It is so difficult to explain the pain I’m going through. Sure, I have friends and
family who are there any time of the day to take a phone call; to listen to me
cry. To listen to me call my soon to be ex-husband every evil name I can think
They can be angry at him with me.
They can give lots of well-intentioned advice.
But they can’t truly understand the deep pain, worry, anxiety and fear caused by deep intimate betrayal. Not unless they have walked in my shoes.
My grief is compounded by the lingering shock of discovery that has turned my life, and my children’s lives upside down and inside out.
My husband has been lying to me since before we were married and
continued to do so throughout our 13 years since. Little lies, at least that’s
what I kept telling myself over the years. I didn’t realize the magnitude of the
lies until very recently. Lying about so much, I wonder who it was I was really
married to at all.
I often feel regret for allowing myself to love and marry someone who has
treated me and our commitment to one another so horribly. But my two
beautiful children came from our marriage, and for that gift I suppose the
acute pain and debilitating grief I feel is worth it. Still, how could a husband
and father deceive his wife and children in such a knowing and calculated
My husband never truly knew how to express love. There was never hand
holding, kissing and snuggles in public, opening doors, flowers, or making me
None of that.
But there were qualities about him that were once wonderful, so I
overlooked his inability to show affection, seeing it as just a personality
deficit, and went on building our life together.
What I didn’t know was that his lack of affection was a symptom of
something much bigger. My husband didn’t know how to love others.
Likely, I’ve learned because he doesn’t feel worthy, and doesn’t love himself.
For this reason, he was able to live one life with me our family, and another
different life as a big spender, Sugar Daddy to unknowing young women he
met and arranged online.
Sorting through the grief of losing someone who is not dead, and no longer
who they once were, has been devastating. In an effort to heal, I’ve looked to
my past for clues to who he really was, what I missed, and where things went
wrong . Eight years prior to discovery of his double life, he was sick of
“working for someone else.”
He wanted to work for himself.
He wanted to get rich.
Buy fancy cars.
Retire at age 50.
I had recently left my six figure salary to stay home with our kids, so it was
unsettling when he announced one day that he had quit his job and was
following his dreams to be his own boss. He was my husband, my partner, my
teammate, and I trusted him. I wanted to support him in his dreams, not
realizing that this behavior was a sign of deeper issues.
He took our life savings to start his venture, but quickly realized that wasn’t
enough. He then liquidated his 401K. Yet, the company was barely staying
afloat. He worked hard, traveling around the country to meet with potential
clients and drum up business. He even flew over seas to meet with potential
European partners, but came home discouraged as that trip had yielded
Time passed and he acknowledged that he had failed.
The money was gone.
With no other options, he got a job and moved us across the country for a
new start. I was excited that he finally had a real job again, with health care
benefits for our family. We could start saving and work to recoup all that was
Or so I thought.
The taxes from his 401K liquidation hit and we couldn’t pay them. He
confessed that money that had been set aside for taxes had been spent too.
So we had to borrow money.
When that ran out, I had to liquidate my 20 year savings in 401K.
Yet that wasn’t the worst of it.
He then lost his new job and had a severe heart attack. We were left with bills
we couldn’t pay. We couldn’t pay our monthly rent and had to move to a less
expensive, much smaller home. The children had to start at a new school.
I had begun working part time to get a little money coming in, while also
taking care of the kids. I was doing my best to do my part. After all, he
working so hard trying to provide for his family. He was not present,
physically or mentally for me and the kids, because he was always “trying to
make money”. But we were working through this together because that’s
what you do in a marriage.
He told me he wasn’t happy. He told me that our sex life wasn’t good. He told
me that I nit-picked too much. He told me we needed to get a divorce. So we
told the kids, and he moved out.
Then, one average day at work, I received a phone call that crushed me. It
was from my husband’s 20 year old Sugar Baby. Things weren’t going well in
their arrangement, so she decided I should know everything.
Imagine receiving that phone call.
I learned that their arrangement wasn’t new. In the midst of all of our
financial devastation, he chose to become a Sugar Daddy. He listed himself
and his “wealthy” offerings on-line, painting a picture of a man ready to spoil
some very lucky ladies.
I know what you were thinking because I thought it too:
“Aren’t Sugar Daddies supposed to have money? Isn’t that the point?”
I have learned that the rules don’t apply if you’re a Sugar Daddy who is also a
pathological liar and narcissist.
Realizing that all those trips in the years prior, to try to “drum up business” was
nothing but a cover. They were all trips to hotels to wine, dine, and have sex
with his 24 and then 20 year old sugar babies. Women more than half his
age. This had been going on for at least two years, while I was home raising
the children, determined to be present and available to meet their emotional
and physical needs all on my own.
Shell-shocked, I contacted a divorce attorney. Without any money to retain
counsel, I had to borrow from my family. In reviewing marital debt, I learned
it was even worse than I realized. We now held credit card debt in the
multiple thousands of dollars, and learned that he had opened and maxed out
two other credit cards for the sole purpose of financing his role as a Sugar
Daddy. Obviously, that was all a surprise to me. I learned that in our new
state of California, I’m liable for half of all of our debt, including his Sugar
Daddy credit cards.
Learning this was insult on top of injury.
My mind raced for days with the same questions on replay:
How did I not know?
How could I have been so stupid?
How could he do this?
How could I tell anyone any of this?
How pathetic will I look?
How do I get my kids through this?
How do I work through this type of grief?
My children and I were betrayed in the worst way possible and my grief only
grew as I learned more of the awful truth.
All of our money was lost so that he could spoil these “babies”. It is
heartbreaking to know that his real “babies”, his two beautiful children, didn’t
get to experience dinners out at restaurants, exciting trips to Europe in nice
hotels, and shopping trips for fancy new clothes. Instead, they were at home
with me, the three of us eating my home cooked meals around our tiny
kitchen table for four.
Now he is gone, and they are still with me, around that tiny table. I am
grateful I have 100% custody of our kids. He comes to see the kids 3 times a
week. I have to share my home with this person, be civil to him, because the
kids are watching EVERYTHING.
Since my soon-to- be-ex- husband doesn’t have a job, he moved in with a
friend who lives an hour away.
Or so he says.
I am still in the process of divorce, and I have so many worries with no
answers. The trauma of discovery coupled with the realization of such
intimate betrayal creates a grief that I don’t wish on ANYONE.
He is out there in the world, being whomever he needs to be for whomever
he is with. He is not who he once was to me, or to our children. He has
robbed us of our future and tainted every memory of our past.
This is my ambiguous grief.
A grief that is often crippling.
A grief few understand.
A grief I can’t truly articulate.
A grief I pray will be able to heal.