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Caught Him Cheating via the Doggy Cam

BulldogDear Chump Lady,

First I just want to say I literally love you and your site has brought me so much comic relief into the sh*t storm my life is right now. I was with my soon-to-be-ex-husband for 12 years (together 11 and married 9 months). We had a great relationship, we went to high school, college together and had been working to support each other as young professionals. We weren’t those annoying “high school sweethearts” We each had a life of our own, friends, hobbies, etc. We just loved each other’s company and had passion for each other. We have two dogs together and purchased two houses. The most recent was a beautiful lake house that I decorated impeccably, lol. It looked like chic Martha Stewart meets Midwest Lake house vibes. Anyways…

We decided to get legally married in August of 2020 as we had to postpone our wedding because of Covid. We were planning to have our big reception in August 2021. So, I planned a wedding two goddamn times. Well, that didn’t fucking happen as he decided to fuck his coworker in our own home 9 months into our marriage. Also, I’m well aware this was probably going on a lot longer than that, I don’t know who is brazen enough to fuck someone in their wife’s home “the first time” even though his lying ass told me that.

I found out because I had an intuition something was going on with this coworker, so I outsmarted him. I set our doggy camera to 24-hour recording, haha. I went out of town to PICK UP MY WEDDING DRESS, for our postponed wedding in August and had a gut instinct to check it. Lo and behold, there is the love of my life, screwing his coworker in our home. I also got to hear it, what a wonderful sound!

I’m just in complete shock. This coworker is 23 years old and has a toddler, also I’m not a mom shamer, but after stalking her social media, this is the 4th or 5th guy she has had around her kid. My ex is also really cute and makes a ton of money (not all legally), which sucks for the divorce. Not even a day after I caught him she was pretty much living in my house, sleeping in my bed, etc. I don’t blame her, it’s a beautiful lake house with a boat. I left and went to live in our first home we bought together. I’ve had so many people ask why, I was too triggered to ever step foot in that house again after seeing what I saw.

He is now just with her, living life like nothing happened, literally being a step-dad to her kid. He wouldn’t even take our fucking dogs on walks. He barely helped around the house, he was a narcissistic, alcoholic, gaslighting asshole. I’m just wondering, is it possible he just truly loves her and never loved me? Or is she just an easy, instant gratification, ego boosting kind of thing? How can someone just move on after 12 years, marriage and dogs and act like you don’t exist? He hasn’t asked about our dogs once. We don’t talk, it’s been two months and I hear from my friends and in-laws that he is trying TO INTRODUCE HER? Like Sir, we aren’t even divorced?! Assuming this is normal but WTF.

Yes I filed for divorce and am trying to get a good settlement. I’ve got that area covered.

Also — I feel so jaded over men in general that every wedding I go to from now on, I want to give them a doggy cam and write “just in case“ Is that sick of me?!

Thank you!

Doggycamqueen

****

Dear Doggycamqueen,

Please don’t gift doggy cams. Strangers things have been known to exist on wedding registries, but please, should the occasion arise, get the gravy ladle, or something else. You won’t always feel jaded, about love or weddings, but it’s been like what — 8 weeks since your D-Day? You’re still in the acute trauma zone.

I’m glad you’ve lawyered up and are protecting yourself. Give yourself huge credit for that.

You’ve got a great sense of mordant humor and apparently fine taste in home furnishings. You’re going to survive this shit — eventually. It’s totally normal (and pointless) to untangle the skein of fuckupedness at this stage. Your entire life just imploded, and you want to know what hit it.

I’ll indulge you in some untangling, okay?

This coworker is 23 years old and has a toddler, also I’m not a mom shamer, but after stalking her social media, this is the 4th or 5th guy she has had around her kid.

So, put another way, she’s damaged. And they work together, so your ex is endangering his company as well as you. He chose the weak antelope in the herd. From what you write, he didn’t plan to leave you — he was blithely fucking around on you, until you discovered it and lawyered up.

My ex is also really cute and makes a ton of money (not all legally), which sucks for the divorce.

When did you learn this? What does it say about your character that you were okay with his ill-gotten gains? Did you spackle over all that because he was cute and you wanted the trappings of success? Make sure your lawyer is aware of any and all exposure. And fix your picker.

People who are unethical in one arena (business, taxes) tend to be unethical in others. No one is special when you’re dealing with malignant entitlement. If they’ll do it to someone else, they’ll do it to you. Bounced promises, douchebaggery, petty fraud. Schmoopie will learn in time.

Not even a day after I caught him she was pretty much living in my house, sleeping in my bed, etc. I don’t blame her, it’s a beautiful lake house with a boat.

Blame her. She’s got crap for morals, whatever lies he’s feeding her.

Don’t let the Instant Move-In rock your world. It’s a common move. How does your ex make his exposure as cheater work to his advantage? Legitimize the relationship! Hey, meet my new girlfriend! Declare the pick-me dance winner.

You didn’t know you were in a pick-me dance, but she sure did. Oh, here’s the house I have with my wife. Wouldn’t you like this life? Huh? Here’s me planning a wedding reception with someone who’s not you.

They’re both choosing that toxic dynamic, and you removed yourself. You win.

He is now just with her, living life like nothing happened, literally being a step-dad to her kid. He wouldn’t even take our fucking dogs on walks.

Impression management.

I’m doubtful that a man who cannot sustain a commitment during the literal honeymoon period of his life will go the distance with a toddler. I’m sure he feigned interest in your dogs once too. And you as well.

He barely helped around the house, he was a narcissistic, alcoholic, gaslighting asshole. I’m just wondering, is it possible he just truly loves her and never loved me?

If he’s a narcissistic, alcoholic, gaslighting asshole he doesn’t love anyone. Well, maybe tequila.

People are of use to him. You ceased to be of use. He needs another dummy. Don’t ascribe intent — he had to scramble to reorder his life. That’s not “love,” that’s cover.

Or is she just an easy, instant gratification, ego boosting kind of thing? How can someone just move on after 12 years, marriage and dogs and act like you don’t exist?

Easy. He was never truly invested. He just acted like he was.

Yes, even with the wedding and the wedding planning and the shared history. It’s a high wire act, and these freaks, in my experience, really love the thrill of getting away with something. That’s the high that keeps them bonded — the shit you don’t know about. Like keeping a job so you can continue to embezzle the pension fund. Or keeping a wife so you can fuck around on her. He loves the power.

Lose the power? Buh-bye. Time to recreate some world in which he can be the puppet master again.

Is that cynical? I’ve literally read millions of these stories. And I lived my own. No, it does not hurt him to hurt you.

So don’t waste one feeling of emotion on him.

We don’t talk, it’s been two months and I hear from my friends and in-laws that he is trying TO INTRODUCE HER?

Don’t talk to your ex in-laws and tell the friends not to report to you about him. It’s his train wreck, let him crash it. Stand clear. NO CONTACT.

Doggycamqueen, I’m sorry after all that investment, you didn’t get the future with the man you imagined he was. He has his lies, his financial peril (discovery with your lawyer will be so much fun!), his Schmoopie.

You got the dogs. And one of them exposed your ex! You’re the winner here.

This one ran previously. 

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  • Not terribly interested in how original letter writer is doing. I’d rather hear how chumps’ attorneys have successfully used doggy cam – and other evidence – to impact settlements.

    • Can tell you that in the State of Wisconsin adultery is a felony. But even with me having video, photos, texts, and verbal admissions from my XW, judges, lawyers, and LE look the other way when presented with evidence. She even quit her 6 figure job and to avoid paying alimony and child support without any ramifications even with me having a vocational expert and a bulldog lawyer. They simply don’t care.
      But a huge congrats to anyone that does get a good settlement.

      • Yes, adultery is a felony in WI punishable by up to three months in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is never ever enforced, however. And yet, those in power are fine with enforcing an abortion law from 18 whatever it is. Messed up priorities.

      • Our courts, lawyers’ offices and law enforcement departments are full of cheaters that’s why they don’t care.

        • Yeppers. In and around the legal field 30+ years. I’d just assume a solid 60-70% of the attendees at a bar meeting are or were in an extramarital affair. It’s not a group of engineers by a long shot (my other professional leaning). It’s super super common for some reason.

          OTOH, one of my mom friends did some local rooting around, found out her ex husband’s divorce attorney was saucing it up with a married man at the firm (she was married too) and anonymously tipped off both of those lawyers’ spouses. She says that he has, in the years since their divorce concluded, expressed considerable unhappiness with the quality of legal representation he received from his distracted attorney during their divorce. He still doesn’t know why.

    • She sounds young. I do wonder if she ever changed her feelings about FW’s illegal income being something other than an inconvenience in the divorce.

  • “People are of use to him. You ceased to be of use. He needs another dummy. Don’t ascribe intent — he had to scramble to reorder his life. That’s not “love,” that’s cover.””

    In my case, for example, FW also slipped OW into my place pretty seamlessly. She did all of the things I had done for him (but not as well). She also wanted my life, and did whatever she could to get it. She had no idea that a huge part of why we had the life we had was ME. FW moved in with schmoopie after we officially filed for divorce (several years after D-day). The fact that I had counter-filed (he raced to file first – it wouldn’t look good for his story if *I* left *him*) told him that I was finally out of his reach and no longer useful. I stopped helping him financially and my attorney and I let him know that since he was living in our marital home, he was responsible for all expenses associated with it. He’d let the place fall into rack and ruin and couldn’t afford to fix it, so he opted (like with our marriage) to run away from the problem. I’m sure schmoopie thought that he wanted to get a house with her because he loved her and wanted to start their life together. She’d been waiting a long time to be legitimized rather than a dirty little secret. But FW let slip (in one of our child custody hearings) that he was only moving in with her because he couldn’t afford to live alone. He said “I hadn’t planned to move in with her yet, but I can’t stay in our house anymore”, or something to that effect. Poor schmoopie. She didn’t know she was just there to split the rent. Unsurprisingly, once they moved in together, their relationship fell apart. I gave them a year, tops (I knew what it was like to live with him; after all, I’d done it for ten years). They lasted 4 WEEKS. Then she left, fled the state, changed her phone number. She was scared. FW was an abusive, narcissistic alcoholic. She found out too late that I hadn’t been making up my allegations of domestic violence. She was out $30,000 and most of her dignity.

    It sounds like OP will be just fine. Yeah, it sucks. It sucks to see someone waltz in and take the life you worked so hard for. But I realized that I was the one who had made our life good, and I could do that again, without FW. And I have. My life keeps getting better. FW’s life fell apart after I finally cut all ties (other than the kid) with him. He spiraled out of control. He ended up broke and alone, and finally took his own life a few months after schmoopie left. He realized he couldn’t get her back, had no one else lined up to take her place (they way he’d had her there when he left me), and our divorce case was not going his way. With both me and schmoopie alleging DV, it was looking more and more like he might lose custody of our child, and since she wasn’t quiet about it, his job was at risk as well. It was more than he could handle and he couldn’t see a way out, so he took the “easy” way. He blamed everyone but himself for where he ended up. OP needs to cut off all mutual friends/family, which, since they have no kids, should be a lot easier than it might otherwise be, and focus on making her own life beautiful again. I hope she got a great settlement and gained a life.

    I am still quite jaded and skeptical about relationships/marriage/weddings five years out from D-day. I really like being single. Who knows. But I’m okay if love never comes my way again.

    • “Yeah, it sucks. It sucks to see someone waltz in and take the life you worked so hard for. But I realized that I was the one who had made our life good, and I could do that again”

      This!

      • This realization was a major turning point for me, although it came later than I wish…
        Everything and I mean everything that looked so attractive about my X, was my doing, even his damn haircut!
        I created a lifestyle that I now see might have seemed enviable, (not because of money, we didn’t have much!) but looking back, I can see why he attracted his much younger co worker. She saw us at company functions and I guess we looked happy… and she wanted that and ran me over to get it. Of course he gave her the keys to the steam roller-
        But now? I laugh at what their life has become. What a mess! I want to tell her: Hey, loser! I think it was me you were really “in love with!!!” Lol
        It’s good to laugh again, I should change my name from TooManyTears to “who’s laughing now?” ????

        • That realization really helped me too, immensely. I remember going on a multi family vacation and we were singing in the car and I thought we had such a great family. It was like a scene out of a movie. And I was telling a friend how messed up it was that it was all fake. And she reminded me, “That was you. You used to get us all singing in the car like that in high school. That wasn’t him, that was you.” And then I remembered basic training where me and another girl got everyone in the cattle cars singing because people were nervous, scared and stressed. And how we used to sing “Build me up buttercup” in the showers. And I realized, it was me. I’m the one who has these moments where life seems like scene out of a movie. I make them happen, not just for myself but for other people. He used that to make himself look good but it was never him, it was me. And I took that with me when I left. LOL

    • ISTL, I have decided I will never marry again. And I’m willing to be on my own, too, but also willing to have a partner. (In fact, at this moment, I’m married.) However, even after marrying again, I’ve concluded that it isn’t a choice I’d make another time.

      Sure, there are some financial pros. But the legal ramifications of not having total freedom to walk away without needing any agreements from a person with whom I’m ending a relationship is real. I don’t want to be this legally and financially merged with another person ever again.

      That’s my own brand of jaded, and I won’t apologize for it. There’s nothing to defend. It’s a reasonable conclusion after the harm I’ve endured that could have been so greatly minimized by the simple ability to unilaterally decide to end contact on my terms.

      Come to think of it, being pressured to give that freedom up is likely its own sort of red flag, or at least an orange one. I’m fine with others wanting to get married if they want, but it’s not for me, and anyone who can’t respect may be a friend, but is not a partner.

      • You brought to mind a couple I know. He divorced his wife (under false pretenses) while he was having a covert affair with a younger woman. They brought it out in the open about 6 months after the divorce (but the whole town knew – amazing how they think their shit don’t smell and that no one is wrinkling their nose.) They’ve been living together for about 10 years now. The woman wanted to have kids, he’s not going to have anymore kids, got snipped soon after the divorce. She wanted to be married. He said he’d never marry again – doesn’t want any financial entanglements…..

        So figure out this one – they will never marry, yet he built a big fancy house, she helped design and decorate and I’m sure put her own $’s as well as her heart into it, they have a meshed “family” phone plan and other bills, and they just bought a condo together… and I’m sure a lot of other financial entanglements where created in their decade together. So what’s the difference? They may not be married, but if either wants to walk, neither is going to be able to do so without lawyers, accountants, and re-written contracts. But she will never have a ring on her finger and another surname to utilize I guess (and will always be known in this town as the ‘home wrecker’ – which she really hates).

        • This is what I always wonder when I’m reading the “stepparents” subreddit and see a stepmom furious that “biomom” supposedly hates her and somehow has the magical powers to make every single human in the geographical area despise stepmom with the fire of a thousand suns.

          Surely those are just the gals who live in a smaller town and everyone knows they helped blow up a marriage with kids? That has to be absolutely awful to live with. And you know she’s never going to take full responsibility for creating *that* life for herself.

          • This is a thing now. Schmoopies deny their schmoopiehood and wonder why everybody hates them. So far folks seem not to have figured out that the wandering dicks deserve contempt as well.

      • I completely agree. I’m not against a partner, but I will never legally bind myself to anyone again, nor will I merge finances or add anyone to a lease or mortgage (or live in a place I can’t afford on my own). Honestly, I’m neurodivergent and need a lot of alone time and like my own space. With a kid, I get precious little time alone and I value what little I do get. Dating would take time away from myself, and might be end up being absolutely awful. I’d be happiest if any partner of mine and I could just be neighbors. At least I need my own bedroom. I’ve found I absolutely prefer sleeping alone.

        My divorce cost me $50,000, and we never even made it to trial (since FW died before our first hearing). NOT worth it. I need freedom to walk away if I need to. I need control of my own money. I’m not losing another home. I’ll have a party, maybe, but no legal marriage. I don’t want anymore kids, so a legal family isn’t important. No one is adopting my son. In fact, one of the reasons I don’t particularly want to date/have a partner at the moment is because my poor kid (age 10) has already been through so much already. I don’t want another person in his life who might walk out on him (like OW did) or leave (his dad killing himself). I’m perfectly fine just being a parent right now. I have friends, I’m not lonely. And frankly I don’t care that much about sex. I could take it or leave it. It usually comes with a person attached and I don’t have the spoons for anyone else’s baggage. And when you’re in your 40s, who DOESN’T have baggage?

        • I think the perfect relationship for me would be if we lived in opposite sides of duplex’s and visit each other a few times a week – maybe. But I would sleep alone.

          • I had a neighbor – a single mom of one, worked in the tech field – met a single dad of two, fell in love, married and … lived in their separate houses four miles apart for the next 13 years so far. He’s over here four or five nights a week, usually with a ladder or tool box under his arm. She likes to cook his favorite dinner in her gorgeous little house, that he helps with her little decor projects or smaller renovations. Both of their kids are teens and prepping to go to college. She’s out of here a couple nights a week, all dressed up to go hang out at his. When I mentioned how fighting about housework allocation was my biggest worry about remarriage, she looked absolutely blank – she doesn’t do housework at his house. It’s his.

            I’d remarry like that. That’s it, though. I’ll never be someone’s housewench again.

        • Being neighbours with a partner is my dream. Or only seeing them half the week. Call me strange and maybe that’s not very nice but I have a 12 year old to bring up, lots of friends and I need my space. I totally agree with you 100%. If someone my age (52) would even consider me as a partners (probably they are chasing 30 year old women) I would need them to be mature enough to understand this and not want me to be their be all and end all. I get this is hopelessly unromantic but it’s how I feel. If someone could be a fantastic friend and now crowd me and expect them to be the ‘love of my life’ great. Anyone who came at me with that schtick now I’d say, yeah really sorry I just can’t actually feel that any more.

          • I agree. Actually, it wouldn’t be bad just to have someone to go on vacation with. Some of these travel things are couples only (river cruises) so someone I could tolerate for a vacation would be great. They could have the remainder of the year to themselves.
            I suspect though that most of the available men in their 50s are looking for women in their 30s. Not sure why. My STBX is in his late 60s and his Schmoopie is in her mid 30s (I am 57). He claims they have so much in common…….

      • Amiisfree, that’s exactly how I feel about marriage. I’m not going to have any more kids, so there is no reason to get married again. We can wear rings or something, but legally married? I don’t want myself OR a partner to stick around one day longer than they WANT to be there.

        • I won’t get married again. Nope. I’d live with someone, but never marry. When I tell people this, the say, “Never say never,” and it really pisses me off. They don’t get it. It’s not that I don’t want to find a partner, it’s just that, for very practical reasons and because of PTSD, I don’t want to become overly financially enmeshed. I don’t want to go through a divorce again.

          Btw, I don’t think that most couples realize that a marriage is a CONTRACT. At 24, I had NO idea.

          I find it curious that x married the AP within a year of D-Day and 4 months after the divorce was finalized. He’s 1. impulsive and 2. needed to make the affair seem legit but, my god, he’d just gone through a tough and very expensive divorce. I don’t get it, unless he believes that she’s THE ONE and that a second divorce would never happen to him. ???? lol

          My divorce lawyer told me that x would probably get “quartered.”
          “What’s that?” I asked, getting a little excited that he meant “drawn and quartered.”
          He responded, “It means: he’ll lose half his money to you and the other half to her when she divorces him.”

          We shall see.???? #karma

    • “Yeah, it sucks. It sucks to see someone waltz in and take the life you worked so hard for. But I realized that I was the one who had made our life good, and I could do that again, without FW.”

      So much good stuff in that statement. Also, for the most part we find out they didn’t take our life they only took his part of that life, not usually the deal they thought they got.

  • The universe is giving you a do over. This is the easiest clean break you’ll ever get. You even get the dogs and no shared custody of them or poor innocent kids. Who knows why folks blow up their lives when all is going well but knowing what I know now, give yourself a year, unload this mischief, keep your life and personal integrity on the up and up, and live your own dreams. No more settling and spackling. Go. Don’t look back. You’re closer to meh because you can laugh.

  • Doggycamqueen,

    I am sure that your lawyer will be able to use information on your Ex’s “dodgy finances” to leverage the best possible divorce for you; you might be surprised as to the lengths that Cheaters will go to keep information like that out of the public domain.

    You’ve got this.

    LFTT

    • I agree, I’m certain FW attorney, a former patient, had no idea he was an addict, all the cash taken from the business account was something FW didn’t want to answer for in trial. I had bought the lies for a while-paid off some business expenses out of our savings, knew something was wrong and had moved some $$ for safekeeping and bought a year old car before filing. In the end I received more just doesn’t feel like it, and it won’t until I sell home or I receive proceeds from life insurance (addict 64yo with 31yo girlfriend ????)

  • I keep envisioning a clandestine pack of cam-outfitted dogs, trained to smell betrayal and ready to film. After a hard day, they play poker.

  • When do we start to spackle?

    “He barely helped around the house, he was a narcissistic, alcoholic, gaslighting asshole. I’m just wondering, is it possible he just truly loves her and never loved me?” And “My ex is also really cute and makes a ton of money (not all legally), which sucks for the divorce.”

    Did the writer know this about him and want to marry him anyway, or did she realize this about him after catching him having sex with the co-worker?

    After D-Day, I certainly saw x in a new light. It was as if all those layers of spackle turned to dust, laying bare the shitty qualities of x and our relationship. I think that when I married him, I actually thought he was a great guy. I don’t know. It wasn’t long after we married that he started to hurt me. That’s when the spackling began.

    I think I spackled for a few reasons:
    1. embarrassment that I’d probably made the biggest mistake of my life
    2. commitment to make it work
    3. confusion about what constitutes a good married relationship (FOO issues)
    4. quick ability to feel sated after getting smaller and smaller breadcrumbs
    5. crumbling self-esteem (I’m not worthy.)
    6. mistaking sex for love (We have sex often, so all is well.)
    7. wanting to keep my family together (Said to myself: “It’s not that bad.” Said to my kids: “He means well.”)

    I could go on…

    Just wondering what others experienced.

    • It’s hard to walk away Spinach when we have so much “invested”. We’re human & hopeful creatures too. And no one gives us a guidebook on marriage & when to call it a day (start giving those as presents instead of doggy cams)!

    • Agree. I kept thinking he was depressed, refused to see anyone, that he was in pain from shoulder injury, would not get surgery, that business wasn’t doing well because VA owed him money

      • My Ex ALWAYS had some kind of emotional excuse for his bad behavior towards me. He worked in the health care industry and used HIPPA rules to exclude me. He’d just say “something happened at work and I can’t talk to you about it.” I respected his commitment to patient privacy. What a laugh. He had no respect for patient privacy, but had all the motives in the world to keep me from questioning his behavior in any way. He always had some excuse to not talk to me, not address issues, push it all on me. And while I so helpfully tried to be the good supportive wife that never doubted him, trusted him implicitly, he was doing all sorts of shit behind my back and openly laughing at me about it with friends and neighbors.

        • My ex was involved in the clean up at the Pentagon after 9-11. He used that a lot as an emotional excuse for years. I now wonder if the things he did tell me about it were even true.

        • My ex husband was an engineer and would not share anything about his work, like presentation or him working on reports, because I wouldn’t have understood anything anyway. But with the OW, he could talk shop and slag people off that they both worked with. Another thing they had in common, and that I hadn’t. Whoohoo.

          • I can relate to this. I had no clue what FW work life was about. I would ask but he said he doesn’t speak about work because “he didn’t want to bring the stress of his day, into the home” when in truth he just couldn’t be bothered repeating himself, since he already shared his day with whoever he was screwing in the office at the time (there were a few young howorkers willing to suck patriarchy dick for a pat on the head or a trinket or two thrown their way.) it was so embarrassing and stressful when people would ask me, the wife, “what is FW doing at work?” or “how is he going at work?” and I couldn’t answer because I was kept in the dark completely. It was a red flag that I failed to see waving in my face.

    • My fw showed some faulty character issues early in our marriage. I confronted him, we talked; he agreed it was not good. In short time he wanted to start going to church, which was what I wanted. He really seemed to be growing up and maturing into a family man. (We married at 18).

      I became very proud of the man he was becoming. He wasn’t of course, he was living a double life, but I can say that up until the last 1.5 year at year 21, he had me fooled in real time. Could I look back and see some red flags, yes; but they were things I could spackle. Things like staying out all night every once in a while. Working a lot of overtime, but not things like theft.

      Only one time did he mention something shady. He wanted to take some money out of his moms account, and he said he would have it back before she noticed. I said absolutely not, she will never trust you again if you do that. And I convinced him that she would know because one she would get a notice of activity on her statement and two I would have to tell her. I said if you want to borrow money from her do it up front and ask her. He decided not to do it. And I am sure he didn’t because she would have asked me about it, we were very close.

      But yes I spackled as we all do. But in this case it reads as if she knew from the get go he was into some illegal stuff.

      I do think that part of whores draw aside from the hot illicit sex was that she matched his penchant for shady behavior much more than I did. He found his level.

    • ????????????????????????????????This and more.

      I’ve recently been trying to help my 82 year old narcissist (sociopath?) lifelong cheating/abusive mother who is has alienated all 7 kids snd experiencing health issues and signs of dementia. I’m really working on boundaries and see and remember so many deep buried painful things she said, which I believe helped condition me to accept and seek abusive men. There’s a list on the internet of statements abusive (narcissist) mothers frequently say to their daughters and I heard all of these daily until she kicked me out at 16 after my dad died suddenly:
      That never happened. You must have imagined it.”
      “I do so much for you, and you never show appreciation!”
      “You should try being more like your [another person]. They’re so wonderful.”
      “Why can’t you just get over it already?”
      “Don’t waste your time. It’s probably too hard for you.”
      “You’re always so busy with your own life that you don’t even think about me.”
      “I’m so tired of doing everything for you.”
      “You’re gaining weight and won’t be able to fit your new clothes soon.”
      “I’m going to have to punish you if you don’t do exactly what I say.”
      “Be quiet. Nobody cares what you have to say.”
      “Aren’t you glad that worked out for you because I helped you?”
      “Stop being so sensitive.”
      “You could have done better on your test if you studied harder like I told you.”
      “Hurry up or I’ll start without you and you’ll be left out of the activity.”
      “You’re so slow. Because of you, everyone has to wait.”
      “Why don’t you like this meal? I worked hard on it. You’re so selfish!”
      “That sport/activity is for faster/more creative kids.”
      “You’re really annoying me. Be quiet!”
      “You messed up your new shoes already. Don’t you care how hard I work?”
      “No offense, but your new relationship won’t last.”

      Etc etc etc ….. horrifying!

    • Yeah but let’s not move right from spackle to untangling the skein (although I know we all need to take a good hard look of what we missed, to avoid it ever happening again). When I tie myself in knots about what I should have done, seen, not spackled over I come back to this…… I am a fairly easy going person who generally thinks the best of people, I would expect to have overlooked some thing as no one is perfect and you take the good with the bad. I expected if he was so totally unhappy I might at least have had a clue about it, I expected if he was close to talking out of the door he might have mentioned it. With a child and my family background I also would have put up with a lot more in order to keep the family unit in tact, rightly or wrongly, and thought it meant everything to him and he would do the same. I think they are pretty reasonable things to want in a partner. And no relationship is without it’s problems but I just can’t make myself feel bad for it. But yeah, look back and and see some behaviour and frankly quite awful that I should have pulled him up on. I am a peacekeeper and happy about it.

      I celebrate my spackle but learn from it.

      • Well said, DGS, ditto for me. I like the values and principles that did, in fact, make me an easy target for a FW. So I am learning a lot about discernment and fixing my picker, but still being true to my optimistic, loving nature. Sometimes I make mistakes with the FW (oops, was that a fresh, tasty kibble I just fed you?), but really, who cares? He and Schmoops will have to live with themselves (poor character development) into the future, and I get to live with myself (honest and kind). I’ll just get the popcorn 😉 .

    • My ex was pretty much perfect until we were married and I was pregnant. Then he started with the “jokes” that were mean and would make me cry. But he’d blame my hormones. He was very involved with our son though, helped a lot with everything, he only slowly stacked every responsibility onto my shoulders over years and years. But the mean jokes were the first clue and they never stopped. Then the bizarre lies I would catch him in where there wasn’t even a reason to lie. Like, what he was lying about was not an issue, it made no difference, he would just lie to lie. I’m trying to think of a specific example but they were so silly…

      It was things like he would say he ate a grilled cheese for lunch while I was out grocery shopping but there had been no bread or cheese in the house while I was gone and there would be an empty soup can in the trash and a soup bowl and spoon in the sink. And like I hadn’t even asked, he just volunteered this lie. But when I’d bring that up to someone and ask, isn’t that really weird? I’d get treated like some idiot piece of shit trying to destroy her family and too lazy to work at her marriage because I’m going to get worked up over a grilled cheese sandwich?! What kind of horrible wife and mother was I?! So I couldn’t even talk to anyone about it and I couldn’t understand it.

      Well, it is weird as shit. Normal people don’t do that. Sociopaths do that. Those were the early signs. But everybody in my family is in the “marriage is supposed to be hard and you can’t just give up on it” camp. I’m from a family of no divorces. But most of them aren’t married to sociopaths so they have no clue what that’s like.I’ve had people who know what I’ve gone through ask if there are warning signs. The lying is my biggest one. That’s the advice I give. If they lie about stupid little things when the truth would serve them better, run. It doesn’t matter if they seem perfect in every other way. It’s fake. Sociopaths lie like they breathe. They lie so much they can’t keep track of all the little lies. If you’re in a relationship with one, you’ll see those little lies. It may seem like they don’t even matter. “Oh, so he said he bought a yellow shirt when he bought a green shirt, who cares?” No. That’s their tell. That’s how you spot them. It IS important. That’s the best advice I can give people to make something good come from my situation. It bothered me immensely when it was happening and I spackled over it. But that was my warning and it made my subconscious absolutely scream.

      • Yes, same here. My first indicated that something was wrong with my ex is that he would lie alot — easily and initially about small things. I used to call him the King of Little White Lies, and he’d tell me I was being ridiculous and dramatic and what he lied about was not a big deal. Then eventually the lies got bigger, and the biggest red flag I ignored prior to marriage was I found out he lied to me about how much college debt he was in. He told me 20K. When we were applying for our mortgage a year before we got married, I found out it was $100K. I spackled big time, reasoned he was embarrassed to tell me (I had almost no school debt because I got a good scholarship to college), and I remember thinking, I love him, we’ll pay it off together. (and yep, we did before we skipped out on me and our one year old for a young co-worker.) Anyway, the lies just continued from there, and he still does it, which makes any attempt at co-parenting tons of fun. And of course no one else sees this side of him, just me, so if I bring his history of dishonesty up (not to mention his affair and subsequent emotional abuse) I’m just a bitter Betty.

        • I’m so sorry you have to deal with it. Sometimes I wonder if it was better that we stayed married for 20 years until our son was an adult or if it would have been better to have that time back. But then I think about co parenting with him and I just shudder. I don’t know which would be worse. You have my respect for being the sane parent.

          I would have done the same thing you did. I would have thought oh, he was probably embarrassed or ashamed. I would have had empathy for him, just like you did. That’s the thing about us, we’re kind people, that’s why they pick us. Getting picked by them sucks but just remember, it’s because you’re a good person. That’s why they go after us. We have something and we are something that they can never have and never be.

      • This was my experience too. At some point, they don’t care if you catch them lying about the tiny stuff. The whole point is to mess with your head, to keep your focus on them (and the lying) and away from their real life and the actual lies they’re hiding from you.

        I stumbled across a book years later that explained him in detail – these mind-messers as “psychephiles” for their grooming and mind games. It’s “How He Gets Into Her Head” by Don Hennessey. So healing – I highly recommend it if you’re a reader.

      • My x did the same. So confusing. I called it “Crazy Making” and later learned it’s a form of Gaslighting and it doesn’t end there. It’s everywhere and erodes your reality & self esteem over time. Absolutely a red flag to run!

  • Or maybe we can move onto mosquito drones, who can bite their cheating asses relentlessly after securing the proper documentation footage.

  • I call foul.

    This reads as one Chump who has their priorities askew.

    Two doggies, two houses, impeccably decorated lake house, ‘really’ cute husband who earns a ton of money (not all legally). Add to it your recognition that he never helped around the house, is a narc, alcoholic, gaslighting, asshole. Then, your awarenes that his infidelity had ‘probably’ been going on a long time until you discovered it in your own home.

    I’d say this one simply ran the clock. This is a textbook fix your picker example if there ever was one.

    • Um, I’d say anyone reading this site is/was a fix your picker candidate. Just because she has 2 dogs and 2 houses her priorities are askew? My ex cheated on me for 17 years, it wasn’t until the last year of it that I had any suspicions. Now, in hindsight, and with the help of therapy, I can see his abusive behavior for what it was. Perhaps her views on him now reflect her new perspective on who he is.

      • An older CL article is was dedicated to us chumps who over compensated in other areas of our lives to make up for our shitty
        Marriage.

        I believe MR.CHUMPLADY had about 80 varieties of roses.
        I had horses, dogs and chickens.
        More than a sensible person would.

        So, the way I see it – the chump was subconsciously filling her life with things in order to self soothe. It’s a way of coping or sparking.

        Looking back I see it for what it was.
        In the midst of my marriage no affection or verbal abuse caused me to go buy another saddle .

      • The fix-your picker element for me is the fact that her husband made money illegally, and her only articulated concern was she wouldn’t get much of it. She seemed okay with his immoral behavior when she benefited (a cute lake house) but not when she suffered (a young mistress). She is a victim, and she has a values problem. She cannot fix him, but some self-reflection might help her in the future.

    • Yep. I am not in the all chumps have faulty pickers camp, in fact I would say most chumps are not in that camp. But, this one clearly is.

  • “How can someone just move on after 12 years, marriage… and act like you don’t exist?” Easy. My xFW was diagnosed with dismissive-avoidant attachment disorder & therefore, he felt no attachment to me beyond usefulness & that’s how he easily swapped me out for the AP. I wonder how many are out there like my xFW?? I’m willing to bet the farm that’s pretty much all the FW’s presented here.

    • I agree that there are many, if not most FWs like that.

      In hindsight I could see my value to him in building the family guy image, and working in the community building his brand.

      I suspect the plan was to treat me so bad in the last year that I would kick him out and file. It didn’t happen as before that happened, someone dropped a dime and his con job blew up in his face, and of course mine.

      My fw drove his life into a ditch and though I didn’t realize it for a while, I was so lucky to escape before he completely destroyed me.

      She did not get the prize she thought she was getting. But, she did get a meal ticket, and that was what she needed.

  • One of my daughter’s high school friends was across the country celebrating with her bachelorette party, wedding was scheduled for a few months out, reception paid for. Attorney bride to be checked on their pup and saw him bringing in someone to their condo for f**k fest.
    Family had a big party instead of reception celebrating discovering the truth before marrying the asshole cheater. She moved near family & friends in same state.

  • CL has made an excellent point about people being morally shady in one area are frequently shady in other areas.

    I can admit this now because I have gotten stronger with years. My ex was a manager for Marriott at one of their hospital cafeterias. I was aware he was pocketing cash people paid for ice and other small items not in any inventory. The $5 per bag added up. There were also bottles of booze folks paid for for catered events that were half full that made its way to our home. Yet he fired a minimum wage chef for trying to take a xmas ham home to his family that was on its way to the garbage bin.

    All this and cheating on me.

    I became ashamed that I had allowed this movement/crossing of my ethics borders and have tried ever since to not allow them to be crossed or moved.

    • My ex used to shoplift at grocery stores. I didn’t know until after we were married. It started with grazing. Ok, a grape, I get it, you want to know if the grapes are good. But candy out of the candy bins? Please stop, that’s just stealing. Then he’s stealing saffron because he’s offended it’s so expensive. It was completely humiliating. When our son went through a little shoplifting phase (and got caught by his aunt and nipped that in the bud real quick), I was out of my mind pissed. It was humiliating, it was a bad example for our son. He did not give a shit. He would do it discreetly and then be eating candy in the car on the way home and laughing at me for being upset. It’s funny now because I kept trying to explain to him why it was wrong and why he needed to stop. And he was just this stone cold sociopath doing way, way worse things than stealing candy and spices. But I thought, if I can just make him understand… LOL It’s not that he didn’t understand, it’s that he didn’t agree.

  • My ex husband took trash-bag to our second home (beach house), too. He thought he was so sneaky. We had been married for 20 years, and , at first, when I found out, my soul was crushed.! How could he take her to our special, loving place that we had so many good times at?
    Fast forward through months of heartache, really stupid pick me dance activities, and depression. I finally woke up from the fog, and got angry! I decided there was no way in hell trash- bag was getting MY beach home!!
    So, I strategized, sent my son to college, then silently moved there the day after I moved my son into his apartment.
    I played the game of -we just need some time apart-, but secretly learned how long I had to live in a home for it to be considered my residence. I Immediately switched bills into my new address, changed my license and voter registration, and the countdown started. He thought I was still playing the pick me dance when he was served with divorce papers (at trash-bags quick stop she works at).
    I got the beach house in the divorce settlement, and I do not regret it!!

  • UPDATE FROM DOGGYCAMQUEEN:

    Hi all! I was the original writer of this post. I first want to say thank you to ChumpLady and ChumpLady nation for helping me get through the worst time in my life.

    I also want to apologize again if this came off arrogant or shady. I was 8 weeks out from the most traumatic event of my life. It was hard to breath, let alone articulate thoughts. I had read a lot of ChumpLady and looked up to her witty, sarcastic, sense of writing and tried to emulate that in mine. Unfortunately, I don’t think I hit it on the mark. TO CLARIFY – I was not aware his finances were illegal until after. My NOW ex husband ran a marijuana business and I came to find out that not everything was legal. I found that out about 3 weeks after DDay.

    It has been a hard year. I worked diligently for a settlement. I basically named a number that I wanted. My lawyer explained to my ex husband that he would need to pay the said number or they would do a forensic analysis of his business and subpoena his partner. That was not blackmail, as his business was part of our marital assets. Of course, he didn’t want anyone meddling in his business, so he complied. He now has to pay me $150,000 + 3.5% interest. For the next five years, he will split up the payments and pay me every New Years Eve. That was the cherry on top of the cake. I hope his resolution is to be a better person each year. Doubt that will happen.

    I have been in therapy every week since May 2021 (DDay). I realized that growing up with an alcoholic, workaholic, father, contributed to my lack of boundaries and self love. I tolerated, speckled, made excuses, every chump thing you could do. I did that, because that is what I watched happen in my parents relationship. Basically, I was under the impression, if you love someone, you allow them to come back when they f*ck up or treat you like sh*t. I always had a gut feeling I shouldn’t marry him, but after 12 years together, I couldn’t pull the plug. I realize this is part of my journey and a huge lesson I needed to learn. You guys have helped me do that.

    We got divorced in December 2021 and my dad passed away in April 2022 (only a few days before the anniversary of DDay). To say this year has been hard, is an understatement. However, I will say that the pain of his passing, did not come close to the pain of intimate betrayal. I found a quote that helped me be ok with that.

    Wether you lose someone because of death or abandonment, the severing is painful and takes time to heal. A workshop member from Manhattan, experiencing both types of loss, describes the differences:
    “Death severs you from your loved ones with a scalpel. It’s a clean cut; it leaves a scar, it’s maybe even an amputation. But abandonment is more like shrapnel exploding inside, affecting all your internal organs. It creates damages that ooze and fester and take forever to heal.”

    Technically my dad abandoned me too but he had demons and was an alcoholic. It was easier for me to process. He didn’t intentionally hurt me like my ex husband. He didn’t maliciously go out of his way to drop a bomb on my life and replace me/lie to me.

    Very long update but thank you. I am doing so good. I feel strong, empowered, and thankful that I went through this. I thank the universe daily for how I found out, how he treated me after, and how he picked her. I have received a huge promotion at work. traveled to new places, and made amazing memories with my friends and family. I will continue therapy and “fixing my picker” – all thanks to you guys. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the update — that’s a metric ton of mightiness. You commandeered a great settlement and have had to bounce back from two huge losses. Big ((hugs)).

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. Sounds like you are definitely on a path to meh (and to a much happier you!)

    • I just posted and then saw your update. Just curious is your ex still with the 23 year old twit? I’m guessing no unless she got pregnant.

      • He is still with her. They bought a puppy 2 months in and he bought a new house – he moved out of the lake house. I have heard she is pregnant but stopped the “pain shopping” over a year ago so I have no idea. Would not surprise me at all. His mom did check in with me and told me she has not seen or talked to him in a year. She said she is disgusted with his behavior but is his mom so is still trying to reach out, she thinks he is too ashamed to face her. So he alienated his family and moved a few hours away with his schmoopie. I could really care less if they are together forever – they have the same morals and shitty character – match made in hell.

        • It would have wasted less of my time had FW in my situation stayed with Schmoops instead of dumping her on D-Day and dragging me through the RIC fiasco for a period. In the end I don’t think he dumped her out of love for me but because of the optics. There was no way to reconcile her ticky-tackiness to the high fallutin’ industry he was in, his Ivy League colleagues and partners with their tasteful wives, etc. Someone in a more earthy or casual industry might have tried to spin the affair as “twu wuv” to throw good money after bad but doing this would have sunk him.

          The one highlight of RIC bs was the “full disclosure” part of it when, in a rare spree of honesty, FW barfed up all sorts of embarrassing details about the affair and AP. Oh. My. God. Shriek, guffaw, ew. It showed what kind of life he would have had if he’d gotten stuck with her. Because cheaters and APs tend to be pretty cookie cutter, I think random other chumps could borrow FW’s generic disclosures to get a picture of the life of joy and happiness FWs face if they throw themselves into that swamp. It’s the greatest punishment ever.

        • I would guess your ex isn’t really ashamed more like doesn’t want to deal with any blow back or critique. I hate to hear when two dipshits decide to get pets together. Feel bad enough for her kid and possibly the one they had together. Pets/kids tend to be neglected by these sorts. You took the high road, left him, divorced him and moved on. The OW will more than likely not be so accommodating when her time comes and it will come. They rarely go quietly.

    • Not arrogant or shady AT ALL. I certainly didn’t think so. You managed get a few LOLS in there in a horrible time. Also, you were well on your way to MIGHTY when you wrote that – keeping head that way.

      • I agree with Dudders. DCC, you don’t owe anyone any apologies. Especially not here. Congrats on your progress. Many/most (probably all) of us spackled and stayed with some real dirtbags for years. These FW’s are all shady, and they manipulate and gaslight and deceive us chumps into many things that fall far outside of our values and comfort zones.

        I’ve always worked hard and am not a big spender, but I invested fifteen years of money and time into building a life with an abusive FW and did not get the house — or literally anything — when I left. I’m starting over from scratch, and it sucks. Currently, rent and basic monthly expenses eat up my entire salary. And yet, it really bothers me when people give other chumps who are more fortunate/financially stable a hard time, as if their pain doesn’t count. I do think that financial and housing stress adds to the challenges we face as we recover and rebuild, but we all got screwed over by FWs, so let’s show some compassion and solidarity. I didn’t get the judgment the first time this letter ran, and I don’t get it now.

        • B&R, when this was first posted, I got the impression she was bragging and being a bit smug about her two impeccably decorated residences. I was wrong, but I can see how others would think the same. It seems she was trying for a breezy style and it just didn’t come off as well as it should. She certainly doesn’t owe anybody an apology, but the explanation is still good to have. It’s good to be reminded how first impressions can be wrong and that we should give other chumps the benefit of the doubt.

    • Such a great update…so many nuggets of wisdom in here:

      – What you discover before AND after D-day is why you lawyer up… get your ducks in a row and a bulldog lawyer, don’t tell the Fuckwit a thing.

      – Healthy people don’t fuck around on their partners/spouses. They exit relationships transparently and appropriately. CL is right… if they bounce right into the next “relationship” it is impression management. Go no contact.

      – You’ve gotta do some work on yourself before you “get back out there” (if you choose to get back out there). Sometimes it is FOO issues, sometimes your picker needs a fix. Take the time you need to heal. Be the sane parent (if relevant)… joy will return #promise

    • I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, but glad that you’re moving forward! Life does start to improve when you break the trauma bond.

    • Yeah!!! Congratulations!!! You did it mamma!! I’m so proud of you!! Keep on keepin on and enjoy your new life! Hugs to you on the loss of your dad. #????????

    • I love this so much…
      “Death severs you from your loved ones with a scalpel. It’s a clean cut; it leaves a scar, it’s maybe even an amputation. But abandonment is more like shrapnel exploding inside, affecting all your internal organs. It creates damages that ooze and fester and take forever to heal.”

    • Hey, don’t feel bad, I’m not a “perfect” chump either. But those “perfect” ones often seem to never heal while those of us who will look at our faults and admit the reality of the signs (even if we didn’t recognize them for what they were at the time) and how we spackled and admit our own fault seem to heal pretty well and thoroughly. It takes time but we get there and we grow. I’m glad you’re in that camp. And I’m sorry about your dad. Thanks for giving an update, I’m glad you are dong so well.

    • “Death severs you from your loved ones with a scalpel. It’s a clean cut; it leaves a scar, it’s maybe even an amputation. But abandonment is more like shrapnel exploding inside, affecting all your internal organs. It creates damages that ooze and fester and take forever to heal.”

      This is spot on. I remember telling a friend that it would have been easier if he had died, not that I wished him dead. But then I would have had to accept the finality, and I wouldn’t have wasted my time hoping he would come to his senses.

    • Wow, what an incredible update. Thank you for that quote about losing someone through death vs. abandonment. My dad passed in the fall of 2019. In summer of 2020, my ex told me he wanted to leave after we’d just bought a house. I don’t know for certain about physical cheating, but there was absolutely an emotional cheating component for him. I had wondered why the grief over him was so much harder than over my dad. I’ve saved that quote (and texted it to my ACoA/Al-Anon sponsor).

      My dad was also an alcoholic. He was effectively dry for his last ~30 years, but he raised me with that dry drunk temper. I knew he loved me, although our relationship was always complicated. Btw, Adult Children of Alcoholics has been incredibly helpful for me (and honestly, what I credit with the whole “knowing he loved me,” part).

    • Congratulations on your settlement and I’m so sorry about your dad. My mom died while I was getting free of FW, so I know it is way beyond stressful. That is a great quote about the different type of grief you feel when you are cast aside. It’s true.
      Onwards and upwards you go, Doggycamqueen! Thanks for the update.

    • Nothing to apologize for, I thought your letter was hilarious. We make all kinds of excuses for shitty FW behavior when we’re with them. Glad you got the settlement and I hope you got at least one of the houses (or that they were divided fairly).

  • My ex definitely has the “thrill of getting away with it.” He also has the added thrill of fearing discovery. Both of those states in equal measure. And he definitely needs to be “the puppet master.”

    Once the secret was out to me, he lost control over me and the thrill was gone.

  • My FW was awful to his (newly widowed) mother. His father had passed suddenly from a heart attack so it was a shock to everyone. His mom needed so much support and we always got into a fight whenever I suggested we visit her for the weekend (“but what about me? I also need my weekends, I want to go out, who visits their mother on the weekend?” he would whine on)
    It was not my cup of tea to visit my grieving devastated MIL over the weekend. but she needed it and she benefited from the support. I considered her as family and I did for her what I would do for my nearest and dearest.

    You can always tell how they will treat you, based on the way they treat other people in their lives.
    In my case, this was always a red flag for selfishness of FW (I mistakenly attributed it to “immaturity” although we were the same age). and it exploded in my face

  • Please contact a CPA immediately to discuss filing your taxes separately (married filing separately). Sign an engagement letter (contract to hire) before saying anything about your situation other than “I need to consult with you on an issue that relates to my divorce.” This establishes privilege. LISTEN To the CPA before you say much. Let them ask questions. Ask your attorney about “clean hands” in regards to how information about any possible financial misdeeds should be handled. Please please do this. The financial disclosures required for mediation and/or trial must show that you are not involved in any of his shady activities. Disclaimer: do not consider this professional advice as I do not have full knowledge of your financial situation.

  • I would love an update but first to address the “maybe he/she really loves him/her”. Not in this type of scenario. I’ve seen this scenario many times and the cheater seems to be enamored with the AP, even sometimes marries the AP but I’ve never seen the marriage last. Lots of impression management is conducted by the Owife and she gets dumped in the end. The AP is new and if you look back I’m sure he zeroed in on you at the beginning as well. Right now he feels superior to this 23 year old twit with the toddler. He’ll grow tired of her soon enough but I’m betting she gets pregnant, if she isn’t already since this is an older post, and then he is stuck. Of course he may pretend to the world that this is just all fine and dandy but he’ll be miserable.

    • I agree they rarely last.

      Though fw and whore stayed married until his death. I pretty much knew he would, as he was not going to admit what a mess he made, though it was clear to every one.

      And she needed that meal ticket.

      But, I know the highlights of how it went and it was quite literally a fucked up mess. cheating, gambling, bankruptcy, fw tried to con his own son. If he could eke out a few minutes of happiness in that mess, more power to him. I am pretty sure that when he was in the height of his gambling he was happy.

      Then he tried religion and studied for a bit to be a preacher. That didn’t work out. I am guessing she wasn’t as good at helping him with the con that I unwittingly was.

  • I’ve learned that everyone is a replaceable prop to these people, including partners, children and pets. Once you stop seeing the person for who you believed they were or wanted them to be, along with ourselves and our role in the relationship, it’s easier to understand that their infidelity was just another symptom of how dysfunctional they are.

    Fuckwit put on a convincing act about caring for our pets (and about his character in general), but he didn’t give a crap about them anymore than he does anyone else. I’m happy that he didn’t even attempt to fight me for custody of them.

    • I became increasingly more jaded… maybe one day but it’s hard to imagine. The more stories I hear, the more I am doubtful…

  • What I find most interesting and valuable about these ran-before columns is the way my perspective shifts based on where I am in my chump recovery journey.
    This letter writer does not come off especially sympathetic. She’s kinda smug, kinda judgey, kinda shallow.
    But something else jumped out at me this time: cherished outcomes.
    She had cherished outcomes for herself and her partner. They were going to be the high school sweethearts (but not the annoying kind!) that made it. They were going to be the “it couple” with the lake house and the trappings of money and success. I wonder if her partner was invested in these outcomes too, or if she was driving the train and he was just haplessly along for the ride.
    Now clearly this is a story I’m telling myself because of the cherished outcomes I had in my relationship with the Lying Cheating Loser. Those outcomes, and appearing to attain those outcomes, were more important to me than the actual state of the relationship.
    (That’s where the spackle comes in.)
    I was driving the train. I had selected the route, the destination, and the timetable. The LCL was a hobo riding the rails, who hopped on my Cherished Outcomes Express.
    But what CL says is true: fuckwits tend to be dishonest across the board. The LCL was a shitty partner in myriad ways – it’s not like he was this loving, supportive, hardworking, invested boyfriend who unfortunately had this minor little issue with truth and fidelity.
    And had it not been for my cherished outcomes, I might have faced facts (and tossed him off my train) a lot sooner.

    • Please read my update. I did not mean to come off smug and I am not shallow. I was trying to add a hint of sarcasm and it came off in a bad way. Try to cut people slack when they are in the depths of hell and devastation.

      • I thought your letter was good and clear and your humor made it easy to read and painful all at the same time. I learned about my ex’s affair after she ran away from home and tried to hide in his apartment. I am pretty sure he was not the only one because 1 week after she came home one of her kids tipped me off to smelling smoke in the house. The kid said her mom smoked when she gets stressed. That was news to me so I went looking for cigarettes and found marijuana. Once confronted the confessions of prescription pain pills, then pot, came out along with the confessions of walking through an apartment complex across from her house looking for people, men, to sell her pot. One year later, 3 months after the divorce was final, I got a letter from the IRS and learned that she cashed out some investment money and gave part of the cash to the man I affectionately call the parasite. Honestly, DoggyCamQueen, you did a great job on the letter. I still can’t keep my shit straight and as I’ve tried to tell my sister, I’ve lost track of time trying to figure out how I could be so stupid as to marry someone like her. Days are like weeks, weeks months and months years for me right now. I’m glad you are moving forward with YOUR LIFE and not looking back but learning from what happened. We should all be so lucky one day.

      • DCQ, this re-run of your letter reminded me of just that. We do need to try harder to reserve judgement of other chumps. I got the same impression the first time around and I most heartily apologize for voicing it aloud at the time. That wasn’t right. I should have been more understanding.

  • This is probably my favorite CL response of all the great CL responses. I personally can relate to many of the nuggets of wisdom.

    If they cheat in one area of their life they will cheat in other areas.

    Image management means that any outward sign of their happiness and success is not to be believed. That is why no contact and blocking is important.

    They get off on sneaking around, on the betrayal. Once you are gone you have taken that away from them.

    Leaving them shifts the power dynamic – Do it, leave them.

    • “Once you are gone you have taken that away from them.”

      Not to untangle the skein, but I doubt this is true in most cases. They just move on to the next victims, as though shuffling the pawns on a chess board. Or the paterfamilias, Rome circa 16 BC, mixing and matching receptacles.

  • I didn’t have the life I thought I had.

    I can’t have the life I want with Traitor Ex.

    I now have an opportunity to create the life I want, with whatever is left of it.

    The first thing on the list is a life free of lying cheating thieves and bullshitters. I would not describe a cheater or a side piece as childish, because I don’t want to insult the children I actually know who are light years ahead of them in terms of emotional maturity, empathy, kindness, and have working moral compasses.

    Except for my daughter, I regret losing half of my life to a con artist who held me hostage by deceiving me about his true intentions and conduct, who ripped off my informed consent and brutally emotionally assaulted me with the help of his hired hitwomen.

    The cosmic consolation prize is that I have some years left to have what I what, and have it be real. That I will be building it, without a phony partner who enjoys stabbing his so-called family in the back, and it can be solid and true and genuine.

    Self-esteem comes from doing esteemable acts. That’s also where success and happiness come from, not some secret sexual double life that betrays and wounds the people you pledged allegiance to.

    • “Except for my daughter, I regret losing half of my life to a con artist who held me hostage by deceiving me about his true intentions and conduct, who ripped off my informed consent and brutally emotionally assaulted me with the help of his hired hitwomen.”

      ????

      “Self-esteem comes from doing estimable acts. That’s also where success and happiness come from, not some secret sexual double life that betrays and wounds the people you pledged allegiance to.”

      ????????

  • My ex was obsessed with accessing the dark web about 6 years ago. I was so trusting back then and thought he was just curious about it because there are so many youtube videos talking about the dark web and we fell down a rabbit hole of watching them for a while…for fun/curiosity I thought. Turns out he was using it to look up prostitutes on escort sites and to covertly talk with his coworkers about hacking into the email accounts of top executives at the company he worked for at the time (a huge big box retail chain.) I didn’t find out about the hacking until a few months ago, but I was so pissed when I found out about it because his coworkers were computer programming majors and he was just the random dude along for the ride. From what he told me they actually made substantial progress in getting into the accounts and were able to read some of the emails but not save them or get them out to the media, but because of his coworkers’ backgrounds, I strongly suspect they were going to make him the fall man if they got caught, because they’d know every single angle to take as far as covering their tracks electronically but my FW didn’t have as much knowledge about that, so he would have been the one with the evidence on his phone and laptop. As for the hookers, he claims he never hired them, but I don’t believe him because he NEVER had money back then even though I paid 90% of our bills, and I found countless directions to weird addresses in neighborhoods where hookers are known to be in his Google maps account. I definitely will be keeping my eyes peeled for dishonesty in other areas of life when I start dating again. It really is a strong tell as far as how willing they are to be unethical in other areas of their life, including cheating.

  • Doggycamqueen, this is terrible, but at least you didn’t have children with this person. I hope you get a very good settlement.

  • One thread through these comments that really bothers me is the demonization of the OW. The spouse/partner who cheated is the person who made the vow to you. Period. Not saying that the other woman/women are paragons of virtue BUT….. Many of them are trauma victims (as some commenters have noted) and who knows what BS the Glassbowl was dishing up? Mine was very very smart and incredibly charismatic. Bottom line- the cheating (decision to cheat, etc etc) is ALL ON THE CHEATER. Focusing on the “cheatee” sounds like something from the cheater’s playbook. Put the fundamental blame where it belongs- on the person who broke their promises to you.

  • It’s the first paragraph that leaves me shaking my head: “We had a great relationship, we went to high school, college together and had been working to support each other as young professionals. We weren’t those annoying “high school sweethearts” We each had a life of our own, friends, hobbies, etc. We just loved each other’s company and had passion for each other. We have two dogs together and purchased two houses. The most recent was a beautiful lake house that I decorated impeccably, lol. It looked like chic Martha Stewart meets Midwest Lake house vibes.” The cognitive dissonance after having caught this guy with the doggycam is off the charts.

    One of the first signs that a chump is mentally leaving a cheater is mental revision of this description to include: “Looking back, my belief that we had a great relationship shows how little I knew my husband and how little I paid attention to the clues that he is a bad guy. We went to high school….”

    And finally, I suppose there are high school sweethearts that live happily ever after. But beware: you were using the picker of a 15 or 16-year-old.

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