Dear DSO: It’s not so easy for some of us.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dear DSO,

I know you talk about having to move on and get over your wife after she cheats on you, but it’s not so easy for some guys. My wife and I have been married for 17 years. We have two kids. We work together. Her dad owns the business where I work. It’s a business that has been in a her family for a really long time. My wife does not want to divorce. If I decided to divorce her, I’d probably lose my high-paying job with her dad’s business. I really don’t have much in the way of a resume that will help me get another good job. The job market sucks right now.  Where would I live? My parents live a thousand miles away. I can’t move there because then I wouldn’t see my kids. If we divorced, she’d probably get the kids almost full-time because I’m a dad with no money.

 

I’m basically stuck. She had one affair two years ago, and now I just discovered another. I love her still, but I’m starting to lose attraction to her. I can’t stand to lay down next to her at night. We stopped having sex almost completely after the first affair was discovered. Now I usually spend the nights sleeping on the couch.

 

I just want my life back.

 

So I just wanted to let you know that’s it not so easy for some of us out there.

Gary

Dear Gary,

First, I’m sorry to hear about your situation, brother. I can’t imagine the stress.  But, you’re right. It’s not so easy for everyone. It’s not as easy as sayin, “See ya, bitch!” for a lot of guys. Kids complicate things a great deal. Add to that your unique job situation, and your world just got a hell of a lot tougher than most.

Your situation illustrates two hugely important things:

  1. Don’t make yourself dependent upon your spouse for your livelihood. Ideally, you want to be the guy that doesn’t NEED his wife. The more you NEED her to function day-to-day, the higher the chances are that you will fail the relationship game.
  2. You really need to better vet your relationship candidate. Red flags? Run. I’m wiling to bet there were a plethora of red flags early on in the relationship that you ignored. Then you kept digging the hole deeper and deeper and find yourself in this predicament.

She currently holds all of the cards. This is not an even contest, by any stretch. You WILL completely fail at this game eventually. I realize you probably think you’re failing pretty hard at life already, but things will inevitably get much worse for you. It’s just a matter of time. She will at some point land an affair partner that will be dumb enough to declare her the love of his life, and you will quickly see divorce papers on your desk. She’ll make the big awful decision for you.  She has already replaced you in her mind, now she just needs to iron out the all the logistical stuff about ending your relationship. Step 1 of that plan is to get a new man and to make sure he sticks around (the other two affair partners probably used her for sex and weren’t interested in committing). Step 2 is to then cut ties with you completely. This is where she may try to get the kids away from you, lie about you, take money, make your life hell, etc.

The ideal relationship is one where two people that are completely independent and fine on their own get together because they love and adore each other and want to help each other go through the adventure of life. The more all of the facets of their respective lives intertwine, the more trouble pops up. If her hobbies becomes yours, if mom-in-law is living with you full-time, if you only hang out with her friends, if you work side-by-side, if the in-laws sign your paychecks, etc… that all leads to further intertwining of the two worlds and a whole lot of trouble.

Lawyer up. Now. You don’t have to file. But you need to be prepared. The lawyer can tell what to do and what not to do to prepare yourself for the inevitable.

Good luck, my friend.

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “Mario”

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“Mario” is your typical “nice guy who married a mentally ill woman” story. His ex-wife was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder … and the details of their relationship leaves no doubt about that diagnosis.  What Mario hasn’t done is the hard work of emotionally separating from the intoxicating hold his ex-wife has on him, and the work of rebuilding his self-esteem and getting his life in order.

Like all addicts, he has a long road ahead of him and a lot of steps to complete before he can consider himself “cured”. This interview goes quickly into more of a “coaching” session as I soon realize this is a guy still freshly hurt and needing some guidance in a hurry. His life could very well depend on it.

DSO:
Okay, so if you could… give me a brief overview of you. Age, number of kids, are you married or divorced?

Mario:
I’m 38… divorced, 4 kids, 3 are living.
I’m a professional martial artist… I own an MMA school in Florida. In good shape, regular guy.

DSO:
Ages of kids?

Mario:
3-4-9 and would be 12.

DSO:
May I ask how your child passed?

Mario:
She had brain cancer. DIPG. My daughter Angela.

DSO:
So sorry to hear that. I can’t imagine the pain that must’ve caused. How long ago?

Mario:
That’s when I opened up my first martial arts school… after Angela was diagnosed. We needed money and we wanted freedom to do family things. 6 yrs ago. 2012.

DSO:
So let’s back way up first. Your family life as a kid. Tell me about it.

Mario:
Very close Italian family. I have 3 sisters. I’m the oldest. We come from NYC- Brooklyn and eventually moved to North Eastern Pennsylvania.

DSO:
And mom and dad always together? No divorce?

Mario:
Yes… mom and dad had an amazing marriage. Like I said very close Italian family.
Lots of fun and laughter.
Typical marriage though. Had ups and downs. Dad was a hard worker- construction. Mom was a home maker. Always there for us kids. Both supported us in everything .

DSO:
You have a lot of quality time with dad?

Mario:
Yea…we are very close. Dad was always around. Benefits of owning your own company. Still close to dad. Talk almost everyday.

DSO:
That’s great. Now, growing up… How was your luck with the girls?

Mario:
Not bad… my neighbor used to call me Baskin Robbins because she said I had a new girl every week. I won class flirt my 8th grade and senior year in school.

DSO:
So, here you are coming from a great and loving family. Good relationship with your parents. No problem with the girlfriends. And then…When did you meet your ex-wife?

Mario:
She came over from Paraguay to work as a camp counselor and when her job was done I met her at a pizzeria working with her uncle. My friend owned the restaurant. She was a model in her country and absolutely beautiful, and I was taken aback fast that she even liked me. We dated for a short time and decided let’s get married. We married before she went back to her country and we worked hard to get her back into the USA.

DSO:
But you were Mr. Ladies Man. Why would an attractive woman liking you be such a surprise?

Mario:
It’s hard to explain… I may have had “time fillers” but nothing like this. it was like the movies. The second I saw her, it’s like the heavens opened up and light shined upon her. I knew I wanted to marry her. It’s funny, I went home and told my mother that… and she would tell me ex that often. I just loved her from day 1.

DSO:
How long did you date before marriage?

Mario:
One month.

DSO:
Wow.

Mario:
Yea I know. Stupid… but she was leaving and I was 24-25 at the time and i was willing to move to Paraguay to be with her. Impulsive.

DSO:
So there was something SO powerful about this woman that caused you date her, marry her immediately and want to uproot and move to a far away land just to be with her. The power of the hoohah…

Mario:
Lol… yea I guess so. She was amazing. Funny, sexy, smart…At the time the total package.

DSO:
So she DOES end up returning home after you marry? How long is she gone for?

Mario:
2 months. I go to Paraguay like a month later and bust my butt filing paperwork to get her in the USA.

DSO:
I see. So… let’s talk more about her. What was her family like?

Mario:
Bad. Her dad kidnapped her away from her mom. They lived in the USA and while here he assumes she cheated and send her on a search for an imaginary job… while he grabs my ex and there documents and destroys moms documents and moved back to Paraguay leaving her birth mom in the USA.

Her and her birth mom have a strained relationship… badly… more like competition then mother and daughter. From what I heard it’s getting better but it has always been like that. They are good then they are bad.

DSO:
Wow. Well… this begs the question. WAS her mom cheating?

Mario:
I don’t know. Her dad cheated on her step mom all the time and step mom cheated on dad. often. In reality the whole family is built on infidelity. Dad is the product of the other woman.

DSO:
So an all around bad environment for a young kid to grow up in, it sounds like.

Mario:
100%. Dad was abusive to mom, and kids, and step mom

DSO:
Did you know all this when you married her?

Mario:
I didn’t.

DSO:
Would it have made a difference?

Mario:
I don’t know. Dad has caused a lot of problems between us. He didn’t like me because I didn’t agree with everything he said. I would speak up. I didn’t like how my ex’s family treated her and I would say so. He would come to visit my daughter when she was battling cancer but spent more time shopping then being with her. But I can’t expect a bad dad to be a good grandfather. But my ex doesn’t see anything wrong with it because he raised her.

DSO:
I see. So we can set aside her family for now and put them in the category of “beyond fucked up”.

Mario:
Yes 100%. To them, I’ve come to realize, you are disposable.

DSO:
So what does your family think of the situation when you announce you’re marrying this young foreign gal you met a month ago?

Mario:
My dad thought I was crazy. My mom loves everything about it. My mom just wants to see me happy. I married her… and my family took some time getting used to her, but dad took the biggest shine. He loved her. Still does… but is so hurt about us. He won’t say it… but I know it. He absolutely loved her.

DSO:
Ok. So… you are married. You run off to another country to bring home your bride for good. You eventually are both back in the states. How long before baby 1 comes along?

Mario:
When she came back we found out she was pregnant.

DSO:
Not wasting any time!

Mario:
Nope…Chemistry is a bitch. Lol.

DSO:
When do the wheels start to fall off the relationship? When do things start to get a little squirrelly?

Mario:
We lived regular lives. Ups and Downs. She accuses me of cheating 7 times and I never cheated on my wife. I assume either she was or wanted to.

DSO:
At the time you were thinking she was cheating or wanted to… or you were in the dark then?

Mario:
She pushes her insecurities off on me. She gained weight from the kids and from stress from Angela. I just thought she was being a pain in the ass. I never thought she would cheat. Nor did I ever have plans of cheating.

DSO:
So extreme bouts of jealousy. What other red flags did you see?

Mario:
After my last daughter was born she was weighing like 230-240 lbs.

DSO:
Oh wow.

Mario:
Always jealousy.

DSO:
So a completely different human after the kids.

Mario:
Yes. Hard to explain. I supported this women in everything. She wanted Hawaii trips. I did it. Cruises. I did it. Trip to Paraguay. Did it. She truly didn’t want for anything. Business idea that she wants. Hobbies that I would support.

DSO:
Sounds like you were quite the YES man. Did you ever turn her down for anything?

Mario:
Of course…

DSO:
How did she deal with rejection?

Mario:
Depends on what it was. She would normally deal with it fine from the outside. It seemed like that. But I wanted her happy… I loved her. Happy wife, happy life bullshit.

DSO:
Did you ever express your displeasure with her weight gain?

Mario:
Never. She would get mad and call me fat piece of shit, because we both gained weight. I would never call her fat or call her names. That’s the part that hurts also. I supported her and loved her when she was 260 lbs at her heaviest with a shaved head to support my daughter.

DSO:
So here’s a woman who you saved from an awful family life, brought to the states, gave her everything she wanted, watched her balloon to 260 lbs, never bad-mouthed her, supported her in everything.

Mario:
Yes.

DSO:
So you set aside all of the “shallow” superficial stuff because you loved her and were her husband.

Mario:
Yep. My mom was heavy. It’s like saying you won’t love the women who sacrificed her body to give you kids. There is no better way for a women to show she loves you then to give you children.

DSO:
So, she has the gastric bypass surgery, right?

Mario:
Yes.

DSO:
How much did she lose?

Mario:
Not sure she continued to lose after she left me. From what I heard she went down to 132.

DSO:
So she lost a bunch of weight and then what happened?

Mario:
Well while she was losing, she accuses me of cheating… meanwhile I wasn’t. I promise. I wanted to start a women’s BJJ class at my school and I found an instructor. And my ex hated it. Accused me of cheating so I never followed through with it. I’d rather her be happy. Now that woman teaches at another school and the class is huge. So I lost out on money.

Well, after that.. she starts going out with friends more. Staying out later. I was never jealous… I supported her. One day we get into a big argument and she tells me to leave so I go to my gym. While at my gym… for some reason I feel the need to log into her Facebook. I felt like something is up.

DSO:
This sounds familiar

Mario:
And boom I find her messaging with some guy. I died. I go home confront her on it… say I’m gonna fight for my wife. I’m a fighter and I’m gonna fight for my wife. Well that’s when she tells me… there is another guy who she has a crush on. As I write this my heart is beating like crazy. I’m sweating. Still upsets me.

DSO:
Well it was a very traumatic moment, I’m sure.

Mario:
I tell her to end it with this guy. And according to her she does. Me being a man I say I’m gonna kick his ass and this and that. She reaches out to him again.. telling him to ignore me. I’m even more pissed. But now… my “not good enough” insecurities come up… the why him and not me shit pops up. So now I’m jealous, insecure, controlling.

DSO:
All normal under the circumstances.

Mario:
Where you going, who you talking to? I fucked myself. I should’ve been cool. She asked me to be cool. But I was heart broken.

DSO:
How did you “fuck yourself”?

Mario:
She told me she met these guys at the bank where she works…And I said well what happens if they come back. She said she will ignore them. I was still unsure. She then told me she lied and didn’t meet them at the bank she met them at a club. I didn’t want her to go back to that club. She then changed it and said she met them at the bank again.

DSO:
So let’s stop for a moment and summarize this. Your ex was having affairs during your marriage. Probably early on… most definitely after the gastric bypass surgery.You find out, and you naturally go into “must save this marriage” mode.

Mario:
Not sure about affairs during… possible… but to her they weren’t affairs. I’ll get to that part.

DSO:
No no… stop

Mario:
Ok.

DSO:
We’re not going to go down that road. That was me guessing when I say “affairs during your marriage”… because that is most likely true.

Mario:
Well she met them on a dating app… match.com and there where like 6 more guys she was talking to. But never met them in person.

DSO:
So, let’s cut the BS about what she thinks and feels about the whole thing and just get to the meat of the issue. She sure liked having sex with other men outside of her marriage, and she got caught.

Mario:
While we tried working it out I was convinced into paying for tummy tuck and breast lift thinking it was a gift for me. She left me before it was healed.

DSO:
Oh boy. Let me just stop you here. You realize you lived out a perfect storm of the most stereotypical “wife cheated” stories all rolled into one? Your story is not unique AT ALL. I am nodding my head hearing your story because I saw some of this myself.

Mario:
Well that’s good to hear cause I feel like a complete loser.

DSO:
LOL… nope. You’re not even close to a loser. Your story is textbook.

Mario:
I would’ve never thought she would do this.

DSO:
Of course not, because you were in love.

Mario:
She is ruthless to me.

DSO:
Of course… was she diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder?

Mario:
Yes.

DSO:
Well, there you go. You’re dealing with a mentally ill person.

Mario:
I know… it’s sad. She acts like I caused all this. She tries to hurt me at every twist and turn.

DSO:
Unfortunately her mental illness is one that manifests itself exactly how you are seeing it. Promiscuous sexual behavior, infidelity, lying, gaslighting, playing victim, fear of abandonment, etc. The bad news is that there is zero way you or anyone can fix her. The even worse news is that this is probably going to get worse before it gets better.

Mario:
I had to drop something off for her the other day… and while there her garbage was spilling out and she asked if I could get it. And boom a condom in it… I said no. And she made a joke… “Well at least you know I’m protecting myself!”

DSO:
Okay, so… here’s the awful truth. She’s a monster. She found in you the perfect victim: A “nice” guy who has a history of rolling over for her and doing what she wants, when she wants.

Mario:
I know.

DSO:
So she’s going to keep milking this cow until you literally die. You have to get away from this woman. You HAVE to. I know, this is easy for me to say as somebody outside of the relationship. But several years from now when the smoke clears you’re going to look back and say “WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?!”

Mario:
I separated myself from her… this week. I decided I can’t feel bad anymore. I chased after her for 11 months and nothing I have done made her love me again.

DSO:
Of course not… that’s now how all this works. Even if she wasn’t mentally ill, it wouldn’t work.

Mario:
So even when I separated myself she sent me 7 minutes of harassing texts yesterday calling me names.

DSO:
So, now this mentally ill woman with more baggage than LaGuardia has tried her damndest to ruin you. She sucked you dry of your time, love and resources. She has since detached and moved on to the next victim(s). Now what?

Mario:
Like i still love my ex and in a perfect world we would be able to work it out. But she caused a lot of pain.

DSO:
Stop it. You’re not allowed to talk that way when we’re chatting. It gets you exactly nowhere. So now what?

Mario:
I have reached out to some friends that aren’t in this state… Don’t have many friends in Florida. And I am having them keep me accountable. Helping me. I am setting up new hobbies and things I’m interested in. Keep myself so busy I have no time for her.

DSO:
That’s awesome. You and I briefly talked before on Facebook, and I suggested you make a to-do list. Have you done that?

Mario:
I haven’t.

DSO:
Ok, let’s put this into terms you can understand. You’re a fighter, right? MMA?

Mario:
Yes.

DSO:
So, you’re in a fight and I guy jumps on your back. You don’t even think. You just know from years of fighting, “Okay, pivot my hips, rotate, move my feet, change the center of gravity, blam… now I’m on top.”

Mario:
Yep.

DSO:
Those are a series of steps. Right now, keeping with the fighting analogy, you’re lying on the ground on your back while they guy is pounding away at your face…. “Oh well, this sucks.” You gotta put your guard up. Make the next step. And then the next. And the next.

Mario:
Yea…

DSO:
It’s all about momentum. You HAVE to get going.

Mario:
Just since it all… I have suffered bad insecurities, and shit.

DSO:
What you’re saying: “I would put my guard up… but my face really hurts and I think he broke my rib.”

How involved are you in your kids’ lives? See them often?

Mario:
I see them every day for about an hour and a half before mom picks them up at my mma school, plus every Wednesday and every other weekend. I wanted 50/50 but she fought me on it.

DSO:
You think your kids enjoy seeing you depressed?

Mario:
Not at all. My son Michael is my best friend and he cries everyday about it. And how he hears guys come over at night. He told her one time that he wants to live with me… and then she refused to buy him sneakers.

DSO:
Right now you’re showing Michael, “Women can ruin you… no matter what you do… they ruin you.” He sees the negative on mom’s side… then comes to dad and sees more negativity.

Mario:
You’re right.

DSO:
I think step 1 is attorney. Find out about getting more time with kids, building the case against mom.

Mario:
I spoke to my son about it the other day that he and I are gonna heal each other and help and live a great life together.

DSO:
How old is he?

Mario:
9

DSO:
Well, you run the risk of involving him too much and him being your buddy, instead of being your son. He needs that strong father figure that is there and powerful no matter what. Not the guy saying, “My life sucks right now and let me tell you why.”

Mario:
I try try to be both… I feel like he needs that. I never tell him my life sucks. I tell him that I’m hurt by his mom actions.

DSO:
Nope. Gotta leave mom out of it. Never bad mouth mom. He’s a kid… he can’t process it. He just internalizes it. “Mom is a whore… mom is bad… I came from mom… I must be bad.” Then the cycle continues. You are strong dad. You don’t emote to your son or go blaming others. You show him how to be strong.

Mario:
Ok

DSO:
So this has turned into a coaching session versus an interview! But your story is not unique. Don’t get bogged down in details of what she did, how she thinks, etc. She’s broken. Very very broken. There’s nothing you can do. That chapter is closed. And when you look back at the chapter it will be titled “Hot latina chick who got fat, was never happy, treated me like shit and ended up cheating on me and then continued treating me like shit.”

Mario:
I’m afraid it will affect my kids. For me it’s closed… what is she teaching my daughter and my sons that it’s ok for men to use women.

DSO:
Yes, they need to be in therapy, and they need a strong parent, or this will just continue on for generations. And YOU need to be chatting with somebody regularly. Preferably a man.

Mario:
Ok. I’ve got to check. Either find a therapist I can pay cash or get insurance.

DSO:
Yeah, step 2: insurance.

Just string together 7 good days. It’s exactly like quitting drugs or alcohol. One day at a time. Then a month at a time. Then years.

Mario:
Yes sir. That’s the goal.

DSO:
AND STAY AWAY FROM WOMEN.

Mario:
I have a lot of ideas to keep myself busy and hopefully good friends to keep me accountable. Not interested right now in dating. Got to get my head right.

DSO:
So you have some basic foundational stuff… attorney… insurance… job situation ok? Get that basic stuff squared away, then the hard stuff.

Alright, it was nice chatting! Keep in touch. I do offer coaching sessions for $$… but I think you should pursue the “Real” therapist avenue through insurance first.

Mario:
Most definitely… thanks for listening. I just need to get insurance first or find one with cash.

DSO:
I’m sure they will all gladly take your cash!

A Look Inside The Mind of a Cheating Wife Who Filed For Divorce

Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

A woman recently posted a very candid and honest story on the “Divorce” section of the super popular website Reddit. In the post, she outlines the conditions that led her to question her marriage and eventually have an affair. This coeherent chronological breakdown gives us a rare and unfiltered look at what goes on in the mind of a cheating spouse. I thought it would be interesting to break her story down into pieces and give my thoughts as the story unfolds.

In my case there was no abuse. We were together for 8 years that was mostly good and we have 4 kids. Right around 5 years I got a promotion at work and i got it in my head that my XH was dragging me down, or at least holding me back from more success and a better life. We never had a lot of money but with my promotion I was now making more than he was.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this scenario. There is a reason she started her story with her job promotion. This was the switch. So many infidelity stories start with some “switch” that breaks down the cheaters boundaries and gets the cheating machine whirring along. For many women, the simple act of making more money than her spouse starts the process. Why? Because her respect for her spouse just took a major hit. She WANTS to look up to him. She WANTS to brag on him. She WANTS to be able to see him as the super lover-provider combination that every woman dreams about. Since he’s a husband and a dad, his Lover qualities probably went out the window long ago. He was a Provider… now he’s not. What’s he left with? Nothing, other than an angry wife who grows resentful.

There is a phenomenon known as “hypergamy”. The terms refers to the trend of women marrying across or UP their social food chain. Women CEO’s tend to not marry garbage men, in other words. The opposite tends to not be the case for men. The male CEO will gladly marry the secretary, school teacher or cashier.

Before everyone writes me with, “Nuh uh! I’m a stay-at-home dad and my wife is a doctor and we’ve been married for a million years!” … Great. That’s awesome. I wish you were the norm. You’re not. You’re an outlier.

Back to the story…

I started working longer hours and at the same time his hours were cut so he was at home more. I really began to resent him because he was home and because he got to spend time with our kids. Most nights when I got home they were already getting ready for bed if not already sleeping. After a few months of my new job it was clear to me that things were not going well at home without me there. Some nights the dishes weren’t done when I got home or the kids hadn’t eaten or whatever else I could think of to be mad at him about. It really didn’t matter. He kept saying that he would try harder but that it was hard being home all the time. That always made me really mad.

She’s jealous. She’s angry. She is not happy being Mrs. Breadwinner. It creates a great deal of resentment in her. THIS is not what she envisioned when married. She points out that the house is not clean enough… but the truth is there’s nothing he could do to make her happy in this situation. Absolutely nothing. It’s over at this point.

For the next couple years things kept getting worse. My hours weren’t any shorter and his were on and off fulltime. There was no convenient time for him to be working full time because of my hours, but we also needed the money. Whenever he would tell me that he could get extra hours I would always complain and the less hours he worked the more I complained that he wasnt bringing in enough money. Whenever he brought up the contradiction I would tell him that he needed to figure it out. I knew that it would bother him so I started saying that a lot and for everything that I could.

Here is where she starts bluntly pushing him away. There is zero he can do to make her happy. She’s not going to tell him, “There is nothing you can do to make me happy, so just divorce me already.”  She is following the common cheating wife pattern of treating the husband with such disrespect that she actually gets more angry if he doesn’t stand up to her and divorce her (as she wants).

I really started to resent him and I pulled away from him. I knew that it was hurting him but I didnt care. If he didnt want to be hurt then he would at least try to make me happy. I used that same thing to justify when I started to talk to another guy at work. I thought he was just a friend but talking at work turned into texting at home and then pictures and videos and then trying to sneak some alone time with him. I knew that it was wrong but it made me feel so alive, and my husband had not made me feel like that in years. I was tired of being unhappy and I was doing this for me.

And here it begins. Didn’t take long. The “Must find new and better mate to procreate with” programming is off and running. The rationalizations come out in full force. I was doing this for me.”

The worst was the night that I came home at a reasonable time and found that he had cleaned the whole house, cooked the whole family dinner and picked out a movie for all of us to watch together. This would have made me swoon a couple years earlier, but that night I couldn’t even look at him and I pretended to be sick. I spent the rest of the night in bed while he waited on me and checked on me and even made me different food and brought it to me in bed. It made me feel terrible, and then it made me angry that he made me feel that way and by the end of the night I was texting with the other guy.

See? There’s absolutely nothing he could do to stop the machine from running. Nothing. This is why reconciliation and trying to “win” your wife back is so fruitless. He would be much better off if he got a head start and began the process of self-care and rebuilding. He’s wasting months and years he can’t get back.

Over the next month or two from that night it did not matter what he did. He was wrong just for breathing most days. He would get so upset with how I was treating him and I would just wait and egg him on into losing it because i knew it would happen eventually. After most of the fights we had he would apologize for whatever I told him he did wrong if there even was something, but I never did. I would usually find a way to make him feel even worse. I knew that I was right because he was wrong and that was all that mattered to me.

She’s pushing and pushing and pushing him away. This is the equivalent of kicking him in the balls and hating him for wincing in pain. She will do so until he either dies or comes to his senses.

I even pretended that I didn’t care when he found out about my relationship with the guy from work. It really destroyed me inside to see him holding back tears, but I wasnt going to let him see that. He was at his weakest and that was when I chose to tell him that I wanted a divorce. I could almost hear his heart shattering inside his chest. He talked and fought and said that we could work through it together. I really wasnt interested in fixing our marriage, but i mostly ended things with the other guy but only because i knew i could get it back if I wanted it.

The brutal coldness of the cheating wife is always astounding. In her mind, there is no human lower than the man she has deemed as, “No longer worthy of being my partner”. Their history together means absolutely nothing.

I could see that he was trying and occasionally i would let him know, but for the most part I kept being a huge bitch to him for any and all reasons that I could think of. I’m not sure how much more the man could have done to make me happy besides finding a job that paid enough for me to not have to work at all. He said that he was looking, but looking and finding are 2 different things. It was around this time that I discovered this group and a few others. I started posting things about him, from my perspective only, and I got so much positive feedback for how I was feeling that I knew I was right. The more I posted the more validation that I got. It wasn’t just me who knew that XH wasn’t worth keeping around. I had the whole internet telling me how terrible he is. I started saying awful things to him and even outright ignoring him. I was so confident with mine and everyone elses opinion that I contacted a lawyer and within a couple weeks had filed for divorce. I continued to use this site and a couple others to validate my feelings and for encouragement to go through with it, and finally it was done.

For the cheating wife, there is no shortage of validation and “You go girl!” sentiment from her friends and strangers on the internet. She can do no wrong. This drives the husband completely crazy. It’s just human nature.

It went pretty smoothly. XH didnt ask for much besides to not get divorced and to try to work it all out. I didnt care about that though. He was broken, but I was free. I could do whatever I wanted without having to feel any guilt or answer to anybody. It was an amazing feeling of freedom. It didnt last long though. In the first month after he moved out I missed garbage day 3 times. There was also rarely a single clean dish and the laundry sat in piles so long that I had to start doing the sniff test to see if it could be worn again. I also never saw my kids more miserable. My oldest had seen some of the messages from the other guy months earlier and she knew that XH still wanted to try to work it out. It didnt take her long to stop talking to me at all except to say that she wanted to go to XH house. The others all told me that they wanted to live with XH too. I did my best to try to make them happy, but I ended up just buying them toys all the time and the happiness only lasted minutes. I also was having a lot of trouble with work. Being alone I couldnt work all those extra hours that I was expected to. I finally gave in and starting calling XH to watch the kids. He would always come over as soon as he could and he always asked me if i needed anything. When I would get home I would find clean dishes and laundry and even dinner sometimes. He would never say too much after I got home. He would just say to call him if i needed anything and leave. One night he took out the garbage and brought it to the curb because it was garbage night and I forgot again. He always looked so sad when it was time to go.

Oh, God. This poor guy. This is a conditioned man. He’s been kicked in the balls and spat on for so long… and yet he still believes she is his one true love. Can you blame him? He’s been told his whole life that this is the ONE thing he was to live for. In his mind, he failed. He failed at providing and maintaining a relationship. Everyone in the world is telling her she’s “the bomb”.In his mind, everyone seems to be conspiring to tell him how worthless he is. He has to improve and NICE his way out of this… otherwise he is in fact the scum everyone is making him out to be.

Finally after a couple months my friends convinced me to go out on a date. It was for dinner and a movie and I was excited and hopeful, but at dinner I started getting a feeling of overwhelming guilt. It got so bad that I ended up not even going to the movie. A week and about a million tears later I was on a therapists couch. I told her everything that had happened starting with the promotion that I got at work. She did not agree with me or with any of the encouragment to divorce that I got. I ended up in her office 2 and sometimes 3 times a week, and the more that I talked to prove that I was right, the more that I started to see how wrong I was. It was truely heartbreaking. I dont know if I cried as much in my whole life as i did in the first month in her office.

I had a therapist tell me once, “I can’t tell you how many times cheating wives have cried on that couch telling me that they couldn’t believe what they did… that they were acting completely out of control. Those same women were the ones that ended up doing it again and again.”

After about 2 thousand dollars of therapy sessions I learned that my XH had his faults, but I figured out that mine were so much worse. I did so many awful things and said awful things that I wouldnt want to be with me, but he did. I still remember him asking me in the meeting with the lawyer to please not go through with it. I did go through with it though, and then later I bragged on here how great it felt. I was so wrong, and now I can see it.

It took $2k of therapy to elicit feelings of empathy. This is not a good thing.

A couple weeks ago I went outside with him when he was leaving the house. I asked him about getting back together. When he looked at me his eyes were full of tears and a couple went down his cheeks. He told me that he didnt know if he could. He said that the pain has been too much for too long and that if we got back together that I might just turn around and do it to him again. He said that he always thought that I would realize how much he loved me and stop up until i signed the divorce papers and let out a big over exaggerated sigh of relief. He said that hurt him more than anything else and that he doesnt know if he can ever trust me again. I dont blame him. I destroyed a man who looking back was a great husband. I deprived my kids of having a great father in the house with them and I took his kids away from him. And me, the one who pushed for the divorce expecting happiness and a life of freedom, spend all my free time sitting at home or sitting on a therapists couch.

Good for him. He’s right. There’s no way he can take her back… because he’s not sure if he can survive another heartbreak, and he knows it won’t be the only time she has feelings of doubt and ends up cheating again.

It’s in her nature. She’s a cheating wife.

Interview With a Real Dad Starting Over – “David”

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

This is the third in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“David” is yet another man with a troubled past that has resulted in a need to rescue and “fix” the broken women he is so very attracted to. His baggage and subsequent life decisions very nearly cost him his life. Fortunately, David is one smart dude and has the gift of introspection and a good therapist. We can all learn a great deal from him.

DSO
Okay, so if you could… introduce yourself. Tell us your name, age, number of kids.

David
David J. 35 years old. Two boys –  9 years and 3months old.

DSO
Oh wow… a little feller. That has to make things interesting for you. So I assume you were married before? Both kids from the same woman?

David
No, two separate women. My 9 year old’s mother and I split amicably when he was 3. My youngest’s mother and I split before we knew she was pregnant. Last November.

DSO
Gotcha. So let’s start at the beginning. You…. good family life? Both mom and dad together?

David
My father passed when I was 14… Suicide. Mom and him divorced the year before. I’m the oldest of 4 boys. Mom is on her 4th marriage. I’m the only one of my brothers that has never married. Although, I’ve had longer relationshipships than any of them. I’m 8 years older than Steve, and 9 years older than the twins.

DSO
Oh I’m so sorry to hear that. That had to have quite the impact on you, especially at such an important time (your early teens). Your mom’s subsequent relationships with men… Were the men all bad news, you get along with them?

David
The one after my dad was bad news. The next 2 were great. She divorced the 3rd after 8 years. I was nearly 30 and an adult when they married, after all of my bothers were out of the house. Without kids, they were both unhappy, and kind of became roommates. So, they mutually decided to go their separate ways.

The most recent was my Dad’s best friend be for he died, so we all know him, and like him. They waited over 20 years, to get together,  so none of us boys have any hard feelings.

DSO
Do you know the particulars of your dad and mom’s breakup? Did dad suffer from depression? Infidelity?

David
Dad, was a career military man, he suffered from severe depression, and was a closet alcoholic. I recall an instance of accused infidelity on my father’s part, just before they split. Then the accusations went both ways. Mom married the next guy, the day the divorce was final, only 6 weeks after meeting him.

DSO
How did you meet the mother of your first child?

David
I was an insurance agent and she was my office’s “smokin’ hot secretary”. We went out once, and spent the next 5 years together, inseperable. Jason, our oldest, was conceived after nearly a year together. She was 21, and I was 25 when he was born. She had an amazing childhood, originally from Canada, intact family, but was the black sheep in her teens and early 20’s prior to our son. She liked to PARTY. I was in the legal system, on probation for a DUI (yes, I was a moron) nearly our entire relationship, so I wasn’t much of a partier. We had a relatively boring relationship and stayed together for so long, because we both dreamt of an intact family for our son. But, one day when he was 3, we looked at each other and knew we no longer had romantic feelings. We parted, on great terms, she is an amazing co-parent. She got married about a year later, to an awesome guy, who I am proud to call my sons “other Dad”, and they had a little girl a little over 3 years ago.

DSO
That’s all to that story… You eventually grew bored with each other, not a great match, and you amicably decided to split?

David
The short hand version, is we just kind of bored each other… We had a great friendship, and lots of laughs, but literally zero things in common aside from our son and our mutual obsession with soccer, playing and watching.

I’m a few years older, and she liked that, but I’m also 5’6″ and she’s 5’10″… I blame the fact that she wanted a man she could wear heels around… Plus, had I ever gotten into a fight, i would have expected her to defend my honor… Lol

DSO
Ha. Did you genuinely feel emasculated around her? Did she “wear the pants” in the relationship?

David
Oddly enough, I didn’t… She was very gracious. When we first got together, I thought it would end up that way, so it was a fear. But, she never even brought it up. I had all the jokes, so in hindsight, it may have bothered me a bit. But, I was still incredibly proud to be with her. Especially after our son came… She is an awesome Mom.

There was a little push and pull regarding our son- but that quickly ended in us compromising on parenting time- and me agreeing to keep him away from my “hussies” as she called any woman I would date, until they showed some staying power, and we decided that we were going to try for the long haul. And I listened to her. We’ve always had a great deal of respect for each other, and our individual relationships with our Jason.

DSO
Well that sounds very mature. How soon after splitting did you both start dating?

David
She starting dating her now husband seven days after we split. Not going to lie even a little- that was a huge gut shot to my ego. I felt easily replaced. I started dating about a month later. Once I started dating, I realized my feelings being hurt was just my ego and that it wasn’t a contest. I dated several women, a month or two here and there, including the one my who would have my 2nd son, nearly 5 years later.  When Jason’s mom and I split, I let her and Jason keep the apartment and everything.  I went and lived with my folks.

DSO
Tell us about woman #2. How did you two meet?

David
My best friend married her sister.. Introduced us, a couple of months after my son’s mom and I split, and a couple months after she ended an insanely toxic 10 year relationship with a DIAGNOSED sociopath.

She was a very damaged woman, but so insanely pretty. Plus, I loved the way she talked to me, and complimented everything about me. Im originally from California, and she loved that I wasn’t an Indiana country boy. Did I mention that she was an ABSOLUTE KNOCKOUT!?!? Like, gorgeous.

We dated for about a month, split up, and then got back together a few years later.

We had a whirlwind relationship. She broke up with another guy after 2 years with him, and was essentially living in my house immediately. We were sleeping together, living together, and planning our lives together within a week. This was break neck speed for me, and cause for concern. I justified it, because we had dated before, and she was insanely gorgeous. She always made me feel like a million bucks. She complimented me, was amazing in bed, and in my eyes was just the absolute perfect woman. Red flags be damned. She would ask me on a regular basis if she could perform oral sex on me. Never had headaches when I was in the mood, dressed so incredibly sexy, and all if my friends absolutely drooled over her. I felt like I was THE MAN when I was with her. But then of course, the cracks started showing

DSO
Are you the guy women tend to go to when shit hits the fan and they need help?

David
They refer to me as “the guy with the 6 bedroom house.”… So, unfortunately, yes. My less politically correct friends, have sometimes called me “captain save a ho”

DSO
Do you get a sense of purpose by “saving” the damsels in distress?

David
I do… Kayla was so needy, and so broken, she gave me purpose. Little by little she revealed that her life was in shambles, and for ever problem I had a solution. And she knew how to show her grattitude. I summed it up to her terribly abusive childhood. I saw this amazing woman so often in her. But, alcohol kept drowning her. Then triangulation with other men. Then she became physically violent with me. Then the lies. Yes, I took her back, at least minimally a dozen times over a nearly 3 year period. Even while she was pregnant with our son. Then cheated on me, with 2 other men, throughout her pregnancy. My self esteem was in the garbage.

DSO
Have you had much time for introspection during all this? Wondering why you’re so drawn to broken women?

David
This particular woman, is the ONLY broken woman I have ever had any sort of substantial relationship with. I sought therapy back in March, and still attend. The clear and obvious culprit is my mother, and my relationship with her. Fortunately, her and I have been able to frankly, and matter of factly discuss this, with the help of my therapist. I’ve been able to logically understand my need to save Kayla. I fight my feelings a lot. But, since identifying many destructive relationship habits, including trauma bonding, my own insecurities, and tendency to lose myself in romantic relationships, i.e. lack of outside interests, giving up hobbies, health, friends, and becoming completely absorbed in the idea of “us”… I’ve been rediscovering myself, establishing a strong sense of self, recognizing toxic traits in potential partners, and overall just taking time for myself. For instance, I don’t and won’t date at all currently. That is of my own decision… For now.

DSO
That is awesome. You should seriously be proud of yourself for that level of introspection and effort to improve. VERY VERY rare.

David
This one broke me… We all have that one that breaks us, I think.

DSO
I often say every dude should hit rock bottom at least once in their life. Usually men hit it via a relationship with a toxic woman.

David
Civilizations have fallen over a toxic woman. Lol. By being with them, we can become toxic ourselves. The whole “Show me the 3 closest people to you, and I will understand who you are” statement comes to mind.

DSO
Exactly.So you have two women you have fathered children with… and how would you categorize you relationships with them now? Has their brokenness affected your efforts to improve going forward?

David
It’s given me, at the moment, incredibly high standards, a desire to undergo a vasectomy, and 9 stab wounds from my 2nd sons’ mom’s ex-boyfriend. Yes, it has affected me. I can experience empathy, but it isn’t my responsibility to fix the things I feel bad for someone for. I can offer to help a person, but only if they aren’t kicking and screaming while i carry them uphill, and after a bit of help, they had better be outpacing my efforts. Most importantly, for my own stress levels, and mental well being, it is ok for me to say NO., even if I have the ability to help, or change a situation. I’m not obligated to anyone, even for something as little as an explanation,  and frankly, they aren’t obligated to me. Its not ok for anyone to make me feel guilty, for doing what I think is best for myself and my sons. Lastly, I don’t have to compromise my integrity, just to make someone else feel better, or so that they might like me. I may not be the greatest guy in the world, but I’m ok most of the time, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with just being ok sometimes.

DSO
Bravo. Very well put. For the readers… would you mind giving more detail about the whole “9 stab wounds” story?

David
Well, first off… I feel like a bad ass, compared to anyone who has been stabbed less than 10 times. Lol. This goes along with the damaged woman thought.

When my son was 6 weeks old, his mother was begging me back. I couldn’t do it. She was still drinking. Well, later that night, she got into a bit of trouble with CPS and the police. Drinking and driving with our baby. They didn’t arrest her, they had her mother come and get her, and take her to the 5th floor(like a mental hospital) and took our son while she was in there. Once she got out she immediately started dating another man. She said he was perfect and that they were getting married…blah blah blah. A few weeks go by, and she discovers he had given her a false name and was a registered sex offender, amongst other things. Violent, violent man. She breaks up with him…he didn’t like that much…once he supposedly leaves her apartment, she calls and asks me to come get our son because she’s stressed out, etc. I agree, and drive over. She asks me to sit and talk with her for a few, and tells me all about this guy. After a few minutes I asked her to pack his diaper bag, so we can get home. I step out to smoke while I’m waiting for her to get our son ready. It’s dark out, her neighbor is out, we start a conversation. After a couple of moments, I hear, “You want some mother fucker” from behind me, (he was hiding beside her apartment building) and a shirtless knife wielding man, is on my back, stabbing me. At the time, I didn’t realize I was being stabbed. I thought I was getting hit hard. I also didn’t know who he was. I get turned around to defend myself, and at some point realize he has a knife. I fought it away from him. And he suddenly stopped fighting, and just stands there. I look at him, and say, “You had a fucking knife!” At this point he runs away… I look at my son’s mother who had come to the door during the scuffle and say “I think I’ve been stabbed.” She goes into hysterics… Ambulance comes, she comes to the hospital with me, and just lays in bed with me for the hours in waiting on surgery. After all is said and done, she wants us again, I’m the man of her dreams, blah blah blah. Her ex is sitting in jail on attempted murder charges, 3 seperate cases for domestic battery, including one on a child, a DUI, and turns out has a different name than what he gave her, plus a worse background than the 2nd alias he gave her has. She was ready to marry this guy after 5 weeks. Had him around our son, and her 13 year old daughter, and expects me to just forgive her, and take her back with open arms.

I’m on temporary disability for the next 6 weeks at least, I have drain tubes coming out of my back, and over a hundred stitches. The knife took chunks of bone out of my spine and ribs, severed muscle, and she wants to talk about a relationship. My 9 year old has been devastated since he heard about it. When he was here, he literally hugged me, or sat on me the entire time. This is what happens when you entertain crazy for too long. They attract more crazy, and that crazy wants you dead.

DSO
Jesus H. Christ. Yes… crazy attracts crazy. So glad you made it out of that alive. Would you pursue taking away the child permanently from the mom?

David
This is why it’s so important for men to be so critical when choosing a partner… Especially if they already have kids. Yes, I will… Her ex-husband already got emergency custody of their 13 year old. My situation is a bit more complex. I’m waiting on paternity for Mason. I told her I will be his Dad, and not miss a beat unless a paternity test proves me otherwise. Paternity isn’t until January 10th.

DSO
I was going to suggest that. Sounds like you have everything as “under control” as possible.

David
She swears he’s mine. Even with all if her infidelity, says the time frames don’t add up for anyone else. Nobody else stepped up, so here I am. And I’ll be damned if I miss these baby months. If he were to turn out not to be mine, I just bought some diapers, and loved on a kid who didn’t have anyone else. No harm done… But, I think and hope he is mine.

DSO
Must be an extremely tough position to be in. So, fast forward seven years from now… Your oldest boy is 16. He’s getting way too interested in girls. What bit of advice do you give him?

David
Man, that’s tough… In today’s climate, I’d almost want to advise them not to date until after college.

The reality is I want them to be safe… Be respectful… And to not fall in love with saving anyone. I will tell them if they don’t bring anything other than baggage and a pussy to the table, just leave the damn table. You need a partner, a teammate and a best friend. Theres no such thing as THE ONE, but there is such thing as mutual respect and love.  After some time has passed respect is more about your own personal integrity, and love is more about being a man of your word. Eventually, it stops being a gushy feeling, and turns into a decision. But, it should never be at the cost of who you are.

DSO
Amen, brother. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’re a great example of a guy who has absolutely had a truckload of shit thrown at him, and you just keep on marching forward. Hope you heal up quickly and please let us all know how you’re doing.

David
It’s been a pleasure to share… I really hope some of the other dad’s can take this all to heart and not make the same mistakes. Thanks for the website, by the way!

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “William”

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

This is the second in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“William” is the an example of a VERY common scenario:

  1. Little experience with women before or after his ex-wives.
  2. Comes from a broken home with an absent father figure and strong attachment to mom.
  3. Strongly attracted to women from broken families, histories of abuse and has an intense need to help them.
  4. His kind/pushover nature eventually backfires on him as he is taken advantage of the worst way by predatory women.

DSO
So, if you could, tell us your name, age, number of kids

William
William. Age 48. I have three biological children and then two who are bonus children.

DSO
Bonus children… step kids?

William
One former stepson who I am still close to and one who I discovered was not mine, but am also close to.

DSO
Oh wow. Sounds like you do have a story to tell. And what ages are the kids?

William
30, 28, 27, 24, 23. The 30, 27, and 23 year olds are mine. Yes, it’s quite a story. 23 year old is the only girl.

DSO
That poor girl! That’s a whole lot of testosterone. Married how many times?

William
Twice. Quite a story with both.

DSO
Well let’s go with ex #1, how did you two meet?

William
We met in high school. I was a basketball player and she was a track/basketball athlete. She asked me for a ride home from practice every day and one thing led to another. The 30 year old son was born my senior year.

DSO
Started early! And how about her family life? Broken family? Abuse?

William
Her parents divorced due to her father’s infidelity. There were rumors of abuse between her father and her sister, but it never went anywhere. None between my ex and her father that I’m aware of.

DSO
And your family life?

William
My dad was an abusive alcoholic to my mom. I witnessed a lot of it. They divorced when I was six. I was not abused, but I have heard rumors that my older sister was. We’ve never discussed it. We are very close though. My mom is a saint.

DSO
Looking back on the early “courtship”, did you feel a bond with your shared family “issues”?

William
Not on a conscience level I don’t think.

DSO
So senior year, your son is born. How do you cope with that? Family help?

William
Yes. I quit basketball and started sacking groceries full time. I stayed at my ex’s house and got up with the baby on weekends. My mom and my stepdad were upset at first, but extremely helpful financially and emotionally. I got a job out of high school working in the billing office at a hospital and things went okay for several years.

DSO
College?

William
I took night courses at the local Junior college. Got my Associates degree in four years. Started at the University level about the time the first marriage fell apart.

DSO
So, “went okay for several years”, when did the wheels start to fall off?

William
We were married for five years. I came home one night after running in to my childhood sweetheart at a convenience store. I came home and told my wife about it. Shortly after that she insisted that we move. We did. As it turned it we were living caddy corner from her boyfriend’s apartment. At the time, I had no suspicion that anything was going on.

DSO
Oh, so the prompting for the move, in your mind at that time, was your surprise meeting with the childhood sweetheart?

William
Yes and no. I feel she used that as a justification in her mind, but she was already planning to set herself up with Plan B (him) in case Plan A (me) didn’t work out.

DSO
She was already in the middle of an affair with Plan B by that time… and for how long at that point (the move)?

William
I feel that it had been going on for several months before the move, but I have no proof. The fact that we moved in so close to his place was not a coincidence in my mind.

DSO
Oh… so not only did she want to move, but she had the specific place already picked out… right across from Plan B. Gotcha.

William
Yes. Again, just a theory.

DSO
Well that was ballsy of her. So when did you discover the affair?

William
After the move, she insisted we should separate. I moved in with my mom with the idea that we would work it out. She would give me no reason for the separation, just needed “space”. I went back to our place and discovered a note to him on the door. I don’t remember what it said, but the implications were clear. I started moving my stuff out that night.

DSO
Sorry to hear that… and pretty textbook. So now you have a son and a cheating wife. Was divorce pretty soon after?

William
Oh that’s where it gets crazy. We had two sons at that time. She came to me a week after I moved out and told me she was pregnant. I told her I thought it wasn’t mine. The state of Oklahoma would not allow me to divorce her while she was pregnant. They also told me that I not only had to prove the baby was not mine, but I also had to prove whose the baby was or I would be held financially responsible for it. I was not allowed to divorce her because the baby had to remain a product of the marriage in case the true father was not found.

DSO
Oh, no way. Wow. Are the laws still the same to this day in OK?

William
It took a year and a half for all the prelim crap to get done and the divorce to be granted.
I don’t know. I live in Colorado now and haven’t been married for 16 years. Doubt I ever will again.

DSO
So eventually you prove the child is not yours AND you find the father?

William
Yes. It didn’t take too much detective work on my part.

DSO
I know I’m getting into specifics here… but this whole “state forcing the non-father to pay” thing always amazes me…. What was the process for proving the paternity? Did the suspected father have to go through testing? Or did he/they just confess?

William
I had to subpoena the blood from the baby as well as the suspected father. The fact that she was able to just keep the truth to herself and hope for the best has always stuck a burr in my saddle. She was not asked to testify or anything.

DSO
She knew she had the state on her side. Okay, so… two bio kids, one that is with her lover, and you are divorced. Does kid #3 have a relationship with bio dad?

William
Yes, but he always came over to my house with his brothers. Birthday parties, sleep overs, etc. He is currently getting his PhD and will be married in May. I’m invited to the wedding. He says his father is a 50/50 bet on whether he will show up.

DSO
Well, good for you and him both. Sticking with wife #1 for now. Looking back… any red flags through the short relationship?

William
Yes. She was my first, but she was known to have slept with a lot of boys in high school. I had some friends who warned me about her, but I didn’t listen.

DSO
You’re not the first and certainly not the last with that story. If you didn’t get her pregnant while in high school, would you have married her?

William
Her best friend got pregnant about the same time she did too. I think that was part of the plan.

Definitely not. I was trying to “do the right thing”. I wish I’d have been told by an older male role model that I didn’t have to marry her. Don’t know if it would have changed my mind, but it would have made the divorce decision come a lot faster.

DSO
And how soon after was kid #2?

William
Kid 1 was born 1987. We were married in 1988. Kid 2 was born 1991. We split up in 1993. Kid 3 (not mine) was born 1994.

DSO
Was #2 another “oops”?

William
No. He was planned. Maybe just a “trying to do the right thing” thing again. I am very close to my sons though. We have a lot of fun together.

DSO
That’s great. Did you have a fair co-parenting/custody sharing plan from the beginning?

William
Yes. But I was very busy working full time and going to college so I didn’t get to see them 50/50. That as used against me when it came time to calculate support, which makes no sense. I was doing my part when I had them.

DSO
And how has ex #1’s life gone since your split?

William
She married and divorced the guy she was sleeping with. She has just been released from the county jail and into a halfway house. Her and her new boyfriend were convicted on trafficking meth through the mail.

DSO
Wow. I’d say that’s a pretty low point in life. So how long after #1 did you meet #2?

William
I was sitting in a class in 1993 thinking about the aforementioned childhood sweetheart from before. All I knew of was where she worked, Wal-Mart. So I left class, drove to Wal-Mart and sure enough, there she was working the front. She took a break and I filled her in on my situation. She showed me evidence that her husband was physically abusing her. I told her that I didn’t want to wreck her marriage, but that if they broke up, I would like to give us a try. We began an affair, and she became pregnant with my daughter. There was and is no doubt that the child was/is mine.

So I guess it was only a matter of three months or so.

DSO
Wow. You weren’t wasting any time. Ran right into the arms of another broken one. Also not uncommon.

William
Haha. Oh ya.

DSO
So, the first red flag is obviously “I was abused” and “I am willing to have an affair and get pregnant”… what other red flags did gal #2 have? How about her family life?

William
Her mother was a mean bitch. I remembered it from my childhood. Nothing had changed in the years that followed. She was a tom boy and an athlete from the time we met, age 13, all the way through high school. She actually told me after she divorce her first husband that she never wanted to marry again. I was so happy we were together that I didn’t mind. We were living together and we had a daughter. My two sons, my bonus son, and her son were with us most of the time once I finished college. We were making the blended family work. She never initiated sex though. I thought she was submissive, but as it turned out she was hiding a deeper secret. Queue suspenseful music…

DSO
So… in hindsight do you feel she grasped onto you as a way out of marriage #1?

William
Yes. I also feel that she knew she could get away with what she had planned next because of what had happened in my previous marriage. I may be paranoid, but that doesn’t make me wrong.

DSO
So, she gets pregnant… how long after did you marry?

William
She approached me two years later in 1997 and asked, “Why haven’t you asked me to marry you?” and I said, “Because you said you didn’t want to get married.” and she said, “Well, we might as well. I mean, look at all these kids in our house.” and I said, “Okay”. Shortly after, I called the kids into the living room and I proposed to her. We eloped to Colorado and were married on Christmas Eve, 1997 in Aspen.

DSO
And after marriage… how long until the big bomb drop?

William
June, 2003 she told me she was leaving me. She didn’t say why at the time. We had just made our first payment on a new house.

DSO
Wow. What was the process after that? Did you start investigating?

William
I take that back. She told me she was leaving in April and the truth about why came out in June.

I helped her move into her own apartment. I told the landlord I needed a key since I was on the lease. When she took her son to the movies one night, I went to her apartment and found a journal. In it, she confessed her love to her new girlfriend who lived two states away and she revealed her plan to move there as soon as she could.

DSO
Wow.

William
It was shortly after that she admitted she was gay. She never told me of her intention to move. She intended to abandon us.

DSO
You were helping her move into an apartment that she planned on leaving soon?

William
Yes.

DSO
And her plan was to leave you and the kid?

William
Yes. and my stepson with his father.

DSO
Oh wow. How did she meet the girlfriend?

William
Work. The GF had moved away in order to prevent wrecking our marriage, or so the story goes.

DSO
I see. Did the wife later admit she always KNEW she was gay, or this was something she discovered later in life?

William
She said that she had always known she was gay. She said no man was ever going to touch her again and that her whole life had been a lie. She was celebrated for now “living her truth”. The fact that she had discovered it at the expense of so many lives was swept under the rug.

Maybe not discovered it, but verified it. Found the courage to admit it to herself. However you look at it.

DSO
And she has remained in the new lifestyle since then?

William
Yes. She has a GF now that she met when she was 45 and the GF was 17. Also something for which she has never been held accountable.

DSO
WOW. Well, this is usually the case in these relationship dramas. The damsels in distress will get the adulation… You’ll just go crazy trying to understand it.
So, how soon after the bomb drop did you divorce?

William
It took four and a half years. When I would go to court, the judge would give her additional time to appear even though she had left the state. Once I got Oklahoma DHS to start garnishing her paycheck for child support did she finally show up and the divorce was granted. She also got custody arrangements changed and once she paid her back child support, I had to start paying her. I raised my daughter for five years without help from her and then she came in and got what she wanted.

She moved back to Oklahoma and started playing “supermom”

DSO
Wow. That seems to be the them for this story: “Wow” She moved back to OK… and the kids went to live with her?

William
Haha. I’m 16 years out and I still can’t believe it.

By the time she came back, my daughter was 13. She wanted to know her mom and asked if it was okay if she lived with her. I helped my daughter move. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. it is a fact that if not for her, I wouldn’t be alive. We are very close today. So part of what the gay ex got was what I allowed her to have for the sake of my daughter.

DSO
And she stayed with her for all of her teens?

William
Yes. But again, I would meet her for breakfast before school and I would have her and her friends over when she wanted. My gay ex knew I would do anything for my daughter too, which of course she used to her advantage.

DSO
And her relationship with your daughter today?

William
They are good. One year after I left OK for CO, my daughter followed me though. All of my biological children have left OK and moved closer to me, much to their mothers’ dismay I’m sure.

My daughter and her mother visit occasionally. I have no contact with her mother. We haven’t spoken in years.

DSO
So after the second divorce… have you had any relationships? Dating?

William
My first relationship after the gay ex (both wives were my first and second) I had an affair with the minister’s wife. She divorced her husband to marry me, but I told her I wasn’t going to marry again. That ended our relationship poorly. Had a GF for about three months in 2007 or so. She broke up with me because I told her I didn’t plan on marrying again. I don’t date at all now. I work hard and do my own thing.

DSO
There does appear to be a pattern here… not to play psychologist… and I don’t mean to overstep my bounds.
1. Being attracted to broken women
2. Ignoring red flags and jumping into serious relationships with broken women.
3. Pursuing relationships with women who are already attached to others.
Sounds like you nipped #2 in the bud and stopped the marriage train.

William
If I had to self-psychoanalyze, I’d say that I have a bit of a hero complex after seeing my mom take some hellacious beatings and not being big enough to stop it. I did not grow up to be an abuser. But instead I grew up allowing myself to be used. I didn’t stand up for myself. Now I do. I am fine on my own. I’d love to meet someone who would love me, but it is not a priority.

DSO
Did you have a close relationship with your mom? Almost a surrogate spouse to her?

William
Yes. She is a retired nurse and an absolute hero.

I’m about out of time. I wanted to plug the Straight Spouse Network. It is a support group among those who may have married homosexuals either knowingly or unknowingly. They are at www.Straightspouse.org. They have been very healing for me over the last couple of years.

DSO
Thank you for sharing your story!

William
You’re Welcome. Keep up the good work.

Interview With A Real Dad Starting Over – “Pete”

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

This is a first in a series of interviews with REAL dads and dudes starting over in life. From each of these stories, we can learn a great deal from each other and see that we are nowhere near alone in our quest to start over.

“Pete” is the perfect example of a guy who had very little self-worth combined with the all-consuming need to find “the one” to settle down and grow old with. When you combine the two, it can be a complete disaster.

DSO: Okay, so to start with… if you could, tell us who you are, how old, kids, etc..

Pete: I’m Pete. I’m 35 years old. Have 3 boys.

DSO: You gave me a little bit of you story before this interview… Are you technically still married as of right now?

Pete: Yes, technically still married at this point but have been separated since January 2017. Tried to reconcile this year, only lasted about 3 months and then I walked away for good. I had started over last year and I was in a really good place. All that went away during time period of trying to reconcile and that’s what made me realize it was time to let go and now for a second time I’m starting over again. 

DSO: Sorry to hear that. How did you and your wife first meet?

Pete: We met through her cousin that I was friends with. 

DSO: Did you have much experience with women prior to meeting her?

Pete: I had been in 3 or 4 relationships prior to her and had been casually dating a few other women but nothing real serious. 

DSO: And how about her family? Did she have a stable family life? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Her parents had divorced when she was 12 and her dad remarried but her mom did not until this year. Her dad and grandmother raised her after the divorce 

DSO: Oh, interesting. Why was mom out of the picture?

Pete: She gave up rights because of a violent incident that occurred with her boyfriend and my wife and her brother. So, her dad got custody of them two. 

DSO: Did her mom cheat on dad with the bad guy?

Pete: It’s crazy because her mom had another daughter by the boyfriend after high school. It didn’t work out and then she met my wife’s dad and they had two kids together being my wife and her brother. Yes, she did cheat. 

DSO: Oh wow… Mom had some serious issues. So, looking back now on your relationship, were there warning signs/red flags with your wife and her behavior?

Pete: Yes. There were the violent outbursts towards me and the kids. There was a lot of secretive stuff on her cell phone. All this started happening in 2016 after our third son was born. Before that there was one or two instances where she would just pack up the kids and leave for 3 weeks the first time then 3 months the second time taking our boys with her. After she had come back both times there was messages on her phone from a guy she knew talking about what they had done and that he better not have told anyone about it. I confronted her about it each time and she just blamed me for it. 

DSO: Wow… your wife just took off with the kids for long periods of time? Sounds like kidnapping.

Pete: No, she would use a PFA each time making up stuff then dropping the PFA when we would go to court because I could prove the statements to be false that were made against me. Second time she left I didn’t see my two older boys for 3 weeks then got a visitation schedule through court with help from my attorney. 

DSO: PFA?

Pete: Yeah here they have a PFA or protection from abuse order that can be filed in family court. Don’t have to have any proof of anything they are easy to get. I have 3 that I have filed on her as well. With pictures and documents proving my statements. That’s why 95 percent of them don’t stick because there has to be proof beyond a reasonable suspicion to get one. 

To stick you have to go in front of a commissioner. 

DSO:  Oh, I see. So… if I understand the timeline correctly, she had claimed abuse and ran off with the kids (and to another man), returned, and this was before your third child came into the picture. After third child, she became more secretive and violent. Correct?

Pete: Yes. 

DSO: Well, this begs the question… Why stick around with her during all this?

Pete: Because I loved her, and I wanted our boys to have us together around them. Looking back at it now that should have been my turning point and that’s when I should have started over, but I wouldn’t have my youngest son if I had of left then and I wouldn’t change having him for the world. 

DSO: Understandable. Circling back…. How about YOUR family past? Any issues there? Mom and dad in the picture?

Pete: Yes, my mom and dad have been there the whole time for me and for her when we got married. They have seen all the ups and downs we had. They gave us a place to live for a few years because we couldn’t make it on our own with having our first two kids 12 months apart. 

DSO: Were they aware of all the issues you had, and did they ever suggest you leave?

Pete: They were witness to just about all of what happened. After a couple years we built an apartment and moved into that and out of their house. Thinking that it would make things better and it did for a couple years. 

DSO: Your thought was that the living arrangement brought about her behavior? Too close to parents?

Pete: She always blamed my parents for everything. Once they were out of the picture and it was just us then everything turned to being blamed on me then because no one was around, and she knew whatever she said happened couldn’t be refuted and it was just my word against hers with no witnesses like when we lived with Mom and Dad. Yes, that was her excuse that we were too close to my parents. They were the only ones that offered to help us out.

DSO: Was she ever formally diagnosed or under any kind of mental health care?

Pete: No, she would never get any kind of help and I offered that multiple times she would say ok then when I would schedule appointments she would cancel and say that I was the one that had all the problems. Nothing was wrong with her. It was all put on me. 

DSOHey, you tried. WAY more than most would do, I would say. So… back to after the birth of the third child. What was the tipping point that made you say “Enough”?

Pete: After finally being able to buy a house together and moving in with each other to work out the differences between us this year. The tipping point was the lies she would make up and then she would go and stay gone for 10-12 hours at a time saying she fell asleep along the side of the road or that she fell asleep at a parking lot when she was at other guys’ houses with them and meeting other guys out at different places. The last time she was caught at a guy’s house sleeping with him and when I asked her about it she told me 4 different stories and I told her I was done it’s over I know your lying about everything. I can’t do this anymore. 

DSO: Wow. Was there ever a “She’s behaving just like her mom” moment… either from you or from herself?

Pete: No. Her dad did make a suggestion of the behavior being the same. Only he didn’t understand why she was being with all the different guys. 

DSO: I was going to ask if her dad ever pulled you aside and warned you.  I have an article I wrote on my site called “Baggage” that I think fits your wife perfectly. If you don’t make constant corrections in life, you WILL end up acting out your baggage. You saw that firsthand, unfortunately.

Pete: The other tipping point for me was the physical abuse on the kids from her. Once I saw that started then everything just fell into place with what I needed to do. And yes, unfortunately I did see that. 

DSO: Have you begun the divorce process? Does she still have contact with the children?

Pete: I have the paperwork filled out and turned in to my attorney. Right now, she has minimal contact because she was evicted from the house we had bought for not paying. So, the kids live with me full time in the apartment that I had built. 

DSO: I’m glad to hear they are safe. So, you have a long road ahead of you with the whole divorce process still… This is all still very fresh

Pete: Yes, a long road for sure. It was June of this year when I walked away for good. 

I had moved on last year got saved gave my life to Christ and became more of the man that I always was supposed to be by living a life for god and my boys. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this whole process so far and I realize now it wasn’t worth the heartache and having to start over again. 

DSO: Good for you.  Before wrapping this up… the big question: What was it about you that REALLY kept you in the relationship. That’s not something you have to answer now, but it’s the big picture that every guy in your shoes needs to answer, or else you’ll do it all over again. And no… you can’t just say, “I am a good guy, and I loved her.” That’s a copout. 

Pete: I wanted to have that marriage that when we turned 80 we could sit in the front porch holding hands and say we made it. Everyone doubted our marriage from the start and I thought I had met the woman I would be with forever. And I never really knew my worth as a man and how I should really be treated but after going through the years of abuse and narcissistic actions towards me I now know that I stayed out of fear of not being with my boys, making sure they were safe and taken care of, and lastly because I was afraid of losing her to the point I lost myself and no woman is worth that unless they are willing to do the same for you. 

DSO: What was it about HER that made you so sure she was “the one”, in spite of everyone and everything tell you the opposite?

Pete: The first time I met her it was like we were the only two people that were around like everyone else just diminished into the background. We just clicked instantly. That was the only time so far I’ve ever had butterflies in my stomach.  I just knew she was the one. 

DSO: So, you had serious physical chemistry. 

Pete: Sparks flew definitely. 

DSO: Typically, men that are so drawn to broken women in such a way have broken moms themselves. Or, they have little experience with women… Which is why I ask.

Ok, so where do you see yourself five years from now?

Pete: In five years, I see myself living life to the fullest with my boys. Buying a nice house for them and I. And to not be looking for anything or anyone. I know that in due time God has an ultimate plan for my life and for my boys and as long as I stay true and honor him, my blessings will come when least expected. 

DSO: Thank you so much for taking the time to share, and LAST bit of advice… Don’t you DARE take that woman back, Pete. 🙂

Pete: Definitely not doing that again. 

DSO: Good. All my best to you and the boys. Thanks again!