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More Inspiration Monday

And here’s another letter from “Valentine” (as she posts here). Folks, I think there is something in the water here in Texas (as little of it as there is… the place is perpetually in drought)… all my happy stories are coming from Texas lately. But I know you guys have positives tales to tell — so SEND ‘EM IN to give heart to your fellow chumps.

Here’s Valentine’s story:

Hey there Tracy/CL!

My story begins like a lot of the other sorry souls on CL….I found out he was cheating, devastated me…I had undergone several years of fertility treatments only to lose all three pregnancies early on. I could make a lot of excuses for that ass-clown but I’ll save my breath for something really worthy. He was a manipulative snake—did I mention he was a lawyer?

Anyhow, after losing my job in a buyout, someone bought the home we had for sale in a nice San Antonio neighborhood. I decided it was time to come home and skedaddled back to Austin, my hometown. I know—-THE TRAFFIC. So, since I had no home and no job…I moved in my parents in a little town outside of the Austin area, named Dripping Springs. I got involved in a TON of stuff: my church, teaching religious ed to 7 year olds on the brink of making their first communion. I volunteered for CASA (court appointed special advocate for kids who have it WAYYYY worse than I ever did) AND I joined

I know. The cliché. I figured, what the hell? I lived in Podunk, TX where everyone I knew was married and partying on the town was a mere 45-minutes away. No, I didn’t want to add D W I to my resume. So, I decided to join.

After some disastrous dates, some completely inappropriate pics (honestly, a picture of a mans junk is not that sexy) and texts that would’ve made event he editor of Hustler blush, I met this really cool dude. He liked the History channel. He was a man of selective words (unlike my ex who LOVED the sound of his own voice. ICK). He had ALL his teeth. He had a JOB and even a truck and fun-mobile (a Corvette). He’s never been married….WHAT? NEVER MARRIED? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE????? I wondered if he was gay at first….I mean, come on—we are in our mid-40’s…and he has never been married nor had any kids or baby-mama drama? Holy shit—Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

So, after some texting (not sexting) and sharing of NORMAL pics (no request for body, booty or bare boob shots) we decided to meet. He likes country music…I like wearing cowboy boots. I figured, why the hell not? Couldn’t be any worse than what I had ALREADY been through. So, we met at a dancehall. Now mind you, I had been to a baby-shower earlier which was held at a place known for its delicious margaritas! So, I show up to this place thinking: yeah, whatever, this is only a meet and greet, not like I am meeting some hottie man or anything.

And then I saw him in person.

I had to hide behind a pillar so he wouldn’t see me. I saw this tallish hot guy, with a strong chin in a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, who filled out his jeans nicely, thank you! I was mortified! Did I look ok???? Why the hell hadn’t I taken some time in the car to REFRESH my make-up. Gaaaaaaahhhhhhh. I looked like I had already had one margarita too many! So, he’s looking at his phone…and texts me: Are you here yet? Where are you? I figure I might as well just walk up…if there is no chemistry then it didn’t matter how hot he looked. I walk up to him and HOLY BABY JESUS he has the most stunning eyes…I had no idea if they were more green or slate…I decided on hazel.

So, our first ‘date’ began. He was really easy to talk to (after several tongue-tied attempts at conversation on my part)…and seemed like a cool guy. We had enough in common for a second date. 😉 and the rest, as they say….is history..

Ok, well, not exactly. So, after several months of dating…we go to the movies one night and as he opening my car door he comes out with: WILL YOU MARRY ME? I quickly looked at him….asked: Do you know what you are saying? Are you drunk? He smiled and asked AGAIN.

By this time, I am like: really? Is this a joke or something? So I say: Uhm, aren’t you supposed to get down on one knee or something?  He promptly gets down on one knee and asks again. Clearly he thinks I am insane by this time. I just grab onto him and kiss him a million times and say yes! After that, I am wondering if he has a ring or if I get to choose it….so I casually throw it in if there is a ring or if I get to choose it. He reaches into his pocket and pulls a stunner! Did he have it in his pocket the entire time???

So, now I’ve moved my entire house into his house (oh yeah, I kept the ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD CONTENTS in the divorce including the two bulldogs—I chose them after all) and we are getting married in October.

I have found a real prince of a man….a good man who doesn’t lie, cheat, and isn’t a megalomaniac. Wow, who could’ve imagined he even existed????

Honestly, I was ready to be alone the rest of my life after the cluster-fuck that was my ex-husband. I figured being alone was infinitely better than being with a sorry excuse for a man. I believed if it happened, it happened. I was doing my thing for the most part. Being single was so liberating really, especially after several years of living with Mr. Narcissist. I did not answer to anyone, my life was my own. And I am so grateful for that time…And I am actually grateful for the ass-clown—-for the lessons I learned: what I would tolerate and what I wouldn’t. I got my moxie back!

Wow, that was longer than what I thought it would be! Hope you haven’t fallen asleep!


So then I asked Valentine — this is awesome, but did you VET this guy? Is he for real? I had my husband vetted — and it was a pretty stiff committee — long time friends — two who were DC journalists and grilled him hard (rather off-coloredly, he handled it well), my Other Mother, and my former boss — both formidable women. And he passed. I highly recommend a proper vetting. Anywho, back to Valentine… she wrote:

Oh YES….I had my band of friends…especially the girls I met on a ‘save your marriage’ board whom I have become extremely close to. I refer to us as “Las Cuatro Hermanas” which is Spanish for The 4 sisters. Margaret is a lawyer, Kavitha writes policy and Lissett is a nurse. We all checked him out BEFORE the first date (I know—perhaps ‘stalking’ might be more appropriate but, hey, one can never be too cautious in this day and age!). Those gals asked some hard questions, to which I am eternally grateful! Those gals plus some other girlfriends (whom I refer to as ‘Charlie’s Angels’ because those chicks can ferret out all kinds of info—I don’t ask–I’m just thankful for the info!)

So K’s story: K, is an engineer….has a degree in Math and Physics…so he is really cerebral. He really analyzes things. I did ask him why he never married and he said he always seemed to be a magnet for crazy women and he didn’t want to marry a crazy woman. At first I thought the never-married thing WAS a red flag….but after to getting to know him, I realized that, for him, getting married was not a trivial thing. His parents were childhood sweethearts and they had him when they were 40. He is the youngest of 7. All his older siblings are girls. He grew up on a farm. He can fix almost anything. Once he puts his mind to something he does it. I would say he is SOLID. Sparkly—-not so much…I don’t trust the ‘sparkly’ ones. We started dating right after Valentine’s Day last year….he proposed about 10 months later (in December). I did go meet his family in Wisconsin last August. His family was really nice…I have met all but one of his sisters. His mother passed away 5 years ago and his dad, who is 87, still gets up every morning and works on his extensive garden. I also met several of his nieces and nephews, cousins and aunt and uncles. He has a large Polish family. He is really physically fit, he is a runner/jogger. He eats healthy. He plays the guitar, banjo and mandolin.

I wasn’t really expecting the proposal…at all–or at least not at that time. I am sure there are some that ask: What is some mid-western Polish guy doing with a spicy Latina like me??? Guess he like ’em like that. I have met his friends, he doesn’t have a whole lot of close friends. I have a lot of friends but I don’t have a lot of really close friends either.

As for current red flags, I cannot really say there are any. We have our differences, of course, that any couple would find in one another. I like to spend and he is a saver. I would love to throw out some of his natty shirts but he is apparently really attached…stuff like that is really the only thing.

He DID ask me to sign a pre-nup which freaked me out. That was the only thing I could think of that would be a ‘red-flag’. I was insulted that he would ask me to sign one. I get it, but it is still insulting to me. We had to really talk about that so I could understand it. He has substantial investments and savings plus he will inherit property when his father passes. I have my own investments and will also inherit property from my parents too when they pass. My parents are a lot younger than his though. The REAL sticking point is: in my previous marriage I consolidated one of my student loans with my ex’s law school loans (never thinking we would get divorced) in order to get a better interest rate. However, my ex and I are BOTH on the hook for the loan even though my ex agreed in our divorce to pay for it. I took on debt from our divorce that equaled what my portion of the school loan was to make it even (which was a very small amount). Geesh, even in my divorce I was civil to that ass-clown. HOWEVER, I guess things weren’t going so great for my ex in his law firm because he deferred the payment forever it seems. Now, he can no longer defer and has had to start to pay it. BUT, if he defaults, the loan company can come after ME to pay for it. K is just concerned that his assets will be included in MY income once we’re married and that if Ass-clown defaults, then they will make US pay for it. 🙁

SO, I need the name of a good lawyer who can answer these questions and help me figure some financial stuff out.

I am fairly open about communication and very expressive (you got that didn’t you? It’s a Latina thing probably) and K is much more deliberate in his communication. He thinks out his words before he says them. I am used to that from him so I know when he is worried about something. Sometimes I have to be more patient in getting info from him, which is new for me but I know that K doesn’t say things he doesn’t mean.

My family really likes him! They like the fact that he is down-to-earth, has a hearty appetite, likes salsa/Mexican food and loves to dance. My parents think he is a great match for me—they like that he grew up on a farm. The fact that he devours my mom’s homemade tortillas like they are going out of style doesn’t hurt either. He was raised Catholic although he doesn’t practice much these days. I, on the other hand, go to church regularly but he has hinted that he wants to go to church with me so that is a good thing. My brother also thinks he’s a ‘cool cat’.

Honestly, now that I am older, there is not much shit I am willing to take. Crazy ass shenanigans are not my thing. I am NOT a drama queen. I don’t mind watching on the sidelines at other people’s train wrecks but I don’t care to entertain that in my life. K is not a dramatic person either. I thank God EVERY FREAKING DAY that I met K and that I am no longer married to what’s-his-name.

I DO caution the newly divorced about rebound relationships. People should give themselves time to heal…learn to be by themselves and be ok with it. Jumping headlong into another relationship is NOT the cure-all. I’m not saying not to have a good time, mind you. All I’m saying is to keep it in perspective. Flirting, dating, having a lover right after the bomb/separation/divorce can be fun BUT don’t put more significance into something that is really a transitional thing. Keep your priorities in front, be it your kids, a new career, going back to school, etc…don’t put a person (man or woman) in front of all those things.

So, I hope I’ve given you more insight to my story…anything else—just ask!

Congratulations Valentine!

I would add for all the chumps out there — get a pre-nup next time around. I wrote this to Valentine, don’t take offense — you’re grown ups. And grown ups who’ve been through hell should give each other the peace of mind that comes with proper legal documents. Grown up love is conditional love. In my case, my husband has a business and I have an inheritance (which, by family set up, goes to my son if something happens to me). We both have kids from our previous marriages, and those interests needed to be protected. I expect to be married to him until death, but I wanted him to have peace of mind. I had two ex-husbands who used me financially, and he wanted to give my family and me peace of mind about my family’s assets. This is all to the good — NOTHING unromantic about a pre-nup.

Sermon over.

There are GOOD PEOPLE out there — get away from the cheaters, shore yourself up, and go find ’em!


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Haha! I get asked that all the time! Sadly, he is the only boy! Wish I could clone him though!

    • You bet Kay! I really think the best thing is to heal yourself, find out what made you attracted to the blob known as your ex. Pay attention to your actions/words to see if you are doing it with New Guy/Gal.

      Enjoy your life! There is nothing more attractive than a person is confident and can laugh!

      It is a tough road but you will eventually get there!

  • Wow, Valentine, I needed to read that great story today! You give me hope! I often wonder if I will ever be with a man again, a normal, decent man. I worry that my 20 year nightmare with the narc was all I will ever have. I’d sure love to be with a guy who is honest and normal. No sparkles, I don’t ever want to be with a sparkly, life-of-the-party again! Just decent, normal, down to earth, responsible and STRAIGHT would be nice.

    I’m on too, and wow, I sure have no luck there. I think my profile is good and my pictures are decent but I get practically zero replies to the many emails I send guys who seem like they should be a perfect match. It’s really discouraging.

    • Glad, yeah, as I told CL, I don’t trust the sparkly ones. Not anymore. My ex was sparkly too.

      Hang in there on the dating stuff, consider doing other things too to meet new people—not just to date but just to MEET. What are your interests? Movies? Gardening? Sports? Join meet-up groups and get to know all kinds of people…you never know when you will meet that WOW! person. I agree that you probably DO have a great profile (One of my girlfriends helped me write my profile too and we both agreed it was good and I didn’t look like some desperate woman on the hunt) but, again, some of these guys are just, well, players.

      I am so not exaggerating about the ‘junk’ pics and the requests for booty/body/boob shots. MAJOR TURN-OFF. Remember that some of these guys may not be who they say they are , some may be looking for a quick hook-up, who knows….Just go into it with the mindset that you will have to look at A LOT of profiles and maybe a lot of first dates and no second ones.

      You’ll get there, my dear!


    • Ugh. Yes. Never want the life of the party again. Funny thing about that: I wasn’t attracted to him because his sparkles, though I grew to like the perks in time. I didn’t care about the sparkles. I was with someone far less sparkly before. It was like he needed me, he needed an audience, adoration, attention and I was the perfect person to do that. That’s why he hung on/is hanging on so tightly, I think. He must know who he is deep down inside.

      Valentine, your story is amazing. The beginning sounds a lot like me right now: failed fertility treatments, lost job, and ass clown partner. I hope to have your courage one day. Congrats on your engagement.

      • my wasband isn’t at all sparkly. He has a quiet gentlemanly charm and very funny, but not the life of the party. In fact, there WAS no party. He hated having people over and even going out, after a while. no (mutual) friends. no family. (nearby)

        this is what scares me. I THOUGHT my husband had more integrity than any other human being I had ever met.

        I had no idea that he possessed this deep, dark side.

        there are also a lot of predatory dicks on match.con.

        sadly. and this is really sad. I was waiting for the twist in the story, where it came out that after they got married, there was actually another wife stashed away somewhere. I never used to think like that. I used to believe that most people were genuinely good and i have no idea how to tell the difference…

        except that mine had severe mommy issues. I wish someone had told me to stay away from those types.

      • Sad in Seattle, oh my dear, I really DO feel your pain. One day you will have the courage. There were many a day that I felt like crap, like a failure at being both a mother and a wife, that my life was pointless, but I just learned to breathe one breath at a time. And slowly, very slowly at times, things began to change.

        I was my ex’s biggest fan back in the day. I had to praise, praise, praise him ALL THE TIME. Looking back, I realized that it was my OWN lack of esteem that made me this needy person which was perfect for him at the time. I finally figured that out and realized: what the hell? Get your ass in gear and be your own person, toot your own horn. I think it was at that time when he needed to find someone else to fill the gap I had left in the worship department. I do think they know who they are inside…they deny it, they make up all these stories but I agree, with you on that.

        And HALLELUJAH that I did not procreate with that monster otherwise I would be really tied to him for eternity. At the time, though, it broke my heart. I cannot tell you how many tears I shed over it.

        Shove off that albatross around your neck known as the ‘former sparkly one’! You deserve better.


  • Congratulations, Valentine! I love to hear those happy, realistic stories of life after the bomb. It gives us all so much hope and perspective. Thanks for sharing your story here!

  • Thank you so much for sharing the positive. It feels good to continue to redirect the focus forward and not backward. You bring up a very good point CL, that I am struggling with as of this weekend. Vetting. I’ve had a couple of dates with a man that some mutual friends have set me up with. He is a casual acquaintance of theirs, part of a Saturday morning “coffee-clutch”. They have run into him at the local coffee shop for over a year now as he comes in with a group of cyclists and they sit and chat for an hour or so each week. I would not say that they could really “vet” him as the association is pretty superficial. But they get a good vibe from him. (But, anyone meeting my STBX under these circumstances probably would have said the same of him…)
    Specifically, I started wondering so, how do I go about finding out his thoughts on the use of pornography, and hey, have you ever gone to a massage parlor and paid for any kind of sexual service? Or had a sexual services performed on you that you DIDN”T pay for? (This was my STBX’s specialty – he never “ordered” a service and the fact that they just “did” it for him was proof to him of how good looking he was and they did it because they “wanted” it.)
    Frankly, I could find a way to ask these questions of the new guy, the problem is, how does one know if one is getting the truth? So, what are some ways in which one can “vet” a new guy?

    • As for the vetting concern – there are a few things that I’ve found to be helpful in my return to dating so far:
      1. I personally prefer eHarmony over, as I find one’s experience and results on Match is highly driven by your profile picture / general attractiveness. Great to get lots of responses (mainly of the “hey, you’re cute, let’s meet” variety), not so great for meeting quality people who are interested in more than a hookup. At least w/ eHarmony, I could preemptively screen out those who didn’t have a similar educational background, political interests, religious beliefs, desire to have kids or not, etc… just a lot more specifics to play with, especially if some of these things are super important to you.

      2. Check out their profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook; run their name through Google. Yep, I research these guys and at least try to verify where they work, what they do, where they went to school, and do I have any people in common with them?

      3. Got an address? look up the property tax records – all publicly available info there.

      4. Take your time. To quote Natalie Lue over at, “people unfold” over time and in varying situations, you get to see more of how they tick.

      It’s also been great getting to know some of the close friends and colleagues of the gentleman I’m currently dating – diverse and smart group of people, all involved in interesting careers, funny and hospitable bunch who like to get together often with their kids and friends, and they have all known him for 12, 13, 14 years and all speak highly of him. And they all know him from different contexts: work, mountain biking group, previous colleagues, neighbors, friend of friends, volunteer organizations, etc.

      And it’s good to see how he treats these friends, too – one time we met for a quick lunch date and towards the end of the meal he put in a to-go order, so he could take some food to his friends – their baby was having emergency surgery in the hospital nearby – and yes, I met the friends and their son who was recovering from surgery a week later. (hey, I’m a chump – my motto these days is “trust but verify!”)

      • BB — really good advice you’re passing along there — people do “unfold” over time. I wish I’d paid attention to the red flags when I was dating my ex. He was very sparkly.

        • I never thought about vetting. Great concept. When I was dating my h it was in the 1970’s it was so easy to meet their family, friends, business co workers, neighbors, etc. Good god, we didn’t even have computers, much less cell phones. As I am a researcher by trade, I will definitely keep this in mind. I am already mentally making a list of things to check out. CL, this is such good advice.

      • BarristerBelle – Thank you! All excellent suggestions. I’ll be taking a look around 🙂

    • Good grief, FLBright, your ex is an idiot!

      As for going about finding out about your new beau’s likes, etc…I would not bring it up too early. The more you talk with him, hopefully, the more you know him. Once you get comfy talking to him—and this could take weeks or months—then I think it is more appropriate to find out his ‘likes’ and ‘tendencies’. I mean, before any clothes is removed, of course.

      I honestly don’t know how anyone can know if they are being told the ‘truth’ regarding what anyone else says to them. My humble opinion is that you need to get to know him, talk with him, find out what his views are on various things. Learning to trust someone is hard after what we have been through, and I would be lying if I said that it was easy to get back to trusting. I dated some really nice guys when I started out dating but because I was still hung up on my trust issues (i.e. ex’s love of porn and all the other weird crap that goes with ‘loving ‘ porn), I know I blew it with those guys.

      Eventually, you will have to trust that what he (or any other man) says to you is the truth.

      • Valentine – “idiot” does not begin to cover it! Thank you for the reply, and I’m so thrilled for the new direction in which you have taken your life. Well done. Yes, I don’t feel in a rush, which is nice. So, as my sister says, “you need to collect more data”! All true. But I do like some of the ideas provided by BB above. Also nice is that I’m not feeling pushed or rushed by him either. A good sign.

    • The problem, FLBright, is they lie and they make a good impression. The bad ones are con men. Mine talked a good game about how he was anti-pornography and would NEVER use a hooker.

      I should have trusted my gut. I don’t think mine has ever lied to me. I just chose to ignore it. Everybody just loved him so much. How could he be the narcissistic monster he turned out to be?

      • S in S – Yes, they do! I knew mine for 20 years before we became romantically involved. We were friends since high school. Never an inappropriate moment w me while married to his first wife, so I thought I could trust him. I was always so impressed by that. How we got here…? Well, it doesn’t matter any more, its where we got and I’ll have no part of it in my future. And he is indeed a narcissistic monster. He is a vain, empty, custom made suit.

      • This statement says it all, in my case too. “… they lie and they make a good impression. The bad ones are con men.”

        I have watched the snake charm nurses out of additional care, bosses out of more time off, companies into doing things for his gain and me out of a marriage. It got to the point he was lying about everything from the weather to where he had been for the last thirty minutes. things for which he had no reason to lie. In essence, he became a pathological liar and didn’t he know it. You could the the shock of surprise on his face when I pointed it out. He truly didn’t know this was happening. He said, “I didn’t know I was doing that.” If I had not been so trusting, I would have picked up on things a lot sooner. Wish I had, but that is water under the bridge that leads to the future, so I won’t go there. I wish I could “fix” him, but that isn’t possible, so I will move on and screw the rear view mirror. Maybe there is a country song in there some where.

        • Yoder, haha! A country song! There surely is!

          Holy cow, the ass clown was like that too! So charismatic! Able to get stuff out of people—at first I was thrilled by it! Like it was a gift from God or something, then the things he started doing were going into a gray area and I started to think that maybe it wasn’t such a good ‘gift’ after all. One day he started reading book about how to lie to people and I was alarmed that he would even be interested in a book like that. I knew then that if we ever split up, he was going to be a complete ass about it. Was I ever right.

          There is no ‘fixing’ these people. Glad you realized that.

          I’ll be waiting to hear that country song!


          • “Wanted one good cowboy, one to call my own, wanted one good cowboy, I don’t want to ride alone.”

  • Oh, this makes me feel all warm inside!!

    Agree with the prenup. I begged xH when we were still married–well before BD–if anything were to ever happen to me, to please not remarry. For the sake of the kids and everything we’d worked for, please don’t give it away to a stranger. And this was something we totally agreed on. I hope he doesn’t marry the OW, as leaving something for our kids was an expressed goal of his even after BD. She wants what she wants.

    I hadn’t thought about the prenup as an option. I think it’s a great idea. Not sure I’ll ever remarry, but if I do, I want to marry a man who loves his kids enough to ask for a prenup

  • Stephanie, I agree. Chump Lady made me see how smart it was, and how it was all about ‘grown up love”. I was taking it personally, as an affront to me but when I thought about the whole picture, I just think it makes sense.

    Of course, people need to do what they feel is right, but it never hurts to take counsel from an attorney.


    • STBX and I have always maintained separate accounts, and I’ve known couples married over 60 years who’ve done so. That said, when we bought our house 5 years ago, and I was working full-time and feeling really comfortable in my job, I suggested we combine our accounts. This house was to be ours, after all, and combining our incomes seemed to cement that.

      He didn’t want to, so we didn’t. He thought that things were going well at that time, so why complicate things? I went along. After all, I still have student loans, as I went to grad school after a hiatus. At that time, money wasn’t a real issue in the marriage.

      Looking back, I wonder if he was hiding something. I don’t think that cheating was on his horizon at that time, but I could be wrong. If anything, at that time I would have suspected him of sending money to his brother without telling me.

      Now, though, if I ever meet someone else, I’ll insist on a pre-nup. Whoever I find has to be able to deal with me, student loan debt and all. And really, that’s my only debt. I did run up credit card debt, which I’ve largely paid off. My credit’s not really strong, but mostly because of income to debt. In a couple of months, a couple of negative indicators should slide off, and I should see about a 70 point increase in my credit score.

      But a prenup would be smart. I have to say that now I wish I’d had one the first time around, but I was much more naive, and of course, I’d known him for nearly 10 years before we’d married. He was a rock-hard, steady guy.

      Boy, was I wrong!

      • kb, glad that you are getting your credit straightened out…separation and divorce can wreak havoc in that department. 🙁

        I believed ass clown was a steady guy too. When I married him I had ZERO debt and he had gone to law school and hadn’t paid off some credit cards he had balances on when he went to law school and he almost did not get admitted to the State Bar because of it. Since I consolidated that loan plus one of my grad school loans with his for the better interest rate, I am now on the hook for ALL OF IT.

        I know that there are those who feel that if ‘you love me, you’ll accept all of me—loans, warts and all’. I am concerned for future purchases with soon-to-be-husband. What if that loan rears its ugly head? As of today, ass clown is behind in paying the loan. It affects my credit which is otherwise really good despite the dips during the divorce. I do not trust my ex at all. He is a sneaky bastard who knows the law. He will use it to his advantage and will screw anyone.

        I say if, for whatever reason, a pre-nup will make you feel better, go for it.


  • See there? One good one left and Valentine got him. Same thing happened when I was 5. There were only two men in my world, daddy and Roy Rogers and daddy was already taken. I just sobbed when mother told me Roy Rogers was married to Dale Evans. What’s a girl to do? Sure wish K’s older siblings were fellas. I guess they would still be too young. Banjo, huh, well everybody has a flaw here and there. Looks like they are going to have a great time together. Good luck Valentine, we are all cheering you on.

    • My husband plays the banjo. It’s exceptionally dorky, and I tend to think dorky guys are generally good guys. (My father wears socks with sandals, he’s a good guy too.)

      • One of my brothers is a HARDCORE banjo and old-time music enthusiast. Every time I see him he has another banjo, along with a variety of other bluegrass/old time instruments. He plays at old-time jams every single weekend. He’s a hard working, normal, decent guy who has been married to his high school sweetheart for 32 years, so maybe playing banjo is a sign of stability!

        • Been following Bluegrass music most of my life and although it is about as wholesome as you can get, it has its cheaters too. Makes me sad, just to think about it. Sounds like this guy is the kind of picker I think of when I think of banjo players. Good for them.

      • Perfect Pitch _ When you toss a banjo into a dumpster and it clears all four sides.
        The difference between a banjo and an accordion- It takes a banjo longer to burn.
        There is a banjo part in every song.
        If banjo players were paid by the notes, they would win.
        You can’t play a banjo loud enough.
        The most unspoken phrase in the English language- There goes a banjo player in his new porche.
        Sorry, Doug Dillard was a friend of mine and I swear he knew every banjo joke ever told. May he rest in peace.

        • I play string bass in hard country and bluegrass bands. I tour all summer long. It’s all I have to do until school kicks back in. “How do you know the stage is level? The bassist drools from both sides of his mouth…”

          I have been thinking a lot about stuff CL said to me lately. I have admitted to myself that even though I have come a good piece down the road, I’m not where I wish I was. I think I need to meet someone cool. But it’s so hard to start. A graduate degree might be swell, but not without someone to share the achievement with.

          Have you ever stood near the edge of a cliff and felt that weird suction pulling you over? Have you ever read about a suicide and wondered how you’d do it if it came right down to it? But hopefully, you shy away from these thoughts. Big time. It’s scary just having that shit pop unbidden into your mind.

          That’s kinda how I feel when I think of a new relationship… I know I need to go there. I know about risk. You can’t have love without it. But it’s just so darn spooky… Way to go Valentine. I think your story is sweet and I admire you!

          • Daddy always said there were only kinds of fiddle players, either you were real good or you stunk. Let’s just say no one ever stands close to me.

            I do understand the forlorn feelings and other undesirable effects of forced lonliness. At the moment I am so nailed to the floor taking care of h, I can’t even find the time or energy to be miserable yet. I may escape that, who knows, I am trying very hard to set up a plan that will be almost immediately fulfilling and will quickly replace the regrets.

            Sometimes, even the music we love doesn’t help. If you have no one to share it with, sometimes it no longer feels special. Hang in there. You are out and about and I know what festivals are like, sometimes so big you never get to no anyone, but sometimes, you meet lots of folks, some that you are attracted to and others become life long friends. All, important in your new life.

            • Oh My Goodness, I am beginning to feel really left out Banjo wise…..BUT my Uncle played a mean washboard, and had an amazing ‘Roaring 20’s Ragtime Band’. What amazing people I got to meet over the years through him..Thanks for the memories, no wonder we all get along!

              • My family’s greatest gift to me, was the gift of music and I will always be grateful for that. I play the bones. No kidding. Had a friend who named his hunting dog, “Sally Goodin’.

                Seriously, part of the pain I have been going through, is the loss of sharing 35 years of music together. H plays guitar and sings like an angel. Still has that gorgeous tenor voice. Everything from Great folk songs we learned in the sixties, to country, bluegrass, just a huge part of my life with him. My knee jerk reaction was, “Well, I guess the music life is over too.” I was crushed. At festivals we camped with the same friends, for decades. I knew there was no way I could ever be part of all that again. That would end, along with everything else. And within the last week, I began getting in touch with new music people, those for business purposes I had an aquaintanship (if that is a word.) Never anything else, just business. A casual contact and the next thing I knew, we were chatting about things, events coming up and they were asking if I would be there. Some them are married, some are not. They simply are quickly leaping from business acquaintances to new friends. All I had to do was casually reach out. I even found out that one of them (a big time “A” player is married to my cousin. Lots of future invitations to meet, go to shows with them, daily contact. Again, all I had to do was “try”, just reach out a little bit. It appears LOTS of people want to meet new friends and in my case, the music was a great introduction and made a lasting impression. I will have the music in my life again and that makes me so happy. It makes all the other less hurtful. And the snake? He will be stuck back at the campground pickin’ with the same ole folks he started with, all those decades ago.

      • my predatory husband is dorky. he’s the LAST person anyone would believe would be a Craig’s List predator. He truly is a very nice man– very helpful, but all too-often, a depressed misanthrope—very passive and negative, but to those who don’t live with him, he would always be deemed to be a lovely gentleman.

        so, you see… vetting him would’ve yielded absolutely nothing. I began therapy at the beginning of our relationship, because of my traumatic childhood and then my brother died. I went through every phase including the first year of our marriage, pregnancy, and first year of our first born’s life and then we moved and it all ended. BIG MISTAKE! (he also stopped his therapy) I don’t believe he ever cheated on his girlfriends, but none of his relationships lasted more than a year or two. I am his first and only wife of 25 years. He fell prey to his demons and wouldn’t get help for it. (out of fear and because he’s also too cheap)

        As I said earlier, my only clue was substantive “mommy issues.” In truth… he’s a misogynist. not sparkly. In fact the opposite. I cerebral, snobbishly intellectual geek who can’t make much of a living– yet speaks the queens fucking English and is exceedingly erudite.

  • Trying to decide if reading this made me feel better or worse 🙂

    I am currently on OKCupid (which I actually do like the site… though I guess it might skew a little younger… because I like all the questions they ask you to match you and personality quizzes as well as having a profile and pics… just has always felt more comfortable to me having more information to go on than which I did briefly where all you have a profile and pics) and am talking to several guys right now but not one seems like a real prospect. And now I’m trying to figure out what to do about them. I like to think I’ve already learned many dating lessons in a short time due to internet dating and without a lot of collateral damage. Still, I guess I had higher hopes. Plus, in a way it is still like reading about dating… well, maybe it’s more like writing about dating… since so few of them have progressed to an in-person meeting. I’m not in a hurry, I swear. But without going into detail, days like today are just very discouraging.

    I’m glad you found a good one, Valentine, and I will assume I’ll meet a good one when I’m truly ready as well 🙂

    • I will also never chat online with a man that I haven’t met. We can talk on the phone, and we either meet in person or not, but the instant message thing is a trap, IMO. Its very time consuming and lots of dudes just want company but are afraid to actually meet in person, because you can be whoever you want to be online. He knows that if you actually were to meet, that he could no longer pretend to be a 45 year old, who’s really 65. See how hot I was when I was young? lol

      • Interesting. Never thought about it. Ichat I think could be a real problem. Thanks for pointing that out. As a writer, which is a solitary occupation, does have a research component that is a huge time consumption eater and does involve many hour of ichat. But, up until now, I never thought about it before. These are business aquaintances and nothing more. As they are public figures, it has all seemed very safe. Perhaps in my situation it is different.

      • I haven’t IM’d anyone (I disabled that so don’t have to deal with random people writing you whenever you happen to be online)… mostly it’s been through writing messages, like emails. And I kinda like those. The ones that really haven’t worked are the ones that have wanted to text right away before even really messaging at all. Because texting, while you can actually respond in real time, is also a time eater and you can’t actually say anything substantial there. The first guy I gave my number to actually stood me up for a phone call when I insisted on an actual conversation. Ha. But I did relax on the texting thing with the next couple of guys. At the same time dating in the time of texting is weird. It makes it way too easy to be in touch too often about nothing very interesting at all. I’m like, part of the benefit of not being married anymore is I don’t have to check in with some mundane update as to my whereabouts. It makes me feel like I have some weird commitment to a stranger. And it takes a lot of the mystery away. I don’t know, I’m figuring out stuff as I go.

        I have two very young kids so my evenings out are very limited so I don’t have time to try to meet everyone. Plus, I live in a small town so most guys are at least 30 min to an hour away. I’d say ideally I’d like to message or something for a week maybe then if they still seem decent set up a meeting. This situation has occurred all of two times though 🙂 Usually something goes wrong before this point… or I had one case of a guy dragging it out the communication almost a month before then telling me he had started dating someone…

        Oh well, the way things are going at least it will be pretty obvious when I run into a semi-normal guy. Then I just have to worry about what he’s like on an even deeper level.

    • Another Erica,

      As far as the dating websites, go with whatever floats your boat and makes sense to you. Glad you’re not in a rush either…always a mistake, in my book.

      Listen I was really discouraged at times too! What I failed to mention in my post was that my time on was almost up…I only had 3 weeks left on my subscription when I met K. I was hanging the website dating thing up for a while. I was going on a hiatus from all of it. I was so involved in my other interests that, honestly, I didn’t really have time for dating! LOL! I started emailing him after he messaged me that he liked the History channel too (which I had put on my profile). Then I told him my subscription was expiring and that I would no longer be able to chat via match’s website. We never did the IM thing…he really was not interested and, in fact, is not much of a texter either.

      All I can say is be open to meeting people…even if it seems implausible at first…you just never know…and hey, you can always throw that fish back in the sea!

      Hang in there and happy fishing!


  • Congratulations Valentine!

    My guess is if he’s from Wisconsin, Large Polish family and likes to dance. I’ll bet he’s a Polka Dancer.

    • LOL! As a matter of fact, yes! He’s a pretty good country dancer and we have been taking Salsa classes. Next up: the Lindy Hop!

  • Many HUGE Polka Festivals held here in Wisconsin. Especially in the Central part of the state.

      • That’s funny. We’ll if he’s ever gone to any of the festivals in Pulaski or Stevens Point he’s probably bumped into my parents at these. They’re married 50 yrs and severe Polkaholics…..

        • Oh my YES! He really does have a large family, you might even be related! K’s parents really loved the polka and his dad watches some polka show on Saturday nights.

  • Congrats, Valentine! So happy that you’ve found love again! That gives us chumps hope!

    There was one part of your letter that reminded me of a conversation I had with my 40-something divorced cousin over the weekend. She got screwed over by a cheating husband like the rest of us, and after a 20-year marriage finds herself out on the dating scene again.

    You wrote: “He’s never been married….WHAT? NEVER MARRIED? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE????? I wondered if he was gay at first….I mean, come on—we are in our mid-40′s…and he has never been married nor had any kids or baby-mama drama?”

    I’ve always been interested what female chumps think when they hit the dating scene and they meet a 40-something man who’s NEVER been married or had children. Does that strike you as odd? Do you automatically assume something is wrong with him? Is that an instant red flag?

    My cousin’s experience is that never-married, middle-aged men are very set in their ways and it’s not always easy for them to adapt to a relationship that has the potential to end up at the altar.

    Your gay joke was funny because I think that would be most women’s first thought, but it sounds like you’re looking at the glass half-full (No marriages = No psycho ex-wife / No kids = No Baby Mama Drama).

    Has this been other chumps’ experience if they’ve come across never-marrieds?

    • I’m in Quebec, where living common-law is absolutely the norm, so lots of people say they’re ‘never married’ when they’ve had sometimes a 20 year relationship, or a couple of ten year ones. IMHO, if you live together, have joint accounts, have a mortgage, a cottage, two cars and a boat, 3 kids, a cat and 2 gerbils together, and you’ve spent the last 10 Christmases (or Passovers, or Eid …) at your in-laws place, YOU ARE MARRIED.

      Fortunately for me, common-law marriage here does not create common property; ex and I bought the house in both our names, but my pension and my retirement savings are MINE. Fair, I think, since I supported him through 6 or 7 multi-month periods of unemployment over 14 years, as well as taking up the slack at home and putting up w/his overwork while he did an MBA while working full time. Now he’s starting to make real money, he can look after himself.

      • Karen, This is interesting. It makes me wonder if this will eventually become the norm in the U.S. The legal entanglements of marriage endings is such a waste of assets and the court’s time. If you and your significant other are in love and make a home together, the arrangement you have in Quebec sounds very interesting. It essentially, forces both parties to be responsible for themselves, from the beginning. Had I anticipated being dumped age age 65, I would have worked outside our home every day of our marriage, not just when opportunities presented themselves. H has not worked for a decade and I have worked and taken care of us, so it is not that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t know it would all end this way. By the way, Gaspard, the statue in Quebec, is of my ancestor.

    • Chris, I thought the same thing, gay or something or other, at first, then it dawned on me, my 40 something SON has never been married. He is in the food industry, meaning he works nights, weekends, holidays, so that is part of it and he has been engaged 4 times, always to professional ladies, i.e. pediatrician, an optomitrist, an attorney, don’t remember about the fourth one. Now then, I have a dear friend from France who just come for a two or three days visit and has also never been married and he is in his 50’s. He is quite well off. He will be coming back in October for another visit. I pointedly asked him why he never married and he said, “Then I would have to buy two plane tickets.” I got the point. I think he and my son both find it sometimes difficult to take care of things and just cannot make themselves take on the responsibility of another person. I don’t agree with that (no children, no grand children, no sharing sunsets, or great road trips, etc.) but I do believe that is what is going through their minds. Now think about this one. One of my grand daughters lives with the father of their two children and she has NO intention of getting legally tangled up. In her mind, she has it made. Maybe she is a whole lot smarter than all of us? Hope that is the case.

    • Chris, that is exactly what the some of the Cuatro Hermanas said too! Like: what the hell is wrong with him? RED FLAG! For sure it is a YELLOW FLAG…as in: proceed with caution and if it gets weird, get the hell outta Dodge. So glad I listened to my sisters. They asked some questions to which I did not know the answer (see Barrister Belles post about ‘vetting’). So, I asked him. Why the bachelorhood for SO LONG? Pay attention to absolutely everything they tell you, body language and everything-It says a lot.

      YES, middle-aged men can be very set in their ways, but guess what? Middle-aged women can be set in their ways too.

      Look, I got the: ‘he’s in his 40’s Vali, maybe he will NEVER marry’ speech from my mother. She was worried I would be wasting my time. She said (about a gazillion times) ‘men know in the first 6 months whether they want to marry you or not’. This kinda freaked me out because I really had to ponder if he was the marrying type at all. I finally decided that I was gonna just do my thing. I put down earnest money on a house, I was moving right along assuming that perhaps he wasn’t the marrying type. I mean, I still had a life, right? Whether he was gonna be in it or not remained to be seen. In my case, it worked out…but honestly, there was only so much time I was giving him before I threw him back. Maybe I have become a bit jaded, probably. My mantra was: shit or get off the pot.

      A lot of men I dated had ex-wives and kids…I was okay with all of that. I just paid attention to how they talked about them, whether they were involved with their kids, etc…any guy who was willing to ditch his kids to have a date with me early on was a red flag to me=selfish about HIS needs. Any guy who was too eager to introduce to me everyone on the second date was also a red flag=POSSESIVE. Any guy who texted, called or needed to see me EVERY DAY after one date was a ginormous red flag=NEEDY. It may be different for everyone but listen to your inner voice, instinct, whatever you want to call it. If its telling you (or screaming) something then back away slowly. Sometimes I used my dog to vet these guys out but then I realized I might be traumatizing the poor thing. Plus, she likes A LOT of people—she’s a friendly girl, what can I say?

      I will say she LOVES K…and since he is a former farm boy he is not used to dogs being inside the house and it was weird for him at first but it’s a mutual love now. 🙂

      I’m eager to hear of others experiences in dating bachelors and how it turned out too!

  • I’ve known Valentine for nearly two years now. We were hired on the same day, and have since become close friends. I’ve heard a few stories about how ass-clown broke her heart. Pain came through in every word. It was gut-wrenching. She wasn’t languishing in her past, though there are hurtful memories that she will no doubt carry with her forever. It was simply cathartic.

    But there are new stories I’m hearing now – stories of hope, love, trust, comfort, and new beginnings with the amazing “K.” She’s not a different person. She’s always had that spark that is uniquely hers. Not even ass-clown could take that away. But I think it may be a bit brighter these days.

    You’re beautiful, Val! Keep sharing your story. People need to hear it.

    To everyone else… hold on to your spark. Your “K” is out there.

    • Thanks my friend! You have been an inspiration to me in more ways than you know! I will continue to share in the hopes it helps someone, anyone.


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