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Get Over It

Get over it.

The three words chumps hate to hear. “Get over it” says your remorseless cheater after a half-assed attempt at reconciliation. “Get over it” says the friend who cannot conceive of your pain, and wishes you would just go back to your pleasant, ignorant self again. “Get over it” says your boss, because the drama is effecting your productivity.

“Get over it” feels like insult to injury. A flippant response to betrayal, the worst sort of minimizing. So sorry I’m not healing at your convenience, asshole. Chumps at once see the hidden agenda. The cheater who’s not truly sorry. The friend who feels threatened by your vulnerability. The boss who doesn’t really care, just get back to your widgets. So, quite rightly, chumps dismiss “get over it.” Fuck you, I’ll “get over it” when I’m good and ready. Perhaps not ever. I may go down with this ship if I fucking feel like it. Don’t you tell ME to “get over it”!

So, from one chump to another — let me tell you — get over it.

The pain is finite. Don’t choose it. Don’t keep reliving it. Infidelity does NOT define you. It’s no measure of your soul, of your worthiness and lovability.

What keeps you in pain? Staying focused on your cheater. Their judgments of you, what makes them tick, who they’re with now, what they’re doing — and when the hell is the karma bus coming? Where is the karma timetable? I’ve been standing at this stop for YEARS waiting for that bus. I demand a schedule! Only after that bus arrives will I be able to leave this stop and get on with my life properly! Damn bus.

Note the word stop. That’s what happens when you wait for karma. Your life stops. You live a limbo of anticipation. Your focus is on the bus.

Stand on a different street corner and grab a different bus, chumps. One that’s headed in the direction of your new cheater-free life. Focus on yourself.

Hell YES your job is to get over it.  To reclaim your selfhood. Of course, it’s a battle at times, but every liberation campaign is.

Getting over it is not eating a shit sandwich. You’re not denying that this happened to you and it was abusive. You don’t have to hold on to that righteous anger to know that it was real. It WAS real. It DID happen. That person SUCKS. Getting over it means they didn’t break you.

You’re not going to get over it staying married to an remorseless cheater. You get over it when you start to protect yourself, when you stand up and say “no more.” When you draw those boundaries and enforce those boundaries. When you grieve. When you stop spackling and see the cheater for who they really are. When you let go of what you thought your life was going to be/should’ve been, and become open to the possibility of a new life.

Reconciliation is fine if you just want to survive. To limp along. To endure. I’m not convinced anyone every really gets over it when they stay married to a cheater. Seems like an endless buffet of shit sandwiches if you ask me.

At Chump Lady, I hold out a better vision for you. You’re not just going to survive this — you’re going to THRIVE. This is the painful birth to better days. This is where you discover exactly how kick ass you are. You find that job, you parent your way, you finish that degree, you fall in love again, you make new friends who get you, you get reacquainted with your creativity, you own your successes. All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now. You gift it to yourself and those deserving of you.

So, of course you’re going to get over it. What is the alternative? What are you going to miss? The betrayal? Being treated like a concession prize? The disrespect? The pick me dance? The humiliation? Oh, I’m going to hold those things close. Gee, I really want all that shit in my life. NO, of course you don’t!

Make 2014 your own. Get over it. Happy New Year, chumps.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Thanks, CL.
    It has been a tough holiday season.

    Although I am emotionally distant now from the cheater, it still hurts like hell.

    32 years is along time if you thought you had a happy marriage, with some bumps.

    Trying to rebuild is difficult, if you alone took your vows seriously.

    But, 2014-here I come!

    • Boston, it DOES take time with long term relationships, so you’re not alone. The stat I read was you need one month for every year you were together.

      As the saying goes, “Time heels all wounds.” Just hang in there!

      • ONe month for every year you were together sounds about right, actually. It took me about 22 months to feel like I really had come to terms with what happened and we were together 20 years. I still have my moments here and there but overall he’s just that asshole I used to be married to.

      • I’ve made huge progress, still a way to go (36 months by the month/year reckoning, 10 months to go) but I’m determined that this will be the year I finally get over it and leave the bastard behind. And the corollary saying that I’m particularly fond of is “And time wounds all heels”, which I hope is true for all our cheating exes in 2014.

        Thanks, CL, for this safe place. Thanks for the no nonsense advice. And thanks to all of the chumperati – I couldn’t have come as far as I have without all of you.

        • 36 months for me too, but not sure when to start the clock ticking! Divorced in October 2013. But that was after 10 years of back and forth false reconciliations and long-term affairs, and filing for divorce for the last time in October 2012. I am feeling pretty good and have declared 2014 to be ALL ABOUT ME. I am going to find a new place to live, maybe a new place to work, and finally lose the weight I gained from all the emotional eating!

          • I completely get it. Trying to reconcile is hard but the one who cheated on me isn’t even remorseful. Yet I have to try to “get over it and move on” which is very hard to do. I have no one that I can go stay with. It’s very emotionally draining. He says the reason he cheated was bc of the way I treated him. Like my being a wife of 23 years was easy when he worked 60 plus hours every week then came home and got drunk every time. I completely get it.

    • Hi, This has been a hard year. I was married 33 years. I also took my vow seriously. He decided that he deserved his secretary that he had working with him a few years back. He told me he had fought feelings for her for 15 years and he deserved to be with her. For 1 year he told me he had ed and couldn’t have sex because he didn’t like taking any pills. However, he was fucking her.He also said he did his grieving about our marriage while he planned to leave me. I feel so alone and deceived by his lies. He tried to hide his affair at first and said he needed to find himself and that he lost his identity while being married. We have now been divorce since Oct 2014. I get so upset with myself about my grieving. I know he doesn’t deserve any of the tears I cry or the pain in my heart. I will have to see this man with his whore with grandchild coming soon. How do I cope with this? I read things on this site and I don’t want to take 2-4 years of my life in pain. Does it really take that long? I am glad i found this site it has been helpful. I also ready the book.

      • travelgirl, it’s not 2 to 4 years all in pain. But it’s usually around 2 years until you start feeling fully like yourself again, and the pain is something that comes up sometimes.

        I know you don’t want to have this difficult time, we’d all rather have skipped over it, but you have to let yourself grieve the marriage you thought you had, be mad and sad and scared, then all of that all over again. You work your way through this, and it so really truly does get better. It’s not fair that it has to be so bad before it gets better, but unfortunately, that’s the way it is.

        Sounds like things are pretty recent for you, take the time you need. See a really good therapist, that’ll help a bunch. And lean on your friends, that’s what they’re there for. Chump Nation too!

  • CL, I love you. Today, New Years Day, is especially hard for me because it is also the third anniversary of my mother passing away. Last night I thought I was going to die from the pain of the last five months, and then this anniversary.

    Your words, once again, come at the perfect time. They put things in perspective and give me strength. I am putting it behind me. In 2014 I will live my life with integrity, passion, purpose, joy and gratitude.

    Thank you. You are a gift.

    I wish you and yours all the very best in 2014.

  • Happy New Year, CL! I agree that this message is a great way to start 2014.

    Even those of us who are no longer with our cheaters and have some time and distance between now and DDay can stand to hear this message again. I sometimes find myself having moments of anger over my XWH’s past behavior, and it’s time for me to get over it. I did exactly what I needed to do– got divorced–and I keep my contact about our kids with him minimal so that I stay as NC as possible. However, I need to continue moving on in a positive direction instead of mentally dredging up the past. My anger over it isn’t doing anything except for making me feel bad, and what’s the point of that?

    Perfect comment on the karma bus– I definitely wonder when it’s coming and feel frustrated that it hasn’t (from what I can tell). Time to get over that as well.

    • Same here MovingOn, I have come far in the almost 2 years since D-Day, thanks to CL and Chump Nation. I divorced XWH promptly, and have moved on in every way including romantically. Ex is well out of the picture as our children do not want to see him, which in the end is an additional blessing for me. But I still get angry at times, and the anger surprised me by resurfacing over the holidays this year. I have decided one of my resolutions for 2014 is no more anger and no more waiting for the karma bus.

      • I’m following that lead of letting go in 2014 and not looking back as well. But I have moments when my mind roams. For instance, I spoke with the OW on the phone the day I found my husband’s infamous text from her “you can come over, but we aren’t having sex tonight.” She apologized profusely saying she had no idea he was married. So I absolved her of any wrongdoing. But, then I remember the way everything played out that day. She thought he had a girlfriend that he was unhappy with. So now I’m like, she did know about me. She knew he lived with me. Which obviously meant he was sleeping with me. BUT because she didn’t know I was actually his wife, it was “ok” for her to sleep with him too? WTF
        Even when I called her to ask why she called his phone at 2am, she acted like it was a misdial and she did not know him. But when I made him call the number back on speaker, she answered and said, “Um, I think your girlfriend just called me.”
        Not taking anything away from my lying cheating SOB of an ex-husband, but doesn’t this make the OW a stupid dirty bitch as well?? IJS

    • I’ve come a long way this year. This time last year, I spent my week of vacation sobbing and clenching my heart since it hurt so much. I got busy to make sure I moved on. I filed for divorce immediately, I sought therapy, worked on loving myself, joined a divorce support group, deepened my spiritual life and surrounded myself with friends and family who supported me. I picked up new hobbies. And I went no contact and exercised grace and kindness during the divorce process. So many days I didn’t want to do the things I listed but I knew I had no choice if I wanted to reclaim my life. I was not going to allow him to define me. I succeeded and was in meh when the karma bus came rolling around. I was shocked when it came as fast as it did. I would be lying if I say it didn’t matter; I do feel a wee bit glad it’s cheater ex’s turn to be miserable. But now I’m working on totally letting to and forgiveness. For my sake, I find it necessary to forgive, to wish him well but he will never be welcome in my circle. I don’t want any residual anger left in me. That is not who I am so that’s my work for 2014. Peace and joy to all for the coming year.

  • Thank you Tracy. These words couldn’t have come at a better time.

    I am moving forward but I have rough days, choppy waters. It’s my first Holiday season without my cheater and I’ve had some really nice moments and others when it hurt like hell. But I do keep on moving toward that better life. I’m learning to put it all behind me.

    Wishing you and everyone here a VERY Happy 2014!

  • I’m definitely guilty of waiting on the karma bus. That’s something I need to let go of this year. I would so love to see that bus plow him over! But, that is putting an emphasis back on him and his life when I should be focusing on me and mine. So, I am redirecting my focus in 2014 and moving forward to be wonderful new life on my terms! Thank you for this post, CL!

  • I have never posted but your words this morning have saved me from a terrible spiral downward that I have been experiencing. I’m separated but not divorced yet and am 26 months post DDay. He arrived at our door Christmas Eve and I invited him only because I felt I should. He stayed for two hours and half way through all three of my kids who are late teens early 20,s left the room. I then proceeded to try and talk him into reconsiliation like a stupid pick me chump. Went from bad to worse. Told him that I want him to file for divorce then and he said he didn’t know what to do. I suggested that maybe in a few weeks we could get together again and discuss things. No comment from him. I was a crushed mess when he left that took me back to DDay. Then after the weekend in which his Aunt had a terrible stroke he calls me to tell me all about it. I ask him about the coffee and he says he will be filing for divorce and that he loves her and doesn’t love me.
    CL Thanks again. Your words ring so loudly now. You have brought me into the fold and I look forward to this year to find my place.

    • Justme52, please don’t wait for your husband to file. Lawyer up and file yourself so you aren’t hanging in limbo – if I’d waited for my ex to file I would still be married… Go No Contact and take control of your life! (jedi hugs)

    • Justme52, welcome! He’s a cake eating jerk. No more pick me. Don’t give him your power. You file and take charge! Please see a lawyer to protect yourself. He’s counting on you being chumpy. Don’t be.

      • Thanks. Ya I do for the separation agreement so all the particulars are done. He left with nothing and got nothing from me and keeps complaining that I’m getting half his take home as all three of my kids are still in high school or post secondary. I just thought that after me paying for everything for something I never wanted that he should pay for the divorce . If it doesn’t happen this month I will be doing it just so that I’m not in limbo anymore.
        Quitting pick me is hard but I know I have to go back to no contact. Hadn’t seen his face or spoke to him in 8 months but my hope was still there. It’s gone now and I realize completely so is he. Thanks again for your replies. May 2014 bring us all happiness.

      • Justme52, CL and Datdamwuf are spot on. I tried the reconciliation/pick me for 5 years. The cheater will keep you on the hook with false intimacy just to feed their ego. It is hard for us to fathom that the cheater is incapable of experiencing any empathy for us. Equally unfathomable is that they were ALWAYS like this and we just didn’t get it because we are emotionally intact people. For the sake of your children and most importantly for your own sake, pull the plug and file for divorce. Prove to yourself and your family that you aren’t a punching bag ( I like to think of that song “Tubthumper”, I get knocked down but I get up again…)

    • 52, I am so sorry you are having to go through this. I know exactly how you feel. My ex walked out on his 20 year marriage and out of his children’s-3-lives to be with his sparkley mistress. I could not compete with that. Five years later I still grieve but I am living my life with integrity. You need to take care of yourself first. Your kids are going to need you to be strong. There will never be a good answer to the questions you have. Cheaters never make sense. While I was happy for most of my marriage those last two years in it were hell. My ex did all the things a cheater does. He was not committed to our relationship at all. You can only make it work when there are two people who are committed to making it work. Get out. If you have ever seen Will Smith’s Men In Black your husband is now Edgar. A shell of who he once was. And you can no longer make excuses for his poor choices. You deserve someone who truly loves you.

    • Justme52, I did the pick me dance for two decades so I’m an expert. On the surface, it appears to work because ex always came back. But it’s no way to live because they will cheat again. I filed for divorce because my ex refused when OW3 came around. Like Datdamwuf, I would still be married if I didn’t. As it was, he stalled signing the papers until he couldn’t. And attempted reconciliation again. This time around, all I could think of was to barf.

      You will get to a much better place, Just. You truly will. If you told me a year ago that I would feel as great as I do today, I would not have believed you. Divorce him, work on yourself, focus your energies on yourself and your children and your ex will eventually become nothing but a distant memory.

      • OW3?! Why, why, why do they continue to try to reconcile if these OW are so great? Why string me along? Why mess with your kids’ lives? Just GO!!

  • Happy New Years, fellow chumps! Thank you CL–this was the perfect message to kick off 2014, which I’d already decided was gonna be The Year of Me. Onward!

    • I just have to laugh because I’ve been calling 2014 The Year of Me as well! I even started a list yesterday of all the things I want to do (including going to the ballet, taking a baking class, and going on a yoga retreat). I’m so excited to do somethings and try some new things. I think you have the right idea, Irene. I hope today was a great kickstart. 🙂

  • 2013 brought the legal finalization of my divorce (we are down to one open issue remaining), my obtaining a religious divorce, and the deaths of my ex-father-in-law and my mother, within 48 hours of each other, 2 weeks ago.

    I got the new job/career, did some online dating, kept the old friends, made a ton of new ones, moved apartments and I have a terrific relationship with my grown sons. They choose not to have any contact with their father and I have been no-contact for 1.5 years.

    I am still on a lot of medication and not embarrassed to admit it. As a matter of fact, I offered to be a non-compensated spokesperson for a company that genetically determines the best anti-depression medication for individuals.

    I have the tools to emotionally survive and know what to do to get myself through the rough patches. I would say that being barred from my ex-father-in-law’s funeral and having to pick out a casket for my mother by myself qualifies as a rough patch!

    The karma bus probably came when my sons decided on their own to attend the service for their grandfather but not the burial. It was a very public demonstration of their feelings towards their father in front of his colleagues and family.

    Her karma bus is that she has him. You would think that having watched him as my husband for about 12 years, she would have known that he wasn’t going to be any different with her.

    So, please tell me how to finally “get over it”? I still let my mind go to “what is the truth???” because there was never an explanation. I can’t seem to let go of trying to reconcile who I thought he was from who he really is.

    I have great days, but the thoughts still come out while I sleep. How do I stop the nightmares?

    Or is it just that I don’t have enough time and distance yet? Technically, we were married for 30 years. I have no idea if the cheating happened throughout the marriage of it it was just the last 18 to 12 years.

    Advice PLEASE. I need to move on!

    • Rebecca, you only know YOUR truth. You were real. You brought your A game. His truth is some warped shit of a double life. To try to figure that out would be untangling the skein of fuckupedness and it’s a no win. You know enough to know that he’s got to be a disordered piece of shit to conduct a double life for 12 years.

      I think you’re navigating this incredibly well — and you suffered two bad blows in 2013. Of course you’re going to feel wobbly for awhile. Be kind to yourself!

      When I say get over it, I don’t mean feel no pain. Feeling pain is unavoidable — but it pushes you to the other side. Makes you do the necessary things, like stay NC with him.

      As to nightmares, I can just tell you how it was with me. I didn’t really have them until I was safe. Like years afterwards. In fact, I still get them sometimes, that he lives next door and he’s going to kill me. In the beginning, I think you just live on sheer adrenaline trying to get out and save yourself. Once you do that, and have a breather, I think it takes your subconscience some time to catch up and process it.

      Being on certain drugs can give you nightmares too — so you might want to mention that to your doctor.

      Just keep being good to yourself, take care of your health, and surround yourself with kind people. WILL yourself forward. It’s just mental discipline and time. You WILL heal from this. (((Big hugs))) to you, and happy new year.

      • Rebecca2,
        I am Chump Lady’s worst student. For over two years, I could not get myself to go No Contact. Each time I’d end up crashed and broken at the bottom of the hill I’d just climbed up and there mountains beyond mountains ahead of me still. After crying to my wonderful therapist, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get better?!” she sent me to a nurse who specializes in mood disorders. This compassionate woman tinkered with the antidepressant I’ve used for years to keep the dark clouds away, clouds I’ve had lurking since college. It took another 6 months before I could tell ex-NPD husband not to contact me and I could delete anything else he sent me. But I was still on the bathroom floor weekend mornings screaming and sobbing and it took herculean effort to get showered and dressed. About a month ago, I had hypnotherapy-a 30 minute guided imagery- which I doubted would help. I took the cd of the session home to listen to. The next day at the session with my other therapist, I was able to consider the tiny steps that lead to a full blown meltdown. Now can change the channel before I get too far. I even made it through Christmas with family and had a lovely New Years Eve by myself. Two thoughts that have helped me steer away from sinking are, “Within myself, I have everything I need to be the person I want to be” and “Don’t make negative talk a habit.”

        The reason I’m writing this is to say not every chump can immediately slam the door. I wished I’d had the strength to not drag this pain with me for two-plus years, but I wasn’t. I have, though, worked very hard to get where I am today. In the end, you have to be able to do it your way.

    • Rebecca,

      Give yourself a huge hug because you have accomplished an amazing number of things (career, housing, personal) in a short period of time. All I can offer is that time really will put the trauma in your rear view mirror. You are taking all the steps to move forward. For several years after my separation and subsequent divorce, my first thought upon waking was “I can’t believe this is my life.” Mercefully, that doesn’t happen anymore. I think you are awesome.

  • Thank you CL for your words of experience and wisdom today. Again right on the mark for us going through what you’ve already gone through before us.

    2014 is the year of ME – for once in my life, I will focus on myself (not selfishly of course) – I will get healthier, I will sleep more hours, I will do activities that I enjoy regardless of who else enjoys them, I will take care of me. I will work on letting go of the anger towards how my X treats our son (that is their relationship and I logically understand, but want to kill the X for hurting our son over and over again) and I will work on letting go of my anger towards my X’s parents for supporting him in his decision (we were very close, and I need to let go of that anger).

    Lots to do this year, thank you CL for being there for us chumps. It is already a long and hard road, but without your light guiding us and reminding us there is a light and a better life at the end of this tunnel, it would be a much harder road.

    Welcome 2014! to the best year ever!

  • Great Post! I adopted two kittens yesterday to help me…..Get over it!
    So far, so good! Happy New Year filled with new possibilities to everyone!

      • Thanks for the vid! that made me laugh so hard, especially since my cat was just in the kitchen calling me to put the chairs back upright so he can sit down. I explained I had to buy felt for them at Home Depot so they wouldn’t scratch the new wood floor and he walked to the door and glared at me. Obviously, I have to go take care of this NOW.

        • By running in front of me, meowing obnoxiously and biting my big toes, my cat systematically trained me to pet him while he eats. I complain but hearing him purr like a motorboat while crunching his food brings me a lot of joy.

      • Terrific video.

        I have 2 cats and 2 dogs. Neither of my cats has done well in the decorating world, but my younger dog has a systematic dissection of any kind of home decor, with special attention to fiber arts.

  • Tracy,

    I love you like a fat kid loves cupcakes, I love this post and it is so right on time. Even if I still have so many emotions and actual logistics to navigate before I finally “get over it” completely, it is so important to be reminded that is the finish line I am walking toward. I have spent so many years mired in “what’s best for Fucktard from Hell,” that I still need to be reminded that him and his needs are irrelevant to my life now.

    You (and my fellow Chumps) saved me in 2013 and are helping me move forward to a new and better future in 2014. Happy New Year to you and yours and thank you so much for being here and being you.

    • It’s weird because I also lived a bit of the ‘whatever is best for him’ life, mainly because I thought I was doing it for our family. All it did was give him an overloaded sense of entitlement and it took me a very long time to realise that and to face up to the fact that I was not happy for quite some time because I wasn’t taking care of my own needs and neither was anyone else.

      I feel more or less over it, other than residuals moments of being pissed off when the kids tell me about him – but I’m also seeing that he’s dragging final OW into his vortex the same way he did with me and I can imagine it will end just as well.

      • Chump Princess, I love this: “what’s best for Fucktard from Hell.’ Haha!

        Unfortunately I did this too. I thought that if things were like he wanted them to be he’d be happy. I tried and tried but eventually I was just a shell of my former self. Our house reflected his tastes, our holidays, even the food we ate. It was seriously ridiculous now that I look back on it. I guess I figured if it made him happy, well, why not?

        Sadly that played out when he said “I wouldn’t have had an affair if I was happily married.” Hmmm… I wasn’t so happily married either but my vagina didn’t land on a penis. So there was that.

        Anyway, I realize how unhealthy it all was and how unhappy I was. Next go round I’m looking for reciprocity. That would be lovely.

        • Nord and thensome,

          I think if you are committed to the marriage and the family, it is an automatic response to want what is best not only for your spouse, but for the entire family. That’s how we Chumps operate. Unfortunately, we ended up with rancid, frothing beasts from hell who were wired to take advantage of and abuse those qualities instead of appreciating and reciprocating them.

          I used to feel bad about what I allowed to happen to me until I landed on this site. I realized that yes, you can be a caring, intelligent human being and be taken advantage of by a soulless troll. I learned that the shame of that is not mine. That is why I love of all you fellow Chumps and Tracy – Peace to Us All in this New Year.

      • “It’s weird because I also lived a bit of the ‘whatever is best for him’ life, mainly because I thought I was doing it for our family. All it did was give him an overloaded sense of entitlement and it took me a very long time to realise that and to face up to the fact that I was not happy for quite some time because I wasn’t taking care of my own needs and neither was anyone else.”

        Truer words were never spoken, Nord. This describes my marriage perfectly. If I wanted to do something for myself, it was accompanied by a lot of whining: “When will you be back? Are you going to feed the kids ahead of time?” I think I’ve written on here before about how my ex encouraged me to go spend some “me” time, so I went to my favorite local spa for a facial and pedicure. Just as the owner was starting my pedicure, he called and asked when I’d be home. I had been gone for about an hour.

        But when it came to him? Oh please– I encouraged him to take time for his hobbies (which sometimes involved travel), to visit friends and family out of state, and to even take freelance work (which he enjoyed) out of state, so he had ALL the “me” time he wanted and then some. I honestly was okay with holding down the fort and taking care of things at home, but it was never reciprocal, and it took the A for me to see that clearly. I kept giving, and he kept taking. He finally took too much, and then I woke up and realized that this was not a man I wanted to be married to.

        • I had to laugh at myself when reading these posts about it being all about them- I guess that’s a good sign. 🙂 In the last third of the marriage, he’d claim he had work in Country A for a few days and Country B enough days later so it made “sense” for him to spend two weeks since it was halfway around the world. Then he’d send me photos of a fancy beach resort which, oh, by the way, he decided to spend time at while he was there. If he had a few days of “work” in a country in South America, he’d say he was going to stay a week since he’d never been there before. I’d feel it wasn’t really fair because I had to work and couldn’t go, but then he could do his work anywhere and he made so much more than I did, why shouldn’t he be able to spend some extra time exploring? I’d suck it up and be a big girl about it. He’d promise we could go sometime together, except then there weren’t any free tickets available and the flights were really expensive now. Funny, he stayed in the most expensive Hyatt there and would take short flights to other areas. I resented it but kept my mouth closed. Now I get what he was doing. That was not one of my best decisions to have that type of financial relationship we had. I did get to travel to some amazing places and I have great memories of what I experienced while he worked, but I didn’t push to be an equal partner in decision making. That’s what I gave up.

  • Rebecca2, I don’t know if any of this will help, it’s what worked for me. Number 1 is that I couldn’t “get over it” until my divorce was final because I had to interact with the ex to get that done even though I never spoke to him (all email and lawyers). Even tho my ex settled, I still went to the court so I could HEAR and SEE the judge grant my divorce. I needed to do it, my attorney said none of his other clients ever did that before. Divorce granted in April 2011. I spent a year in therapy doing EMDR and talk with two different therapists. This past year I only see the talk therapist once a month.

    So, the thing that helped me get over it most was EMDR, in session I was finally able to feel anger toward my ex, to rage and rage without guilt was freeing as hell. Then I could grieve my loss. Then I could work through the idea that I had “wasted” years with this person and realize my life was not “wasted”. It was lived, imperfectly perhaps, but well lived. And then I could understand MYSELF well enough to see why and how I stayed when things were not good, how I was manipulated by him and how my own issues and needs made it easier. I could understand me, I understand that my trust and love was not the issue, the manipulation is not easily seen until you look back. I am still working on taking care of myself as well as I take care of others, a life time of doing the opposite is hard to change. Most importantly, I have forgiven myself because I didn’t allow it, I didn’t understand what was happening, and now I do. Liking myself and forgiving myself was far more important than anything else.

    You said “I can’t seem to let go of trying to reconcile who I thought he was from who he really is.” This cannot be done, you are not him. The way I let it go? In a nutshell that isn’t complete: I had many years of happiness living with my ex, it does not matter if his life was a lie, if he was not who I thought he was during those happy times. It does not matter if he was always wearing a mask or he descended into madness over time and began wearing the mask. It does not matter if he was a Sociopath, had BPD, NPD or any other mental illness or addictions. Whether a mask or a descent into mental illness created the life I had, it.does.not.matter. The only thing that matters is that my experience was good during the early years, he was who he was to me, until he wasn’t. I loved who he was, until he wasn’t the person I loved. My perception of my experience; my memories, cannot be taken away. Who he is now, is who he is; and that person is one I do not wish to know, I do not wish to understand for who then would I become?

    I don’t have a handy quote, I’ll make one up “Your memories belong to you, each one unique and precious, accept the worst, cherish the best. Never lose your sense of wonder at the world in all it’s glory, and all it’s pain. Without the dark how would you see light?” ~Datdamwuf

    • Such Wise Advice. My therapist is trying to get me to see much of what you are saying here Datdamwuf……the hardest part for me is realizing that perhaps he really did love me the way he knew how to. It’s not the same way I love or many others love. The important part was that I loved him and my perception is important. It need not change just because he did what he did. P/N’s are disordered and ultimately believe there is nothing wrong with how they carry out their lives. all the reading has gotten me to understand this. We can’t change it. They have to want to change. And that may never happen or be successful. Their brains are miswired. Best of luck Rebecca2. It’s sad and yet I am so happy that I can come here and know I am not alone. Always feels good to have allies. Happy New Year!

      • I am burning up this post today.

        This last thread struck another chord with me. I have struggled with whether good times were real or not as well. I know that I learned a lot by being with him–he was smart, well educated and successful. I learned to ask tough but respectful questions of those higher up, to bravely speak up for myself and others, to be a good public speaker, to be a better writer, to walk into any place and believe I belonged there, to not be intimidated by other people, to be a systematic thinker, to not hide my talents completely, to make things happen if I wanted something, to believe I was smart enough to solve difficult problems…I changed and grew a lot. He didn’t. He could not apologize. He could not work through conflict with me. He impulsively stopped business negotiations and walked away if the other party wasn’t treating him properly. He did not become a better listener. He would not change anything in bed to make it an equal partnership. It reminds me of that Raymond Carver poem,
        Where They’d Lived”

        by Raymond Carver
        Everywhere he went that day he walked
        in his own past. Kicked through piles
        of memories. Looked through windows
        that no longer belonged to him.
        Work and poverty and short change.
        In those days they’d lived by their wills,
        determined to be invincible.
        Nothing could stop them. Not
        for the longest while.

        In the motel room
        that night, in the early morning hours,
        he opened a curtain. Saw clouds
        banked against the moon. He leaned
        closer to the glass. Cold air passed
        through and put its hand over his heart.
        I loved you, he thought.
        Loved you well.
        Before loving you no longer.

        • Thank you Kelly, Nwrain, thirtyyearsanddone, I hope this helped. Reality is our perception, experience and memories. Our experiences were real, the good and the bad – erasing the good leaves only the bad. We can accept both in our reality. Happy damn New Year!

            • DDW, I also want to thank you for your post. When I found out about ex’s affair, I not only regretted the amount of time I spent in an unhappy marriage, I questioned the validity of my own reality. I berated myself for my seemingly infinite capacity for self-deception. All that time, I believed myself to be in a happy, functioning marriage–that is, until the veil was ripped off suddenly one day, when I found out the truth. I have such a hard time accepting this and forgiving myself for being so–unperceptive? stupid?

              • oh Jade, NO, you were trusting and believed in your love – not stupid, not unperceptive, when someone you love and trust is lying, gaslighting, manipulating and slowly, so slowly changing your relationship and crossing your boundaries? It is not easy to see until you get out, until the boundary you can’t bear is finally crossed. Forgive yourself for not seeing through the lies. That was hard for me to do, reptile brain told me I was stupid, but that’s not true, I was trusting my partner to tell me truth. That’s different, I have forgiven myself, you should too. (jedi hugs)

              • You sound just like me, Jade. I didn’t think things were that bad, but I am now finding out how unhappy he was and how he had to find someone else, even though he wishes he could of came to me…wtf? So, we are now 3 months in and he is upset that all I can focus on is the 3 year affair, while he wants me to “heal” and start talking about what lead him to have the affair…another wtf?

    • “The only thing that matters is that my experience was good during the early years, he was who he was to me, until he wasn’t. I loved who he was, until he wasn’t the person I loved. My perception of my experience; my memories, cannot be taken away. Who he is now, is who he is; and that person is one I do not wish to know, I do not wish to understand for who then would I become?”

      This is helpful and a good way for me to think about things so as not to regret most of my marriage. However, I do still need to understand who he is now because we have kids (10 and 12 years old). He’s always been a loving and involved father, but how is this change in him going to affect that relationship? He’s already chosen to forego a couple of trips with the family in favor of meeting up with OW. I need to understand this so that I can better prepare myself on how to help my kids

  • Thanks CL…I had to spend New Year’s Eve alone, which was made a little better with a movie and delivery Japanese food. I really want to begin the new year on a more positive note. I want to stop dragging through life as if I am half a person and half a family–a really tall order to feel complete again, after 24 years of marriage. Still, freedom is so much better than servitude and misery in a family that looks good to everyone but the people actually living in it. Cheers to everyone here! Happy 2014!

  • CL – I love how you think. And I like to tell myself that I *think* I think how you think sometimes. But you articulate it so much better than I ever could. And, of course, I know that I learned much of this good thinking right here on your pages.

    Happy New Year! Thank you so much for being here and sharing your truth with all us chumps. You really make a difference in so many lives.

  • My motivation for this year (I don’t like the term “resolution”) – To get past my nightmare and own my life.

    I’m on my way.

    Happy 2014 everyone!

  • It’s funny that you posted this, because I was just going to allow myself to wallow and think, “Golly . . . if only I had the power to reverse time. I could get our marriage back to the way it was . . .” Then it occurred to me; If I did have the power to reverse time, that would put me back to being a clueless chump who had a husband she couldn’t trust. He would still be hitting on bitches and trying to fuck around on me, and I’d have to go through it all over again.

    No, better it’s over and done with. That shoe has finally dropped so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Besides, all I’ve lost is a cheating husband and a half-assed handy man. At least now I can hire a hot dude to fix stuff correctly the first fucking time.

    Viva 2014! I’m only half a day into the new year and I’m already considerably less chumpy. 🙂

    • Lol very funny. Half assed handyman Rumblekitty. Think we had the same ex!
      Great post as always CL. Happy NY to you.
      New Year for me as a single lady as of November 2013. Yeah I shed a year last night but I’m marching on today.
      Happy New Year Chump legion. Onwards, upwards and at em!

    • That’s a great attitude, Rumblekitty. I wouldn’t go through that hell again for anything in the world so no, I wouldn’t go back, although in the past my thoughts have gone along the same lines as yours. In the end I woudl still be doing all the work and he’d still be out trolling for sluts.

  • This post is so timely and spot-on. I’ve been struggling to forget the whole nightmare of my marriage for a long, long time. I reached a point a few months ago where I knew the answer was simply, “Get over it.” I wasted way too much time thinking about him, wondering what he was doing and who he was doing it with, speculating, untangling the impossibly tangled skein of fuckedupness that is my ex. No more.

    I’m not at meh yet, and I admit I’d be amused to see the karma bus run down my ex’s ass. But I’m not wasting so much time anymore thinking about him. I have laughed hysterically with a few friends at his latest video, but mostly, I push him out of my mind. What is there to miss or think about? A delusional child-man, a cheater, a con artist, an evil person who manipulates and uses others. He will never change, but I can go on into a good new life, and I’m already walking into that goal.

    Happy New Year to everyone here. May 2014 be the year of sweet freedom from cheaters, the year of meh, the year of a healthy, strong, wonderful life without the taint of the disordered.

    • Glad, I saw a new video and I gave your X a “round warm of applause”, but it was difficult because I don’t know what that is. WTF? Don’t waste any more of your time on him unless it amuses you! And your friends.

  • I was moaning to my mom over the phone about something to do with xH the other day, and she offered the BEST advice and right-on sympathy, and then she ended with a virtual slap on the ass with this doozy, “Now let’s move on.”

    I wanted to react in righteous anger, but I got up and folded a load of laundry (LOTS of laundry with three kids home for the holidays) and I thought, you know, she’s actually right. No use in dwelling on it. Hell, I have three kids–my pride and joy–home for the holidays, after all.

    I have a lot of other things to do than be sore about dropping a loser. Just because he found his perfect match (and, BOY, are they perfect for each other!) doesn’t mean it’s an indictment of me. Rather, it’s a blessing, and perhaps auspicious that the twat troll came into my life when she did, to reveal and unload the coward I’d been unfortunately married to. Talk about a drag…. After all, I’ve done a lot of things since then that I am really proud of, that benefit my children and me, and free me up for adventure and discovery in the dating world in a few months (fewer, if Mr. Right For Now happens by in the mean time.)

    I am living a life of integrity–not perfectly, but it’s actually something I strive for, and it’s working.

    Eh, life is really, really good. You see, I am on the Karma bus myself–it’s a pretty sweet ride. The fare was steep, but I like the digs.

    Yeah, Mrs. Chump Lady?? I think I WILL get over it.

  • Thanks, Tracy. This is what I needed to hear today. I’ve been “waiting for the right moment” ie. hoping for something that isn’t going to happen for months now. I feel weak and worried and sad — but I have to get the bus moving, and I have lots of good people on my side, including all the good people on this site. Thanks, all of you

  • Happy New Year to all!

    I hope this slam poetry touches you as it does me, we are all of us amazing and full of the life we live and we will lead wonderful lives;

    hope this embed works…

  • “All that energy poured into a narcissist — it’s yours now.”

    Amen. Only a fellow chump has the standing, IMHO, to tell us to “get over it.” I won’t hear it from someone else because no one else understands. And getting over it, for me anyhow, doesn’t mean the pain never tries to creep back in, but you straighten your shoulders and keep moving forward.

    What did CL’s sister-in-law say, something about kicking darkness down the stairs and laughing at its haircut ?!? I love that thought.

    Happy 2014!

  • I am not over it. I am still grieving. After 33 years (28 married) with the same man, I am getting along the best I can. We have separated, but still working on the divorce. I have bought my own house and moved in. But getting over it after 6 months? Not hardly. This wasn’t a serial cheater, but a guy who chose to cheat in order to end his long-standing marriage. I am still healing from the hurtful things he did and said. I am grieving that my next 20 years won’t be anything like I envisioned.

    And you say – just get over it. I will, but I still have grieving to do. Finalization of the divorce will help. Time will soften the blow. But I am all alone and don’t see that changing – ever. I’m a loner that doesn’t make friends easily, and who people don’t even try to get to know. So I am grieving that too. I cannot ever do this again, once almost took me down a very dark path, so I have already chosen how my future will be.

    I am still grieving the friends I lost – all but 2 (1 was all mine anyway, the other still is a friend of the cheater’s too). Somehow the cheater kept everyone. Of course he is charisma, and I am not, so it was not unexpected – just hurts like hell.

    I will get over it, but I haven’t yet. I am grieving the fact that even if he decided he made a huge mistake, I can’t imagine any way that he could make up for the hurt he deliberately caused by both actions and words.

    I am grieving a lot of things, and it will take time. I hope and pray that 2014 will see a turn around for me; this was a tough year for me full of death (family and pets), loss of love, even the loss of every family doctor I have (yes – in the same year my medical dr., eye dr., and dentist moved away) and 6 months of everything (and I mean everything) going wrong.

    Sometimes I see the light at the end of the tunnel, of what I can be without anyone in my life. But at other times all I can see is the shambles my life has become. Oh, I hide it well – work thinks I’m good, STBX thinks I am good, my two friends think I’m good, so does family.

    But . . . I’m still grieving, and am not over it . . . Yet.

    • From where I sit, I see that you have an opportunity to GROW in ways you never imagined that you could. I see that you have two paths to choose from–one that is well-worn with the rut of introversion and alone-ness, or a new path that involves perhaps a bit more introspection and camaraderie. It’s a bit of a risk taking that second path, because you really have no idea what’s along the way. But do you really know what the first path will bring you? You thought you did, but something unexpected happened. Why not take control and make a new choice?

      I think you might need counseling, as well. You sound depressed! And, of COURSE you are! You’ve been devastated. You have a lot to sort out. But you seem to have given up on being happy already–and that is a hallmark of depression. It’s possible that you never really realized how living with your ex contributed to your isolation.

      What do you like to do, and how can you parlay that into making new friends? Don’t suppose that everyone in this world already has enough friends and no time for you. Do you have anything to share? Any kindness in you that you can spread? Are you good at something that could help someone else, and therefore help you? Is there something you’d like to learn, that someone else could teach you? How would you like to try something new, if only for the sake of meeting new people and coming out of your shell? You don’t have to look that hard to find joy in this world. Misery is everywhere, too, but look for the joy, instead. Bring it out in others, and it will make you happier, as well. Find humor–it is a form of joy.

      Volunteer, or join a meet-up group. At this point, consider doing a lot of listening and watching, and fight the urge to bare your bleeding heart to strangers who might be overwhelmed with their own stories. Find commonality in appreciation. Think of getting a new job? Make some sort of change. Are you enjoying personalizing your new home? I read in the book Journey from Abandonment to Healing that imagining your own space can be very therapeutic–and I can vouch for that. Don’t turn down any invitations to socialize, no matter how tired you feel.

      YOU CAN DO THIS!

      • Nowhere did I say that I have given up on happiness – just my happiness will not be with another person in my life.

        You think after 52 years, I haven’t tried to get out of my shell? That only brings more supposed friends, who either have used me or left me without so much as a good-bye or an explanation.

        As for social invitations – none come my way, and people don’t have the time for anything that I might suggest. I’ve tried joining groups, but the only ones that work are online, so I enjoy a few forums on motorcycleing and other things. When I meet people in-person, they find excuses to get away as soon as possible (one gal even went so far as to say her son sent a text about breaking his arm so she had to leave – when I asked a couple days later, she couldn’t remember her lie). No, I have always known I am not a people person, or a person people really like to be around – that is nothing new.

        I have joy in working on my house (painting, repairing, improving etc.) and interacting with my pets. Heck, I even enjoy snow blowing, which I had never done before (I was the shoveller).

        Thanks for taking the time to read and reply – I much appreciate that!

        • Have you seen a therapist for this issue of people not wanting to be your friend? Has anyone told you honestly why you’re having a hard time making or keeping friends?

        • bogie, I hope you are seeing a therapist, you seem to be beating yourself up really hard. Not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone. We aren’t born with innate social skillz either, I know I had to work on mine, and yeah I sometimes meet people and later wonder why couldn’t we connect. I’ve learned that it’s not me or them, we just all have our own opinion of people. I’ve been going to meetups and neighbor stuff and while I haven’t made a close friend I have met some people that are friendly, we might end up friends over time, no rush, no push. I over think interactions others take for granted so I think I know where you are coming from. I also am more comfortable around animals than people, but we all need peeps – we are hard wired for it. I’m not talking romantic partner, I just mean friends. Peeps to share life with, take your time though. Hell, I didn’t go out at all until a year after my breakup, other than solitary lunches shared with my iPad and Kindle.

          • Thanks for taking time to reply and it really makes me feel better. 3 months after the split, people were asking if I was dating. Seriously? So hearing that it took a year for you puts it back into perspective for me.

        • bogie–I am so sorry for what you’re going through.

          Getting over it doesn’t mean abandoning grief. Right now, you still need to grieve. It’s been only 6 months. Be kind to yourself.

          I do agree that if you’re someone who’s never been great at making friends, you’re going to be especially lonely and vulnerable right now. This is a red flag for counseling. Even if you feel you don’t want to deal with a romantic relationship (i.e. you don’t see the need to fix your picker), you should still get some assistance with the grief you feel as well as your social skills.

          I think joining a group of people who are going through similar problems would be useful. If you have a hobby, getting together with other enthusiasts is also helpful–especially if you happen to be shy or have rusty social skills. Instead of having to make small talk, you can talk about the shared hobby. Often there’s programming, so you don’t have to talk long. Groups are a great way to connect with others in limited, controlled environments.

          At any rate, I think that you can cut yourself a break. You’ll get over it, but not today or tomorrow. Probably on a Tuesday you’ll discover you’ve reached “meh.” 😉 In the meantime, take advantage of some counseling.

          Best of luck!

          • KB – Thanks for suggesting giving myself a break. I guess Chump Lady’s post really got to me, especially being just after the holidays. I’ll look forward to that Tuesday and try to find myself a hobby other than fixing up my house 🙂

      • Read that book, too, Stephanie and helped tremendously. I built my dream house during the Houzz app on my iPad. It was amazingly effective in giving me hope.

          • Bogie, do the work the author suggests, even if if feels hokey and contrived. Be open. I did the work in spite of myself ( self talk such as “this is weird” etc) but I was determined to give it a fair chance and I was shocked how well her suggestions worked. The inner child work felt odd in the beginning but that practice taught me self-love.

    • Bogie – I’m a long-time lurker, first time poster. Your post touched me so much that I couldn’t not respond. Sixteen years ago my husband, best friend, and creative partner left me after a long-time affair with another woman (whom he eventually married). My entire life exploded and I lost nearly everything. It was a horrible, frightening time.

      One thing that comforted me deeply was the story of the god Shiva from the Hindu tradition. I am not a religious person, but I am very interested in word religion and myth from a storytelling perspective. You can read about Shiva here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/deities/shiva.shtml, but the short version is that he is the god of destruction for the purpose of rebirth, re-generation, and re-creation. He destroys the world so it can be made anew.

      I know it’s not much, but I hope it helps you to think that all of this — the way things have come apart for you — is merely Shiva clearing the way for a world made new for you. For my part, I remarried a good man, had a wonderful child, left a career I hated and gained success in one I love, surrounded myself with authentic friends, and re-discovered my creative voice. All of this grew from scorched earth. Amazing things are possible, I promise you.

      Happy New Year, with good thoughts and care.

      • I am honored that your first post should be your response to me! I have wondered what I have done in my life that was so bad that the karma train hit me so bad this year – and then backed up to hit me again, and again. I’ll check out Shiva and hope it can help me change the way I am looking at my situation.

      • Persephone, Queen of the Underworld – I love, LOVE this destruction/rebirth perspective!

        I had SO MANY dreams when I was young and unmarried, and put them “on hold” to be with XH. Thirty years later, they were still “on hold,” and I’ve often wondered if the divorce was God’s way of kicking me out of my comfort zone to refocus me on what I was put here to do.

        Thanks for sharing this! Inspiration can sometimes come from the most unexpected places… 😉

    •     Bogie, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. It is excruciating.
          One of the things that worked for me was to join a group that did a ten-week workshop based on the book “Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends”…I would not have been able at that time to muster the sociability to go by myself to a meetup group, but I could get to Rebuilders one night a week, and made some friends and got a lot of support and insight through the process.
          Just a suggestion based on what worked for me — as they say in another group that helped me: “take what you like and leave the rest.”
      Best wishes for your healing..

        • Bogie, you’ve just managed to gain more than a few people who would love to know you. I know I would. By the end of my happiness (before d-day) I had internalized so much passive aggressive rejection that I was virtually agoraphobic. And I never suspected it was my 12 year relationship that had turned me from a natural introvert to a neurotic wreck. I couldn’t figure out why my emotional eating was so triggered and why I found eating and sleeping to be the two things I coveted most. I thought I must be dying. I have a younger sister who is the “pretty one”, naturally thin and energetic and I found myself enmeshed in all kinds of childhood stuff that I thought had been resolved a long time ago. I’m saying this to say that I didn’t know how much my partner’s “personality” had manipulated and shut me down. I thought he was my soul mate and the day I found out about his “secret life” he had kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me. So it’s a different scenario, but I wonder how much of your self esteem was built (or destroyed) in such a long-term relationship. BTW, some people consider “friendship” for what it offers them, but real friends are few and far between. Your postings reflect that you and I have a lot in common, I would be happy to chat with you via email or FB. Hang in there (that’s what I tell myself every day!) My final hearing is January 16th.

  • I have never been so ready for a year to be over. DDay was in October and I met with an attorney last week, but haven’t pulled the trigger. My husband knows that I am done and he believes that we can work out the $$ details and would rather pay us, than them…am I being a chump for trusting this man, that had a girlfriend for 3 years?? What is stopping me from contacting the attorney, putting down the money for the retainer and getting the ball rolling?!

    • Yeah, you’re being a chump. 😀

      Remember, cheaters DO NOT care about YOU. They will low-ball you. They will CHEAT you. Make sense? They are cheaters.

      My ex tried to go that route, as well. “Let’s mediate! Let’s not get lawyers!” So I filed without a lawyer, and then he got a lawyer.

      They think they can get away with something. Remember, you’re a chump, and he is acutely aware of it. He fucked you over once, he’ll do it again. And his girlfriend will supply the knife that stabs you in the back.

      You need an objective voice on your side.

      • Piper,

        I totally agree with Stephanie. When my STBX brought up the subject of separation and divorce, he tried to bully me into mediation because of the monetary aspect of hiring attorneys. I stood my ground and told him that it was not possible to mediate with someone who had proved himself to be a liar and a cheat and who had never lived up to any promise or representation which he had made to me. I asked him on what basis would I be able to trust or rely on his representations in mediation. Crickets. Then, he filed for divorce and basically offered me those same crickets in settlement. Fuck that guy.

        Attorneys are expensive, but you hire them to represent YOUR interests. Your cheater does not have YOUR interests in mind in either divorce or mediation. When Tracy says trust that they suck, I will add, trust that they lie and cheat and you can’t trust them.

        My two cents goes to hiring the attorney. Good luck to you.

    • This is my first post but I been reading here for weeks. Don’t believe in him. Protect yourself first. My dday was Oct. as well. First, he told me he is filing then I found out he have not so I started the process. He kept telling me he will be amicable. However, he will ask me the strangest questions like “HOw will we split the kitchen items because most of it are mine?”, “How we going to split the decoration vases?”, and etc. Telling me that I need to keep all the crap that he does not want anymore and that I have to pay him for half of those cost. Finally, I could not take it anymore because I realized he is just selfish and it was all about him. We both make good money so it was him not wanting screw me. I hired the most aggressive lawyer I interviewed and requested him to be nice unless STBXH start being mean. Well, as soon as I filed, he contested my divorce. He contested my adultery claim with I was guilty of cruel treatment toward him. Still in shocked that he can say something like this. Anyway, I just want to let you know that you should protect yourself.

      At least obtain a lawyer and ask him or she to play nice initially and see how it goes. If I have listened to my STBX and not hire a lawyer, I am not sure if I can stay sane right now.

    • What everyone here is saying!

      Get a lawyer. It will be worth every penny, and save you so much of your precious time and so much drama.

      I went through it too – the “let’s not spend the money on lawyers, we can negotiate”. So I did all the research, spent vacation time formulating an agreement, only to finally understand that “let’s negotiate” to him meant “I get everything, yes? and you just walk away and leave me and OW to enjoy the house, the business, the pension?…” I am a chump; I believed he had my best interest at heart, all evidence to the contrary, until I realized he didn’t. He is a liar, a cheat, and a lazy bugger on top of it all, and once I understood that I could face the fact that I was the one who would need to end this. It hurt, that understanding, it hurt big time. But I’m glad I faced that particular truth.

      I finally filed in August 2013. Best thing I did. Yes, it is costing me a lot of money. It is costing him a lot of money, too, which he didn’t expect, and which I think has changed OW’s attitude quite a bit, as her gravy train hasn’t arrived yet and it looks like it might be indefinitely delayed now. I couldn’t light a fire under his ass to get this done but the lawyers have. I have hope now that I’ll be free of this idiot in 2014.

      Go talk to a lawyer and they will let you know what you need to do documentation wise to file. In the meantime it wouldn’t hurt to collect up everything you can find and stash it somewhere safe. It’s a pain but it will be worth your hard work.

      Good luck. I hope you find yourself free in 2014, too, Piper.

    • Piper, you need an attorney. The guy is not your friend. Cheaters are so accustomed to manipulating that they cannot imagine any other way. “Reason with” actually means “manipulate the fuck out of”, “work with me” actually means “do things my way no matter how illogical or disadvantageous to you”; “you are hard to approach” shifts blame from their betrayal to your appropriate reaction to it. Don’t trust him…AT ALL.

      • Jamberry,

        Were you married to my STBX because you have definitely decoded his narc language? I laughed out loud when I read your translation – “Reason with” actually means “manipulate the fuck out of,” “work with me” actually means “do things my way no matter how illogical or disadvantageous to you.” That is so spot on and exactly what I heard filter out when he was trying to bully me into going into mediation with him. It was one of the few times in the relationship when he had to translate what I was saying into, “Dude, kiss my ass on that.” And I stuck to it, despite him revisiting the issue several more times.

        Hiring an attorney is a must when dealing with a disordered person because they will not honor any agreement and as much as possible needs to flow to you through the system.

        • Chump Princess, we have both been forced to set our boundaries and strictly enforce them. Something always felt a little wrong with our “negotiations” during marriage. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw a good therapist. The blinders are off now 😉 They cannot fool us anymore.

  • So, should I try to gather legal documents regarding our house, investments, 401K and then call the lawyer or once I file, then do they do all of it? I am confused, scared and hate to think of all the $$$ I will be spending due to his stupid-ass choices!

    • Hi Piper. You need to gather everything now and hire a lawyer ASAP. Your soon to be ex does not have your best interest in mind. If anything, hit him now while he still may be feeling guilty. That’s what I did and my lawyer even asked me after the settlement if I thought ex was feeling guilty. Told him I didn’t give a shit just get it signed. Best and smartest thing I ever did. That is money you earned together as a married couple. What you don’t get he will blow on her and she will take everything he hands her. Get what is due to you or she will.

    • Yes, I gathered all that and it made my world easier when he lawyered up (initally telling me he will not get a lawyer at all)because you have to produce it during discovery process anyway. If your soon to be ex is amicable, then you mite not have to go through this annoying process.

      Also, tell your lawyer that you want to save on lawyer’s fee and asking if there are anything that you can do yourself…i.e. u can review his discovery paper work instead of asking your lawyer and etc.

    • You can ask the attorney during the consult what actions you can take now that you would not be able to once you actually file. Filing for divorce often initiates a standing order that prevents you from taking certain actions while the divorce is pending. I wish that I had closed our joint credit card, for example, because he used it to pay some of his attorney’s fees and I ended up paying them in the settlement.

      Piper, I know it adds insult to injury to have to spend money on legal fees but consider it an investment in your freedom and an investment in protection from someone who is probably confident that he can manipulate everything to his advantage. Gigi is right that you will be able to save on costs by doing some of the paperwork yourself. Go ninja. Be stealthy and gather all the information you can get your hands on. As my CPA cautioned me, most people want an amicable divorce but they rarely turn out that way. I know this is scary but you can do it! Good luck!

      • There are some really good books to help you plan… Divorce & Money: How to make the best financial decisions during divorce by violet Woodhouse is one I reread a lot. My thing is this, no matter how nice and considerate the husband/wife is when talking about divorce, do not expect the person who you first met and dated to show up in court. My x is a control FREAK, freak being the most important word in that title. Right now we are fighting over custody issues. I stress over it bcz the one thing I can’t replace is my kids. He wants the control over them and me, not to mention child support payments. He doesn’t want to be real dad, just Disney dad. Oh well. Not my problem. When we were married it was always HIS retirement, HIS investments, HIS check, HIS house.
        It is so much better to arm yourself with a deadly weapon when going to war as opposed to a white flag. Arm yourself with the best, meanest hardass lawyer you can find. Maybe you won’t need him/her. If you do though, you have the weapon at your disposal. Lots easier to be nice when you are in charge than it is to fight when you are cornered.

        • Thanks for all the feedback. I still think I am in denial and can’t believe that this is actually my life. I need to gather up all my strength, move forward and realize that it will not be easy, but I don’t have a choice.

          • Piper, denial is a natural reaction to having to face something this hideous. Lean on your friends, lean on your family, lean on us, and keep moving forward even if your legs feel like cement. Many hugs!

    • Run a credit check on him, yourself, your kids, too, before you file. Check the public documents in your county for his name on any property. Smile and act innocent. Don’t talk about the divorce.
      And I agree–you have to hit them while they are feeling guilty and are so infatuated and running from all responsibility that they have no interest in their own children.

      • I also recommend renting a very small storage locker and moving things that are YOURS to it, including old paperwork you want to keep, anything you’ve inherited or brought with you to the marriage, anything of sentimental value that he could manipulate you with. A friend had her laptop taken by her ex and he would not give it back. The monetary value of the computer was NOTHING compared to the contents of it. Think like a detective. Claim and remove what is rightfully yours. He will likely do the same, and the OW will help him. Be stealthy about all this.

  • Thank you so much CL and the rest of you Chumps for the slap upside the head that I needed this morning. Your timing couldn’t have been better. The end of 2013 went from bad to worse in many respects (emotionally and financially) Yesterday, I received the following mass email from the cheating narcissistic ex:

    Subject: My New Years wish!
    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 05:27:27 -0700
    To all that are included in this mail…lol
    I actually took the time and went down to the beach (I live in Thailand) and wrote every name that is mentioned in this mail on a “Kongming Lantern”…..Sky Lantern? Look it up….lol
    My best wishes go out to friends regardless of how casual, friends that I hold dear, my beautiful children, and of course all my ex-wives (legal or not) that I am still paying for….lol.
    The lantern signifies that only the best will come to those who are true to themselves and are always kind to others……
    ….and in the immortal words of Steven Perry….”Don’t Stop Believing””
    Be good to each other…life is too damn short 🙂

    He sent this to his friends, his children, my children, his ex-wives (I am the illegal one as we never legally married and he pays absolutely nothing to me, but no one would know that), both of my bosses and half the very small town that I live and work in. One of my initial responses to the e-mail was concern about how others would view it. What reaction would they have to another installment in the smear campaign? How am I going to walk into the post office/bank/hockey arena/whatever on Thursday morning with my held high?
    The second thing I thought about was where is that Karma bus when you need it? Why does it never arrive?
    Then, I had a good cry.
    When midnight rolled around, the phone rang. It was a friend who had received that email. He called me to say that although he was formerly friends with the ex, that friendship would not be continuing into the New Year. He told me that he and his wife (who just passed away suddenly two weeks before Christmas) had talked about the ex and I and had often wished they had warned me about him. He said, “He is a douche. He is oilfield trash. Always has been, always will be. He is an a-hole (sucks). Trust me, he really is an a-hole (sucks).”
    Then, I got another call and another and another, all saying pretty much the same thing, from people who had received the same email. Many, who live in this very small town.
    I cried some more at this point. Grateful for needless worry and grateful for truly good friends, who actually “get it”, but still wishing that Karma would prevail.
    When I woke up this morning, I read your post first thing and realized that not only did the Karma bus arrive, he was actually driving it to his own detriment!! He drove me uptown to MEH and at the same time drove his friends to outskirts of town!! The bus arrived and departed on a Tuesday too!! Oh goodness, I don’t think it could get too much better!
    Thank you CL for being you and for supporting all of us Chumps. I don’t post here too often , but I do read a lot of good advice and I wish you and all Chumps the best in 2014!

    • Serendipity, I don’t know your ex at all but his email said IDIOT all over. If I received this email, I would think, “No class at all.” He’s digging his own grave. The best part? He doesn’t know it and won’t know it until he’ll be 6 ft under.

      • Thank you, Unique!! You made me laugh!!! I think that once you are a chump, you really second guess whether others are going to find your ex “introspective” and “deep” or just an idiot. Thank you for reaffirming my hopes and dreams. Take good care and thank you, again. Wishing you all good and great things in 2014!!!

    • Serendipity, I am so glad that the troops rallied around you! That friend who called you and gave you comfort after having his own tragedy so recently should be cherished.

      I must say though that any e-mail that starts “I actually took the time” (narc, much?!?) really should just be deleted and forgotten. The only person who is being smeared here is him, and I won’t say with what.

      • Oh, thank you for another good laugh Exrepeatedmeme. Yes, he is truly a good friend. He just came out of no where last night. He has his own sadness to deal with and I am so appreciative that he thought of me last night. Take good care and thank you for the smearing visual!!! Wishing you love and peace in 2014!!

      • Exrepeatedmeme, I forgot to add, thank you for “actually taking the time” to respond to my post!!! I am rolling on the floor laughing, because that is “so him”, it is ridiculous and I didn’t realize how ridiculous it was until you pointed it out!!! Thank you (much laughing as I type)!!!

        • Serendipity, I read the email and when I was done I said out loud “What a douche.” Then, I read further and saw your friend said the same thing and I laughed. It was garbage. Happy New Year.

    • This loser writes “…wrote every name that is mentioned in this mail on a “Kongming Lantern”
      The only name I see mentioned in the e-mail is Steven Perry. Just sayin’

      You are well rid of this asshole.

      Here’s to a much better year ahead, Serendipity001!

      • Thank you, jazzvox! Let’s face it, who is kidding who? The likelihood of him actually having taken any time to write anyone’s name on a Kongming Lantern is about as likely as Stephen Perry dropping by my place for breakfast. Wishing you all the best in 2014!

    • Serendipity, what a great New Year’s gift for you! The people who matter see through him and his manipulations. You are headed for a better year in a new life that’s populated with people who care about you. Best wishes.

      • Thank you, Lyn! That is exactly how I see it! As torturous that this past year has been, he truly gave me the best gift ever by not accompanying me on my journey into 2014. Wishing you peace and happiness in 2014!!

    • Oh my.. his children must be so embarrassed. Are you quite sure this asshat made it past the 10th grade? After this little stunt, I’ll be surprised if he has 2 friends left. It was about 3 “LOL’s” too many for my taste. Methinks the LOL is on him.

  • Amen CL!!!

    I think it has been a coping mechanism to focus on how fucked up they are and how to fix them. Much less painful than focusing on yourself and those deeper issues (at least for me) that led me to get in a relationship with this sad excuse for a partner in the first place.

    Painful stuff to process, but ready to move on, learn from this mess and grow from it. I’m finding my way to get over this is through forgiveness. Its been hard, because deep down I want to see him hurt and suffering just as much as he has hurt me. But I am only hurting myself being focused on him and revenge. I have to forgive him for me, not him. And forgiving him doesn’t mean I have to stick around and wait to be hurt again. Forgiving him and moving forward without him.

    • Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Also, I am not really into the “forgiving” thing. You need to come to peace within yourself, but in my mind, “forgiving” isn’t necessarily part of it. Some things are just “unforgivable”. That is okay!!!

      You can come to peace with them in your heart, but that doesn’t mean you have to “forgive” them in order to be whole. What gives you peace in your heart? What gives you gentle light. What makes you feel lovely? Whatever that is, do that. It’s for you, it defines you, it means you… your heart. Your peace. Your soul. Your self. Please don’t let him define you or let him give away the best part of you.

      • Yay! This is exactly how I feel! I will never forgive the betrayal and abuse. But I am finding peace within and outside of myself. xH and OW will forever be evil people to be avoided. I will never like them, never be friends, never be ok with what they did. It is not my place to forgive them for hurting my children, and even if it was, I never would, for that is my biggest regret in all of this.

        I will not let anger, hatred, vengeance rule my life. I will do my best to forget about them for most of my days. But I will not forgive, and I don’t believe I need to do that in order to live a happy, fulfilled life.

        As I’ve said here before, I’m going for indifference, not forgiveness. xH and OW could and would never make restitution for what they’ve done, and I do not believe in forgiveness without restitution, along with acknowledgement of wrongdoing, of causing others to suffer so selfishly and intentionally. I don’t believe that what they did was a forgivable foolish mistake, a youthful transgression–I believe it was and is pure evil and cowardice, neither of which I forgive, as they are counter to closely-held values of mine.

        • Forgiveness to me means just letting it go- not letting it have power over my life anymore. To not have a burning desire to see him suffer in order for me to feel better about the situation. Honestly, nothing that happens to him could ever be enough to make what happened to me okay. If my husband ends up alone, broke, beat down and lonely for the rest of his life, it would never be enough for me. I could never undo the heartache.

          I believe only by forgiving it, will I be able to move on. Forgiveness does not condone what they have done or forget it. At least that’s how I see it. And it isn’t easy, it something I haven’t fully grasped and I am work towards daily.

          I honestly think my husband would be happy if I were stuck wondering what he was doing, who he was doing it with, and wishing the karma bus would come along. He would absolutely love it if I stayed stuck on his life long after the divorce papers were signed. No way, no thanks! Forgiveness is for me!!!

          Also, I just think God has a way of restoring balance between right and wrong. The universe will take care of it, in the meantime I have forgiven him. I believe some things are forgivable. I’ve lately become an Oprah Lifeclass nut- and in one of her episodes she talks about (or it might have been one of her guest) “when someone shows you who they are believe them.” I definitely take partial responsibility in my situation. My husband, when we were dating, was all over the place with the red flags, and I CHOOSE to ignore them, have children with him and marry him. He let me know early on, in so many unconscious ways, that he was a man who wasn’t capable of true commitment and not to be trusted. Hindsight 20/20 right? I know. But for me to stay angry with him for something I expected and he couldn’t give to me seems like I wasted a valuable life lesson here. I have to bear some responsibility, so I forgive myself as well. And I will pay closer attention next time around when I start to date again.

          • Lovesick,
            you don’t have to forgive…I know I never will, because they don’t deserve forgiveness, For your info I had two cheaters, XH and XF (yeah my picker was bad, I was going through a nasty divorce when I met XF and I was vulnerable to this 2nd idiot) ) however, when I accepted, yes this happened to me, accept what happened and what a loser they were/are then I was able to let it go. I no longer care what happens to them nor do I care. Karma bus?? hee hee hee oh yeah it hit them!! it hit them good!! not so much financially, but everything else, they aged very quickly, and since they are no longer with me, that the women that used to come after them, well no longer ( see being with me made them look good, I was of use) and both of them STILL lurking around and hoping that I will take them back. NOOOTTT! After me both idiots had to lower their standards and I mean a lot!! the XH end up with a woman, the last OW, that is ugly, fat, wont pick/clean after him anymore and spends his money like there is no tomorrow (so different when we were together, I did everything and I am pretty/skinny and good with money) and he cheated on her already, she turned into a nut case, goes nuts every time he and I are in contact for the kids, she showed up at my door, demanding we stop all contact and I told her that cant happen because we have minor children..and she tried to threaten me and I told her to fuck off and stop lurking/driving around my house!! (which the dumb bitch does)
            The XF lives with his mom now, the women that he wants wont give him the time of the day, the ones do, he don’t want. The only reason I gave him a chance was because I thought he was one of the good guys, well I was wrong… I on the other hand have many suitors, but I am enjoying my freedom too much to date and I may never date again. Its too much fun being single!!! 🙂

            Now the best revenge is living good! It drives them insane and NC, of course unless you have children, but keep the interaction to a minimum, my XH tried to walk right in my house and sit on my couch so he can watch Tv with our son, IN MY LIVING ROOM (never cared for the kids before) the nerve!! I told him to get up, this is my house not his and he wasn’t invited inside. This is the guy, besides cheating, he used to abuse me also.. You should’ve seen the look on his face lol.

            Anyway what I am trying to say, you don’t have to forgive him! Just accept this had happened to you and he is a POS!! and he will get what’s coming to him eventually, not today, not tomorrow but he will, believe me on that 🙂

            Live well, smile often, “life is a gift” don’t waste it, you only live once, but if you live it right once is enough!!

          • Lovesick, I think sometimes forgiving yourself for putting up with so much is the hardest part. Sounds like you’re doing great!

            • Very true Lyn:) I have been kicking myself for years!! Wondering why I picked him in the first place or why I didn’t end it when he first started to be a major jerk- prior to kids or marriage. That has been really, really hard; realizing that I settled because I was afraid to be alone. But I am now learning to forgive, love, and value myself the way I needed to back then.

            • Lyn, thank you!!!
              I did that myself, not with the XH though, with the XF. Because I got married when I was a teen and I was young and naïve with XH.. My XF accomplished something in short couple of years than my XH couldn’t in 20 years. He broke me…He was a master of manipulation, lying, gaslighting and he was a player! I have never met anyone who can look at you, right in the eye and lie and tell you that your perceptions are wrong when it wasn’t, even when I had proof then only he admitted to just some of it and twisted rest of the truth/the obvious… I kept wondering, being angry with myself to why I didn’t throw his ass to the curb right away, when I saw the red flags first and why I had put up with so much bs, why I allowed him to torture me emotionally, mentally for years, at the time I had no idea what he was doing to me and he almost drove me insane (learned later about the gaslighting) I was so angry with myself and yes, I just couldn’t forgive myself for my own stupidity, falling for his lies, half-truths and much more. He was too good to be true and he was, he presented himself as the good guy..His family kept telling me what a great/good man he was, his XW was crazy, user etc. but in reality they all knew he was a serial cheater and he has never been faithful to any woman he has ever been with and they knew about the OW and interacted with her. Then they tried to blame me for leaving and not working it out with him in the end, saying he made a mistake and she was relentless…You see I was the better option for “his whole clan”…
              Anyway, when I was going through my nasty divorce, I was a sitting duck for a guy like my XF and boy he took full advantage of that!!
              I did that too, the anger, not forgiving myself for 2 long years after we broke up, then I came across to this site over a year ago. I read all the posts, comments and I realized the shame was on him, not me for everything he has ever done!! The Chump Lady has changed my outlook on what happened to me and more and for that I am forever grateful to her!! Also I am grateful to all who posts here, they have no idea what they did for me! Chump lady rocks!! I look so forward to her posts every day. She has changed my life for the better!! With that my attitude also has changed towards everything, now I am meh! Now I am enjoying my single life and I have strong boundaries in place.

              I learned to “Live well, smile often, “life is a gift” don’t waste it, you only live once, but if you live it right once is enough!!” 🙂

              So lovesick, be kind to yourself, because someday in near future you will be “MEH” just like me 🙂

              • Wow, Just-Jasmine, you just described my STBX to the letter. These people do so much damage. I’m glad to hear you’ve found “Meh” – it gives me hope that my brain can re-program itself – lol.

              • Danette, yes the damage they inflict is beyond comprehension and some leave permanent scars. It wasn’t easy but one of the reasons that we have a hard time letting these losers go is because of the trauma bond/or/and slot machine syndrome. Of course gaslighting makes you second guess yourself and keep you confused(which is their goal). I found my healing when I went in NC, I stopped answering calls/texts and also went in NC with his family, all the way..YES it wasnt easy..He is a master manipulator, he would do the hot/cold game and if you didn’t know what he was doing, you will fall for it, then he got you, he has been playing this game for years so he is good at it and he also plays the good guy role really well, and makes you out to be the bad guy, one thing to watch out for, that you are about to be conned/manipulated?? Its a “PITY PLAY” they all do it at first..Anyway, I saw him last weekend at the parking lot, you know what I felt? Absolutely nothing!!! and I said to myself, “wow this is the guy who I cried over, who cheated on me, used me, I lost sleep over and put me through hell?” you know when I met him, I didn’t think he was attractive at all, (just thought he was a good guy)then I thought he was, now I look at him, he is not attractive, he is scrawny, with bad skin, dresses horribly and standing next to me, he would look like a beggar, now I understand why people were questioning why I was with him, but I didn’t see it at the time.
                The thing is Danette, you could do it, trust me if I can do it, so can you, it just takes time. These people think they are all that and bag of chips, “NPD” and most of us are targeted by these NPD people and some has sociopathic tendencies (read Sociopath free).
                I hope you divorce this loser quickly and be on your way to complete healing! then just be “meh” 🙂

  • Chump Lady, thank you again for yet another excellent post. I am very willing to hear “get over it” from a fellow chump who deeply understands the journey. I devoted 18 years to the man – I don’t want to give him any more of me.

    Happy New Year, All!

  • Well I need to move on as well and for some reason this christmas has been the hardest . Maybe thats because I woke up in an empty house with no kids , no tree , no gifts , no spirit and thats mainly due to the fact she has yet again twisted the schedules and kanived enough to convince my kids that she has the bigger family gathering and it would be ” more like christmas there” (is how my daughter relayed the message to me). So you can see why “getting over it” is just not that simple because she never stops. So I’m stopping….I’m going to stop coming here and look for answers…looking for the WHY and I suspect a few others of you won’t need to come here either now from what I read about your new year’s resolutions. This is a good thing because we know what we need to do and we know that coming here has run it’s therapeautic course….it’s now for the unfortunate new broken heart’s that need to find what I found here – Tracy – (actually thru Huff Post) she has a gift of putting every horrible feeling and confused thoughts I had into understanding word’s and anecdotes. THANK YOU is the least I can say . But I need to stop RE-LIVING and start LIVING so I’m saying goodbye and good luck to all of you I hope you all find new love , new life and peace. Take care all

    • soyouseeit, glad to hear you’re moving forward, and hope all goes for the best for you! Some or other of us will always be here, in case you need a little ‘chump boost’ along the way!

  • Tracy — Just wanted to say that this is a beautifully written post and reminds me of one of my favorite Joseph Campbell quotes:

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

    Thank you for all of your wisdom.

  • Get over it! Means different things to different people.

    Most just say you have to accept the new situation the sooner you get on woth your ex and her partner the easier it will be. Eventually you will have to accept it and go to family gatherings etc.

    To that I say bullshit.

    The boys and I have clear boundaries established. Of course their boundaries are different to mine as they still have a warm relationship woth their mother and extended family.
    As far as chainsaw man is concerned they make choices about him and have established clear boundaries.
    We didn’t invite this mess. However we have to live with it and that’s a lot of “getting over it” in itself. We can’t change it but we can live with the new paradigm. Like many of us here we don’t like it but a few Tuesdays ago I realised that I couldn’t do anything about it and just accepted “meh”

    This concept that you have to get on with the ex and AP is total crap. Don’t need to hostile but keep it strictly business.

    What I don’t get is how parents just walk away and parent by text. Since Christmas Eve groceries has spent ten minutes with the boys. I just don’t get it. It’s bazaar and if you told me this would happen two years ago I would have thought you complete nuts.

    Get over it means to me getting on with life. Going no contact and ensuring not to get lured back into kibbles. I have only achieved this in the last few months. It’s so good when you can wrap yourself around meh. I didn’t believe it would happen but trust me chumps you will get there.
    Sure I ran into chainsaw man two weeks ago by chance at a market and told him what I thought if him contributing to the destruction of our family. Groceries couldn’t look me in the eye. They live in a vacuum ,in a fantasy and people like me and the boys can’t be part of it.
    Getting over it also means you spend more time living in the present and much less in the past. Again this has taken me some time but you do get there( on a Tuesday) .

    Getting over it means looking at the affair for what it is. A MINDFUCK! There’s no more descriptive world. Once you realise you didn’t contribute to it and you don’t need to be in the triangle then more strength you derive just living in the present.

    As Tracy says its tough sometimes but the tough days get less and less.

    To anyone that tells you to get over it ignore them. Don’t enter into a discussion over it. Just do it quietly and live in the present and don’t go near things or people that hurt you

  • Get over it. I am gotten. Now I am in taking all my toys and going home mode. Did it hurt, I have to honest. It was more that he took time and money away from the kids to pursue THAT. In my heart, I don’t know if I had shut down so much that I didn’t even care except it was an excuse to finally start planning. kind of. I laid in bed for 6 months while he was home, no problems when he wasn’t there. as soon as he hit the driveway, I hit the stairs. so I gotta say, my grieving is more about what my kids lost instead of me. I don’t even hate the OW. Good lord, TAKE HIM. I hope she suffers like I did and that will be revenge served cold.

  • Awesome, CL!! While washing dishes tonight (a lot of great thinking gets done then) I realized as a child my big dream was to get married and have a family. That was it. I had other dreams, but they paled in comparison to this BIG ONE. I worked everything in my life around to fit this dream into my life and ended up with just that. A dream. I’m cutting my losses. Its not working, but what did work is I am one Hell of a lucky woman by having become a mom to a fabulous little boy and THAT is a dream come TRUE. As for the rest, I need to find another dream. I’m not sure what it is yet, but in the meantime I’m going to LIVE. MY LIFE. MY TERMS. I’m going to be happier than I once thought possible. No settling. I went to a movie the other day alone. A small step to enjoying my own company, but it felt huge and it felt GREAT! A movie I wanted to see. No compromise. It’s just the beginning….

  • CL, you are so, SO right on this one!

    With “help” from the “Reconciliation Industry” online forums, I was stuck and unable to “get over it” for more than two years. I put my cheater’s needs first, subjugated my own, and ate that sh*t sandwich again and again. It was like pulling off a Band-Aid one hair at a time – absolutely torturous.

    But then I got tired of all the conflicting messages and stopped visiting the forums. Within a few months I was feeling better and stopped looking for the “hidden agenda” in everything XH said or did. By the time I stumbled across CL last spring, I was done with “hopium” and ready for a dose of reality.

    Guess what happened? I applied some of CL’s advice, pushed XH to the perimeter of my life, and within 4 months (and after 7 YEARS), OW was history and XH was treating me better than he had in DECADES. I even learned he gave the kids $100 to buy me a Christmas gift – the first time he’s done something like that in 4 years.

    So what happens when you FINALLY “get over it?”

    When you take control of your life and look better, feel better, and act like you’re going place, people notice…including your cheater.

    Do I want him back? No. Do I like that he’s not acting like a jerk? Yes. After all the garbage he’s put me through, it’s nice to co-parent in peace. But I find it funny that as soon as I “turned the page” and started to move on with my life, he started acting like a human being again.

    Just wished I’d “gotten over it” A WHOLE LOT sooner…

    • Red, oh my goodness. You and I have led parallel lives! Except mine was over 2 decades of major hopium and finally figured it out after OW 3. Then I got smart. Divorced him in a hurry, went no contact, and during the divorce process, he was super nice. Sent me a letter of apology when he finally signed the papers, showed up at my door apologizing profusely a year later and recently sent me a nice note for Christmas. Of course, it went straight to the trash. No way will he be a part of my life even though we share a child. I just want him to go relocate. To Mars.

  • I really want to get over this.

    I’m still beating myself up daily, though, over my poor choice in a mate, and a poor father for my children. My dream was a good career, great place to live, house, friends, and intact family. All of them have crumbled directly or indirectly due to the cheating and/or mindfuckery. I’m just going to have to find a new dream for most of that. My career took a hit but is still salvageable. The rest will have to be rebuilt, reimagined.

    I think I made a breakthrough yesterday, though. Was trying to figure out why I have no interest in putting on a good face anymore – I had no interest in sending out Christmas cards, no interest in posting on Facebook, and generally no interest in keeping friends updated on my life. I think it’s because while I was doing the pick-me-dance, I was dying inside but I showed a happy face to the world. It was exhausting. The Public Relations part of my brain got over-worked and just friggin’ quit on me. This realization has helped because now I can rebuild my PR-self again, now focused on the truth of my life.

    • Ducklinerupper:

      Interesting insight. I think I’m doing the same thing, though I hadn’t quite realized it. I think, after a few years of putting on a happy face when I was miserable, and dealing with a person who was as disingenuous as they come — I’m suffering from phoniness fatigue. So, though it may seem that I am retreating from life (not sending holiday cards, not posting “Happy” Facebook messages), I’m actually moving forward into a life that is genuine. And that feels pretty good.

      Thanks for helping me see that more clearly. 🙂

    • I can relate to that DuckLinerUpper! I do feel a lot more authentic now that I’m not covering up for all the dysfunction and the emptiness in my marriage. It was exhausting to pretend that everything was fine to my kids, family and friends.

    • Living a lie is exhausting. I nearly drained my life force out of myself pretending everything was wonderful. Now that my life is authentic, I feel so light, so unencumbered and life is just so … simple. I’ll take this any day.

    • DLU – the “Everything’s FINE” routine IS exhausting – especially when you put in all the effort and have nothing to show for it.

      Lay low for a while. Regroup. Lick your wounds. Mourn.

      Then, when you’re ready, turn that page and move on. You can’t change the past, but you CAN shape your future. Your life isn’t over – it’s just come to a screeching halt for the moment. Get the train off this track and move it to one that’s going where you want to go. Once things start chugging along like you want again, dust off that PR girl. You’ll have plenty to toot your own horn about…

  • ‘Hell YES your job is to get over it. To reclaim your selfhood. Of course, it’s a battle at times, but every liberation campaign is.’
    This was inspiring, and it reminds me of one of my other favorite pieces of yours about the ‘colonization of the mind’.
    I WANT to be liberated! I know I have to do it myself, with a little help from my friends, and time. Jeez- I moved 900 miles away from him, that shows my investment in it, right? Thanks, CL, for a year of brilliant motivation, I have no idea how I could have gotten this far, without your concepts, and the heartfelt help of the Chump Nation. You all have the rockin’ 2014 you have coming to you!!

  • JUST get over it. Kinda makes it important to ask the question, CAN you possibly get over it. If not, walk/run and heal. If you genuinely think the cheater knows what he/she did and understands the road was blown to hell and repaving it is going to entail a tremendous amount of work, well, then get over it. I can and do forgive my x FOR ME. I am not mad at him, I don’t hate him FOR THAT PART. It’s like, whatever dude, your choices are on you and you deal with it. Forget though? Why would I want to do that? He hasn’t changed, doesn’t want to change, doesn’t understand at all what he did. Forgetting means I trust that is was a one time deal, a mistake. I forgive him for being who he is, I won’t forget who he is though bcz that would mean subjecting myself to being treated like I mean nothing and am nothing on a daily basis.
    Now, he is fighting me for custody based on past PPD mental issues and disability related meds… I think he had some other claim too. I am NOT going to forgive him on this one for a very long time. I won’t forget it ever though. I know I have to guard my kids ALWAYS bcz he is like a snake, just waiting for an opportunity to strike.
    Getting over it, vital and essential to moving on to who YOU are. YOU are not what s/he did to you and made you feel. Those things done to you may shift parts of you, a little less trusting, not easy to give emotionally at first in future relationships. I am still me. I am still a glass half full kinda girl, still fierce and still willing to be the most loyal friend a person ever had.
    Forget what lesson he has taught me? nope, not gonna happen. Forgive him so I can cut the ties and move on, you bet. I am over it. Now if he would just drop dead s.l.o.w.l.y. so I don’t have to deal with him for the rest of our kids lives, I would appreciate that. 😉

    • Sounds good, All.

      I think the s.l.o.w.l.y. dying part is over for me. No more spackle. And offspring do come to realize -and you have to trust that it sucks for them too.

      I keep stumbling over the forgiveness part-forgive myself, yeah, but him? The results for DD of his cheating with a family member, then building their own world together have already been too f*cking high. And she will continue to pay in addiction to drama, hopium and spackle. They do go through it, but, if Chump Nation as adults have a hairy headfuck over it, how can it not utterly twiddle the younguns’ brains?

      And I see the parents on this site needing, to some extent, to get over it for themselves, but….get over it for the kids? No, not even after we shifts continents next week. Mr Fabulous is a Snake, selling snake oil. The Downgrade- a perfect illustration of negotiable virtue. DD sees all this, but it makes her feel……another ten scars on her arm. (Don’t panic, Chumps, it is managed as can be). I can and do put on my big girl pants most days and have jumped off the PR bus and I am awaiting the karma bus to Meh.

      Which is a long winded way of saying, that Chumps do tend to wait. Wait and see….to our detriment. I want Mr Fabulous and DD to have a good, trusting relationship, as does she. But he ain’t capable, not with the Downgrade flashing her spangly rump. And she is waiting. Like me, she will wait forever to have a Dad who is more than a sperm donor with a Napoleon Complex. Meanwhile, she is starting to date. Shitty, shitty people….

      I guess the Chump question today is-obviously, Mehphista needs to fix her picker, but how to do that and enable DD to not grow a warped one? Anyone got post teenagers. How did they ‘get over it’?

      • My DD and 2 DS were also chumped. He played his mind games with us all. For me forgiveness means that you accept that person for what they are. I wouldn’t expect my dog to act like a cat so why would I expect moral character from a cheater? I can’t fix him only God can. I can and do pray on occasion for his health and that he will be touched. It has helped me to see him in a different light. I’m not responsible for him if he gets ill and he is not my friend or confidante.

        He has lost the special sparkle or connection he once had with his daughter. Lots of disappointments on his end. She told me once that he was just ‘like every other dude’ in the street. She’s married now and her marriage is much different than my own. Even though her dad was cheat I did my best to make sure all of my kids had upstanding moral male role models.

        • What are you waiting for? If he has the most miserable life or horrible experiences it will not changed what happened to you. You should be focusing in on short, medium, and long term goals. Get in shape, take a trip, redo your house, take a class. I’ve got more to do than to pine over some aging ass old geezer.

          You get to choose too!

    • “Forget though? Why would I want to do that? He hasn’t changed, doesn’t want to change, doesn’t understand at all what he did. Forgetting means I trust that is was a one time deal, a mistake. I forgive him for being who he is, I won’t forget who he is though bcz that would mean subjecting myself to being treated like I mean nothing and am nothing on a daily basis”

      I think that’s were we make our mistakes as we are only called to forgive. Scripture never says anything about forgetting as that is impossible for us mere mortals.

  • Thanks, Jinx, very helpful. There is alot that just does not compute, and I guess one of the best understandings we can come to is that there will be stuff we just can’t understand.

    Putting in a blonde skunk streak today. Always wanted to rock that bad girl from Josie and the Pussy Cats look.

    And I will never forget, but we all have to get over it.

    Thanks again, and love to all Chumps.

  • What a perfect post – and so many helpful comments. I was well on my way to “meh” until exH appeared back in the states last year, and is now causing trouble. The kids and I haven’t seen him in over 5 years – until I had to see him in court last month. It was terrible and creepy, and now we have another court date on Tuesday. I’ve been having nightmares, and although I’m still holding it together publicly, I’m falling apart a little – and it makes me angry to go backwards, when I had a glimpse of life on the other side.

    He was abusive and I believe he’s mentally ill. He lived a complete double life for our 10 year marriage; defrauded business colleagues of over $1million, and then disappeared overseas to his second life that he’d set up. His excuse for being gone was that his mother was dying (she wasn’t sick) and that he was taking care of his dead sister’s child (he didn’t even see her). He denied that our daughter was “his”; and didn’t tell his parents/family/OW we even had our son…just the highlights. Now he wants our protection order lifted because “it’s bad for his career”. I’m just weary at this point – wondering if he’s always going to be the dark shadow lurking over our lives.

    But it is a new year, so thank you for this, “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” I just need to remind myself that something better is waiting.

  • “Get over it” . He said that to me less than 18 hours after finally confessing to me that he’d been “seeing a girl on the side” for almost 9 months. I really needed to read this and I’m thankful to the lady who recommended it to me. He isn’t going to be my problem anymore.

  • saw this today… hit me in a good way…

    Champion of Choices (facebook)

    Forgiveness is not forgetting. It doesn’t mean a change in memory. It means a change in heart. Either you forgive or relive

  • Thank you, just what I needed to hear at the perfect time. Holiday season has been difficult. My birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas, New Years, his birthday all within 2 months..I’ve been overwhelmed with spending my energy on THIS. Time to turn the focus back on me.

  • My cheater broke me. Almost a year later, and I am still broken. After almost 4 years together, I finally agreed to move in with him. We planned it for almost a year – how we would handle finances, relocation, etc. One month after I moved in and quit my job, he started cheating. Total double life. I felt something was wrong, but he continually denied that there was anything wrong, and blamed my feelings on the fact that I was studying for the bar exam and was stressed. Prick. He was f-ing his whore in my bed and even gave her a key to our new place. After I found out, he claims he did it because he thought I was going to leave him. But there is NO basis in reality to that. No fight, no words, nothing. I go back obsessively through his e-mails and texts from that period to see if there was any hint that he felt I was leaving him. Nothing. AND I HAD JUST MOVED IN WITH HIM AFTER HE BUGGED ME FOR YEARS TO DO IT. He constantly does the “I made a mistake. Why can’t you forgive me?” dance. Well, because it wasn’t a “mistake.” It went on for five months. Daily lying cheating and stealing for five months is not a “mistake.” It is a choice, and another choice, and another. He claims he didn’t “intend” to hurt me. And that he “tried” to break it off but couldn’t. The only way I can even speak to him without spewing vomit is to pretend that he didn’t do it, because how could this man that I loved and supported ($$) and made the center of my universe have done such a thing? Not just to me, but to her. He told her he loved her and couldn’t wait to be rid of me so he could spend his life with her. He tells me that he was playing her. What kind of person does that? Not that I care about the OW because she stayed with him even after she found out about me, and she was a total POS to me the one time that I spoke to her. So now I am broke, broken, unemployed, paralyzed, and I can’t imagine ever getting over this. I can’t work. I’m not strong enough to go NC – I fall apart when I do. I’m f-ed. I picked the wrong guy AGAIN. I just want to go to bed and stay there. I can’t get over this. I hate his guts but I loved him so much and I can’t reconcile everything that has happened here. The rejected, tossed-like-garbage feeling will not go away.

    • Dear LoyalGaga,
      You are in the very worst of it right now. I remember how unbearable it seemed. I didn’t believe people on this site who said it got better, but it did. It’s been 2 1/2 years but it took most of two years to wake up eager for the day and feeling content in the evening.

      I was tossed into the bottom of that dark pit when I discovered my now ex-NPD was using prostitutes when traveling internationally for work, flying them to meet him at luxury resorts, hooking up with sluts on those “friend finder” sites and other disgusting behavior. I slowly clawed my way, slipping back and crawling to the top with a lot of help–two therapists (one for talk, one for medication), yoga, hypnotherapy, and a shit load of of hard work.
      You’ll do it too, trust me. Eventually, you’ll see the light up ahead…soon, you’ll have one elbow on the edge…then another…then one knee and eventually, you’ll be laying on your back in the sunshine feeling grateful to have made it. You’ll feel proud of yourself for surviving, bullet-proof and much wiser. You’ll choose not to think about him because you don’t want to waste time feeling unhappy. You’ll pity him for being such a despicable person who squandered his chance with you. You’ll get there, it just takes a lot of time.
      I’m sorry you have to go through it. Lots of hugs to you.

      • In response to nwrain:

        ” . . .eventually, you’ll be laying on your back in the sunshine feeling grateful to have made it. …”

        Thank you, nwrain, for this beacon of light. xxxxx

        Loyalgaga

  • It is possible that you don’t get a shit sandwich (any more than we do by being cheated on) by staying.

    He was sick and on drugs that we now know loosen inhibitions and are very correlated with affairs and other risk-taking-out-of-character behaviour.

    To my mind I could have the pain and have someone making it up to me every day, while not losing anything else- or I could live in a bedsit just as angry and with no one doing anything to atone. If he wants to spend his life looking for redemption I don’t mind letting him.

  • This month has been especially tough for me as I found out she was cheating on me Mothers Day 3 years ago DDay. I was a returning Iraq war vet diagnosed with PTSD I shut down emotionally she bailed and had an affair with a co-worker for 6 months instead of helping me, very hard to take. Since then however I have to admit she has done everything right tells me where she’s going always, gives me all her passwords, doesn’t place the blame on me, admits she was wrong, went to marriage counseling and personal counseling once she realized she had conflict issues to work out in the marriage counseling. So here’s where I need some help.. its been 3 years and with her doing everything right I’m still eaten up inside it hurts a little less but not a lot. Its hard to imagine feeling like this for another 3 years. I wanna be happy again and not sure I can get past this even after counseling not sure I can. I feel guilty about this because I have 2 sons and have worked so hard for our home and our family and feel like the ball is now in my court. It would be easier had she not tried so hard I could easily move on. My question for all of you is when is enough? I feel like at the least I need to separate and move out just to see how I really feel without her influence. Any advice would be appreciated. thanks

  • OMG, one month for every year…that will be 3 1/2 years and make me 70 years old! I am having such a hard time getting through today. I can’t imagine 1,277.5 days.

    • And I was feeling sorry for myself – 33 months (okay, only married 28, but lived together for 5 before that). I’m 52 so will be almost 55 by the time I “get over it”. Gues you have put things more into perspective for me.

      So sorry this has happened to you when you should be enjoying your golden years together!

      • I kind of thought we were even though he could be a miserable SOB but now he has moved on to save a 25 year old prostitute and is having a meaning relationship with her. (This is where I gag) Good luck to him I say. I just am trying to figure out how to get out of this with my ego and finances intact, he’s definitely a cake eater and sees no reason to leave our home. It’s a mess. I’m a mess and right now I can’t see a future for me, I’m humiliated, I can’t believe I can hurt this much or have so many tears. That being said, I’ll be damned if this stupid shit is going to bring me down.
        Sorry you are going through this too, it would be funny if it weren’t so darn scary!

  • THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!! CHUMP LADY! Once again, you have saved my life! I have been resolute! I have stuck to my guns. I waivered….for 24 hours…then got my head back in the game. Served the sorry cheaters ass papers 2 weeks after he dropped the grenade in my lap! Tonight, I let myself get sucked into his garbage dumping that I was the f-ing REASON he “checked out” of our marriage and cheated!!! He confessed to 4 times over 5 years ago and then said he started fantisizing about cheating again over 18 months ago but never did. BULLSHIT!!! I know he has been cheating!! I’ve got the repeated cases of bacterial vaginosis (just like I did 5 years ago) to PROVE IT! FUCKING LIAR!!!! My resolve is stronger than ever after reading this! God bless you Chump Lady.

  • I read this today. I don’t know how I missed this post! But I needed to see it and need to keep reading it! I am two months past divorce being finalized. Still raw, I know. But I get so angry at myself when I wonder what he is doing, is he dating her still, did she leave her husband and four kids for my husband?? Does my ex feel real regret and remorse over our 19 year marriage falling apart? Because I feel terrible! And now I am too poor for a professional counselor, so all my advice comes from chumps like myself 🙂

    • Just keep on reading CL’s blog. The nation is here for us all and we just have to keep on going. Is it tough, hell ya!!!!! but wtf, we’ve been put through the wringer. Like CL says, the pain if finite if you choose it to be. Are there things that we need to work on, hell yes!!!!! It unfortunately is part of the process. I wish that I was divorced already but the asswipe is taking his sweet time and mucking up the thing. There are days that you will slide back, wonder if this shit actually happened to you, miss the person you Thought They Were. But all in all, if you got out of this you are doing soooo much better than a lot of other people. The thing is, is that you want the person who you thought he was, He Is Not that person. He’s a freak, an aberration. You will never understand why he could do what he did to you, but you don’t need to. For whatever reason you got away from that and it will be good for you in the end.

  • This is exactly what I need at the moment. The pain doesn’t go away but it helps to be told I’m wasting my energy on him rather than focusing on my life. I’m on holiday with our kids at the moment while he’s visiting the OW in another country ( it started as a virtual EA!). It’s hard but I’ve had so many hugs from the kids this week that I do know I’m the lucky one.
    I love chump lady!

  • This one is tuff but oh so necessary. Really, it seems like us women think we should keep working on these bullshit relationships with mofos who mistreat us…like our relationships with men are a direct reflection of who we are. Bullshit! I have been on the receiving end of a narcissist. It was an incredibly painful nine years. The moment I had undeniable proof of his cheating, I looked at his fucking ugly face and knew I was done. He was instantly repulsive to me. He purposely left clues laying around the house. What a freak! Funniest part about the end…he actually thought I would be jealous and fight for him…WTF
    Anywho…
    Glad I found your blog today!

  • That was awesome !!!! I havent been able to laugh at all my pain until i read that. Cause I’m so sick of the Get over it shit !!!!!

  • Is anyone’s ex/husband ever used suicide threat to keep you from leaving with the kids? Trying to find the courage to leave with my children then the ass throws this at me. Then when I’m calming down but still accusing him of lying to me he says leave it I want too. Then when I tell him he wouldn’t say leave unless he means it he says it slipped out but he doesn’t mean it, he’s just tired of me accusing him of things he’s not doing blah

    • Threatening suicide is just more manipulation. Narcissists love themselves too much to kill themselves (too bad for those of us married to them–settling an estate is easier than a divorce settlement, and then they’re not using up air the rest of us could use).

      Don’t talk to him, to the extent possible. I find texts to my to-be-ex-husband much preferable to actual contact (and then I can edit them before sending).

  • I know this is an old post, so there’s no real reason to comment. I just found this site today and it has already helped in so many ways. This post though – I’m saving it to read again and again.

    Thank you.

  • After being in a two year faux-relationship, and at times finding myself wallowing in what’s wrong with me. I have to say “Get Over It”, is just what I needed to read. Thanks for the reality check.

  • I need some help and swift kick in the butt to get over it! I’m pretty sure I know what I need to do, but I think I need to hear someone outside of my circle of friends say it. Here’s my story:

    Known my husband for 16 years. Married for 3. Nine years ago, shortly after we moved in together, I found he had an email account with a fake name. After some investigation I discovered he had been exchanging extremely graphic emails with women from CL. I’m no prude, but these emails made me blush from head to toe. I confronted him, he claimed to have never acted on them – it was just a way to “kill time.” He saw a therapist for maybe a month of two, and he told him he may have a sex addiction. He stopped going and I never pushed.
    Last year, a month after I took a job that required me to travel almost every week, I found out he had reached out to and reconnected with a friend of a friend. After some snooping I discovered that on nights he would FaceTime me with the covers pulled up to his neck, looking like he was ready for bed, he would tell me he loved me, hang up the phone, and meet her out. He invited her to our home one evening and supposedly nothing happened, but when I pressed him for details, he “confessed” she slept in one of our guest bedrooms… which didn’t have a bed at the time because we had recently moved into the house and the furniture was back-ordered (dumb ass). I’ve never been able to get a straight answer from either of them on what happened, but in my mind it wasn’t innocent. Due to this discovery, combined with increasing lies in his every day life, I encouraged him to seek therapy. It lasted again about a month or two.
    And then comes the kicker. Last month I found out he had been texting/calling prostitutes listed on sites like BackPage and LiveEscorts. I confronted him (may have implied I had a PI investigate… the PI was me!) and he admitted he got a handy after an erotic massage, and paid for a BJ… AT OUR HOUSE!!! ICK! I may be most upset about the fact that I’m now going to have to burn one of my favorite comforters that’s on that guest bed. I have his phone records and the texts/calls have been increasing over the past few months. I’m fairly certain he didn’t tell me everything since he says he wants to reconcile. Regardless, I think one time paying for sex is one time too often.
    I’m 36, we have no children. The biggest complication is that our house is under renovation and is pretty far off from being able to go on the market. What do you think? Should I just get over him already and move on???

  • This is welcome straight shooting wisdom.
    My husband died before I discovered the 13 years of one gf, and last year of 6 more. Out of 40 years of what to me was struggling-devoted-learning-to-accept-him-the-way-he-was, of marriage and three grown kids who thought they fell short of his make believe values. Everyone who knew him
    Thinks he was a saint. While he slowly brainwashed me into thinking I was so much less. All my fears disappeared the day after he died. Planning his magnificent memorial, I discovered everything he barely bothered to hide, on his devices he protected because he said he was afraid I would mess them up if I had access to them, our finances, etc. etc. Nowi understand the sense of entitlement a Narcissist lives and breathes. Now, with Chump Lady’s clarity,I am beginning to set the molts that let me stop think thinking about all this, and instead turn and grow my own precious life. Thank you for yet another life saving deep wise article.

  • Still in the middle of the pick me dance. Heart pounding, heart broken. Is it possible to go no contact in the same town, before filing for divorce, 30 years of my life still in our house? Please help.

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