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She’s Having an Affair with Her ‘Work Husband’

Dear Chump Lady,

Last summer my wife gave me the whole “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” speech over text while I was at work, when I got home the next day she wanted to go out for drinks (for some stupid reason I agreed and went), while we were out she got drunk and admitted to having an emotional affair with her “work husband”.

For the next several months I did the pick me dance hard, I went to individual therapy to fix everything that was wrong with me and the reason she said she needed the “work husband”, I asked for her to go to/tried to drag her to marriage counseling, I worked out, I tried to get her to engage in hobbies with me, we even bought a house (we were already under contract when she told me about her emotional affair), during this time period she would randomly get angry with me or say that it was to much for her to be around me and go stay in hotels.

In October I got to come home early from work one night to our new house that I had been working to make a home for us, and she sits me down on the bed and tells me that our relationship makes her feel empty and that we are just roommates and good friends, we both agree to separate and live separate lives going forward, so I started doing the “pick me dance” but this time for myself, I did things that made me happy, spent my time on what mattered to me, I’m not great at making friends so I went to a networking event and met some people in December (while I was there she had her sister call the venue to check up on me).

After the networking event I started talking to a woman I met there, completely innocent friend get-to-know-you stuff (never saw her in person again), since we were separated I didn’t think twice about telling my wife who I was texting when she asked (even showed her the texts when she asked).

My wife absolutely lost her shit, started crying and asking how I could do this, and why I didn’t want to make this work, and she will do anything to try to make us work. I told her then that I needed time to think, on New Years Eve I told her that I wanted a divorce, she refused and said that if I can’t be the “rock” then she will, and that the only reason she wanted to separate was because she thought that’s what I wanted because I said “I feel relived that we are separating, because there has been so much pressure for me to fix this.”

Stupidly I agreed to let her try to fix things, nothing changed over the month of January, I asked for a divorce again at the beginning of February, she refused again and now insisted that we do marriage counseling, I agreed (because I’m a stupid gullible chump), we did the whole 12 weeks that our counselor offered, we did the homework, we talked about our individual problems, all the things, and honestly I thought we had made progress.

Last week (our first week without a counseling session) she decides to let out another trickle of truth, she had met up with her “work husband” in November supposedly at a park, while there they kissed, I asked if that was all that happened and she admitted that “he put his hands up her shirt, but that was all”. At no point during this whole year of bullshit has she been no contact with the “work husband”.

I honestly don’t believe her, this isn’t the first time she has cheated on me in our relationship, and its the same story she always tells, “kissing, groping but then I stopped it”. I’m so lost and don’t know what to believe and I feel like I can’t trust myself anymore to make decisions, I can’t talk to anyone in my life about this because I know how stupid and weak I seem in this whole story and I know what my family would say.




Dear ApparentlyEasilyTrusting,

In any given column, I ask — “Is this relationship acceptable to you?” But I don’t have to ask you that — because you know your mind. Not acceptable. Stop second guessing yourself.

I asked for a divorce again at the beginning of February, she refused again

She doesn’t have to agree. You don’t have to achieve consensus. As she enjoys torturing you with Plan B mindfuckery (I’m your rock! I’m not in love with you! But let’s be friends! How dare you have friends!) she will not enjoy you exercising your free will. Exert it all the same.

Let’s untangle this.

while we were out she got drunk and admitted to having an emotional affair with her “work husband”.

She’s hoping you’re going to pick me dance for the honor of her ambivalence. Oh, I don’t know if you can compete with Chad in accounting. Fuck her humiliating contests.

“Work husband” — is that what they call workplace affairs over at Human Resources? You’re her actual husband. She can’t slap “husband” on her side dish fuck like you’re equals.

For the next several months I did the pick me dance hard, I went to individual therapy to fix everything that was wrong with me and the reason she said she needed the “work husband”

You’ve met the Reconciliation Industrial Complex I see. How did that feel? Soul sucking?

People don’t cheat because of Unmet Needs. They cheat because they have lousy character. Her screw-ups were never yours to own. We don’t make people abuse us. You don’t control this.

during this time period she would randomly get angry with me or say that it was to much for her to be around me and go stay in hotels.

Hotels? (((Trusting))). You know what she’s up to, right? And it’s what they do. They pick fights, get really defensive, act shitty, devalue you, so they feel justified in their abuse.

I’m not great at making friends so I went to a networking event and met some people in December (while I was there she had her sister call the venue to check up on me).

You live in a fault state? If you’re talking divorce, she’s probably trying to see if she can get you to “cheat” too, or stick around long enough that the infidelity is legally “forgiven.”

It’s also just basic DARVO, deny, attack, reverse victim offender. She’s acting like you’re the cheater, the person at fault, or it’s all equivalent and for some reason (the therapists you’re seeing?) you’re buying this malarkey.

After the networking event I started talking to a woman I met there, completely innocent friend get-to-know-you stuff (never saw her in person again), since we were separated I didn’t think twice about telling my wife who I was texting when she asked (even showed her the texts when she asked).

My wife absolutely lost her shit,

That’s rich.

You were supposed to stick around as Plan B, pine indefinitely, and have no other Gods before her. Continue to be of use.

I told her then that I needed time to think, on New Years Eve I told her that I wanted a divorce, she refused

She’s not in charge. You are. Take back your power.

and said that if I can’t be the “rock” then she will, and that the only reason she wanted to separate was because she thought that’s what I wanted because I said “I feel relived that we are separating, because there has been so much pressure for me to fix this.”

No. Fact check, you were divorcing because she said she didn’t love you. And agreed to separate. She’s just blameshifting this back on you. Of course you’re relieved you’re not trying to singlehandedly save a marriage to a narcissistic freak.

Also, all this drama may at some level feel like she cares — she does not. It’s just more kibbles and centrality. People who LOVE you don’t goad you into humiliating contests and jerk you around on a string.

now insisted that we do marriage counseling, I agreed (because I’m a stupid gullible chump), we did the whole 12 weeks that our counselor offered, we did the homework, we talked about our individual problems, all the things, and honestly I thought we had made progress.

Look, shame on those marriage counselors. She’s a serial cheater who told you she didn’t love you and was having an affair with her co-worker. This isn’t an “us” problem, it’s a “her” problem. It’s like, why don’t we go to therapy together for my arson habit.? And discuss all the ways you drove me to burn down barns. Left matches around. Roasted marshmallows. I think you need to own your part.

Anyone who has a 12-week program to save your marriage after infidelity is probably a quack, in my opinion. Chumps are NOT RESPONSIBLE for their partner’s unethical behavior. Your “individual problems” didn’t make her burn down the barn.

Anyway, she was enjoying cake, or biding her time while lining up Work Husband, distracting or placating you with therapy.

Last week (our first week without a counseling session) she decides to let out another trickle of truth, she had met up with her “work husband” in November supposedly at a park, while there they kissed, I asked if that was all that happened and she admitted that “he put his hands up her shirt, but that was all”. At no point during this whole year of bullshit has she been no contact with the “work husband”.

She’s sick. She wants to get a contact high off your pain and know that she matters. This is not how loving partners behave. You have NOTHING TO WORK WITH.

I’m so lost and don’t know what to believe and I feel like I can’t trust myself anymore to make decisions,

You’re not lost. You’ve been mindfucked by someone who purported to love you. It’s a big club. And it’s really painful, but totally survivable. The key is to get away from her and go no contact.

You can totally trust yourself to make decisions. Your instinct was on point each time you paused to reflect — you wanted to divorce. But then you get sucked back in because you aren’t sealing the deal. Everyone here knows how hard it is to invest in someone and have deep sunk costs and be betrayed. You have to start operating with total lucidity and take those hard first steps. Call a lawyer. Shut down the finances. Get an STD test.

I can’t talk to anyone in my life about this because I know how stupid and weak I seem in this whole story and I know what my family would say.

Shame on anyone in your life who doesn’t say, “You do NOT deserve this. How DARE she treat you this way!” You brought your A game. You loved with your whole heart, and when she broke your heart, you tried harder. That takes guts. It’s misdirected, but it still takes guts. No one can fault you here. There’s ZERO SHAME in loving and trusting your wife. The stupid weak person is her.

You don’t need your family to validate your decision, or your cheating wife. The only one who calls the shots here on what’s acceptable is YOU.

Dump her. We’ve all got your back. (((Hugs))) It gets much easier on the other side.

P.S. I bet you make new friends just fine. You just have to surround yourself with a better class of person.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • It does get sooo much better on the other side. (((Hugs))).

    Im still in the thick of the separation agreement but my ex moved out Jan 2020. My life is so much harder financially (he stopped paying for the mortgage and my sons expenses) but it is so much better!!!! I’m no longer walking on eggshells. I don’t have to do serial STD testing. I don’t have to worry about what he will do next or what mean thing he has done while I was at work.

    My ex used to get drunk at parties and be mean to my friends. It was so embarrassing. When I knew I was going to leave the marriage I told everyone at work and my friends that he cheated with prostitutes and got me sick. The more I heard the things he had done out loud and watched people’s reactions to what I was saying, the more it solidified my relationship was not tolerable, acceptable or safe.

  • Tracy nails it with all of this, and especially this comparison: “It’s like, why don’t we go to therapy together for my arson habit.? And discuss all the ways you drove me to burn down barns. Left matches around. Roasted marshmallows. I think you need to own your part. … Your “individual problems” didn’t make her burn down the barn.”

  • AEF,

    No one ever said this is easy. You know that your wife’s behaviour is not acceptable; now you just need to see it through and divorce her. Don’t worry about her painting you out to be the bad guy who who gave up on your marriage (she’s going to play a variation on that theme to all and sundry anyway, so just lean into it). As she is giving you nothing to work with, spending money on marriage counselling is wasting money better spent on a kick-ass lawyer. And as for her “refusing a divorce,” she can f*ck right off; she just wants to control the narrative and the way that this plays out.

    By way of a personal example, after she was busted for cheating (which she still denies, but lying cheaters lie and cheat), now-Ex Mrs LFTT said she wanted a divorce (she said some other stuff too, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole). So I had her served with divorce papers and she completely lost her sht. It became clear that she wanted to divorce me on the grounds that it was MYbehaviour that was unreasonable (saying nothing of her lies, cheating, manipulation and theft from myself and our children) ….. because she wanted to control the narrative and portray herself as the victim in all of this. Well fck her and the horse that she rode in on; she got what she asked for (the divorce) …… just not in the way that she wanted, and not the kind of settlement that she wanted either.

    AEF …. believe me, you’ve got this, it does get better and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t get things over the line at your first attempt; CN are here for you.


    PS – in other news, the kids and I are moving into a brand new house tomorrow; out of our rental and into something that I own. It’s taken 7 long years since Ex-Mrs LFTT left us, but it feels f*cking great; pretty much the last piece of the post-Mrs LFTT jigsaw puzzle.

    • OOOH, congratulations on your accomplishment of a new home for you and the kids…you have parented valiantly in this suck hole.

    • I was so happy about LFTTs house, I forgot the rest of my comment… will a Cheater spin themselves and uyou into knots just to come out looking like the victim? Not only “YES”, but Hell Yes and might keep it up for YEARS.

      My Cheater wanted me to leave him so he didnt took bad to others and he literally tried everything to get me to throw him out – everything except truth and integrity. Now, looking back, I have moments of shame when I realize that he showed me MANY times that he wanted out and I refused to see what was right in front of me.

      • UNM,

        You are absolutely right. Ex-Mrs LFTT is still claiming victimhood 7+ years after she left me and the kids to be with her AP. During the 2 years prior to her leaving, her behaviour was consistently provocative and argumentative – towards the me and towards the kids – and if ever one of us said “no” or “stop” she would fly off of the handle saying that we were bullies. I am sure that she was trying to drive me out so that she could claim that I left her … and thus leaving her clear to get together with her AP with what passes for a clear conscience in “ChaeterWorld.”


      • UCNM, me too! My FW was a total jerk. The less he did and the meaner he got, the more I worked and tried to make amends. I was willing to do anything to stay married. I think he was pushing me to see when I would reach my limit and kick his lazy ass out, which I finally did. Now I wake up to PEACE!

      • Unicornomore, They might keep it up for YEARS? Oh god no. I’m currently in this situation. He cheated, he told me he was no longer in love with me, found his soul mate. Due to the pandemic, AP being long distance and foot dragging on both our parts, 3 years later we still live together. The plan is to divorce, that has been the plan for a long time. But newsflash, he and schmoops called it quits sometime in the last 2-3 months and now he is saying that I am the one leaving the marriage, I am discarding two decades and everything we built. My mind is made up, it’s not like his protests are changing my mind, but it’s not at all easy to deal with this new narrative. I think it’s possible that he does regret the affair and wishes he had not blown up all of our lives. (Or rental prices and furniture shopping are causing the tears, I realize facing the consequences might be the only real issue for him ) I don’t enjoy watching him in pain over his moronic “mistake”. If this attitude had been present at DDay 3 years ago? I might have ended up in the RIC. But for 3 years, he was NOT sorry, I was basically tortured by the knowledge of the affair while living with him. He became a different person. To the point where I at one point thought maybe he had a brain tumor. (as funny as that sounds, he was THAT different, I really did wonder) So now after 3 years of him doing everything he could to end any potential of rec there could be…Now I am the villain that isn’t giving us a chance? It really is a hard pill to swallow, but I just focus on the fact that there will be peace on the other side.

        • That sounds incredibly hard. For me, the trick was to turn Mrs. AAB into one of those Peanuts adults with the weird, incomprehensible sad-trombone sounds. I just focused on the sort of dumbly calculating look in her eyes, wondering what she was up to. It got me through the rough parts.

          • AAB, Thank you. That’s more or less what I am doing. My logic knows that even if he is 100% truly sorry, I can’t get over everything that transpired. There is just no way. He says “it’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t”. In some ways that is true, I could say “fine, let’s rec.” But it wouldn’t be real on my side, I have too much resentment, hurt and anger. And I will quite simply never trust him again. This wasn’t a drunken one night stand (which is also unforgivable for many as well). This was YEARS. I don’t even know many details, I know enough to be certain that there is nothing to work with. He admits to what he wants. I don’t have his passwords etc, so there is not much to go on. But that’s years of willfully betraying me and playing me for a fool. How many “micro betrayals” did he commit in 6 years? He was committed to fooling me. And the tears are real, but what he says is so telling. One minute he is angry and blaming me, the next he is contrite. He even tried to blame the AP for gaslighting HIM. But like you said, when he speaks, I don’t really listen to the words. I try to figure out what he is trying to manipulate now.

            • hmm. the link to the youtube likely doesn’t work. we’re probably not supposed to link, as it’s an exit to the site.

              oh well. google “sound of adults in peanuts”

            • I’d be sorely tempted to say, “You’re right – I won’t. Because -you- can’t.”

            • He is truly sorry he is caught out! Has nothing to do with hurting you!

            • It’s nice to get an apology and boy do FWs have a lot to apologize for. Your FW had sex, that’s what adults do. Over years it was many times, you can assume. It is not necessary to have proof to know the relationship is not acceptable to you.

              You do not owe FW forgiveness or reconciliation. Not do you have to swallow any more bitter pills of his lying cheating narrative. They rewrite history as it suits them. They say whatever will get them what they want in the moment. There is nothing and no one to work with.

            • When D-day happened and I saw an individual therapist for my anxiety, one of the first things she asked is if I would take him back if he “apologized.” I said yes, in a heartbeat. FW and I eventually got divorced, and when he hoovered back around a few years later, my answer was no way! Thank goodness you’ve had years to think about it so as not to fall into the RIC trap. Time provides clarity.

              I’m also livid for you that he said, “it’s not that you can’t, it’s that you won’t.” Of course you won’t! You could reconcile with any sort of abuser, but other than infidelity abuse, no one would expect that. If your SBXH beat you on a regular basis, then said “sorry,” would anyone expect you to reconcile just because you “could.” No!! If your business partner stole from you, then said sorry and wanted to start another business with you, would you do that? You “could,” but no one would expect you to. I’m so sick of infidelity abuse not being treated the same as all other abuse. It’s a complete and total mindf*** to chumps. Society, family, friends, often just don’t see it for what it is, abuse, which causes chumps to question themselves.

              • CBN – there are some people out there who would expect people to reconcile with an abuser who had been physically violent but seemed sorry to them. I am a Christian but that always bothered me. I am honestly very skeptical over whether or not the abuser is truly remorseful. Yes, Christ can do anything BUT we have free will and the abuser has to want to listen to Christ’s teachings. There are even more people out there who would expect someone to stay with a non physically violent emotionally abusive person. Some in the church also pressure those who were cheated on to reconcile but most would consider adultery a biblical reason to divorce. I’m actually glad my ex was unfaithful instead of dealing with emotional and/or physical abuse with no infidelity. Sadly, it would have been much rougher without the adultery. This is really sad to me and has been one of the reasons I’ve stayed single.

              • Good to know, JannaG. I’m not religious so it never crosses my mind that anyone would expect a person to reconcile or stay with a physical or emotional (by most people’s definition of what that is, which unfortunately usually excludes infidelity) abuser. My mother is religious, but after D-day, she was constantly asking if ex-FW ever hit me, and I know she would have said to get the heck out if he ever did. I agree with you that it is really sad, whether it stems from religion or otherwise.

              • For me, I wish he had hit me, because I would have left immediately. Instead I went through 3 more years of psychological manipulation and pick-me-dancing before the second affair surfaced and I finally threw in the towel.

              • A perspective I had not considered…but so spot on. Thank you.

            • My answer to this sort of jackass would be: “You were having an affair for YEARS. The only reason you want to stay in the marriage is that you broke up with your affair partner. I am not Plan B. My mistake was not divorcing you the day I found out.” Then go file for divorce and get it done with.

              And if you are worried about what others think? Pare down that file to your best friend(s) and your close family. Tell them the truth. And FILE! You’re not the villain. You are a person taking charge of her own life.

              • LovedaJackass, absolutely!!! Except don’t tell him. The only good thing about it having been so long is he’s taking it for granted that she won’t file. The element of surprise!

              • P.s. SortOfOverIt, if he just went through a breakup he didn’t want, his “ducks” are probably all over the place. Now, like right now, would be a great time to file without saying anything.

          • and make your STBX sound like the adults in peanuts:

        • Yes, SortOfOverIt. Unfortunately my FW also was very keen on spreading his version of the events, and I lost many a friend in the process. Though today I reconsider calling a friend somebody that believed FW’s version of events WITHOUT asking me “what’s up with that? / What is your take?”. If they believe FW so easily, maybe they were not friends indeed #FlyingMonkeys

          • Alas, That seems to be a common story here. And you are right, if they ditch you without considering that you also have a side of the story too, they were never friends. The people who would believe my FW are a small handful and they are not “my people”. I won’t lose friends as my close friends that matter will believe me.

            • This is why we should never hide infidelity. At some point, we need our tribe to help us get away from the cheater. It’s good if they know what really happened.

          • That was my response. Anyone who accepted AP (and thus FW’s version of events) without so much as asking me for my story is now no longer my friend. Turns out it was pretty much our entire social circle. My life is better without them.

        • His pain is about consequences. Three years of torture? Who cares what a cheater has to say?

          • Doingme, I mostly care only in that I am stuck watching it all unfold and it leaves me trying to untangle the skein. I think I am doing a good job of NOT getting too involved with the untangling, I set it aside as soon as I realize I am thinking about it . I was doing a MUCH better job of not even looking at the damn skein before he started begging and crying. It’s just awful, I am still pressing forward with the divorce because I really feel like it is the only option. We could rec, he could never cheat again and I’d spend my life worrying about it happening again and resenting that it happened at all. That’s not a marriage. That’s not fair to either of us, as much as he seems to think my NOT trying is unfair to him. It’s hard to explain because for the past 3 years, I have not given much concern to anything he has to say. but this new phase of contrition sent me for a loop. It won’t change my decision, but if he truly is actually sorry I have to admit that I do feel bad for him. Probably because I know how it feels to be told your marriage is over and that you can’t do anything about it. I know he DID this, and I still have sympathy because I know it is extremely painful.

            • Consequences —Chester hate them. Did he show concern for you and your pain in those three years? Do not feel bad for feeling as you do. Lose that Chester and gain your new life

            • I commented earlier, but I also wanted to say that I totally understand what you’re saying about feeling bad for FW. I sometimes feel bad for my ex-FW, because it’s a hell of a thing to realize that he lost his chance at a good relationship with his only child because he neglected him, cheated, and blew up the family, and now he’s regretting the lost relationship. My son told me ex-FW was literally crying to him on the phone about it the other day, and I’ll admit a wave of sadness/empathy for him washed over me. It is indeed very sad, for ex-FW and for my son, and it’s human nature (unless you’re some sort of psychopath) to feel empathy. BUT, my son also told me that amongst FW’s crying, he heard the phrase, “It’s not fair” come out of ex-FW’s mouth, which tells me that he still doesn’t fully acknowledge that he has no one to blame but himself.

        • He is only sorry because AP dumped his ass and he’s losing his wife appliance. Good for you to press on!!

          • AP dumped him, and he doesn’t want to lose money. That’s it. He is not “fighting for the marriage.”

          • He says he dumped her. But I know there is a 90% chance that is a lie. The 10% chance that it is true stems from the fact that she MAY have gotten sick of waiting and dumped him. The irony is that I will never know if he is telling the truth. And that is the whole point, is it not? If I stayed, I would never know what was real.

            • The fact that he didn’t move on with a divorce years ago shows his real goal:: CAKE. He wanted the affair, the drama, the triangle, and you, a trust wife appliance. He wanted your household income and resources intact and…sex with the AP! Sordid romance! So maybe he did dump her but who cares? This relationship isn’t acceptable to you/

              You’ve got a garden-variety fuckwit who wants CAKE and no consequences.

        • Do iT! You deserve so much better! Your health and happiness depend on it.

        • SortOfOverIt of course he wants you, as long as it’s on his timeline/terms. Mine did too once his AP flitted off to her next shiny object. He wanted to both blame me and also convince me he loved me and beg me to stay 🤷‍♀️ It’s so confusing!
          Don’t be his plan B. That’s all this act is, selfishly trying to salvage his backup plan, and you deserve better.

        • SortOfOverIt, I was in a very similar situation. We were living together despite his cheating. Because he was a good liar and I believed that it was over.
          They do not care about our pain. It took me months to understand what it means. I had to remind myself a number of times that I deserve a real human with emotions, not a robot. They just do not care how much we suffer! These are the type of the people that we need to protect ourselves from.
          The character change is very common. Many of us thought about the same thing; is it a disease or a mental problem? I don’t think they change, they just hide it well.
          My husband was a loving, caring person. Everyone loved him. When I talked to close friends about his lies, they didn’t believe me at first. Everyone was shocked.

          Please do not engage with him. Have a plan to separate yourself from him until the divorce. My husband was torturing me daily: He was having fun with his side dish, then coming home and telling me that we should save this marriage because we loved each other too much!
          Saying no to him would not shut him down. They like attention, good or bad. It was so much to bear that my mental and physical health were deteriorating. Then I removed him out. The first months were very tough but I would not go back to that life again, if they offered me one million dollar.
          I kept refusing him and he kept saying to me: I cannot lose everything, I need to have something out of this. (His explanation for having to continue with the side dish). If it is true that he is not in good terms with ap, then he wants to be back to Plan B. You are nobody’s Plan B. Just don’t engage with him. You are not responsible with his years long affair. You are not the villain here. Many of us gave them another chance, two, three, even more. They loved it because:
          1. They suffered no consequences
          2. They carried on the affairs underground.
          I slowly figured out how sick my ex-husband was when I finally removed him out and stopped seeing him. The first condition to see everything clearly is to get out of their sight and mental abuse.

          • Thank you so much. It’s incredible how transparent their begging is. And how little they realize that.

        • It is humiliating to admit, but now looking back with a more informed understanding of what my life was, I can see that he didnt actually want to marry at all…ideally he would have created some sort of cake situation and maximized his kibble no matter what. Within days of our marriage, he acted like he wanted out but wanted it to be me to be accountable for it. I was too stubborn to give up that easily then sunk costs and kids entered and I doubled down with commitment.

          His “big” affair (I learned after his death that there were many small ones) was 18 years in and we lived the last 5 years of his life in a bad wreckonsillyation. I was planning an escape mostly due to his chronic meanness and volatile anger.

          “he and schmoops called it quits sometime in the last 2-3 months and now he is saying that I am the one leaving the marriage”. It is sort of soothing to admit to myself that no matter what I might have ever said or done – in the end, I would have been blamed. No matter his lifetime of betrayal, if we had divorced rather than him dying, his narrative to everyone would have been that I always wanted a tall white guy (which wasn’t true…I wanted a nicer version of him). But alas, Im now married to a tall white guy whose wife left him then told everyone it was him who left. (The Bad Spouse Playbook at work yet again…selfish people gonna be selfish. FTR, I do think that a marriage can be ended with decency and integrity …it will hurt no matter what but I think that decency is possible – rare but possible).

        • Lol, How many of us thought it was a brain tumor or a traumatic brain injury? I made him get a CAT scan, but no, this asshole behavior was all my husband, 100%. Then I thought it was ‘depression’ so I paid for his therapy. Out of network. He missed, and I paid for, 12 appointments at $150 a pop because he was so busy and “forgot.” Then I thought it was because he was unfulfilled, so I paid for a career coach for him, but he stayed in his low wage job. Until dday 2 of course, when I made him leave. He immediately left his public defender job to be a “real” lawyer making real money.

          Man, I’m a chump.

      • “I have moments of shame when I realize that he showed me MANY times that he wanted out and I refused to see what was right in front of me”
        Unicornomore, same with me. But I refused to call uncle on it, I thought he would feel just awful treating me so badly and circle around to see how much we would both lose with the dissolution of the marriage. That didn’t happen at all. I just got abused way longer than I ever should have allowed and often wonder if I will ever completely heal from it.
        He really wanted me to pull the plug so that he could seem like the poor victim who didn’t want to give up their marriage but was forced too. I stubbornly thought he’s the cheater, if he really wants out, he’ll leave. Just gave him more cake for years and broke me way too deeply.

        • Yes! Me too. But look, we’re on the other side now. There must be some victory in that. I just can’t continue to feel sad and sorry for waiting. I too thought I was giving it my all and trying to save things. It finally dawned on me that he wanted me to kick his ass out so he could tell people what a wicked witch I am. Whatevs!! What matters is I have my sanity now.

        • Chumpasaurus, It’s amazing how often they “leave” the marriage by engaging in an affair but then don’t physically go. How many Chumps had to do all the work for the divorce to happen? It’s so bizarre. We all know the answer is “cake” but I swear, if one hasn’t been through it, it is so hard to believe. “What do you mean your spouse is not in love with you, and is madly in love with someone else, but they aren’t divorcing you and are fighting it every step of the way?”

        • I am now shocked to remember specific moments of profound cruelty and disrespect that I was so accustomed to that I just let it slide past. 26 years I lived in that. Im now incredulous looking back at my own actions. This is why us telling our storied here is so important.

      • This is me..the meaness was horrific. The private intimate abuse no one saw was undescribable. You’d have to put out the gory details no one can hear. This one up you gave is a no win. Just put on the blinders and move forward. No one else lives with you but you.

    • Congratulations! I bought a house some years after my ex left too, and it felt so amazing to walk into something of that scale that fit my priorities and preferences. We went from 1970’s dump to a like-new house.

      • E,

        Mine is a new build …. with the kitchen/diner that I’ve always dreamed of. The kids and I are going to cook up a storm and invite over all of those who’ve helped us over the last 7 years by way of a “thank you.”

        I also managed to slip a blue velvet Chesterfield sofa into the budget …… because I decided that I owed it to myself.


        • Congratulations on the house! It’s wonderful to build what you want. And a blue velvet sofa–I’m so jealous!!

    • Congratulations on the house! I too just bought a house for myself and my son, and it feels GOOD. FW said I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself or survive without a man to take care of me. Well, he was wrong, about this and so much more.

      My ex also wanted to control the narrative of our divorce. He left me and I played the pick me dance for awhile. But in spite of saying he wanted a divorce, he took no steps (for three years). Eventually I grew tired of living in limbo and I had started to heal so I had some backbone, and told my attorney I was ready. When FW got wind that I was preparing to file, he jumped in front and filed first. I suppose he thought he could call the shots then. But I counter filed and definitely listed infidelity and cruelty as my grounds.

    • Well done LFTT. No mean feat with prices the way they are in the UK. I hope you and the kids will be very, very happy.

      • MW,


        Eldest daughter is coming home from London to supervise some of my aesthetic choices this weekend, and youngest daughter is coming home from university to sort out her room ahead of the Summer vacation; I know that they are both very excited. My son knows that we’ll have he’ll have a much bigger room than he had on our rental, and much faster broadband too …. so he’s a happy chap as well.


    • So happy to hear about the new house LFTT and all the other ways that you’ve fixed the derailment caused by your ex.

      I just wanted to add a reminder about why it feels so threatening and entrapping when FWs cop that victim stance– because it usually comes in tow with not only threats to violate privacy and tell your every secret to the world but also with horrible and unthinkable false allegations. Seeing someone whom you once trusted do a 180 and resort to lies and destructive character assassination probably triggers some primitive caveman fear of the lies spreading to the point we’re cast out of the social “tribe.” In paleolithic times, that meant certain death so we’re wired to freak out and either fight or freeze when that happens. Plus psychopaths invest so deeply in their own bs that it feels like there’s an inherent risk everyone will believe them and not you. The fears become even more realistic when it comes to, say, false allegations of domestic violence, child abuse or some other false criminal charge which are apparently very common FW prevarications. The bigger the lie and all that.

      Anyway, I think the intentions behind blameshifting aren’t just about culprits projecting and displacing guilt on their own victims but also terrorizing victims into inert little puddles ready to obey the every command and whim of the perps. Personally the sense of having a tiger by the tail who would destroy me the second I filed was probably more than half the reason it felt too paralyzing to escape at first. Hopium mostly made the forced choice seem more palatable, like pouring sugar glaze on a radioactive pile of shit and calling it a birthday cake– at least until I began to see the implied threats were mostly lame.

    • LFTT I’m sooooo happy for you and yours! Getting my own place has been so healing, and peaceful. May you have fun, and love, there every day. 🏡💕

    • Congrats!! Way to go! Trust that they suck, And move on. Hope the move goes smooth.

  • The only way I finally escaped the false-hearted Love of My Life was to resolve zero contact. “No means no,” I’d say to myself. Took the half-life of my relationship (28 years!) before I ever looked at another man with interest, and then laughed at myself and took a pass. For me, freedom’s too precious to ever risk again. Don’t wait until you’re ready to leave; you may never be “ready.” But it’s time to get the mind-effer out of your mind. Happiness is out there, and for you–just around the corner! Trust the Chump Lady, she knows what she’s talking about.

  • It does get easier/better on the other side of divorce. You no longer have to walk on eggshells to try and keep them happy, you no longer have to live with the anxiety of wondering where they are and who they’re talking (or worse) with. I never imagined I would ever divorce from my husband, who was my soul mate, the person I was so in love with.. But when he confessed to cheating, and wouldn’t stop talking to his AP, I just knew in my soul this person was no longer safe for me. It was still so difficult, I had to push the divorce through because he just couldn’t bring himself to do it for some reason, he just never tried to fight for us or our marriage. I think the apathy made it so much harder and I had to remind myself constantly that I deserve someone who at the very least CARES about me.

    It’s still hard, but it’s so much better than being stuck with a cheater.

    • Angry, I just want to say that I understand why the apathy hurts, but in my case, in the 12th hour, mine suddenly wants to fight for us….after a 6 year affair that I discovered 3 years in. And this scenario also sucks. There is nothing to work with, but now that I feel like I am the one “deciding” it makes me feel terrible. There was a time when I would have done anything to save this marriage, and he was not even remotely open to it. And now that it is just completely off the table for me to even consider staying, NOW he dangles this in front of me . My point is that cheating just hurts and whatever one’s specific journey is..the alternate probably wouldn’t be better. I don’t say this to minimize your feelings at all, more just to say that if the apathy still hurts, recognize that no matter what, it would hurt. It might help you let that go. Time will help too.

      • Indeed SortOfOverIt, the apathy hurts because it is such a lack of respect. As long as it hurts only you, FW does not care (and does not act/help). As soon as consequences appears, then suddenly FW is interested is what I proposed one year ago. Because it hurts FW (often in the wallet). Well, f*ck that. Too little, too late. In 2019 I proposed to go for an “amicable divorce” in front of the notary (cheapest option in my European country). FW did a no-show at the appointement. One year later, when learning how expensive divorce by mediation is (lawyer fees!), then FW ‘proposes to do it the cheap way, amicably’. I said too late, the offer was on the table one year ago. Now it is not anymore. Boundaries. No going back, or FW will trample you all over again.

      • “Fight for us”? Who or what, exactly, does he intend to “fight”? (Answer: you.)

      • Deciding is a GOOD thing. He didn’t “decide” because it was in his best interest to keep you on the hook. DECIDING is you DECIDING that your own life has worth and value, that you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and love–none of which is on offer from your cheating husband. SIX YEARS.

        I hope you can reframe “deciding” as deciding to value yourself. Deciding to cut loose from someone who is unspeakably cruel to you, who treats you like a backup plan. Deciding to take control of your life.

        Here’s the thing about divorce, which I’ve done more than once. It puts you in your own home or apartment, where the whining, wheedling, abuse, blaming and manipulation are no longer a reality. You can think clearly and see, in retrospect, how living with this jackass was so bad for you. That’s also why separation is so crucial for many people married to someone who is disordered. You have to get away to think and see clearly.

  • ApparentlyEasilyFooled,
    After being manipulated and gaslighted forever by a FW, nothing feels better than taking your power back. You did absolutely everything you could to save your marriage. You can now be absolutely certain that not only is it impossible to save a marriage with a FW — it’s not worth saving. The only one who gets value out of it is her.

    The FW I was with said he didn’t love me and that he loved and wanted his AP coworker — not me. FW walked out on me and our son and moved in with AP coworker and her 2 sons less than 2 miles away. And then FW laughed that there was nothing I could do for a full year because we had a minor child.

    I went to a lawyer… Got my ducks in a row… and in my fault state was able to serve him right away with adultery.

    I also got a therapist to help me through it. And she said “wow. You took back your power right away. That’s incredible.”

    It made me realize that we are a lot like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. We look to the FW for our power. But they are just the Wizard… some idiot behind a curtain… not powerful at all. They just project a big image. We had the power the whole time. We can make choices. We can control our own destinies and protect our own mental and physical (and financial) health.

    Divorce FW. You’ll start to feel better. And get your life back.

    • Spot on, MichelleShocked. After D-Day, I called FW the Wizard of Jizz – to his face — because he’s a professional masturbator. He didn’t think that was funny.

      • “ After D-Day, I called FW the Wizard of Jizz – to his face — because he’s a professional masturbator. He didn’t think that was funny.”

        Erin — I just spit out my coffee laughing! FW is mistaken… that is hilarious 🤣


        • Thank you, MichelleShocked. I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress! FW provided so much material for my act during our 37 year mirage. Standup would be my dream job.

      • How does one qualify as a professional masturbator? LOL. I would ask if I can sign up for this but I have a feeling it would involve too many creeps watching me.

        • JannaG – FW told me at D Day that he had been viewing porn and jerking himself off every day since he was 11- That’s 47 years. No wonder he never had much left for me. He used this and his FOO issues as an excuse for using hookers in massage parlors. Poor sad sausage (literally). At D Day we had been married 35 years. I had no idea he was engaged in “sextracurricular” activities with hookers all those years.

        • Create an OnlyFans page and you’ll be earning some extra money. Blech

  • Dear ApparentlyEasilyFooled,

    From where you stand at this moment it might not yet seem so easily recognizable, but everything Chump Lady has given you in her reply is 24 karat gold. Take it to the bank. She has thrown wide the doors of the vault of Fort Knox (Fort Hard-Knox? Oftentimes the hardest lessons produce the richest veins of wealth) in Chump Wisdom. Yours for the taking!

    If you’d still confused and hurting and hesitant to accept this treasure laid before you, it’s only because someone… ahem your Cheater coughcough… has spent years convincing you her cheap brass was gold. And from what you’ve said here, she definitely has big brass ones.

    The confusion and hurt will go away, believe me. In the not entirely distant future you will look up and realize this really is not your fault — not the trusting, not the love, not the willingness to try to make it work. Those are good qualities in a human. The fault lies ENTIRELY with your cheater, yep, every last narcissistic morsel of it. Conventional chump wisdom says “if FW hadn’t cheated with specific AP, they would have cheated with a different AP.”

    I would amend that to read, “And FW would have cheated on whoever they were married to, not just you.”

    Yours took you through the whole ugly cycle, including letting you know she wanted to own you as her Plan B until it appeared you might be a catch to someone else. Then the Reconciliation Industrial Complex thing? And she even cheated on you then?! Big, sad, OUCHIE Newsflash here: if in the midst of couples counseling she admits to meeting up with the work-husband “in a park” (Meaning: some hotel) for some “kissing and groping”, then that relationship had already gone all the way around the block numerous times. The strangest thing you will come to realize about your FW is that she is an ordinary self-serving liar. I dare say you will probably look up one day and realize she lies as easily as she breathes. And there will be at least a few times when you wish she would stop doing both.

    Hang in there but definitely distance yourself, including No Contact if possible. She will keep spinning mindfuckery like a spider’s web around you. That’s what cheaters do. It takes time, but damn if it’s not worth it. Eventually you will see her for exactly what she is, and the only thing you will feel is a sense of amazement that you ever fell for any of it — or for her.

  • NO CONTACT ASAP! It’s not a mistake or you being weak that is making it hard to move forward with divorce and your life. It is hard because you have someone in your life who is dedicating sizable effort and taking calculated action to make you feel like this is your fault and you are doing something wrong and are bad. You have someone devoted to undermining your self confidence and ability to act. Is it any wonder you feel confused when someone is trying like all get out to make sure you are confused? She is not a neutral party here. She is your abuser and is busily abusing you. The prescription? No contact. Move out or make her move out. Your head will be clearer with more distance. If you have kids consult a lawyer, but get your own space now.

  • This all sounds very similar to the push&pull crap I went through with my FW in the year and a half of “reconciliation”. Until I finally put an end to it. Because it NEVER ENDS. She’ll take as many chances as you’ll give her. But not to “make things right”. To mindfuck and manipulate you into pick me dancing and playing this sick game. For me it was exhausting. Everytime I “pushed” and actually wanted to give him a chance to come back and try again, he didn’t want to with some bullshit excuse how “WE”re not working”. And every time I “pulled”, he came back and practically begged me to take him back. It only gets worse and worse and you have to get off this train of toxicity. Otherwise it will drain you of everything you have, your energy, your health, your sanity, your friends, your personality in some way. I don’t know what they have from it. But I guess some sort of power, ego tripping, kibbles or whatever you want to call it. They never want to change or solve anything or try to get better for your marriage. Just get out. If you don’t have kids with her (you don’t mention them), you can thank your lucky stars and just RUN.

    • “Because it NEVER ENDS. She’ll take as many chances as you’ll give her. But not to “make things right”. To mindfuck and manipulate you into pick me dancing and playing this sick game. For me it was exhausting. Everytime I “pushed” and actually wanted to give him a chance to come back and try again, he didn’t want to with some bullshit excuse how “WE”re not working”. And every time I “pulled”, he came back and practically begged me to take him back. It only gets worse and worse and you have to get off this train of toxicity. Otherwise it will drain you of everything you have, your energy, your health, your sanity, your friends, your personality in some way.”

      TRUTH. It will beat you down until you are a shadow of who you once were. You’ll be emotionally drained, so hopelessness will creep up on you, more and more all the time. They want that, because it makes you easy to control.

      • I’ve heard of a type of “push & pull”as an example about normal, loving relationships. The person used a tennis court example. In early relationship days, both people play as close to the net as they can. Later on, they drift further away from each each other. When one person seems to go back court, the other may hit the ball more softly & draw the other person closer to the net, and so on. They play a nice game with each other, always taking care the ball stays in the lines.
        I thought to myself, my f**king husband isn’t even on the court.
        But a toxic game is still worse.

    • I like your description of it being a “push and pull” – although my eyes were opened when I realized it was actually the cycle of abuse.

  • Yes, according to the first sentence of your post: “Last summer my wife gave me the whole “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” speech over text while I was at work,” she told you (over text at work-cowardly and inconsiderate to say the least! Basically cruel.) and then she proceeded to lie and trickle truth and future fake and all those other textbook cheater tactics to reel you back in.

    I am very sorry that you are going through this. You do not deserve it!!

    When you go no contact, you will be able to see things more clearly. As long as she is in your life, you are trusting her and the bullshit reality she is feeding you. She is like a funhouse mirror. As long as you look to her for guidance she will continue to reflect back her own BS reality. She is incapable of anything else. All her actions reflect her inner reality.

    I agree with CL that you don’t really need your family or friends to approve your version of reality. But it does help. When I started to tell people about what I was going through, that’s when I realized how abusive it was. All the years I stayed quiet and tried to fix myself, were a waste of time.

    There must be one person you know who is trustworthy. That one person can help validate your experience. It can be a friend or a (good) therapist. You can even go on Reddit to the infidelity category where you can get some anonymous support and encouragement.

    Also, it’s your life. She doesn’t have to agree to divorce. Plus, all of her actions have already told you what you need to know. Trust your gut. How do you feel when you are around her? Safe? Respected? Cherished? If not, get going. She is not going to change.

    I am wishing you peace and healing.

  • “… this isn’t the first time she has cheated on me in our relationship, and it’s the same story she always tells, ‘kissing, groping but then I stopped it.'”

    I mean, your wife is getting groped by some dude in November, but has her sister check up on YOU a few weeks later. And it’s not the first time!? And that’s just the trickle truth that you know? Don’t just get any attorney. Get a high-conflict attorney. She won’t go away quietly.

    Also, although it’s RIC b.s., you can feel good (not stupid) about the 12-week course. Hey, now you can say you did absolutely everything you could. She was LYING during those 12 weeks (did not reveal the groping in the park or what really happened during those hotel stays). You were there, trying.

  • There’s no fixing the disordered. You’ve done the humiliation dance to her tune long enough. You deserve better than investing your time and energy in a person who doesn’t have the capacity to love or respect anyone.

    There’s light and peace once you choose yourself and divorce a cheater.

  • Once again, CL nails her response. In addition to the arson analogy, I appreciate this gem: “They pick fights, get really defensive, act shitty, devalue you, so they feel justified in their abuse.”

    When you experience something like this, you feel alone and confused. You even start to believe the cheater and think that you ARE at fault. I certainly fell into this trap. In retrospect, I think I’m more upset about this mindfuckery than I am about the actual affair. He really made me feel like shit. He created fights to foist all his bad feelings onto me.

    It’s such a relief to know that this behavior is SOP for cheaters. We aren’t alone.

    Good luck to the OP. Leave this mindfuckery. She sounds like a malignant narcissist who actually gets off on causing you pain. Drop the rope. Walk away. Do stuff for yourself. I suggest finding a great individual therapist. I would not have come out on the other side of this nightmare without mine.

    • To clarify: “He created fights to foist all his bad feelings onto me” not only to make himself feel better but to make me look like the aggressor so that he could feel like the victim. So it served two purposes.

    • Spinach……….. they HAVE to ‘demonize us’ to justify their deviant behavior

      That is their SOP

  • …and you’ve got some momentum going for yourself; telling her you want a divorce. Good on you for that. (I was not that far)

    It’s scary, but necessary. And I think you know it. Like leaping off a high dive…

    You’ll ge so proud of yourself.

  • I’m sorry, but she totally fucked him, and fucked him multiple times. Do not believe a word this manipulative narcissist says. If she’s breathing, she’s lying.
    Divorce her and get this enormous albatross off your back. No more dancing, no more useless MC, and no more being played. You not have to consult her or even warn her about the divorce. Just have her served. If you warn her, she’ll just pull out her bag of trucks on you again, and rinse and repeat until you’re so beaten down that you’ll accept anything she does. No! You deserve so much better.

    P.S. Mine tried the “work wife” excuse too. What a crock.

    • 100%. The tired cheater trope “we didn’t sex but just groped” is such bullshit. My cheater is still pulling that bullshit with me. I don’t believe it. He will admit to going to bed with her but claims that he “couldn’t go through with it”. Bullshit. Why are they all the same??

      • Ex FW paid a hooker but said “he couldn’t go through with it” either. Yeah, ok, sure, Jan.

        • Mine went to a massage parlor with blacked out windows in the middle of the night, but it was “just a regular massage place.”

          Besides, even if that was the truth (it’s not), are we I supposed to not care that they intended to cheat?

          Minimally, the wife in this situation was meeting up with another man, making out with him, and keeping it a secret. That is more than enough to irrevocably destroy trust, and without trust there is no marriage. The divorce is a formality.

        • I’m not sure paying a hooker but not going through with it would make things better.

  • Apparently – In addition to the “no contact” “file for divorce” advice, please take time to heal before pursuing another serious relationship. You’ve been through a lot and it will take time to sort out legal and financial matters. Set up your own home, find your new friends, get through a few holidays and then choose someone who has done the same.

  • After spending the best part of two years post D Day reading up on personality disorders, I’ve concluded that most of these sort of peope are just dumbarses, including your wife. Do you wanna hang out with a dumbarse for the next 50 years?

  • “They pick fights, get really defensive, act shitty, devalue you, so they feel justified in their abuse.”

    Holy Toledo, CL. I want this on my wall. I never thought about it in those terms, but that’s EXACTLY what they do. I guess it’s the equivalent of the toddler tantrum. You never think a grown human could be that regressive, yet that’s certainly what I experienced. She cheated. A lot. She stayed in contact with one. She told one to go away for a while, then she’d be back in touch when I calmed down. And all the while, raged at me and told me and all our friends that I was crazy.

    This “justification” is key to the whole mess. Thank you for putting it that way.

    • Yes , the equivalent of the toddler tantrum and the tooder lack of communication- if mommy didn’t see it, maybe it didn’t happen.
      The adult skill of communicating isn’t there – the omission of truth is a real mind fuck.
      After day, it was apparent that he was keeping the truth from me. But I didn’t realize until years later that his total inability to ever admit responsibility, or guilt, led me to always blame myself for anything that was irritating about our marriage.

  • I cried for 6 months when my FW left me for his girlfriend. This was before CL was writing her blog. I went strictly no contact and hired the best divorce lawyer in town. One morning, I woke up and realized that (it must have been a Tuesday) no one had been hostile or nasty or insulting to me in 6 months. Even better, no one had lied to me in 6 months. I stopped crying. He tried to take everything we owned and everything I earned in the divorce, but the judge didn’t like liars either so the “equitable” division required by our state wound up giving me the lion’s share of our marital assets. Get a good lawyer and tell him or her you want everything you can get. I wish CL and CN had been around then. It is very tough emotionally and this is a great support network.

    • How true that once they are out of your life you feel better because they aren’t there making you feel like crap.

  • She’s been so used to you loving her madly, she got to like the upper hand. Being the boss of yous. Being the center of your attention. So she wanted a little change. So she cheats. Oh but she’s not his center! She’s not in the driver’s seat. She doesn’t want to lose power over you until she’s got the upper hand with other guy. Which isn’t happening so she’s going to hold on tight til it’s all favourable for her. How many more second chances are you going to give her? Now, she keeping that power over you because you really don’t want anyone to know.
    So, figure out finances and get them in order. Get your house ready to sell. Don’t bother buying her out. Get to a lawyer and serve her with a divorce action. Do not have sex with her anymore. Seriously. She might try to get pregnant to tie you down. And she’ll still cheat. You go grey rock. Don’t argue with her. It’s now ‘whatever’. She didn’t value your love and devotion. She’s a tramp at work. She’s always looking to trap you in sin so she doesn’t have to own hers. Don’t tell her what you’re doing. Don’t try to make her jealous. I think she is already. What will happen is that she will deflate before your eyes when you take your power back. You’ve got to be strong. In my relationship with my ex, I gave him so many passes and second chances. But he didn’t appreciate it. It just made me weak in his eyes. And he couldn’t resist being more cruel. It’s like they get on this weird power trip, testing to see how much they can go. And once you get far enough away emotionally, you’ll see how boring and ugly and ‘wow I wasted years on this silly nasty twit’ you’ll feel about your ex. Oh, and don’t keep it secret. Tell your brother or best friend or someone you trust. Not to save your marriage. But to release the power of the secret. Hugs and good luck. Don’t let the effers win.

    • Good point! She could try to get pregnant. If he doesn’t sleep with her, he will know he is not the father.

  • There is so much wrong with her. I don’t think years of therapy would fix her. You need to have been gone yesterday.
    I am going to make a stab in the dark here. I think she has manipulated you your entire relationship. You’ve just gotten so used to it you don’t notice it until it gets so egregious you can’t help but notice it.

  • “She’s hoping you’re going to pick me dance for the honor of her ambivalence.”
    Bingo CL! That is so incredibly accurate, that’s precisely what they do.
    “People don’t cheat because of Unmet Needs. They cheat because they have lousy character.” Exactly this too.
    AKA: TRUST THAT SHE SUCKS! It is so not you, it is so her!!
    I’d say your gut is ahead of your brain and heart on this already it seems. You do know from what you are writing in your post, you just wish you didn’t HAVE to know it and you don’t want to believe it’s true. We totally get that. It’s almost impossible to comprehend.
    The RIC is most happy to take your funds to save your marriage though. The longer you stay confused and uncertain of what to do about any of it, the more their wealth continues to blossoms. They are just so helpful and will never give up on saving your marriage, don’t you know. (as long as your checking account stays solvent, they will save your marriage forever!)
    You imagine she’s been heading to hotels to think about how much she loves you and wants to desperately save your marriage? (With her groping f*ck buddy’s help on the pillow beside her no doubt.) She is playing you.
    Don’t waste any more of your cash or your precious time trying to rehabilitate this imposter unicorn. That horn that has been super glued to her damn big skull is slowly and surely losing its grip. The lying deceitful ass behind it, about to be exposed to you.
    I’m truly sorry you got chumped. It sucks. It takes a while to wade through the dark sludgy shit of their deceptions, but the water gets a whole lot clearer and pleasant on the other side of that slimy swamp.
    It’s traumatic and painful to navigate, I do get that, you loved deeply and were fully and completely in, she was ………………… well, FOS, basically.
    She is not a safe or trust worthy person, divorce her and go no contact as soon as you are able. Only then can the healing begin.
    CL’s advice to you was really excellent. Glad you found this site, it is a healing place to be, keep coming back for support. We actually care about you.
    It you feel the pull of ambivalence with the games and trickery she is playing on your mind, it helped me to sit down and write a list of the ways my ex FW hurt me over the years and revisit it when I needed strength to know I absolutely needed to get away.
    They will snowball you with their creative revisions of the narrative continually to justify their bogus crappy choices. Don’t fall for it.
    My list turned out to be 65 pages long, front and back, single spaced. It shocked the hell out of me I had that much to write on the countless ways he was hurting me through the years.
    I consciously wasn’t accepting it, I so wanted to belief there was a good person I knew underneath that would love me forever as I would him. Hopium is one dangerous drug!
    It just flowed out onto the paper once I started the process of writing and it was a really helpful process to do that.
    The infidelities, I found by writing, were just the minuscule tip of the abusive iceberg that dwelled in the waters beneath.
    It’s pretty scary to see, but it’s so critical to wake ourselves up to what’s happening.
    She isn’t changing for the “ work husband” either. These disorders don’t just disappear, they just get hidden from ppl who don’t know them that well yet.

  • Yes, no one said it was easy, but stepping away from the trainwreck alive is sometimes the most glorious feeling. As I like to tell friends who think I should date, I enjoy the low-drama life. I’m not financing anyone’s bad choices either.

    If your gut says there was more, there was more. And if they start accusing you, they’re likely projecting. I lived that too. Then his divorce attorney told mine that he was thinking of quitting because he hated adultery cases where only his client had misbehaved (still a for-cause reason here) and because my ex was displaying significant mental health issues that he suspected were only the tip of the iceberg of what I experienced. We settled, but my attorney was licking his chops over going to trial with my case because there were all kinds of “fun” things to present.

    Yes, get out of it.

  • After taking a sledgehammer to a watermelon repeatedly (good analogy for being cheated on) there is no way to restore the watermelon (me) to its original form, and why would I want to remain married to the Sledge-O-Matic?

    Cheating is like poisoning someone. I felt something was wrong, I felt awful, and did not know why. I figured something must be wrong with me, because he is Such A Nice Guy! Everyone thinks so! The good guy/gal who is knifing you in the back while presenting to the world how wonderful they are is the lowest form of offender IMHO.

    I guessed before I read this new story that her husband of 46 years had cheated and rode off with Schmoopie. She is now 102 and still practicing medicine. I think that’s because she got left by the soul sucking cheater she was MIRAGED to.

    They are vampires. Don’t let the vampire in the house. Once you know they are a vampire, the door to Not Knowing is forever sealed. There is no shortage of people on the planet, and a lot of vampires. IMHO it’s a waste of time trying to turn a vampire into a decent human being. On to the next…be it on your own or with a new partner. But skip the vampires and Sledge-O-Matics and hold out for a decent human being.

    • “Cheating is like poisoning someone. I felt something was wrong, I felt awful and did not know why. I figured something must be wrong with me because he was Such A Nice Guy! Everyone thinks so! The good guy/gal who is knifing you in the back while presenting to the world how wonderful they are is the lowest form of offender IMHO.”

      Same! Being slowly poisoned is a good way of looking at it. For 7 years things weren’t right. Gradually he isolated me, made me question/doubt/dislike myself, alternately devalued and love-bombed me, told me he loved me every day… and was living a secret double life. His poisoning campaign ended abruptly with a sudden revelation of everything. I still have no idea why he suddenly decided to tell me about his years of cheating and lying. To this day he continues to wear the good guy mask with everyone else. But I know and I’m happy to share the truth with any/everyone.

  • are you married to my ex-wife? cause your story is incredibly similiar to mine, and a thousand other people here. good luck friend

  • Sorry buddy, you got nothing to work with here. I hope you can get out of this marriage quickly and with as little collateral damage as possible. And I hope you start investing your time and energy in yourself, and not anything to do with this narcissist.

  • There are people in this world whose very nature makes them incapable of keeping promises or telling the truth. If you fall in love with one of their temporary personalities, you have to learn the hard lesson that they were acting the whole time, and nothing was ever what it seemed. It may have been very real to you, but that person was never really there. As Velvet says, you were in a mirage. You were thirsty and wanted water. All you got was a shimmering figment of your intense imagination.

    Other people outside of the relationship do not see or hear everything. They are not capable of making unbiased judgements because they only see and hear what is presented as reality. Rationally you know you are not a perfect person, but your imperfections do not “MAKE” someone else do bad things. If two people honestly grow apart and develop other interests, they are capable of honest and straightforward divorce. If one of the people does not want honest and straightforward divorce and wants you to be cast out leaving all possessions and dignity behind, you cannot deal with them rationally. It is time to call for help, with a good divorce lawyer. Laws differ according to your location, but no contact basically works the same way all over the world. Children do complicate the issue. If you finally accept the fact you have nothing to work with, there is nothing acceptable to you, then act on that revelation and do what you need to do to become unencumbered.

    As Chump Lady points out, these FW’s want their cake, and they want to eat it too. This is an impossible ask. No therapist or RIC counseling program is going to fix someone with a broken personality disorder. You don’t have to wait around for something that will never happen. Take care of yourself, you are important. If you have children, create a safe sanctuary for them. They may not appreciate it, at the moment. I had limited resources, my children’s father could be Disney Dad if it pleased him for a moment. My children had to learn he made big promises, and mostly did not deliver. They had to learn to live with disappointment. They did have a room and a bed to sleep in, clean clothes and good food at my house. I may have had rules, but I kept my promises. Eventually they understood that all that glitters is not gold. My children saw the human version of the story about the race between the ant and the grasshopper. It took them awhile, but in the long run they tired of the grasshopper’s stories of grandeur. They preferred the security of consistency living with a sane parent. If you believe in yourself, and try to do the right thing, it will show. This is a long term plan, just take it a step at a time.

  • My other comment is awaiting moderation.

    In the meantime, I think that though the facts may differ, the most important thing I keep at the forefront of mind is that healthy committed relationships are a skill, and someone who cheats is unfit to be in a relationship, having proven by cheating that they do not have those skills.

    I have no desire to be involved with a Relationship School dropout. I have no idea how much time I have on this earth, and therefore no time to waste on someone who so clearly needs to be educated. If you needed surgery, would you want a guy who flunked medical school? Would you get fixated on the flunkie and put off your surgery until
    he graduated with honors? If I can’t be with a sincere study partner that is my equal in terms of commitment and willingness to learn, I’d much rather be on my own.

    Cheaters and side pieces are in the same class and are therefore well-suited for each other.

    Stick with the winners. Cheaters and secret side pieces, by definition, are not.

    • For those of you who are still worried about “what if they change for the next person?” , don’t.

      Last night I watched an episode of Evil Lives Here. The husband, Chad Graves, brutally abused his wife. While they were married, he never touched any of their four children to her knowledge. The oldest son, Scott, was his father’s biggest defender.

      When Scott was an older teenager, he was shot and killed by that father, in a dispute over Scott wanting to go to his grandmother’s house.

      I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who treats ANYONE badly, and I think it is foolhardy to do so.

      Side pieces compartmentalize too. I think lying and cheating is the biggest red flag made at the Red Flag factory. They excuse the behavior by blaming the betrayed partner, which is a moronic move.

      I’ll leave them to enjoy their inferior associations while I head over to hang out with the highest quality people who will have me.

  • I hope you take ChumpLady’s advice — hire your lawyer today. Go no contact with her. There is nothing to work with here. You’ll start feeling a lot better after the divorce is finalized and you become practiced at no contact. You’ve got this!

  • One thing I learned from experience about pick-me dancing is that it only cements your spouse’s disdain and contempt for you. It’s a power move on their part, and they love the feeling of power and superiority they derive from seeing you debase yourself for them. It’s a dynamic that escalates over time, too, as they want to see you debase yourself even further.

    My ex devalued me for years in our marriage, and showed me time and time that he didn’t love me. But he wouldn’t pull the plug on our marriage. This, I realize now, was a signal for me to pick-me dance, but for far too long I thought this meant there was a chance he might “rediscover” his love for me, and our marriage could become what I’d hoped it would be. (I was addicted to hopium, and had not learned that “fixer-upper” applies only houses, not spouses.)

    Only after I found Chump Lady did I understand that he had no use for me beyond my use as a wife appliance, but he liked having a wife appliance who was constantly trying to prove her worth and was engaged in a perpetual pick-me dance. He need me to stay focused on him. I realized now he derived from this a mixture of dominance and centrality.

    I think he never thought I’d leave. Threatening to divorce me and telling me “things need to change around here” was the way he exercised his power. But the night I’d had enough, when he came out with his threat of divorce, and I spun around and said, “Good. Because that’s what I want. And I’ve already seen a lawyer,” you should have seen his face– total shock! He wasn’t “the decider” after all!

    So, “Apparently Easily Fooled,” your wife might think she has the perpetual upper hand, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t get either the prerogative to decide whether to divorce or veto power over your decision to divorce. Take your power back, see a lawyer, and file–and have her served at work, too, so her “work husband” can share in the experience.

    • Dear A.E.F. – – do yourself a BIG favor, and take everything that this woman has written, and put it all in your heart.


      Especially the part about having the divorce papers served to her at her place of employment.

      And then let us know how it all went down.

  • AEF, this is not and should not be an acceptable relationship to you. Do you really want to spend the remainder of your days with a person that you do not trust? I did not want to do this so as Chumps must do, I filed for divorce and went into an almost two-year battle with a FW. I got out and got a great settlement. I bought a house and am now happily fixing it up.
    I had my moments in the middle of the whole battle, and you will too. I emotionally vomited on a co-worker (not my finest hour) only to find out later he was also a chump. He finally asked me out about four months after my divorce and we have been seeing each other since. We are going quite slowly and both of us have some triggers but we can talk about them. It is a fun relationship and very reciprocal.
    Please believe me, you will be a lot happier once you are NC with a FW and once you are free. You don’t have to date or anything (unless you want to). You will have good days and bad days during the process but in the end and after the divorce the good days will outnumber the bad.

  • The litany of everything I did wrong that forced the xFW to have an affair. At some point later he admitted an attraction to yet another woman, and said something along the lines of, “Hey, I’m a guy. I notice attractive women.” No excuses, just the ability to see. The excuses and blame came later.

    I finally came to understand that the problem wasn’t me, but HIM and his lack of boundaries and impulse control. Then, after the fact, he would find some excuse and/or person on which to blame his behavior.

    They are the same, these cheaters, no matter how “special” they think their situation is. BTW, I despise the work spouse thing. That is absolutely disgusting to me.

  • One thing that stuck out to me about this letter is how much of the drama is happening over text messaging, or facilitated by text messages. Text messages are terrible ways to communicate anything of substance. (They are a fantastic way to communicate minor transactions, i.e. ‘”I’m running late.”). That the letter writer is participating in the text message drama tells me he needs a lot of work on his communication skills at minimum.

    Secondly, Wifey enjoys drama. She starts all this during the several week window when the house is under contract and hasn’t closed yet. He goes to a networking event and she enlists flying monkey sister to surveil him.

    The Disordered thrive on drama, chaos, and confusion. For Normals, these kind of antics suck the life out of them.

    • Very astute observations. A good reminder to communicate through lawyers during the divorce. I hope the writer can get reimbursed for legal fees.

      • If there are no children, AEF should block her phone. No calls, no texts. Let the lawyer do the talking. And if the lawyer says not to move, set up a bedroom elsewhere.

    • Right?! These agents of chaos are exhausting to those of us with regular thresholds for disorder. Years ago I removed agents of chaos from my life, and it is so much more delightfully peaceful. And don’t bother trying to convince one of these people that the problem is them, they’re all convinced they are victims of circumstances beyond their control and either refuse to (or can’t) see that they in fact are the circumstances.

    • Maybe the favoring of communication via text is favored by the younger generation ?

      • Some neighbors’ parents flew in from out of state to welcome their newborn. The grandfather joked with me that now the thirty something would have to actually talk to one another rather than text !

  • It’s those lies!!! You play down emotional affairs and it just does not seem like a reason!!!. We all think about someone else from time to time so ok…when you don’t know the gory details its hard to push through and go No Contact and spend thousands on a divorce. Cheaters KNOW THIS! So they toy with us like a cat with a bug in its paws.
    When my husband finally spilled the details, it was so awful i had the steam to go to a lawyer and file and go no contact, move out and start over After 32 years. But i know how chumpy I am and without the gory details, what would I do? However, I think as a chump I had to look at our whole marriage and in my STBXH patterns, he was very sick. His disclosure was strike 3 of a very unstable man’s history. The first time is a fluke, the second time is a coincidence but the 3rd time is a pattern( thank you 12 steps for this lesson)
    I let things go because he was diagnosed with a mental illness. I had no idea the mentally ill can make choices or if they can’t, they are unsafe, which mine was. But he lied so well and I loved him for his weaknesses and needed his strengths to offset my Fears of managing life all alone. Well folks, I am.70. I am alone with me and I love it. My best friend is me and i admire my courage. I do have an urge to strangle all the cheaters I meet,but chump lady cannot keep me out of the penitentiary, so I must mind my impulses.
    These emotional affairs may be a first step if you believe those lies, but it hides a crappy character and those run deep and do not change without a magic spell. Best wishes as you navigate the lies, storms and your loving heart. No contact saved me!! Thank you CL!!

  • Brilliant response CL.

    I went to a 6 week RIC course. Couples that had gone through infidelity got up and cried about how it was all because they had become ‘married singles,’ and they hadn’t spent enough time together. It dawned on me later that we had spent lots of time together.

    There is nothing more depressing than being in a room where couples in their 70’s are still trying to work through this shit.

    • It’s not possible to fix mismatched morals and ethics. Maybe for those couples who argue over simple money stuff or who does what chores, therapy might work. But you can’t therapize around completely different moral standards and rules. I also contend that relationships shouldn’t be THAT hard. Challenging? Yes. Sometimes requiring patience and sacrifice? Of course. But if you, as a couple, find that you’re unable to get along without unending therapy, then I might argue you’re a mismatch and it’s time to decide whether it’s worth burning years with someone who fundamentally views life differently than you.

  • Hey Brother,

    Reading your story is all too familiar with what I went through. Starting with the “i love you, but not in love you” then leading you down this year long path of work husbands, and hot and cold feelings, getting jealous of you, and then confessing she’s cheating. It happened to me four years ago. I don’t know the specifics of your relationship, but I can tell you how much situation ended.

    I thought I was doing the right thing that you were. Changing myself for the better, and trying to keep her happy. This worked until she found an affair partner she wanted to start a relationship with. Once she had the new boyfriend, the real her came out (or the mask came off, however you want to describe it). She had been sleeping with all these “orbiting men” the past year. She was just waiting until she found the right one to monkey-branch with.

    In her mind, she thought it was normal to chase her feelings and be happy. Why did she keep the marriage going while having so many affairs? Because some days she would wake up and decide she loved her husband. Some days she would wake up and decide she loved one of the other guys. It’s like she didn’t know who she would be in love with that day, and then just go with that. Looking back, talk about the ultimate pick me dancing. She even used the term love. It wasn’t just cheating. She was in love with this guy at this point, in love with this other guy at some point, loved me as her husband, but now was in love with someone else.

    I wanted to share this with you, because it sounds like you were stronger than I was at the time. You told your wife that you wanted to divorce her. Good for you man. That is the only thing I regret in hindsight, how could I not end the marriage sooner? I’m in a new relationship now, and I realize I know so much more. I could never tolerate any of these things again in a relationship. But it was my first marriage. I didn’t know any better. I tried everything I could to save a marriage with a woman who consistently gave me “nothing to work with”. Chump Lady is right. She knows. Keep your head up and find the strength to leave her. It will be hard. But you got this. It may take some time, but you’ll be proud of yourself for it when you get to the other side.

  • I’d love to take the “emotional affair” claim and rip it to pieces, bury it deep, and drive a stake through its heart.

    It’s a lie, each and every time.

  • “People don’t cheat because of Unmet Needs. They cheat because they have lousy character”
    That can not be said too often.
    Raise your hand if You had unmet needs. Raise your hand if you DIDN’T cheat.
    Raise your hand if you had a parent with unmet needs who didn’t cheat……..A friend with unmet needs who doesn’t cheat….

  • If your spouse tells you via TEXT “ILYBINILWY”… believe them. They are showing you that they have the emotional depth of an adolescent. Would you negotiate major life decisions like mortgages and marriage vows with a 13yo?

    Just that action tells you that you have nothing to work with except someone who prefers drama to intimacy.

    Like many of us here, you are not alone in having to be the grown-up in the relationship… the one who schedules marriage counseling, the one who gets 1:1 counseling and does self-evaluation, the one who files. Again, these fuckwits do not have adult life skills. They are drive by pure entitlement (again, like a teen).

    I agree wholeheartedly with CL – keep going to networking events; join social clubs and sports; take a class… find a level of person who is mature and open and honest. They are out there… they aren’t making out with “work husbands” in a parking lot.

    You’ve got this.

  • Unfortunately for most of us here this is all gut-achingly familiar. You just have to take a step back and look at the shit you’ve dealt with so far and while I know it’s so hard, this isn’t a person who can be trusted or treats you with any respect. The only good thing that comes out of this bit is seeing what they are really capable of and how awful they really are.

  • Get the F out. Get a great lawyer to help you navigate getting her out of the house legally and selling it. Serve her papers. Do not get her pregnant. She might try to trap you. Nice men are coveted. Find a nice partner to treat you well. Have your happily ever after. Her Sh*t show will continue without her or you in it. Move on make a happy life, you got this.

  • AET/AET – it sucks to have to make that decision to divorce, but you know what? You will take your power back and be glad you did. You will recover who you were before you got ensnared by this manipulative person. She is not your friend. She is not going to help you. That’s not how she operates.

    It may help you to open up to at least one other person. I kept so silent over the years. That was not healthy. It worked in the abuser’s (psychological abuse, like your wife is doing) favor, to keep me confused and second guessing all my thoughts, feelings, and plans. It’s gotta be similar to the isolation a physical abuser imposes on a victim. The end result is no firm ground and nothing ever changes. Except your confidence tanks. You need at least one other person to open up to, that will support you emotionally. Just someone to actually say “that sucks” and “that’s messed up.” Someone to help you see that the crap she is doing to you is real, and not in your imagination, and definitely not your fault. Like CL says, there are so many more ethical ways she could choose, but she chose to have “an emotional affair with her work buddy”! Like that ever helps a marriage.
    Or, start with asking for STI tests – that was a hard one for me, to admit to my doctor that I was married to a cheater & that I wanted to know if I had contracted anything. But saying it aloud made it real. And not so bad, because doctors have seen this all before.

    I had to be the one to move out and start the paperwork for the divorce. I’m glad I did, because it allowed me take back some control. I chose an attorney who had experience in closing divorces, even if the other person did not want the divorce or want to cooperate. YOU petition for divorce. YOU get your financials in. YOU keep your court dates. A divorce is not teamwork.

    Once I was out of the same house as FW, it became so apparent that he had been only using me, and he was staying in the marriage to make himself look decent. I’m sure he told some people that I left him , but at that point, I had enough people who knew the reality of why I was moving out and I had an attorney working for me. The divorce gave me protection against his lies, and now that the divorce is complete, staying “no contact” keeps me safe from further BS.

    Read, and re-read CL’s response. She covers it all. You’ll be amazed at how you think differently when you are safely away from her.

  • “…. wants to get a contact high off your pain and know that she matters.” OMG this. THIS!! I never understood why he would say the things to me that he did while we were “wreckoncling”. But THIS makes sense. It was beyond cruelty. Unknown by me until later, my sister once told him, early on, that he needed to stop because he was killing me. He said he knew that but kept at it anyway. For 6 more months until I kicked him out. Douche Canoe.

  • It takes two to marry and one to divorce. Pull the plug before she destroys you.

  • Let’s just call them affairs. As CL says, emotional affairs are foreplay. With sex, without sex (sure….), still an affair.
    And besides the impt. facts
    that you can’t get a disease or pregnant without sex,
    Emotional affairs are an enormous betrayal and many
    female chumps find the emotional betrayal the worst part of the slap in the face, kick in the gut betrayal.

  • About five years ago, a rather sophomoric colleague of mine called me his “work wife”, and I immediately told that he was never, under any circumstances, to refer to me in that manner again, that such language would not be received by me as humor or compliment, that I was giving him a boundary and it was not a negotiation so it wasn’t open for any debate, and that knowing that he didn’t mean it in any bad way wouldn’t have any effect whatsoever on my feelings, period.

    He said “Touched a nerve?”

    I said “All the nerves. Don’t do it twice.”

    He said “OK, message received.”

    I said “Thanks, I appreciate that” and moved forward as if nothing had occurred.

    And he never, ever said that even anywhere near me again. Nor did anyone else. I’m normally a very sweet, humor-loving, bubbly person, but I had a total personality transplant when he said that to me. I even surprised myself.

    I don’t ever think of my colleagues as anything except colleagues, and rarely, sometimes also as friends. Outside of a world where I was in business with a partner, I wouldn’t want to feel anything different toward a colleague. If such feelings arose unexpectedly, I’d consider that to be a strong motivator to work independently while seeking a growth opportunity elsewhere.

    People who ride lines are nearly always people who, eventually, cross lines. I don’t want that scenario or even that reputation to be a part of my life. So it’s no surprise that my reaction to even the headline for today’s entry was an immediate and intense, “Work husband my ass, that’s bullshit.”

    • You were right to ward off that title. It mostly implies something degrading– if not just the old-timey concept of wives doing shit work, it telegraphs squashy sexual boundaries. In my situation, FW kept his “work wife” secret until D-Day when it all came out. Prior to that, he knew better than to let me know he had designated a “work wife” or that she had designated herself that (she alternatively called him “captain” like a tradwife– gag) because the concept was so triggering for me. I’d never had a “mentor” or “helper” in my career who didn’t ultimately try to foist their will on me, usually sexually but there could be other agendas mixed in. I’d also never seen a woman willingly sign up for the role of “work spouse” without also providing sexually-hued services. I suspect his is because the mere use of the term “spouse” for a work relationship often brings with it all the worst patriarchal implications of marriage.

      Because of that, I was all about maintaining boundaries and FW knew it wouldn’t matter to me that his “work wife” was 100% gay and would never have sex with him because I would still recognize the major boundary breach. Furthermore, I grew up in the arts, worked in a creative field which is at least 50% LGBT and am not such a turnip that I think there’s some lesbian loophole for inappropriate sexual antics in the workplace. Had he let me know about having a “work spouse,” I would have immediately guessed A) they were talking about me and the marriage behind my back; and B) if she wasn’t fucking him, then she was pimping interns to him in exchange for work perks, positive references or whatever else. I would have guessed it all because, in my experience, “pillow talk” and something sexually illicit is in the unwritten “work spouse” contract if there isn’t also outright fucking going on. And I would have been right. She played beard and set him up to hang out drinking with a series of interns and resident floozies until, bingo, one came along who was actually desperate enough to bonk a middle aged, mid-level married dad with credit card debt. Then to assuage his conscience, she sent him podcasts about poly and open marriages. She was very thorough.

      When I was still shell-shocked immediately after D-Day and met this “work wife” at an office event, I stared in total awe as this proudly butch woman in work boots and a plaid shirt threw herself at him in a full body hug, started pole dancing on his leg, making hot eyes and cooing in a wee baby stripper voice while he stood there expectantly like a ham being glazed. Bleah. It was exactly what I imagined the second he said work wife and added, “But she’s not into men!” She may not be into men but she obviously had a deep working knowledge about what some are like. I realized that was another of her services: putting on sexed-up displays to signal to any doorknobs in the vicinity that “This dick is swingin’ free and open for business! Latch on, ladies and get yer free booze, ski trips, perks and amenities!” Hey, she got a free ski trip out of it, countless drinks and lots of free grub on my family’s dime, plus three glowing job references. Because it was to advance her career, all of this was automatically “feminist,” right?

      She was a full service “work spouse” short of actually blowing him and she knew the job requirements well. Is it any surprise when the term “work spouse” often implies that sex has something to do with it, even if in a roundabout way?

      That was a bit of a rant, lol.

      • if my ex keels over tomorrow, i am suggesting this for his epitaph: “middle aged, mid-level married dad with credit card debt” (update: divorced)

          • Do you know what shits me about these sort of people – they are probably mostly boring af other than they had an affair or ten. And here we are all witting and charming and as unboring as humanly possible discussing them at length. ERGH

  • You know me, I can’t help seeing the politics of everything and I have a real bone to pick with the term “work spouse.” If I worked in the same place as AEF’s wife, I would probably instantly steer clear of her just because she used the expression “work husband.” It’s become a cringy red flag. I apologize to anyone who ever used the term “work spouse” jokingly for a completely platonic working relationship. Maybe people thought the term was cute when it was first coined some time in the late 80s but, post-#MeToo, I wish it would be discouraged and retired because it’s now mostly used to normalize sexual boundary-breaching clusterfucks that crap up professional environments for everyone.

    Just to qualify, I’m not talking about single people who form legitimate long term romantic relationships through work and behave responsibly about it or people who find themselves being targeted and victimized by sexual aggressors but people who habitually stink up work with their dysfunctional sexuality. As someone who was chronically harassed out of the career I aspired to since childhood, I admit I have lingering bitter bunny resentment for people with chronically sloppy professional/sexual boundaries in general, including women. I know that doesn’t sound very feminist in our current “sex pozzy” era but, in my experience, women with messy sexual boundaries in the workplace are never really feminists. For one, the behavior makes it riskier for others to simply be professionally friendly or relaxed without fear of being misinterpreted. Worse, I’ve noticed women like this tend to throw other women under the bus and defend bullies and harassers rather than forming coalitions to protect each other and improve workplace safety. If the boundary-less were never bonkable to begin with (because they’re either gay or not conventionally attractive) or when they age out of bonkability, they also tend to pimp other women to resident pervs in exchange for perks and status and probably because they have some demented need to make sure no other woman can get through their careers without (sorry, crude realities deserve crude language) sucking an endless queue of dicks. I have a lot of stories to illustrate the above but the comment would turn into a gothic novel.

    I also wish someone would add a “controversies” section to Wikipedia’s 100% glowingly positive article on “Work Spouse.” But that’s where things get really political. After working in environmental advocacy for more than a decade (my alt career after I quit the first), I’ve learned that Wikipedia is hardly an independent resource and will often immediately delete new edits if they run counter to reigning corporate values. For instance, though the pesticide paraquat has long been known to be terrible for human health, Wikipedia wouldn’t allow even the most professionally cited edits reporting the association between paraquat and Parkinsonism. In the end the evidence of this created a landslide effect that could no longer be denied but, in the years before that happened, I remember a group of scientists and medical experts joking about how they tried to change the Wiki article on paraquat for two years and then watched as edits repeatedly disappeared within seconds. By the same token, if normalizing and glamorizing the concept of “work spouse” or even adulterous workplace toinking makes it somehow more “tolerable” for people’s careers to encroach on their personal lives to the point of destroying families and leading to early graves, Wikipedia isn’t going to allow criticism of it if it, not if helps the Orwellian corporate bottom line.

    Another qualifier is that I don’t think it reduces the responsibility of FWs if they’re being encouraged by some negative cultural message. Crappy cultural messages wouldn’t have that kind of influence on people with solid principles, character or souls.

      • Ah, perhaps you know what it’s like being forced to breath other people’s funky crotch fumes at work? The way having a few coworkers try to bonk their way up the ladder is like pouring blood in the water whipping every other swaggering perv into a gropey feeding frenzy? Or how the climbers start imperiously mistreating peers and underlings due to a borrowed sense of power as if they’re wearing the boss’s dick like a studded strap-on? Or the way eerie, smirking, exclusionary little social cabals form around adulterous workplace affairs (because “they got a secret and yer not privy nyah nyah”)? Or how, regarding all stripes of sexual boundary-breachers, you risk getting fired if you glance at them wrong since they’ll preemptively fabricate shit about you to defend their own filth? Or having the resident doorknobs set you up to be harassed or assaulted? So much fun.

        • I’m really glad I’ve never had to deal with this. My coworkers are 98% female. I wear scrubs to work and am too busy for anything other than work. Thank god.

          • Rub it in lol. I have actually worked in situations where none of the bs was happening. Pure bliss. Those experiences really brought home how toxic the bs is.

        • ‘Ah, perhaps you know what it’s like being forced to breath other people’s funky crotch fumes at work’ 😂 😹 😆

        • “…borrowed sense of power as if they’re wearing the boss’s dick like a studded strap-on?”

          Hell of a Chump, you’re on a roll, and I’m here for it. #truth #badass👏💪

          • Why thank you. I couldn’t think of better way to describe that (usually brief) climber smugness. Bitchery goeth before the fall as they say. The strategy doesn’t really seem to work out in the long run.

  • One of the reasons I was afraid to divorce was because I thought I wouldn’t be able to make friends. I had tried to make friends after me and my husband had moved to a new state. I had been severely depressed because I felt alone and unable to make connections and spend time with anyone outside of my husband. Every time I tried to meet a new person, my husband would swoop in, add them on facebook, and before I new it, they were texting him and only inviting him to things, assuming he’d just bring me, and often he didn’t. I would come home to a mess in the apartment and wonder where the hell he was, and he would respond with he was out with whoever it was that I had just tried to befriend. It made me feel very lonely, isolated, and like I was incapable of making friends. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to have a social life without my husband.

    Well the reality was I didn’t really have much of a social life WITH him.

    Not only have I been able to make friends just fine without him, I never come home to a mess left by my partner with no idea of where he is. If there’s a mess in my room, it’s because I left it. When I get invited somewhere, it’s an invitation for ME. My boyfriend now is friends with a lot of my friends (that’s actually how I met him, through mutuals.) My friends are my chosen family.

    Your (hopefully soon to be ex) wife definitely benefits from your belief that you can’t make friends. It makes you more vulnerable to her when she whines and cries and says it’s your fault how dare you when you actually bring up divorce. It’s the roundabout way of her saying “you have nothing without me.” Her actions are basically telling you that you won’t have a life without her, and she blew up at you when you made a friend because that destroys her plans. If you make a friend, that pokes a hole in her narrative. She wants you to think you have nothing without her? Well it’s hard for her to get you to believe that when the opposite happens and you make a friend and start building a support system and hear perspectives outside of hers.

    You absolutely CAN make friends, and you should. You need to hear voices aside from hers, and you need to hear your own voice. You said it twice. You want a divorce. You’ve determined that this relationship is not acceptable to you and you want something better. You want friends, you want a life that doesn’t involve a cheating spouse. That’s not a voice to push aside.

  • Are Wife and Work Husband pre-teens? They made out in a park and he put his hand up her shirt? Of all the injustices Chumpdom brings, it’s the insult to our intelligence that personally pisses me off most.

    When I first learned about “trickle truth,” I thought of it like droplets coming from a leaky pipe. But, no.

    It’s really more like squirts of sludge. “What IS that? Why does it STINK?” And then, it hits – the MONSOON of liquid horseshit.

    • You’re absolutely right. I got, “she’s a good Catholic girl. We don’t have sex.”

      This after a misdirected text sent to me and the kids about “it was so nice sleeping with you”. Asshat did pretzels to explain to the kids that they “slept” together, not “slept” together.

      He sucks.

      • “Good Catholic girls” don’t sleep with married men.

        No matter their definition of “slept.”

  • She’s sick. She wants to get a contact high off your pain and know that she matters. This is not how loving partners behave.

    Yes. Oh my goodness. I swear to god when my FW realized the benefits of cheating, he started dropping hints here and there that he was cheating ON PURPOSE even when he wasn’t actually cheating to make me pick me dance harder. I discovered one of his supposed women actually rejected his advances, but that wasn’t the story he told me….

    Yes, it is sick.

  • Hey everyone,

    I appreciate all the support, I was at work yesterday (I work 24hr shifts) so couldn’t respond. I told my FW under no uncertain terms that we are getting a divorce, I’m done being a doormat and letting her hurt me. I told my older brother about her affair (no more keeping her secrets) his FW cheated on him multiple times as well, he responded with probably more love and caring that I could ever have asked for.

    For those of you who asked my FW and I have no kids, our only shared asset is our house…and our dogs (I’m pretty sure she hates them though so that wont be an issue), I cant thank you all and ChumpLady enough for supporting me and helping me feel secure in my decision to leave the lying, cheating, manipulative person that I have let run my life for the las 9 years.

    • I’m so glad you told your brother! Better days ahead. And please keep us posted on how you’re doing.

    • Download and read ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ glover
      It’s helped many. It’s free and short.

  • I’m sorry man your wife is a serial cheater. As in having sex!!!
    The betrayed spouse syndrome:
    I want to believe it’s an EA only because I can’t take the truth.
    I have to believe her lies because it’s easier.
    I’m hoping a moronic marriage counselor will fix this. Because I can’t make a decision.
    I ask for a divorce so she will wake up and “get it” and then she will magically become a wonderful wife.
    Bud, you are the one that doesn’t get it. This is who she is, was and will always be. You are a chump because you allow it.
    This is all your life will be as long as you stay with her. And you will be a serial chump.
    She doesn’t love or want you but doesn’t want anyone else to have you either. The choice is yours.

  • If you really want to take your power back inform her affair partners wife.

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