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She’s Sorry Now That She Cheated

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been married to my wife (possibly soon to be ex) for over 25 years. I was 23 and she was 20 at the time of our wedding. We have two grown up kids that are in college.

I travel for work about 8 days a month. On D-Day about a year and half ago, a day before my work trip, I saw some WhatsApp messages on my wife’s phone about meeting up while I was gone.

I searched more and found out she has been having an affair for over 5 years with this person. This person was a coworker for her and also part of a tennis group I am in. She used to lie to me tell me he was a player and how she kept distance from him. She used to tell me that this person had affairs with other ladies.

Missed Red Flags:
1. A year before D-day, while on a trip, I noticed her phone showed an WhatsApp message on her phone from this guy and when I asked, she said he was asking about work meeting and soon she deleted it before I could see it. I feel so bad now for trusting her and not following up on that red flag.

2. About 5 years before D-Day I was diagnosed with an STD which doctor said caused mainly (99% by partner and 1% by bicycling). I was dumb enough to trust my wife so much that I thought cycling caused it. Now that I know the affair was going on then, I feel like a fool.

3. My neighbor once told me there was a truck parked in front of his house and asked if I had some visitors. I was traveling then and when asked my wife, she obviously said it may be for the other neighbor’s house. My neighbor is a gentleman and devote Christian. I feel he probably noticed something that he couldn’t tell me directly. When asked recently, he said he doesn’t remember that conversation.

4. Few times when we were all playing tennis, he would show up late by 30 minutes to an hour and I asked once why he came in later than promised time. He said he was coming from my house. When I asked what did you say, he told me he was coming from my neighborhood. I feel so sad that my wife of so many years decided to have this affair.

I met this person at a wedding few months before the D-Day and he was super friendly with me and offered me to sit with him and watch some of the wedding events. I feel so humiliated now that I know now that they both were having an affair then.

While we were in a heated discussion about this affair, she told me there is no spark in our marriage. I moved out of the house and picked a job in a different state where I live now alone.

Now she calls me often and says she is terribly sorry and she realized how important I was for her and she wants me to forgive her. I had already informed that guy’s wife about this affair and his wife was devastated for few days and then she called me and ensured her husband would never ever come anywhere near my wife. Not sure how she will ensure that. I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.

Overall, I have been going through lot of ups and downs with this affair. I lost all my friends and sports activities because I moved to a different state.

I tried reconciling before with her few times and I would get upset every 3 days. The fact that they did what they did bothers me constantly.

After all these events, should I reconsider and forgive her since she is not in touch with this guy anymore? She claims she is stupid to do what she did and her self-esteem was low and she needed someone to talk to. Isn’t that gaslighting?

I will appreciate your input on this.


A Fool


Dear A Trusting Man Who Loved With His Whole Heart,

She screwed your tennis partner because she has low self-esteem? No, that’s not gaslighting, that’s blameshifting. Let’s get our mindfuckery straight. She already tried gaslighting — denying the reality in front of you. As in, gosh, she had no idea where that STD came from. Must be a bicycle seat!

Now that she’s busted, she’s moved on to blameshifting. Okay, we accept reality — I Did a Bad Thing (always singular), But (the qualifier) I Had Reasons…

What reasons? She’s a very sad sausage deserving your compassion. And you’re a bad, bad man who drove her to it.

Sad sausage: Her self-esteem was low.

Bad man: She needed someone to talk to. You fail to spark joy.

Actual reasons would be: “I’m selfish and entitled and I thought I’d get away with it. I did get away with it for 5 years. Until I didn’t, at which time I decided to blame you, because I don’t like the stench of failure.”

Now she calls me often and says she is terribly sorry and she realized how important I was for her and she wants me to forgive her.

People in hell want a cold drink of water. She doesn’t get to demand forgiveness. That’s more of her entitlement showing.

Funny how she realized your importance at exactly the moment you exposed the affair to Tennis Creep’s wife. And, she got thrown under the bus. As in, fucking around on you was fun. Being a sad, divorced cliche, not so much. So, she rummaged under the sofa cushions and found her remorse.

I had already informed that guy’s wife about this affair and his wife was devastated for few days and then she called me and ensured her husband would never ever come anywhere near my wife. Not sure how she will ensure that.

Tethering his dick to a post. GPS. Polygraphs. Blind trust until the pap smear comes back cancerous. Whatever the quacks at the RIC are recommending today. Marriage policing is a total hellscape. A fate I hope you avoid by not reconciling.

I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.

I honestly believe in leprechauns.

You cannot believe anything from a person who lied straight to your face every day for five years.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter if she’s in touch with him, she blew up your marriage. The damage is done.

And let’s review some of that damage, okay?

About 5 years before D-Day I was diagnosed with an STD which doctor said caused mainly (99% by partner and 1% by bicycling). I was dumb enough to trust my wife so much that I thought cycling caused it. Now that I know the affair was going on then, I feel like a fool.

Stop blaming yourself and put this squarely on her. She was okay RISKING YOUR HEALTH with a known serial cheater for the next FIVE YEARS. Her ego, her narcissistic gratification was that important to her.

Few times when we were all playing tennis, he would show up late by 30 minutes to an hour and I asked once why he came in later than promised time. He said he was coming from my house. When I asked what did you say, he told me he was coming from my neighborhood. I feel so sad that my wife of so many years decided to have this affair.

So, he’s a sick motherfucker who likes to rub your nose in it? Ooh, he has a secret!

You know who also enjoys sociopathic reindeer games? Your wife. This is the guy she chose to fuck around with —  someone in your social circle. So  many opportunities to get a contact high off your humiliation.

I met this person at a wedding few months before the D-Day and he was super friendly with me and offered me to sit with him and watch some of the wedding events. I feel so humiliated now that I know now that they both were having an affair then.

What do weddings even mean to cheaters? I suppose this is high-octane kibble. What better venue to transgress than a commitment ceremony.

Look, don’t feel humiliated. Of course they INTENDED that humiliation, but reject it. The villains in this scenario are the cheaters. If anyone should feel humiliated and ashamed it’s those two. You’re a man who loved with his whole heart and trusted his wife. It’s what NORMAL, loving people do. There’s ZERO shame in it. You can’t know what you don’t know.

Overall, I have been going through lot of ups and downs with this affair. I lost all my friends and sports activities because I moved to a different state.

It’s hard to rebuild. You know what’s harder? Living with an abusive fuckwit you cannot trust.

This is an opportunity to join a new tennis group. Which is infinitely better than your last tennis group, because the odds are 100% no one in it has schtupped your wife.

Here’s the thing about People Who Love With Their Whole Hearts, they make great friends. They’re stocks that trade high. You just have to internalize what a prize you are. Heal up, but don’t be afraid to get out there and gift yourself to people deserving of you.

After all these events, should I reconsider and forgive her since she is not in touch with this guy anymore?

Don’t pull your punches or second guess yourself now. There’s nothing to go back to. You’re clearly a strong person, because you left. You determined that this relationship and her treatment of you was not acceptable. Even with 20+ years of marriage and two kids. You acted on the knowledge that you deserve better. And that’s a matter of self worth and self knowledge that has NOTHING to do with your wife’s contact with Tennis Douche.

So what if she ends the affair? She CONDUCTED IT FOR FIVE YEARS. She’s done absolutely nothing to begin to make amends. What would that look like? Accepting consequences. Agreeing to a fair divorce settlement. Putting the narrative out there to the kids not that she’s a sad, neglected sausage, but a person with agency who chose to cheat. And you didn’t deserve that.

True remorse doesn’t demand forgiveness and the immediate cessation of consequences.

You have absolutely nothing to work with. So please end this in good conscience and congratulations on your new life.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You will only be a fool if you believe her sad sausage routine. You need to look at the lies she told you over five years and trust that she sucks. There is nothing to work with.
    You would not go back to an arsonist who burned your house down, would you? Trust in fundamental in any relationship. she has demonstrated with five years of lies that she cannot be trusted. The thing you can trust is that she sucks. End this and go no contact. Your life will improve dramatically when you no longer need to listen to lies and blame shifting. It gets better. As CL says your stock will trade high.
    When I found out about ExFWs four year (an ongoing) affair, I knew I could not trust him ever again. I did fall for the RIC for about six weeks (don’t do this) but then found CL and the CN. Finding this site opened my eyes and I knew that there was nothing to work with. I filed and have been out for four months now. It is wonderful.

    • I also fell for the RIC and then realized that I was dealing with a narcissistic sociopath.

      People who do that sh!t to you will do it again, and again, and again.

      • I was stuck in RIC for a whole year. In hindsight, our elderly counselor was being lied to by FW and had no idea. She was a big believer that sex addiction was a real thing. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and trust me gut and LEAVE like I felt I should. I felt partially trapped but also chumpy that I should try to save my marriage. Too bad FW didn’t feel the same.

        I still have the tendency to kick myself in the ass for having fallen into the RIC garbage.

  • A Trusting Man Who Loved With His Whole Heart

    Please realize that divorce can take over a year, mine was 2.5. Spouse trickled in partial discovery, non compliant with motion to produce, just couldn’t be bothered but didn’t waste time becoming engaged.

    It’s hard to get out there too, but you are a going to be quite the catch when you do. Being a person that can commit is an attractive quality.

    My therapist says 5 years for a long term marriage to feel like yourself again. She says you have to grieve the marriage and it varies for each of us. I used to wake up feeling the bed for him. I’m glad that’s over.

    You’ve need to accept your reality and file.

    • Similar story. He took off just short of 25 years, and the actual split took over 3 1/2 years because I didn’t have my head together and then he tried to use the divorce he initiated to punish me. He didn’t let up in closeout until he got long-haul COVID. Once the file was finally closed with my attorney, I could finally breathe and my recovery went by leaps-and-bounds.

  • “Overall, I have been going through lot of ups and downs with this affair. I lost all my friends and sports activities because I moved to a different state.” “I tried reconciling before with her few times and I would get upset every 3 days.”

    That’s your very normal response to her very abusive behavior. It will get incrementally better when you go No Contact. It will get even better when you focus on yourself and your children. It will get better when you plug in a couple of activities (tennis, volunteering, hiking?) a week.

    You are a chump in recovery – grieving, hoping, confused. Put your team together which includes a therapist and attorney. Probably best to avoid mediation with a liar.

    • best to avoid mediation with a liar.

      I couldn’t agree more. They are expensive and hard to negotiate when you are dealing with a FW. The judge kept trying to get us to set mediation date, I said how will we set date without all the info? My seasoned attorney said we won’t, he subpoenaed most of what we needed, deposed a witness, told opposing attorney we’d be deposing AP and other pertinent info and we suddenly received a proposal for a Marriage Settlement Agreement, completely unacceptable to me. I insisted on business taxes being complete for the 2 years in arrears. My attorney drew up our MSA, it was slightly tweaked and we were finally finished.

    • Agreed but so many states require you to attempt mediation. It’s awful.

      When I was in law school, I took a court in Alternate Dispute Resolution. Mediation and arbitration and all means to keep out of the courts. And it all seemed like a great idea. It was faster, kept costs down, and people seemed more satisfied with the outcome. Never, not ONCE did anyone mention that oh, if one of the parties is a disordered , controlling, narcissistic liar, everything you learned is not going to work well.

      If they are going to require mediation, they need to require the parties do a psychiatric exam first to confirm they don’t have a wacko involved who will destroy the process.

      • I am a mediator and in parenting disputes there is commonly one disordered person, who may not present as such and may weaponise the process, the mediator etc. If there are two normal people without agendas of control they usually dont need mediation in the first place. Court is not much better. I think the only answer is mass extermination of dickheads.

  • Reframe this into Escape. You are strong enough that you escaped that prison. Some of us have not been strong enough to escape. You are so lucky to be in the other side. Don’t ever look behind, you life moving forward is infinitely better than that hell. Good luck and stay the course. Oh and humiliation is the name of the game. Don’t humiliate yourself by going back.

    • Agreed. Some of us would be so happy to be in OP’s position / far away and on the other side of divorce. The world is his oyster. We all must rebuild after FWs nuke our world. As one of my favorite quotes goes, “Everything fine is difficult.” (Catherine Aird)

  • Dear A Fool,

    “You just have to internalize what a prize you are. Heal up, but don’t be afraid to get out there and gift yourself to people deserving of you.”

    So true!!

    And yet this can be tough when you feel like shit in the wake of D-Day.

    Most of us feel like a dummies for missing red flags. We wonder what we could have done differently. We know cognitively that we are not to blame but, deep down, we still blame ourselves. Our minds scan the past, looking for clues we missed. It’s all so destabilizing. We feel unattractive and discarded. We feel that we somehow failed and didn’t measure up and that the AP must be “better.” We feel ashamed.

    But we must remember that we didn’t cook the shit stew. The two cheaters concocted that mess themselves. And once the lid blows off and shit stew is everywhere for all to see, many entitled cheaters want us to look the other way, to ignore the permanent stench in the kitchen and stains on the counters and floor. No amount of bleach or Lysol can rid the room of the stench and stain, despite what Esther Perel and her ilk would have us believe. Broken trust can’t be repaired.

    So, yes, please internalize that you don’t suck, that you are, in fact, a prize.

    Hang in there. It gets better when you realize that she sucks and you don’t.

    Good luck!


  • “True remorse doesn’t demand forgiveness and the immediate cessation of consequences.”

    Is there a place I can order this stitched on a pillow? This gem says it all, for any of your human relationships that go awry for any reason. Cheaters, family freaks, surly co-workers, mean people in the grocery store! Love it!!!

    • So true about real remorse not demanding forgiveness. At some point pretty soon after D-day, during separation, ex-FW came to the house and just flatly stated, “I want to come home, but you have to forgive me.” With it being early days, all I could manage to spit out pathetically was, “Ok, but you have to quit cheating.” Of course he never had any real intention of changing and after two years in limbo land while he was deciding between me and OW, I finally snapped out of it and filed. I sure wish I had known then what I know now. I would have had given him a real earful. They are beyond entitled.

  • “She claims she is stupid to do what she did and her self-esteem was low and she needed someone to talk to. Isn’t that gaslighting?” She WAS stupid to do what she did. People who need someone to talk to find someone to TALK to, not to have sex with. Now that she’s been outed to her AP’s wife, and possibly to that circle of friends and tennis players, and left by you, her self-esteem is even lower. She wants you back to prove to herself, your kids and the circle of friends that she’s not so bad. But she is.

    CL advises going no contact for a good reason–for your sanity. “Now she calls me often and says she is terribly sorry and she realized how important I was for her and she wants me to forgive her.” Gratifying as it may be to hear her say this, there’s two things that stand out here. She has realized how important you were for her. So, she misses what you did for her, whether it’s proving she was loved, status, prestige, fixing the plumbing, or all the many things you did as a loving spouse. What she doesn’t mention is that she loves you.

    As CL often says, there’s nothing to work with here. She left her vows for five years. Maybe more. You left. Now you can gain a new life free of her cheating and gaslighting. Get a copy of LACGAL if you don’t have it already. And as Chump Nation often says, you are mighty. And worthy of love and devotion.

  • Five years. She lied to you every single day for five years. That’s a REAL commitment. She’s proven that her preferred lifestyle is one where she has a public spouse and a secret lover. Her preferred lifestyle is one of lying all the time. She gets off on it.

    Dude, if you go back to her you will be miserable for the rest of your life. You will have shown your children that their choices in life are to be a lying asshole or a doormat. You’ve done a fabulous job so far showing them how to stand up to mistreatment. Now you just have to finish the slog through the bad part and get to the other side. The first and most important step is to get that divorce. It will be terribly unpleasant, but you are a strong person and can do it.

    I filed for divorce a few months after my 25th anniversary. I know that ending a long-term marriage is hard and weird. This is not what you signed up for. The person you are married to is not who you thought they were. But now that you know who she is, you also know deep down that you cannot remain married to her.

    Here’s the thing–you can make new friends where you live now and you can find new people to play tennis with, but you cannot give your STBX a character transplant. So go ahead and file. I’m over ten years post-divorce and have a good life. You can do it, too.

  • When I first started reading these stories from chump ladys inbox,I was confused. My D day 10months ago left me weak and shivering in a corner of my bed. As I read I would say…about cheaters…they are sorry Tracy! What’s with the harsh tone, the bad words, the mean consequences???? 10 months later, like today, I am reading and I laugh! NO more shivering in fear my STBXH will kill me for locking him out ….and I AGREE with all the sage advice. What a180 for me! I see the underbelly of cheaters and I get the game now. It is so obvious. Now when I read these stories, I know the answer because chump lady is in my head,singing the song of sanity. I’m never letting go of my precious self again. I only have a 🐹 hamster for company but that is far better than a cheater full of himself –
    Lies and STDs. Thank you Tracy,you are on🎯

  • I’m a doc. Your doc didn’t help you on that one red flag. There are NO STD’s caused by bicycling. Ever. Our minds believe what they want to until the evidence is irrefutable. Trust that she sucks and move on. It’s tough but it’s worth it.

    • I was gaslighted this way about HPV. When I came back with multiple strains 17 years into my marriage my doc was adamant about how it could have been laying dormant all that time, and it didn’t mean there was infidelity.

      Riiiight. So I got an STD decades ago from old boyfriends that I practiced 100% safe sex with, and not my husband who had a vasectomy who I didn’t practice safe sex with.

      Seems to me that the obvious vector would be the one person I didn’t practice safe sex with. But my doctor’s insistence that a sudden STD wasn’t a smoking gun kept me strung along for years.

      • I’ve been very suspicious that the “dormant” period for HPV-induced cancer keeps being extended. At first it was “up to ten years,” then there were pronouncements that it was “up to 20 years” but with no discernible science behind the claim. My guess is the shift in latency period is political because doctors don’t like being caught in the middle of lawsuits over cheating/cancer claims so wiggle room was officially provided. I also suspect this is on top of the fact that rates of cheating in the medical field are higher than for other professions and dealing with chumped patients messes with cognitive dissonance. For the latter I’m extrapolating from statistics showing domestic violence is higher in the medical field (a recent study reported up to 45%) than in the general population which arguably affects how many doctors respond to victimized patients.

      • I also got the dormancy story from the oncologist when the HPV turned into cancer. So even though I was married 10 years at that point and only slept with one person during that time, we’re still going to go with the dormant explanation ? In a weird way I understand health professionals wanting to stay focused on the illness at hand, but c’mon.

        • I’m so sorry that you went through the nightmare of developing cancer but were also gaslighted by your oncologist. Health professionals are hardly staying focused on the disease if they’re not only ignoring the pink elephant of cause and prevention but obstructing public perceptions of cause and prevention by making unverifiable claims that the disease lies dormant for 20 years before becoming cancerous. So how’s this for prevention– headlines blaring repeat stories of cheaters who gave their partners HPV which turns into cancer being taken to court and sued down to their shoelaces? Maybe throw in contact tracing investigations of past cheating partners and the right to sue the source. It might not stop cheating but condom sales would go up.

      • It may be possible for it to lie dormant that long, but it isn’t probable. It’s irresponsible of doctors to say otherwise. You are the patient. Why are they protecting your spouse? It might be cheater solidarity, or a misguided belief that they are saving your marriage in your best interest. That is not their call to make. Who are they to try to “save” your marriage by fudging the facts. Yet this is commonplace. My FW’s mother, who contracted trich, was even told that it was probably from before she was married, 40 years earlier. FFS.

        • Cheater solidarity and abuser solidarity are probably the same thing. As an intern during college, I was stalked and assaulted by a psycho coworker. The police disrupted what would have been a sexual assault but it still left me with serious injuries. While cooperating with the prosecution, I sought treatment for the injuries and was met with several doctors’ obvious reluctance to be pulled into prosecution or lawsuits as well as strong hints that they identified with the perpetrator right off the bat. The first doctor I went to with the cracked ribs, dislocated knee, hearing damage and a black eye refused to take notes and instead shoved pictures of his infant twins in my face. The guy had to be over 60 so obviously the twins were by a second wife. I took the act of shoving the pictures in my face as a confession of how his first marriage ended since he was– ew– negating and shutting down a victim with “proof” that he was a great family man. The second doctor I went to said that women only prosecute out of “revenge.” He assumed I had been in a relationship with the stalker. When I pointed out that I barely knew the guy, the doctor looked stumped and then said that prosecution wouldn’t “help” the offender. I hope the second doctor’s wife got combat pay. It’s possible these doctor douches not only wouldn’t testify on behalf of victims but couldn’t because they had marks on their own records.

          Thankfully they weren’t all like that. The ENT who tested my hearing said that the world would have fewer victims if rapists and abusers were lined up and shot. Without hesitating, he agreed to testify on my behalf. I hadn’t checked out his certs when I’d gone to his office and only found out he’d graduated from Harvard medical school when he was on the stand in court. The same thing happened with the orthopedist who treated my knee injury. He was nothing but kind and supportive, agreed to testify and only when he was on the stand did I discover he’d gone to Princeton and Harvard and was the official surgeon for a national sports team. They both killed in court. The defense wasn’t able to dig up anything to impugn the track records of either of them.

          Some abusers like to play the “hero” role but, in my experience, they’ll never stick their necks out as far as the latter two doctors did. I’m guessing their wives are lucky women.

          • That’s an amazing story, HOAC. Yes, it is the same as abuser solidarity.

            “I took the act of shoving the pictures in my face as a confession of how his first marriage ended since he was– ew– negating and shutting down a victim with “proof” that he was a great family man.”

            Thus is an astute observation. His behavior was creepy as hell.

            “The second doctor I went to said that women only prosecute out of “revenge.””

            That can be UBTed quite simply as; “I am an enthusiastic abuser of women. I have many insane rationalizations in my repertoire.”

            • If douchy doctor #1 could have gagged me with the kiddy pix he probably would have. Mostly he just didn’t want to hear about it. The second doctor looked kind of like Droopy the Hound from the old cartoons and seemed darkly checked out, like he’d be a tense, taciturn dud of a husband 99% of the time and then fly off the handle every six months.

      • This makes sense, but possible and probable are such different things. With my HPV, it was obvious to me that although it was theoretically possible that I somehow got it from protected sex and then it somehow laid dormant for 20 years only to come back exactly when my marriage was shitty, it wasn’t at all probable.

        Doctors should know better than to play bad odds. The message should be: “this condition is almost always caused by an STD. If you aren’t practicing safe sex, you really have to. If you think you are, you should have a discussion with your partner to be sure you are both still on the same page.”

        • Quite right, NA. Doctors tend to be fond of the saying that if you hear hoofbeats, expect horses rather than zebras. They need to apply this same reasoning with their STD infected patients, because cheating is by far the most likely explanation. A long dormant infection is an anomaly and statistically insignificant.

      • Aouch that is painful! Professional bicycle riders have been known to get yeast infections due to the skin rubbing on the seat of the bike #EddyMerckxFanclub. I’d make an educated guess that riding in hot and humid weather would favor rashes, infected or not. My ob/gyn blamed public toilet seats for a Candida albicans yeast infection I got even before engagement. I never had yeast infections before then. I blamed the nice traveling we did as a couple. I used to need regular (almost yearly) treatment for yeast until quite recently. Darn! Who knew that toilet seats the world over would become impeccably sanitized after my divorce was finalized one year ago? #sarcasm


    You need to decide what is right for you. But here is my recommended course of action after being here three years.

    1. Order Leave A Cheater Gain A Life
    2. While waiting for it to arrive, read the archives on this blog, especially the starter kit.
    3. If you are on FB, join the Chump Lady FB page.
    4. Also, join some of the reconciliation sites just so that you can see that most people in them are on their 2nd, 3rd, or 27th D-day, having somehow believed each time that their spouse would change this time.
    5. Stop taking her calls! Ignore texts that are about anything other than asset division. Only respond in neutral, professional tones.
    6. Get working on rebuilding a life. Date if you are ready, find new tennis buddies if you aren’t. It’s hard as a middle aged adult, but not impossible.

    • I’d add, there’s a private forum on Reddit where you can write longer posts about what’s going on in your situation and get good responses. It’s anonymous, which might make a difference during divorce proceedings.

  • “True remorse doesn’t demand forgiveness and the immediate cessation of consequences.”

    This perfectly describes why I couldn’t stay with my “remorseful” Cheater. The cheating was all about him, and so was the sorry. Thanks CL for helping us put words to what feels all wrong about Cheater apologies that look real on the surface. Not-a-Fool, you’re too smart and strong to fall for this. No contact is your friend!

    You’ll have no trouble finding new friends and I’m sure I won’t be the only one to tell you that an honest, kind single man is a stock that trades high! Get on with the divorce and your new life.

  • I think you’re blaming yourself for your wife’s affair (you mention your work travel)…so here’s how a scenario with a good partner should’ve gone:
    1. A conversation, “hey shithead I’m feeling neglected, not a priority”.
    2. More conversation, “hey shithead still feeling neglected, not a priority, thinking we should get some marriage counselling”.
    3. Final conversation, “hey shithead still feeling the same here. Guess marriage counselling didn’t work/or you wouldn’t go/or you won’t do the work. So instead of me sneaking around screwing the tennis partner (who gets his rocks off by men cuckolded by their wives) imma going suggest we separate & go our own way. Let’s work on that plan now.
    Now your wife chose a different route: one where she didn’t include you in the conversation (as above). She left you out of it, chose to think only of herself & decided an affair was the way to go. Does that sound in any way like a good partner? Maybe she is sorry & regretful. Maybe the next husband she will choose differently how she handles her issues. Maybe she will do exactly the same again. Who knows & who cares. If you do feel that you had a role in the demise of your marriage, want to be a better partner in the future, read some books on being a better husband, watch some YouTube gurus on men & relationships, and get some therapy for yourself so you have some awareness of your own issues & deal with the ending of your marriage. You can run/move away from your wife but you still have to deal with yourself. All the best.

  • Dear Trusting Man – Of COURSE she wants you back! Schmoopie won’t leave his wife who, sadly, believes his lies. But that doesn’t mean your FW and the AP are no contact. Hardly. They will simply move from one mode of communication to another.

    If you let this FW back into your life, you are telling her that there are no consequences for her behavior, only a temporary inconvenience. And she will just go further underground to conceal not only this affair, but future ones.

    Please don’t beat yourself up about the red-flags. Nearly everybody here ignored their red flags, too, at least at first. Heck, I didn’t even know what a “red flag” was. I couldn’t imagine ever needing to be on the lookout for one. My xFW’s primary affair was a 7 year one, and I can only see the red flags in retrospect. At least I am now aware of them.

    Trusting Man, it isn’t just the sex or the STD. It is that your FW was able to lie so casually and convincingly to you for FIVE YEARS. That is thousands of lies for over nearly 2000 days. She is a well-practiced, Carnegie Hall level LIAR.
    Do you think she is just going to suddenly get an epiphany that tells her she needs to be honest, and that she will just turn off what has become second nature to her?

    Please don’t take her back. She isn’t worth the door mat outside of your front door. Model to your kids that there are consequences for behavior like hers. Keep your head high.

    Surely in the new city there are tennis clubs you can join. Or cycling clubs. Get a new fancy seat, if the old one triggers you. If you are really struggling, a therapist specializing in PTSD can be very helpful. It was for me. And come here every day for your daily dose of CL/CN wisdom.

  • Damn, CL is on her “Straight Talk” game today …she nailed it repeatedly.

    “I was dumb enough to trust my wife so much that I thought cycling caused it. Now that I know the affair was going on then, I feel like a fool.” I won a contest here a while back for believing the stupidest lie ever. He came home with a broken kneecap (me now thinks he was found fucking someone and her husband took a baseball bat to Cheater) but he came up with a story about a bike ride and a dog that attacked him sending him off his bike in a place he had never ridden a bike before blah blah…I believed the attacking dog story.

    “he would show up late by 30 minutes to an hour and I asked once why he came in later than promised time. He said he was coming from my house”. My cheater seemed to have a weird need to occasionally tell a blatant truth that I didnt understand because it was obscure and had no context and if I asked him about it, he would say he meant nothing or was kidding. My guesses for why they would do this will never be proved…CLs guess that it is perverse and cruel is likely more accurate than my guess that 3 of their brain cells have a conscience.

    “I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.” I think that there is a good chance that my cheater did not cheat again after his “big” cheating episode…perhaps the last 5 years of his life. What I learned, however is that the cheating started WAY before I ever suspected meaning most of our marriage. I am past giving a fuck that he may have stopped cheating, I am more informed that it was so long term in the past. The last 5 years before he died, he was still a terrible husband even if his dick stayed at home. Dont do it.

    • Exactly! Cheating is about more than just the act. It’s the constant devaluation and cruel treatment thinly veiled as joking. Even if my ex is “happy” with his homewrecker and not cheating, he was just awful to me and we all deserve better. He was either the most fabulous husband ever or a total a-hole. It felt very bipolar.
      Just this weekend I saw that homewrecker has a big ring on that finger and it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Glad we are all getting what we deserve.

    • ” “I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.” ”

      So did I believe what x said. I was wrong.

    • I thought the winner of the contest was the person who believed the FW had a seizure and repeatedly smashed his own head into the ground causing his face to be smashed up. Was it Katiepig? Anyway, I thought the lie about the seizure was quite the whopper though your knee smash might have been a tie. 🤔

      • Yes that was me but I don’t remember who won. LOL, that was so many years before I had any idea anything was wrong. Now I think the same as unicornnomore, somebody beat him up for being a dirtbag.

  • Yes, trust is essential. Getting caught and being sorry only goes so far. Only allow trustworthy people close to you, which your wife is not. Mine was a marriage of several decades with kids in college too. An utter lack of trust is why I refused reconciliation in the end.

    I’ve had several conversations with therapists about what happens when someone is two-faced for a long time. It isn’t good. They get to the point that they prefer not to be in reality, so they’ll do anything to fabricate a false reality, including claiming to be “all better” from what precipitated the split. They will lie to appear “decent and kind” while continuing the mess behind the scenes.

    Mine also made me out to be the crazy, abusive one with his family, which bothered me, but I let it go. If they couldn’t figure out who was who in the split, so be it. He tried that with his attorney, but his attorney figured it out and took my side in some ways.

    You were wise to get away. Hold the line and divorce this person. Mine had diagnosed mental health issues that I was concerned about. My ex did become suicidal during the process, according to his attorney, but I didn’t budge, and the two attorneys got it done.

    • “They will lie to appear “decent and kind” while continuing the mess behind the scenes.”

      Yep my ex had to flee to another state to find new folks to con. After he passed I saw on his step sons FB where someone posted, oh not fw he was the sweetest person ever. Bletch. He had left his home state after tearing up his sons life, getting kicked out of two churches and gambling himself into massive debt. But, oh could he appear like a good guy on the surface.

      • Klootzak helps the neighbors with their cars and loans them tools. He grooms that image. He goes to the local community league meetings. Then he shtupps whatever comes along. FWs are all image management but shallow as a puddle of piss.

  • “I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.”

    Don’t do that. Honestly disbelieve anything she tells you because if her jaw is flapping, she’s lying. The AP’s wife cannot prevent them from seeing each other.

    “After all these events, should I reconsider and forgive her since she is not in touch with this guy anymore?”

    See above. She probably is still seeing him. Regardless, it’s unforgivable, whether it continues or not. I think you realize that, but the hopium is speaking for you. Don’t let it. Use your intellect, not your emotions. What are the odds that a long term cheater, who has shown no genuine remorse and made no amends, will stay faithful in the future? I calculate them at slim to none.

    Listen, my ex also cheated for five years. I was able to independently confirm he stopped seeing her after he was caught (probably only because she hated him after I told her husband) and he said he was sorry over and over. But he wasn’t sorry. They lie about that. They’ll lie about anything. These are fundamentally dishonest people who use others for their own selfish ends. Low self esteem or not, your wife has even less esteem for you. That’s why she was able to do what she did. She is not going to transform into somebody who treats you with respect and consideration. This is who she is.

    Btw, what STD is caused by biking? Maybe you’re talking about jock itch?

      • Okay, that’s actually not an STD in itself. It can be caused by an STD, most commonly chlamydia or gonorrhea, but a non-sexually transmitted infection can cause it as well. It is not caused by biking, though the friction may inflame the condition. Perhaps that’s what the doctor meant.

        Thanks for clearing that up. I hope you’re better now.

    • Or she may be cheating with someone else. She may have had multiple partners all along. She has lied, snuck around, and allowed her affair partner to gaslight you. It’s not what she does with her genitals. It’s what all her other actions and words point to–she’s a liar who was perfectly fine taking a metaphoric knife and gutting you, publicly. Stop listening to her words and look at her actions.

      • Agreed. I wonder how many others in the tennis group knew? Ugh.

  • Give yourself about two years to settle into your new home. The best way to do that is to join things. If you are a religious man, join a church. You can hike, bicycle, walk, run, join a coed book club, see if there’s a historical group there etc. Look at your local paper, ask a cop for ideas. Stop thinking about her and her screwy life and get yourself outside and go do stuff.

    • This👆
      Church acts like a place of meditation. However last Thursday at weekday mass FW showed up to meet flying monkey friends. She doesn’t even go there anymore. I was upset but not nearly as much as I thought. She hung around the back after to try and engage. A fellow chump screened her without me even asking and I slipped right by.

  • TM – years ago CL told me the same thing; “congrats on your new life” and I was a bit thrown… how would that even be possible?

    But it is true. I love my new life. Its SO MUCH BETTER.

    it took me about 5 years (was married for about 20) to find my own self and I’m still growing, changing and even grieving a tad. But I really like myself so much. Worth the damage my xw caused.

    Should you choose to date, your loving and trusting heart will be noticed and appreciated. Even if you dont, your loving and trusting heart will be noticed and appreciated. Its your (not-so) secret weapon.

  • “You know who also enjoys sociopathic reindeer games? Your wife. This is the guy she chose to fuck around with — someone in your social circle. So many opportunities to get a contact high off your humiliation.”

    This is pure gold. It’s so hard to accept the reality that they get a thrill from humiliating us. It’s horrifying, but it must be confronted. They do everything but wave their engorged, joined genitals in our faces and they laugh about it together. They sneer at us.
    Evil is what it is.

  • Most cheaters can’t stand to be alone. Your wife got dumped because her AP’s wife is now monitoring his every move. Your wife cheated for years, had you hang out with her AP, said there was no spark in your marriage and now she’s sorry? If you take her back she’ll cheat again as soon as an opportunity presents itself. You need to divorce and move on.

  • My friend, please consider yourself in this equation. You had no part in her duplicitous actions. She is guilty of treason to you and your family. Reconciliation is not an option. She will be a constant trigger merely looking at her. The wife You thought you had is no longer around, consider this, she was never yours was just your turn. Please ask yourself this important question, ” will you be able to look at her and not see her with the other guy?” Will you be able to look at her and not feel humiliation from how the othe guy piece of shit rubbed it in your face? Will your kids be treated the same way some day? Even though they are adults they still learn by observation. You have more value than you are giving yourself

    • Great points. Even if a cheater magically changed, the traumatic memories of what they did will be endlessly triggered and re-triggered by their presence. The only way those memories and the emotional flooding will fade is to get far away from their cause. It never goes away as long as you’re breathing the same air as the perpetrator. It infects every waking moment and haunts dreams.

      That’s the thing that really puts the lie to Perel-ish minimizations and normalization of cheating. If it’s such a negligible little thing, why do people never get over the trauma of it? Anyone who claims otherwise is either spackling or never cared about the partner to begin with. Even people in open relationships can be traumatized by secret liaisons and lies if they ever once trusted their partner.

  • Trusting Man, you are not a fool. You trusted the person who promised to be your life partner. And when it became clear that she was not worthy of that trust, you left. That’s not foolish!

    She doesn’t really want you back, she just wants to hit the Undo button on her mistakes. Instead of stable marriage and exciting side piece, she has no marriage and no side piece (now that his wife knows, the fun is gone). Get that divorce.

  • Forgiveness is for you, not her. You can forgive her without ever letting her know.

    You have future, it will take shape like a puzzle that was thrown on the floor, piece by piece.

    Embrace the pain to learn from this, you will become better and whole again.

    Get out and make friends, this has helped me tremendously.

    Find the beauty in choosing your own destiny, not weighed down by a person who’ll never be happy nor satisfied, that’s a hell in itself.

    • “Find the beauty in choosing your own destiny, not weighed down by a person who’ll never be happy nor satisfied, that’s a hell in itself.” <<< This!!

  • Cheater can’t be trusted, ever.
    Cheating is a character disorder, if they have the opportunity cheat, they will.
    Blame the Chump..
    If Chump hadn’t served bag salad,

  • A Fool – don’t beat yourself up on the red flags… we’ve all driven right past them too. I read your STD comment and remembered when Mr. Sparkles came back from our vacation to Mexico with crabs. I was so naive, I believed him when he said they must’ve come from the blankets at our hotel (less than 1% are transmitted that way). We were literally apart for less than 5 hours on that vacation and he had to go screw someone with crabs?!?! (Also likely a Red Flag that he was Bi… good times.)

    You sound like a decent person who got chumped, we’re your tribe. Don’t fall for the reconciliation pleas from someone who abused you for FIVE YEARS and blew up your family. You deserve better. You deserve the second change, not her.

  • Go no contact. That’s the only way you’ll get through this. Re-read what true remorse is. She’s doing everything she can to violate your boundaries. That’s not remorse; she’s just trying to manipulate the narrative yet again. Don’t worry about dating. Get a life without her, without anybody, and learn to love yourself. Recognize that you’re a person of dignity. Subsequently, when someone does not respect that dignity, as she has shown repeatedly, then it’s your right (out of self-respect) to not have anything more to do with that someone. In this case, it’s her. It’s time to recognize that if there’s only one person on this earth to give you respect … is you, then do it.

  • Dear A Trusting Man Who Loved With His Whole Heart,

    Go no contact with that lying skank and finalize the divorce. Join a tennis club and mixed league. Join a traveling biking club- sign up for an international trip to bike France or Italy or Spain. When asked, say: I was married 25 years until I found out she had been cheating and wouldn’t stop. You are a man who’s stock will trade high. You’re going to have so many amazing women who want to spend time with you. You won’t believe how grateful you are that you got away.

  • The most important thing you can do is block her number. Stop talking to her. Just stop. You can’t heal if you have your head in the mindf*ck blender, listening to her fakery. Note what you say in your letter: “She realized how important I was for her.” That’s the whole point of her wanting reconciliation. She only has one income to live on. She has neither a husband nor a Schmoopie (that you know of). She doesn’t have a husband to dupe and no one to chuckle with over how much fun it is to dupe the husband. She doesn’t have the fun of sneaking around while she spends what she makes and what you make.

    I’m sure you loved her but it’s time to come to terms with what she is. She’s a bad person who pretended to be a decent one.

    If you don’t like where you are living, make plans to move back if you want to, once you’ve kicked your XW to the curb once and for all.

  • Thank you CL for addressing the chump as the true person he really is instead of “fool” ❤️. Trusting, you will realize in due time that the only fools in this scenario were your STBX and the AP. And, I would go on to say they are evil, mean, cruel, pathological, disgusting, vile, hateful, disrespectful, entitled, and expects you to stay as a money making appliance. A respectful partner would come to you and say “I’m not happy and want a divorce” before they started another relationship. She didn’t, instead she did it secretly with a friend of yours and gave you a STD. That shows her true character. Big hugs! Lawyer up, get out, heal, and focus on you.

  • NOT a Fool,

    Being lonely, especially after decades as part of a couple, a family unit, is hard sometimes. You can make new friends, even in middle age. Is it easy? No. Does it take time? Yes. I’m grateful I still have good friends from before I met my now ex, but I left behind all the “couples” friends we had. My friends from before are scattered across the country, or because they are in a different situation (still married with more kids doing all the activities or single but different work schedules) I still needed to find new people to do stuff with.

    Go to Meetups ( The first few you try may not be your thing, or they don’t plan stuff very often, but keep trying, keep putting yourself out there. You will find yourself new people that you do connect with. People ride bikes and play tennis all over the country, I’m sure there’s some new groups you could find. Like I said, it’s not easy, but it is worth it.

    You are not an unlovable loser, even if your ex’s treatment of you has made you feel that way. Invest in yourself and remind yourself that you have value. Also, a therapist, a boxing gym, and a great attorney are worth their weight in gold to get you through this mess. You can, and will get through this and thrive.

  • “ I honestly believe my wife is not in contact with that guy since day after D-Day.”
    Even if that is true, she has already proved you’re interchangeable. I believed my stbx when he told me that he wasn’t seeing the first one I found out about, only to have multiple more d-days. After 40 years and at least 14 schmoopies that I have good evidence of ( probably more) and 1 1/2 years since serving him with divorce, I’m almost out. Court was scheduled this week but he lied to the judge and it’s been postponed a month. He texts me almost daily to say he loves me and can’t live without me, but he’s said that to many of his schmoopies, and the real growth and change I would need to see would never happen. What lie did he tell the judge? He had to travel for work this week. He’s actually on a scuba trip.

  • When someone shows you who they are, Trust it. Trust that they suck! They will try to minipulate you into feeling bad for them[This hurt you,BUT it hurt me more] She is going to try all the channals, denying , attacting, and sad sausaging. Do not fall for it. Go no contact, and learn how to gray rock her. You deserve someone who will talk to you when there are issues. Not someone who wants the bennie’s of marrage without paying the price. [honest communication, promises kept, ect.] Stay strong. Good luck.

  • Dear Trusting Man Who Loved With His Whole Heart,

    You STBXFW’s comment about self esteem reminded me of a scene from the (otherwise not so great) film Spanglish where the protagonist’s cheating wife gets flak from her own mother. When the cheating wife character whines that mom’s criticism makes her hate herself, the mother character says, “Honey, lately your low self esteem is just good common sense.”

    Your STBX’s low self esteem is just accurate self assessment. She’s a piece of shit who not only victimizes others but blames her own victims for it. That’s more than one distinct form of harm and more than one way in which your STBX has defined herself as an intimate abuser. Not only is there no excuse for abuse but the fact that abusers typically blame their victims is what solidly defines them as abusers.

    One common blaming excuse that cheaters spout and which media representations of cheating blindly accept is the idea that “dissatisfaction in marriage” causes cheating. Because I formerly advocated for domestic violence survivors, to me that sounds just as ridiculous as saying that people batter their partners due to dissatisfaction in marriage. The presumption in both cases is that the ability to not only imagine but to actually commit intimate abuse of any kind can exist in a normal person when, in reality, it’s the earmark of a disordered personality. And here’s what makes the excuse so idiotic– disordered personalities are clinically understood to be miserable sods who aren’t “satisfied” with anything and intimate abusers are clinically known to irrationally blame intimate partners for anything and everything the abuser isn’t satisfied with in their lives. Domestic violence in a nutshell: serial abusers take their self-generated misery out on partners and then commit the double offense of blaming partners for it.

    It’s also interesting that, in your story, your STBX is not only a cheater but a “mate poacher” who participated in the victimization of another woman. Where’s her excuse there? Not to argue that “mate poaching” is more harmful than cheating on one’s own partner but, just in case you still find yourself hand-wringing over what you might have done “wrong” to cause your wife to cheat, the fact that she was able to repeatedly victimize someone she can’t even invent claims against is just more proof your STBX doesn’t need any grounds to do serious harm to other people. It’s just who she is. If you need yet more proof of this, there have been quite a few unforgiving studies on the phenomenon of “mate poachers” in the past few decades and nearly all conclude that mate poachers are high in traits of psychopathy. If you find yourself still wringing your hands and “untangling skeins of fuckedupedness,” at least channel that untangling towards resources that rely on facts and evidence. Here’s a nice long untangling read on it which lists the findings of previous studies:

    Psychopathy isn’t a minor, temporary or fixable personality flaw but a gaping hole where empathy and conscience should have been. The thing about resources on intimate abuse that rely on facts and evidence is that they tend to delve into dark clinical territory and therefore provide a lot less “hopium” than cheaters’ typical blame-shifting or sad-sausage excuses for cheating or the excuses provided to them by pop-psych apologists like therapists from the “Reconciliation Industrial Complex” or “sex addiction” mavens. In fact, the very tendency to rationalize committing harm to other people by inventing “fault” in victims places cheaters on the darkest spectrum of offenders. Click “download” for a free read of a paper on serial killers and their rationalizations for more “hopium”-killing skein untangling:

    If you accept your STBX back, you not only risk getting another STD and more betrayal but are also at risk for internalizing her lies about you and “how you made her do it.” Speaking of transmissible diseases, in that sense her low self esteem would eventually become yours. The price will be your psychological wellbeing. Even if she were paralyzed by a speeding tennis ball to the head and could never physically cheat again, the one thing abusers never give up is their alibis at victims’ expense. CL’s feedback is solid gold, especially the argument that your stock as a loving and devoted person trades high. There’s a psycho-free life awaiting you.

  • Dont beat yourself up about being a nice guy. You are young! Only about 45? You are in your prime, FW is getting past her prime. Women with good character will want to be your partner. You are a heterosexual male with a job, and upstanding guy. You are a unicorn. You are separated, I would start dating ASAP to see how much in demand you are. Focus on dating, not the cheater. You will find a great woman who will treat you right. Dont you want that?

    Your cheater doesnt want YOU. She wants what benefits you offer. Money, childcare, mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom, fixing stuff, doing the taxes, getting the car inspected, paying the mortgage and insurance, Not YOU. The sooner you get this concept the better off you are. She is also alone now and desperate. She will say anything to hoover you. Shes a proven liar. Shes a lying liar who lies, thats what she does. Why would you want that? She has manipulated you for Years.

    If you go no contact, you can live truly separately. The point of separation is not to reconcile. Cheaters use separation to screw other people. Chumps think the cheaters want to work on reconciliation. They dont. You are smart with the physical distance, you should use separation to unravel your life with her and emotionally separate from her. You dont have to divorce immediately if your not ready.

    But chumps agree that the longer you go with out divorce the more difficult they make it. If they are in limerence and need to be with AP they will agree to quick divorce. But if it drags on attention gets put back on you and they enjoy the fight.

    Get out!

  • dear a trusting man,

    i found the ruminating the worst part of grieving, the 3 a.m. swirl of thoughts and feelings. so i created a mantra that i repeated until the swirling slowed and stopped. this mantra is specific to my situation and slowly morphs over time, as i understand myself more. it’s a lot of work.

    1. he’s an active alcoholic
    2. he refuses to get help for alcoholism
    3. he is not emotionally capable
    4. he was raised in a dysfunctional, alcoholic home with parents who fought all the time, and had no boundaries
    5. the result is that he avoids conflict and uncomfortable feelings
    6. he is a narcissist and has little empathy
    7. he is not capable of intimacy
    8. i was primed for this relationship because i was raised by a narcissistic mom
    9. this relationship is not sustainable, that it lasted as long as it did is kinda amazing
    10. but, i deserve more and i will have more

    by the time i get to the end of the mantra, i’m thinking of myself and what i deserve. that’s the biggest shift over the first year–shifting focus to your self.

    create your own mantra and repeat it to yourself.

    PS she’s not worth your time.

  • It has taken me a long time to believe that a partner would wave their actions in their chump’s face like that. I have been sure I’ve seen a smirk on an ex’s face, then think, no, they would never.

    But recently, I’ve had the chance to observe a couple of younger kids in my family who often play with an older autistic child. Social things, sarcasm, cool kid jokes, go over the older child’s head and I see how the two little ones feel superior and decide they ‘know more’ than an older kid and they giggle and get off on it a bit. They’re too immature to decide that if they’re being mean or a bad fit with this child they should just stop playing with them – they often want the extra person for their games, so they keep engaging with the not-so-clueless but somewhat defenceless child and perpetuating the dynamic.

    That got me thinking about how, when I worked in Korea, many douchebag expats used to like to make jokes in English in front of their Korean girlfriends or their Korean male friends just to have everyone be in on a joke that the Korean person wouldn’t get. Often the “friend” would have to just shrug off the sense that a joke had just been made at their expense, or endure the condescending explanations that followed.

    In both cases, the duped person is in no way at fault for the other people’s immaturity. The duped person thinks they’re “friends,” meanwhile they’re being shamed for not knowing what they don’t know. These examples helped me see better what kind of childish “insider” vibe the shameless cheaters must be getting off on.

  • It doesn’t make much sense to think they haven’t had contact. Getting found out by their spouses has nothing to do with their relationship. That’s not a reason for them to break up, they were getting along just fine.

    What may happen is that they decide to play it cool for a little while to avoid consequences with their spouses but as soon as they feel safe again, the sexual relationship will resume. They aren’t going to break it off for you or his wife, that’s not how affairs work. They’re only going to end it if something happens between THEM. They don’t give a damn about you or his wife. If they did, they wouldn’t be having the affair in the first place. You don’t factor into their relationship.

  • Here’s my two cents-all you need to know is the part where, after everything blew up she said “there’s no spark in our marriage”. First of all that’s blame shifting. Second, you were married for flipping 25 years (I was too). You don’t go round feeling sparkly. It’s a different kind of love and you have to make those sparks. You do that by investing in your marriage, not looking outside of it. Dude, you’re not the comfortable pair of slippers at home for her while she goes out and gets sparks. It tells me that she cares more about her sparks than marriages. If that’s the case, you don’t share the same values. Mine was the same. He preferred the sexual thrills to our relationship. Well actually, he wanted both! But no, it meant we didn’t have the same values or idea of marriage. His idea was I would do all the adulting while he was out with other women. If you took her back, she’d be the same – looking for the spark and blaming you when she doesn’t feel it. She’s missing the comfort and she’s lonely now that her fuck buddy is gone.

    • Right?! And at what point do grown-ass humans stop chasing this stupid so-called spark?! Sheesh! If you’re unhappy in your marriage, walk away from it with dignity. If you’re not sexually satisfied and your partner can’t rise to the occasion and you truly can’t live without a certain level of sexual gratification from another person, then walk away from it with dignity. I just don’t understand it all. I’m as a sexual a person as anyone, but the older I get the more I realize what a small part sex plays (or should play) in a long-term loving relationship. Not an invisible part mind you, but small compared to all of the other critical relationship components. Also, who the hell has time and energy for all of these sexual conquests?! Some people have too much time on their hands.

      • I have recently had this epiphany. I haven’t wanted sex at all since the last D-day. Have gone 6 years with nothing. And I found myself asking myself if I am asexual or something. And then it hit me that no, I don’t want sex with a cheater and even if I were in a loving relationship with someone, holy crow I’m 50 and don’t even feel like the sexual escapades I was up for in my 20s and 30s. I’m not sorry to say that I’m good with plain vanilla good times in the sack a few times per week without bouncing off the walls. I don’t need or want anything harmful or bizarre. I don’t really understand those who do but nothing against them. But if we reached 50 and klootzak had said hey, I have these fetishes for X, Y, and Z and can’t live without them. Since you are not up for that, we should split ways, I would have done that! I mean, I would have said OK goodbye, let’s sort out the end and divide up the goods. Because I have sexual boundaries I won’t cross. But cheating? WTF?

        It has been 6 years without intimacy. If I allow myself to dwell on it, yeah, I miss it. But I also miss feeling like I could trust the person I was sleeping with. That was all the difference and I’d rather go to my grave celibate than ever again lie down with someone I can’t trust.

      • Exactly! And also my ex never bothered to find out if I was sexually satisfied. He couldn’t have cared less. And for the record- I wasn’t! I told him what I wanted and made sure he understood my fantasies. He seemed keen but never did anything about it. I didn’t push it, I figured he wasn’t interested and I didn’t worry too much. But no!! He was out there fucking around – for years. I also agree that who has time for all that sexual fantasy? I’ve got a house, job, kid, friends, aging parents who live overseas. I handled all that while he got to have fantasy sex and he thought I wasn’t interested. There are no words to express my utter rage some days.

  • BEWARE SELECTIVE KINDNESS AND GOOD TREATMENT. This is the hallmark of a seriously troubled person.

    The mental sand trap many chumps get mired in is the difference between how the cheater treats us and how they treat their secret double life inhabitants. I thought his selective kindness meant something was wrong with me. It took a while to learn that it means something is wrong with him…..and the side pieces who also think nothing about how their actions hurt others.

    Healthy, truly good people don’t lie and cheat and betray and obfuscate and steal and hold emotional hostages and hide money and maintain double lives, trample over boundaries, etc. It’s insane to consider letting someone into my life who is a danger to me.

    Cheaters are about LOOKING good, which is not the same as BEING good.

    That someone stabs their partner and children in the back while being Mr/Ms Wonderful to a secret side piece is hard proof that an individual has serious character issues, and is a dangerous person.

    Would you want an arsonist for a roommate?

    A healthy person, a winner, a keeper, does not lie and cheat and deceive. They’ve found their kind in the wild; it’s best that the character disordered stick together.

    Jared the Subway Guy was SUCH A NICE GUY! Around the adults who could kick his ass. The children he victimized saw who he really is.

    When someone lies to you and cheats on you (aka ABUSE) they are showing you who they really are. The Good Guy/Gal is a disguise.

    Continue to engage at your own peril.

    “Selective gentleness and kindness. It’s easy to be gentle and kind when you can reasonably expect gentleness and kindness returned. And it’s easy to show acceptance when you’re confident of being accepted. What tells the whole story is what happens when a person is slighted, confronted, criticized, or called-out on something.”

    – Dr. George Simon

  • Don’t you just love the ones who light the match and then act shocked that the house is on fire!

  • Buddy, you did all the right things once you found out about the affair. Please don’t second guess yourself now. Go no-contact and work every day to rebuild your life with new friends and new sports clubs, etc. Try some new stuff, try some old stuff, reinvent yourself in your career, travel, etc…just stay engaged in the world. Lean on any good friends and loyal family you have left and try and find opportunities to spend time with your adult kids in positive ways. Build up the good relationships and get rid of the bad ones. I know that the grief of losing all that you’ve lost can feel enormous, because it is enormous, but it’ll get better over time, if you let it and if you keep yourself occupied.

    Even if you give your ex the complete and total benefit of the doubt–that she was lost and perhaps had mental health issues, etc.–you will never again be assured of her faithfulness. If you think you feel like a bit of a fool now, imagine how foolish you’ll feel if you get back with this liar and she does it all again. Hard pass.

  • Why on earth would you consider reconciling with a person who has a proven track record of treating you like a dope and cheating on you for FIVE YEARS?

    From my experience, and from everything I’ve read here, you better believe this has been a hobby of hers for years before you found out about this affair. If you think you can reconcile with that . . . I know a Nigerian prince who would like to ask you to invest in their infallible money making opportunity.

  • I was just thinking about cheaters being “sorry” and I realized that as disordered individuals, they probably have never felt real remorse. They think regret is the same as remorse. They regret getting caught and losing cake. They regret that their actions brought consequences upon them. To them it feels like being sorry and it’s as close as they get to it. Some of them are even sincere and actually do believe they are sorry. The problem is, their idea of being sorry is not the same as yours.
    I suspect this is the case with Not A Fool’s wife. So NAF, do you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody who neither feels nor understands genuine remorse? Remember that you can choose to forgive if you want, but that does not mean you have to take her back. You can also choose not to forgive. You owe her nothing.

  • Last Friday, I joined a Gestalt workshop, organized by my not-licenced therapist neighbour and one of her former clients who used to be a teacher and is now a therapist too. I had not seen these people during the last 7 years. The first session was for a plain brunette in her late thirties. She chose me to play the role of her mother. Her problem was that she was staying with her husband who “is a good guy” and their three children, although she was tempted to leave with another man. She viewed the situation as “sacrificing” herself, her husband “no longer gives butterflies” in her stomach, she has to put her own happiness first, “it’s my life !”. This is France, so it’s even worse than where you live, the traitor is viewed as interesting, daring, the victim is boring and faulty somehow. The person who was playing the role of the husband said “I love you and I am sad but I understand your decision”, exactly what she wanted to hear. Indeed, she expected her whole family to remain at her feet while she was eloping with her new prince charming. Everyone was positive, telling her she has to follow her heart. Until it became my turn to talk. I told her she is losing the prey for its shadow, that it will be interesting later when she bites the dust. People were outraged that I did not support her project. I felt anger boiling, anger towards these mediocre people who don’t make much efforts and yet have been blessed with a good partner, children and a nice home, and who decide that this is not enough, that they deserve more.

  • I gasped audibly when I read about Tennis Creep’s gaslighting!

    I don’t know you left him all his teeth, honestly. We dont condone violence here but that’s some next level bullshit. I want to hunt him down personally after reading that.

  • This story is very similar to mine. Horrible, horrible experience. Funny how after the fact you are able to see how ridiculous and obvious the cheating was. Yes I do feel like a fool. But thank you Tracy for this:
    “Here’s the thing about People Who Love With Their Whole Hearts, they make great friends. They’re stocks that trade high. You just have to internalize what a prize you are. Heal up, but don’t be afraid to get out there and gift yourself to people deserving of you.”

  • It’s very hard to deal with finding out that someone you’ve loved for most of your life never returned your love and loyalty and has been deceiving you all along. It makes you question your own judgement and maybe even the nature of reality. Remember this is 100% a “them” problem and not at all about you.

    Once you’ve seen that imitation of life for what it was, you can’t unsee it. Believe that a better life with real connection and honesty is in your future, getting a little closer every day. Please don’t let separation anxiety and sentimentality pull you back to something that never really was.

    Now I have the Doobie Brothers stuck in my head:

    “He came from somewhere back in her long ago
    The sentimental fool don’t see
    Tryin’ hard to recreate
    What had yet to be created once in her life
    She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale
    Never coming near what he wanted to say
    Only to realize it never really was

    She had a place in his life
    He never made her think twice
    As he rises to her apology
    Anybody else would surely know
    He’s watchin’ her go

    What a fool believes he sees
    No wise man has the power
    To reason away
    What seems to be
    Is always better than nothing
    And nothing at all”

    • One of my favourite songs, ever. Michael McDonald’s has a Facebook account. I commented with all honesty that among the things that were worth living on this planet was Michael McDonald’s voice.

  • Well, this posting is timely.

    I thought I got a voicemail from my FW XW’s new family law lawyer today. It had very poor audio qualities, so I had to listen to to it a few times to try and make out who was calling me for sure.

    Then I realized I needed to find the stupid email from the FW XW back in October, the one I’ve been talking about for the last few months or so, where she says she hopes we can be “cordial” sometime in the future. I’m pretty sure she mentions the name of her new family law lawyer in it.

    And as I’m rereading it, I realize that after finding the attorney’s name and the part about the FW XW wanting us to be “cordial” in the future, there are two to three paragraphs ending the email that I had no recollection of reading.

    Could I have possibly gotten so angry about the “cordial” comment that I stopped reading the email? According to my wonderful, caring sister, no. She just confirmed I talked about it w/her in October.

    So I guess I just got so angry, I blocked those paragraphs out of my mind. Either that, or old age is hitting me harder than I’d like. I’m hoping it’s the former, not the latter.

    In less than a month, I’ll be six years out from D-day, and four years absolutely divorced from the awful whore of an XW. So, Mr. Not a Fool or TMWLWHWH, pay attention to these paragraphs:

    [You said in your last email, “I’m very much looking forward to [minor aged son]’s next birthday when I will have much less to do w/you. I would think it would be the same for you.” That is actually not the case. I had hoped that someday you might be willing to maintain some kind of cordial relationship with me so that our kids would not have to deal with the ongoing anxiety they have about talking about one parent in the presence of another. Or that they might be reasonably assured that we could all attend a family gathering without causing distress for everyone. I have done my absolute best to be respectful of you as their dad, as well as your family. All along I have encouraged them to do their best to keep a positive relationship with you and to not lose touch with your family. I have not complained to them about you and have tried very hard to support them through their struggles with you. I have not given them any reason to think that if I were to be in the same room with you I would misbehave in some way. But based on your comment, I understand that is not something you will want to do. 

    Not that I was expecting to ever get some kind of resolution, but we have never had a chance to fully discuss what was happening with our marriage. I have never had a chance to fully tell you all the things I was thinking and feeling, neither while we were married nor afterwards. And you never had the chance to do so either, although I have several memories of practically begging you to tell me what you were feeling so that I could try to understand and do better. I have a lot of ideas about how you felt, but nothing specific from you. I guess, since you can’t wait to have even less to do with me, that I will never know how you felt, and neither will you know how I felt. I’m guessing you don’t want to anyway.

    Regardless, I am painfully aware of my share of the responsibility for what went wrong, and I have worked very hard to repair my relationships with the kids. It has taken a long time but things are a lot better than they were and we are all in a much better place. I look forward to continuing building strong relationships with them, for the rest of my life. And I will always be there to support them as they navigate their relationships with you, in whatever form they take. In the end, all that matters to me is that the kids are ok.]

    This is, to me, something along the lines of a MasterClass in mindfuckery. This is a woman who had a history of making sure she had her next partner/victim lined up so that she never suffered/lived on her own w/out a romantic partner.

    I grant the FW XW that I felt mentally underwater for a few years after leaving pharmacy. I was in a deep depression at that point. I could NOT figure out how to work in any capacity as a pharmacist w/out losing it mentally, and at the same time, I couldn’t figure out another type of job to allow us to maintain our former house and lifestyle.

    To my knowledge/memory, though, there was never any “practically” begging by her to me to tell her what I was feeling. I do remember trying to get her to understand that the entire order in the world of pharmacy had been upended finally by the two factors of the 2008 economic crisis finally fully impacting it by 2012, and the influx of a boatload of new pharmacy graduates that had been coming for years.

    She wouldn’t or couldn’t seem to grasp what I was trying to tell her. She looked like I was telling her her parents were dying all over again. Now I know (or at least strongly feel) that it was the look of the death knell of my suitability as a partner for her in life. I now don’t think she’s capable of seeing a partner as most of us do, as a loving, caring spouse. They/we are just a necessary evil to her, to provide the lifestyle she wants. It’s all just theory. But it’s a theory that I think bears up so far.

    I’m sure she does do everything she can to encourage the kids to have a positive relationship w/me. It helps make her look good. And she’s very good at image management. Still, I’ve heard a few times from the kids (mainly our son) how her and her former boss/AP and current partner have acted like assholes towards them over the years.

    And it feels ludicrous, her assertion that we never had a chance to discuss during our marriage or after D-day what went wrong. I now understand that she spent at least one to two years discarding me and my family w/the distance of time, and the grey rock I developed the farther I got away from her following her exit-affairing me, discovered on D-day.

    And, following D-day, we had a few talks before she left our house to move up the street and live w/her boss. We also had marriage counseling that I wanted in my pick-me phase, and that she agreed to on the condition that it was understood she was not coming back to the marriage. The counselor supported me w/her words more than the FW XW.

    Also, I told her in one of our last physical meetings together that I felt she was unwilling to take responsibility for her actions, both in our married life (I was blamed for getting her pregnant w/our son) and in having an affair. She looked angry at me at the time, but said nothing. I’ve since learned here in CN that this is a very common experience for chumps, the cheater not willing to take responsibility for their actions.

    This is also not the first time I’ve known her to remember things very differently than I do. When we were married, she did this and it scared me a little. But I thought, if this is her worst quirk, I can deal w/it. Why? Because I knew I LOVED HER. Now? I think it’s image management again. Or a touch of insanity.🤷‍♂️

    I have to get to bed. It’s after midnight where I’m at. So Mr. Not A Fool (I’m sorry, it’s shorter!😬), watch out for your estranged wife. Stay away from her as much as possible. That’s my recommendation. I stopped communicating w/the FW XW pretty much after this. It’s hard to deal w/the mindfuck blender these awful people continue to want to put us through. Don’t give her any more chances than you have to.

    I do agree w/the FW XW on one thing.

    What matters most to me is that the kids are ok. I just differ on how to achieve that. I don’t want to model behavior that tells them to give an abuser a free pass to rewrite history, or to abuse their victim. Again.

    I’ve got Christina Aguilera’s song “Fighter” going through my head. Listen to it, Mr. Not A Fool (and change the gender in it to make it work for you). I wish you all the best. And to all of CN as well. I apologize for any writing that doesn’t make sense. This was a rush job.😐

    P.S. please notice the FW XW makes no apologies for what she did to me and our family. She never has, and I doubt she ever will.

  • when i saw my (now ex) wife downloaded whatsapp and was using it, i jokingly said to her “there’s only 3 reasons someone would use whatsapp instead of texting. to have an affair, to plan a crime or to overthrow a dictator in a 3rd world country”….well guess which one it was

    • Omg that’s so true – except it’s to overthrow dictators all over the world.

  • Dear A Fool, which you are not.

    You, yourself, point out the red flags that were looking you in the face and you even point out that your wife lied to you. After a 5-year affair and her many lies, where she has continually lied to you during that time and has lied about her daily life and covered her tracks for years, why would you give any credence to what she has to say? She lost the privilege to have any say in what happens from here. The decisions you make, for you, should only take into account your mental and physical well-being.

    Not knowing your financial situation, ask yourself how much of her claiming she wants to stay is due to home, retirement, and/or loss of income.

    Your eyes are open now. It’s not easy for the heart to catch up to the mind but it will happen.

  • Your wife has no boundaries or morals. She’s sorry she got caught. She’ll be better at hiding it in the future.
    You are staying in this because you want to. No one can make you a chump unless you allow it.

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