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Dear Chump Lady, I’m afraid I’m going to grow old alone with cats

Hi Chumps,
I’m away from the blog for a few days, but fear not! I’ve asked one of our chump regulars, Chris DiRico, to fill in for me. He will be dishing out the advice, in his inimitable saucy way. I’ve often responded to his comments on the blog, with “I’m handing you the reins on this blogging thing.” So, this time I made good on the threat. 
To anyone who sent me a letter and is bummed Chris is answering it and not me — I’ve edited the responses and I approve of the message. And hey, be thankful your letter rose up from the pile and got a spotlight — there’s also the collective wisdom of Chump Nation! And finally, life intercedes every now and then and I need a few days off. Instead of leaving you with recycled filler, or the same post, you get Chris! Yea!
Without further ado… I hand the reins over… See you soon!
Tracy aka Chump Lady
_______
Dear Chump Lady,
I’ve read so much of what’s written here and it all makes so much sense but how do I get my self esteem back so that I can do what I know I really have to do and divorce my cheating husband.
However logical your advice might seem, I can’t get past the feeling that it’s ME that was at fault, ME that drove him to his affair and that in some way the other woman just offered him something I couldn’t give him, and he deserved to find the “love and attention he was missing” (his reason for the affair apparently). It wasn’t just him that deceived me. His mother who has spent 30 years talking about nothing else other than the evil woman who stole her husband when my husband was 10 and his father had an affair, was quite happy to welcome her son’s other woman into her home to drink afternoon tea.
The hypocrisy and double standards are mind blowing and the way I’ve been treated is just so awful that I keep thinking there must be something wrong with ME  for people to do this to me.
The irony is that now he’s the one unable to work as his affair and the threat to his marriage has led to a breakdown.  He’s the one living on his mum’s sofa.  I’m the one who’s carried on working in a job where I had to consistently sound cheerful (I’m a radio presenter) whilst keeping the home going and looking after four young children.  I’m so hurt by it all that I’m trying to make sense of it and because I can’t get my head round his failings, I’m trying to work out where I went wrong.
Everyone without exception is saying I will thrive without him and he was lucky to have me. I’ve been the the main breadwinner, child carer, social life organiser throughout our whole fifteen years together. He’s a needy sort of a narcissist and I’m sure lured the other woman into his life by making her feel like she could “save” him. Despite all this, despite knowing that logically he will be the loser, I feel like I’ll be the one left alone in my forties with four children in tow. Who else is going to want me? I can’t take the final step and ditch him completely because all I can see is him skipping off into the sunset to start a brand new life with a much younger woman and me being left in a bitter and twisted manner with the only opportunity for company will be to surround myself with cats. What’s wrong with me.  I feel utterly pathetic!

Worried

Dear Worried: The other woman “saved” your husband all right! And boy did the two of them ride off into the sunset…..all the way to your soon-to-be-ex mother-in-law’s fucking couch! The stars sure aligned for him, didn’t they? He pissed away a hard-working wife/devoted Mom/multi-tasking machine, and traded in his formerly functioning adult life for unemployment and living at Mommy’s! Let’s hear it for men who’ve got their shit together!

How in the world can any woman resist a man of such promise and ambition? There’s not a whole lot of excess detail for me to glean from your succinct letter, but I can tell you that your husband’s next great decision in his life will probably be his first. Any grown man who decides to run off with a Pretty Young Thing, losing literally everything in the process, and runs to Mommy’s house when life gets too damn real (“Poor Me! I can’t work!”), and best of all, thinks the PYT is actually going to stick by his now income-deficient side for much longer….that’s a whole lot of motherfucking crazy from which you were mercifully spared.

You just can’t see it because you’re still neck-deep in the Heartbreak Foxhole. And you’ve got four children depending on you throughout this mind-fuck?! I tip my hat to you, Worried. I wanted to rip my skin off once my ex’s cheating drove our childless relationship into the ditch. I can’t imagine the pain you’re feeling and the pressure you’re under. I wish “Meh!” was as easy as reciting a Harry Potter spell. But as you can see and feel first-hand, even after all of the pieces of the Cheater Puzzle come together, the pain cuts deep and lingers for much longer than we’d like. You’re not in denial, you’re not making excuses for his sorry ass, and you’re not pick-me dancing. Maybe he didn’t even give you the chance to Pick-Me dance and you feel like you were cheated out of that too.

What you’re doing right now is sitting in your heartbreak. And that’s perfectly fine. What I can offer you is a list of things that you probably already know. All the Yeah, I Know stuff. The following list may seem needless—your letter shows that you “get it”—but there’s a few key points worth repeating. Perhaps you can refer to this list on those dark and lonely nights of self-doubt:

a) Your husband’s cheating was absolutely, positively NOT your fault. Continuing to cast yourself as the villain who drove him into the arms of another woman is a recipe for a complete and utter emotional breakdown; a misery far more wretched than anything you’re feeling now. The first step to any kind of healing is acknowledging that your husband’s shitty choices were entirely of his own doing.

b) The irony of your husband ending up on Mommy’s couch, unemployed and useless to society, is quite exquisite. But it’s also a rather deserving comeuppance. Doesn’t look that way to you because you think he’s off the hook, kicking back and not worrying about shit while Mommy prepares tea for him and the Pretty Young Thing. Meanwhile, you have to get four kids up tomorrow morning and drag your ass to work. But tell me something: Is that mindset working for you? Are you willing to try something different? Try look at your husband objectively. Is that the kind of man you wish you were still married to? A self-pitying, 12-year-old Momma’s Boy trapped in an adult’s body? Doesn’t sound like any kind of husband or father to me!

c) Tell the truth: You can’t take the “final step” because you’re still madly in love with him. It’s okay. We all went through it. But I’m curious as to how someone as hard-working and intelligent as you can fashion a logical scenario where the marriage he flat-out destroyed can in any way be salvaged? How would that even work exactly? He ditches the PYT, packs up the duffel bag, leaves Mommy’s couch and comes home to you? Then what? He gets his job back and becomes not only a productive member of society but also a devoted husband/father all over again like nothing ever happened? Do you really think there’s any chance of that happening? He’s already shown you who he truly is. Why are you imagining different?

d) Because like most Chumps, you think you can fix what you didn’t break. And you’ve fallen into the Chump Trap whereby you decide that since the whole breakdown of the marriage was your fault (read: problem), you’ll gladly and tirelessly attack what you think caused him to cheat (read: solution) so that you’re the one who rides off into the sunset with him, right? That’s the least that the Universe can reward you with in exchange for all of the tears and all of this effort. Right?

WRONG. It doesn’t work like that in ChumpLand, Worried. The Chump lunch menu is complete with an afternoon tea that’s always served cold no matter how much you heat the kettle. It’s hard to see from the Heartbreak Foxhole you’re currently dug into. All you taste right now is dirt, so I can imagine that even a cold cup of tea would sound wonderful right about now!

Fuck the tea. I need you to climb out of that foxhole and look out at the trainwreck that your husband made of your lives. All you can think about is how effortlessly he threw you off the train, ignoring the fact that the train careened off the tracks the moment you hit the ground! He’s left nothing but carnage in his wake, and not only does he have Mommy and PYT shielding his eyes from the disaster, but you’re right there ready for Clean-Up Duty! And don’t forget to make his tea, look after the kids, be the breadwinner and social life organizer, and pretend that his shitty choices were all your fault! And you’re not expecting him to, like, start working again, are you? He’s in pain right now! How’s all of that sound? Is that something you really want?

I gotta level with you, Worried. I’ll take loneliness, an empty social life, and a horde of cats over that kind of married life any day of the week. And I fucking HATE cats. But hey, at least I know what I’m getting: They eat, sleep all fucking day, shit in litter boxes, shed fur all over my carpet, scratch up my furniture, and occasionally cough up hairballs. But check this out: If any mouse even tries to scamper onto my property, Mr. Whiskers is gonna fucking regulate. Because he’s got my back. That’s more than your husband can say!

He didn’t have your back when he decided to cheat, doesn’t have your back now that you’re juggling work, heartbreak and single motherhood, and probably wouldn’t have your back should he return. What are you missing out on, exactly? Nobody could’ve saved your husband from his choices, Worried. This is your time to rise to the occasion and be the best and hardest-working mother you can be with the shitty cards you’ve been dealt. And this is your time to get the fuck away from him. Sure, you’re still allowed to be upset. Set aside some time for yourself to sit in your heartbreak and cry it out, write it out, vent to your girlfriends…whatever you gotta do. But your outright refusal to take the “final step” shows a stubborn unwillingness to accept the fact that not only have you been thrown off the train, but the train’s already crashed! To even try to reconcile with a man of such shitty character is just asking for a second trainwreck that’s going to be twice as devastating. You don’t deserve that.

You may feel abandoned and worthless, but you’ve got the two greatest gifts a Chump could ever get post-affair: Time and space. And look how much perspective you already have—the time and space are working for you and you don’t even realize it! So many chumps get stuck babying their cheating spouses, dragging them to marriage counseling, highlighting passages in infidelity books that never get read, and serving up delicious helpings of cake that cheating spouses see fit to eat with their fingers. Your husband, as much of a fuckhead as he is, at least had the good sense to fire you as Chief Chump and replace you with Mommy and PYT, thus sparing you from even more agony. You don’t realize it, but he actually gave you your life back. Once you take that final step and wake up from this nightmare, with time and space on your side, you’re going to be grateful for every single lonely night you’ve had since your marriage was detonated. No matter how alone you felt, at least you weren’t stuck cleaning up yet another mess that he created.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I think I am I love with Chris DiRico!
    Take this advice and run with it. I wish someone had laid it all out for me like this two years ago when I saw the first text…no! Five years ago when I discovered the first affair. Simply awesome!
    Worried, you sound like a hell of a woman. You just need to step back and appreciate your awesomeness. Take a look around at everything great you have in your life instead of what you think you are losing. I tried to think of three things that made me happy every day. There were days I had to dig really really deep, but I came to realize that there was good in my life that didn’t involve Richard the Brave. He was a huge part of my life for a while, but he was a very small part of who I am.
    Best wishes for you and your exciting life ahead with a happy balance of children, cats, and amazing men who can appreciate a strong woman who can do it all.

  • Chris, great job – excellent response to Worried! Worried – Please believe Chris, believe those of us here who have been through this – all that your husband did is a reflection on him, not you! Please be with the people who love you and care about you and believe them when they tell you that you will thrive without him. You will. You are so worth caring about! I understand the feeling of wondering if you’ll be alone the rest of your life, and I’ve got ten years on you. But, you know what? I know that there are good people out there. Just look at the universe of folks that comment on this site. I remain hopeful that I will make new friends and maybe even meet someone who will value me as much as I value him. And I will hold out for that and not accept less – as you should too. Be as good to yourself, Worried, as you are to others. Let him go and start the next chapter of your life. All the best –

  • Well done, Chris! It is the hardest thing in the world to recover from cheating and abandonment, but the other side is that you are now free to be celebrated as the kick-ass woman you are!

    Don’t get me wrong; self-examination during the dark days is perfectly normal, but akin to self harm. You are already feeling worthless, and asking what is wrong with you only fuels the worthlessness. Try to remember that when you are going down that road and then take a walk, call a friend or go outside and play with your kids. They need you now more than ever, and their love is not conditional, unlike the cheater who needs to pack his bag and move in with Mommy for good.

    Hugs to you.

  • Standing O, Chris! Fantastic response. “You can’t fix what you didn’t break” is going straight into my wallet. Also, I think “Fuck the tea” should now become Chump Lady Nation shorthand. 😉

  • Run! Literally….RUN. Start to take care of YOU by working out (unless you already do). With 4 kids I’m sure it’s hard to find time, but try. I have 1 child who’s 6 now I and never lost all the baby weight. The EX left in August and I’ve been working out like crazy. It’s done wonders for my self esteem. And it can end sleepless nights just from exhaustion and let you get the rest you deserve. I’m looking better than I have in years which feels great and guess who’s taken notice and wants to come back? Yup! The asshole EX. That all does wonders for the self esteem (and I’m not letting him back. EVER!). Time helps, but mostly taking the energy that you would have put into that jerk and put it into YOU is what will make you realize it’s NOT YOU. And btw, the STBXMIL? She’s only serving that skank tea because she’s afraid to lose another man to yet another woman. That’s because all she’s done for years is talk about the woman who “stole” her husband instead of empowering herself with that energy. IT’S NOT YOU!! And never was, but it will be if you don’t stop thinking that and see yourself in your own eyes and not “theirs”. Good luck! You can get through this! And GREAT JOB, CHRIS!!! I loved the part about the cats. It cracked me up!!

      • I agree. She’s playing her own “pick me” dance where she goes along with anything the cheater wants so long as she can remain a part of his life. Too bad it’s probably going to cost her the grandchildren. Such short-sightedness!

  • Oh, yes, the irony … and the karma. I’m going to presume and hope that your ex has enough humanity left in him to have sparked that breakdown into skipping (read: slinking) to his mother’s counch. Guilt, perhaps? The crushing realization of what he had done, what he left you to? In reality, he’s skipping nowhere. He tripped, hard, over his own idiocy.

    You, Worried, are still a viable citizen — and above all, you have not abandoned your children as your husband abandoned you all. You won’t be “stuck alone with cats.” That’s pretty much guaranteed; you’ve got your children, and you mention other people in your life who stand by you. You’ve got your own sanity, strength, and staying power.

    Think on this possibility: You mention that you’re in your 40s. Your husband is of similar age or a little older, yes? That means his mother’s at least in her 60s. She’s getting on in age, and who knows, your ex might end up having to take care of her (if he can ever arise from the couch) as she declines. No way his PYT will want to hang around for that.

    You speak of how you understand the situation logically. It does take longer — sometimes years — to understand it existentially, in the gut, in the psyche. I’m 3+ years out from the death of my marriage … It took me a good two years to do anything other than cling to life. I was ill when my husband left — I still am; I live with chronic illness — and man, I have risen above!! I *do* have my life back, such as it is, and I finally know in my gut that there is no return to what was. Most of all: I don’t want such a return. It took a long, long time for me to arrive at this point, and you’ll get there too. Agreed with Chris that you need to haul yourself out of that foxhole! Once you’re out, try imagining it as a transformed space — a sacred ‘containing’ space that you’ll tuck into on occasion for security, rest, and quiet (Mine is my bed). No longer a foxhole, where a war is being fought all about you. Your ex has gone … your space, both physical and existential, is your own, and you can do with it whatever you choose.

    Heh — about your imagined being “stuck alone with cats” … I was left with our/my cats. I still have moments when I think that I’ll be a pathetic bag lady with cats clinging to my tattered sweaters (I have received no financial support from my ex, but that’s blood from a stone). What I do have are these cherished, purring, cuddly creatures who often have been my reason for getting up in the morning. They’ve saved my life more times than I can count.

    There’s only one thing that I cling to now in re: my ex. He once skirted the edge of taking some responsibility for his actions; just once came within range of remorse. He said to me, “This is so much more about me than it is about you.”

    Keep that in mind, Worried. I wish you well.

  • Worried,

    I completely understand how you are feeling. Fighting the urge to blame yourself is soooo hard. If it is your fault you can fix it right? I did that for years. “Maybe if I help him more around the house he’ll “work” less(I now know that all his long “work” hours were really play hours)”. “Maybe if I neglect my children and let the oldest prepare dinner and tuck in the youngest 3 or more nights a week so I can go out late with him, he’ll see I really do love him and have time for him”. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe. The point is worried at some point you realize you HAVE DONE EVERYTHING WITHIN YOUR POWER to try and make things work. The deficit is NOT you. Once you internalize that point, it will be easier.

    I’m glad at least he admits the other woman. Mine still won’t she just his “only friend”. (Interesting that his “only friends” are always women, but when it comes to his male friends, he never has time for them and so they give up on his friendship).

    The other day someone gave me advice that made a huge difference to me. I have spent so much time and effort in trying to figure out why, in hurting b/c he was willing to give her the time he robbed our family of, in trying to make him admit this by collecting more and more evidence. Well someone said to me the other day “You need to put on your bad ass motherfucking pants, look in the mirror and realize I’m doing this without him and I will be better b/c of it”. Worried, all that staying with this man or eating yet another shit sandwich and accepting the blame will do is harm your children. You will teach any daughters you have that it is ok to allow a man to treat you like shit, and you are teaching any sons that it is ok to treat a woman like shit. I have first hand knowledge on that. My father in law cheated on my mother in law their entire marriage and now my husband has cheated on me our entire marriage, and his sister cannot find a stable man.

    “To even try to reconcile with a man of such shitty character is just asking for a second trainwreck that’s going to be twice as devastating”
    Take this piece of advice to heart. I wish I had 10 years ago. This man will not change. If there was even the smallest possibility that he would, he would at least still be holding down a job, helping care for the kids, and seeking help on his own. You know all those RESPONSIBLE ADULT things YOU are doing?

    This is likely to be one of the hardest things you will ever experience. My final DDay happened almost 2 months ago now and I still break down and cry at least 3 times a week. But you know what I’m doing the other 4? I’m learning who I am again. I’m doing things the way I think they should be done. I’m not spending so much energy on trying to make my stbxh happy that I don’t have any left for the kids or myself. You will get there too.

    Talk, talk, talk to anyone who will listen, or write in a journal. The more you express the glaring truths of how hard you tried and how little he did, the easier it will be to internalize you did nothing wrong.

    Hang in there worried, visit this site often (it’s helped me and lots of us immensely), and just remember YOU are the one forging on and HE is the one falling apart.

    Sending lots of hugs!!!!

    To even try to reconcile with a man of such shitty character is just asking for a second trainwreck that’s going to be twice as devastating

  • Worried, let me give you a different perspective on this:

    It’s been snowing a lot here this winter. I usually get up early to shovel my driveway, but wasn’t feeling well one day and let it go. When I went out the next morning to tackle it, it was done – like an elf had been there overnight. A wonderful, delightful surprise.

    The next time I saw my neighbor, I asked him if he had done it. He’s in his late 50’s, and has been flirting with me for months, and I thought perhaps he was trying to get into my good graces by shoveling snow.

    But he laughed and said, “No, if I tried to shovel it, I’d of collapsed on the ground from a heart attack. I got me a bad back, bad knees, bad heart, yada, yada, yada.” On and on about his health problems, how weak and sick he is, how he can barely take care of himself, etc.

    Attractive, right?

    Because a single mother struggling to do the job of two parents also needs the burden of of a man who can’t take care of himself. NOT! I’m juggling enough plates right now, thanks. Look elsewhere for an unpaid nurse. I ended the conversation as quickly as possible and went back in the house.

    Your husband is doing the same thing, Worried. He’s shouting from the rooftops that he’s weak and needy. He ran away from all his responsibilities and went back home to Mommy. Meanwhile, it’s never crossed his mind how hard all this is on YOU – no, he can’t see beyond his own nose right now, like a spoiled two year old.

    I know it’s hard. I know you’re wondering what you could have done differently to prevent all this. The answer is NOTHING. You’ve managed to hold a job, run your house, and raise your kids without feeling the need to add a third person to your marriage; why couldn’t he do the same? Because he’s weak. You don’t need that in your life right now.

    Time and distance will help. So will minimal contact. You don’t need to know that his mum’s having OW over for tea. You don’t need to know anything about either of them, other than the clock is ticking down on that relationship. It was founded on lies, so the foundation is shaky. Add an overbearing mother to the mix, and it will collapse soon enough.

    Meanwhile, surround yourself with strong people so you can regain your confidence and sense of purpose. Once you feel good about yourself again, it will show – and you’ll attract strong, confident men to you. Cat lady? Doubt it. Only if you want to…

      • This happened to me too, I was working late watching the snow pile up and thinking, fuck it! I will just stay home until it melts. Lo and behold a man snow blows the drive in no time. Turned out to be a friendly neighbor who has since done it twice more. He clears my drive and a couple others on the street cos he knows we have a hard time doing it. He is such a nice person.

        • Dear Dat,

          Are you SURE he is such a nice person? That is EXACTLY what my cheater-husband does for several of his neighbors! They all think he is sooooo awesome! This is part of HIS imagine management. Actually, he has always been this way with our neighbors and with others—–just never with me……NEVER had time to do anything ‘nice’ for me…….

          Wonder what he tells his new neighbors as to why he is living there at the place he just bought, all alone with our pets, even though he is married? hmmmmm…..(I can not afford divorce & he hasn’t bothered to file—-says it is up to me, as I am the one ‘that left’!)

          Anyway!! Am still glad someone is doing that for you!!! You deserve it! You still benefit greatly, regardless of his true motives. Perhaps that is one way God is helping you?

          Forge on, Dat, Forge On!……

          • I’m sure he is, the guy came here 3 years ago to care for his parents, his father passed a while ago. He doesn’t talk about himself or anything like that, he just does good things for people and never asks for anything in return. I think he’s doing similar to what I’m doing, trying to get out and about and have a life after a rough time. Either way, it’s not like I’m going to marry the guy just cos he cleared my snow, LOL

            • Awesome, Dat, that you have a real man as a neighbor.

              So glad when I hear about real men and women truly caring for others, with no expectation of repayment. When we are going through this kind of poo, it is especially comforting to see real kindness and goodness in action.

              Forge on, Dat, Forge On…..

            • My 85 year old neighbor with Alzheimer’s clears the snow from my sidewalks with his snow blower. One morning I looked out and he was blowing snow off my car too! There are still kind men in the world…

      • RK – I have NO idea. But he/she’s welcome to come mow the lawn, wash the car, and power wash the siding… 🙂

        • I wish I had a Snow fairy that did that for me. 🙂 But I’m so ready for summer. I’ve been eying the lawn mower in the garage for months. Bring it!

      • Red…
        Too funny. The guy trying to impress you tells you about all about his health problems. So.Not.Attractive. What do they think you’re going to do when they say that shit? You’re going to swoon right there and start bringing him hot plates of food?

        • Gio, he must have mistook me for Florence Nightingale. He couldn’t have been more wrong…

          My grandmother was widowed and got married for the 2nd time in her mid-60’s to a man about 10 years older who had a bunch of health problems. My father and his sisters STRONGLY advised her against it, but she ignored them and did what she wanted.

          Guess what? She spent the next 7 years – until he died – being his 24/7 nurse maid. His kids and grandkids had all downplayed how much work he was while he and Grandma were dating and engaged, but as soon as they were were married, his family happily dumped him off on her – less work for them. The “travel” and “fun times” he’d promised consisted of her running him to the doctor and waiting on him hand and foot. She was absolutely miserable, and told us to learn from her mistake.

          Trust me – I did!

  • Chris, you pretty much summed up my life for over 2 decades before I finally left the cheater. Wish you were hitting my head with a frying pan (cast iron would have worked eventually) when I “reconciled” with my cheater after two affairs over 20 years. I’m glad that I finally walked out after the 3rd OW and filed divorce papers so fast everyone was shocked, especially the ex.

    Worried, every.single.thing Chris wrote is true because I lived it. But I also know what it’s like to be on the side of “meh.” MEH is amazing and if you do the work (first, file those divorce papers), you will get there. You asked who will want you? YOU. You need to want you first. That’s where you begin. Love yourself. Know your worth as Tracy tells all of us over and over again because that is truly where you start. Google or read books on how to love yourself and know your worth. Each of us is on a different path so our journeys, while similar, will have its uniqueness on how we get there. Put into practice what resonates with you, even though it may sound hokey and strange. It will because right now you have zero clue on your worth. But that’s why you need to do things differently because what you have right now isn’t working for YOU. Forget him. The guy is a complete loser who doesn’t value nor love you. Fuck the tea is so right on.

    Worried, I know it’s scary. I know the lousy past is so much better than the unknown future. I did the same thing. Tortured myself that the future was nothing without my ex. HA! The future (my present) turned out to be beyond anything I ever imagined or hoped for even though I have chosen to be alone for now. I have peace, joy and surrounded with people who love me. No drama. I would never go back to a life of misery. I will only be with a man who will enhance my life. This is non-negotiable. I hope you choose not to stay where you are. You deserve to be in a much better place.

    • Uniquelyme hit it dead on: “You need to want you first.” Worried, the important questions you will then be able to formulate are “What makes me happy?” “Who do I want?” “Who makes my life better by being in it?”

      Chris, great job! I want to call you “Chump Gentleman” but it’s too long.

  • You are suffering the classic chump cognitive dissonance here (“How can this really great person that I thought I really knew actually turn out to be such a monster?”) It is playing havoc with your emotions and causing you to try and locate the problem in yourself (“what did I do? What didn’t I do? Maybe I am really the awful person here?”)

    Luckily, it sounds like you have an awesome head on your shoulders. Hand the decision making over to your head entirely. I find it helpful to pretend this was all happening to a stranger and imagine what advice I would give them. Just know that you can trust your head to give you an accurate read on what to do right now. Your emotions? Maybe not so much for awhile. And maybe therapy or some other kinds of self care to help you work through all of the emotional stuff.

    Your husband sounds like a real dick, I am really sorry you are having to go through this, especially with 4 kids. But you guys will have better days ahead once you get through this this. Hugs.

  • Dear Worried,

    I’m not surprised your self-esteem is low. Choosing to beat yourself over the head for something you are not responsible for is nothing to be proud of.

    Personally, I am sick of the damn term and would love to kick it back to the 80’s where it belongs, with big teased hair and eyeliner that heads out halfway into your temples.

    We can esteem ourselves for the reality of our actions and attitudes. Too many people use “self-esteem” as the excuse for not stepping up to the plate.

    Your reality?

    -You work. Full-time.
    -You are a responsible breadwinner.
    -You are a responsible parent.
    -You are a good friend (I know this because you HAVE friends).

    Those are YOUR actions. Those are worth esteeming yourself.

    Him?
    -Can’t work.
    -Sleeps on mommy’s couch.
    -Unable to nurture or commit to anyone or anything.

    Those are HIS actions. They fall under the “I believe you dropped this in my vicinity and it belongs on your own shit pile” category. They are not yours to own, and therefore you don’t deserve the right to base your value/worth on them.

    Now, your attitude?

    -Here is a stick. Let me beat myself up for your actions.

    Not something to be proud of. Frankly, you should remain with your 4 kids and cats as long as your harbour it, because if someone IS attracted to you with this, I guarantee you that he will gladly provide you with more actions for you to beat yourself up with.

    The good news?

    a) It’s your stick and your hand. You get to control when to drop it.
    b) Once you have dropped it, (AND the loser AND fixed your picker), I bet you will be that much MORE attractive to someone worth your attentions, because you do worthy things, and you’ve chucked the stinky garbage out of your hands to open them wide to give to yourself and someone else the love both of you deserve.

  • Tough shoes to fill, Chris – you’re brave. Great job! And great follow-up comments by CHUMP NATION.

    Chump Nation: gettin’ it straight together.

    Love.

  • Great job Chris!

    Worried, I too wonder what I might have done to “drive” my STBX into an affair. I thought it was my fault and that I wasn’t good enough for him. I thought I hadn’t been a good enough mother, wife, friend, etc. etc. and the list goes on. And I still have moments when I feel less than but I’ve learned this along my healing; 1) HE made the decision (the CHOICE) to fuck around as a solution to any issues we might have been having in the relationship; 2) HE decided to not tell me the truth. Lying was his CHOICE. 3) HE decided that having an affair was more important than our family life and time together. This was his CHOICE. He did all of what he did by CHOICE.

    YOU are not to blame for his choices. He did not have your back. He went out and made a choice to deceive you. That is all on him. There were many other more healthy and caring choices he could have made but he didn’t. He’s not healthy or caring or kind.

    You sound like a terrific person. You work hard, raise your kids and you know right from wrong. You are way ahead in this life. You don’t need that man child to bring you down any longer. Your life is worth more than waiting around him. He’s made his choice; make yours a good one and get away from this man.

    I wish you all the best.

  • Jedi Hugs to you Worried.

    You my friend are what I call a “fixer”, welcome to the club! Hasn’t your husband always been broken? You know, he’s kind and sensitive and he gets depressed easily but you my friend, you FIXED that for him. You had to do more and more over the years, and you did it! cos you are the fixer! It’s what you do, it’s who you are! NOT.ANY.MORE. Did he loose that job because he no longer had you making sure he didn’t miss too many days, or whatever support role he forced you into? If your “poor sausage” is anything like mine, you probably insisted he work but holding that job is so hard… and he’s resented you ever since. The poor man child shouldn’t have to work, that shit is for other people. Stop fixing him, train all that energy you spend on his bullshit “brokenness” on you. Fix yourself, he doesn’t deserve your tool box!

    My ex did the same thing yours is doing, he never wanted to work and any excuse will do not to work. I fixed him for years, “helping” him keep his job, doing most everything else. When it finally came home to him I would divorce him, he lost his job and never looked for another one. He too moved in with his momma, then with his OW. Oh yes, his momma really likes the OW, fuck the tea indeed. And guess what? It’s been a couple of years and he still has no job, he’s living off his OW and waiting for his momma to die so he can inherit (may she live to be 150). Meanwhile, he’s trying to get disability, but look for a job? Hell no, his new mother, excuse me, his new girlfriend has zero self esteem so he will live off her and she will allow it. I also happen to know that my ex signed up for Ashley Madison a month after he moved in with his girlfriend/OW. You see, his new “love” doesn’t make enough money to keep him in the manner to which he has become accustomed.

    I swear, you will not be alone with cats, I know because you don’t want it and you will fix it. It’s just that right now you have been beaten down hard. Once you pull yourself out of it a bit you will wonder why you wanted your ex back. First step is to start the process of making him your ex, once you start moving the rest will come to you. You are a successful professional with 4 lovely kids and great heart. You can fix anything!!! Do you remember how that felt? Do you remember before your husband? What were you like way back when? I bet you kicked ass, there was nothing you couldn’t overcome, and if you wanted a thing to happen, you made it happen. Get your mojo back, shake the mud of the foxhole out of your hair and start fixing you again. The more you do that, the better you’ll feel, and self esteem will follow.

    • Dat, awesome post!

      My stbxh walked out of a $$$$ job, why?

      Because they said ‘NO’. They didn’t agree with his opinion, of how awesome he is.

      Except: he left us without health insurance, he gave up about $500k income, he dropped private school fees and life insurance.

      Can you see how awesome he is???? Being worth all that and more?

  • I gotta level with you, Worried. I’ll take loneliness, an empty social life, and a horde of cats over that kind of married life any day of the week

    I’m allergic to cats, so I cannot agree 🙂 I have two dogs though, and I don’t have much of a social life, and dating isn’t on my radar…

    Sometimes… I worry that a bad marriage has done something bad to me 😉 For whole minutes every couple of months I worry about that, and then I remember… “Hey, I’m pretty happy”, and then sometimes I remember how friggin’ unhappy a life with an emotional vampire was . Basically, in those few minutes every couple of months I worry that I am supposed to want something else, but apparently I am quite happy without that something else.

    There are much, much worse things than being alone. Being married to a cheater is near the top of that list.

  • If I could tell ever single chump here one thing it’s this: YOU existed before you met your cheater, and YOU will exist long after they are gone. You don’t NEED to be with anyone to be a happy complete person. I see this with women especially- I read somewhere once that men define their lives through their accomplishments and friends, and women do it with through relationships. I recommend you explore why you feel the need to be with someone so badly. Why is being with some asshole better than being alone? You really want your kids growing up and repeating these behaviors? What would you tell them if they were in your shoes: Better to withstand abuse than be alone? HELL NO!
    Be single. Be alone. And be fabulous! Write novels, inspire your community, fight for the causes you believe in, show your kids what a strong woman you are! You don’t need anyone to complete you- You were were born complete.

      • ChumpyLawyer, what a great post. That was one of my hardest lessons to internalize. Worried, my advice is to print out Chumpy’s post and read it every day until you believe it too.

    • Love this!! I am struggling to find out who I am apart from my XH. I was young – still in school – when we starting dating and basically was with him my entire adult life. I alternate now between being hopeful and excited about the future and scared to death that I will end up alone – a pitiful old lady shuffling outside to walk her little dog (no cats for me…allergies!). I am parenting two teen boys now and all my life choices revolve around what is best for them..but when the youngest heads off to college…I am dreaming of plans for my life that include cutting back on work hours, moving to a cute little carriage house or condo, and volunteering every week with several causes that are close to my heart. However, my dreams are undercut by my fears. I pray that time and growing stronger will push those fears aside!

    • Well-said ChumpyLawyer. It was one of the most important things I had to learn after getting dumped. Thankfully I have always been very independent and pretty much all the practical things (housework, laundry, paying the bills, etc.) I already had a good handle on, so that part of the transition was OK. Not sharing a bed with someone, well, that was tougher to deal with, but I don’t think I need to be in a couple to be truly happy. I’m certainly not going to have a second marriage with someone who was ashamed to be with me because she kept expecting me to change into something I wasn’t, and then left me when I didn’t “change enough”.

      I spent too much of my life trying to please others when all it did was leave me divorced, emotionally empty, and feeling like I am less than a man. Can’t do it anymore, I’m too old for kids’ games (or social “games” in general).

  • Dear Worried,

    You said: “I’m so hurt by it all that I’m trying to make sense of it and because I can’t get my head round his failings, I’m trying to work out where I went wrong.”

    First, my precious friend, there is no sense to be made of this. Save this energy for you and your children.

    Next, you will NEVER be able to get your head ’round’ HIS failings, as you and I have superior thought & cognitive processes. And, they are HIS failings, not yours……

    Finally, why do you believe you ‘went wrong’ when he is the one who made disgustingly poor choices?!

    If you were out to dinner with him at an all-you-can-eat buffet and all he ate was the junk food and desserts, avoiding the fresh fruits and veggies available, would it be your fault that he is sick the next day from poor dietary choices? Was it your fault he piled his plate with all that junk? If you tried to take that plate away from him & instead bring him fresh, healthy foods, he would throw the plate at you!

    Turn this one around and ask yourself: “Does he deserve the credit for all of MY CORRECT choices?” Of course not! YOU chose to live the way you do all on your own. That is your authentic YOU! You choose to eat a healthy diet, as it were……

    So, likewise, you have NOTHING to do with the choices he made. Even if you were the ‘witchiest’ wife on the planet, cheating is NOT the way to handle ANY situation. (I know of many real men married to pretty witchy females [that do not cheat / witchy in other ways] that would NEVER consider cheating, no matter how witchy they act!)

    Note to ‘Chris’: hmmm….is ‘Chris’ actually a pseudonym for Chump Lady? VERY well done! Your advice is so excellent! and filled with love!

    Forge on, Worried, ForgeOn……

  • Kudos Chris-awesome advice!!
    Worried, I can tell you from personal experience that if you stay your course you will be one of the lucky chumps. The only thing worse than finding out your spouse of x-number of years has betrayed you, is sticking around for multiple heartbreaking years afterwards and doing the humiliating dance of pick me, with a side order of shit sandwiches and cold tea.
    My ex “let his affair happen” with a coworker because “she showed a lot more interest in him than I did”. (read:it was all my fault) There were even four instances that he picked out of our 23 years together that proved his point. (read: re-writing our marital history). Since he thought “our marriage was over anyway”, he went about ending ours the same exact way he did in his younger years -He would start a new relationship with someone else while the old relationship was still going on. When girlfriend #1 (who was under the erroneous impression that they were in a monogamous relationship) found out about the new woman he had on the side, GF #1 would break up with him and he didn’t have to lift a finger. He proudly announced this fun fact to me in one of our marriage counseling sessions which he begrudgingly attended after I scheduled it and threatened to leave if he didn’t go. I will never forget the look on the marriage counselor’s face when he revealed that information. It seemed odd to the both of us that he felt it was normal to treat his wife of 23 years the same exact way he treated girlfriends of his youth. Even with that revelation I stayed and kept dancing the dance and doing whatever it was I could do to make him feel better about being in the marriage while he did nothing to fix what he broke.
    It took me more than three years to wake up and realize that he was never going to do the required steps to repair a marriage after infidelity. When I finally got the nerve to ask for a divorce; he didn’t understand why I did it. He actually thought that he did all he needed to do by “leaving the OW and choosing to be with me.” I am really lucky huh? Yes, that’s all he should’ve been required to do but in the mean time I should keep dancing and understand what a privilege it was to do so. I’m quite positive he was cataloging in his head all the times “I missed a spot” so he could blame me for the next affair he was definitely going to have when someone showed interest in him again.
    Chump lady has said it before-the pick me dance is rigged. You can’t win by doing it. The only person that wins is your cheater because you are essentially rewarding him for his shitty choices. Do yourself a huge favor and file for divorce. His life sounds pretty crappy: Living on mum’s couch, unemployed and I seriously doubt the OW will stick by him through this entire mess. If you leave the door open, that snake is likely to slither back in and trust me when I tell you that you will be adding heaping shit piles of heartbreak onto the heartbreak you’re already experiencing now.
    I’m in my late 40s-actually pretty close to 50s doorstep and I know what it’s like to fear being alone and face an uncertain future but I can tell you that I would honestly rather be alone with a 100 cats than continue on the path I was traveling. I hope you stay on your current path, Worried.

    • Yes, I will be 54 next month and rather be alone than with a spoiled man child who never grew after age 18. I only wish I’d kicked him out in my 40s when the first cheating I *knew* about took place. Instead I spent another 10 years with the asshole. Get out now Worried!

      Chris, loved your response!

      • Datdamwuf,

        Same here…..54. Like you, I am learning (painfully) that it’s better to be alone than to live with the anxiety of worrying what he’s up to on the computer at all hours of the night or who I’m going to be triangulated with next or when he’s going to blow up at me for not putting the washed clothes in the dryer fast enough.

        Worried, please listen to Chris. It’s not going to get better with this guy. Whatever charm he showed in the past, it was a mask, an act, a false persona. He’s showing you his true self now. I know how hard that is to face. In my case, I’m still in shock over it all, but even with the really, really shitty bad days, I am determined to put one foot in front of the other and move on somehow, some way.

        Chris, you cracked me up with the cat and mouse story. I have a malti-poo who can regulate, too, when the evil mail carrier shows up to invade our home. She’s done more to “have my back” than the STBX who just walked out without a care in the world….taking no photos of our child, no mementos of any kind, nothing but a few clothes he felt still might be “cool” and a few items that looked like they belonged in a “dude’s apartment.”

        • My XH did the same thing – left with no mementos, no pictures – just his tools and office furniture and an old bed set. I found it so incredibly odd that he didn’t want a single picture of our kids to take with him since he did not want joint custody or even set visitation. I finally did send him some of our old wedding photos that included his grandparents (now deceased), but I doubt he even looked at them. It’s as though they want to literally start over with no remembrance of their former life. Is that a manifestation of guilt on their part…or do they truly just not give a shit?

    • Ugh…I got the ‘they paid more attention to me that you did/it seemed like you didn’t want me around’ bullshit. Because, you know, I wasn’t 150% focused on him 900% of the time. And thus he had to go find attention elsewhere rather than, say, give ME attention. What a concept! I may have needed some attention and some reinforcement as well! But no, that wasn’t going to happen, not on his watch. I can still get pretty pissed with myself when I look back at some of the crap I put up with that, on the surface, probably wouldn’t seem all that bad to outsiders but when you add it all up it spells ‘entitled, selfish dickhead’ 100%.

      • Dear Nord,

        Ditto this….
        Hope you posted this on the YMBAC thread, as well……

        I heard that, too….or a variation. Probably is in their ‘play book’, as I believe most chumps hear something to that affect…..

        Yeah, they are extremely unclear on a lot of concepts!

        Forge on, friends……

      • ” I wasn’t 150% focused on him 900% of the time”. I don’t know why Nord but I found that 110% funny and 500% true! Err… I mean I had one of those good laughs because the irony is that your statement is so spot on.

        ” I can still get pretty pissed with myself when I look back at some of the crap I put up with that, on the surface, probably wouldn’t seem all that bad to outsiders but when you add it all up it spells ‘entitled, selfish dickhead’ 100%.” ~ I think us chumps need to have a “no beating yourself up day”. We’re so hard on ourselves lot of the time. Don’t keep beating yourself up Nord. The truth is that in any relationship we put up with selfish shit because everyone is human and not perfect, even normal non-cheating spouses. It’s a NORMAL thing to do. It just stings when we come out the other end having done it with a shitty person. It’s not possible to have any relationship without imperfectly investing and it’s not our fault and beyond our control when that investment turns out shitty due to someone else’s decisions. Uh…ok. Rambling point. Be gentle with yourself because you deserve it. And I am going to consciously take more days off from harshing on myself over having some shithead that I loved and invested in completely walk all over me. We’re not fortune teller/seers. (But if we were I’m sure we all would of bitch slapped our future cheating spouses/partners when we met them.)

  • I have to say that I don’t even read blogs where “shit” and “fucking” etc. are in the wording. I just skip over it because it’s offensive and a turn-off. It makes me think that the person writing the article has no boundaries or a healthy look on life, or at the very least, a somewhat sane view on life and their emotions.

        • Ok, in retrospect, I should have kept the laughing to off-screen–I was hit by the immediacy of Lisa’s response, and found it funny, but do realize that that could have been hurtful to Meowmix. I apologize for that.

          However, I do stand by my post later on about the swearing.

    • Meowmix, I understand your comments. I am a person who does not swear but I have to say that each of us as individuals expresses ourselves differently. I would hazard a guess that any comments with swear words in them are out of anger and fear, not the norm from the person who has posted the comment. Can I ask you, have you been Chumped? If so, I am sure you can relate to and sympathise with all comments whether you like the content or not.

      • When Chump Lady swears its for emphasis and isnt gratuitous.

        I really don’t believe that some of the people responding to meowmix are swearing out of fear Maree.

        I hate to say it but possibly they are using swearing to be deliberately disrespectful offensive and attacking.

        Maybe for them these type of abusive and immature exchanges are routine for them?

        That’s all I want to say on this matter because unfortunately it turned into a rather unpleasant and awkward conflict situation.

    • So Meowmix,
      If you are offended by, and don’t read, any blog where shit and fuck appear then I suggest you find another blog. It so happens “Untangling the Skein of Fuckupedness” is one of the top posts here…

      Judging a persons health, sanity or ability to set boundaries by their language is condescending at best. The idea that your judgement of appropriate language is the only one is also pretty, what’s the word? oh yes, it’s pretty shitty. So if you don’t want to see those words I suggest you find another fucking blog.

      • That’s an unnecessarily hostile response.

        Muriel (who was chumped by her husband and Liz Clairborne) also expressed sentiments similar to Meowmix (on a previous thread) and I didn’t notice such hate then Datdamwuf?

        Meowmix has posted what many others probably feel and she’s entitled to her opinion.

          • What Nord said; Muriel didn’t insult anyone when she posted her opinion. She didn’t sneer at those who choose to use the words, she stated a preference with respect. When I see Muriel posting I tend to tone it down because of that.

            Meowmix basically said she does NOT read anything with those words as she assumes people using them are NOT worthy of her time. My response was not hateful, it was pointing out the obvious answer to the stated opinion. And if she has any conviction in what she wrote then she shouldn’t be bothered by the responses. In fact, she shouldn’t be reading them.

          • Muriel clearly stated that she didn’t like the swearing she wasn’t rounded on here and bullied because..she wasn’t perceived as a vulnerable target Nord.

            People who tend to swear ‘at’ others ordering them to ‘fuck off’ its because they can’t think of an intelligent response or argument.

            Instead of coming up with an adequate response they simply swear boisterously, hoping that the fuckword is enough of an argument- that someone that challenges them is wrong!

            As a result I find most people who swear a lot and carelessly have little else to say, and generally aren’t worth listening to.

            If you can’t make your point without swearing at someone then you’re a poor communicator and a verbal abuser.

      • Have to say that I DO choose to drop the f-bomb here. This has been the most egregious experience of my life. Do I talk like this IRL? Sometimes. Just like I refuse to preach about being saved by Christ to my Buddist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish friends, I refuse to judge people by their choice of speech.

        You know what being a Chump has also taught me? I don’t give a flying fuck what other people think of me in my situation. People will to choose to judge me for my asshat’s bad behavior. Let them. I choose to be happy and to lead a better life.

      • Meowmix,

        Given how even CL cusses, I admit I’m surprised you come to this site or chose to post here.

        I’m sorry you dislike the packaging that some of the messages, insight or advice come in. Would you judge your paycheque if it came in the mail by an unkempt, grumpy-looking postman? Would your ever-increasing bills be more acceptable to you if your postman were wearing a tuxedo and a tophat?

        Sure, not every rant or every post with four-letter words are deep words of wisdom (as is also the case of perfectly G-rated ones). However, in the cases where there is support or insight is shared in earthier tones, it is ultimately you who lose out, not the poster–who has a much the freedom to express his/her thoughts using the most fitting vocabulary, as you have posting your opinion.

        Sincerely,

        The Minister’s Wife

    • Are you kidding? So you’re going over this blog and the only thing you’ve gleaned is you find some of the language offensive, so much so that you have comment on it?

      Loosen up your fucking bun and relax. Nobody here needs to be reprimanded for their course language . . . If the “wording” offends your delicate sensibilities, move on.

      • Its not nice( or fair) to bully people by putting them down and ordering them to
        “move on”

        Control freak much 🙁

        • How is that bullying? Nothing nasty was said! Just that if she can’t stand it, this is not the place for her.

          I also didn’t like the insults of people who do swear that Meowmix included. Others have expressed their discomfort or preferences without putting down those of us who do throw in cuss words.

          Like every single thing I read on the Interweebs, in books, in the paper, anywhere … I take what is good and helpful to me, what I’m interested in, and don’t pay much attention to the rest. But I have to say, here on ChumpLady, there is SO rarely a post or a comment that doesn’t resonate with me, and the value of this is in no way diminished by how it’s worded.

    • Meowmix at least most posters on here aren’t using a derivative of ‘retard’ anymore.

      It was pretty awful reading fucktard all the time.

    • Well, meow mix, I think it’s your perogative as to whether you want to stick around and read Chump Lady, in all it’s Blue Language glory.

      We’re all dealing with a major life trauma and yep, that’s brings out the swearing. And we have that right. Then again, in my field swearing is pretty common so I do like swearing a good blue streak.

      What I’m saying is that if some so-called naughty words make you clutch your pearls you’re probably going to be pretty offended on this board. I’m not going to apologise – just tell you it’s your choice to be here but you should probably refrain from trying to shame anyone for say Fuck You.

      • There we go. I’ll try that next time I’m in the cat food aisle.

        My experience is that Cheater Induced Tourette’s Syndrome is irreversible, and the sufferer requires a safe and supportive environment like Chump Lady just in order to make it through the day. Dropping the occasional effbomb is like detox.

        Don’t make me push to get your tax dollars to support my disability by getting CITS it’s own DSM code.

  • Your spouse has groomed you well. Please quit accepting his mindfuckery. You did not in any way make the choice for his penis to end up in other people’s orifices ( is the plural orifi?).

    I know some people put zero credibility on FOO. I can’t help to infer from your letter that your spouse’s bad behavior is directly influenced by his FOO. My asshat learned a lot of his coping skills through his NPD dad and co-dependent mother. Not every person out there is pre-programmed to be an asshole in relationships.

    Don’t focus on being the cat lady. Focus on getting your ducks lined up and saving yourself and your kids. You deserve a better life. We all deserve a happier life.

    • Best line of the whole piece.
      “He gave you your life back”.
      Yes he did!
      Now it’s in your hands and you can make it whatever you want it to be.
      Scary as shit, but you were doing it anyway!
      Do it. Just do it.
      Fuck em and save yourself and your kids.
      He’s from the same stock as his fucked up family. ( I have the same back story, MIL accepted OW even though MIL was cheated on by exs dad).
      They are not family. No concept of the word, and their behaviour shows it.
      Show your 4 amazing kids the meaning of the word family.
      You stand together. A unit. Through m good and bad. You don’t run from your responsibilities.
      I know you can and I know you will.
      Just do it (hugs).

      • MIL accepted OW even though they are good church going christians. Bet granny is turning in her grave though!

  • You know, about the swearing — I do understand how it can offend. But I have to say that this place just wouldn’t be the same without it. Here’s my take on why it doesn’t bother me:

    1. The level of articulation is so high here. This is not a place where stupid people come to vent in the kind of crude, poorly thought-out, misspelled, bad-grammar sentences that you could find in the comments of a whole lot of sites on the Internet. (Although our auto-fill makes hilarious assumptions sometimes). But people who post here are way bright, with incredible insights into themselves and others. One of the reasons it doesn’t bother me if they cuss is because the words around the cussing are so good.

    2. We are all are dealing — or have dealt — with situations that are incredibly emotionally wrenching. There’s so much pain and anger here. I would venture a guess that most of us chumps don’t get to vent much at home. Children are there. Or it upsets the cats. 😉 But also, I just don’t think chumps in general are the kind of people who walk around foul-mouthed.

    But here, we can be. We can express our devastation and bewilderment at what has happened to us. We can rail about the people who have abused us. We can come here to try to make inroads at wrapping our heads and arms around the rage inside us over what someone who purportedly loved us could do to us with seemingly zero remorse. We can express all this with the strongest language. And people here will understand us completely.

    Many of us have spent years being scolded by our abusers. We don’t need more scolding. We need a community where we can say what we need to say in whatever way we need to say it. And sometimes Fuck fits the bill EXACTLY.

    Case in point: Fuck the tea. Send that cold, weak-ass shit back to the kitchen.

    Know what I’m saying? I think you do. Could I say it without the cussing? Yes. Wouldn’t be the same, though.

    As a woman, I particularly love that this is a place where swearing is okay. Yeah, things have changed a lot in terms of equality, but as a woman, I still carry the internalized societal message that “nice girls don’t swear.” I am not a woman who swears in public. That doesn’t feel right.

    But I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to come here and read Chump Lady tell it like it is, with strong language. It does not feel the slightest bit gratuitous. It feels real: Some serious shit went down; let’s talk about it.

    • Awesome response Rally Squirrel!
      My mom was a nice girl, but after she gave birth to her fifth child in 1952, the doctor asked if her husband was a Marine. Apparently, she called him a shit bird. Among other things. So this is proof nice girls do swear when circumstances warrent.

    • You nailed it, Rally Squirrel. I don’t swear IRL; not because I’m above it, I just don’t but I am not offended by the swearing on this site since it’s used quite effectively. “My spouse cheated on me and I feel badly” just doesn’t have the same effect as [put your choice of swear words here to describe spouse and feelings].

      Meomix, I hope you see past the swearing and instead see the palpable pain of the wonderful posters who come here for support and to offer support.

    • I’ll never forget my first day of college classes at a small Catholic college that had only gone coed a few years before (ratio of women to men was 12/1 while I attended).

      I hadn’t been raised with much religion at all, so I was mildly curious when I signed up for an English Comp class taught by a nun. I was sitting right up front when she walked in (street clothes for those trying to imagine). She put her things on her desk, turned and introduced herself and said, “This is an English comp class. You will be expected to write, and write well. This isn’t high school. Sometimes the word ‘darn’ will not fucking do!”

      Amen, Sister!

    • I’m typing on an iPad so my response won’t be ideal… On the subject of language–it is completely deliberate. I’m trying to bitch slap chumps out of chumpdom. Out of the pick me dance, to put down the spackle and get righteously pissed.

      My language choice reflects anger and is free of euphemism. I don’t say wayward I say CHEATER. I don’t say betrayed spouse I say CHUMP. A word that means you got conned, humiliated.

      Cuss words are satisfying and useful. I don’t apologize for them. Hell I just got out of a 3 hour play about LBJ and that man had a wicked potty mouth.

    • omg – Rally Squirrel (love the name) – you said it JUST right. Thank you. I’m not a sailor IRL but I am free to be one fucking awesome Fucking Chump here!

  • Nice response.

    I would guess that Meowmix doesn’t like the message more than he/she doesn’t like the swearing. In either case, it is very doubtful that someone is holding a gun to his/her head and making her/him read this blog so if the content is so objectionable perhaps he/she should stop reading!

    • I still can’t believe this is the second time I’ve seen somebody whine about the language. What . . . am I sitting in a sewing circle in the church basement? Fucking A! lol

      • Rumblekitty,

        I’ve been in church knitting circles where swearing occurs. You’re invited.

    • My point is…this is a safe place to vent feelings, Meowmix, if you can’t handle raw emotion, this probably isn’t the place for you. We’ve all been handed the worst hand of our lives, we FEEL, we type raw emotions here, that we can’t always express IRL. This. Is therapy for many of us. If you can’t deal with raw emotion, move on.

  • First, I love cats and now that I no longer have ex around I plan on getting one (he doesn’t like pets).

    Now. Worried, DO NOT WORRY! You will be fine. You sound like me, taking care of everything while the poor little bunny took care of probably one area of your life, and even in that I’ll assume you propped him up. Poor dickens, he just can’t do things without someone’s help, right? Well, that’s a child talking. An adult understands that life is rough at times, has ups and downs and that you just get on with it and try to have some laughs along the way.

    I’m guessing that some advice my therapist gave me will help you: You know all that energy you put into him? Time to put it into you now. All that fixing and helping and caring? Put it into you now. Imagine! All that enormous amounts of energy going to you for a change! You’ll be conquering the world in no time at all and that asshat will probably be crying because you are so mean and selfish for not giving him all that care he needs.

    Fuck him. File, get a good lawyer and focus on yourself, your kids, those gorgeous cats, your friends and family. Get rid of anyone who isn’t supportive and guess what – that will make room for those who will love you. And it’s almost certain you’re going to lose a few along the way as you go through massive changes. Mourn it but don’t dwell on it. Focus, focus, focus on you. Set aside time each day to have your meltdown but try to keep it in that box as much as possible. Find things to be grateful about, as someone said above. I was told to do that: 3 things before you go to sleep, even if it’s just a good cup of coffee you had that day, followed by a satisfying shower. And then think of 3 things the following day that are good or something to be grateful for, even if it’s having a spare hour to cuddling with your purring kitties.

    It’s really hard to do this but if you persist, over time, you’ll find you will slowly come out of this funk and start to see things a bit differently. And quite frankly, if we’re all still single in a couple of decades let’s start an old people’s Home for Chumps. We’ll have a blast because we’re mostly smart and funny and cool and will have each other on the floor with our wit and wisdom.

    You’re going to be ok, Worried. It just sucks like you wouldn’t believe for awhile. And be grateful you have a job. More than 2 years later and I’m only starting to put my career back together. So there’s one thing for your daily list right there. 🙂

    • Nord, since I’ve been on this site, you are one of my heroes! Thanks for all of your wisdom and wit! I love the idea of a old people’s home for Chumps! Count me in! We will all have a blast!

  • Its not really about judging others.

    Its more the issue of values- differing personal standards and their resulting behaviours.

    Individuals vary greatly in their translations.
    So even if two cultures (swearers and people offended by bad language) share a common hatred of cheaters, they may act it out very differently and by expressing themselves in different ways.

    • Janey,
      You might wish to explore the Midlife Club Forum. It is an old forum which has evolved into an incredible resource. It averages thousands of active members at any one time but is organized (specific topics–including a “rant” section) in such a way as to be easily navigated by new members. Topics are introduced by members and addressed by members. While the owner encourages respectful and even pithy dissent and debate, she does not tolerate excessive profanity or personal attacks. Please keep in mind that I am not implying at all that you should not have and express personal opinions on any forum…just that the Midlife Club demonstrates a much higher tolerance for dissenting opinions and that it might be a better “fit” for you.

  • Nothing wrong with cats 😉

    And if we start that Home for Chumps, we can all have cats and never ever have a pest control issue lol

    • It’ll be a whole zoo!

      I’m a dog-lover.

      We’ll have cats.

      We’ll have ducks to line up in a row.

      We’ll be chicks.

      Hippies will take off zebras.

      We could have bitches and cows.

      No monkeying around though! If someone is caught lion, well, they will be chucked right out!

      • ROTFLMBO!!!!!

        That is toooooo awesome, CITS!!! You are so creative!

        Where do I sign up?!

        Love you Chumps!!!

        Forge ON!!!!!!

  • Chris..I just asked my cat if she had my back. She gave me the usual look that said, “Darn human speak. I wish I knew what she is saying. I guess I will just stare at her with love.”
    Works every time. Thanks for the post. I have been ready to curl up in a ball in the corner of my condo for the last week. Thanks, Worried, for putting into words my thoughts and feelings. I have to keep remembering the mean crap I had to go through with husband last weekend that made me feel useless and unwanted. I have been reluctant to go to a lawyer and finally got an appointment. I was ready to cancel(again), but I feel ready once more to pursue it. I agree with Chris…I still love my husband. WHY?? If he did come back to me, what would be different. NOT A THING. Every problem would still be my fault and the HW would still be in the picture. When feeling weak, get back on CL and read, read, read. It helps me get through. CL is my support system. I do not know anyone around my area and I drove off my long distance friend 6 months ago when she kept telling me my husband was having an affair. I changed my life for him… NO LONGER will I do that. We have to go forward. Keep working at it. Remember, “practice makes permanent”. I don’t feel mighty yet. I am a long way from MEH. But, coming to CL shows me I am not alone and others really do understand. Good advice here always.

    • Patticake, you will get there. Keep coming here for support. I’ve been where you are and went through the mess for over 20 years. If I can heal, anyone can. Believe in yourself. Honor whatever you’re feeling at the moment but don’t give it a story. Just allow yourself to observe what you feel. Before you know it, meh will come in increments. And then one day, you will be repulsed you were ever with this man. Slowly, it will turn into indifference and maybe compassion but you will no longer want to be with him, no matter what.

    • I would suggest contacting that friend, apologising for driving her off and explain that you didn’t want to believe what she could plainly see. She may just surprise you and be there for you. It’s worth a shot.

    • I would suggest contacting that friend, apologising for driving her off and explain that you didn’t want to believe what she could plainly see. She may just surprise you and be there for you. It’s worth a shot.

      • ALL my close friends and family were telling me he was having an affair. I was mad at them for saying so and denied it to the bitter end. Chumpness much? 3rd parties see so much more than we do. I loved him too much to believe it was ever possible. Now, I have no idea how many affairs he may have had in these 35 ‘glorious’ yrs of marriage. The Cheat. The Liar. The Thief. Believe in your true LOVED ONES.

    • patticake, I have barely had contact with my my ex since he left two years ago, but I still have dreams where I tell him I love him. I’ve come to the conclusion that although I may always love him, I now love myself more. I certainly love myself enough not to be in a relationship with a person who hurt me deeply and repeatedly. I’m much healthier and happier away from him.

      • omg – the dreams…Lyn.
        I have wonderful ones about him often…and also, some horrible threatening nightmares of being trapped in quicksand, w/o a voice and no way to move. Last night? I found him sitting across from me having a wonderful time eating noodles out of a take-out Chinese box. Then I said, wait – threw the container down and asked him how he GOT IN HERE? (I had just changed the locks and garage door openers) Then I ran down the stairs in quicksand…and couldn’t get the door open and was paralyzed. Scary stuff that bothers you the whole next day. I wonder if I need a new therapist? Asshole scared me with a ‘veiled’ gun comment recently. Not hard to figure out the dream I guess.

  • Muriel didn’t like the swearing either – funny how nobody abused her for stating her opinion ??

    They probably perceive meowmix as a weaker target- she has less kudos?? less status??
    _______________________________________________________________

    muriel schnierow February 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    After much thought i have concluded that the end never justifies the means .NEVER.
    (by the way i would prefer less swearing)

    • Janey, maybe because Muriel just stated a preference rather than adding “It makes me think that the person writing the article has no boundaries or a healthy look on life, or at the very least, a somewhat sane view on life and their emotions” which sounds awfully judgmental.

      In any case, I hope this site is able to provide everyone the support they so badly need during a very difficult time.

      • Yes, Unique…That’s it, exactly!

        I love the strength, support, love, advice, laughter, insanity and clarity that I get every time I read here at CL!
        The (ex-)chumps here are the most sane, balanced and healthy of people you could ever find!

        I understand that using certain words does not, in this case, negate the superior value of the advice and message. The language has not turned me off from reading and posting, because the message and info here is just that: SUPERIOR!! In other places and cases, what Meowmix stated about language may be true. But, not here!

        In the very short time I have been reading this blog, I have progressed exponentially on my journey of healing. Am so very glad I found Chump Nation!

        Thank you for your support!

        Forge On!!!!

    • As much as I want this hyped up thread to die Janey, I take great offense at your contention that Meowmix was abused. You took a simple aside post and turned it into a thing, Meowmix never responded at all after the initial post. You are projecting some insecurity that I don’t think she has. I don’t need any more posts from you on this, you inserted yourself dramatically in a simple thing and made it seem way more important than it was. Enough.

      I like Meowmix, we often agree in our comments and she has had my back on abuse issues with Arnold many times. We also disagree on some things, this is one of them.

      I do get harsh when people tell me who I am based on an arbitrary judgement they have about some subject. A couple of posts in response were not nice at all, I agree. But her post was not nice at all either.

      I didn’t abuse her, I called her out because she was putting people down in a way many new chumps cannot handle. It’s not cool to do that sort of thing when we have people coming here fresh from the wounds inflicted by their cheaters. So many of us were abused this way, our cheaters telling us everything is wrong with us and that we are not worthy – the words we use do not indicate our sanity, our mental health or our ability to set boundaries. To say we are not worthy due to the words we choose is just not cool in this forum.

      Meowmix, if my response upset you (not Janey), let me know. In taking back my agency I do realize I can go a bit over the top in expressing it. Janey went over the top. You are not less than anyone else here, you are not weak and you are a part of ChumpNation, we have your back where it matters. We also call you out when we think we have to. Jedi Hugs Meowmix.

  • Jesus Janey – give it a rest. Her comment was condescending, and Muriel’s wasn’t. Besides, at this point who cares.

    Here’s a thought . . . do you have any advice for Worried, since that was the whole point of this post?

  • Language allows us to communicate. I am not offended by strong language. I consider myself educated and have never told my friends, family, coworkers how to speak. (Just the kids under five, but now that they are young adults not so much. Lol) I love language, the emphasis, and context, and appreciate all the diverse individuality I see here on a BLOG that tells me every day I am worth loving. I am thankful for the educated comments here and recognize most of us value TRUTH.
    Worry, you have so much to be grateful for. Your beautiful children, your job, and those stress reducing kitties. You are grieving a relationship and the dreams you once had. Allow that process. But please know you can not fix a poor choice someone else has made. Once I found out about my Ex’s OW I knew my marriage (20 years plus five years dating) was over. Carve some time out for yourself. Walk, swim, paint, work out, listen to music, dance. It will balance you out. Be patient. I am five years out and am just beginning to settle into my new world. I thank Chump Nation for helping me to heal.

  • Worried.
    Not sure where you live, which continent or country you reside in. But I’m all the way over in Australia and I just wanted to send you hugs and support.
    Cos your letter was/is so similar to mine.
    Full time worker.
    In my late 40’s
    4 beautiful daughters
    Responsible adult.
    Is there life for this chumpster?
    Yes.
    Be kind to yourself, keep active, walk/run/ exercise.
    Laugh when you can. Laugh often.
    Bellzero

  • This is so true! I felt this way myself, but I realized that I have real freedom and my cheating husband has his needy screw buddy who is looking for a soft place to land ! Unfortunately, my almost ex is sitting on a final settlement that leaves him almost destitute! If she knew that, she would dump him and he knows it! He’s caught between a hard place and a rock now as he screwed around on me over and over with her for a year and I finally got tired of the game! He “couldn’t make up his mind”, so I made it up for him! She is now his only option and she nags him constantly to get divorced once and for all! Her husband divorced her ass pronto in November when he found out she was screwing my hubs! Her cushy beach house life went to shit and now she needs a “new gravy train”! I think it’s funny as hell! The anticipation of the final divorce and her dumping him is all I wait for! I love Karma! These idiot people get all excited about slipping under the sheets and forget totally about the real consequences of their actions when the fallout comes along! Hope they like living on food stamps and she can forget about her Botox. Ha! Ha!

  • I believe that the hit we take to “self esteem” has to do with the fact that we can no longer trust our “inner director” and that we have put ourselves in harms way by making excuses over the years when “red flags” have occurred. Thinking I could not count on my own ability to make good emotional decisions that put me in this place was devastating!! But the truth is I was a “good” person that was trusting and projected this onto others who did not deserve it. From all the hours & hours of Chumps comments I have read, I have surmised that I wish there were more Chumps in this world & less of the rest. Us Chumps just have to get smarter about others in a manipulative, “one up, looking out for Me” world. (I live in South Florida & it is dog eat dog for sure!) Good luck & it can only get better!

  • Hi Worried and Chris,
    First of all Bravo Chris, job well done in Tracy’s absentia. Secondly, Ms. Worried, please advise why getting rid of a husband (in your case a 5th child) is scary to you? You are already doing everything of importance when it comes to living a full life and you are afraid of losing an emotionally unstable grown up 5 year old who sleeps on Mommy’s couch? Really? Reality Check. You have already been doing all the work, you just lost a dead weight that had only the value of bringing 4 beautiful children into your life.

    From all of the stories from everyone here including myself, it seems that the only thing any of us lost was a loser! They all have the same qualities from the stories told here, they are weak, pathetic, needy, gutless, selfish and basically completely lacking any character not to mention they all have a bit of crazy sprinkled on top. Yet we all fell for it and we all felt the pain and fear when it’s over. What’s wrong with this picture?

    I can only speak for myself but now that 1 year and almost 2 months has past, I can finally look back and laugh at what I was in so much pain about. Mine reminds me of the cartoon character Baby Huey and to think of how I beat myself up over getting involved with that, oy.

    Now that’s not to say that the feelings I had weren’t real, they were as was the pain and devastation of betrayal. I will not forget those feelings ever but they are finally in perspective as to who brought those feelings to me. Someone not worth them and someone I would never ever want to be with again. Now I can spot em a mile away, if it walks like Baby Huey and talks like Baby Huey, it is Baby Huey and I say Bye Bye Baby Huey!

    Please don’t ever think that your choice is 5th Baby or Cats. : ) There are many more choices out there. Don’t let fear drive you. It will pass.

    One day you too will laugh at what you wrote here today, I know that day will come after you recover from the initial shock. Oh how I wish that none of us had to go through the aftermath and just skip to the point of Meh and get right to What was I thinking?

    I guess that’s what comes with being human and sensitive and caring, we have feelings and they don’t just switch off like a light. But Worried, when that light switch goes on and the 100 Watt bulb lights up, get ready to laugh alot.

    Sending you love, hugs, a punching bag and tissues (both from crying and being sad as well as scared and also for laughing so hard you cry, the punching bag for when the anger sets in).

  • Dear Worried, when my ex left I was devastated. I was sure my life as a woman was over and that I might as well move to a convent. I couldn’t see how any man would ever want someone so damaged that her husband of 31 years would prefer to break up his family than stay with her.

    Guess what? Within a few months after my divorce a man I knew through work started taking me out to eat, to dance, to plays, to concerts, and to the movies. He’d been through divorce too and after he took me dancing he said “SEE? There IS life after divorce.” Those words just meant the world to me because my ex and I had grown up dancing together and I was sure I’d never dance again.

    Here a little poem that I’ve found to be so true:

    Everything hurt will be healed
    in a new light, in a new day.
    Everything lost will be found
    in a new form, in a new way.

    • great poem Lyn. Since Cheater has moved out as of 6 wks ago…I have found the most incredible relationships! Neighbours, old friends (family always)…I’ve relied on so many ppl and since I don’t care about his reputation anymore, some of the things I’ve told only my good (not gossip) friends have been catharic. The support out there is UNREAL. I am reaching out and people are responding and so many have interesting stories to relate back about THEIR past relationships. I’ve been missing out on so many people by making my Cheater my ‘best friend’ for so many years. Hand me the puke bag. And…since I’m a pretty social character I like to throw small dinners for my new support system. The distraction and rewards are many.

      • SheChump, for YEARS I kept my suspicions and pain about my ex’s behavior to myself because I didn’t want to destroy our image of a happy family. In fact I did my best to stuff down those anxious feelings and worries, to the point I could hardly acknowledge to myself what was going on with my ex and his married coworker. Throughout our marriage I felt like something was wrong with me, that I was too insecure, suspicious, etc. I went to counseling to try and address the issues. It’s true I was codependent, but it’s also true that what was going on with my ex wouldn’t have been tolerated by many wives. It was so cathartic when I started sharing some of the painful stories with my friends and they agreed that they would have been hurt if their husbands had acted that way too. It showed me that my intuition was correct and I should have listened to it all those years instead of trying to squelch it. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.

  • The other night I tried to add a comment to the article Ms Chump lady wrote about me, but it never showed up. I am sorry but if this suppose to be an open forum, then all points of view should be printed.
    I have had two very long term relationships with married men, and I don’t regret them or feel in the least bit guilty. These men are in marriages that were over before I came into the picture. Blaming “The Other Woman” (a story I wrote on the Huffington Post, does no good. You have to take a good look at your part in the decay of your marriage or relationship. There are many reasons why marriages (of which I do not belive in) fail, the most important is the lack of communication. Next, believing that your spouse will always be there. Not in today’s world especially when the woman or man focuses too much on their work or children. Marriage or any relationship is hard work and thinking that that other person will be there always is a fantasy unless you are constantly changing it up and letting things like the romance and sex fall by the wayside.
    The first man with whom I was involved told me that when he took his wife lingerie shopping, she bought a flannel night gown. Wow that is really sexy. She let her weight go and looked more like his mother than his wife (same goes for the wife of Petraeus). I saw his wife at the theater with him one night. ]
    Keep it together ladies and gents. Look at Sting and Trudie Styler who have been together forever and both look great as well as the fact that they focus on their sexual relationship. Then there is the gorgeous Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, and Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates. I could go on and on and on.

    The criticism that was written about me doesn’t bother me, it is expected. There is not sisterhood. A good friend of mine who is one of the most successful divorce attorneys in the country told me….”You can screw anyone you fault and never be blamed in a divorce for your actions.”

    • All that is missing was your mic drop.

      Kindly, and I mean this as gently as possible, shut the fuck up.

      • Oh yawn. More of the same self-righteous, delusional drivel from the cheater’s guide to absolving oneself of any responsibility for the pain of others. Wake me up when it’s over.

    • The people on this site blame the cheater. Although it would be nice if there were more good people and fewer selfish ones like you.

    • YOu’re an idiot but just to clarify: Sting and his wife engage in sex parties, so I guess that ‘keeps it spicy’, eh?

    • This would make a lot of sense ….but my husbands OW looked like his grandma and was at least 50 pounds heavier….hmmm. he said she was thirsty/desperate/convenient. I saw pictures of her and gagged. How could he get it up? I will never understand but cheats will screw anything with a vagina.

      I feel sorry for you Mara, you’ve wasted your time with two cheating men, years that you will never get back, your youth spent on men who don’t value your worth. Petraeus screwed around with a younger woman true, he didn’t divorce or leave his wife for her. She was a convenient desperate/thirsty extra vagina who was writing a book about this dude. Hell his ho offered him an endless supply of kibbles potential from millions of adoring fans. She was a dumb ho….she should at least used her vagina to get paid…no book, no Petraeus, no money, no marriage , just the title of national ho, like other hoes, like Tigers hoes, like you…oh well.

    • Of course you have no regrets, Mara. Neither did my asshat’s fuckbuddy. Let me tell you this, I would challenge you to have zero regrets IF and only if you involve the wives and the kids into your love triangle. When you exclude these other unknowing people from your wicked, wonderful, love fest it’s an unbalanced relationship. Give the chumps and their kids a voice, opinion, an OPTION to choose to stay in a deceitful relationship. FWIW, my asshat’s behavior and choice is his M.O. He’s done this in every.single.longterm relationship he has had. He needed his “slice” (ironically HIS term, not mine) in order to fulfill his need for connectedness. Also ironically this began around the time we began to have children. So …. To sum it up for you, MaRa, to have sex with married people is stupid. It boils down to lack of emotional maturity NOT lack of communication. You guys are still playing the games we played when we were in high school.

        • Hear hear!

          Mara, you ARE right that marriage is hard work. But IF it’s true the two parties aren’t working at it, then split up instead of cheating. And frankly, I’ve heard all the bullshit excuses given why they pretend they can’t leave–that’s only justifying cake eating. Staying and cheating is immature, self-centred narcissism, and the other parties (when knowing the situation) are just enabling that entitlement mindset.

          I also find it sad (and telling) that you believe you know so much about being married, when you are ensuring you won’t end up in a committed relationship by pursuing people who are unavailable for it.

    • Relationships have problems and either get worked on or disintegrate and die. When a relationship is dead, one has the option to leave it in an honest way. Or not.

      Cheaters cheat. Cheaters lie. There is NO justification. Period.

      This is a good example of where swearing is appropriate!!!!!

    • Mara,

      In North Carolina, you could be sued for “Alienation of Affections” for having an affair with a married person and the $$ awards can be VERY HIGH! Not only that, but if you are the cheating spouse (and the betrayed spouse has never cheated), you could NEVER get alimony here. Some states still have laws that punish whores like you. The fact that you are trying to justify your disgusting, disrespectful, whorish behavior says all we need to know about you. The universe has a way of smacking people like you upside the head, and I truly look forward to your comeuppance. GO FIND A MAN WHO IS AVAILABLE, YOU PATHETIC SKANK. AND STOP TRYING TO JUSTIFY YOUR ABHORRENT BEHAVIOR, BECAUSE THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WHAT YOU DO AND HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE. COME ON KARMA!!

    • Mara you wrote: “The criticism that was written about me doesn’t bother me, it is expected. There is not sisterhood.”

      Actually there is sisterhood, unfortunately you do not have any concept of what sisterhood means. Unlike Worried, you will indeed wind up old and alone with a houseful of cats, assuming the cats will put up with you.

  • Mara, I’m sorry but your last sentence makes no sense. In fact, most of what you’ve written doesn’t make sense. If you truly aren’t bothered by what people on this site think, then why do you keep posting?

    • I guessing since her married men have tired of her inability to “change it up”, she has to get her kibbles somewhere. Sad, and oh so pathetic.

      It’s a bummer that our Chumplady site got overrun with idiots today, but I’m just going to hope tomorrow is a better day. Good-night Chumplings.

  • Worried, it took me two years to plot my escape and get away from my abusive cheater. Yes, I also agonized that no one would want a fifty-something woman with two teenage kids–but looking back on it, I think I used that thinking as a reason for paralysis and inaction. For a time after I left I felt guilty that I wasn’t trying to date, but recently, I’ve let go of that pressure. I am busy enough with my girls, work and grad school to even bother thinking about it. Oh, and yes, I am busy with two cats, a dog and a bird. What’s wrong with being Crazy Pet Lady, huh? It’s better than crazy and miserable and in a bad marriage.

    • Jade just wanting to make sure you do not associate my next post as referring to you.
      I didn’t refresh when posting dammit.

  • Dear Worried, so sorry to hear the situation that you are in. Two things that stuck out for me. Being the breadwinner, responsible mom, and organizer my guess is that you are a problem solver. When I found out about my husband I KNEW it had absolutely nothing to do with me, but I still went through those times of wondering if there was something I could have done to change the events. I think it’s normal for highly capable people. Especially since we usually have our shit under control. It’s hard to have something spin so out of control that we can do nothing about. Which leads me to my next thing: who the hell wishes to be a single mom of 4 young kids???!!! Now what I mean by that is simply that I think most of us make the choice to have kids with our S.O.s thinking that it’s going to be a family with someone else there to partner us. Even though often we end up sort of being a single parent anyway within the relationship to have it become official sucks for a while. I think you’re in that crux between processing what was supposed to be with what is and then fearing what will be. Then again COMPLETELY ignore me if I’m off base. It’s all just how I feel in my situation! Either way I wish you the best. And your soon to be ex mother in law deserves a good smack upside the head too. I got pretty similar shit from mine. Surround yourself with people who know your value. That way your ex and his mom can’t get into your head as much.

    And don’t go with cats. Dogs are so much better. =) JK. ( Don’t want to start another stupid off-topic debate on here today.) Do what makes you happy. And though I think a lot of us shy away from it because we have to deal with it in our exs or stbxs, pull out a little bit of narcissism and look at yourself in the mirror and tell you how awesome You are.

    • Dear Worried,
      I am so sorry for what you are going through. The changed relationship with my former mother-in-law was something I really had to grieve. You sound like a catch…and I do hope you’ll give yourself the straightforward pleasure of your own company while you take time to heal.

      As I type, I am surrounded by two big dogs and one big cat. They are all overjoyed to see me when I come home. They appreciate my company. And not one of them has ever lied to me, stolen from me, or cheated on me…although, I do wonder about the cat’s nocturnal wanderings…but it is way better than worrying about the nighttime activities of that other fellow who was tomcatting around these parts…

      It will get better.

      • If only I could teach my sheltie how to massage feet. Or at least pick up her own poop. But she is blessing and I wouldn’t trade her.

        • Gosh, love Chump Nation. I love both cats and dogs and wish I had more of both. Coyotes took my beloved cats (so, no more, but I take a cat-visit anytime I can) and just exercising my 4 Great Danes. One who gives me a heart-beat every night and I don’t know what I’d do without sleeping with him. Any animal is especially soothing. Blessings to you, Worried. You’re gonna be fine and you’re gonna have lots of grandkids to bless you with and, hopefully lots of animals too. (I see those in your future!) 🙂

          • My mom’s cat has forever cured me of wanting a cat. But we’ve come to an amicable truce. When she’s in my room she behaves pretty sweetly. And at least she’s stopped sneaking up on me and biting my feet when I go to get a drink in the middle of the night. Sorry to hear about the Coyotes SheChump. That’s a very sad thing 🙁 .

            • P.S. I’d be perfectly happy to ship you this cat for a visit. You know how cats are with their curiosity about any boxes sitting around so I wouldn’t even have to try hard to get her in one. You just have to promise to return her otherwise we wouldn’t have anyone to knock all of our stuff over and steal our jewelry. She’s such a weird cat.

              • ha Kat ha. Gladly – love box cats! They are almost too smart. I would promise to return her if she started chasing the dogs…like most smart cats eventually do. But, we’ve had so many ‘teaser’ cats sit outside the window and the dogs wouldn’t know what to do if they did ketch one. They’re gentle but don’t know cats anymore. (Close your eyes to this folks but, ya, found beautiful Amber and BoBo (both precious rescues) heads and body carcasses in the same coyote den just below the house that reaches the beach – (it was MY fault because I put bells on them so they’d quit catching humming birds. That just attracted the coyotes) I thought THAT was my worse moment…Gad, if I only knew what was coming….

              • My cat Wyatt a very large Orange tabby male used to attack my feet after work (okay they were a little smelly!) but it was because he totally loved me. He didn’t treat anyone else this way. My youngest daughter’s cat used to play fetch with a crumpled up piece of paper and used to sleep with her at night. When my daughter went away to college she would come home and her kitty would have spent all day on the front porch waiting. That was our clue too that she was coming home! Of course the other humans in the family didn’t deserve such treatment. 🙂 who doesn’t love their pets?

          • Oh, SheChump!! Am sooooo happy you have those Danes!!!

            Love, Love, Love them!!! I have 2, male & female litter-mates, but they live with the cheater.

            Thank goodness he cares for them almost as much as I do. I am in a little apt on the 3rd floor & no pets allowed. But, I do get to spend time with my babies! They are the best! And I see you understand about Danes—–they only come in pairs! You have 2 pairs, blessed you!!

            And, l also have kitty that lives with cheaterpants. I do get jealous occasionally that he gets their love every day & I don’t. 🙁

            As for the message in this comment for ‘Worried’, since it is her thread—–you will eventually see more clearly the value of the relationship with your critters as time goes on and you will eventually know that those kitties are actually a godsend! Love them, but loose the cheater—Pronto!

            Forge on, all….Forge On!

            • Danes don’t always come in pairs. My best (and last) dog was a black Great Dane and I shall never forget him, best dog evar. I intend to get a Doberman this year cos I could never lift a Dane in an emergency now days, plus I have these crazy big Maine Coon cats that would have no idea they need to get out of the way of a Dane’s feet. But first I have to put in a deck off the kitchen so housebreaking can be a breeze, and we can all enjoy the summers together.

              • Dear Dat,

                So sad your Dane is gone…….Danes or Dane—-only one or any number—-sooooo precious! I had one as a teenager, too. Loving them is easy. They understand the ‘rules’……

                At one point a few years back, between myself, my son, my best friend & her daughter, we had 7 Danes total and they were all related! So, you are correct! They do not always come in pairs!! ;0

                Yeah, their size can be an issue. I used to take mine for long walks in the woods & trails (local park land) and always wondered what I would do if one of them got hurt on our adventures! Thankfully that never happened!

                As for your kitties, you would be amazed how well they would get on together. However, I do love Dobermans, as well. So elegant, but they do take firm, consistent training. After what you have been through, though, training a Doberman will be a piece of cake! (Whoops! Different kind of cake!) Any critter in our life is truly a blessing.

                Forge on, you critter lovers, Forge On!!!!

  • Mara, my ex cheated because I wore flannel to bed, gained a little weight after that second, no third child, and yeah didn’t communicate. That’s why he had every good reason to fuck someone else. Truthfully he lost interest once I gave birth to our son. Something about fucking the mother of his children wasn’t quite titillating enough. Oh and he was as selfish in bed as he was out of it….Communication?! It’s what drove him away! The last thing these losers want to do is communicate. It really is difficult to juggle all those lies they are telling. Please, don’t get me started. What I really think is that these people you know the ones fucking around on their SOs are just MISSING something. As are their fuck buddies. And ALL it takes is one person to destroy a marriage. When I stood in family court I grew up. I suddenly realized how many relationships were destroyed by infidelity. Most divorces involve three people, not two. Personally I would NEVER fuck someone who was dating another, let alone married! I would not sleep with anybody who I knew to be involved with another not with my neighbor, not with my friend’s husband, not with my racquetball partner, not with my child’s teacher. And because I would not fuck any one involved in a relationship it never occurred to me that my husband would….and all that rubbish about it takes two blah, blah, blah. What about those vows? Any body want to discuss those? If I had wanted a loser for a husband and father I would have posted an add on Craigslist. Decent people continually discuss what they want in a marriage, they grow together, they pay attention to what’s important. My ex just wanted to fuck someone else. He needed THAT to feel worthwhile. I’d like to think I would use my brain to make the right decision. I do know one thing: That decision, you know, the one (actually a thousand and one over the last two years of our marriage) TO CHEAT, destroyed our marriage. It destroyed all the feelings I had for him. It destroyed twenty years of good times and life challenges. It destroyed any future with him in it, and he is the father of three. Three beautiful children. I am quite aware of the legacy he’s left. So Mara, Go be that girl who needs to fuck an unhappily married man. My ex’s skank whore did hand me my life back. My ex was a beautiful man to look at and I made the mistake most of us do when we are tricked into believing there’s more substance to these losers. What I deserve, what we all deserve is someone who can value and love and yes, fuck us even in our flannel pajamas ( because damn I can rock those!). I know now my ex is unable to place anyone before his dick because a real man would have gotten a divorce long before he slept with anyone else. Good Night.
    Worry, I will be sending good thoughts your way.

    • These guys lie to everyone. When I asked my stbx why he didn’t divorce me he said he wasn’t looking for a wife, just a ho. He blurted out that none of his OW were worth destroying his marriage?! Sick logic…..

      • My ex tried to convince me to reconcile about 6 months after DDay #2 and my kicking him out. After I turned him down, he muttered, about the OW; ‘that wasn’t supposed to be a long-term relationship anyway’, and ‘now I have to go out of town (to where she lives) just to get some sex’.

        So, he threw away everything we had, including our kids’ intact family, for a short-term rel that was just about getting some sex while he was out of town for work.

        Twu luv indeed!! Such a charmer!

  • Worried,
    Like so many others have said here you rock! OW did you a big favor by helping you rid yourself of this manchild. The one thing I’ve learned from this mess is cheating men are a dime a dozen focus on your family and carve out some time to nurture yourself. I know plenty of good men who love cats, pets, and flannel pajamas. Take each day a step at a time.

  • Coming to this post late, but just wanted to add my support to Worried. Excellent post by Chris, outlining all the reasons why you should be thankful that your husband is now being all floppy and feeble on his mother’s sofa & not a burden to you anymore. Some good thoughts from others about your “fixer” tendencies. I’m one of them too, so recognise the symptoms! You do have to accept that you can’t fix people, only individuals can fix themselves. You offered support & patience but he didn’t want to fix himself, so it is time to walk away. Good luck & stay strong. Lots of really great support on this website. Keep coming back because constant reminders about how it is not & never was your fault that your husband cheated on you, help to keep you on a strong course going forward.

    Hugely entertaining swearing debate in the middle. I’m a super posh English lady, well educated & from the home counties. Sadly, I’m posh but poor but I guess you can’t have it all!!!! However, I happily swear and it never puts me off anyone. Swearing is part of our rich linguistic make up. Like all language, swear words can be used to cause offence or they can be used with humour or for emphasis. As with all other words, it is the intention behind them that is important.

    Anyhow, I’m sure everyone has buggered off to the next post by now, but just thought I’d add my very late two pennies worth.

      • Laughing cos bugger off used to be quite the bad thing to say didn’t it? Most people feel like fuck it is similar right now 🙂

  • “If any mouse even tries to scamper onto my property, Mr. Whiskers is gonna fucking regulate. Because he’s got my back. That’s more than your husband can say!”

    Loved this line Chris 🙂

  • Sadly, my two cents, for Worried and other Chumps with children:
    How convenient for your cheater not to work, and therefore, have nothing to offer you for child support of your 4 children, Worried.
    Protect yourself and your kids, first and foremost. He is showing you that he will do nothing of consequence for them or for you.
    Total Douche Bag. Let him rot on mom’s couch.

  • I know my fear is somewhat irrational but I’m also concerned that I will end up alone in my golden years. I’m not exactly 20soemthing, I’ve got a child, I’ve got bills, I’ve got PTSD. Men are not flocking to me. But definitely better than living with a cheater.

  • My bloke ran home to mummy too. In the 26 years we were together mummy was a constant source of irritation and now he lives with her! What’s that about? And better still, they live in the country and he has to commute to work every day. The train ride is an hour and 15 but there’s a walk to the station and then metro trains to get to work. AND it gets better, there have been major dramas with the rural train service and trains are constantly being cancelled and replaced by buses (which he hates).
    My children say he is turning into his mother. The two of them live happily in a superficial emotional wasteland. Twin set and pearls, still upper lip – dull, dull, dull.
    But I get resentful too – I only have a 15 year old at home but with a busy sporting life and a sometimes live-in (and messy) 24 year old; a dog a cat, bills to pay, working full time etc etc. And yes I tend to picture him training home each night with the sun setting over the rolling hills, mummy has dinner waiting, daddy (serial cheater too) drops in and his beautiful down syndrome brother too, and they laugh and laugh and he enjoys the comfort of family and care while I sit contemplating my bleak future eating cheese on biscuits.
    So the reminder to reality check was a good one.
    He 47 and home with mummy for fuck’s sake!

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