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Don’t Throw Stones at Tiffany Glass Windows

tiffany-chapel

Hi chumps! I’ve been on vacation with my family in Orlando, Florida for a few days. Yesterday my mother and I visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park, which if you find yourself in the Disney World orbit, I can highly recommend over rollercoasters, crowds, and uber-commercialized touristy crap at the theme parks. The Morse Museum is a mind-blowing collection of Tiffany glass, jewelry, and Arts and Crafts pottery. Really, I cannot convey to you how exquisite it all is. Make it a must-do if you find yourself in this neck of the woods. But the crowning jewel of the museum is the Tiffany Chapel.

tif-peacockThe chapel was created for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It’s this Byzantine-inspired Art Nouveau confection of glass mosaic and stained glass. It’s freaking amazing. The altar piece is a mosaic of two peacocks facing each other with a crown floating above — it looked like a technicolor dream of Gustave Klimt to me, the swirls and jewel-like abstractions. They say it was Louis Comfort Tiffany’s masterpiece.

The chapel had a rather sad history, which you can read about. Suffice it to say, it was a sensation when it debuted, but then struggled to find a home. Tiffany rescued it at one point, had it restored and installed in his mansion estate Laurelton Hall, (which is its own amazing story). By the 1950s, the estate was abandoned and in 1957 a fire raged for three days and most of the place was destroyed. The chapel survived, only just.

The daughter of Tiffany called the McKeans, a couple that ran a small museum in Winter Park, Florida and asked if they wanted a few of the windows. Okay, TRY and imagine a world in which someone is saying “here, please TAKE a Tiffany stained glass window off me, because I know you would appreciate it and no one else apparently does.” So the McKeans travel to Long Island, New York and viewed the wreckage of Laurelton Hall. The fire fighters had salvaged some of the windows, which were leaning against a wall — some miscreants had come and thrown rocks through some of them. The place was full of debris, open to the elements. The McKeans decided then to rescue the chapel and save as much as they could. At the museum are photos of the ruins and the salvage company that came to move it — who didn’t treat it right, threw all the pieces in the back of a truck with the crowning indignity — topping the pile with an old tire.

Mind blowing.

Tiff-MorseWhat does this have to do with infidelity? Well, as I was listening to this story during the narrated film at the museum (which my mother insisted on attending… thank you Mom…), I thought — what kind of MONSTER throws a rock through a Tiffany glass window?! What kind of idiot cannot see how freaking beautiful these works of art are? What sort of world do we live in where an entire mansion full of Tiffany glass is just abandoned? And it occurred to me, that some people can’t see obvious beauty. They destroy and devalue. Or they can only appreciate something if it is set in a context of What Is Fashionable and Approved Of, versus just seeing it for what it IS — beautiful and worthy.

Cheaters are the sorts of people who would throw a rock through a Tiffany glass window. To give your heart to someone, to be faithful to them, to try and forgive an unforgivable betrayal — that makes you a beautiful person. Tiffany glass windows are no less valuable because some idiot could not appreciate their beauty and threw a rock. Tiffany windows should not think… Gee, if I’d only been some work of abstract expressionism… something in vogue… if I’d only been a Jackson Pollack painting, they wouldn’t have thrown that rock. No, Tiffany windows are what they are — exquisite, obviously beautiful things. It just took escaping the ruins and the rock throwers for the world to notice was was really apparent all along — that these are works of art. Precious creations.

I believe this is true for chumps as well. Get away from the burning ruins and find someone who appreciates you. Your worth was never in question. Some people throw rocks. Some people are ugly and can’t see true beauty. It’s not you. It’s them.

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  • What a great post, I love the way you think! Is there anywhere to e-mail a question? I am trying to get cheater OUT, and despite huge confession of cheating and lying, and agreeing to leave because he has to go…I agreed to let him stay because he can’t afford to leave under the condition that he would not continue to do it IN MY FACE. Well he drove right by me yesterday with her (#1 of a few) and basically daringly glared at me as he slowed down. We live in a very small town, when I saw him last evening at a store and said I was changing locks on Mon cause I can’t take it and want to get on with my life he flipped out…said I was crazy and he always gave her a ride everyday. Here’s the thing, I feel guilty putting him on the St. Where is my spine, why can’t I stay strong? Can anyone tell me (besides family) that it’s OK to look out for me? Sorry if I posted this in the wrong place but I am frantic…..I know he doesn’t have money but WHY WON’T he leave? I feel like I am losing my mind!!!

    • Hi Toni, First, I am so sorry. You deserve so much better. He won’t leave because you allow him to stay. You are a good person for thinking of his well-being, but he is not looking out for yours. He is hurting you. Using you. Manipulating you. And he does not love you or care about you. Of course he will say and di anything to keep the as is situation. But now you know the truth. now you know that you don’t want to be cheated on and used. Please. Throw his shit out the damn window. He stinks to high heaven. It isn’t your problem he does not have any money (don’t bet on that either). He is a big boy that will figure out his life.
      What the hell is the difference if he does cheats on you behind you back or in your face??? He is STILL DOING IT!!!! And disrespects you. Lies, and takes a big ol’ crap on you. That IS NOT OK!!!!! Unload that lying, mooching cheater, like NOW! Toni, please stand up for yourself!!!!! Keep us posted! Don’t let him throw rocks at you anymore. Preserve your beauty.

    • Are you married? Is the house in both names? Are you both on the lease?

      You can get the police involved in forcing him to vacate the premises. If you can afford the rent by yourself, you can discuss the possibility of signing a new lease with your landlord. If you don’t feel safe, you can get a court order of protection and get the police to evict him on your behalf.

      You have options.

      Besides, if this guy has so many girlfriends, why aren’t one of them stepping up to offer him a *cough* couch?

      • He won’t leave because this arrangement suits him – how it’s affecting you is quite frankly inconsequential to him. He simply doesn’t care. How inconvenient of you to get mad and threaten to have the locks changed, so he’ll fuck with your mind and tell you that you’re crazy. They have an uncanny knack of turning it around onto you.

        Toni, your consideration of his lack of money and what will happen to him (where will he go/what will happen to him) reflects a kind, caring good heart. It’s misplaced on his type of personality. He’s using you and your good heart and he is incapable of feeling any shame about it. Harsh as this may sound, it’s the truth.

        Can your family/friends come around and help you to pack his things up? Stack it on the sidewalk, call him and tell him to pick up. Change the locks. Don’t even warn him about it – he doesn’t deserve that consideration from you. Hopefully you live somewhere like Seattle where it rains all the time and his stuff gets wet.
        It’s not your concern what happens to him or his stuff when it’s on the sidewalk. As Rose says, he’s a big boy making big boy decisions to screw around on you. Don’t continue allowing him to shit on you.
        And Toni, it is definately ok to look out for you. You have to. He’s looking out for himself only. You don’t factor in the equation except by providing what is convenient and easy for him. I’m sorry this is happening to you. Keep us posted – you’ve got great support here.

        • Thank you Lynn,
          I answered the other comments earlier in the wrong place. I appreciate ya’ll. I’m at work today and hopefully he is moving his things, if not, I promise to try and heed all of your good advice. I can’t tell you how good it feels to read all of your words, I just gulped them like air. Now I just have to try and do what I have to do. Man, life really sucks sometimes, I wish I could just STAY angry! Frankly it’s just exhausting, I have been making things more and more uncomfortable every day, no food in house, etc. but this is alot of work so if I can just get him out then maybe I can move my valuables back in and try to (hopefully, eventually) recover…

    • If you’re married, it can be slightly more difficult to force the cheating spouse to vacate the home. It just requires another hoop to jump through, but at least there’s a process. In my state, you can’t even file for divorce until you can prove you’ve been living separate and apart for at least 1 year.
      So…when the cheater won’t voluntarily leave, you first seek a “divorce from bed and board” (at least that’s what my state calls it – yours may be different). That will oust the stubborn cheater from the marital home and starts the clock for the time needed to be living separate and apart.
      So – whether you are married or not, you DO have remedies available to legally protect yourself, your sanity, and you don’t have to keep playing host to this parasite.

    • Toni, to email me, write to info@chumplady.com

      Don’t feel guilty. If it’s legal, give him the boot. I doubt he’ll be homeless and if he is — NOT your problem. He fired you from the job of giving a shit when he started fucking around on you.

      And YES it’s not only okay to look out for yourself, it’s essential. Good people don’t make you decide between your personal welfare and theirs. He’s a user.

    • Awwwww jeesh Toni, I get that you love him, you have a history with him, you want to give him another chance, and you don’t want to throw him out in the streets to starve, but you have got to use some real self-discipline here. And that’s what its going to take….discipline to think about yourself. Not him. First, if he is unable to stand on his own two feet and survive if you show him the door, it doesn’t sound like you are losing a real prize here. Not that that’s gonna help you here, but…..

      DON’T let him gaslight you! When he tells you you are crazy it is all part of his plot to demean you enough that you will lose confidence in yourself and begin doubting your own feelings and thoughts and suspicions about him. Don’t fall for it. Its a con.

      Tell him he needs to leave. Take the time you will need to decide whether or not this marriage is worth it. This is not going to happen in one week or one month. Take enough time to know that you WILL survive on your own two feet without him, and then make a decision, which won’t be muddied by fear of being alone.

      I won’t say once a cheater always a cheater. But I will say, once a cheater almost always a cheater.

  • Wonderful post CL. I have family around that area. Would love to check out Morse Museum/Tiffany Chapel someday on a visit there in the future. A break from the touristy stuff too would be right up my alley!
    You know? I think we chumps really needed to hear that (well I did anyway).. To know our inner beauty. Our worth. We ARE good people. How precious that is. How we must do everything to protect ourselves from careless, senseless people that don’t give a damn what precious beauty there is and throws rocks at us to destroy. Destruct. When we out the cheater, leave the cheater we put so much FOCUS on the cheater. I am one of those. It is easy to forget about the beauty inside yourself. We are like a stained glass window. Stunning. But very fragile. And too often, we are too hard on ourselves. Or don’t appreciate our own beauty. But not anymore. I am going to make a conscious effort to stop putting the focus on the cheating wasband. I have to start thinking about what I want to fill up my thoughts with. My actions with. My life with. Goodness and beauty. A plan. A life goal. Thanks Chump Lady. Great analogy and inspiring post. I am a work of art. We all are.. Time to be open to your own worth and beauty.

    • CL I totally agree with everyone else. What a great post! Yes, we are all Tiffany glass masters who have put energy into making something REALLY beautiful with our lives: raising kids, loving our SO’s our spouse, being good citizens, never cheating on them because that is something we would NEVER have to think about, working hard to build a loving family.

      Then comes the tragedy. We realize that ALL that beauty, kindness, goodness, and energy spent only to have lived and given our energies to rock throwers! How COULD we have chosen that person to be around us? That is why we all literally feel so shattered and we feel like we are broken into a million pieces beyond repair. Yes, your post really touched our hearts and it sure spoke to me.

      • Thanks guys. I’m really glad to hear the post made sense. I wonder if I’m not just blathering on about my trip to the museum. 🙂 I didn’t tie in shattered glass and vulnerability, but that absolutely fits.

        • Oh your post was great! I actually was looking forward to the connection which came so beautifully, Thank You! You and the people that replied to my outburst are godsends , I got home from work (still going to change locks tomorrow) pretty much all of his clothing, phone charger, toothbrush is gone…YAY! But, 12 YEARS and that’s all he wants???? Maybe he truly doesn’t have a place to take his things, like I feared…much more than I feared another or many other women?

          Either way, Thanks to the support I’ve gotten here I will pack up his leftover **** as someone so kindly suggested earlier…and put it outside even though I don’t live in Seattle, as Lynn hoped for me, Thank you all again.

  • Lovely post, CL.

    Sorry to intrude with something off topic … Major crisis last night. So I found my STBX went for dinner with a friend named “James.” (Yes, I broke NC. But I’m back to that again.) Something in his story didn’t add up, I just had a gut feeling.

    I called the restaurant and learned he was there with a blonde woman named Laurie. I only discovered it was her because the reservation was in her name. He denied everything, wouldn’t take my calls while they shared a drink at another location. Then called me an hour later, again denying everything, and insisting he had to lie because I would not have been able to handle him having dinner with a female friend since I’m “crazy.” (Totally not true. He’s told me he’s had dinner with her before. Clearly something more was going on — dinner reservations at a new seafood place on a Saturday night? Drinks afterward? CHEATING AGAIN!)

    She’s a reporter whose husband — the chancellor of a university — lives in another province so she was a great target. They’ve probably been fucking the whole time I’ve been gone!

    At least it all happened now and not a year or two from now. So now I have confirmation he’s cheating again. We’re totally done. 100% over. And our crazy fight sealed the deal. He told me to fuck off … Once again, whatever.

    I’ll be seeing a lawyer too Monday.

    • I am so sorry, Sad. Terrible, terrible man this cheating tool is. Sounds to me he is not cheating again—he never STOPPED cheating. Please don’t torture yourself anymore. Let him live like that. He is such a piece of shit!!!! Time to get angry now to fuel you into action. Hire a lawyer. Start gathering documents. Financial records. Whatever.
      Drop him like a bad habit. He is a scumbag. Time to muster all the strength, all the courage, all the will you have and cut that cancer out of your life!!!! For good!!!!! Forever!!!!!
      Focus on you now too. Do whatever you can to manage your nerves. You are a wreck (and rightly so considering what you are going through.. I was there too). Take care of yourself. Please.

    • Good job Sad.

      I know it majorly blows. It may feel like the end of the world right now. But you will be okay. It will pass.

      Try to take what life lessons you can from the experience; there are plenty of sh*tty things they do that have no educational value *whatsoever*.

      You deserve someone who is honest with you; you deserve someone who does not put their own selfish wants above your right not to be exposed to STDs while in a monogomous relationship. You deserve someone who considers your safety equally important as their own.

      Focus on yourself, and building (and re-building) your friendships. Enjoy new (or even better, old) hobbies you were not allowed to explore.

      I’m on the other side of the country, but feel free to message me on FB if you would like to connect electronically.

    • Glad you’re seeing a lawyer. Hey, whatever it takes to break you free from the fucktard. Cheating again? I wonder if he ever stopped. That’s who he IS.

      Let him tell your lawyer to “fuck off.” We’ll see how that goes.

      • Your post was really nice, CL. I’m so wrapped up in the horrors of my own personal Hell that it’s hard to appreciate sometimes that we, the chumps, aren’t to blame and are actually good people (when we aren’t nailing the asses of our STBXs to the wall, of course.)

        I think about everything I used to do for him … make dinner, manage our money, plan our fertility treatments, endless supply of sexual favours and kibbles. I was endlessly willing to work things out, inexhaustibly hopeful. It’s just sad and the ending makes no sense. But I guess you addressed that in your post. They refuse to appreciate, the ones who throw rocks and damage us. I’m nothing special, just a just a normal nice person like the rest of us chumps. But he’s BAD. He’s awful and terrible like all cheaters. He just sucks.

        I sure hope he gets what’s coming to him. But he’s already lining up allies, convincing people I’m crazy (which is a pretty easy thing to do when yes, I am depressed and yes, I am living in my parents’ basement and yes, I have been accusing him of all sorts of outlandish behaviour. I’m an easy target but I hope people see through his charm, though it’s pretty near impossible. He’s everyone’s best friend.)

        I’m seeing a teensy bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I feel rock solid in my decision to completely end things. And I feel blessed that he managed to fuck up so spectacularly so rapidly … one phone call was all it took to bust him cheating with a married colleague … wondering about telling her husband when I don’t have 100% proof aside from some mighty suspicious circumstances and a gut feeling. I KNOW they were cheating and that’s enough for me but I don’t know if I should let her husband know too unless I have something more to go on. Thoughts?

        I am so lucky, however, that I didn’t buy that ticket and go back, which I was still contemplating. I really needed this boot to the head to smarten me up or I would be going through this exact thing two months or six years or three decades from now.

        Now I see a life full of comfort and family and me for the next little while. I’m already imagining decorating my new place, filling it full of soft blankets, my cats and pretty paint colours of my choosing. I’m thinking about joining a divorce support group and going back to school, after it all stops hurting like a motherfucker of course.

        I had so many dreams, we all did, right? He was going to be the father of my children. I truly loved him. WTF happened? Yes, I know, he just sucks. It’s that simple. But I made it so complicated for so long that it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that he just sucks, that he’s just a bad guy, that it’s not anything deeper than that. He was just a selfish bastard who sucks. The end.

        I spent eight years in a mindfuck prison, getting sicker and sicker until now there is practically nothing left of me. I will need to rebuild everything, like most of us here whose marriages ended. I am so messed up believing he was something so special and I was nothing. He had me convinced that I was unworthy, damaged and that I deserved the treatment he was dishing out. I have to remind myself 100 times a day that he was cheating six months into the relationship, when I was still young and beautiful and not depressed or jobless. That right there assures me that it was him who was at fault all along, that he sucked from Day One.

        Sorry … I need to vent today and I don’t have a lot of places to do it. I’m just bleeding all over the page so my apologies. I had about 2 hours of sleep and am probably not making much sense. Something has literally died. I am grieving the loss of my marriage and I am incredibly sad so I suppose this all makes sense.

        • You are still young and beautiful. Me too. And I have decided that I will no longer freak out about “wasted time”. I learned a lot. I learned what I will and will not accept in any relationship/friendship. I thought I had a good grasp on that already.
          I come from a big family. My parents have been married for over 53 years. Faithful, supportive, loving, respectful of each other, companionship, and humor. Held on together despite the many storms life brought them. I have had strong role models for marriage and family in my parents.
          And yet, I did not see his cheating for so long. I spackled. I rationalized behavior that I knew was not right, that seemed off, but could not truly believe he would cheat. It was stress, life circumstances, etc.. And I knew I was neglected, emotionally abandoned, a single parent. Seperate lives. I saw his family more than he did. Why didn’t I leave? Well, I truly believed that he life hit him hard. Be supportive. I truly loved him. I am not a quitter. Maybe I should have seen those signs for what they were. That was not a relationship. That is not reciprocal love. I told myself that just give him some more time. But cheating?? Never. But guess what? He was. He is a selfish, terrible, cowardly “man”. That was the dealbreaker for me. And so I said enough. I am in my 30’s. I can start over. And I am now. So can you. And you will.
          This has been a real eyeopener for me. How much I sacrificed, how much of myself and my needs I compromised, the treatment I put up with for far too long. All in the name of doing my best to be his supporter, to “save my marriage”. I was a sap. That was not reciprocal love. Healthy. Respectful. Supportive. Certainly not what I was raised with in the marriage my mom and dad have. I knew better. So, I most likely would still be there today had I not discovered his cheating. And why? Because I truly believed he was a man of good character. Loyalty. Integrity. Honesty. Faithfulness. Wrong. No, no, no, and no. Sad, you can do it. You must. You are too young and too beautiful to not do it.
          Let this be some life lessons to carry with you. I am still healing myself. But I am doing what I can to keep pushing forward. With my parents and family’s support.
          Abuse and cheating are deal breakers. So proud of you that you are standing up for yourself. So hard but so important!!!

          • Rose, may I ask, how old are you? I’ll be 35 in two months. Ugh. That magical age when suddenly having babies becomes riskier. But it will happen for me, one way or another. (The irony is that I worked so hard to make babies because his sperm is genetically defective, as in practically useless. Now I don’t have that concern anymore.) I think I’m going to spend a year finding myself and then look at maybe dating again. I have only been single six months my entire adult life!

            I too am incredibly lucky to have my parents’ support. In fact, they’re lending me cash to start the divorce and to fly out there to get the rest of my stuff. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

            I totally understand what you mean about poor treatment by our STBXs. It’s so glaring when we pick up the slack all the time, but we spackle like crazy to qiet those voices in our heads. I never understood why I couldn’t get through to him, why he’d just ignore the stuff I wanted — important stuff like communication or affection or acknowledging birthdays, for example. Truth is it just never mattered to him because I just never did. He didn’t care, which is so weird when we care so deeply, don’t you think? He mattered to me. But even having me gone doesn’t matter. He was still cheating … last night! Wow. God/the universe is looking out for me for sure! Finding that out last night was a gift borne out of a bunch of odd coincidences and hunches and the faintest whisper in my ear that something was up.

            Well, I guess the one bit of consolation for me now is that he has lost his source of kibbles, as has your cheater, which means they have to go out and find more (STBX already has, obviously. But now it’s no more fun because there’s no deception involved, no more wife cooking at home while he bangs a hooker. Now it’s just him and the truth he has to live with). Finding kibbles has never been hard for him. But in the meantime, he will lose the house, he will lose his status as a married man and will be regarded as a cheater, he will lose about $800 a month in alimony, he will have to take on a bunch of our debts, and he will lose someone who would have worked on things till the end of time if he was willing and interested. He can stand on his own two feet but not in a good way. He’s 42 this year and starting over, which is all his own doing. He doesn’t pay bills on time, instant gratification is key for him so the money goes fast. He wants expensive things. He wants nice tailored suits and $400 shoes and a Mercedes. But he’s empty inside. He’ll probably find another person just like me. Hopefully she won’t put up with his crap for long, hopefully her self-esteem is higher than mine was, though I am doubtful. He seems to have a radar for that in women. He also smokes, eats out every day, works too much. He fired me from the job of loving wife who looks after his health. His dad died at 46 from diabetes.

            What gets me the most is that none of this had to happen … or maybe that’s not true. It’s so easy to say, “stay faithful” because it seems so obvious to us. But these guys suck, right? This is what they want to do. More instant gratification. And he’d been doing this all along. This is who he is. And no matter how I tried to look at him sideways, what you see is what you get. I just chose to ignore the warnings (I really did. The red flags were everywhere. But I just went to therapist after therapist, getting prescription after prescription so I could temporarily quell that gut feeling that everything was wrong.).

            I’m glad, at least, that I can look at myself in the mirror today. I am proud of myself for this. Leaving is one step in the right direction. Don’t you feel like that too for ending it? I saved myself. I am my own hero. I really believe I saved my life. I said “no more” when it counted. I drew my line in the sand at infidelity, even if it took a while to get there. The narrative will always and forever be that he fucked around and I dumped his ass. I chose to leave this “spectacular catch” — me, depressed and jobless, knew there was more out there than his bullshit. I am proud of that. All of us chumps should be proud of ourselves for that. It took me eight years and it’s not over yet, but I’m gone for good. Yay Chump Army!

            • “So I could temporarily quell that gut feeling that everything was wrong”

              Wow that really strikes a chord with me…I am battling so many bad emotions right now but one of the things I’m feeling is relief

              • Yup. That feeling was always there. I sort of imagine it like a skin drum being beaten very quietly then gradually louder and louder. I would cry for no reason. I remember saying, “Everything feels meaningless here” to my mom. And it wasn’t just my depression. We weren’t connected. He didn’t love me, no matter how much I tried. Eventually I had to get back on meds to quiet that beating, just to function.

                It was such an empty feeling. It was soul-destroying. Everything for him was about material possessions. I came from a family so full of love and life. But all we’d ever do together is browse high-end boutiques or go to the mall on the weekends. The fights were so stupid and made me lonely constantly: he didn’t want to come to bed, he didn’t want to marry me, I wasn’t allowed to go out with his friends, I was constantly excluded from his life. And now I’ve excluded him from mine. Crickets.

                I lost so much over the years: confidence, friends, a career I was so proud of. Now is my chance to get it back. I thank God for moments of clarity like this one.

                Toni, I too am feeling some relief. I’m feeling like I’m defrosting a little at a time after so many years of paralysis. I was just so stuck there. No matter how bad things got I couldn’t leave him … until I got confirmation from the other woman. And then I left immediately.

            • Don’t lose heart, SIS. You are young!!!!

              I am 56. I had my daughter when I was 42 (and yes, there are challenges to being an older mom, but I was entirely not ready before then.) Better to split now BEFORE having children together. That is the most difficult part about heading into divorce. It’s not just him and me. Our beautiful child (teenager) is caught in the middle.

        • Sad,

          Rose hit most of the high points, so I will just say a big fat Ditto!

          One thing I did want to mention: Tell your fellow chump (the married collegue’s husband).

          He deserves someone who is honest and faithful. If you know your husband has been unfaithful, and you suspect this is one of the women he cheated with, then very likely this is one of the women he cheated with.

          If they have a strong marriage and its not true, they will be fine. If it causes the OW’s husband to question a few things and get some evidence, it is not your responsibility what he chooses to do with it.

  • Chumps are intricate, colorful, detailed, imaginative, enduring, endearing, transparent, sophisticated, involved, complex… Oh, yes – let’s not forget, fragile

    Thanks, CL. We love you too!

  • I feel I am a tiffany window that has been shattered, but I struggle every day with the thought of piecing me back together and trying to make it work.
    I read this on doccool, and I try to remember it when I think of reconciliation, because it was me the last 2 years.
    “Many men are quite happy with an intimate-less relationship with a woman as long as they get some sex. These are men that are emotionally incapable of real intimacy.
    My ex H was like this. He thought our marriage was great, he was very happy with me. The truth is, he just enjoyed a wife who didn’t nag about his absence and ignorance(anymore), a wife who gave him sex, a wife who was beautiful and all his friends and coworkers liked her(huge ego boost), a wife who took care of the child and the house. But he didn’t love ME, the woman who is beneath this ‘wife of his.'”
    My STBX says he loves me, but his “love” is all the stuff(cake) I give him, because he is all powerful oz, and everyone is below him. I realize he is just like the wizard of OZ, under all the exterior, he’s just one lost, fucked up man, who would rather live in his fantasy world than see himself for who he really is. Just a man.

  • CL welcome to orlando :).while i havent visited any of the theme parks here or the museums in years, i was recently doing some construction work at disney world.

    a cheating piece of shit is a piece of shit is a piece if shit.(sorry for being redundant ,hope you get the picture) i dont care if its been sprayed painted gold and with cologne its still a piece of shit.

    PLEASE dont be like me and put up with that shit.dont put up with cheating,abusing,hitting,yelling.screaming,money being diverted to an OM or OW etc.give the piece of shit its walking papers or take a long walk yourself(to a lawyers office)
    if its social skill are SOO well refined that it finds it necessary to cheat or abuse it can find another place to stay if it really wants to.(i felt bad because my cheating,abusing XW hadent yet gotten her greencard finalized.,,played chump and ate shit sandwiches )

    good analogy CL.we are like Tiffany glass(NOT the cheap stuff) and deserve better.thankyou

  • Thank you Rose, this is exactly what I need to hear right now to keep my resolve strong, I appreciate it and it is exactly why I reached out to you this morning.

    Blue Eyes – I’m not sure if we are both on the lease or not, but I plan on getting his name off either way, I think finances may be tight, but the more I think about it the more I think that since I won’t have to be paying the bills for all the times he’s been “out of work” and “looking for work” and all of the money I spent and gave him (probably saved at least a hundred dollars this week) Not counting all the times I “helped” him with CS – phone bill, etc. I should be fine. Either way I have to trust in God because I can’t live this way anymore…it’s been 12 years and I confronted him a few weeks ago (After getting an “anonymous” letter at work and he said that this was pretty much what he’s been doing since day 1. Also, I have a friend on the PD (small town, I am well known and have a lot of friends ) that I am going to speak to just in case. Oh and I guess they are not offering him a couch because they don’t have one (?!) Most of them are on drugs and pretty much on the street. (Cringe, cringe, cringe to read what I’ve written) What’s WRONG with me????

    It’s just jeez…I don’t understand why I have to fight so hard to get rid of him when I am already in such excruciating pain – Thank you guys for being here because I feel like I’m losing my mind…

  • This is a lovely analogy, CL. I had never heard of this museum, and although I don’t have plans to visit FL or live anywhere near it, I will keep it in mind if I ever get down there some day.

    My STBX is someone who considers himself cultured and would find Tiffany windows and the museum lovely, I’m sure. Yet, I completely agree with what you’re saying– he likely would find them lovely because he’s supposed to. That’s what cultured, educated people do; they appreciate art. The irony that he couldn’t find the beauty in me and our family and was willing to destroy them certainly shows that he’s someone who appreciates things either because they serve a purpose to them or for show because it makes him look cultured and intelligent. So much about him is really a facade that this analogy fits him perfectly.

    As ever, thank you for your insight.

  • Yes, I love this post. I thought about it a lot on my way too and from work today. It inspired me. A lot of us betrayed spouses are really gems; I know that. I know I am one, too, and it is nice to have a little affirmation, and a nice analogy.

    Truth is, mean people DO suck. And they are everywhere.

    I also thought about how you are such a great writer and thinker–you always seem to have something really relevant to say that resonates with us.

    Good job–thanks for being here for us, CL!

  • Sad, I am 34 turning 35 this year. Wasband is almost 30 in a long term affair with a 45 year old mom of three tween kids. He and myself have one beautiful daughter together. I often felt like a single parent. Looking back, I was. He bailed on spending time with our daughter and I, wasn’t an emotional support. I was a SAHM and did a lot of her upbringing and caring myself. It was hard. I was lonely. But she is the light of my life and beautiful on the inside and outside.
    You know, 35 is the new 25. Many women are having babies later than ever before. Some well into their 40’s. You can have a fresh start with a good man have your own family and have no ties whatsoever to that slimeball.
    You know I find that people that are so empty, try to fill the void in their lives and with materialistic possessions. Why? Because they put value on outer than inner. What they have is more important than who they are. Status. Money. Shiny things. All amassed to make their image all the brighter and flashier. Is this every person that has money or wealth? No way! But I think there is a correlation to people with a void and putting time and energy into attaining/keeping their public image super sparkly.
    Sad, I agree you are your own hero! I am my own hero. Isn’t that a great feeling to have? To have the ability to save yourself, to have the guts, the courage, the will to walk away!!!? That takes massive amount of strength. A good friend has continued to tell me, “You are stronger than you know.” And she is right. When you are tested, you can cower in a corner or you can look the life challenge square in the face and keep pushing forward.
    Yes. What a lovely idea to spend some time on you. Getting to know you. And when you are ready with some much more knowledge and wisdom under your belt, you will be ready to date. In my younger days, I stayed single for quite a awhile. Greatest thing I did for myself. I had a full life of friends, in school, travelled, hobbies, etc. Dated some really nice guys too in that time. Developed independence, broadened my horizons, and comfortable in my own skin. I liked me. I still do.
    I am going back to school myself to secure a good job. Taking classes now. Divorce is in motion now. The future is terrifying and exciting at the same time. My focus is on my daughter, myself, my future. Spending time with family and good friends. Picking up some hobbies/ interests I have. Some days are still really hard. I would really like to take hard right hook to hasbeend’s face some days. Lol!! However, after reading CL, I realize now my goal is to reach “Meh!” Indifference. I don’t care because my life is so filled up with positives to care anymore. With or without a good man in it. I just know that in order for me to move forward is to do right by me first. Get myself together. And I will do it. I have left that cheater in the dust and I will never look back. His loss. My gain of a life!

    • Love it. Wasband and Hasbeend. Hilarious. I hate the H word. And I hate the D word. They both hurt to say. I’ll start using your suggestions instead 🙂

      I sometimes think about the loser I dated years ago. I also left him but he wasn’t a cheater, he was an addict. My life was so full after that. I look forward to doing that again.

      I am so grateful for the moments of peace. I am having one tonight. I feel OK. I’ve been in NC for 24 hours, phone totally off and zero email communication. It’s doing something for me. I guess I need strength before I enter into the tornado of flying back to steal my cats/stuff and hammer out a separation agreement.

      He has a big bonus coming his way from last year and I want at least 1/2 to set up a new apartment. He changed the password to our joint account last night, which is a big no no so I will have to speak to a lawyer about that too. Also, we have to work out the details of selling the house. He’s so irresponsible but whatever … it will sell even if he doesn’t clean all the cupboards and sweep the floor every day. That’s not my problem. His work is paying the closing costs because he’s being transferred.

      I know I have to go through this … every awful second. I know this is how I get better, how I’ll build a life. But I sure wish I could just snap my fingers and be a year into the future without having to go through this. I dread going back to that house even for a second. Even the thought is stressing me out. It was such a sad and negative place and I dread what I’m going to find since I’m coming in unannounced. There will probably be panties and condoms in the bedroom. Great … actually, maybe that would be great. I can take a pic and sue him for adultery too!

      • Haha!! Yes!!! Be sure to bring a camera/smartphone to shoot some pictures for any evidence. Can you have a friend/family member go with you so you have moral support? I hope so. It is treacherous to go alone. If not, we are all here to help you through it. Going through the pain is SO hard. It’s been 10 months since the first DDay.. 8 months since the last one. It will get more manageable I promise you. The moments of peace will happen more often. The pain will dull. And you will continue to heal. We all will reach Meh! in time. 🙂

        • My mom is coming. She’s the enforcer. But he’ll be at work anyway. I’m scared of that terribly lonely feeling I will experience … going into that empty house to get back my cats. Seeing the pictures in the hall, on the fridge. Our bedroom. Shit… getting wobbly.

          • I am so glad you have your mom with you. When you go back, please try to look at it for what it really was. It was a sham. A prison. And now you are freeing yourself. Of the pain. The loneliness. The isolation. You taking back what is yours. Say goodbye to that prison once and for all!!!! Cry and get angry. You have every right to. It will be emotional. But you are taking the good with you. Your kitties. Leave the wedding pictures. Leave any pictures/mementos of the sham there. You don’t want nor need them. You are starting fresh. Leaving the painful ending behind. Giving way to a beautiful new beginning. You can do this.

          • Get in, take only what you want, and get the hell out. Give your mom a big hug.

            YOU get to start fresh. He is left to clean up the crap.

      • In a year from now, you’ll wear all the work you did to get to where you’ll be like a freaking badge of courage. Because it will be hard, and SO, you will grow and mellow in ways that will impress you. You’ll be able to put your arm around another LBS and tell him or her that, yes, the pain is awful, but, yes, he or she will get through the fire by walking through it, and you’ll say it with conviction and gravitas.

        One word of advice–don’t go for the grand gesture. There is nothing you can say in a big “fuck you” reveal to friends and family that will make him love you. And you can’t shame a sociopath. My advice is to write it all down but keep it close to your chest, revealed only to close friends. They will spread it around, trust me. You will come off smelling like a rose. But if you pour your heart out and play the victim card, you will be seen as the crazy one for sure. People will lose sympathy for you. Not fair, but true. Be strong, be mysterious and sweet. I know, I’ve been there, and I’m happy that so many people who I respect told me to take the high road.

        Take the high road, SIS!

        Trust me–he will fuck up his own life. You just hold your head high and say things like, well, as painful as it is, I found out that he doesn’t have the same values as me. He broke our marital vows, and that’s all I’m really going to say about it. Then smile and change the subject. Don’t slash your wrists for people. They don’t want to know about it, except for prurient interests, and it’s not your job to feed them junk.

        BE CLASSY. You will never, ever regret it.

        • Thanks Stephanie, I have been trying to take the “high road” too, although at first through the shock there were some hysterical moments, I think I’ve done OK, at least OK in public….except for the other night when I told him I was changing the locks…I did that (quietly to the side) around people so that when he blew up (expected) there would be witnesses. But I totally agree with you, besides I don’t want to drag myself any further down than He already has….behind my back for years…

          • Actually, Toni, that was brilliant what you did. YOU stayed classy and subdued, not hysterical, HE blew up. That’s a great example! LOVE it!

    • Rose – I love everything you said here! I know it was meant for SIS, but I feel every single word of what you are saying. I too really was a single parent. Once my kiddo started to have thoughts and feelings of her own… he couldn’t really enjoy his time with her. Can I ask how old your daughter is, and what you told her about why you were getting divorced. My daughter is 7 and I am starting to give her small bits and pieces of the why’s.

      We are all stronger than we know. As we face the unknown, we are moving forward, coping and eventually thriving (I keep telling myself that anyway… eventually I will be thriving). I still have my mad or sad or just plain bad days… but MEH is the goal. And I’ll get there.

      Thanks to everyone here and CL, I don’t feel so alone in what I am doing. So thankful for this community!

      • Hi Dani,
        My daughter is 7. Too young to understand the full extent of what her father has done. However, she is a very intuitive child and I told her the truth in an age appropriate manner.
        I explained that her father made some very bad adult choices when he was not with us. And the choices he made hurt mommy so deeply. He did not treat me with the respect I deserve. And I gave him three chances to show mommy the love and respect that husbands and wives show one another. But he kept making the same bad choices. So mommy knew she could not stay knowing I would be treated this way. And more importantly, when you grow up, I don’t want you to ever stay with a man that treats you this way. And so mommy made the choice to love and respect herself and you. Mommy is looking out for us first.
        I later explained that when you grow up before you marry, you date people to get to know what kind of person you want to marry someday. And when you meet that special person, you make a commitment to marriage. To love one another. I explained that her dad and I got married and made the commitment to each other and only each other to love one another, in good times/bad times, sickness/health, richer/poorer. Etc. We no longer have other boyfriends (me), or girlfriends (dad). When you are in a serious relationship/marriage with someone, you commit to that one person. And I discovered that dad had a secret girlfriend. My daughter asked me if that was why he never spent time with us, I answered truthfully, yes. She actually said she was proud of me and that I was making the right choice. She said, “Mom you are very smart. If that ever happens to me, I will know what to do because you have done it.” She asked if he family had been erased. I explained that she, herself and her dad are like a triangle. The line from her to me is still there, the line from herself and her dad is still there, but the line from dad and myself has become a dotted line. We will always be connected because of her. I told her that no matter what happens we will always be her parents and we will love her and take care of her alwats. She has been through a lot, but she is well-adjusted and doing well.
        I could not shield her from this. I believe she has a right to know age appropriately, of course. It was the hardest conversation I have ever had. But I know it was the right one to have. Good luck Dani.

        • Thanks Rose! That is really helpful. My kiddo and I have talked a little bit about some of her dad’s issues (he is an alcoholic), but we haven’t touched the infidelity portion yet. We will eventually. But this helps me immensely!

  • Tracy,yes am not using CL, because what I want to say I want to say it to you not your screen name.

    Someday, somewhere I wish I could meet you in person.I want to thank you and hug you for being who you are.

    Apriceless gem again..” good people do not ask you to choose between your personal welfare and theirs,”

    This is something so simple , so basic , so fundamental but we chumps always forget this.

    This is the barometer we should use for every relationship in our life.

    In a mutual relationship theree never can be a conflict of interest with regards to personal welfare.

    This gives me the courage to move on.

    Tracy, the best savior is one who doesn’t set out to be one or wants to be one.

    Tracy, you are a Saviour.

    • Thanks SR, but I’m really uncomfortable being anyone’s savior! I’m a good example of a bad example (major chump). I just had the time and took the opportunity to write out what I learned. I really appreciate the kind words about how the site has helped you. Your comments, and others, mean a lot to me.

      I think when you’re in the throes of it, what makes the CL perspective a bit different, is that I will speak with clarity. Do THIS not THAT. I don’t see a lot of ambiguity. Whereas on other forums, at the shrink’s office, people retreat from pronouncements or judgments. I think a lot of it is rather simple, but we make it complicated, because we’re trying to have both. (They loved us while they were cheating on us, etc.) Cheaters are trying to have both (the affair and the marriage). I just want to cut through as much bullshit as I can.

      The courage, however, is ALL yours. Happy to be your cheerleader as you move on!

      • CL, science certainly backs your perspective. Everything I’ve read about “choices” seems to indicate that the more we have, the more confused we are about what is the right one. I think it’s okay to say that it’s either chocolate or vanilla– sometimes, just having one or two things to pick from makes the decision easy and clear. All of this gray area that we seem to operate in doesn’t seem to be doing our society any good. Maybe if we drew more lines about what was right and wrong, we would make better decisions.

        When my parents were growing up, cheating, drug use, stealing, and violence against others were wrong. Now, we explain away the behavior committed by the person so that it’s not his fault; he’s really a good person who had a tough life and made some wrong decisions. We all have tough experiences in our pasts; I have never once cheated on a partner, robbed a bank, or committed violence against another (okay, I had the occasional tiff with one of my siblings when we were kids) because of it. For every person who has FOO issues or some sort of “pathology” that “led” to the wrong choices, there is another person who acknowledges his own difficult experiences and vows to never repeat them in his own life. I would know– my father grew up in a physically abusive household and said that he’d never treat his own kids that way, and he kept his word.

  • I have no where near the beauty of this artwork.But, it was weird. The good qualities I think I have were the exact qualities my XWs grew to hate.
    Co, I have been reading about being more “alpha”. I am trying to be mpre selfish and less acomodating.
    Really, though, my girlfriend is so nice and giving that I think I can just be me, again. I am a nice person, amd she likes it.

  • Arnold – my first instinct is to say stay as you are then – you’re giving, considerate, a nice person and your girlfriend likes you, so why try change.
    However, I see what you`re saying. I am experiencing the same thing. My boyfriend is so nice, so funny, so accepting of me. I struggle with being consistent about just being the true me – loving, giving, accomodating, sweet, open, trusting. I pull back. Sometimes I am racked with panic-like feelings – that`s usually when he has gone out of town and my confidence just plummets. Once bitten, twice shy I suppose.
    I guess it`s a natural instinct to not making myself too vulnerable. It`s another example of how cheaters mess with our minds and the damage they do – while they go on to the next relationship so easily.
    Despite all this though, I think it`s important not to allow what happened in the past to stop us living and loving in our present and therefore our future. Keeping this in mind, helps me to cope with this struggle and find my sense of self again.
    We are works of art and sometimes the restoration work to bring the beauty out again takes more time than we think it should.

  • I think it takes a while for the effects of the past abuse to wear off, Lynn. I know for a while, and still to some extent, I was waiting for my girlfreind to go ballistic for no good reason. I was just so used to that happening, out of the blue, with my XW. And, I began to wonder if she was right. I was being a poor father and husband.
    Here is an example of just how nuts she was, but I stiil doubted myself.
    My eldest son, Henry, has Down Syndrome and autism. He is pretty high maintenance, but incredibly sweet and loving. he just has little common sense and lacks impulse control. He would, for example, just sit down at a table in a restaruant and start eating fries off someone’s plate if he is not watched like a hawk.
    In any case, my seond boy, Michael , was normal. We would have the boys at our house on Wednesdays and the Weekends.
    One Spring break, Michael was set to go tio visit his elderly grandparents(my first wife’s parents) in Arizona. So, he would be gone on our scheduled weekend. We would only have Henry at our house(and I was the only one who ever took care of henry as my wife despised my boys).
    So, as Michael began to get ready for his trip to see his grandparents, My wife through a fit. She insisted that Henry was being treated unfairly and that Michael should not be allowed to go.
    Imagine how absurd that was. Henry, unlike Michael, could not travel by plane alone. And, Henry was oblivious to Michael going. Not to mention taht my XW hated Michael more than Henry, aoIwould have thought she would be glad he was not coming.
    She tried to get me to stop my son’s trip. She went on and on about what a bad parent I was. I think at that point, I did realize she was completely fucking nuts.

      • The boys were my second wife’s stepkids. When we starte d having our own kids, she just ignored them and ostracized them.
        Now, my girls from he second marriage have a relatiosnhip with their half brothers. Thye could not even associate with the boys when I was married to my second wife.
        She never displayed any of this during courtship, pretending to like the boys.
        Once we married, she seemed to despise them.

  • The Tiffany museum is one of my favourite places. I went through a stint of visiting WDW every year cause he refused to go on holiday with me – too much work or not enough $$. So i would go to WDW, rent a car and scoot up to Winter Park – I love it there. From Canberra Australia. Ppl here don’t even know of WDW let alone the Morse. Been 3 or 4 times.
    So this article has touched my heart and my memories. Memories of beauty that are mine alone. Cause he thought it was a waste of money. I didn’t and will go back one day.
    Thank you

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