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We Had a Good Life — Why Did He Cheat?

Dear Chump Lady,

I come to you as perplexed and heartbroken. When you think about how many people experience this kind of betrayal, it is really a sad thing. I had been with my soon-to-be ex-husband for almost six years. Despite his two children from his first marriage, (and another child he found out about during our marriage that was 4), I always maintained a confidence and proud disposition regarding my marriage to my husband. He was charming, funny, and we just seemed to really enjoy each other’s company. A year into our relationship, he proposed, and we were married a year after that. Fast forward, we had a daughter who will be one next month and just purchased a home.

On D-Day, I finally decided to check the phone bill when he wasn’t answering my phone call or returning home. I saw a number — and not just once or twice, but all DAMN DAY LONG. I called the number. A woman answered said number and declared her name. I asked who the fuck she was. She hung up.

I spent the next hour dissecting every text and phone call on that bill, and when I realized it had been going on since December, I literally screamed. And began bawling like crazy. In the midst of my bawling, I also got out every possession he had in our home and put it in a nice big pile in the garage. I texted his apparently Very Close Friend and told her to let him know that the jig was up and I knew what they were up to. I then left a voicemail on cheater’s phone instructing him that his things would be in the garage and he would be hearing from my attorney soon.

That was that, in my mind. Not only had he been cheating for many months and very blatantly, I completely carried us financially. He makes pennies because of all his other child support. The deception and cheating on top of the money made it a very easy decision for me. That being said, I am struggling with several things. Why? Why didn’t I get to yell and confront him? Why would he leave our really wonderful home, life, and daughter to shack up (and as I would find out later, impregnate) a woman who has 7 kids already?!??!!

How did I not KNOW??? I am not a stupid woman. I just made the stupid mistake of trusting my husband. I believed his excuses and really felt it was something I was doing to make him so upset. When in reality, he was purposely picking fights with me to leave and validate his behaviors. Disgusting. That being said, Chump Lady, will I ever recover? Will I trust again? It’s all so daunting. I really do feel like he died though. The person I thought he was died the moment I discovered how deceptive and cruel he was. I mourn that man I thought I knew. What can I do to get answers to these questions? I know the answers don’t matter, but they float around in my brain at night.

Relieved but Human in TX


Dear Relieved,

You are only ONE month out from D-Day. ONE. And you threw the motherfucker out. You didn’t pick me dance. You didn’t ask him for reasons why. You didn’t read a hundred save-your-marriage books on Amazon. You didn’t go to a therapist who asked you to own your part in his being a cheating, abandoning fuckwit. No. You packed up his crap, righteously placed it in the trash, and THREW THE MOTHERFUCKER OUT.

A standing ovation here from Chump Nation. Well done, Texas. Well done.

And now you’re standing there in the wreckage, with an infant, wondering what the hell happened to your life. You’re untangling the skein of fuckupedness. Why would he do this? What made him into this sort of person? How did I not see what was happening? Untangling the skein is a coping mechanism and frankly, it’s a rather useless one. The fast track to healing is no contact, not analysis. Just stay out of his orbit, communicate through lawyers, and get support to help you through this terrible time.

I know you want to untangle anyway. Sort through that wreckage, look for the black box… Untangling the skein is an expression of grief. It’s going to take awhile to accept what happened and who he really is. But I’ll answer your questions anyway.

Why? Why didn’t I get to yell and confront him?

Because you’re smart. As you said, the jig was up. There was nothing to be said. In that horrible moment, you had clarity. Don’t wish for the fog that comes in on little chump feet. You spared yourself the mindfuck of his excuses and blameshifting. There is zero satisfaction in confronting a cheater. Either they stare at you contemptuously and derive kibbles from your sobbing, or they mindfuck you with faux regret and you start seeing unicorns.

Texas, you confronted him with consequences. That’s the only confrontation that matters.

Why would he leave our really wonderful home, life, and daughter to shack up (and as I would find out later, impregnate) a woman who has 7 kids already?!??!!

Implied in this question is the assumption that he should recognize a good thing when he has it. That being wonderful is some defense against being chumped. It isn’t. I’m sure his first two children and wife thought they were wonderful, and it wasn’t enough. It’s not about the other woman, if she’s a train wreck or if she’s a National Merit Scholar, it’s about CAKE — having the respectable face of married normalcy, AND an extra portion of affair kibbles. It’s about gaming the system to his advantage.

And Texas, he did not LEAVE your wonderful home — you threw his ass OUT of it. He’s with this other woman because parasites need a host.

You wanted to believe you were special. Instead, you were of use to him. It’s not that you’re not special or deserving of love, it’s that he’s a user.

How did I not KNOW???

Every chump asks themselves this, Tex. To answer this question, I must balance not blaming the victim with acknowledgment of red flags.

Let’s start with not blaming the victim (you). It’s difficult to imagine things we would never do. Here’s an example from my own chump story — when I married him and moved to another state for his career how did I not know that he was cheating on me the whole time, had a mistress of 20+ years, an assortment of other affair partners, and a grown-ass kid? Answer? Because I’m not a sociopath. How on earth could I imagine that host of horrors? It boggles the mind.

We project our moral world view on to others. I don’t have a double life, so I assume other people, especially those nearest to me, don’t either. Chumps tend to think of themselves as rational, intelligent beings who make rational, intelligent choices.

You projected your values on to a man who did not share your values. Sure, he may have pretended to, which takes us to the red flags. We can’t control the fact that sociopaths walk among us, we can however, use our powers of discernment and fix our pickers. That means going forward, paying attention to character as it is revealed through actions over time. That means healthy skepticism and having boundaries with users.

So, you were married six years and dated for two. At some point a four-year-old child emerges. Was that during the period he was with you? Or his first wife? Did at some juncture did it occur to you that he was a cheater? How did he explain that child away? This is a red flag of Communist May Day March proportion. So is his willingness to let you shoulder nearly all of the financial burden.

Texas, red flags are not excuses for being chumped. No one deserves to be chumped. It’s never okay, and it’s never excusable. I’m pointing them out so that when you’re scanning the wreckage of this marriage, you focus on the things you can change — YOU, and leave off the things you can’t — HIM.

Will I ever recover? Will I trust again?

Yes, of course you will recover. (The pain is finite and stops on a Tuesday.) It’s early days still. Be kind to yourself and resist every urge to reach out to him. A guy with two other kids, and one on the way, is someone I suspect won’t want to be too involved in your child’s life. I hope he leaves you the hell alone and you have full custody of your daughter.

As for trusting again — the only thing we take away from betrayal is what we learn from it. You’ve learned that you are MIGHTY. You threw that motherfucker OUT. Your mightiness is even deeper than you ever imagined. You’ll parent your little girl and will be a great role model to her. She’ll never eat shit sandwiches, because her mother knows her worth. We don’t get guarantees about other people, but remember, that for one cheating asshole, there are going to be at least a hundred people on this thread alone who will lift you up. Their goodness and the goodness of those who truly love you outweighs the damage of one aberrant cheating asshole.

You want to trust again? Trust your resilience.


Another rerun because my Aunt Joy of Your Walls Will Sing fame is visiting me!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Another perfect response from Chump Lady. This chump is actually doing everything right. She just doesn’t know it yet.

  • Chump Lady, your clarity is everything. You’re an amazing thinker, and thank God for your voice. It was way overdue in our society.

  • “We can’t control the fact that sociopaths walk among us”.

    It took me a long time to realize the disordered nature of my ex-FW. I loved him and he remains popular with his family and friends. But when I think about the scariest movies I cannot bear, it is the sociopath holding a child hostage. A cheating spouse/parent is always aware of the stakes which keep chumps from calling them out and holding them accountable. It is despicable and cowardly behavior requiring a stealth response and then no contact.

  • There was one particular skein of fuckedupness that I literally wrestled with for TEN FUCKING YEARS…why why why did he do this particularly bad thing in this particularly mean and cruel way?

    The entire time, I projected and assumed certain levels of decency in him and continued untangling.

    It wasn’t until CLs Trust That They Suck essay that the smoke cleared and I realized that he did that particular mean cruel thing in that particularly mean way because he sucked THAT much.

    The specifics dont even matter…apply my words above to whatever sickness you are suffering.

    • This is it … right here: “I projected and assumed certain levels of decency in him ….” It took me such a long time to recognize that he didn’t conform to those basic standards because they weren’t HIS standards and had never been. He was just doing what was in his nature to do. The high regard I held him in were based on my assumptions and projections, as you say–there was never really any “there” there.

      • In hindsight it’s clear cheaters have different standards. But like CL says about non-sociopaths being unable to understand sociopaths, I think the reason why it often takes so long to recognize this is that it’s tough to catch the early signs that FWs have different standards when, in response to situations in which other people so terrible things, they seem deeply offended. I’ll never forget the sulky pout and morally scandalized tone FW had when he told of how his childhood best friend’s ex wife cheated on his friend with another friend. His voice cracked. He so obviously personalized it as if it had happened to him!

        The thing about double standards is that the most visible half often seems acceptable and normal. FW and I both shared a genuine terror of being cheated on. In fact, I think his terror was greater than mine for whatever reason. He just didn’t share my sense of horror over the idea of *being* a cheater.

        Go figure. To this day it doesn’t compute. It’s like watching the assassin who’s about the kill you crying over a fallen comrade. I think it’s way over the pay grades of normal people to wrap their minds around psychopathic mental processes like “selective empathy”– how someone can appear deeply capable of putting themselves in other people’s shoes but then completely withdrawing empathy when it suits them as if they flipped an on/off switch. I know selective empathy is common among racists and class snobs who may show heartfelt concern for family and peers while simultaneously designating and treating others as subhuman. But the latter tend to avoid hanging out socially with the targets of their bigotry, much less marrying and breeding with them. Cheaters seem to operate more like political moles or financial scammers who nestle among their targets and conceal their agendas for long periods until they spring their traps. That’s a whole separate level of sick fuckery requiring a whole separate level of cold bloodedness and stomach for witnessing human suffering up close.

        Considering how common cheating and considering how chilling the basic mechanism of it is, it’s a wonder that more people aren’t committing more extreme acts of criminality. It has to all boil down to consequences and cowardice or just whimsy. If they’re not also committing armed heists or, say, bringing down democracies, it’s just due to lack of balls, skills or access, not principles or the limits of conscience. To me, that’s the added reason why it takes so long to recognize what we’re dealing with: moral terror from a close brush with the essence of human evil. Even if its expression isn’t on an epic or gory scale, the potential for this lurks and can be sensed.

        • “I think it’s way over the pay grades of normal people to wrap their minds around psychopathic mental processes like “selective empathy”– how someone can appear deeply capable of putting themselves in other people’s shoes but then completely withdrawing empathy when it suits them as if they flipped an on/off switch.”

          This is SO bang-on! One of the most grotesque aspects of his behaviour was how he became the absolute White Knight for the OW because her mother was ill during the affair (still an affair, I guess, as the OW is still married, although this all blew up over 5 years ago and we’ve been divorced for 2 years)–rushing to be by her side every time she was stressed out or sad, and telling our kids that he thought he was “an empath” (laughable) because he felt her grief so profoundly and was suffering along with her. Of course, he had started secretly seeing her “as friends” for coffee dates while *my* mother (his mother-in-law, who had been ridiculously good to him) was actually dying, and his coldest, most un-empathetic behaviour emerged once she had died and *I* was grieving and having a really hard time. While I was back in my hometown in the aftermath of her dying and trying to get all of the funeral arrangements and estate arrangements wrapped up (in less than a week, which is what I had for bereavement leave–lol–that was fun), he could barely spend 10-15 minutes on the phone in the evenings checking in, and could not have been more distant or impatient. And I could never figure out what the eff was happening–how did my best friend turn into this a-hole who couldn’t even be bothered to ask me if I was doing okay, even though I’d made it pretty clear that I was struggling and wasn’t able to pull myself out of what was probably a state of depression. It was exactly as you say–the flip had been switched on for her, off for me.

          • “telling our kids that he thought he was “an empath” (laughable) because he felt her grief so profoundly and was suffering along with her.”

            That is indeed laughable. Mine played the white knight for his whore as well. He’d rush to her to comfort her for trivial complaints. Personally, I think their empathy is almost entirely performative, not genuine. They use it to kiss up to others and make themselves feel like splendid people. That’s why it’s so easy for them to shut it off. Genuine empathy isn’t like a tap that you turn on and off at will. It’s a deeply ingrained character trait, one they do not possess.

        • “I think it’s way over the pay grades of normal people to wrap their minds around psychopathic mental processes like “selective empathy”– how someone can appear deeply capable of putting themselves in other people’s shoes but then completely withdrawing empathy when it suits them as if they flipped an on/off switch.”

          Absolutely. I remember FW crying as he listened to a Phil Collins song about being cheated on. Yet not a single tear for my agony. I think they can only empathize with people who, for one reason or another, they consider to be like them. Such people become extensions of their own ego and thus deserving of the same extravagant pity they lavish on themselves. Also, it’s easier to empathize with people you aren’t personally responsible for hurting. Empathizing with your own targets opens you up to facing what an utter shit you are.

          • “I think they can only empathize with people who, for one reason or another, they consider to be like them.” Hmm, never thought of it like this but maybe racists and classists and bigoted “ists” in general are more prone to cheat and cheaters are more prone to be any of those things. Once the selective empathy switch is installed whereby anyone or any group can be “otherized,” it could have any application. I’d like to see the peer reviewed study on that.

            • “I think they can only empathize with people who, for one reason or another, they consider to be like them.”

              That’s chump thinking, what the FW’s feel isn’t like the empathy chumps understand. I think that what pulls the FWs together is more like religion or tribalism. We feel good when we see someone agree with us on deeply held beliefs, as in politics or religion. The FWs cheer each other on, but aren’t empathetic when one of them falls.

              Overall, I think that the FWs are living some story where they’re some epic hero. They “love” those who confirm that story/self-image of theirs, whether its the AP who treat them like revered heroes, flying monkeys who agree with them, or artists/politicians who help build that story. Obviously great heroes are entitled to chump support. But there’s hell to pay if that chump seems to disagree with their greatness. The “empathy” they have is only what is in the story.

          • “I think they can only empathize with people who, for one reason or another, they consider to be like them.”

            Me too, OFFS. I came to see that was the case with my ex, but only at the very end. I agree with HOAC that this can be a red herring for genuine empathy — which is super dangerous and confusing for chumps.

        • Makes me think of how often cheaters explain the nature of their relationships with OW as “helping” them. A couple of my exes seemed surrounded by needy women that they were valiantly assisting. I felt vicariously put on notice not to need “help,” i.e. expect adult commitment, and to not take advantage of their moral largesse. They think they’re great guys and given that in both of these cases, their approach with me seemed helpful and generous, I thought they were too, at first.

          • Yea, Cheater tried to get me to feel sorry for OW because she had been CHEATED ON. He genuinely didnt connect-the-dots that he was CHEATING ON ME. They were in two luv and she was his Schmoopie.

          • I actually brought this up when I was sucked in by the RIC. I asked if he had some kind of complex for damsels in distress because he claimed all these women NEEDED him to coach them in their careers and relationships and grief and you name it. He had to be the white knight giving them a shoulder to cry on and then conveniently their legs would spread in gratitude. And his response in counseling was that I was “too independent” and didn’t NEED him like all these other women did. The counselor blinked and said me to me “What do you say to that?” I said, “Well, it’s a shame he wasn’t worried about my independent nature when he was saying what a great Navy wife I would make because I could handle things myself and didn’t crumble when he would go for weeks or months at a time. That was one of the reasons he said I was a perfect wife for him. Now it’s his excuse for bedding all these other women?” It was then suggested that I should ask him for help more. I shit you not.

            Klootzak helps others as part of his image management. It’s all to make himself look like a Good Person. It’s pure self-interest. I help people to help people. I don’t project that onto him anymore. I know better.

        • I think you are onto something with this, HOAC. And to your point: David Brooks’ latest Opinion (snort) is titled “How Do You Serve a Friend in Despair?” Where was that compassion when he wrote about betraying his wife, and in doing so betrayed his own sociopathy with assertions like, “Yet if the whole transition is going to be managed with any dignity, the person being left has to swallow the pain and accept the decision”?

          See CL’s UBT of “Leaving and Cleaving”; it is even worse than I remembered!

        • I think it’s exactly that, that the process of ‘othering’ people which I think is really narcy – you’re either on their ‘team’ and useful to them or you’re not on the team and you’re the enemy and therefore they are justified in doing whatever they want to you, I think it’s called splitting.

          • I guess organized splitting = racism, xenophobia. Mass evil is when people try to dress up their psychosis as something good and justifiable and join forces with others with the same tendencies.

    • I felt all of this very strongly. Some of it was my pride: I couldn’t accept that my judgement had been so bad that I’d yoked myself to a well-educated, well-dressed, well-spoken ground feeder! I ignored every red flag going, from the start. I wasn’t only making excuses for him, but for myself. The truth was that my picker was all over the place 26 years earlier. Therapy has helped with that, in every part of my life.

      • 100% relate. Me too – I ignored all the red flags as I was part in denial but also heavily under his spell. Scary as hell.

  • RbHinTx,

    You are doing far better than you think you are, and your comment about “mourning the husband you thought you had is very perceptive.” The pain will subside in time, but I’d recommend that you avoid making your forward progress (and you are moving forwards) on either an apology from him (it won’t happen, and if he does apologise, it’s because he wants something or is trying to manipulate you) or understanding why he did what he did (you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to understand cheater logic).

    You are starting on a long and frustrating journey – navigating a divorce and co-parenting with a FW both suck – but you’ve got this.


    • I’ve started thinking that maybe it isn’t all bad to untangle the skein. Blasphemous, I know! It’s because I think the skein isn’t all that complicated: I had something he wanted, so he took advantage of me and took it. He didn’t care if it hurt me. It benefited him. There. Untangled! It only becomes complex when we try to come up with alternate excuses for their behavior.

  • Great response and a good reminder for all chumps that untangling the skein is pointless, that we mistakenly project our values onto those who don’t share our values, and that cheaters are users. We aren’t at fault. We didn’t make the cheater cheat. It’s not about us, although they try to make it about us.

    These low-lifes open chapter 1 of the cheater playbook and grab the most popular mindfuck moves: engineer arguments, blame, gaslight, minimize. They say that we weren’t perfect either as if their only problem was a lack of perfection. *sigh*

    This chump showed strength in kicking him out right away. #badass

    Have fun with Aunt Joy!

  • Chump Lady: “A guy with two other kids, and one on the way, is someone I suspect won’t want to be too involved in your child’s life.”
    Me: You left out the “four year old”. This loser (will) soon have five children by four women…and counting.

    • Yeah, that stood out as a huge red flag to me. He had “found out” he had a 4 year old? More likely he took off upon learning of the pregnancy and the mother had to find him to take him to court for child support. I doubt very much a guy like that was fully meeting his obligations to those kids. He was probably spending his money on schmoopies, hookers, and fun times (as FWs tend to do) and letting the chump pick up the cheque for his lifestyle.

      It just goes to show you how effective these sickos are at bamboozling chumps. She didn’t question a highly suspicious story like; “I just found out I have a four year old and you’ll have to pay the bills because child support.”

      • Right – and I think we need to question absolutely everything when we find out we are dealing with a liar.

        Everything down to their actual name, where they grew up, what their family is like, if/where they went to school or worked, if they were/are married or have kids, how much money they have, how they spend their time… it’s all probably a lie.

        All you can know is that you don’t actually know anything about them.

  • Relieved, you are mighty! I am sorry for what you are going through, but that standing ovation is deserved. Chump Lady, your response is brilliant as always. I couldn’t stop laughing at “the fog that comes in on little chump feet.”

  • I’ve never wondered “why” about him.

    I’ve wondered “why” plenty about myself, not to blame myself but to see where I should have gotten out of the clown car and stayed in it instead.

    That inquest has yielded plenty of useful information. I have two incredible therapists, one current and one former, with whom I speak regularly, who have been on my pit crew since 1985 and know him well. The objective is to learn what I can from this experience to benefit myself and my daughter. I did not cause and cannot cure or control his cheating but I can say I had a role in choosing and staying.

    I have recently read some chump posts here dismissing the value of a good therapist. I can say I would be very likely dead or in jail without mine. I don’t cut my own hair, perform surgery on myself, or work on my own teeth or my own car. I do not have wise emotionally healthy relatives. Friends are not trained objective mental health professionals. There are good therapists and bad ones and mediocre ones. I have a doctor for my body and one for my mind. I have benefitted these many years from the assistance of trained objective mental health professionals and I am forever grateful for what they have taught me and to continue to teach me. If it’s not for you, I respect that. But there are people who have been helped immensely by two very good ones in that field and I am one of them. The two women therapists in my life are my wise elder guides and I needed to seek them out because there were none in my family.

    • I, too, have benefitted from a very good therapist. She saved me.

      There are times when I crave a “tune-up session,” but I stopped going in part because of the cost ($200/session, no insurance coverage).

      • Same here. My therapist pulled me back from the brink a couple of times and I’m so grateful to her. My life is better now but I still wrestle with self-doubt. I have had one “tune-up” in the past few years, which was extremely helpful, but can’t afford another one ($220 here). Luckily, I have a BFF who is always there for me, even though she’s halfway across the country now, and our marathon phone calls are a lifesaver.

    • For the record, he lied to them too, which contributed to the length of time I stayed with him.

      Like any con artist worth their salt, he has a very friendly, easy going Nice Guy persona that he puts a LOT of energy into maintaining. That charming thing is what kept me
      confused for so long. Truly good people don’t maintain secret double
      lives, lie, and knife people in the back.

      Counseling obviously doesn’t work if you lie, and therapists do not have X-ray vision with which to detect secret double lives and can be duped as well.

      I wish I had the ability to be as clear and decisive when the Big Lie was revealed as our letter writer. It took me a couple of months to snap out of it. When he got up and drove away, my feet stayed right where they were despite the pain I felt. Current therapist assisted in extricating me and fired him for lying. She was my private Chump Lady, walking me out of the hostage situation and keeping me Krazy Glued together.

      Anna Salter PhD wrote a book everyone should read about her pioneering work studying sex offenders. She found that people greatly overestimate their ability to tell when someone is being deceptive. There is only so much we can do offensively. The real protective skill to develop and hone is the ability to walk when dishonesty becomes evident. I dismissed integrity breaches because they seemed minor. I now regard minor ones as indicators of bigger ones.

      Quality people don’t get involved in illicit relationships, and quality people in committed relationships don’t lie and cheat.

      • “Quality people don’t get involved in illicit relationships, and quality people in committed relationships don’t lie and cheat.”

        Exactly. Cheaters aren’t quality people. “Trust that they suck.” And don’t let bad actors determine your worth.

      • Velvet Hammer: Are you referring to Salter’s “Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders” book?

          • Purchased and 2nd in my queue.

            An important thing I worked on in therapy was my misunderstanding that gut instincts and red flags were the same thing. Gut instincts are warnings from myself; red flags are warnings from others.

            There were no red flags in my relationship with FW before they flipped the behavioral light switch, but there were several episodes of gut instincts that I had filed away under “??”. Originally, we thought FW was going through a rough patch, but once the dimes started dropping, and we realized these were long-standing behavior patterns, my therapist and I revisited all the gut instinct episodes and came up with an exit strategy.

            I walked away as soon as I could in that relationship, and walked away even sooner once I got back into dating.

      • Velvet Hammer, thank you for that book recommendation. I’m going to get a copy.

        I’d chime in that everyone should read The Gift of Fear (and its sequel, Protecting the Gift). I’d skip the domestic violence chapter as it can be problematic. But over all they are excellent guides to spotting the social tricks that predators use to ‘hack’ good people’s behavior and use social norms against us.

      • “He lied to them (the counselors) too…” sounds familiar. As I’ve probably mentioned a few dozen times, I went through FOUR rounds of RIC MC’ing with my now-ex. He lied to every single one, FOR YEARS OF WEEKL SESSIONS, as well as to his own individual counselor for over a decade! I hear that he still sees that counselor… no idea why the counselor hasn’t fired him as a client… but no longer my circus or monkeys.

    • I love hearing when people find good therapists. There don’t seem to be a lot of them out there.

      I watch a woman on YouTube whose first book detailed narcissistic abuse at the hands of her disordered mother. She said the helping professions tend to attract sadists and sociopaths. I couldn’t agree more. The incompetent ones or downright harmful.

      • Maybe a Fun Friday Challenge ? “Batshit Crazy Therapists and the Things They Say and Do” or some such.

        • “Batshit Crazy Therapists and the Things They Say and Do”

          YES!!! Thank you, NCFZ. I think this is a wonderful suggestion for a Friday Challenge.

      • I was a psych major at 19, at UC, and on track to become the cliche fucked up therapist. I dropped out and three years later made getting my own head screwed on properly became my priority. I do not know how successful that project has been. I can say I genuinely care about being a decent and healthy person and that it’s a work in progress. I am always learning.

        The expectation (which I had going in) is that those in the mental health field have their own shit basically together. The mental, psychological, emotional, moral, ethical health of the professional in the mental health field is subject to examination unlike most other professions. But I do find that a consideration, and the two women who have been my therapists are people I respect and trust and admire (and love!) because of who they are in their personal lives, not just because of their academic training.

        I chose Traitor Ex when I was 27. I thought he was a good guy, honest, willing, open-minded. Between my blind spots and my rose-colored glasses, I missed a lot of stop signs.
        But I never thought of him as being in the same league or at the same level as these two wise women mentors, so why did I stay with him? I guess because I thought it was enough that he was such a nice guy. The Nice Guy thing, which I did not realize was manipulation, made the stop signs even smaller and harder to see.

        I learned just now that Burt Bacharach died. I bought tickets to see him back in 2017. Traitor Ex bailed on the evening, claiming he had to go on a business trip. We all know what that really meant. I ended up taking my daughter, who was ten. We had a great time and this morning talked about how we were really glad we went together.

        That’s one memory rescued from the ash heap of my mirage.

      • I had a TA that said the same thing years ago. I believe he used the term “nutcases” and how so many were attracted to the psychology profession. Again it was many years ago. Plus therapy has become a big business, just look at all the marketing commercials. Doesn’t make you put much faith in the profession when it’s all about raking in the dough. That being said there are great therapists out there that legitimately want to help.

        • And now one can Skype or FaceTime a therapist ! So much for privacy. Plus full body language cues are informative.

    • Twice a week, and now once a week therapy for 3 years and counting definitely saved my life. I’m 63, with a lot to analyse. I was lucky to be paired by the counselling body with the perfect therapist for me. It’s one thing I am very, very grateful for. I reduce other outgoings (and it is often a financial struggle) to keep this going.

    • My therapist helped me decide to leave. Chumplady and Chump nation helped me through unsteady, wavering phase when I was under heavy gaslighting. I’m so thankful for all of the above.

  • RbH in TX
    You are mighty. Repeat it to yourself when having a wobble.
    I Am Mighty!

    Mourn the 6 years you’ve wasted on a loser. But look forward to the rest of your life free from a loser. Hug your daughter. She’s your reason to continue to be mighty. Don’t give that FW free rent in your head any longer.

    You have drawn the battleground go win the war (your freedom).

    Hugs to you x

  • It’s very sad to read these broken hearted chumps who are now living in reality with pain and regret.
    But some of us here had marriages that lasted over 35 years. It doesn’t matter how long we were married when we discover our spouses weren’t faithful to us. The pain is just as real. You sound like a strong woman and you will eventually come to realize your daughter and yourself are so much better without the toxic person.
    It will take time but your young enough to start over one day with someone who is deserving of you.
    Stay strong 💪🏻

  • Oh how I resonate with this letter (and not just because I’m also in Texas).
    The Lying Cheating loser is the same kind of sociopath as Tex’s hopefully-now-ex.

    Hobbled by child support, he was content to let me carry the financial burden of our joint household. He was charming and funny and we really enjoyed spending time together (or so I thought).

    Sadly, I was less resolute than Tex. My D-Days were legion, and so were the OW.

    I did finally dump him, and am now coming up on five years of cheater free glorious life, complete with singing walls.

    There was one particular skein I couldn’t seem to stop trying to untangle: me vs. the myriad OW. I literally researched each one I knew about, to determine whether I was “better.” It was of vital importance to me that I be “better.” I wished bad outcomes on not only the LCL but on all the OW.

    Because if I got a good outcome (and I did, once I left the cheater) and they got bad ones, then I was “better”, wasn’t I? That was a measurable marker of my worth.

    See where I’m going with this? So many of us chumps never learned that we have intrinsic worth. By virtue of being humans on this planet, we are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.

    I had a critical mother and grew up hustling unsuccessfully for my worth. This set me up for choosing emotionally unavailable love bombers as partners.

    And when you subsist on random, scant, and sporadic kibble rations, it’s easy to develop a scarcity mindset. There’s not enough kibbles to go around, therefore it’s important I be “better.”

    It’s a mental hamster wheel where I spent entirely too much time and energy.
    Also, it doesn’t feel good to put other women down just to elevate myself. Even if they’re OW.

    As CL says, focus on the thing you can change – YOU. That’s the one skein worth untangling.

    PS. By my use of the word “hobbled” I’m not implying anything negative about child support. It’s every parent’s duty to support their children.

    • Well said!
      What struck me most about our mighty Texas was that she completely trusted her first gut instinct and immediately separated herself from the FW. Her strength and resolve to protect herself and her child cannot be understated!

      I too discovered my ex’s secret double life by reading texts and looking at the phone records. It never once crossed my mind to do anything other than leave, even after almost four decades of marriage. In that moment of discovery, everything about our relationship became a damned lie. The “why” no longer mattered, though I too spent endless days trying to unravel it all. Until I didn’t anymore.

      So proud of you, Texas! You are mighty as hell!

  • When I tried to explain to my mom that my STBX was diagnosed as a dismissive-avoidant with narcissistic traits, she said to me, “in other words, an asshole”. I started to patiently explain what the psychiatrist said in his report, but my mom interrupted again, “an asshole is an asshole you don’t need a psychiatrist to tell you that. You fell for fool’s gold & you won’t do that again”.That’s when I stopped untangling the skein, because she was right. It didn’t matter at the end of the day why my ex is a fool’s gold asshole, he just was one. I hope the OP untangled herself from her own fool’s gold asshole.

      • Thank you OHFFS, my mom definitely cuts through the bull! She sometimes grates with her tone, but I do eventually realize & appreciate her for being down-to-earth & real. I got my sappy side from my dad (hence the marriage to the AH) & he romanticizes relationships. My parents are divorced now because he sought “true love”. He’s found it & lost it a few times and still looking for it 🙄

  • Best wishes you and Aunt Joy! What a delight. 🙂

    “He’s with this other woman because parasites need a host.”
    This really helped me today. I am 11 mos out from DDay, divorced 3 mos. I struggle more than I’d like with the fact that this OW just stepped right into my life! My husband, house, even church. Just insert head into blender!!! But this is right. Disordered person/parasite lacks the courage to be alone, coupled with $hitty character. Parasite actually needs therapy and courage, but instead settles for new host organism.

    • My X had an affair with a friend of mine. We all attended the same church. Kids grew up there together. Now? Ex-friend/AP is the only one attends. Her ex-husband no longer attends. Neither do I. Way too painful. Especially when it appears the church and former friends are re-embracing AP. Losing my faith community has been almost as painful as X’s betrayal. I feel your pain.

    • This is so true. FW decided to move in with OW because he had let our home fall into such disrepair it was unlivable. OW thought that, after four years, FW was finally committing to her (we were still married and in the middle of our divorce). She was over the moon that they were setting up house and making a little family. But FW admitted in one of our hearings with the magistrate that he was only moving in with her because he couldn’t afford a place on his own… Poor OW (NOT).

      She lasted all of 4 WEEKS in the same house with him and then left and fled the state.

      FW couldn’t handle being alone, wasn’t expecting to be dumped like that and so had no one lined up, and ended up taking his own life a few months later. Parasite with no host (I wasn’t volunteering to return to that role, even though he started reaching out). I think one of the reasons he started the affair is because he recognized that I was getting wise to his abuse and might be headed towards leaving HIM. Sort of a “you can’t fire me because I QUIT” attitude.

      He wasn’t the sort who took time for reflection between relationships.

  • I get wanting to have a conversation where you tell him off or a screaming match to get shit off your chest, whatever, but while you think it may have been satisfying in your head it would have left you even more frustrated. Throwing his ass out immediately was the best move. It may be worth your while to have sole custody (sign off his rights) and forget child support. You’ll be ahead of the game financially without this bum and your child would only be disappointed again and again throughout their childhood. He hooked up with a woman that has 7 kids and got her pregnant…looks like the karma bus has hit.

  • It’s kind of like Texas had been unknowingly brainwashed and trained as a Manchurian Candidate assassin and, when attacked by a band of evil henchman, found herself standing over a pile of broken thugs and had no idea where she learned Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’m sure it’s confusing but it beats thinking you’re a badass and then suddenly finding yourself in RIC therapy with a cheater and having no idea where you learned the ancient suicidal art of spackle (and then spending the rest of your days wishing you’d done what Texas did, give or take a bit of stealth lining-up-of-ducks before hand).

    I keep thinking of Friday challenges lately and today I thought it might be very edifying if people who did make the mistake of personally confronting cheaters after D-Day would write out– word for word and gesture for gesture– how that interaction went as if it was a movie script. It could act as a standing warning for anyone who was either thinking about confronting a fuckwit after D-Day or who regrets not having done so. I’m sure the takeaway would be “There’s only a few ways this will go and none are good.”

    • That first D-day, klootzak walked in while I was crumpled up on the floor with his 2nd phone after reading texts and seeing emails and photos. I remember finding it. I remember collapsing to the floor, wanting to vomit. I remember shaking and grabbing my own phone to take photos of his treachery lest he deny it. I remember him walking in and finding me there. I honestly don’t remember the rest of that day. I don’t remember what if anything I said to him or what he said back. It wasn’t a confrontation as much as it was him finding me in the middle of my discovery. I know that I didn’t care that he would find me looking at it all. I remember wanting out and not knowing how. I remember later that week talking to friends and to my priest friend. I remember trying to sort out how to leave and realizing I was stuck. And I remember deciding I couldn’t just divorce without attempting counseling. But my mind has blanked out the confrontation. And I guess maybe I’m grateful.

  • THIS- “how did I not know that he was cheating on me the whole time, had a mistress of 20+ years, an assortment of other affair partners, and a grown-ass kid?

    Answer? Because I’m not a sociopath. How on earth could I imagine that host of horrors? It boggles the mind.”

    Thank you Tracy, for cutting through the BS. I am in the process of listening more carefully to the voices inside my head & evaluating whether they represent truth or BS.

    Texas, you were mighty!

  • Could have written this letter…
    This is what I have finally come up with after years of asking “why?”
    People who are self loathing, are uncomfortable with happiness. They will sabotage and blow it up, and leave behind the collateral damage, (us, kids, extended family)
    They prefer a world of chaos, which to the rest of us makes no sense, but I firmly believe this is true.

  • I’m pointing them out so that when you’re scanning the wreckage of this marriage, you focus on the things you can change — YOU, and leave off the things you can’t — HIM.

    Yep, I can only control myself and reactions to what others do. Work on yourself, be there for your child, and forget about them. I can tell you thinking about them gives them power in your life they do not deserve.

  • The real tell is that the FW didn’t try to hoover. He didn’t beg or cry or Promise to Change – apparently he just got his stuff and kept on trucking. Why? Because he already had his next victim and his next landing spot lined up. He left the LW in the dust just like he left his first wife and his other three (that we know of) children behind him.

    This sort of person goes beyond your average selfish, emotionally stunted cheater who wants kibbles – this is a disordered person who PREFERS deceit and serial relationships, and ENJOYS leaving wreckage in his wake. LW, you were smart and lucky to get away from him.

    (And for learning to trust, I can’t give better advice than The Gift of Fear does – when someone is “charming”, remind yourself that you are BEING CHARMED by them. It’s a behavior.)

    • “when someone is “charming”, remind yourself that you are BEING CHARMED by them. It’s a behavior.”

      Great point. That stuck out to me, too, that she described him as charming. I won’t have anything to do with people who ooze charm. I’ve spotted predators upon first meeting them many times. Sadly, even those good instincts did not protect me. FW had no charm and was an awkward nerd. He seemed completely harmless.
      I wish there was a foolproof method of protecting oneself from expert liars.

        • Yeah, even experts can be fooled. I now operate on the basis that if something feels off, even if I can’t pinpoint what it is, I’m probably being lied to. I did have that nagging feeling early on in my relationship with FW. I thought it was because I was getting over another toxic relationship and had lost my ability to trust. I listen to my instincts now rather than what people say. I did have one guy I went out with a couple of times after FW. I sensed something off with him as well. Then he inexplicably ghosted me, which did not surprise me. I was relieved not to have to break it off.

      • When I was caught in a mass of angst and tears and confusion, someone said to me, “When you are ‘confused’, someone is ‘con-ning’ you are you are ‘fused’ into them. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

      • #OHFFS,
        Yup my FW was funny and charming. Gift of the gab, I thought it was his Irish heritage. My narc parents were grandiose, controlling, critical, very different in nature. So my Narcy FW I truly thought was safe, he has OCPD as primary mental disorder, I discovered in 2019. I knew something was off and stumbled across it. Into safety, super intelligent, conscientious, fixing stuff, taking care of me and the kids. Saw control issues, but thought it was because he cared, lol. He clicked with everyone he met. Thought he was just a friendly person because with men too. If women got the wrong idea it was their problem, he wasnt leading them on, he was just a friendly helpful guy, because he came home to me. He picked me. I thought I was lucky. Boy oh boy how wrong I was! We did not have the internet as a young adult, so you wouldve had to go to the library and take out alot of books to understand Narcs. Nowadays there are articles, blogs, you tube videos, Psychologists, victims, ect. The info is now readily accessible. So yes, when people are friendly, helpful and charming I am weary.

        • That’s a good point, Chumpo. When many of us met our FWs there was no way to get information on these types of disordered people. Now it’s everywhere.

      • Yes, I will never be able to trust another charming man! I was so in awe of how he could work a room because I’m not that way. He always said the right thing, was always even keeled, he was a great listener and made people feel good. He’d remember details about people, followed up and always made it about the other person. People loved this guy. He never talked about himself. He was also a complete people pleaser.
        It scarred me so much that even a female friend who is very wonderful – always says the right thing, always gives compliments and is an extreme people pleaser… makes me nervous (but she knows it and is working on that part).

  • Relieved… you’re killing it.

    On a Tuesday, you’ll look back and give yourself a lil pat on the back for your bad-assery and how well you’ve handled this shitstorm.

    It takes bravery and self-respect to recognize when your boundaries have been crossed and to enforce consequences. Despite the fact that you did a textbook job reacting to your STBXH’s betrayal, your heart is still going to ache with the loss of the future you envisioned for yourself, your daughter and your family. But the courage you’ve expressed in one month tells me that you’re going to be A OK. Stay strong. You’re not alone <3

  • This happens because of deep flaws within them. It’s horrible that there are untrustworthy people out there, but the best thing you can do with that type is to get away from them. To some extent, figuring it out is impossible. You were duped. You are a kind, hopeful person, making it hard to understand.

    I had these discussions with my divorce attorney who treated me like a big brother would. He encouraged me to maintain my own dignity and kindness while pushing for a good settlement. A friend encouraged me to view it as an opportunity to be “better, not bitter.” So I did.

  • Dear RbH in TX,

    You are amazing. Be proud of how you handled the cheater. I also threw a cheater out 3 days after discovery, but he returned 9 days later and I only wish I had been able to keep him out after that; it did me a LOT of harm to let him back in.

    Keep moving away from the cheater, stay no contact as much as possible, and I wish you all the best in your cheater free future.

    • I did that. Let him come back at the three month mark. Caused me even more damage. Luckily in less than a week, I told him to leave. He didn’t give me any guff, because he knew I had the paperwork stating I was in control of the house until the D was final. I would have called the mayor (his boss) had he given me any grief.

      In our state letting them come back after a legal separation is in place, does not change the status of the legal separation. I cleared it whit my lawyer beforehand. My lawyer likely knew it wouldn’t last.

      I just simply gave him another chance to punch me in the gut.

  • Get a pit bull lawyer if you are the higher earning spouse. In my state, being a woman does not exempt you from having to pay alimony or child support, or having to give up half your assets to him.

    • Case in point-the comedian, actress and now talk show host Sherri Shepherd. She has to pay alimony to TWO ex-husbands. First one (father of her son) is a cheater and the second withdrew too much money from their joint account without discussing it with her.

  • This is so sad, and I can relate. Everyone said I made FW so happy. It was both our 2nd marriages and apparently he was very unhappy before. He was everything, kind, generous, financially, successful, a great stepdad, I could go on and on.
    Until he started acting very distant. Every time I asked if everything was OK he would say that everything was great and I worried too much and that he was just a quiet guy. When I thought things were really off, he talked about jewellery he wanted to buy me or long away retirement plans. Then pouff, Dday – he was having an affair with a colleague, married with children. He was going to swap up my children for hers and swap me out for the 15 yrs younger married OW. He even suggested buying the house from me, so that he could move them in (eventually)-The fact that it was ‘eventually’ was supposed to make me feel better.
    Yesterday people were talking about how awful it is to have your life blown up because of cheating compared to the loss of your spouse by death. It reminded me of what I read below a while ago and I know there have been poems written as well.
    Not to diminish losing a partner through death, but I know many of us feel we would’ve been better off with that loss.

    It made me think of a Friday challenge idea.
    If my marriage had ended because of death I would’ve had… But it ended because of cheating so I got… or some variation. Or maybe it’s too depressing for a Friday challenge!

  • OMG I hope she got full custody. If she makes more than him she could end up paying that MF child support AND lose half her time with her precious child. And have to deal with him for what will feel like eternity. Fight like hell for that baby.

  • My FW told me at one point that he took a personality test at work and scored ZERO on empathy. I was surprised that it was 0, I assumed it was low. You need 0 to low empathy to commit crimes, and fuck people over. They are good actors. They know something is wrong with them, and have learned by observation how normals act and mimic it. Its all play acting to manipulate and get what they want. We make the assumption people are inherently good and excuse away the bad behavior. Looking back we see it. But our mirage is important to us.

  • I have to admit that at my first dday, I kicked the motherfucker out immediately. Similar to OP, I had found 4-8 hours a day of phone calls and pages of texts per day to one particular phone number on the cell phone bill spanning 5 months time. I screamed at him the whole time he was packing a duffle bag. However, he was out of the house and staying down the road at his parents’ house for about 2 days, and my pain was so excruciating that I called him to talk and get some answers to try to give him an opportunity to explain/apologize and stop my pain. And explain/apologize he did, and my scared/shocked/traumatized ass let him come back home… She was a business acquaintance 17 years his junior who lived 2.5 hours away, so when he swore he had never touched her or even shaken her hand, I believed him as that sounded plausible in my mind. I could get over it as long as he didn’t fuck her. I mean, I felt like I HAD to get over it seeing as the Bible only allows for divorce in instances of 1) abandonment of an unbelieving spouse and 2) adultery. I couldn’t divorce for texts and phone calls. Several other phone record ddays later, which were coming on quicker in succession, the Final Dday came with me frantically driving to a hotel where his phone location showed that he was for an hour and seeing a hooker exiting the building. After that happened and everything imploded, he finally admitted he was in fact fucking the 24 year old girl from the first dday SEVEN YEARS prior. Hooker was debatable, but he finally admitted to fucking somebody, so there was my Biblical justification. So bravo, OP! You are bad ass! Not all of us could do what you did. I have no doubt you and your daughter are thriving in your FW-free life!

    P.S. I did divorce his ass immediately after the Final Dday. He gave me everything after a 15 year marriage in exchange for his child support amount being set at about half of the state guidelines. Been divorced 1.5 years now and doing great considering. Just wish I made him stay out after I kicked him out the first time!!

  • Dear Human,

    Oh God. I started crying reading your post. I wish I could help you.

    Here is my help. Whatever you do- don’t contact his stupid ass. I cringe in mortification at the times I had male friends call the Human Scab. The fake profiles I set up to monitor him. You understand- I was a fool. If you want to contact him…to understand the burning sickening why of this pain …remember that he does not think he is wrong. We seek relief from the person who stabbed us.

    It is so fucked up, but real. We want them to make it better. They can’t or won’t.

    It will seem like I have a financial interest in Delta 9 products but I don’t. I just know this: I wish to GOD that someone had told me about these products when I was going through this. I actually enraged at people who saw me drowning and never told me about this mental help.

    I am not sure if it is because I am obsessive, or clingy or weak…but I had an incredibly hard time moving past the discovery of the cheating. My brain chemicals were caught in a loop. I need a knock in my brain – like a needle moved on a broken record. I was incapacitated with grief.

    Delta 9 is OTC legal and it lets you view things from a distant, at 30,000 feet. You feel calm. You feel like: OK. I can do this. If that is not your thing, go to a psychiatrist and get some medical help because….this is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

    I can’t stress it enough. When the pain was so great, I started dabbling in pain killers. Because I have a doctorate and some ties to a lab, I even ordered some of the base chemicals from China. Can you believe it? I did it and they hid it in a sheaf of documents. I could have died. I used to get high and pass out. Like really high.

    I would wake up and for a brief moment, I would forget. Then I would remember. And I was so fucking STUCK and broken.

    Please get help tomorrow. Make the appointments today. Or vape stores carry Delta 9 or you can get them organic online.

    But let me tell you the good part, the cream in the middle of the cupcake.

    Do you know where the Human Scab is now? County Jail. One way or another, these pus buckets end up fucking up their lives. That character catches up with them. Believe me- he will cheat on this fucking cum dumpster- – if he is not already. I would bet my Mercedes on it. And I don’t bet.

    Medicine. No Contact. NONE! No social media pain peeking/seeking. Lots of sleep. Frugality. Get fucking serious about money. Exercise. Time spent with Others. Spoil yourself rotten. This is no reflection of your worth, beauty, sexuality, or desirability.

    I don’t know you, but I am rooting for you.

  • I hope the OP is out and living her kickass best life now without the cheater. In the very early days, I tried to untangle things and even went to the RIC counseling with FW. That lasted about six weeks. I just could not believe that I was really to blame for him cheating and supporting another woman. Thank God, at that time I came upon Chump Lady and this community! After reading everything I could, I knew it was not my fault that the FW cheated. He just wanted his cake and a pussy buffet. He sucked. I knew I could not change him because you can’t control anyone other than yourself. So instead of serving cake, I served him divorce papers! His reaction to that made me truly realize that he SUCKED!!!
    OP you are a bad ass!! You realized he sucked right away and gave him the boot right away. I hope you stayed on track and are free and being that sane supportive parent for your baby (well probably not a baby any more).
    I am divorced for a little over 2 months now after a almost 19 month battle. FW ended up having to settle and I ended up with everything I wanted and even a bit more. FW is now telling everyone how I took him to the cleaners. Nope, not the case, the Schmoopie and the hookers are taking and have been taking his money. I only got what I deserved and was entitled to.
    The early days were the worst, there were times when I thought I would not make it through but I did. I am just thankful for CL and finding this great community of sane chumps who shared their stories. This helped me so much and getting through this.

  • Anybody who is in early stages, it takes awhile to be ok. Even if you’re doing everything right and kicking ass, it takes some time. What you want to work on is acceptance. You have to accept the reality of who they are. I read a lot of books on personality disorder and at first it was about trying to understand but then I realized I’m not going to understand this. Just like I’m never going to understand serial killers who rape their victims corpses. I’m never going to fully “get” that but I can accept that they exist and it happens.

    So eventually it shifted for me and I’d be reading about psychopaths or personality disordered people and I’d see the traits they shared with my ex and I’d think wow, he really is one of these people. Acceptance wasn’t fun, it was brutally painful and a horrible process. But once I got through it and could accept that my marriage was fake, the man I loved did not exist, and this is the “person” he really is, life got a lot better. I live fully in reality. It’s a process though and it takes time. But you gotta go through it to get through it.

  • I read The Sociopath Next Door. It will give you a scary look into the minds of the monsters that walk among us. Also Why Does He Do That? You’ve been thru a crash course at the school of hard knocks. These books will give you a little insight, but ultimately what you need to learn is not why. Learn to avoid, walk away, go no contact, spot red flags. You don’t think that way, you just need to know other folks do. Your instincts were spot on. BRAVO!!! Now, don’t tear yourself apart wondering what you could have, should have done. You are not responsible for his FU choices, or his misery. He is.

    Spend your time learning about your own vulnerabilities. Think about how you learned the trickle truth, how you spackled, made up excuses for him, and if you must wonder why, think about what you learned in FOO school. That is where most wanky thinking starts. I am sure you will be fine, your instincts are just too good. Being loving and trusting is not a bad thing — it just needs to be balanced with developing a good alarm system. Some of the things you mentioned were flags for me, a child he didn’t know about, you carrying the entire financial burden, for instance. If you are in a relationship that is not reciprocal, there is a problem IMHO. Just set your boundaries, and know you deserve to be treated with respect. I’m still laughing about “parasites need a host”. CL has some great zingers. But seriously, you called the exterminator. Good Job!!!

  • My husband’s mask was so very different from the person he actually was. You may think they are funny, kind, honorable, loving etc., but when the mask falls and you see who they really are it is a tremendous shock. The biggest shock I’ve ever had in my life, and I felt like my husband had been killed by an evil twin. I curled up in bed like a shrimp and didn’t eat, drink, sleep or go to the bathroom for three days.

    You ask yourself how he could do this and where is the good man you loved, and how could you not see this? Over the almost 5 years since Dday, I’ve learned the answers to these questions, from other chumps and my own experience. The man you loved does not exist. What does exist is a disordered individual, chronologically an adult male, who does not love you and never did, although he values your utility as a (pick one or many) wife appliance, maker of meatloaf, beard, an enhancer of his mask of normalcy, a laundry washer and house cleaner, provider, nurse, trophy, symbol. He does not, and never will, see you as you are: a unique human being, lovable, worthy and a real wife. He can drop out of your life in a millisecond, speaks ill of you behind your back, snoops through your stuff, and thinks of ways to steal or acquire everything you have. You will never have a worse enemy, and he can hurt you with casual indifference.

    That you immediately threw his stuff in the garage and called his whore to convey your message, speaks very well of you. You have good courage. Trust it. It will serve you and your child.

    Like all of us you want answers. The sad truth is there aren’t any that a normal adult would understand. The answer is zerg, or 42. He did it because he felt like it, as casually as a dog shits on a lawn, and with less concern. If anything, he likes having the power to hurt you. Those are the real answers, and anything he tells you about remorse is bullshit.

    The disordered are a tribe unto themselves. They are like TV zombies, and have the same scripts and the same empty space where a heart and empathy should be. Turn your backs on them and they have no problem killing and devouring you. The trouble for us is that they appear normal. But instead of trying to talk to him, go buy a gerbil. Ask the gerbil to explain it all to you. Using voice and hand commands, try to get your gerbil to behave honorably. You will get a better answer and better behavior from the gerbil than you ever will from your husband, and gerbils are cute.

  • Some people enjoy the thrill of the secrecy and stolen moments that an affair provides to them

    It has nothing to do with their homelife. They can’t get that level of high unless they are duping others

    Very much like a shoplifter who has money in their pocket yet steals for the thrill of stealing and getting away with it

    Sick af.

  • Texas is a superstar! Many of us wuld love to redo DDay1 and execute with such swift, firm consequences. I would love to hear an update from her. And if she happened to let her guard down, I hope she finds her mighty again.

    Aunt Joy, you are our inspiration! Read VH yesterday about being there for the recently chumped. I immediately thought of you.

  • I remember my first discovery- very similar to this… found the cell phone bill- 64 calls in ONE DAY to one of his 20-year-old university students (one of OUR students- I also taught her). I also threw him out, called a lawyer and proceeded to get the awful news that I wouldn’t get any alimony (as I held my infant son and had just quit my job to be a SAHM). I was devastated and lost too much weight, my breastmilk dried up, and I had NO help. I took him back because I believed the lies and I was too tired and had no money or good job prospects. I’m so glad this chump got out and went on with her life. Now I DID get a second child out of it so I’m glad I stuck around a bit longer, but I definitely stuck around WAY TOO LONG. Brava to the chump for getting out so soon- no doubt there are a few other surprise children from his past – good riddance to that sociopath.

  • About trust: it’s not your job to trust other people. It’s up to them to earn your trust, over time. Over time. Over time. You do not trust anyone you date until that person demonstrates trustworthiness. This is not only true in dating relationships but all in friendship and work relationships. Don’t give trust away. Make people earn your trust and work to keep it.

    Here’s a simple example. Your teenage daughter takes the car out at midnight to party with her friends. You learn that you can’t trust her to leave the keys or respect either her curfew or the rules she has for the car. This is not your problem to solve by “trusting” her again if she cries and apologizes. Your job is to not trust her until you see that she is trustworthy. That’s why “trustworthy” is a word; it points to how trust actually works. Now can your daughter get your trust back? Yes, but not with words and tears. She gets that trust by changing her behavior and demonstrating over time that she won’t essentially steal your car or flout the curfew. And in other ways, she begin to show integrity because what she says and what she does matches. If you are smart, you don’t just wait until she is not longer grounded and then “trust” her again. That’s not trust. That’s living in fantasy land.

    In this case, Texas should have taken a long look at how the FW treats his ex-wife, how engaged he is with the kids, and what the story is about the surprise 4-year old. Is he late with support payments? Does he fight with them over money? How does he deal with co-parenting? If you aren’t wearing romantic blinders, careful scrutiny of how he handles these obligations and relationships might have revealed that he is not Mr. Trustworthy.

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