicking him out, and it still hurts a lot, but vision is clear. It takes leaving most of the time to make that happen and break the trauma bonding. I sure hope this writer got the fuck out from this slobbering, entitled wanker fuckwit.

    • “Cognitive dissonance and denial are survival strategies when you’re being abused. ”

      I used to wonder why women stayed with men who physically abused them. Then for several months I stayed with a fuckwit who was screaming at me, staying out all night, complaining about every move I made. I spackled like a mad woman.

      He was trying to get me to kick him out I am pretty sure; so he could pull whore out of the alley and present her as his new gal, since crazy ass Susie kicked him out. He could leverage his power and get her reassigned so he could “date” her and he would be on top of the world.

      Unfortunately for him, someone filed an ethics complaint against him for his relationship with his direct report; and his whole adult life of work and my work in his behalf tumbled around him.

      I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the mayor brought him in and busted him. Bet he thought that no one would ever know he was calling her and she him non stop day and night. It was a company provided cell phone. Duh.

  • My first d-day was the exact same. He sobbed about propositioning one of our friends (right after I had a baby of course) and getting rejected. He wailed: “NO ONE loves me! NO ONE!!” I tried to leave then, but my family put a lot of pressure to stay married “for the kids,” and I was stuck in the thought that he hadn’t “technically” cheated.

    Almost 20 years later here’s what I know:

    1. I was taking the word of a liar.
    2. Whenever he played the victim like this he was totally guilty. The sobbing/drama/crisis was a distraction and manipulation.
    3. Staying together for the kids destroyed my mental health.
    4. My mental health declining made me a worse parent. It made my kids’ life worse.
    5. There is NOTHING I could have done to please him. He has an empty void inside him that is unfillable.

    I hope the OP got away. As much as we adulate someone bravely walking over hot coals, you can’t stay standing for years on them.

    • Yours sounds like mine. He didn’t do the feel sorry form me bit, but he always loved pulling off something. I put it off to harmless mischievousness. Wrong, for many years he was silently destroying my life (and his by the way) and he had his ways of letting me know without me catching on. I can still see that smirky grin to this day.

      He went on to cheat on whore, but she knew where the whores hung out, so he got caught early on. Then he turned to massive gambling for his high. Since he got pretty sick from smoking by the time he hit 50, I imagine the dick stopped working as well.

    • Same. I tried to stay together “for the kids” after finding out about an “emotional affair” and all that did was make me a worse parent because I was barely functioning as a result of all the gaslighting, cognitive dissonance, denial, etc. Instead of showing remorse, regret, etc., as he promised, he escalated the abuse and infidelity, all the while making me feel like there was something wrong with ME for not being trusting, forgiving, etc. anytime I listened to my gut and called him out.

  • The cheaters classic confusion between wife (real, flesh and blood loving human) and mother (in their minds, both brutal controller and all-forgiving comforter). Sigh. (Apologies to male chumps, just speaking out of my own experience).

  • My soon to be ex engage in at least one emotional affair and openly flirted with men.

    She sprung the let’s separate, but date and I said nah, let’s try to work on this. Mistake on my part.

    She had a dude lined up and even introduced the boys before filing one month into separation. During one our conversations, she said men fawn over her, I am aloof and couldn’t read her mind at how unhappy she was, she openly flirted with men, has a wandering eye, and then said aren’t you glad I will divorce you because I am seriously thinking about engaging in physical affairs…

    I guess the silver lining in all this is she’s not asking for child support and the dude she’s with is a very steep downgrade. More power to her, my life will get better.

    • Be careful. FWs have a way of suddenly appearing and being all “I have chaaaaaanged, I was sooooo wrong” right when you’re about to move on without them. Especially when $$$$ is involved. Get that no child support nailed down!

      • Yes, it’s written down in such a way that if either of us takes a dive with our jobs through a layoff, we could get support. But for now, we have similar incomes. I have the boys around 30-40% of the time and pay some childcare and their insurance as mine is better, and they have aways come out of my check, so budgeting isn’t an issue.

        I set this in a way that if things go south, it is counted towards my support should she ask for it. Her lawyer was pushing her hard to get support in addition to what I am doing, and she kept saying no.

  • My (now) ex grabbed his shotgun and walked out the back door, claiming that he would commit suicide because he was so tired of not feeling loved.

    I grabbed the gun out of his hands and tried to console him with a big hug. I realized much later how dangerous that situation could have been.

    • Typical deflection from what he’s done. The x would scream that he was going to blow his brains out if I wasn’t buying his lies and fake remorse. I should have just handed him a tissue and told him to go ahead and blow.

      • “I should have just handed him a tissue and told him to go ahead and blow.”

        😂🌬️😂

        Just brill. xx

  • “You should divorce him for felony stupid.” 😆 This is one of my all time fave CL lines.

    This FW is particularly infuriating. The nerve of him, bawling in her arms over not getting laid by some other woman. The nerve of him buying gifts for another woman and going on dates with her, shoving the relationship right in the poor chump’s face and then snarling when she expresses any objection to it. This is cheating, whether he’s fucked her or not. I tend to think he did, but she stopped fucking him because she could get gifts, evenings out and flattery by keeping him wanting. That’s what my FW’s OW did. It’s a strategy experienced users employ to sucker clowns like him. They throw a few fucks at them and then take the crotch pleasure away as soon as the twerp thinks it’s twu wuv, because then Twerpy will frantically do/buy things for them hoping to get the sex back. This is because the FW is too narcissistic (and felony stupid) to realize he’s being suckered and always thinks that the fucking will return, seeing as how FW’s organ of delight is so irresistible and all.🙄

    Anyway, he’s a horrid little man and I hope he’s long gone from the OP’s life. I hope she bitch-slapped him so hard it left a permanent handprint, too. Yeah, I know we aren’t supposed to approve of violence, but for some people it’s an appropriate response and this outrageous prick is one of them.

  • “The issue is that he wants to live like a single person, but enjoy all the rights and privileges of marriage.” The story of my former life. Thank you, Chump Lady, for giving me the wherewithal to make it my FORMER life and no longer my current life!! After 20 years together, I am 1 year divorced and so happy to be out of that nightmare!!! He’s still a piece of shit and still tries to make my life hell, but I’m so glad to be unhitched from that asshole!

    I hope OP comes back and gives us an update that she’s also happily unhitched from that asshole!

  • He cheats. We separate. I take him back. He does the same thing again. And he tells me to my face that he deserves to be happy, I’m not the boss of him, and he deserves to be truly loved.

    My experience and the letter writer’s experience. Why are so many cheaters alike?

    • Irony is most of them are truly loved, and they just don’t recognize it because they don’t know how to truly love, so how would they recognize it?

      They remain three year old’s who demand constant attention, and feeding. Combined with 17 year old’s who demand constant hard ons.

    • My EX’s famous line days after his week long crying fest after me finding out, was his declaration…
      “You cant put my dick in your purse”
      Found out a month later that cheating was the reason for his first marriage demise
      Nobody will ever convince me that THIS attitude will ever change in his life.
      He just married again for the third time last month.
      No introspection, why do they keep doing it?

  • again, a cheater who is, frankly, not that smart. does he not see how transparent his actions are? no. too self-absorbed/it’s always worked for him/he’s stuck in a fantasy life.

    you know, i think misogyny is a chosen form of stupidity, given available info about how to live an equal life with the other sex. it’s infuriating and common.

    and stupid.

  • What is up with FWs blaming their cheating on some obscure slight from years ago? My FW once blamed his cheating on not have enough sex during a vacation over 15 years ago. Nevermind his Army buddy was crashing on our hotel room floor for over half of the trip. Oh also, it was our delayed honeymoon. I mean, they’ve got some nerve!

      • Agreed. I’m embarrassed that it took me so long to leave the David Brooks fan club. I’d admired his columns for several years, even after hearing some small noises about his personal life. I couldn’t finish the long-winded “Second Mountain”, though, and then I woke up and smelled the hypocrisy after learning more details about his darling second marriage. I stopped reading his work after that.

    • Lundy Bancroft refers to this as the “Garden of Resentments”. Abusers nurse a garden of old slights and resentments and then harvest it when its timely for them in their manipulations. None of these issues were ever addressed in the moment, usually because in the moment they were meaningless.

      • Ah yes. The Garden of Resentments. My favorite – “during the kitchen remodel you looked at me with disdain.”

      • I had forgotten about that one. Such a classic!

        Lundy is now semi-retired but occasionally does interviews. There are some on YouTube. His insights are amazing.

    • Right?! My ex blamed his cheating on a laundry list of past wrongs, including that one time I tried to go to grad school to get my advanced degree WHILE HE WAS GETTING HIS ADVANCED DEGREE–he viewed that as abandonment (mind you, I NEVER even went because he pitched the biggest fit, but still got accused of abandonment for just considering it). And on and on.

      These people are forever victims. So happy to not have to live with a person like this anymore. Life gets better! And with space and time you see things for what they really are and can make better choices moving forward with who you spend your time with.

      • Yeah this is what it is. So much this from my ex. Let’s see…

        I didn’t go to bed with her every day when she was pregnant (13 years ago)

        I didn’t clean the bathroom when she was pregnant a second time(11 years ago)

        I didn’t comfort her when she thought she had worms from the kids, which she mentioned at 3 am on a Tuesday 8 years ago.

        And many more. These are legit reasons she gave me for having an emotional affair and sending other men nudes.

  • “Felony stupid”…….. Chumplady, you have such a talent for putting together the right words!

    Everyone in my tight circle of trustworthy friends knows so many of them by now because they have become my “go to” language. Why spend 5 sentences describing something when Felony Stupid cuts right to the core of it?

    Sending love and light. I must be creeping in on Tuesday.

  • I am going through the same thing. This started when our 4th child died at birth. He was talking down about me to other women and soliciting them for sex and per him unsuccessful. I did have an affair and regret it sincerely. We have both shamed each other in social media and in social situations. We are now physically separated for 7 months and we had agreed to work on the marriage however I feel that I am the only one doing any of the contact and work. He is doing no contact unless he needs something from me. I only contact him when it deals with the kids. Where do I go from here? I have apologize for my part and continuing to work on myself and the kids. I don’t speak to the affair partner and don’t go on dates with anyone else.
    Stuck in limbo

    • Sorry you’re in this situation, but you’ll remain “stuck” until you take steps to divorce.
      I’m in the camp that believes that cheaters deserve another chance, just not with the person they betrayed.
      Continue to work on yourself to discover why you thought having an affair was a good decision, and get your poor children the help they need.
      The only contact between both of you should be through your divorce attorneys.
      And you’re not “stuck”, that’s just you not accepting responsibility for the situation you’re currently in. You have agency, so get going.

    • I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your child, that’s terrible. This is probably the wrong community to join if you yourself are a cheater. You won’t find much sympathy. There are many choices when your partner is being an asshole, like your ex was (leave them, get counseling, work it out, have them arrested for solicitation, etc.)…cheating is not an option that us in CL Nation view as legitimate. It’s abuse. Your ex is doing exactly what CL prescribes–separate from the cheater and go no contact.

      If you truly feel remorse for your actions, you’ll grant your ex a swift and easy and fair divorce and continue to live your life in an honorable way and work to do right by your kids and set a good example to give them the best shot at a successful life and not grow up dysfunctional and marry cheaters themselves, or become cheaters. Best of luck.

    • You’re in the wrong place. This site is for betrayed *chumps*, not cheaters who “regret it sincerely”. Vomit, and fuck off. 🤮🙄

    • Run! Get to a safe distance and get yourself and your kids to a safe place. FILE!! Is what you are seeing acceptable to you? No? Than don’t put up with it any more. FWs forget that we are thinking/feeling induvials. And that we have free agency to make decisions for ourselves. When reminded that no means no, all cheaters throw huge ass toddler sized tantrums. And once we start seeing the power play for what it is, we can’t stop.

    • It sounds like it was a toxic marriage. He isn’t working on it because he doesn’t want the marriage. His actions show you his feelings. Just accept it and get a divorce.

      It sounds like he was, at the very least, trying to have an affair, then you reacted to that by actually having an affair. Is that the correct sequence of events? Revenge affairs are a stupid idea, but it seems you know that now. The marriage is not salvageable at this point. Unless you want to be stuck in limbo for years, stick a fork in it and call it done. If your husband changes his mind he can always marry you again, though I think it would be a foolish idea.

      I’m sorry about the loss of your child. I can see why you might have lost your way when dealing with that and your husband’s attempts to have sex with others. So I don’t think you’re one of those run of the mill cheaters who is irredeemable. Keep working on yourself to develop healthy coping skills.

  • 15 year olds are old enough for some serious, almost adult conversations about acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. If spouse wants to be free to be a FW, let him be free. Just get a seriously good settlement, including college expenses for the teenager.

    The boy probably does not want to switch high schools or move. I think that is a justified concern. Do your best to keep his life stable and sane. He will get over your divorce, eventually. Make it clear who detonated the bomb in your marriage. He is old enough to handle it. He needs to see the consequences of his dad’s FW behavior. Fortunately for you, you can move on and get a new life. When your son leaves home to start his new life, you will have had time to adjust and heal from this damage. You will be surprised how wonderful life can become when your own needs have priority. Good luck!

  • I stopped reading after I read this: “Am I being unreasonable for having a problem with my husband’s ongoing relationship with a woman he tried unsuccessfully to seduce?”

    I’ll read the full post, of course, but I really had to pause. Have we REALLY sunk so low as a society that there’s a reasonable expectation that a faithful, legally married spouse will question THEIR negative feelings about their partner’s relationship with another actual or potential affair partner, then feel some urgency to ask other people if those negative feelings are valid?!

    Evil has won.

    I’ll read the full post now. Glad you’re back and well, CL!

    • I believe this “questioning” has it’s roots in the late 80s early 90’s when lots of young married folks (some of them I knew as work acquaintances) started patting themselves on the back for being so open as to not be worried about their spouses female friends.

      Before I get attacked by the men, yes it goes both ways; but the only folks I knew who bragged about their open mindedness were female. The males never bragged about how they let their wife go to shows and events with other men because they were so hip.

      Now that so much of that has blown up in proverbial faces; the questioning begins.

      To me, if you are questioning it, there is a reason for it.

      Yes I believe men and women can be friends, but only with boundaries; and once the spouse objects knock it off, or go be single.

      • ” … the only folks I knew who bragged about their open mindedness were female. The males never bragged about how they let their wife go to shows and events with other men because they were so hip.”

        Now there’s a skein worth untangling. Or just read it and weep.

  • Despite watching the show “Catfished” weekly and laughing at the stupidity of people who get taken in by on-line romance scams, my ex “met” someone on line, started sending her gift cards and credit cards within weeks, and within two months had asked her to move in with him. When I found out, it took me less than five minutes to figure out the pictures belonged to a Columbian hooker with a different name and this was a scam. When I told him, and showed him evidence that she wasn’t who she claimed, he claimed to be heartbroken and devastated because HE had lost the love of his life. Like OP and Notanymore (above), he expected ME to comfort him because of his tremendous loss. Even when I pointed out that I was the one who was losing the love of nearly 50 years of my life (we too were highschool sweethearts), he dismissed that because she was his “sole mate.”

    Until I read Notanymore’s post, it didn’t sink in that, as she wrote, “Whenever he played the victim like this he was totally guilty. The sobbing/drama/crisis was a distraction and manipulation.” Thank you so much for writing this. Yes, whenever I expressed MY pain, or asked him tough questions (such as “How much money did you send her?” “How many credit cards did you get for her?” ) he was suddenly so overcome by grief that he couldn’t answer and didn’t want to have to remember. Looking back, with the benefit of Notanymore’s words, I can see that he grabbed onto being the devastated victim and used it to get more cake. And all the while, even after I threw him out, he continued to text her.

    There were comments above about having to file because the FW’s wouldn’t. I am ever so glad that I filed first, because it’s proof that I left him. He has to live with that rejection. I know it must bother him, because some of our friends/acquaintances were given a different story that I was desperate to hold on to him, and were quite surprised to learn that I filed.

    • “There were comments above about having to file because the FW’s wouldn’t. I am ever so glad that I filed first, because it’s proof that I left him. He has to live with that rejection. I know it must bother him, because some of our friends/acquaintances were given a different story that I was desperate to hold on to him, and were quite surprised to learn that I filed.”

      I am convinced that the ONLY reason my FW filed before me is that he found I was about to do it myself (after him saying he wanted a divorce yet doing nothing for several years). It would have ruined his narrative about him having to escape his horrible wife if SHE filed, especially since we are in an at-fault state and I was filing on grounds of adultery and cruelty. I didn’t want the divorce at first and was waiting for him to do it like he kept threatening to. Eventually I got over him and decided I was done and so started the process. My attorney asked his attorney if the attorney could accept service on his client’s behalf so FW found out my plan and rushed to file first. I think he expected me to be upset about it. I didn’t care – he saved me the filing fee! I opened a bottle of champagne that night, and then counter-filed the next week. (He then dragged his feet EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, refusing to answer emails, provide documents, etc. It was so frustrating.)

  • God, this asshole. Every time this one republishes my desire to hit him with a cartoon mallet grows.

  • I hope OP eventually left this guy. What a tool! My FW tried to tell me it was normal for coworkers who were “just friends” to go to $20 a plate lunch places every day too, and to take turns covering each other’s meals. He also told me I was “jealous and against him having friends.” I told him this wasn’t normal at all, that work lunches weren’t an everyday thing in my office, and that when they were I always covered my own meals (unless it’s a birthday/celebratory lunch.) I told him that I considered what he was doing to be dating. He would just get me a latte in the morning but take these howorkers of his to bougie gastropub places for lunch. When we’d have meals out together he’d never have enough money to treat me (or help me with our regular bills/mortgage for that matter.) I feel like he would have covered lunch for a male coworker on one of those meals out if it was truly innocent, but nope, he only ever bought lunch for his female coworkers, including one he used to bitch about me to constantly because I didn’t respect his descent into MGTOW/Incel beliefs and she did (they both agreed I “didn’t know how to treat a man”…tell me how that’s not an emotional affair exactly…) I’m happy to report that he struggles to even afford McDonalds since I kicked him out. I got full custody of our daughter and he has to give $450 to the professional supervision place to see her and $667 in child support to me, so no more bougie gastropub dates for FW these days.

    • “I’m happy to report that he struggles to even afford McDonalds since I kicked him out. I got full custody of our daughter and he has to give $450 to the professional supervision place to see her and $667 in child support to me, so no more bougie gastropub dates for FW these days.”

      I love it when I read this. Sucks to be him.

      I mean he could treat them to Micky D’s once in a while; but I am thinking they will get tired of that pretty fast.

  • Though sex was blatantly on the table in the OP’s disaster, everything going on would still be a problem even if they’d never had sex or even talked about having sex. I’m doing a little soul searching here and– just to project a bit– I can imagine the OP may have hesitated to throw over the game table over this “friendship” because of personal confusion about boundaries regarding opposite sex work friendships. These friendships aren’t always okay even if there’s zero possibility they’ll ever bonk.

    I had this kind of confusion for a long time because I hadn’t really reflected on my own opposite sex “friendships” from the past. This made me hesitate to go ballistic when I learned that FW had maintained a secret paldom with his suck-uppy lesbian work wife/drinking buddy for two solid years. This was another case of projection: I was projecting my own trials and tribulations when starting out in an even more gender-unequal, narc-filled, aggressive industry and uncomfortably having to tolerate “friendships” with older men who tried to mentor me as a way to groom me. Out of general insecurity and hopes for my career, I would sometimes even go into denial about what some of these men really wanted from me and would (bad, bad idea) think of them as genuine friends.

    So when FW admitted keeping secret (but innocent!) relationships with women, I was hoisted on the petard of my own lack of reflection over some of my own past professional relationships, didn’t quite know where the boundary was for opposite sex relationships and didn’t want to be a hypocrite by demanding that FW not cross a line that had remained blurry for me. I also had empathy for his female colleagues who I imagined probably thought they had to cultivate male connections to get anywhere in their careers in an industry that was exposed that same year for being rife with sexual misconduct, gross inequality and gaping gender pay gaps.

    I totally missed the fact that divulging his secret friendship with lesbian work wife was a tip off that the friendship had been kept secret because it was grossly inappropriate from the get-go. I’ve since read a blog post by claiming that lesbians in a white corporate world are entitled to a “loophole” for using sexualized behavior to get ahead because… fuck the patriarchy and, well, it can never lead to anything and it’s all just in fun. Never mind the wives and kids getting fucked over in the process and pouring blood in the water for pervy, abusive men to exploit women– hall pass! What noxious bs and obviously most LGBT would never support this. But the divulgence served a bone FW threw me to get me off the scent of the affair when I first started suspecting and asking if he was screwing around. In that convo he didn’t mention that the lesbian work wife was manically hustling him for job perks and opportunities as well as frequent free drinks and meals payed for with marital assets. He didn’t mention that part of her “exchange” for perks and booze was that she fluffing his toxic masculinity, enabling his binge drinking and irresponsible spending, repeatedly acted as his pimp and beard and that she’d actively arranged the initial drunken after-work hangouts with a few married office tarts– who got cold feet and didn’t actually fuck FW– and then with Schmoopie. I wasn’t told about how work wife got pissed at Schmoopie because Schmoops was only supposed to be a passing bonk that would earn FW’s gratitude towards work wife, not an 18 month “thing” where Schmoopie would then absorb all the work perks, favors, free booze, etc., that work wife expected for herself. Nope. I didn’t learn about any of this until later. When first asked if he was having an affair, FW angrily responded that he didn’t feel free to have even innocent friendships with women because I was so oppressive and then whined that work wife was his “best friend” and I had nothing to fear because she (hello, misogynistic objectification) looked like a chubby little Alfred E. Neuman from Mad Mag.

    Never mind that, as it turned out, Schmoopie could have been a hetero clone of the work wife so using women’s appearance as proof he wasn’t fucking them was totally null and void. Maybe his beer goggles were in full effect. Apparently the misogynist appearance bar wasn’t high to begin with. Then much later at a work party I got a full face of the “innocent” friendship with the work wife when she campily stalked up to him across a crowded event hall in front of 200 colleagues swinging her hips and making hot eyes, then gesturally pole-danced on his leg, crotch-bumped him for a full body hug, made a suggestive duck face and squawked in a weird impression of sexy baby voice “Oh Captain, I MISS you!” I remember staring in shock as FW just stood there passively and obliviously soaking up the sex signalling and suckuppery like a ham being glazed. I understood in an instant what this woman’s career track was: finding men whose dongs were hanging out of their pants and then cranking them like tire pumps. I wanted to walk out and leave FW to humiliate himself but was being asked to play it cool until ducks were lined up by my attorney. “Embarrassing FW at work” could have been doubled back against me.

    And she called him Captain?? Like fundy trad-wives call their lords and masters? Bleurgh, ack, holy fuck. Who knew Mr. Groovy Democratic Socialist secretly wanted to be a Proud Boy.

    FW’s charge that I was oppressive should have tipped me off right away because his grounds for the accusation were laughable and even tragic. Once in twenty years I had joked that another (“homely”) female friend and side kick of his male work buddy might have a thing for FW since she seemed to mysteriously show up whenever he and his pal were meeting for coffee. Plus she was aggressively and negatively chiming in about our child rearing. She was single and childless and I’m guessing she assumed child rearing choices were mine and FW was just being dragged along with it so the attack was likely meant to be against me alone. But still this struck me as more dangerous than undermining of the marriage. I was home schooling our chronically ill son at the time– without the political group protection of doing it as part of a religious collective or even a Libertarian “Ancap” cult– after the school flagrantly put my son’s health at risk. The laws on homeschooling in our state were fuzzy and we got into a few very scary legal standoffs over it where, if worse came to worse, the state could theoretically take all our kids away “on discretion.” In other words, my jaundice over the acquaintanceship had less to do with her being a creepy would-be poacher and more about the kids’ safety.

    But anything and everything is ammo to a FW. FW was basically grasping at straws to fuel DARVO but I had no familiarity with cheating cycles of abuse and didn’t recognize it for what it was so I stood down on the “friendship” with the sleazy work wife. I’d been raising kids and working and didn’t have time to read self help, etc. So I was effectively blind-sided and wanted to clear up what I believed was a misunderstanding by CoMmUniCaTInG. Oh course he simply weaponized all my attempts to talk about it as further grounds to keep betraying me.

    In any case, secret-keeping and making DARVO excuses for it are red flags enough. I hope the OP bailed.

    • “Plus she was aggressively and negatively chiming in about our child rearing.”

      Yet her face remained un-punched? You’re a better woman than I am, HOAC.

      • It would have been overkill. She looked like someone had already repeatedly hit her in the face with a cast iron pan, stuffed her with sawdust and then used her as an ottoman.

        I was a bit of an ugly duckling as a kid and was bullied until about age 15 so I always had a very hopeful attitude towards people who aren’t conventionally attractive thinking they’d been gifted with more opportunity to develop character, intellect and empathy. But it’s a crap shoot. When it’s true it’s really true but just not often enough. I guess the takeaway is that if life doesn’t endow someone with everything they want, having just enough self empathy to be able to empathize with others who face challenges is good but if it veers into ruminating self pity, entitlement and aggression, you get Cluster B.

    • Holy shit. That woman sounds extremely disordered.

      Totally not surprised that Mr. Groovy Democratic Socialist was secretly a misogynist trad-boy, though. That’s a trope older than either you or I – the “liberal”, “progressive” dude who talks a good game and pretends to be oh-so-supportive of women, and whose principles don’t reach any farther than his dick.

  • It makes me sad to know that anyone–any woman–would spend a single nanosecond wondering whether this kind of shit is acceptable.

  • I’d divorced now 2 months. I am not dating nor will I for awhile. Anyway I went to eat at local bar late Friday. As I was leaving 2 attractive ladies came in and bought me a drink for giving them my stool. They be an talking. One was a chump divorced in February. The other had a story. Her husband filed for divorce and she believed he was cheating. After telling me a 10 minute story of why she thought he was cheating she drops this nugget;
    She says when he files he accused her of cheating. I ask why would he do that? Her answer was “because I was texting with another man.” I have her hell about that. Her chump friend loved it.
    We are living in a world of Fuckwits

  • What is it with drumming up complaints about us from 20 years past with these FW’s?
    He sadly told me “ you didn’t let Ray come over for dinner”. This was a work associate, who I dearly love of FW’s, who was in town for the night and my ex gave me a choice between cooking dinner for everyone or the FW and Ray going out to get a bite with another work associate. ( FW gave me the choice because he was aware of how crazy busy the week was for me with the kids) So, I picked the latter choice, have had Ray for meals plenty of other times, just opted out for that evening.
    Little did I know, that decision would be thrown in my face 20 YEARS later as FW exits with his mistress as one of the reasons he’s disgruntled with me and needed to replace me with his mistress.
    I barely remembered what he was even talking about with Ray and the dinner issue when he brought it up, lol!
    Must not have been a whole lot of material to complain about me if he had to wrack his brain back 20 years to come up with something!
    My ex once sat in a recliner Christmas morning devastated and crying ( didn’t even cry when he’s mom died) because his mistress had left him when he told her he was building a retirement home with me.
    I didn’t know about that mistress till then, I wonder if he expected me to offer comfort to him for his horrific loss. I sadly stayed another 8 years, having been the winner of the booby of all booby prizes.
    Where or where were you Cl when I really needed a 2 by 4 to my deeply delusional noggin?!

    • “Must not have been a whole lot of material to complain about me if he had to wrack his brain back 20 years to come up with something!”

      Absolutely, shows what idiots these guys are.

      The only complaint my fw had about me was I wasn’t a good enough house keeper. Mind you I was not a bad house keeper, just not a spit shiner. He was comparing me to women who hired house cleaners because they were working full time as was I. I was also going to college at night and doing a lot of volunteer work at his request.

      Funny thing is the whore he married makes me look like Martha Stewart per my son and daughter in law.

      They got them a whore and that whore looks damn good in the dark, so they will come up with whatever crap they can to justify themselves.

  • “If I waited until I had all my ducks in a row 🦆 🦆 🦆 🦆, I’d never get across the street. Sometimes you just have to gather up what you’ve got and make a run for it.” Werd

  • I love the way half of us here got fed a steaming plate of “It was JUST an emotional affair, so it’s not cheating” while the other half of us here got fed a steaming plate of “but I never LOVED anyone but you, so it’s not cheating.”

    Got it. Love without sex doesn’t count as cheating, and sex without love also doesn’t count as cheating.

  • i think him crying on u lap, is a twisted pick me dance. the work mate, cheaters lie about everything. u will never n the truth about that. hes taking u for granted, and expects u to pick up the pieces. hes enjoying u misery, ie death by a thousand cuts

  • I’m also certain that it’s just a matter of time before it turns sexual – if not with her, with someone.
    This was me, so I can tell you how this ends. Get out NOW.

  • Oh boy, does this bring back memories for me.

    My ex came crying to me, presumably upset because he tried to kiss a woman we met at while on vacation. He appeared to be grief-stricken. I was completely bamboozled and consoled him. After that incident I KNEW this man would never cheat on me.

    Wrong. 20 years later, after DD#2 and our split I traced back the red flags I had ignored over the years. I realized he had tried to start an affair with this woman, knowing she lived in our town. When she rejected him, he was worried she’d tell me and decided to get out ahead of it.

    He used the same strategy in more subtle ways over the years. He’d drink too much at an event and then ask if he did anything wrong the next day. I didn’t realize he was trying to check and see if anyone had reported back to me.

    I lost 25 years to this louse. He was cheating before, during and after we got pregnant. I will never forgive him for the years he took from me. Time I will never get back. It’s cruel and unforgiveable.

  • So much food for thought here, as always. I agree with Susie Lee where she said that married people have no business “dating” others (not going into all the open relationship stuff, it’s not my cup of tea).

    But this seems to fit somewhat with Chump Lady’s “you might be a cheater” post.
    I have no problem with coworkers/friends, but boundaries are key.
    After trawling through my husband’s Twitter (and nope, I won’t apologize for that because the truth matters more than his need for “privacy”) I noticed that 97% of his followers and the people he follows are women.
    Some of them I recognize, most I don’t.

    What bothered me was that back in June, we took a trip together and he had a strong negative reaction to me wanting us to take a simple photo.
    It was bizarre and I was hurt, because it wasn’t like I wanted to put the picture online.
    He acted like such a fucking weirdo that the photographer was confused.
    When I asked why he was so angry, he later said it was about “privacy”.

    My hunch is that it’s more like secrecy. That he wants to appear single to certain coworkers, and any evidence of marriage (although some of them know about me) must be carefully hidden.

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