‘I Can’t Face Being a Single Mum’

She wants to divorce her cheating husband, but can’t face the terror of being a single mum. Single parenting is much easier than living with a cheater.

***

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been thinking about writing to you for months but I just haven’t been brave enough…

I found out that my husband was having an affair with a woman he worked with for 6 months.

Going into lockdown in March had driven him mad and not getting his morning sex session before work was driving him crazy, so much so that one evening he just splurted it out “I can’t do this any more”. I had to ask him directly if someone else was involved and he finally admitted it (I had asked on 2 or 3 other occasions over the previous 6 months and he always denied it).

We had such a perfect family life.

I earn a very good income as a doctor and also do most of the childcare, school drop offs/pickups and after school activities taxi-ing for our two daughters aged 6 and 8. Three months before his affair I arranged a special night away for his birthday, it took loads of planning and was a really lovely weekend just us without kids or any distractions. Two months before his affair I arranged tickets to see a show (his interest, not mine) with a hotel stay to make a weekend of it and had a great time. Ten days before his affair we had just got back from an amazing family holiday in Thailand which I had organised and everything felt great…turns out he was developing feelings for some slutty brainless tart that he works with.

She is just vile, completely brainless and self-centred, she lives with her mum and has no responsibilities whatsoever. She spent a lot of time telling my husband how wonderful he was and he fell for it, throwing his beautiful caring, dedicated family away for some cheap tart and an easy lay.

He tells me that the affair happened, or “he was susceptible to an affair” because he didn’t feel loved by me.

And that she made him feel valued and respected when I didn’t (I completely cannot see where this has come from but he insists this is the case). She basically told him lots of stuff that fed his ego and he thought that was worth throwing his family away for, plus the sex EVERY morning before work, and also at work in lunch breaks too made it appealing…no condoms either, thanks very much!

I threw him out straight away…felt desperate, did the pick me dance to exhaustion, and cried for him to come back. The night I threw him out he went to hers and (it would be funny if I wasn’t so devastated) she basically told him to go back to his wife because she wasn’t interested in an actual relationship with him…obviously he was only exciting and fun when he was “an affair with a married man”….he thought they would set up home and have babies together.

It took him a few months at his mum’s house to realise that he did want to be with me.

He had been an idiot to be taken in by her ego massaging, and he came back. (Though quite reluctantly and made a big song and dance about not wanting to give up his job, despite her sitting at the next desk!)

I was so desperate for him to want me and to realise how good his life was before his stupid “mistake” that I took him back (but insisted he leave his job, which he did) but it is harder than I thought.

I tried to believe all that stuff about how your marriage can be better after an affair but I know there is no way on god’s earth that things could be better than when I adored my husband and thought that he put me and our family first…turns out he’s selfish and only looking out for himself.

He says he’s shown his regret by giving up the job that he loved.

But I only see that as an essential part of even getting off the starting block in any desired reconciliation. He seems to think he’s balanced things nicely, he had an affair and broke my heart, so he gave up a job that he loved… that he only had to give up because he chose to shit on his doorstep by having an affair with a colleague.

How can you ever have a meaningful loving relationship with someone who has the ability to hurt you in this horrific way. I am changed as a person, I was always such a happy, bubbly person and now I’m always crying and grieving the life I had, that he and that cheap tart took away from me… and now she gets to carry on with her life with zero consequences and mine is ripped to pieces.

The only thing that was important to me was having a loving, close, perfect little family and now I’ll never have that. I’m finally writing to get a wake up call. I know I’ll never be happy with him because I value loyalty and respect so much and he has shown neither. I also look at him and think he is a pathetic fool to have fallen for her fake ego massaging, so much so that he lost his beautiful family for nothing but an easy lay. He has changed the course of my life forever and for absolutely nothing. I hate him for that.

I just can’t face coming to terms with being a single mum.

Having to pack their little suitcases for weekends at Daddy’s house. I just don’t want that awkward lifestyle of broken homes, it was bad enough working out when we would see different family at Christmases over the years with my husband’s parents being divorced, I didn’t want that for my girls. How do I view it in a positive enough light to step out of the comfort zone of what is essentially “ok”, having my adulterous husband back but knowing it will never be what it was, or moving into the very scary unknown of single parenting and all that my children will lose as a consequence of that. I also am worried that after taking him back and him putting in lots of effort with me and the kids, that I will now look like the ‘bad guy’ for sending daddy away.

Please help, I find your blogs so helpful but they haven’t quite got me to the point where I can “do it”. I need that! Please help, even if it’s a very brief kick up the backside!

DocMcChumpin’

****

Dear Doc,

I’ve got a couple bitchslaps for you. I’ll take them in the order in which I am most irritated.

1.) Single parents are not less than.

And there is a history of deep misogyny against single mothers that makes my blood boil. Like, did you know in the 1960s in the U.S. that unwed motherhood was considered mental illness? And that if you were an unwed white pregnant woman, the American Academy of Pediatrics said the only remedy was to have your child surrendered and given to a “good home”? (Scoop baby era, Google it.) Oh! And that until the 1970s, the laws were such that you could not support a child as a single mom? Before Title IX, pregnant women couldn’t finish school, or stay at their jobs. Until the mid-70s, women could not have credit. Or job protections. And all this changed because the women’s movement fought for change.

My POINT is — this Horror of the Single Mom shit is wired DEEP. The loss of “status.” The systemic inequalities that continue to this day (Exhibit A — the BILLIONS in unpaid child support.) The scare tactics that the children of single mothers will grow up to be criminals and drug addicts. Every fucking David Brooks article.

To divorce a loser is to confront this tide of bigotry.

Are children better off in intact homes? Yes. AND YOU ARE AN INTACT HOME. Minus one loser. Change the narrative! The more loving, invested people in a child’s life, the better. Would many of us like the gold standard of the Traditional Nuclear Family? Sure. And that wasn’t possible because… fuckwits.

To be chumped means never being smug again. You don’t CONTROL other people. You only control yourself and how you react to a given set of challenges. It is far more shameful to be a fuckwit, or to prop up a fuckwit and front a sham marriage, than it is to LEAVE a fuckwit.

I just can’t face coming to terms with being a single mum, having to pack their little suitcases for weekends at Daddy’s house. I just don’t want that awkward lifestyle of broken homes,

You’re writing to someone who led that “awkward lifestyle” as a single parent for a decade.

Oh hey, this week my son just got a job promotion during a pandemic and was accepted to grad school. Packing his little suitcase going to Uncle Daddy’s didn’t thrill me as mother, but it also didn’t set my son back in life. Neither did my son have a “broken home.” He had a broken father. A deadbeat. The kind of guy who cancels his health insurance without a word and never calls on his birthday. A guy who struggles with mental illness. Who never paid a cent towards college.

I wish to God he’d had a better father and I failed him on choosing that guy.

But my son would also not exist if it weren’t for that guy, and life is messy that way. I could not control my ex’s level of parental investment, but I could control MINE. All it takes is one sane parent. And many children don’t even get that. So be the SANE parent. You can’t be sane in your current situation. You sound miserable.

So, which would you rather be?

A strong kickass woman who models strength and resiliency to her daughters? Or a fuckwit’s Plan B?

The only thing that was important to me was having a loving, close, perfect little family and now I’ll never have that.

Define “perfect.”

You can totally have a loving, close little family. If you think including a cheating husband makes it “perfect,” or ANY husband, you’ve got a problem.

That My Family Needs to Look Normal thing (see misogyny, single mother status bias above) is poison. I think a lot of what led to my brief, disastrous marriage to the serial cheater was this notion that I was Less Than as a single mom. And of course, parenting alone is hard work. And you wobble. Which is why it is ESSENTIAL to have your head screwed on straight about your self-worth as a single parent.

(Post-script, I married Mr. CL in midlife — who is a true parent to my son and a real partner to me — and that would never have been possible if I hadn’t LEFT people who didn’t value me. Going on 11 years… )

Next bitch slap.

2.) The Other Woman Didn’t Make Your Husband Cheat.

Is she horrible and complicit? Vile, completely brainless and self-centered? Sure. She also doesn’t have superpowers. She could no more make your husband cheat than you can make him NOT cheat. He WANTED to cheat on you.

Not being able to accept that sentence — HE WANTED TO CHEAT ON YOU — is the hopium keeping you in this shitty arrangement.

Oh, he’s just a dumb man who was beguiled by a hussy. This is such a central myth to the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Gosh, if we only get rid of the Menace of Attractive Other People, we can Affair-Proof Our Marriages! Cue the marriage police.

No, he cheated because of entitlement.

Because he wanted to. He did the cost-benefit analysis of your perfect, close, little family and his dick, and his dick won. Because THOSE ARE HIS VALUES.

You are now confronted with your own values. He’s not who you thought he was. Do you stick it out knowing that he’s capable of casual betrayal, or do you forge your own path?

I also am worried that after taking him back and him putting in lots of effort with me and the kids, that I will now look like the ‘bad guy’ for sending daddy away.

I read this that you’re worried that after burnishing his image, and helping him with that Invested, Loving Dad thing, you’ll have to let go and let him fail on his own.

Don’t own what’s not yours to own. You’re not the “bad guy.” Dad had a girlfriend, that’s why you’re divorcing. I believe in explaining it to children, without editorializing, in age-appropriate ways. CN can weigh in here.

It’s hard to project what you don’t feel. Do you really think you’re the bad guy? That this marriage failed because of you? Do you really think single mothers are less than?

Examine your values. Live your values.

He says he’s shown his regret by giving up the job that he loved,

He actually struggled with that choice? And you had to pick me dance with his desk?

You fear an awkward, broken lifestyle? You’re living it. Choose better.

Bitchslaps delivered.

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254 Comments
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Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago

follow

The Chump Struggle is Real
The Chump Struggle is Real
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie Lee

Daaaang Chump Lady (slow clap) this is some of your finest work!

“Neither did my son have a “broken home.” He had a broken father.”

“Bcause he did the cost-benefit analysis of your perfect, close, little family and his dick, and his dick won. Because THOSE ARE HIS VALUES.”

This. All of this. Preach!!

Chumpz
Chumpz
3 years ago

test

PastorsWifeChumpNoMore
PastorsWifeChumpNoMore
3 years ago

I fucking hate David Brooks.

Thirtythreeyearsachump
Thirtythreeyearsachump
3 years ago

PastorsWifeChumpNoMore, the David Brooks who cheated and lied and wrote books about character as if he had some? That David Brooks? The David Brooks who fucked his intern and wrote about marriage as if he wasn’t a cheating fuck? That David Brooks? He is a despicable cheater and liar. I hate him.

No Shit Cupcakes
No Shit Cupcakes
3 years ago

That’s the one.

I hope his ex-wife is enjoying her fabulous life, Fuckwit-free!

KarenE
KarenE
3 years ago

And I hope his fat little ego means he pays someone to Google his name every day and give him the results, and that these comments are what comes up from today!

What a hypocritical asshole.

Ny chump
Ny chump
3 years ago

Of course you are scared, we all are before a major life change. At least you are financially secure since you have a great job. As you state in you’re letter you do most of the parenting anyway- so you have that one figured out as well. You are light years ahead of a lot of us chimps already. You will do amazing! Just take it one step at a time. One foot In front of the other. You have us all behind you. You can do this! ❤️❤️❤️

CallingSpades
CallingSpades
3 years ago
Reply to  Ny chump

Thank you so much for this, Ny chump. This truth helps me and I hope it helps DocMcChumpin’ too!

You’re a fantastic mom, Doc, and you will continue to be one when you’re single!

My boys are the same age as your kids. My DDay was two months before our family was supposed to move overseas together. I chose to stay here, and fuckwit (who also cheated with a co-worker) chose his desk. He now lives thousands of miles from his kids. But I’ve figured out the single mom thing, with the help of nearby family and a good job that I wouldn’t have had if I’d pick-me-danced my way after fuckwit and his glorious career.

He’s on his way home this summer and I’m going to have to come to terms with packing the little suitcases every other weekend. I feel your pain, but we won’t be the first ones to get through this and come out better on the other side. After years of practically being a full-time single parent anyways, I’m hoping to use kid-free time to focus on my work and learn better self care.

You are one step ahead because you already know what you need to do. Trust yourself. It will be different, but as you get distance from fuckwit you will have more energy to focus on your kids. It’s been slow but I’m getting there. I honestly can’t imagine dealing with my husband’s crap on the daily, and still being a good and present mom. Just imagine how much more you will have to give to your kids when you’re not investing in planning elaborate weekends with a lost cause. Hope that helps.

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
3 years ago
Reply to  CallingSpades

I sure wish I’d found out a couple of months before our move, rather than a couple of months after. I’d have the kids full time, in a house that I loved in a part of the country that I love, doing a job that I loved, near my parents. And since XW would undoubtedly have proceeded with the move, she’d be 1000 miles away.

It'llBeOK
It'llBeOK
3 years ago

I’m so sorry. I hope you are alright and have/soon recover a sense of being happy and stable in where you are and what you’re doing.

I got chumped weeks after a move – no kids, and not as big a move as you, but it absolutely devastated me. But I stayed in the new city and came to really love it, met great people including a lovely new partner. I so, so wish all these things for you, you will honestly not feel awful forever.

DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
3 years ago
Reply to  CallingSpades

Dear Doc

Your marriage will never be okay because you cannot UNknow what you know. And your FW isn’t even remorseful, he sounds irritated that there were ANY consequences for HIM…

And his ego will be insatiable because YOU dare to be successful and that takes away from him b/c in HIS world it’s a contest and since people admire YOU (and you earn money and get prestige for being a doctor) and blah blah blah – he’s a man/child and I’m sorry but from the way he describes the chronology and blame shifts, this WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.

So you see, you are misreading your options.

You think (HOPE) that Option 1 – is if you remain married to him, he’ll reform and someday way down the road, you’ll heal and things will be better. Not great but not horrible…

Both ^^^premises are false.

He will NOT reform for long and in my opinion, he will either leave you for OW, or cheat again, get caught and practically dare you to file for divorce. Then you’ll have invested more years in this and it’ll cost you more money and your daughters will have witnessed and endured your betrayal and feel their own.

OPTION #2 is you being a single mum, and therefore unloved, lonely, frumpy and stressed all the time…

This^^ is a LIE. Reject it. You control how YOUR LIFE goes and the reality is you’re already a single mom with a selfish part time co-parent. That is what you have now and it will probably IMPROVE with divorce since he’d actually have one on one time with the girls.

Will he remarry or hook up fast? YES but he’s going to do that anyhow. At least this way, you’re free to live an authentic life.

AND you know what, being single can be damn rewarding, which I’m discovering now for the first time in my life.

AND you might even meet a real man who you partner with and then MODEL FOR YOUR DAUGHTERS what a healthy relationship looks like.

If you stay with this dishonest soul sucking man/child, you will be showing your girls very destructive patterns. That’s not good for THEM.

I mistakenly believed that staying with THE DOCTOR was best for the kids.

THIS^^ is my biggest regret. (I wish I’d LEFT him for the kids and saved myself a decade of life.)

Your true choice is staying and feeling endless pain AND for a lost cause (because the marriage you are in is on life support as it is)

versus surgically removing the cancer known as your husband, and beginning to recover from a blow to the heart.

Like all of us, your girls will someday face a setback and betrayal of their own. A ruthless co-worker or boyfriend or classmate WILL betray or reject them, and they will be deeply hurt.

And they will look to YOU for guidance on how to navigate and recover from the pain.

Model for them what a woman of strength, self respect and dignity does in the face of heartbreaking betrayal.

She picks herself up, dusts herself off, learns, and SHE HEALS.

She creates a life of peace, harmony, healthy boundaries and REAL LOVE WILL SURROUND HER.

Teach your daughters ^^^ ^THIS.

And keep us posted. You can do this and it’s the only way for you to be happy in the long run.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

Thank you, you are so right! He had serious issues with me having a well respected job which earns more than him, it was never even something that crossed my mind…we were a team…it wasn’t a competition…clearly I was wrong!!

I keep thinking maybe he didn’t realise how awful this would be for me whilst he was screwing the AP, he even said he didn’t think I’d be THIS upset, because it happens in lots of relationships so it “isn’t as big as you are making out”. I wondered if seeing my heart literally break in front of him would be enough to stop him ever doing this again…I suppose I need to accept the truth…no it wouldn’t!!!

ThriceChumpedNowFree
ThriceChumpedNowFree
3 years ago

You. Are. Strong.
You. Are. Capable.
You. Are. Whole.
You. Are. Kind.
You. Are. Capable.
You. Are. Going. To. Thrive.

I was where you are, three years ago. I justified staying because “of the family”. This is, ahem, TOTAL BULLSHIT.

CL said it clearest and best:
HE WANTED TO CHEAT ON YOU. Period. HE WANTED TO CHEAT ON YOU. He will accept no responsibility for his cheating because HE WANTED TO CHEAT ON YOU.

Our experience is borne of sadness, heartbreak and questioning. It just sucks. But, on the other side of taking the first step is the freedom that you won’t be someone’s police officer, a recipient of frequent STI screenings and an insomniac due to dings from a phone in the middle of the night. The relationship is already gone; your mental, emotional and physical health just aren’t worth following the vapor trails.

Real talk? Is single parenting hard? Yep. Is being duped by your spouse hard? Yep. Is knowing you were devalued hard? Yep. Is knowing you are losing “the dream” hard? Yep. But so too is being the consolation prize, the second choice, the “one who stayed because she was afraid”. Do you like how that sounds in your head? Right–so why would you stay with someone who is already gone? Because of fear or what other people think? Who the fuck are they anyway? (big breath in before head explodes in the irony of this diatribe to myself!!)

You are already a badass. You went through undergraduate school. You went to medical school. You are a DOCTOR. If your patient came in and explained your situation to you, what would you advise? Right–physician heal thyself.

Look, she rejected him because she didn’t want the hard part of being in a “grown up” relationship. You should follow her lead–he isn’t a grown up, so you can’t be in an “grown up” relationship. How’s that for a rebuttal to his royal-ass-ness? LOL.

So, where does this leave you? Repeat with me: you are lovely and kind and capable. (I have said this mantra every God-damned day since D-Day #3. Still, now, when he calls and “needs” something: I remember the words I “forced” him to say: “I had an affair. Again.”) Breathe in. Mantra out.

Oh, and if you are still concerned about what “the neighbors” think–fuck those people if they aren’t helping you with your kids and holding your hand on the porch and plying you with iced tea and bourbon. Hold your head high and face forward. It is the ONLY way to go.

You are lovely.
You are kind.
You are capable.
That is enough.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

Thank you. I really do hope I am capable enough to get through this and come out the other side feeling happy and have a better life…it’s hard to imagine that’s possible when I loved my previous life so much…and until the badness became reality, I didn’t have any reason to doubt that I was living my dream.
But you’re right… I’m following vapour trails.
I have moments of clarity where I see it for exactly what it is/was and know that I deserve better, but then I think about happy memories that I have had and just want all of that back again.

Does it ever get less painful thinking about the happy moments from the past, because at the moment, every memory of my children when he has been there is just too painful to think about. It makes me think “that’s when he loved us and our family and we were enough for him”. I hate that I can’t bring myself to think of the past and the wonderful memories of my kids growing up because it just hurts too much.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago

I think it does get less painful.

It did for me, and now I can think of many of the good times. What I did for many years was to remember the times sans him. Now that I am old, I can remember him some; but mostly I still just concentrate on my own memories with out son.

The reality is, I know that he lost so much more than I did. I think that is true for most cheaters. Many will never admit it out loud, but they know. That alone takes away much of their true happiness. They can like to the world, but they know. We know.

Lucky
Lucky
3 years ago

This is where you have to realize that you have different morals and values.

You cherish honesty, monogamy, respect. You assumed that he did as well.

The fact that he is shocked by how upset you are, snd that he feels it’s not really that big a deal – tells you what kind of person HE is.

Shallow, self serving and probably a healthy dose of narcissism to top it all off.

You cannot change how he feels, control what he does or make him love you.

There is literally nothing to work with. You will be so much happier without this man child in your life ( ask me how I know )!

Discarded Wife
Discarded Wife
3 years ago

I married young, to a man who had little ambition and settled for keeping the same job without advancement for his entire career. In my mid twenties I realized that he had no ambition, and that I would have to be the ambitious one. So I went to grad school and advanced my career. I ended up earning twice what he did.

But my then- husband would make little passive aggressive cracks about how much more I made. So instead of enjoying my income, I paid for the cars, the down payments on houses, the home improvements and simply invested the rest. I did not buy nice clothes or fancy cars. I did not want to injure my ex’s fragile ego. I thought I was being a good wife and we would enjoy an awesome retirement together.

My ex retired 5 years before I did. I worked full time to cover his health insurance. We sold our big house and bought a small farm to retire in. We used the proceeds from selling the big house to buy a small apartment building for an extra retirement income stream. While I worked 12 hour shifts at the hospital, and had an hour commute each way, my ex started an affair.

I discovered his affair after 42 years of marriage. Whose retirement was at risk? Mine. The attorney told me he was be entitled to alimony and half of my retirement accounts, as well as half of our property. So I worked hard through the marriage, did all the work and saved, and he profits. I ended up giving him the apartment building in exchange for my keeping the farm and my retirement accounts. The apartment building had doubled in value in the 5 years we owned it.

It was a very bitter pill to swallow. I work, I save, I invest through 42 years, I do not enjoy the fruits of my labor to protect his ego, and his lazy cheating ass profits. He still walked away from our marriage with more than $1 million in assets.

Do not let this happen to you.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Discarded Wife

Whyyyyyyyyyy. Even in my no-fault state, adultry was grounds for an at-fault divorce. With NO alimony! So mad for you!!! But! You are FW free. On your little farm.

Einstein
Einstein
3 years ago

You are right there. I thought once he saw how devastated I was, he wouldn’t do it again, but he did, knowing how much it hurt me. Cheaters cheat because that’s who they are, and they don’t stop.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

What you thought and felt never entered the equation for him unless it was to * make you pay* for making him feel inferior. They will never take responsibility for their own thoughts, emotions or actions. It is so hard to accept. He doesn’t care for you, for the girls, at least not enough to put you all first. And you and the girls deserve to be your partner’s priority. People who care just don’t DO shit like that. It’s all about him and his entitlement.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

He doesn’t know how bad being cheated on would be for you because he has no empathy.

NO EMPATHY. This is not about him not understanding why you don’t like pickles. It’s not understanding that cheating and lying hurts the other person. There are toddlers with more empathy than this. My cats have more empathy than this.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

We’ve had this exact same discussion…me trying to explain that he doesn’t have empathy, him agreeing that he finds empathy a difficult “skill”….surely it’s just being a normal human being…understanding that when you break your spouse’s heart, it really hurts…he read up about empathy (for about half an hour), and decided it wasn’t a skill he could learn….I’m chasing my tail trying to make him into an empathetic person..:it’s not going to happen is it?!

DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
3 years ago

He said “empathy is a difficult skill” for him??? That’s like saying kindness and compassion for others aren’t his “strong suit…”

No, lacking empathy is a severe character defect and it’s often the hallmark of a personality disorder.

I know that’s tough to hear now b/c you are in the early stages of seeing who he now is (not important FOR NOW whether he was always this way — AND OR if you enabled his sense of entitlement to enlarge into a malignant form by doing all the heavy lifting to meet his endless and undisclosed need for appreciation).

But he’s bad news.

I think it was Maya Angalou who said “when people show you who they really are, BELIEVE them.”

Your husband’s admission is one of those times – and lacking empathy means he will NOT “get it” and he will NOT “wake up” to value you after all the things you’ve done and continue to do for him and your family,

b/c that requires EMPATHY and he lacks it!

Even now his regrets are NOT about hurting you, the regrets are about what HE would have lost by staying with the other woman.

And his refusal to separate the finances with the “threats” of not joining you on trips HE cannot afford, are brazen attempts to manipulate you AND indicates an utter unwillingness to REGAIN your trust and reduce the insecurity ANY woman would feel in your position. He’s done nothing to reassure you (quitting the job is such a basic minimal requirement I cannot muster up an attaboy for that)

He complains about quitting the job – amazing. That’s another example of him showing you who he really is. BELIEVE HIM.

That’s not remorse. And it’s definitely not an indicator of someone trying to change.

He needs your income, the stability you provide and whatever cover he needs to show “HE TRIED” before he cheats again. Even if he hasn’t consciously decided to repeat the behavior, his attempt to justify the affair says there’s no reason for HIM to change. It wasn’t a shitty thing HE did! After all, HE felt neglected (and that’s on YOU.)

See, according to HIM, IF HE ever feels bad/sad/needy/underappreciated again (OR is just SELFISH AS SHIT AND THEN NEEDS TO JUSTIFY IT) HE CAN…and therefore, he will.

He can cheat and blame you AGAIN…

I do believe in 2nd chances for some types of these events (a one night stand, for instance).

But this was over a LONG TIME, which means a lot of deceit and planning went into it, then no regrets after the hook ups but instead, repeating them, and then HE CHOSE OW (ouch)

and only return when he was rejected AND then homeless…

Look, I know how badly this feels. Been there, done that.

I put in 35 years (the DOCTOR began medical school when our son was 8 weeks old), then all the years of training and finally when the big brass ring of money comes

and there goes the FW – Dr. Narkles…hiding money and cheating.

Has not seen our kids in over 4 years. Moved cross the country. Married OW asap…now helps raise HER daughter…and brages to the one child he still speaks to, that HE loves his NEW FAMILY and is SO HAPPY (and also in family therapy)

Naturally I ask myself “HOW could he want to discard ALL of us?? How can he not miss us?? We had so much history and such a deep connection” (or so I thought).

And I often believe he regrets it because only a lunatic wouldn’t — BUT guess what?

If he felt remorse AND then REALLY changed meaningfully – we’d be the first to know.

But No.

He is bitter and angry AT ME – for “fucking HIM over” in the divorce which is so deranged I can’t see it as a response of a healthy man. It’s crazy talk and disconnected from reality.

He blames ME for his shitty relationships with the adult kids (never mind not attending our daughter’s college graduation – which he stopped paying for- which is probably why he avoided it. Someone might look at him in a way that makes HIM uncomfortable because…consequences…)

— image management dictates most of his decisions.

DOC, you know there’s no painless option here– yet we are all – ALL – saying the only road to true long term happiness

available to you AND your girls now, is leaving this man/child and starting your new authentic life.

First, b/c staying would be soul sucking for you, and no one wants to be the marriage police, and second, b/c he’s so likely to repeat the behavior that the marriage will end ANYHOW, but you’ll have sunk even more costs into a lost and painful cause.

5 years ago I would have described my marriage as a work in progress but I thought we’d last. I felt we had made it through the storm (as HE said…) and I loved him deeply. I was loyal and funny and smart and a great fucking teammate but what I didn’t know is that I was never going to get a “turn” in my life. I would always play a supporting role to whatever HE wanted to do, even if he did it alone (or at least not with me).

NOW – without the pain of rejection coloring so much of how I viewed things – I realize how much more of the load I was carrying emotionally and for our children and I see NOW how badly treated I was – and how damaged my self esteem was….AND worse, I see now what my children were seeing then.

Ugh.

My ex created chaos in our family every 2-3 years and was always moving the goal post of what would satisfy HIM. Endlessly restless. And at some level it’s really hard not to take that personally. Because it’s essentially saying we were not enough for him.
I swear that life without that crazy making gaslighting crap IS FAR better than I could have predicted.

Your life without this man/child will have less pain and more joy and peace than you can see now. You’re in the shitstorm at the moment so you can’t see that, but trust us.

And I’m not even mentioning the fact that you are MORE LIKELY to have authentic love in your life without this guy, b/c you don’t “need” a man to make you happy.

But the reality is, you’ll never have a real man to love and be loved by, with the man you are presently married to.

Keep us posted

The Chump Struggle is Real
The Chump Struggle is Real
3 years ago

Honey, everyone is this board has been in your shoes. It’s scary, but my dear – he has left you no choice. You’re never going to get over it and it appears that he doesn’t really care about the marriage and I doubt he’ll ever stop cheating.

Let me give you a more frightening scenario than leaving and being scared of that “single mom” stigma – imagine yourself 5 years from now and you discover more rendezvous, sexting, etc. Now ask yourself, would you be wishing that you were strong enough to leave his sorry ass 5 years before? That you wasted another 5 years of your youth and beauty when you could have been looking for Mr. Right?

I will tell you this with 1000% certainty- he will cheat again in and blame the tart and you… again. This is an unfixable situation and it’s NOT YOUR FAULT! He did this.

I left with small children years ago and am currently remarried to an amazing man and father (he’s a chump, too).

It’s the intact family dream that you can’t let go of. You promised yourself you’d have that perfect family. We all did, I get it. You are literally preaching to a choir of quality, faithful spouses who were also done dirty.

I now view chump single mothers as bad asses with hero capes. And now, women who stay with losers who disrespect and cheat on them to keep up appearances just seem so pathetic and weak to me. Stepford wives vibes.

Listen, you’re a freaking doctor with her shit together – men will be lined up around the block dear. GOOD men.. with honor… who deserve you.

He’s pretty much forced your hand here, the only logical option is to leave. I honestly think he’s sabotaging because he wants out. Or, you can stay on the crazy train and waste your life being miserable with an idiot who values desks more than you.
He doesn’t give a shit about you or your beautiful children.

It’s like waking up in a horror movie.

A good analogy I use to describe this scenario is this: You and your husband are in a life boat. You’re
the one paddling your little heart out for shore and he’s drilling holes in the boat. He’s just not marriage material.

I can’t tell you what to do, but it gets better if you leave. I know first hand. You’re at a crossroads. The hard way and the right way are usually the same way.

Irish Chump
Irish Chump
3 years ago

Doc – I know it’s difficult now but I was in the same situation as you. I didn’t want me kids to live in two homes and I didn’t know how I’d do it by myself. I thought if I could be perfect he’d see my worth. After trying pick me dancing for another year behind the first D Day, I found out he had been cheating on me for another year. I had done everything I could like keeping a spotless house, all the errands, working a full time job where I made more than him, planning special weekends away, over the top birthday parties, you name it. I was told that I didn’t make him feel wanted. I kicked him out and filed for divorce. My kids now have a mother who models what boundaries are and are very proud.

It will be difficult but living with someone who doesn’t value you and allowing them to chip away at your self worth, is abuse. Your children need to see that you value yourself and that shows them that you value them by modeling a healthy relationship with yourself. Honestly single parenting is so much easier than parenting with someone who constantly needed parenting himself.

You can do this!

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
3 years ago

Oh Doc. Like you my Cheater cheated and I was so desperate to keep him and scared of being a single mother that I stayed. Im also a nurse and people like us tend to do too much accomodating.

So I “won” the pick-me dance (there was some deal-breaker that he and Susan of Seattle hit which I was never informed of…I dont delude myself into thinking it was love for me that brought him back) and we stayed married for the 7 years between his affair (and nearly 2 year abandonment) and his death.

I too was afraid of single motherhood and the effect on my kids.
It was a huge mistake.

My now adult children have nary a healthy relationship among them. My 31 year old called me the other day to ask me how it was that I knew that I was in an abusive marriage. He at first told me that he was helping a friend who was in that situation but I discerned during the conversation that he was beginning to play the role of the OM in that woman’s marriage. I gave him the chump wisdom of getting the hell out of that situation.

You will read much advise here about how to rebuild your new life. One of the best parts is that freedom from an abusive fuckwit opens your possibilities to live a full, authentic meaningful life (instead of the fakey one he weaseled from you.

Like you, I was a good, supportive wife who made overtures of love and was still blamed for the affair. He told me that his OW “picked his heart up from the middle of the street where it had been abandoned” …comments like that are so painful that we miss them for what they can be to us….absolute, sure-fire signs that nothing we could have done would have changed their decision to cheat.

He sucks and now you know it. I stayed in hopium-filled denial, buried him with honors then found the ugly truths in his stuff. I actually found something he wrote that said “I never loved my wife”. That would have been more soul-killing if I still cared what he thought, but I dont.

Life is short…too damn short to live with a person who you know can and did treat you with such treachery.

jdurocher
jdurocher
3 years ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

This. This is my same story. But you, my dear, make me proud to tell it.

jduroxher
jduroxher
3 years ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

This. This is my same story. But you, my dear, make me proud to tell it.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

I even started thinking maybe I could have been better, maybe I could have done more to show him how loved he was. I’ve spent so long trying to point out all the things that I did that should have shown him he was loved but he always has a reason why that wasn’t enough…it makes me realise nothing would have been enough…he wanted his ego massaged…she was willing to do it, and had plenty of spare time and no responsibilities so was able to dedicate a lot of time to telling him how wonderful he was!

I tried so hard with the time and resources that I had…I still keep thinking maybe if I’d done more…but that doesn’t change that it happened, and that he was prepared to knowingly hurt me like this and break our family apart

Unicornomore
Unicornomore
3 years ago

During the “Pick Me Dance” stage after learning of his betrayal with Susan (who he claimed was a colleague he was mentoring but in real life, he was a government purchase agent and she worked for company trying to gain a government contract) he said to me “what men really want is to be admired”….even though I was as weak as jello during that time, in a rare moment, I called him on it by responding “the first step to being admired is to act admirably”.

I was much later able to admit to myself that in a classic Cluster B manner, he had (for YEARS) blamed any and all of life’s inconveniences on me and this coping mechanism was so deeply ingrained in him that there is no way in Hell we could or would ever have a healthy relationship.

And yet, I spun around for a number of years trying to understand “if I was so horrible, why didnt he just leave and if I was good enough to be with, why did he tell me he was divorcing me because I was such a horrible wife”.

(Just before I learned of is cheating, he sat me down and told me he would soon be divorcing me because I was a bad wife – then he gave me a 2 hour list of my failings. The items at the beginning of the list contradicted the items at the end. He asked if he could stay until random event and I begged him to {hoping to change his mind} )

The above dynamic puzzled me intensely for years, literally….until I read CLs theory of cake. He loved cake…loved the have the best of numerous worlds and was willing to inflict abject pain and cruelty on me to maintain it.

Einstein
Einstein
3 years ago

Oh, make no mistake, he knows good and he was loved, it’s just better for them if they can make you feel like their cheating was all your fault. And that is absolutely unforgivable. Instead of owning up and apologizing, trying to do anything they can do to soothe your anguish – he blames you. It’s adding insult to injury. This is who is he, and who he will always be.

Leave him. We all regret sticking around for the next one.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

Do some reading on narcissism. You could start with Dr. George Simon’s blog on “Manipulative People.”

4eyedchump
4eyedchump
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

Thank you for this.

Joan
Joan
3 years ago

It really isn’t all about the fact that she was flattering him and massaging his ego. She might have done that…yes….but the kicker here is that what he really enjoyed even more than that was the secrecy, the mystery, the lies, the deceiving of you. Coming home from work and pretending all was fine, for months. But inside he is revelling in the fact that he is having sex every morning before work and during lunch too, and fooling you!!!! You trust him and don’t have a clue!! That is a conscious choice he made and that was what he enjoyed most! It could have been any hoe bag that was willing, she didn’t matter, the part he was really enjoying was the secret part!
He will do this again, maybe in a few months, maybe a year but guaranteed he will repeat when he gets bored again with being just a regular guy….you are just delaying the consequences for him until he figures you trust him even a little bit and then he will take the next willing participant on!

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  Joan

“You trust him and don’t have a clue!! ”

Exactly, I am not sure I would have ever believed that statement had I not experienced it first hand.

About two months before Dday, we were at a fall festival that the city puts on. A woman had come up behind him and put her hand over his eyes and did the guess who shit while hanging off his back. Me and the preacher were there. He did have the decency to act embarrassed, and kind of shook her off. But a few minutes later in the park office, my friend and I went in to talk to him and my friend made a comment about the hanging whore, and he said “Susie wouldn’t believe I was cheating unless I told her myself” He had a weird grin on his face. I was of course starting to suspect, but I played it straight and said “of course not I trust you” I guess I was still hoping I was wrong. But, on Dday I remembered the look on his face, he was loving it.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie Lee

Correction: “Of course I trust you”

Georgia
Georgia
3 years ago
Reply to  Joan

I agree.
“ massaging my ego” is a short version of – anyone but you.
The crazy part is- that most of the chumps did WAY MORE than an average person…. yet it was never enough.
In my case my exh said ( in a dreamy voice, one step away from crying…
“ I don’t know, I just don’t feel loved by you, there is no attention and that special connection… look, last week, during karate class, I haven’t noticed that there is a tiny piece of thread on my shirt. The woman sitting next to me saw it snd remove it- it felt good- being noticed snd taken care of.

I’m not joking.

The guy was so emotional about such a stupid, trivial action.

Yet- when his crying pregnant wife was breaking apart ( after finding his dating profile and stash of nude pics on his laptop) he told me to stop being so dramatic and went to bed.

It’s pointless to ever try to understand it.
After reading all the Simon’s books- I stopped dancing, explaining and started living MY life.

The Chump Struggle is Real
The Chump Struggle is Real
3 years ago
Reply to  Georgia

Georgia, I think we have the same ex.

Pity party king, but cruel af to me.

I blame my mother in law for this behavior, too. She was always in his ear plotting and coyly suggesting I didn’t care or do things right.

It’s crazy that we pampered and indulged these pity parties. Your piece of thread story made me chuckle, like wtf. It’s literally insane. It makes me laugh to think back now. It’s so laughable now.

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago

You don’t need to flatter and cajole a good man constantly. And you can have down days and miserable moods around a good man and he will not love you any less.

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago
Reply to  Unicornomore

Yes, throwing pearls to swine. Swine don’t appreciate pearls. You can make them a gourmet meal every night, rent a ballroom for their birthday, massage their feet every night. But pigs is pigs.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
3 years ago

Doc,

There are worse things than being a single parent; one of them is bringing children up in an atmosphere toxified by the persistent presence of a cheater who refuses to accept responsibility, refuses to change, consistently lies and blameshifts and always puts their needs first. This is bad for the kids and it’s bad for you too.

I set out on my”single parent” journey nearly 6 years ago when our kids were 11, 16 and 18 …. I won’t pretend that it was easy, but they are now 24, 21 and 17 and in a much better place as a result of my determination to create a safe and nurturing – and cheater free – space for them. And I’m in a much better place too, now that I don’t have to deal with my Ex-Wife’s BS on a minute by minute basis.

Not only can you do it, you should do it; you owe it to yourself and you owe it to your kids.

LFTT

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

…but I long for those days before D-day where it wasn’t toxic, and I was plodding along in ignorant bliss!

It’s pretty toxic now, and I get that it’s not good for the girls…they just want their family back…they know Daddy had a girlfriend and that hurt mummy, but my 6 year old said the other day, “mummy why don’t you just forget about it”…that’s hard to explain to a 6 year old why it’s so difficult!

SweetChumpgirl
SweetChumpgirl
3 years ago

I just wanted to say that I hear you. This isn’t what you wanted. He promised you a lot of things but he has an integrity issue. He can no longer be the man you thought you married. You can no longer unsee what he has done. You need to get mighty now and fall apart after the divorce. Get statements,find lawyers, get a paper trail of affairs and document him not being there for you and your girls. If you feel like falling apart at moments, get a counselor or great friend to talk to until the divorce is 100% for you and your girls. We know this is the messy middle for you, we have all been there and we are standing right beside you all the way! Don’t let your despair at the moment make you second guess what is best for you and your girls. All my love xo SweetChumpgirl

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
3 years ago

Doc,

This may be hard to accept, but you are longing for something that was a mirage. I’d also add that ignorant bliss is not a long term strategy; much better to be fully informed and to make decisions about your future and your kids’ future on that basis.

As you might guess, I don’t buy into the “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” or “let’s just pretend that didn’t happen” schools of thought. I get that your girls just want their family back at the moment, but it might help you to know that my 3 kids (admittedly slightly older and a little further on in their journey) are so much happier now than they ever were than when their mother lived with us.

My eldest daughter told me “never take her back on our account and remember that you can do – and deserve – so much better than her.”

LFTT

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Ignorant bliss gives cheaters a chance to hide asserts, delete incriminating evidence that would maybe allow you not to support his sorry ass with alimony, clean out the retirement accounts and the savings and make plans and an exit strategy that leaves you blindsided. It does not make good sense to wallow in misery and let them make off with your life savings. Lawyer up ASAP.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
3 years ago

This ????????????????????????????????

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago

In the Olden Days, pre-Internet and smart phones (or stupid phones, depending on how you use them) the cheated-on were alone in the quicksand, drowning in the cognitive maelstrom of feelings and thoughts and cheater propaganda, trying to sort out and organize and decide and discern and figure out and solve and make sense of. Kind of like herding greased pigs on the sinking Titanic during a Cat 10 hurricane on a planet being pummeled by asteroids.

They all do and say the same exact shit. It never fails to blow my mind. And how lucky we are to swap stories here.

And we can respond in kind. The cheated on can learn to do and say our own exact same shit, thanks to this blog.

This is the playbook that has been necessary since the first cheater uttered bullshit at the Dawn of Time.

#feelinggrateful

I woke up warm and dry with my heater on and food in the fridge and money in the bank and my daughter’s love and trust and respect. Whatever he woke up with I wouldn’t want if you paid me. Despite the shit show, I have an extensive gratitude list I think of each morning. No cheater fake traitor Benedict Arnold “husband”.

I did no power no heat in the winter with flooding when my daughter was a baby. Sending prayers to Texans.

❤️

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago

“They all do and say the same exact shit. ”

It was a long time before I became aware of that. In fact years, I was/am fortunate that I went on to have a good life, but it was also good to finally find out how common in their behaviors these cheater really are.

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago

Mother Nature has given us two of many things in case something happens to one of them.

No creature on earth is as vulnerable as long as a human baby. It’s great to have two parents, but if something happens, one is more than enough. And if one is a soul-sucking cheater, you are already a single parent.

The good dads were at the school Dad Pizza Party. Benedict Arnold told us he was on a business trip in LA but I later found out he was really in a hotel room with the Craigslist cockroach 40 minutes away. (To be fair, it’s possible that there were cheater dads at the school dad pizza party, but the odds are low; it’s be a great excuse to duck out for a hookup).

In leaving and divorcing, I am not changing anything or doing something new. I’m just acknowledging what already is and bringing it out into the light of day.

quicksilver
quicksilver
3 years ago

Cheater dad was definitely at the school pizza party cuz he was bonking the kindergarten teacher! ????

Lou
Lou
3 years ago

, I am not changing anything or doing something new. I’m just acknowledging what already is and bringing it out into the light of day.

I have memorize that and repeat as my new mantra (each morning!)

Frances
Frances
3 years ago

Wow. This was a good one!

The main reason I started reading chumplady is her ability to slice through the feelings-fed fog that chumps burden themselves with with logic and clarity.

TKO
TKO
3 years ago
Reply to  Frances

Exactly.

Wooshy
Wooshy
3 years ago

I left my first husband – not a cheater but abusive other ways – when my two kids were small, because I didn’t want them growing up to think that’s what a marriage looked like. “They go to what they know,” is what I always hear about kids when they grow up looking for relationships like the ones modeled for them as children.

I was a single mother for most of their lives (FW cheater STBX did nothing to help by the time we married), we called ourselves the “Three Musketeers.” My now adult children are extremely well adjusted, employed college graduates. They are wonderful people and we are very close.

I made a decision that whatever their father was to me, he was their father and they needed him, and they would make their own relationship with him, without editorialization from me. And so they have.

Doc, you can do this too! I found a lot of other Moms, who helped like crazy. It takes a village but your relationship with your girls and yourself will be so much better for it! Think of FW like a malignancy that you have to excise in order for the body to continue to thrive.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Wooshy

This is so true! At the end I told my cheater ex that I would not allow him to drag is all down with him (serial cheating and alcoholism/DUIs). I really am glad that I am no longer legally/financially responsible for his poor choices.

CarrieBerry
CarrieBerry
3 years ago
Reply to  Wooshy

This.

I didn’t want my kids to think that they could take the same kind of crap from their partners that I was taking from mine. Or that they could give the same kind of crap to their partners that my ex was giving to me. I love my kids dearly, I want them to love themselves just as much, and the most powerful way for this to happen is for me to model loving myself.

3.5 years later and 50/50 split and, not gonna lie, the sending them off to their dad’s hasn’t gotten easier. But the grief hasn’t been my demise. Humans have the potential to be remarkably resilient to change. I am dating a man who loves my kids (and they him) and who is a really good influence on me and thus on my family.

You can do this.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  CarrieBerry

Yes this is a big thing for me…making sure they see a good example of how to react to being treated so poorly…but then I think maybe I should show them forgiveness…it just feels too big, I don’t think I ever could

DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
3 years ago

OMG I did the same “don’t let false pride stop you from forgiving”

But that’s overlooking what self respect and boundaries look like (let alone enforcing them).

AND unfortunately your FW is not truly remorseful. (Read CL’s pieces on what true remorse looks like) and BTW, your 6 year old asking you to forget it are NOT words a 6 year old comes up with.

That’s called manipulation 101 and it’s yet another red flag of how UNLIKELY your husband is to change.

Do you want to be the marriage police the rest of your life?

Always wondering what the hell he’s doing when he’s “traveling for work” or working late or going to play poker with the guys, AND if you dare to doubt him, he’ll turn the tables on how UNTRUSTING YOU are as if distrust fell on your head.

He’s too needy and selfish and even now, he’s justifying his shitty treatment of you.

Most FW’s do less than he is to repair the damage, and most women are not the higher income earners.

So as hard as it is to face, the good news is that you are in a much better position to survive AND thrive after this, than you seem to realize (and better off than 97% of women in the world).

That may not help with the tremendous ego blow this is – and that’s part of what I relate to. One of the reasons I did not doubt my ex was b/c – frankly, I felt my devotion and loyalty were obvious after 3 kids and decades of marriage and numerous moves FOR HIS career.

I’m smart, attractive, hilarious and we had a tremendous backstory (putting ourselves thru school, rasing the kids, military service, deployments, etc)

So I really did not believe he would cheat on me. (After all, I had had many opportunities to cheat but I didn’t, so why would he??)

But I was wrong. And it took me nearly 3 years to finally realize DOWN AT A CELLULAR LEVEL that his choices had little to nothing to do with ME.

My ex brags (weirdly) to our youngest child – the only one who speaks to him – that he’s in “family therapy” with HIS NEW family now.

That hurts my child b/c it makes her feel that we were his “practice family” and not worthy of his effort, whereas I realize all is not well in paradise. Not that it matters, his misery/happiness is NOT related to mine.

But it validates how irrelevant I was to his choices. I won’t say he “never loved me” and I think he loves our kids in his limited way.

But my ex is selfish and was at best, dishonest with me for YEARS…and that’s a big fucking deal.

And your husband has done the same and it’s not even in a hard time – your kids are young and so are you. There’s no “mid life” crisis BS to deal with.

He cheated on you, and then mostly blamed you for it and now wants you to “get over it.” He’s likely telling the kids that’s what YOU ought to do…

*And In medical terms, I would call this is a terminal prognosis. **

Here’s what my son told me when I realized that my wasband was flaunting his “new LOVE OF HIS LIFE!!!” on facebook to justify breaking up our family and 35 year marriage –3 weeks after we had separated and before I realized the depth of his deceit

(b/c I must tell you – that was some seriously painful humiliating shit)

and he said “Mom, you are around the corner from so much more happinesss than you’d have with dad. Say good riddance to lunacy.”

Best thing he ever told me – and to you I say – the same.

Cut your losses and begin the healing. Don’t fret too much about what a 6 year old says to you – they don’t want to see their worlds change.

Reassure them of what will remain the same “still see daddy” and “still live with me” and still play with your friends/stay in school” (or whatever can remain the same) and stress what will NOT change for them.

And that they are loved by both parents.

The rest of your man/child’s behavior is too much for them to handle now but they’re watching YOU so they can feel safe.

Be the sane parent.

I promise you that there will be a day you are glad you cut your losses and there will be a day when you find yourself feeling a peace you simply cannot know with the man/child you are married to now.

I am very sorry. I know it sucks.

But damn, if I had a time machine, I’d go back and cut my ex loose at least a decade earlier than I did. That’s a shitty regret to have in life.

Life is short enough as it is.

Make the most of your precious time on earth and keep us posted. Seriously.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

Thank you for this…and the empathy post. You make it all seem so clear by setting out everything that I already tell myself but am to scared to believe. It’s amazing how much truth everyone is able to see…(that I know but am not allowing myself to believe)…with such a brief explanation of my situation…I guess so much of the behaviours are just textbook so it’s easy to see it, as an outsider looking in…so much harder to believe it when I’m stuck in the epicentre…but when I’m honest with myself, I know you are all correct!

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Sometimes writing it out in black and white helps me to acknowledge how bad it actually was. I think my first realization that my reality sucked was when I had to explain the unvarnished truth to my first therapist. You see, I had not discussed my situation with anyone, not friends coworkers or family lest they judge. And I was loyal, though he did not deserve it. Years of pain tumbled out. I realized it really was that bad. And I got out. Not quickly but slowly and surely. And now I’m free. After slogging across an ocean of pain I came to the end and I climbed out. I did it for me and I did it for my kids. We are all better off now though I could not see my way across that ocean at the start of the journey.

LovedAJacass
LovedAJacass
3 years ago

Forgiveness. You can divorce the cheater and still forgive him. Forgiveness is letting go of the emotional burden of rage, anger, heartbreak, and grief as you process those emotions. Forgiveness doesn’t mean signing up for more abuse or tolerating a relationship with no reciprocity. You can show your kids how to “forgive” someone who hurts them by setting boundaries. You don’t want to teach them to go back for more abuse. First protect yourself, your kids, your income, your health. And then treat your hopefully STBXH with courtesy. Don’t badmouth him to the kids, although definitely tell them “Daddy had a girlfriend and married people can’t do that.” Teach the kids that trust must be first earned but that it is fragile. Once broken, sometimes it can’t be repaired. Teach them to value themselves as much as they love other people. (“Love your neighbor as you love yourself” requires us to love our selves and value our lives.)

Don’t get lost in the weeds. Your kids will take their cues from you ability to protect yourself from abuse while at the same time behaving with dignity and decency.

Letgo
Letgo
3 years ago

Please understand there is no normal or average family. If you look at my extended family’s yearly photo you would see four cheaters, two empty spots because they died too young, several divorces and some serious illnesses. We look average. So do most of my friends and they all have some heartaches. That’s life. It is often not fair.
When I read your letter all I could see is how hard you worked to keep up the facade. Trips. Did they make one difference? No, because he is a jerk. He doesn’t see the devastation he caused. He is skimming right over it.
How you manage YOUR life will impact your children. If you look at the heavy load you have always carried you will see a hero. Heroes pick up burdens and keep going. This is what your children need, a dependable parent. One who keeps promises. One who gives hugs. That’s always been you.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Letgo

And the time and energy and money spent pick-me dancing will be freed up to spend on yourself and your kids. MUCH better use of resources on people who will value and appreciate it!

Chumpineer
Chumpineer
3 years ago

Dear Doc,
Throw him out. I stayed misguidedly in a similar situation until the kids were 11 and 13 and it did a lot of harm to us all.

I second the thought that you can fully have a warm loving close family with just you and the kids, and it is also a good role model for them that you do not have to stay in an abusive relation.

My X fuckwit told the kids that he had to follow his heart in his affair with his true love because we made him unhappy. I say BS, there is only one person in charge of your happiness and that is you.

Be the sane parent and mirror good selfcare behaviour. Worse than packing little suitcases is living in a toxic environment continually with a cheating dad that blames you for his own failings.

Kick him out

Chump engineer

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago
Reply to  Chumpineer

That “follow your heart” line is what he said when he left. He was sitting on the steps of the house we had lived in for almost 26 years. He stood up, walked over to his truck, got in and drove away. To “follow his heart”.

And his own daughter lived in the house he drove away from. Whom he then ghosted. To “follow his heart.”

People who have hearts don’t do what cheaters do.

Di
Di
3 years ago

Dear Doc – HUGE ((HUGS)). It hasn’t been a full year since d-day and you haven’t figured out what you’re going to do yet so totally understandable you’re still reeling with pain. I’m not a medical doctor but I have a doctorate. I also earned ALL the money and did all the childcare and all the cooking and all the cleaning (which in itself is crazy dysfunctional – right?). All while he was feeling sorry for himself, feeling bored, chipping the days away on the couch swiping left and right on his phone. A chapter of my dissertation was even on Indigenous Feminism and I still had many of those tiny misogynist hopes in the back of my mind of what my family life ‘should be’. I totally understand why you hesitated to write in to Tracy but so very glad you did. My favorite piece of advice here is being chumped means never being smug again. Your world becomes SO MUCH BIGGER when you can let go of the little ‘has-to’ s we cling to too tightly! I’m happy you wrote in and I hope you ditch the piece of shit. I am sooooo glad I ditched mine and ditched all the weird beliefs that went along with being ‘intact’. Thank you for putting yourself out there to get a big ol can of bitch slap – I also needed the reminder of where I was and what kind of misogyny I held then and may be holding on to now.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Di

Oh gosh, I am so guilty of the “smugness”, I thought I literally had it all, gorgeous kids, beautiful house, great job and wonderful husband…oh how I have fallen!

I think that’s the hardest bit…I thought I had such a wonderful life…And now I’ve never felt so low, and the person who has taken all of that away from me is the person I adored….never ever smug again!!!

OptionNoMore
OptionNoMore
3 years ago

Hi Doc,
Another woman here who also outearned her husband, had a higher level of education and did most of the childrearing (one child with Autism to boot). It was a proverbial kick-in-the-teeth to have a husband cheat for several years (while he was studying at university full time to earn a degree in his 40s on my dime) and then tell me that it was because I did nothing but emasculate him, control him, never let him have a say in anything, etc. The reality is that they were likely attracted to our intelligence and high-function because it’s what they wished for themselves, until they realized that being so means high expectations. Then, they eventually fold and blame you for their inadequacies.

And boy does it cut us down…cut us right at the knees. For despite all my achievements, I “failed” at marriage (I didn’t, he did). Despite all my smarts, I didn’t understand my own husband (I do now and it’s not pretty). Despite all my hard work in pick me dancing (13 months in my case while he lied the whole time by maintaining the affair the he has always denied, even to this day), it wasn’t enough to turn him back to me (to which I know say, thank God!). The life I thought I was building blew apart.

Until I realized that all the pieces were there, scattered, but there. I picked them up and started to put them back together the way I wanted them. Some pieces, I said, “no thanks.” Then, I got some new pieces. Counselling helped me make so much sense of my reality and how heavily invested I was in an ideal for my life that my ex clearly hadn’t shared for years. But, not having him didn’t mean that I couldn’t live my ideal.

I learned to just DO ME. Be the best mom I can be. The best daughter, friend. I remade my home with my kids. Continued the traditions I held dear and created new ones. Started to use the time the kids were with their dad to pursue my own interests (started a wine club, joined a hiking group, took some professional courses). I started to know peace and quietness within myself, part of realizing that there had been white noise in my marriage messing with my nervous system for years that I didn’t get was there (welcome to trauma).
But, that humility has made me a much improved version of myself. I am more patient, more compassionate of others, more grateful, more cautious, and dare I say, more wise.

It’s everyone’s mantra here who have been out for long enough to get closer to “meh” that life does get better, and IT’S TRUE. Trust that. There isn’t a single one of us that haven’t felt what you feel now, and every single one of us will tell you that the quality of our life is infinitely better without the toxic ex. Because the measure of a good life is one lived authentically, and you are the only one in your marriage who holds that value. Quote: “Get in the habit of asking yourself, “Does this contribute to the life that you are trying to build?”. You will come to yourself again and be better for it. As for FW? Well, that won’t be your circus anymore.

Chump who got Dumped
Chump who got Dumped
3 years ago

Doc,

My heart hurts for you, but I’m glad you’ve decided to tell your story here. I would encourage you to read as many of the archives as possible. They’ve become a morning and nightly ritual for me as I’ve gone through my own hell over the past few months. These archives have really given me strength. Initially I wanted him back but now I’m getting to MEH.

One thing that really resonates with me is CL’s comment: “No, he cheated because of entitlement. Because he wanted to. Because he did the cost-benefit analysis of your perfect, close, little family and his dick, and his dick won. Because THOSE ARE HIS VALUES.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Any person who could choose their dick over their family, wife and kids is a sack! You’re a Dr – smart, empathetic and capable!

Your kids will observe, ask questions and come to understand the truth of what happened one of these days. Trust that he sucks…and move forward with your life. We love you!

Chump who got Dumped

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

Yes!!! The cost-benefit analysis comment really resonated…it doesn’t matter how lovely he has been for the previous 9 years of marriage or 18years together, he did the sums, he calculated the value of our marriage and our family and his dick won out. End of.

KB22
KB22
3 years ago

Is your cheater gainfully employed at the moment? If not you need to make sure he gets a job to support himself or you’ll be paying alimony. Let him get a job then file. Be smart. He’s taken advantage of you for far too long already.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  KB22

Yes he got another job…and was very proud of himself for doing so during a pandemic…that was almost as much of an ego boost as brainless slut showing an interest!!

Emma C
Emma C
3 years ago

I’d say you’re already a single mother. You do all the kid car pool stuff, family can’t live without your income, you do the planning for nice events. You’re a single mother already. Now drop the piece of crap who happens to be in your bed. Your workload will decrease and you can now focus on healing your intact family.
Is it fair that he quit a job to prove his love? Sounds more like living at his mum’s place wasn’t all that great and he was probably ending the affair anyway.

OptionNoMore
OptionNoMore
3 years ago
Reply to  Emma C

That’s so true when you take real stock of the weight pulled in your marriage. A lot of us probably end up with a total that shows that we were often on our own already throughout.

A year after the separation, I met with my financial advisor who I have done business with for 20 years. For years at our meetings, he had seen how stressed I was over all the house renos that never seemed to get done and goals for travel and fun that didn’t seem to come to fruition. He asked me if I wanted to budget for all those things. I let him know that most of the renos have now been done (except the biggie, the kitchen). He was surprised and asked how that happened. I told him that I did it (thank you YouTube “how-to” videos).

He always assumed my ex was the Mr. Fixit. He stood corrected. Then, he shook his head and wondered out loud, “You would think that with two adults in the house that the work should have gotten done, and now you’re on your own and bam!” I went on to tell him that my life doesn’t have anywhere near the stress that it did for years. His reply, “Well it’s clear what variable played a part in that.”

Fear keeps us bound. So, I send thoughts of courage to all those who are here still sitting on the fence about whether they can do this on their own.

Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years ago
Reply to  Emma C

Thank you for the above comment!
SO TRUE!

Apologies in advance for some hard truths…

You have not only been a single mother, you facilitated his false facade as a caring, loving father and husband.

All those romantic adult weekends and family vacations??? Be honest with yourself about who carried the load of the planning? The hotel reservations, the tickets, the childcare…I’m betting it was mostly (if not all) you. You wanted a loving partner and husband and father so you tried everything to make it that way. Sadly it takes 2 people to make a marriage successful and it sound like you were doing the heavy lifting alone.

Think hard about the attitude about packing their little suitcases. Why is that your responsibility? He needs to be responsible for their needs, physical, emotional and practical, when your daughters are at his home. He fired you from the job of caretaker. You need to spend all the time and energy of your alone time on yourself. It will be VERY hard not to continue the role of total caregiver but you must. Your girls will see the difference between parenting styles and that is part of their journey.

It is painful to watch your children not being cared for the way you would do it. I get it. But unless he is harming them, you need to dump the consequences of parenthood back in his lap.

As for the other woman, I hope you can read all the posts going back to the beginning. HE made a vow to you, HE risked your health, HE took time and money away from your family and he did EVERYTHING WILLINGLY. And that is only what you know about. SHE is insignificant and would have been someone else if not her. Brace yourself to learn other details and possibly other affairs as you methodically go through your financial and credit records. You’re a doctor so you understand through investigation. This hurts like hell but do it for you and your girls.

About being a single parent family? Me and my sons rock!!!! We are tight, fun, loving, adventurous and supportive. It didn’t happen overnight and the path was hard but I cannot tell you how many of my married friends are jealous of my single parent relationship with my kids and their partners.

Please listen to Chump Lady and accept the bitchslapping. You sound amazing with a zest for life and doing things. You are a successful doctor who saves lives – save your own.

Please!

Finding Peace
Finding Peace
3 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca

My attorney advised me not to send clothes / pack bags. Do you know who came home after multiple weekends with rashes from no clean underwear? Not the fuckwit.
Our job as mothers is to do what’s best for our children. It may take some responsibility off the fuckwit but its responsibility they weren’t going to do anyway. Please do what is best for the kids, don’t expect them to take care of the child. Teach your child to care for themselves and sent them necessities to do so. I pack clothes and snacks in my kids bags. They know who loves them and they know who they can count on.

Pecan
Pecan
3 years ago

Sometimes in life you only have bad options and you have to choose the least bad option available to you. The LW wants there to be a good choice available when there isn’t.

You either stay married to someone who betrayed you and is obviously not that sorry, with the risk he’ll have another affair. Or you accept the downsides of being a single parent.

In the long run it’s better to separate. Yes there are up front costs, but you’ll be saner and build the kind of life that fits with who you are.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Pecan

Exactly! He tells me I’m in control, I get to decide what happens next, only none of the options are what I want.

It feels like someone saying I have to be killed but I get to choose how!!

I need to work out what is least bad…whilst acknowledging that if I stay it would most likely happen again a few years down the line!!

pecan
pecan
3 years ago

It sounds very much like he wants to absolve himself of responsibility by placing it all on you. If the marriage doesn’t work it’ll be because of his betrayal. Don’t accept a blame shift if he tries to pull this on you.

Mia
Mia
3 years ago

The reason he says that you have to decide what happens next is that 1: if you decide to stay together then he will be absolved from responsibility for his next betrayal or his trademark neglectful deadbeat laziness, or 2: if you decide to divorce, then he gets to blame you for breaking up the family and he will still come out the victim. He is a very dangerous person. I know from experience. Please protect your assets now, legally. You could find a better man just by throwing a rock randomly. Your husband is abusing you. Your past was a lie. Ask me how I know.

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago

Wait until you go to cut up the money, you will see even more of the real greedy him.

I stayed for 3 years after Dday. He never showed true remorse. He started to turn the kids against me. I was not allowed to grieve the betrayal, if I would bring it up he would get angry and accuse me of not being forgiving. They hate that you ‘have something over them’. When in fact he should have been trying to help me get over the knife he put in my back he was twisting it.

So many families look great from the outside. But after cheating it’s all fake and hollow.

It’s really hard on the kids, that is for sure. And it hurts you to see them hurt.And they don’t understand why mom and dad just can’t get back together. Cheaters hurt their kids as much as they hurt their spouses. Then they blame YOU for ruining the family!!

OptionNoMore
OptionNoMore
3 years ago
Reply to  Mitz

Love when they start to fight for 50/50 custody just because they don’t want to have to pay child support.

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
3 years ago

You showed integrity, loyalty and faithfulness. In the past year alone, you planned and provided him with a special weekend away for his birthday, another weekend to a show he wanted to see, and a family trip abroad. You provide a good income as a doctor (probably far more than is work sitting at adjacent desks with coworkers), AND provided the vast majority of daily child care. I’m betting you do a lot more that you didn’t mention. So you basically handled the day to day responsibilities and indulged him with special treats and vacations. He says that wasn’t enough to make him feel special, so he had to start an affair with howorker? What more can you possibly do that will feed his need to be central? And why would you want to try? When he found out that his howorker wasn’t interested in adulting and wanted to have sex while living with her mommy instead of playing house with him, what did your husband do? He ran back to live with HIS mommy! And after a few months (maybe Mommy got tired of the big baby) he “reluctantly” came back to you, grousing about giving up his job. Nowhere do you say, or do you know, if he gave up howorker, or if he’s still having sex with her, or someone else. Unprotected sex that puts all of you at risk, because without you, what happens to your kids?
My guess is that he’ll try to run right back to Mommy when you get up your courage to have him leave. If he does, you won’t have to worry about your daughters going to Daddy’s house, because they may be going to Grandma’s. And it’s questionable how often they’ll go, because he sounds unlikely to be able to care for 6 and 8 year old daughters on his own, and may not even want to do so. Just as he saw you as readily replaceable with howorker, he was ready to replace the kids you had together with new kids he’d have with her.
Your fears are not uncommon. Just like going through med school, you have to commit to hard work and self-doubts about how you’ll function independently in your new role as a “sole practitioner.” But he hasn’t been helping much with the child-rearing anyway. Your kids will be happier in the long run, and maybe also in the short term. You were pouring a lot of time and energy into creating special, magical times for daddy. It’s time to redirect that focus to you and your daughters. And you don’t have to provide Disney trips to do so. Kids crave a sane, stable parent who stays and spends time with them. You’re already doing that. Now you’ll do it without having to cater to his demands to come first.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Goodfriend

This is so true. Since this has happened I have realised I NEVER did anything for ME. Any time that I wasn’t at work I was looking after the girls or taking them to ballet, or swimming or horse riding, or I was planning our next family adventures…how much more could I have given to make him feel he had enough?!!

OptionNoMore
OptionNoMore
3 years ago

Emotionally immature men want the single life and the single woman. They should never marry because we don’t stay exciting. We start to do things, like adult. Actual adulting. Well that’s no fun. Responsibility? Work? Expectations? Jeez, it just never ends.

And off to the next shiny thing…

Erasure
Erasure
3 years ago

“We had such a perfect family life, I earn a very good income as a doctor and also do most of the childcare, school drop offs/pickups and after school activities taxi-ing for our two daughters aged 6&8” And the holiday “….which I had organised.”

It sounds like HE had the perfect life of easy luxury and pre-planned holidays while you were a Super-Mom shouldering the burden of pretty much everything. What was he even contributing beyond his salary? How much more of a burden will it really be if he’s gone?

Divorce will be hard on your kids. But you will just need to make sure that they know that they are your priority and they will always have a home with you. You may find it’s less work without him around. And someday, when you’re ready, you might find someone who appreciates you enough to make a meaningful contribution.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Erasure

Yes this! The problem is not with you! So, you trying harder is not going to fix the situation. With all that you were doing to provide a nice life and take care of the kids and the entitled bastard is upset that you are not focused on him and catering to his needs? Bah! What did HE do to ease YOUR load? Physicians in the US work really hard and with Covid, long hours. A good husband and father would have been picking up the slack since you are the primary breadwinner! Spending his time thinking up nice things for you! Where is HIS investment in the family? In YOU? As CL says, relationships should be reciprocal and this sounds about as lopsided and dysfunctional as it gets. He sounds sick—what sane grownup gives up a loyal loving hardworking and financially stable marriage and household with two adorable little girls for risky sexscapades and living with mommy? Someone who doesn’t want to adult, that’s who. You don’t need another child to care for!

The indecision is killing you and the longer it drags out the more painful it will be. Pull the trigger on the divorce and give yourself a clear direction and goals. You will feel relieved no matter the outcome. Give yourself some time to grieve and care for yourself and those babies who really really need their mom! Model resiliency for them. Show them they too have a voice and they Mom is MIGHTY. And has BOUNDARIES and so to can they when they grow up —and they too will TAKE NO CRAP! From douche-bag men who would use and abuse them.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thank you. This was really helpful to read…especially the bit about what sane adult gives up….

I’ve been asking myself this question since I found out…you hit the nail on the head…he’s not sane and not an adult!!

Mia
Mia
3 years ago

I stayed married to my cheater after I found out. He cut off contact with the other woman immediately, got sober, took on more than half of household and childcare work, never blamed me for his affair, and you know what? I’m still miserable with him, because his affair absolutely destroyed me in every way. I am now trapped with the person who destroyed me. I won the pick me dance. That victory pleased me for maybe a few months, tops. Now, 10 years later, I wish I had left him right away because I see now that he is a truly bad person. Only a horrible abuser could have hurt me to that extent. Now I hate myself for staying. I no longer love or respect him. Now I’m too old to start a new life. We are too broke not to share a house. I have dreams that I left him and then I wake up and my reality hits me. I despise the person I’m married to.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Mia

I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m so glad you shared it though. I’m not even a year past D-day and I already resent him, despise him and imagine a happier life without him because of what he has chosen to do to me. I’ve never felt anguish and pain like this in my entire life and to know that he is the cause is soul destroying. I am grateful I do have the financial means to “go it alone”, I shouldn’t waste that just because I’m scared of the unknown. Thank you for sharing, it is so motivating for me.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago
Reply to  Erasure

Exactly. He had it made. If that wasn’t enough for him, nothing ever will be. It’s a good lesson for people who tend to cater to their spouses; the only ones who would appreciate it don’t want to be catered to. They want to contribute equally to the relationship and the family. We should all hold out for that kind of partner.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  OHFFS

We got together when we were 18, I’ve never known any different…I thought it was just a “man thing” that there was no real interest in planning or thinking of nice things to do together. It’s seems crazy to have thought like that!

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

Well, then, your picker was an adolescent. Imagine the kind of partner you could choose now that you are adult and you know some stuff.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago

Expecting to be catered to was a “man thing”, but that was decades ago. Time marches on and fully formed adults know they must move with it. It’s probably what you saw your mom do when you were growing up. That’s why it’s all the more important that your kids not learn that by that example.

Mine resented that I didn’t cater to him enough for his liking. I had a sick child and a sick parent to attend to and wasn’t in good health myself. The gall of these entitled, selfish jerks is incredible. Nothing you do will ever be enough. If you were to have sex every morning and flatter his dumb ass all the time, he’d just move the goalposts on you and find more outrageous demands you can’t possibly meet to use as an excuse to cheat. They all do that because the point of it is to push you down. I wish you all the best in your new, much less stressful life without that deadweight dragging you down.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Yep you are right, I did cater to mine, and I ended up with a cheater anyway. A cheater/liar is a cheater liar; they will twist anything we do into a negative when it suits them.

Kar-meh
Kar-meh
3 years ago

Not that I have children but we had a fantastic lifestyle . Lots of travel , meals out in fancy restaurants , both working full time with no dependants so we jumped on a plane most weekends .

I couldn’t believe he threw that away and got his howorker knocked up but CL is right he did the cost benefit and he chose himself as that’s his values.
The decades of life we worked hard for meant nothing to him same as the “ perfect “ family for your husband Doc .
He could have stopped these feelings by not keeping contact with her or relating it to work only but he never . Again he didn’t care about you or your children and that’s really hard to accept but sadly it’s the truth

KB22
KB22
3 years ago

“He tells me that the affair happened, or “he was susceptible to an affair” because he didn’t feel loved by me, and that she made him feel valued and respected when I didn’t (I completely cannot see where this has come from but he insists this is the case).”
This is the typical BS cheaters say to chumps. They blame the chump for the affair, makes my blood boil. He’s bullshitting you and when he supposedly came to senses and wanted to come home? Nah. He got sick of living with his parents. Reading your post it seems you do a lot, if not all, the heavy lifting. The childcare and trying to make him happy with special events, trips must be exhausting. He’s a weak dumbass and you need to dump him asap. You are not doing your kids any favors by staying with this jerk. Show them how a person with integrity and strength acts not a doormat.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  KB22

Thanks, it’s helpful to hear confirmation that this is cheater BS…he is so convincing I sometime almost believe that it’s true and I “made him susceptible”, that’s a horrible thought…that I did something to bring this agony on myself.

Mills
Mills
3 years ago
Reply to  KB22

I wrote my post before I saw yours. That part immediately stuck out to me as well. They do the least work in the relationship, expect the most, everything you do is seen as some sin and justification to sleep around on you. They’re ” in pain.” K.

KB22
KB22
3 years ago
Reply to  Mills

Many years ago I was engaged to a sociopath. I had minored in psychology and even then I had no idea about narcissists and sociopaths. Of course I was going through some very bad and frustrating patches with the sociopath. I was trying to figure it all out and fix what was wrong and then a young woman I didn’t know well but was dating a mutual friend of ours, said you need to step back and do nothing. Don’t call, don’t plan, don’t support or fix, do nothing. Of course at that time I did not take her advice even though it made perfect sense to me. However, I did use her advice later on. Healthy relationships are reciprocal. Unhealthy are the ones where one person does ALL the work and I think most of us on this site know how well that works out.

Queen of Chumps
Queen of Chumps
3 years ago
Reply to  KB22

Yes! The common denominator is that the betrayed spouse does most of the work, while the cheater expects everything but without the equal give and take that is necessary for a home to thrive. Chumps give, cheaters take. They expect roses while watering somebody else’s garden.

Mills
Mills
3 years ago

“He tells me that the affair happened, or “he was susceptible to an affair” because he didn’t feel loved by me, and that she made him feel valued and respected when I didn’t”

Yo male and female chumps, raise your hand if you got this line of crap! LOL. It’s so cliché at this point. Classic blame shifting. “You drove me to cheat” “You made me go get my needs met elsewhere.” Of course, they say all of this crap to you which is just a total lie and while also taking all of the benefits you offer while getting the cake on the side.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  Mills

My cheaters version was “I havne’t been happy for ten years” (He never told me, he seemed happy) “it wasn’t about the sex” Bullshit, it was all about the sex, turd started fucking the whore aabout the same time he got his promotion, he was reveling in the excitement of illicit sex, until for some reason; it wasn’t as much fun anymore. I suspect the whore (his direct report) put the hammer down and demanded he leave me.

Then his parting shot was “I never loved you” Total bullshit, I know it now; but I believed it then. Does it ever occur to these fuckwits what that statement says about them, that they have been lying to their spouse since before they were married, and they think that makes them look better.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Mills

I called it the “blame bag.” Cheaters in cheat mode lurk around chumps like creeping Dickensian villains, eyes peeled, beady and alert for any little teeny tiny gesture, action, tone of voice, omission– anything you do or don’t do that could be construed as hurtful, callous, disrespectful or a failure to be properly adoring– and they add that perceived slight like a poker chip or token to the little bag of blame they keep in a hip pocket. When they collect a few chips, they recoup them for things like, say, a dry hump in an elevator with a howorker or schmoworker, some dating app scrilling, a snog in a parked car, etc. When they amass a bigger supply of chips– sometimes by reaching back decades for perceived slights you supposedly committed in days of yore– they can cash them in for a dirty weekend in a cheesy swank hotel paid for with the kids ‘college funds!

It’s a nifty system grounded in the Mont Pelerin school of economics.

A list of eligible crimes that can generate cheater blame tokens according to the CN collective:

–Improper folding of underwear.

–Not watching Survivor with them.

–Not liking Survivor.

— Not congratulating them on the work promotion that they never told you about because felicitous events are things they tell office doorknobs in order to get ass while they play suffering, struggling martyr at home to get out of doing the dishes, picking up after themselves or being emotionally present during boring, kibble-less family special occasions.

— Not howling campy porn utterences during sex.

–Changing your hair without permission.

–Gaining weight.

–Losing weight.

–That time 20 years ago when you forgot to remind them of the birthday of a cousin they don’t like and never talk about which just proves how you try to isolate them from family. Because yOU’rE aN aBuSeR.

–That time you raised your voice. Never mind there was a garbage truck running its compactor ten feet away and you were warning them they were about to step in front of a bus, you scared them. Because yOU’rE aN aBuSeR.

— Making them feel bad by asking them if they’re having an affair (while they’re having an affair) after months of cold behavior and mysterious late night work events and that weid infection you got. Because yOU’rE aN aBuSeR.

Etc., etc.

Mia
Mia
3 years ago

This is 100 percent true.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

He has done exactly this…even to the point of bringing out some deep seated resentment about how I didn’t react enthusiastically enough about a bbq he threw for my birthday 7years ago!!! How can that be a thing that he uses as a reason for screwing some slag every morning before work (when he could have been helping me get the kids ready for school!!)

LezChump
LezChump
3 years ago

Great list, Hell. I would add the following blame nuggets from my own experience:
– Not turned on enough by quickies while kids are in the other room, or taking a break from going through STBX’s dead mother’s things
– Not “happy” enough. (I would agree during occasional pre-D-Day #2 conversations that I was not deliriously joyful, since I was so tired all the time, but I described myself as “content” and very grateful for the good things in life)
– Not “supportive” enough after STBX’s narc mom died, though I held STBX while she recounted the trauma and did everything STBX asked me to do. I wasn’t going to sing the praises of STBX’s mom, with whom I had a drought relationship
– didn’t “dream” enough. (I did, but my dreams didn’t involve STBX enough, I guess)
– The real kicker for me was this weird notion that I didn’t do enough around the house and with the kids, even though I did at least 70% of the housework, since I worked part-time. This came up in therapy sessions in 2015, after which the therapist concluded that there was nothing more to discuss with me, but STBX clearly needed more work. (Read: “unrealistic expectations.”) After D-Day #2 in 2018, I found the following blame nugget in a dump of STBX’s texts with her AP: (see next post)

LezChump
LezChump
3 years ago
Reply to  LezChump

(This is STBX’s actual text complaining about me to her AP in 2018): “LezChump can’t help having debilitating fatigue. And she does a lot with the house and kids. A lot. But the thought of being with someone who enjoys taking care of people and things and who has the energy to do it well and happily….SIGH”

Yes. SBTX literally spells out “sigh” in her texts often. She’s the Sad Sausage Queen. She still “sighs” in texts with me, usually when she’s triggered me with ignorant assumptions. Am trying to limit contact even further.

So, Hell can add “chump doesn’t marshal the support of small woodland creatures while doing housework” to the fine list of blame nuggets.

LezChump
LezChump
3 years ago
Reply to  LezChump

Ps: I meant “frought” relationship with my MIL, above. But maybe “drought” relationship is also apt!

Spitting-the-Dummy
Spitting-the-Dummy
3 years ago

Oh so true!

Apparently, because my husband is an immigrant, his go-to recollection about how mean I am, is that I made him feel bad about being an immigrant…

That was twisting the truth to suit his needs. At that time, we were BOTH immigrants living in the USA.

Other blame methods were… that he assumed I was having an affair because I had male friends at work and in my sports life!! All the while, he DID have a fling himself. I guess that I was not supposed to have a life as that made him insecure about himself.

And the list goes on. When he took a trip away to see his family (that I decided not to go on) and I had arranged for him to take the kids with him to see his home country (which he did not have planned at first until I booked them all tickets), he said I was distant on the phone. That made him feel bad…and then you know what happens after that…

This is a grown man who talks to his mother on the phone almost everyday. Why? Because she thinks he’s great despite his cheating, lying, and emotional abandonment of his wife and 2 kids. Some eye opening freudian psychology happening there.

I read emails and messages he had sent to people after the first D-Day when everything came out in the open (due to my invasive detective work) and I was shocked to see what he was saying about me to other people. They truly play the victim. It’s a learned method of manipulation to get kibbles. Very sad. Hard to respect anyone that uses people like that. I certainly cannot find a reason to be with a person with such weak character anymore. I did the reconcilition route to my detriment. It’s been 6 weeks now on my own with a teenage daughter and although scary, I won’t let myself be manipulated and deceived by that sorry ass excuse for a husband again.

Take heed Doc…it’s a road of suffering and leaving is what you will end up doing anyway down the road. The entitlement is enmeshed with their character and repeats over and over…

SoonToBeDr2021
SoonToBeDr2021
3 years ago
Reply to  Mills

Both hands up in the air right here! Same script, different characters.

4Leaf
4Leaf
3 years ago

Doc, your story sounds exactly like mine. I also took my cheating H back and, thankfully (yes, thankfully!), he found another affair partner and left again. I say thankfully because I know I never would have left him; I adored him too much and I was terrified of being a single mom (my kiddos were both still in diapers at the time).

Well, that was over ten years ago and, looking back, I can tell you that being a single mom, while hard, was awesome. Best time of my life, as a parent, honestly. There is simply no comparison between how much better we functioned as a single mom household (functioning! happy!)and how it was when H was there (agony!).

I also hated packing their little bags for weekend visits with their Dad and his wife (his second affair partner) and still do, to be honest, but I’ve accepted that it comes with the territory because (1) being a single parent, while amazing, is also exhausting, and I needed those small blocks of time to myself to recharge my batteries, and (2) I wanted my children to have a good relationship with their father.

Good luck, cut him loose, and take the plunge. There’s simply no comparison; life as a single mom is so much better than life as a beleaguered wife to an uninvested, cheating man.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  4Leaf

I do kind of wish she had wanted my husband once he decided she was good enough to leave me for…sadly he wasn’t very exciting once the affair was out in the open so she wasn’t interested…and I stupidly did the pick me dance to get him back…but if he hadn’t come back I would have been over the hardest bit already…whereas now I still have it all to come.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago

It is hard to let go. I let mine come back once after he left me for the town whore. It lasted a week, lucky for me he treated me so awful, I kicked him out at the end of the week.

He circled back three times after that. I knew he didn’t really want me back, he just needed me destabilized in case he had further use of me. I don’t believe he ever stopped screwing the whore, just wanted me in the wings.

All in the world at the time I wanted was for him to marry the whore. I just knew if he did that would be the worst punishment he or she could get, and it was. They totally destroyed themselves financially. Gambling.

It was all so weird. There was no CL or even internet for research during that time. Now I get how they are all so much alike, but then it was a mystery to me. If I had known then what I found out later, I would have never let him come back, not even for a day. Or, at least I don’t think I would have.

Thirtythreeyearsachump
Thirtythreeyearsachump
3 years ago

Doc, you deserve better than that cheater. Your kids deserve better than that cheater. Plan on fighting like hell for full custody of those kids.
Kick him out. Divorce his lying, cheating ass.

He doesn’t deserve you. He is using you for “three meals and a cot”. He has abused you and the kids. Adultery is abuse. Are you going to tolerate that abuse?

Did you get an STI panel? Check your finances? Run a credit check? He isn’t trustworthy. Don’t believe a thing he says.

You are a prize! You are worthy of so much more than begging for crumbs of affection from this ungrateful cheater. Stop talking to him and start talking to a therapist who agrees Adultery is abuse.
You and those kids deserve a whole hearted love.

Longtime Chump
Longtime Chump
3 years ago

Is there hope for full custody? I’m trying due to specifics of my situation. Just wondering if other chumps have been able to secure this for their children.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  Longtime Chump

Yes. I have full custody. He got visitation. Which he doesn’t use. Maybe an hour or so at a time. Plays Disney dad, dinner, a short fun activity and done. No real parenting involved. IMHO the less time impressionable children are left in the care of a toxic dysfunctional man-child the better.

seekay
seekay
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

God, I wish my exfw only parented an hour or so at a time. Mine asked for 50/50 (he did NOT want to pay child support). He is remarried to a wonderful woman and I am so grateful that she is there for my daughter—but I am already hearing stories of the way he is treating her. My daughter HATES going to his house and it breaks my heart. I feel so bad because I’m like, “i cannot live with this abusive prick”…but then i take the most important human on the planet and i have to drive her over there and drop her off. She actually said to me the other day “Why can’t I just divorce dad like you did”. ugh. I just have to remind myself that at least she is with me half the time and we are not stuck with him 100% of the time. God what a waste of 17 years of my life. And yeah, you are right—“the less time impressionable children are left in the care of a toxic dysfunctional man-child, the better.”

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago
Reply to  seekay

The beauty of it all is that as they get older, the kids get to have an opinion. They don’t have to talk on the phone if they don’t want to. I mean, who is obligated to pick up the phone and be at someone’s beck and call all the time? Sheesh! The kids, They get busy. They get a life. They don’t have to visit if they don’t want to. They get a say in activities that involve them. They invite who they like to their events. You don’t have to force them to go. There may be kick back from this legally but as they get older the judge will listen to what the kids want. They were the innocent bystanders whose lives were upended by divorce. Now they get a say in what happens. I view this as giving them back their power to say NO! As my kids got older, they got discarded just like me. Fw didn’t want to pay for college or medical. It was easier just to abandon them. Good riddance to him.

SouthernChump
SouthernChump
3 years ago

Doc – here’s another bitchslap. Sounds to me that you are the breadwinner in your household with being a doctor and scheduling all these trips and vacations. I am sure he reveled in those luxuries that you planned just for him just as much as he reveled in sticking his dick in places where it shouldn’t go. That said, you are clearly married to an entitled leach. Leaches like to be sneaky….they lie, cheat, and steal! Not just emotionally or physically but financially too. Fair warning from a leach ridden single mom – get a divorce! You and your kids will be much better off for it. Otherwise, you can end up penniless AND discarded like I was 7 almost 8 years ago.
Next thing, tell your kids the truth and DO NOT SUGAR COAT IT!!!!!!! Don’t pussy foot around and say stuff like “well Daddy left because he was unhappy”. Say things like “Dad made the decision to cheat and have a girlfriend on the side, so I made the decision to leave.” I’m sure you can find other ways to say things but tell them! Otherwise, they will formulate their own ideas about the marriage/you/him and typically it will be worse than the truth especially about you. You can bet money that he will interject his ugly opinions about you to them. Them not hearing the truth from you sets them up for failure in the future and more heartache for all of you than just hearing the truth. I made a vow to tell my kids the truth and now we are stronger for it! They are young teens and tell me pretty much everything going on in their life, especially when it comes to dad.
Lastly, fuck the narrative about single moms! I’m with CL on this. The bullshit stigmatism that surrounds us is ridiculous….don’t fall into the trap of thinking (or acting) that way and change the narrative!

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  SouthernChump

I have fallen into that trap…I’m ashamed about it!! My big fear is telling everyone…and what they will think about me…pathetic I know. It’s not because I’m ashamed of being a single parent, it’s more that I somehow failed in my marriage…although I know it’s actually him who failed.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

Here’s a superpower everyone can cultivate: Not caring about what people think.

It’s your life honey. No one else is living it. You only get one of them and every day is precious. Don’t waste it.

LeavingToxicTown
LeavingToxicTown
3 years ago

You DID NOT fail in your marriage. You kept your vows. Leaving your marriage is because you BELIEVE in marriage while your FW didn’t. This isn’t about you. It’s about him and HIS demons. I also felt ashamed of myself exactly like that. That I failed. NO. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I found more people supportive of me and angry towards him. He has lost his family and friends (we were together since 19 as well). Chin up and straight spin, honey. The strength is there and if people judge you… judge them back and drop them from your circle.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
3 years ago
Reply to  SouthernChump

Great advice here!

As hard as it is to hear, there are more ugly surprises coming from your husband, Doc. If you divorce him, they will come quickly. If you continue to work on your marriage, they will leak out bit-by-bit as the years go on. He is not a loving partner to you, and whether you stay or go, he will not transform into one.

ActaNonVerba
ActaNonVerba
3 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

Yes. This. ^^^ My STBX promised that after how horribly he’d emotionally abused me, that he would fully cooperate in the divorce proceedings, and make it as quick, and easy, and kind as possible (he said it was the least he could do).

Anyone want to guess what the actual divorce process has revealed about his character?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past three years, and my regrets around not leaving sooner. The best analogy I can think of is unmedicated childbirth. The period of time when you’re attempting to wreckoncile is the labor, and the agony only builds. The divorce proceeding is transition and pushing – the most intense and painful stage. There’s tearing, and tools of extraction, and a lot of swearing and crying. But what I’m looking forward to is birthing a new life, a new me.

In childbirth, we don’t get to choose how long the labor lasts. And as we all know, the longer the labor, the less strength you’re left with for pushing. In this situation you DO get to control the length of the labor. Keep it short.

Get to that new life as soon as possible, with as little depletion to yourself as possible.

Longtime Chump
Longtime Chump
3 years ago

Dear Doc,
I so know where you are in all this. When I first discovered my husband’s affair I had girls nearly the ages of yours. I was devastated, my world turned upside down. What I thought was real was not. I did the pick me dance, and eventually learned he was still cheating (never stopped). I eventually opened my eyes and clearly saw he’d been cheating all along. I did all the parenting, I carried the heavy load… Someone has to when married to a FW! AP are needy, and take time and money. I was paralyzed in fear of single motherhood and wondering if my children would survive the weekends away. The more I changed and worked on myself the better I’ve become for my children. The more I’ve taken my emotional connection away from FW more I can give to them. That is what they need and needed all along. I can’t risk falling off the cliff of another d-day with him, and rest assured it will happen again. Plus subjecting myself to the exact abuse I want to prevent my daughters from marrying in the future. Ultimately, if I reconcile I’d be the biggest hypocrite and wouldn’t be modeling anything positive to my children. I’m not sure what packing little suitcases will be like yet as were tumbling down the ugly divorce path right now. But I want to give them one healthy home.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Longtime Chump

Yes! This is it! I want to show the girls how they should be treated and not to tolerate being treated any less than that….easier said than done when I also want to keep their family for them!

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

You can’t keep someone who doesn’t want to be kept. For the kids. And you should not have to give up your values and self respect and dignity in order to keep a relationship. A good relationship should feed your needs as well as those of your partner.

People talk about lives being destroyed, families destroyed. The fact of the matter is that our family was not broken by the exit of the FW. We continued on living our lives together as a cohesive unit just without the weakest link. He walked away from US. Yes I had to file. Yes he fought it. But he was the cheater pants and after the third DD I had finally had enough. Nothing had changed. However. The rest of are still here and we ARE still an intact family. We no longer have to cater to someone who was a constant wet blanket unless the event revolved around him! No more coaxing and cajoling to do the most basic of parenting duties or household chores. No more marriage police. No more drinking police! No more wondering and no more worrying. The kids and I are closer than ever because we had to band together (for survival and comfort) and life is much more peaceful w/o FW. NC is a hard won lesson but I have set boundaries and I enforce them. I will not discuss anything with FW unless it has to do with logistics of the kids. I won’t discuss anything extraneous to that topic. I just do not respond. He can be as hysterical as he likes but I don’t care and I no longer rise to the bait. From what I can tell, the FW is actually jealous of our home and lives and angry at being ‘left out’. He was always a miserable insecure selfish person and nothing has changed, since wherever he goes, there he is. No longer my problem.

Longtime Chump
Longtime Chump
3 years ago

I know the mom heart that wants to keep her babies close and will do anything if it means protecting them. However, I began to realize our home was already broken, and I wasn’t able to protect them as much as I thought I was. Your family will be together, you and your girls. It will be their safe place to land.

SoonToBeDr2021
SoonToBeDr2021
3 years ago

I married my now exH in 2007. In 2009, my exH got a phone call from his mother that his dad had left her. Moved right in with the OW he had been having a multi-year affair with. My exH drove down to support his mom and confront his dad. His dad moved back in with his mom that night, and we as a family were never allowed to talk about it again per his dad.

Fast forward to 2019. I discovered my exH was having an affair. And it wasn’t his first. He was planning a “new life” with his OW….eerily similar to his dad ten years prior. When things blew up with the OW, he tried to come back to me and was very upset that I did not take him back like his mom took back his dad. I initiated consequences, and the divorce was finalized 10 months after D-Day – it would have been even sooner if he had not been even more of a FW during our financial settlement negotiations.

CL is so right. Model the values you want your girls to have. Self-love. Self-respect. I am a firm believer that marriage with unconditional love is out there and is such a beautiful thing. Marriage with a cheater is NOT that. Your spouse has already put conditions on his love for you to justify his affair.
Actions have consequences, and it is such an important lesson for children to learn. Godspeed to you, Doc. You can do this!

Chump no more
Chump no more
3 years ago

Think Doc’s story resonates with a lot of us, I spent 27 years with a man who was emotionally abusive, caught him out cheating, he left, said he had to come back as had nowhere else to live, stupidly I let him come back, did the pick me dance for way too long,
I didn’t want to be a single parent but now realise I was anyway, he was so emotionally detached from us,
Had Decree NISI feb 2019 but trying to sort out the finances has been a nightmare, every time I think it’s settled he moves the goal posts again,
I now have to live in the same house as him, with our 2 adult sons who he hasn’t spoken to for over 2 years, they want nothing to do with him as he was such a crap father,
I will regret staying with him for as long as I did to the detriment of my sons till the day I die.
I just want to get on with the rest of my life, I’m 60 now & want peace of mind & freedom from that selfish, entitled prick who never said sorry ever,

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
3 years ago

FWIW, my now-adult kids wish I’d left their dad when they were in elementary school because he was emotionally abusive. I left him on D-day, in late 2019. When I dropped him, my adult kids dropped him, too, and didn’t seem to feel any emotion. Looks like they’d already emotionally separated from him. NC all the way.

As we’ve said on this blog before, kids know more than you think. You might believe you have the “perfect” family but for his affair, and yet they probably see cracks that you spackle over.

I say this as someone who was a bit of a spackle queen.

Honor yourself and your kids by leaving this entitled man. My guess is that he shows poor character in other areas of his life as well. It was only after I left m ex that his overall shitty, abusive, entitled behavior came into full view.

This isn’t to say it’s easy. I get that. Good luck. You got this!

MehBeSoon
MehBeSoon
3 years ago

Dear Doc,

So many of can relate to elements of your story. It’s so painful to give up on the “dream” of your marriage and family. So many of us gave our cheaters second, third, hundreds of chances wanting to believe in that dream and keep our families together. But our cheaters were never invested in that dream the same way we are; if they were, they would not be capable of such cruelty and causing so much harm.

Like you, I organized the family trips, special moments, etc., only to be cruelly abused and discarded. My (adult) children and I carry the weight of the trauma he has inflicted why he has “decided to move in a different direction.” I wish I had left years ago when my gut first told me something was “not right.” In addition to processing my own trauma, I worry about my children and the damage done to them in living through such toxic, abusive environments.

I am currently living alone for the first time, as my child has moved to a dorm at college (hoping his school handles this in a smart, safe way). Sometimes I feel lonely and “stuck” (COVID restrictions and harsh winter conditions where I live make going anywhere particularly challenging these days). Yet the thought I had the other day is how PEACEFUL my home is. There is no tension, no walking on eggshells, no endless tasks/renovations/chores left undone for ages until I nagged repeatedly, etc.

To take just one example: the dishes get done without fanfare because I do them, such a contrast from when he did them (our “partnership” arrangement during our marriage was I cooked/he did dishes). He would let the dishes pile up, then take two hours to clean up (1.5 hours of which was actually spent watching videos, checking Facebook, etc) and then making a big deal about how “hard” he worked and how under appreciated he was. Meanwhile, he stole 2 hours from our family time each night, and tried to make US feel guilty about that.

When I first left, I was so stressed about having to do the dishes (who has 2 spare hours each night?!), but then I quickly realized what a scam that was on his part. Not saying that being a single parent is easy, but you may find that it’s actually less stressful than you think once you are not having so much of your energy drained by the cheater’s toxicity and dysfunction.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
3 years ago
Reply to  MehBeSoon

I worry I have become the opposite of everyone else here. FW is a major perfectionist and slave driver about the house being perfect. Before D-day, I used to do backflips to keep the house immaculate. He even dictates where I am allowed to set my purse down when I return home from running errands. One thing out of place incurs his wrath. Since D-day, I purposely leave the end table on my side of the couch cluttery. I stir my coffee and leave the spoon on the counter instead of immediately putting it in the dishwasher. There is a set of curtains I have needed to hem that I haven’t even pinned yet. I feel like these are all my little acts of rebellion. He doesn’t like it? F him! I hope my spoon on the counter drives him mad. I’m tired of making effort to be perfect for Mr. Wonderful.

Since D-day, I do half of what I used to but it is still a lot. I bathe and groom the dog, cut my son’s hair, vacuum, sweep, clean the stove, hand wash dishes, etc. I make the meal plans and buy the groceries. I clean the bathrooms. But then I leave a pile of mail on the end table or I leave a light on after leaving a room. And I simply don’t care.

I just worry that he will be in court telling a judge that I am a disorganized slob. I know wen he is gone and I can do things as I want without him breathing down my neck, I’ll be more tidy or even hire some housekeeping help. Right now, keeping a perfect house is one of those things he expects from me that I don’t intend to give him. I’m tired of doing anything for He Who Can’t Keep His Dick In His Pants. I have been allowing his criticisms if my housekeeping to make me feel badly, though.

I wish the pandemic would be over already!

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago

DocMcChumpin’s husband didn’t get sex every morning so it made him cheat ? Hmmm. What about men away on army duty tours, or business trips, or men with women who are heavily pregnant, or had gyni surgery? Do those guys all get to cheat? Ridiculous.

Yes it is a comedown not having what you see as the Cinderalla lifestyle, the perfect husband and kids. But adult life is like this. You can’t always get what you want. And life as you know it changes.

You cry for years when your family ends due to cheating. But it has ended. Pretending it hasn’t will only cause migraines and ulcers.

He will suck her dry to avoid letting go of the golden goose. She should accept that their life is over and done, and divorce his cheating ass. He is who he is.

Mills
Mills
3 years ago

Hey Doc, get ready to get screwed over yet again with the family court system where you get cheated on, lose seeing your kids half the time, and then have to pay the cheater.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
3 years ago
Reply to  Mills

That isn’t true everywhere. In my state, the cheated on do not have to pay spousal support to the adulterer. In fact, when I prove adultery in court, it will weigh toward my getting a greater amount of the marital assets than 50/50. But yes… child custody is another matter entirely.

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago

Chumps are Olympic gold medalists when it comes to REFRAMING. I used that cognitive brilliance to stay in denial and in my mirage (marriage) for 27 years.

In leaving a cheater and gaining a life, it’s ESSENTIAL for me to call on those same skills but use them for my good, not to spackle and suffer in a sordid soul-crushing sham.

While “married” I had a Beneteau 36 (sailboat) which I now believe was actually purchased as a bomb-proof place to fuck the junk he was picking up. The karma bus showed up there; he is all sadz because my daughter will not set foot on the boat. She told him what she loved the about boat was not sailing per se, but playing on it every weekend as a family. Take that, Mofo.

In the sailing world, sailing single-handed is an awesome and respected feat, not perceived as less-than at all. When leaving a cheater, and sailing life single-handed, you are becoming a black belt ninja warrior Jedi waterman. In addition, with a crew of fellow chumps you can’t go wrong. Having a cheater on your crew means life caught in irons (sailing term = no wind).

https://www.sail-world.com/news/230310/Celebrating-solo-sailing-and-the-Vendee-Globe

Happily Single After
Happily Single After
3 years ago

Newsflash: Congratulations Doc! You have already been a highly functioning single parent for years. My story was very similar. I have now officially been a single parent to three kids for six years and counting. (But I was really single parenting throughout my whole sham of a marriage, if I’m being honest.) And I am here to tell you that life gets infinitely easier when you end the marriage. No matter how you spin it, his affair partner did not cause the demise of your marriage. He did. He is clearly dead weight in your otherwise successful life. So why try to drag him across the finish line with you?

Seems to me your biggest issue is that you’re struggling with the stigma of single motherhood. “My gawd, what will the neighbours think?!?” Get over it! Like you, I’ve got a pretty successful career (university professor here) and I still managed to kick ass in the motherhood arena. That certainly didn’t change when I divorced. In fact, I’ve received accolades and admiration from family, friends, community and even potential partners for my strength, resilience, and duty to family. Focus on being a great role model, not just for your kids but for other single parents out there. Don’t let society determine your narrative. You are not a vulnerable, broken-down single mother so why would you think or act like one? Proudly live your truth. The “perfect” life is a myth, and we all know plenty of two-parent families that are toxic and downright miserable. The single parent stigma only changes when WE change it.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

Thank you. This was really helpful…I need to keep telling myself these things over and over…I keep forgetting the truth of it.

But yes, I am so guilty of “what will the neighbours think”….pathetic I know!! I’m starting to realise that pretending everything is all rosy, doesn’t make it so…and I still end up miserable…even if I’ve managed to pull off the facade!!!

KB22
KB22
3 years ago

You’ll more than likely be surprised to find out a lot of people you know will say they always thought he was a jerk, etc. and relieved you finally dumped the bum.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  KB22

Oh no, everyone thinks he is wonderful, I thought he was wonderful. It’s all…”if there was one person we never thought would do this….it was him”….kind of makes it worse, makes me cling on to that hopium that this was all a massive error for him and that he should be forgiven and we should try again. He wasn’t lazy, or useless with the kids, sure he didn’t put in a huge amount of effort with planning things for us to do but I just thought that wasn’t his strong point. He did fix things around the house, was a great hands on dad (and still is), and was very kind…until he wasn’t. So now I struggle because I focus on all of the good stuff and just think it’s so unfair that he made this error of judgement…maybe he has seen the pain this causes and reflected on his stupidity, been forced to see what he would have lost and wouldn’t do it again? Snap me out of this way of thinking…please, it’s what’s holding me back!!

DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
DOCTOR's1stWife&3Kids
3 years ago

It hurts and it baffles. But this is not about you.

Please realize a whole lot of famous beautiful successful women get cheated on by their “less than” husbands.

It’s as if these guys are so threatened by the wonderful woman on their arm, the ONLY way they can prove whatever the hell they think they need to prove, is by cheating.

But that’s about THEM, not the wives they’re married to.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago

So true, but so hard to genuinely believe it when I am told all my faults that led to this happening, or him “becoming susceptible to it happening” (as he wants to be very clear he’s not laying the blame for the affair at my feet…he fully accepts the blame ????…sounds like blame to me!)

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

You write, “So now I struggle because I focus on all of the good stuff and just think it’s so unfair that he made this error of judgement.”

An affair is not an “error of judgment.” It’s a series of decisions to betray, to lie, to cheat. Your husband made series of decisions to ignore his vows. He decided that his promises to you, in front of friends and family, do not matter. He decided that your heart, your peace of mind, your happiness and your health do not matter. He decided that your kids’ happy home does not matter.

It may be an error of judgment to buy the wrong house or take the wrong job or date the wrong person. It might be an error of judgment to over a period of time choose to put your own best interests last, over and over. That’s an error of judgment because there is a flaw in your thinking. An error of judgment means someone has weighed a choice in the mind and made the wrong one, not out of selfishness or unkindness or indifference but because of a lack of vision.

I might be able to buy a one-off drunken sexual escapade as a matter of judgment. But not a 6-month affair. Not leaving his family. Not coming back, tail between his legs, when the AP doesn’t want him any more. That’s a decision made over and over.

Your husband has a character problem. That’s not going to change unless he goes into therapy and does a lot of hard, hard work. That does not appear to be his strong suit. He has shown his character–he’s dishonest. He’s indifferent to your pain. He puts his own selfish desires over the need of others. He’s unkind. He’s weak.

It’s not about judgment.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

Thanks, I needed this. I keep getting weak and seeing him putting in effort (like running me a bath for when I get in after work) and thinking that’s him having come so close to losing us that it has given him the reality check that he needed to put in more effort or face losing me…it’s not of course…he doesn’t want to lose his nice house and everything he took for granted when he chose to screw the howorker. I dare say the effort will last until the next brainless slut shows a bit of interest and it will be all “I tried so hard but I never got anything back from you…I can’t do this any more”.

Mia
Mia
3 years ago

Here’s the thing: right now you are in shock because the person you thought would protect you suddenly assaulted your very soul. Even if he changes and starts being the perfect husband right now, after your PTSD starts to dull about 10 years from now, you will suddenly realise something: you no longer want HIM. You no longer love him. You don’t want to sleep with him because he is pathetic. Mark my words. You will no longer be able to force yourself to believe that you want him, no matter how hard you try.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

Listen to the nice lady who told you “it’s your life, don’t waste it”.

I am a cautionary tale. DD #2 was horrible. Long distance ho emailed me all the details of an 18 month affair. My kids were 6 and 8. He didn’t want a divorce and so, afraid to be a single parent, high on hopium I stayed. I went into fixer mode and got him counseling and antidepressants. But the past indiscretions kept unrolling like a bad movie, porn, game chats, social media, howorkers, drunken work trip liaisons… I was almost immobilized by the betrayals. By staying I gave up my pride and my self respect and trust in my own judgment. Still, I told him, if you ever cheat again , it’s over. I simply cannot go thru that ever again. He had extreme genuine Naugahyde remorse.

Ten years passed. We had another child. Turns out, he never quit the liaisons, just took it farther underground. DD #3 was another hoe-worker calling to tell me about a two year affair. Since I had drawn the line in the sand before, I had no choice left but to leave. i had nothing left to work with.

My ‘hindsight is 20/20’ observation is that in those ten years —what had changed? Nothing! I spent those ten years waiting for the other shoe to drop. Leopards don’t change their spots. Cheaters will always cheat.

I adore my kids. I always say I got the best parts of him, the kids and a settlement. But how I wished I invested those ten years in myself and the kids instead of the sparkly turd. I’d be so much farther along in my personal goals!

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
3 years ago

FW in my house contributes to the house. He makes a lot of money to help pay the bills and washes the laundry. But even if he is Super Dad with the kids, too, NONE of that negates him being a dishonest prick who was boinking someone else behind his wife’s back. He lied to you a thousand times about who he is and what he is about. He tried to make you feel bad about not being enthusiastic about a BBQ he put on 7 years ago as part of his defense.

If he can keep clean and make nice meals and be a good father to the girls when they see him, GREAT! But he is a shitty husband who now will get better at hiding it. He has tried to make you feel bad about you to justify his affair. Because you are a driven person (me, too… I get it!), you are feeling susceptible to the criticism. You want to believe he is the unicorn because you think if you spackle this really well, it will hold and someday you will feel OK.

You won’t. I tried it. I am 47 years old. I have a law degree. I know how to do a lot of things and I can learn to do all kinds of things. I got scuba certified. I learned to SPEAK some Thai before going on the Thailand trip I organized for us in 2012. You know what I can’t do? You know what YOU can’t do? We can’t change another human being from being a FW. And for all the good things he does, he was and will always be a FW. You will not forget this. The life you had before is gone. You can only delay the inevitable.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
3 years ago

My story is similar too. I think one hurdle Doc McChumpin’ may be facing is that she is not very experienced with failure. No one gets to be a doctor without putting in a lot of hard work and being rewarded for it. She’s probably pretty well conditioned to believe that if she works hard at her marriage, it will pay off too. Why else would she be the one arranging holidays for her husband, working full-time, and toting the kids around while he finds a workmate for morning sex!

A few people will think less of you when your marriage ends. None of them matter. All of them are relatively easy to avoid. It is our own disappointment in ourselves that is so hard to manage. We picked a bad guy. We spackled. We didn’t fix it in time. Whatever. The only solution is to take control of the future–choose a life you want and work for it.

The patriarchy doesn’t much like stories about hard-working single women who raise great kids. (But there are tons of stories and sitcoms about single dads making one charming error after another, and tons of Disney films that begin by offing the mother). Like CL says, it is up to us to change the narrative.

MrWonderful’sEx
MrWonderful’sEx
3 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

That’s me. Guilty. Valedictorian of my high school class. Law school graduate. Failing my first behind the wheel driving test was also a devastation. I still remember the words I got wrong in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade spelling bees. Why? Because I don’t get things wrong. Except with men. I couldn’t keep a boyfriend before meeting FW. When he met me, I was probably all ready to spackle away! My mother told me to play dumb because I was clearly putting men off by being too smart, too independent, too… me. So I jumped right in and married the wrong person. Did he pretend to be great while he was really a fraud? Yes, but I do have the strong sense that I failed and did something horribly wrong and the even stronger pain of hurting my son because I did a crap job choosing his father to be his father. That feeling of not wanting to admit to having messed up hung heavily on me for a long time, but now I changed the narrative for myself.

YES, I made a mistake. But my child and I don’t need to keep suffering because I made a mistake. I can admit it and move on. It does not define me and anyone who thinks it does doesn’t know me very well. I can continue to be this man’s victim or I can move on. I am lucky beyond words to have my son. As horrible as this marriage has been, I am fairly certain if I had not married when I did, I would not have ever married and would have been without this wonderful kid. I would go through it all over again for my son. BUT my picker was broken because I had never before met such a fraud as FW. I had never dealt with a narcissist and been gaslighted and abused. It can happen to anyone. The fact it happened to me or Doc doesn’t make us failures.

It’s a very difficult thing to absorb when you have spent your life trying to not get in trouble. You are taught that if you do all these things, you control your destiny. Your hard work has a reward. You do well in life through your own effort. So when you are treated badly, you blame yourself more than anyone else ever will. You imagine a stigma hanging over you. And it is partially true! Society judges single mothers. And that has to change because the alternative of staying and suffering to avoid it is unthinkable. We can be part of that narrative. We are already in a club we never wanted to be in. As others have said, whether we get out or not, our perfect little families are broken. It is better for us to reconcile that in ourselves and rip the bandage off.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

Oh gosh, this is so true.

I was broken when I failed my first (and second) driving tests, I’d always been top of the class at everything and could not deal with failing at something.

Fast forward 20 years and I feel like I’ve failed my driving test again, only it’s so much more than a driving test, it’s my life and I failed…I didn’t see this coming to prevent it, it wasn’t even on my radar as a possibility…maybe if I’d been more on the ball I could have prevented this catastrophic failure

…I know realistically I couldn’t, this is about him, not me, but it doesn’t stop me thinking like this because it’s failure and I’ve never had to deal with that before….except the driving tests (can you tell it still hurts now!????)

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
3 years ago

These false thoughts are something you can let go of. You will probably need a therapist to help you reframe this stuff.

Both failing and succeeding are important parts of life but you don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of love and compassion. You might try Brene Brown’s books, particularly The Power of Vulnerability and Daring Greatly. I suffered from this perfectionist point of view and both therapy and reading Brown were big helps in getting past this. There’s a lot of happiness on the other side of letting go of the need to be #1 and invulnerable.

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago

High achievers think they should be able to ‘solve’ every problem and obstacle.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
3 years ago
Reply to  Eilonwy

Eilonwy,

You are spot on. The “failed marriage” narrative is really unhelpful; I have a go to phrase for anyone who suggests that my marriage failed.

I tell them “my marriage didn’t fail, it was sabotaged.”

LFTT

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago

Doc, you effectively already are a single parent. You’re the one who does everything, despite having a much more demanding job, especially in a pandemic. This guy is lazy as hell at home, which is more proof of his attitude of male entitlement. That and petulantly demanding sex every morning paints a vivid picture of a man who wants women to be subservient.
When he said you “make him” feel less than, he really means he knows you’re lightyears ahead of him as a human being, and that made him angry, so he found a way he could one-up you. He resents your success and how capable you are. He even resents what a good wife and mother you are, since he sucks as a husband and father. He was into that girl because she’s a loser and he didn’t feel inferior around her. With somebody that insecure and sexist, you have nothing to work with. He will always feel inferior, simply because he is. That won’t change, so he will feel the need to cheat again.
My husband, also an insecure, entitled twit, also cheated with a loser who didn’t want to be with him, who just wanted to use him to get her sick thrills. He wasted many years trying to get her to change her mind. Yours would have done the same had he not been caught so soon and forced to act. So what does he do? He chooses some random slut over his family! He couldn’t get her, so he’s faking a re-commitment to you until he finds another slut who will have him. Please leave him before he does that. What do you need this guy for? He’s a despicably selfish, shiftless jackass who doesn’t even do his share of parenting. Methinks he stays for your paycheck, while hypocritically resenting your career. You are a single mother and you’re alone in the marriage as well. It’s time to cut the deadwood.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  OHFFS

So true…”methinks he stays for your pay check, while hypocritically resenting your career”

He didn’t like the suggestion that he could come back but we keep our earnings separate….”well don’t be upset when I can’t afford to come on the luxury family holidays” he said!! What???!!!

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago

He’s doing everything but wear a t-shirt that says “I’m using you for the money” and on the back it says “to take other women out with.”
Hopefully she will see through this gold-digger.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Sorry, I meant to say hopefully *you* will see through this gold-digger. In reading all your posts, it looks like you have. ???? Congrats! You’re going to get free. We’re all pulling for you.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
3 years ago
Reply to  OHFFS

OHFFS nails it. I was thinking the same thing. Not only is he an entitled, run-of-the-mill FW, he’s also jealous AF.

He did this to feel better about himself and to hurt you because he “hates” you for being superior in every way.

Drop the albatross.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

I know this scenario because I’ve been there. Mine was like that, bitterly envious and resentful, even though he was the breadwinner and on the surface, more successful. He resented me for being more intelligent, more courageous, a better parent, and a more principled and decent person in general. That did not require much effort on my part. 😉

So Doc’s loser, like my ex, tries to solve the problem of feeling inferior by proving how inferior he actually is. Being better people would give them something to be proud of and put their insecurities and envy to rest, but that takes work, and losers hate work. So off they go to find an equal. I hope Doc sends him packing.

Mitz
Mitz
3 years ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

Yup, my ex secretly resented me for making more than he did. I think that figured into his cheating as well, pay back. There were signs that he was jealous of my success, I ignored them.

Adelante
Adelante
3 years ago

I recognize so much of my own marriage in your description of your own. You, like me, are a “fixer,” with an underlying and perhaps unacknowledged belief that you could by your own efforts provide the conditions for your husband to succeed and to be a real partner. I did all the heavy lifting at home, and put my effort into supporting his career, often over my own (we are both academics with PhDs from the same Ivy League graduation program, in the same academic department at the same small “highly selective” university), because it was important to me that we both succeed. What your husband’s behavior has done is precipitate a crisis in your belief not only in him but in you: you had a vision of the life you wanted, you thought he shared it, and then you found out he didn’t share it; you also now much confront the reality that you cannot single-handedly by your own actions control his behavior. You can do all the things that you believed ought to give him the opportunity to do and be all that you hoped he would, and that you believed he wanted, but you cannot act for him. That he didn’t want what you wanted and was willing to throw it all away for a daily fuck is one blow; the other one is that you are not able to FIX this, by your own efforts, and were never able to do this, because we only control ourselves. That you have not yet faced this realization is clear in your wanting to blame his ho-worker rather than him. It is a hard realization to face because it strikes at our own self-image and confidence but ultimately this realization is the one that will lead to real and lasting and positive change in you.

I also want to say something about your daughters. Please do not subject them to life at home with a cheating narcissist who blameshifts onto his wife his own failings. It is a terrible model for them, and one you do not want them to see as normal or to absorb in their daily life or to seek out–unconsciously–when they themselves partner up. I speak from experience as the daughter of a cheater and a mother who would not leave him, despite my pleas to do so.

The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
The Ex-Mrs. Sparkly Pants
3 years ago
Reply to  Adelante

Adelante said, “I also want to say something about your daughters. Please do not subject them to life at home with a cheating narcissist who blameshifts onto his wife his own failings. It is a terrible model for them, and one you do not want them to see as normal or to absorb in their daily life or to seek out–unconsciously–when they themselves partner up. I speak from experience as the daughter of a cheater and a mother who would not leave him, despite my pleas to do so.”

I, too grew up with a cheating narcissist for a father, someone who told me about his affairs and how it was all my mother’s fault. I grew up to marry three cheaters and abusers — I thought I was worthless. I’m 65 now, divorced from the third cheater/abuser for two years and I am only now figuring out that I am not worthless, I didn’t cause anyone to cheat and that I could never have single-handedly saved my marriage.

Please, Doc, don’t let this be the example you set for your children. Get rid of the cheater; gain a better life.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago
Reply to  Adelante

Right. The dreaded daddy issues. Either they end up married to assholes like dad or they go in the other direction and become OW themselves.

Beetle
Beetle
3 years ago

Lawyer up with a super attorney and make sure he gets a job so you don’t have to support him. You have done the first hardest thing throwing him out.

When I first started reading this column I came to it right when I was going through a divorce. I remember a woman saying her dad told it to treat it like business. Take the emotions out and handle it that way because trust me that’s how he is going to react by trying to get more out of you while he lives with mommie without a JOB.
These guys usually have multiple side partners and yes it isn’t fair. I had to watch mine walk over to his married girlfriend my neighbor whose land was attached to ours every night. What was hidden was now in the open snd he enjoyed each moment snd coming home close to midnight on her 4wheeler. I would awake to see it each morning.
They will beat you down till you can’t breath or think. Be aware of this.
Today is my eldest daughters 25th Birthday and I lost the other daughter at 21 coming up three years this year. Life didn’t turn out as I planned or hoped.
It has taken the 8 years this September that I found his text from when he send her a text on his birthday wanted a nude picture of her for his birthday that she sent watching me walk by his phone spying on us on a Sunday morning that I had decided to stay home from church to spend the day together.
He had walked away from his phone and it dinged when I walked by. We are surrounded by woods and she could access our land without being seem by neighbors. To spy snd break into house when I wasn’t there snd he was at work.
These people are a real piece of work and they will join forces to make life miserable through the divorce and after.
It takes a long time to find peace but you will be glad when you finish up snd find the real peace of mind that comes forward. Prayers for your new journey!

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
3 years ago

Doc, smart, successful, lawyer-mom of 4 here. I could have written your letter 6 years ago. Thanks to CL I’ve reframed my entire life and I’m happy for the first time in 35 years. You are dead wrong that life without cheater will be worse than it is now!

I love being a single mother!

X never showed up to parent the kids (no back and forth)!

I have better health, happier kids, more time, more money, better friends, better sex, better housing, better vacations, better work, better sleep than I ever had the 27 years I was with X.

Your fears of the future are not real! It’s just trauma bonds in your head.

Get a kick ass lawyer, go completely no contact. You’ll be able to write from Meh in a few years. Let the newly chumped know how wonderful life is AFTER you leave a cheater and gain a life!

ChumpMD
ChumpMD
3 years ago

I was in a similar situation in 2019. No children involved. I don’t recall who said it first – “Divorce is hard; marriage is hard – choose your hard”.

I filed for divorce when I found an email between him and the AP referring to me as the Ex, even though he told me he had told her “everything.” We were trying to reconcile at the time. At that point, I could no longer trust anything that came out of his mouth, whether he had good intentions or not.

I am pretty independent and self-sufficient, and I am a physician as well. But it still has not been “easy” in many ways. I recently started attending Divorce Care sessions online. I wish I had done it sooner, as it would have helped me to navigate the divorce and life afterwards with fewer bumps. We do need to trust our gut, but all the stress and emotion can affect our perception.

Only you can decide if there is anything left to salvage. He sounds very weak – that can be difficult to respect in a life partner. Either path you choose will have it’s challenges. I wish you the best, and wish I could be there for you. I encourage you to look up Divorce Care online and register for a local group for support and insight to the future to help prepare you, so you’re not re-inventing the wheel and feeling alone. There is support for your children as well.

Doc McChumpin’
Doc McChumpin’
3 years ago
Reply to  ChumpMD

Yes this is exactly my issue…this has made him look so weak in my eyes and so pathetic…I just have no respect for him now, I want to respect the person I share my life with

Chumpy
Chumpy
3 years ago

Of course. Except that you don’t NEED to share your life with anyone. At least for some time. Remember that being single is really not so bad.

OHFFS
OHFFS
3 years ago

Then you get that divorce and eventually you can find yourself a grown man, someone who is both strong and tender.
He’s never going to be that man.
You can save lives, Doc, but you can’t fix him or save your relationship. Most importantly, he isn’t genuinely interested in participating in his redemption or in the marriage. Plus, he’s stupid AF, and he’s not going to be visited by the Clue Fairy. Accepting that we can’t fix it is the hardest part. Once you do, you can let go.

Skeeter
Skeeter
3 years ago

A perfect family is not one where mom accepts abuse and betrayal, plays marriage police and pick me dances for dad so he doesn’t cheat again. Nope. A perfect family is one where the members – no matter how many parents – respect each other and are able to have healthy boundaries and live free of abuse.

CL is spot on as usual – we must redefine what a healthy family is. I divorced both of my children’s fathers and my adult kids are rock stars in terms of their accomplishments (Ivy League education, careers, etc) and in their interpersonal relationships. They do not accept less than they deserve, don’t tolerate abuse or boundary violations, don’t cling to relationships that aren’t working, etc. I don’t believe for a second keeping their crap fathers around would’ve made them any better – likely worse.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
3 years ago
Reply to  Skeeter

Boom, Skeeter! You’re mighty!

Skeeter
Skeeter
3 years ago

Thank you MC – I have my moments 😉 And, right back at you!

jimthzz
jimthzz
3 years ago

Part of this whole sad phase of your life is that the process can be like a tree crashing down in slo-mo.

We want things to end! That it stops wrecking our forest! We hope that giant tree is just a splinter.

But it’s not a splinter.

That tree has crashed right on the bridge to a better life. You’re blocked from that better life until that rotting tree trunk is chainsawed away so that bridge can be rebuilt!

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
3 years ago

Dear Doc… You are going to be ok. Let’s start there. Don’t get caught up in the “what ifs” and “but the kids”… because that will only keep you paralyzed.

This was my experience… Mr. Sparkles was and still is a serial cheater. He didn’t get a character transplant when we divorced, if anything his entitlement way of thinking and living expanded because he was “in demand”… lots of single people out there with no boundaries and blind to red flags (my pre-CL self was this person, now I’m a smarter Chump). The likelihood that you have a unicorn that will never cheat again is HIGHER if you stay because you have now proven to him that he can do it… and you will eat the shit sandwich and take him back for the illusion of an intact family.

My son was in third grade when Mr. Sparkles decided he was going to go all-in with one of his gym buddies… he was trying for an upgrade (her Daddy has money). Was it devastating for me and my son. YES. Were there tears every weekend (in the beginning) for both of us… YES. Did I hate Mr. Sparkles and miss and worry about my son… YES. But over time… stupid time that seems to slow down during this process of leaving a cheater… it got better. My son got accustomed to the new routine, as did I. I started having more time for me that I never had before because I was the full-time parent in my marriage like you are now. I used that time to heal and cry in the shower and make new friendships… so I could be a better self – and a better Mom – and give my son a peaceful and sane home.

One thing… my state forces child custody mediation, a mandatory two hour session with the expected outcome being a 50/50 agreement. I SAID NO. I refused… I called Mr. Sparkles bluff (he wasn’t capable of parenting that much… he just wanted a reduced child support)… and guess what… when I pushed back… he folded… because cheaters are COWARDS. And as time went on… his weekend visits became intermittment… he never took our son on a proper vacation after the first one with Schmoopie and her kids was a total shitshow… and he shows up to take our son to dinner ONCE A WEEK… sometimes.

What am I saying? Heck, I don’t even know except that I am six years out… single woman/single mom… working full-time… parenting full-time and raising a mighty kid who knows (at 15) that Dad isn’t a Hallmark fantasy… he is deeply flawed and is in no way a model for who he wants to be as he grows up. We survived… actually, we thrived. My son has had a stable home, food on the table, one sane parent… and life goes on better than you can imagine right now.

Take the first step… talk to a lawyer. Don’t try to boil the ocean in to a tea cup… follow your heart and you’ll find your way and we will be here with you the whole way.

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
3 years ago

Second paragraph… I meant LOWER…:)

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
3 years ago

????????????????????????????????Ditto!

These types rarely if ever show up to parent for the long haul. After fighting for 50-50 for two years, XH never once followed through. In 6 years our minor child has spent exactly 10 overnights with x. Only two times in the past year.

Kids are doing well – they see their dad as the daily drunkard pot smoking, raging, blaming, miserable person that he is and they choose to set boundaries and protect themselves.

I’m the one sane parent they need. Single mothering is WAY easier than trying to parent with that cheating, lying, using, miserable XH.

Eilonwy
Eilonwy
3 years ago

Great advice here!

As hard as it is to hear, there are more ugly surprises coming from your husband, Doc. If you divorce him, they will come quickly. If you continue to work on your marriage, they will leak out bit-by-bit as the years go on. He is not a loving partner to you, and whether you stay or go, he will not transform into one.

Gramchump
Gramchump
3 years ago

Doc,

There is a message you will convey to your children either direction you go.

Your legacy in this decision will teach them either to:

a. Stay in a marriage at all costs regardless of the other partners failings. The proverbial “Ive made my bed now I must lie in it.” or “Til death do us part”. or “Stay in it for the childrens sake” You will convey and teach through your own life that an intact marriage is paramount and the best thing to do in their own future lives. This would be the example you give them.

b. Leaving the marriage you give them the example to value themselves that they are worthy of a life without abuse if they ever encounter it. You give an example to value authenticly and they are worthy of respect at great endeavor on your part.

There is no easy decision. Either will have a longstanding impact. A mothers instinct is to do what is best for her children even at her own detriment and peril. I understand why you are frozen.

Langele
Langele
3 years ago
Reply to  Gramchump

And one more point…
You matter.
This is not just “for the children “.
You matter.
This is for you.

lulu
lulu
3 years ago

Hey doc: my mother left my father after she discovered him boinking the neighbor/co-worker/landlord. The next day, she cleared out the house and their bank account and left him. Friends found her a place to live. She was a single woman with two small children (my sister and I were 5 and 3, respectively) in an era where she was considered a slut because she left a fuckwit. It was like she had a big fat “D” carved on her forehead. But being scorned was better than living with a cheating fuckwit who had a drinking problem and depression issues. Fast forward a few decades. My sister and I have been married to the same guys for decades. Our children are amazingly successful. Their relationships with their partners is fantastic. My father remarried and the children from his second marriage? Not doing so hot. Why? My father’s depression became chronic and his drinking escalated into severe alcoholism. .My stepmother admitted to me once that my sister and I got the golden ring by not living with him, that her children really suffered. I agreed with her. You are running around like a chicken without a head, making sure he feels loved and like he is somebody. He stacked that up against someone who was giving him blow jobs on his lunch break. Trust that as your kids grow, he will put himself above his family every time. You were, in effect, both parents. Stop clutching that fantasy of the perfect life. During your “perfect” life, he was doing jack shit. Well, that isn’t quite true. He put all his energies into fucking strange. Your children will be better off without that selfish man constantly putting them at the back of the line. Was it hard for my mother? You bet. You know what was harder? Living with a man who had no compunction about fucking someone 500 yards away from her.

Gentle reader
Gentle reader
3 years ago

Doc.
My guess is this guy was cheating omg you long before you found out. I wish you wouldn’t have let him come back. I am thinking you suspected probably some time ago. Yes going forward your life will be different but it will be better. It sounds like this guy didn’t contribute much in the way of time or anything. Please get to an attorney. From your description there is nothing good to come out of this. I think the only reason he is back is he likes the good life you provide. You will be ok.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago

I think chumps in full trauma mode who’ve been boiled like frogs for years fail to notice how socially isolated we become while with cheaters/abusers. So when imagining life without the abuser, we envision only subtraction and not addition– how our lives will fill up with friends and adventures again in the absence of the malevolent oxygen thief.

tallgrass
tallgrass
3 years ago

This is an important concept. My experience anyway, is that once you leave you become even more isolated while everyone around you reacts, chooses sides, etc. COVID played a timely role in my situation. Plus my attorney gave strict instructions on how little I was to share. The divorce lasted 10 months and no one except a handful of my closest friends even knew. But, your comment reminds me I am still in that early phase. I really, really hope my life now will be about ADDITION! You give me some new dose of hope! I certainly, rationally, know that many people did not like my ex. His entitlement was overbearing and as even my adult children have said, “You couldn’t have a conversation with him.” I’m the bubbly, social butterfly that starts conversations with strangers in the grocery store line. Thank you for this little reminder today!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  tallgrass

Oh, yes, in the aftermath we get that “broken smell” and our social stock keeps going down for a period. COVID doesn’t help. But slowly stock begins to build back up with each little distracting social connection until we start getting that breezy smell again and the dance card fills up.

I think it helps to speed up the process to dump all Swiss friends and family members immediately and follow the Taoist credo: “If you want the universe to fill your rice bowl, clean it out.” It’s hard to relentlessly filter out bad eggs when you’re lonely but shitty people make you even lonelier. I test people first to make sure their ethics are solid before investing in any way because I don’t view infidelity tolerance as an idiosyncracy but an overall ethical red flag that will apply to everything else (in studies, infidelity tolerance correlates to “rape myth acceptance” among other woes).. I put them to the cackle test. If they hate cheaters and make raucous jokes at their expense, they make it to round 2. If they issue apologias for cheating and abuse, forget it. At the very least, Swiss people with their creepy infidelity tolerance will make you doubt your upgraded standards and dampen your sense of wicked humor, delaying meh and your acquisition of that irresistible “fancy free” vibe that draws in more worthy company.

I’ve always been a social butterfly. I realized in retrospect that FW would get noticeably dark upon meeting anyone who looked like they could be my ally. Cheaters, like batterers, have super-radars for identifying people who might eventually help or support their victims and they give off an intangible warning odor, like psychic skunks.

KB22
KB22
3 years ago

“Oh, yes, in the aftermath we get that “broken smell” and our social stock keeps going down for a period.”

Very true. This also happens when someone has a financial crisis or is somehow knocked down a few pegs. You find out who your true friends are for sure. People like to be around winners and are fearful that the bad things that happen are contagious. I for one love to hear stories where someone that has been knocked down ends up rising even higher in the end.

Adelante
Adelante
3 years ago
Reply to  tallgrass

I am in somewhat of your same situation. I divorced in Nov 2018, retired in summer of 2019 (early, to get away from the ex, with whom I worked), and immediately moved temporarily away from home to embark on a stint as caretaker of my then-93 year old mother. Then we all got hit with covid restrictions. It’s been a tough and isolating time, but like you, I love the idea of “addition.” Despite restrictions, I have managed to add some new and positive things to my life, and am looking forward to the time when I can accelerate the process.

Chump Truck
Chump Truck
3 years ago

Damn. I feel bitchslapped by this article lol.

This was a good one! Exactly what some of us needed to hear right after D-day.

StrongerNow
StrongerNow
3 years ago

Doc-I was a lot like you after I caught my stbx the second time he cheated on me.

I swore my kids would NEVER sleep under any roof that I wasn’t sleeping under.

I made the decision to move out and by a home near my kiss’s high school and all their friends.

On the days that I didn’t have them-I would cry for hours.

I was afraid that my kids would start doing poorly in school and doing drugs if they didn’t have their mother and father together.

All of the things that I was afraid were going to happen-never did.

As a matter of fact: my kids are thriving.

And so am I.

I never thought my marriage would end in divorce. I couldn’t see a life without my husband as we grew old together.

Now-I can’t fathom EVER going back to him and my old life pre-divorce.

That leap is such a scary thing-but completely worth it.

You got this ❤️.

Bruno
Bruno
3 years ago

Right with you LFTT.
I fought the divorce with the cheating spouse. I did love her and couldn’t imagine a life without her. Then she was gone…
At which point I realized I had been living in a clanging bell tower for years because when she left she took the clapper with her. My brain was no longer inflamed with a constant percussive assault. Perhaps the best part was my relationship with my teen sons. It was no longer smothered by her preconditions. We could relate directly and openly. I am so grateful for those years.