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How Did You Get Unstuck?

Lately, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m everyone’s divorce fairy godmother. At least in my real life here. (I mean, I ask for it on the blog — it’s my schtick.)

Someone’s going through a divorce, or knows someone going through a divorce, and they think “Oh, I’ll call Tracy. She knows from divorce!” (Having had two of them. ) Lawyer referrals, agony aunt services, leave-the-dipshit-already pep talks — it’s my wheelhouse.

Nobody wants to talk to me about soil science. (I spent Friday listening to a 5-hour talk about soil science and the latest National Organic Program rules. Did you know that nitrogen uptake is weather-variable? It’s all about the moisture content, people. You can have the most fertile soil, but if you let it dry out, it’s worthless.) My husband says soil science is where the expression “dull as dirt” comes from.

I don’t know. I find dirt peaceful after cheater shit overload. Some days just give me the rhizosphere over “he’s a porn addict with a hooker habit.”

So anyway, both worlds collided the other day when a farm-y friend called me about her brother who is getting a divorce. Or thinks he’s getting a divorce. He’s not sure. His wife apparently is having an emotional affair that she’ll admit to, but spends weeks at a time in another state partying with her high school buddies. (This person is in her 40s, let’s take a moment to reflect on how pathetic that is.) We all know the drill. Everyone has thought for years that this wing nut was cheating on him, and awful as it is (especially for their kids), it was a bit of good news really that he might actually FINALLY be ending this toxic relationship.

Except he isn’t. My friend wanted the name of my old lawyer. To give to him, and then bludgeon him with it because Quote “he’s like a deer in the headlights,” Unquote.

The wife has told him she’s already filed on HIM (no evidence of it) and there’s a family farm at stake, and child custody, and it’s all a big clusterfuck and they’re Mennonite. You have to understand Mennonite culture doesn’t do confrontation, assertiveness, or divorce lawyers. You piss the collective off, they send people to come pray over you. You can imagine how effective that is when dealing with a sociopath. (The cheater is not a Mennonite. Just the chump. So he’s like extra-special chumpy, with a side serving of shoofly pie.)

My poor friend keeps trying to advise him and her sister, who is totally bad ass, is also trying to persuade the guy to ACT. Or REACT. Or just ANYTHING. And the guy just can’t seem to muster the smallest amount of self defense. 

(My advice was, call the lawyer, make an appointment, and if he’s that passive, just tell him he has an appointment on Tuesday and you’re taking him there. Just boss him around. It’s what he’s used to. At least get him in the door.)

And it occurred to me that…. Jesus. I just went through this the other week with a relative, also stuck in the headlights, also too paralyzed to call a freaking lawyer.

And then my husband and I compared notes on this phenomenon and realized… of a bunch of chumps we know in real life, most of them STAY STUCK. Either, they’re still married to the fuckwit, or the fuckwit walks out, decimates their finances, and they don’t put up much of a fight. By the time they wake up, the idiot has left and taken everything, and they’re sputtering “but! but!”

Now, I’m an epic chump, and so is my husband. But on the plus column, we both lawyered up pretty early up after D-Day. I am GOBSMACKED how many people don’t see lawyers. Or leave it to the bitter, bitter end when a good lawyer could’ve helped you a lot sooner. Hell, even if I were to reconcile, I’d see a lawyer. You need to know your rights! What to expect! How much this will cost! What you are entitled to! What to  consider (like say, a family farm)!

To just sit there paralyzed confounds me. Or not even read a book! Isn’t EVERYONE an Amazon chump? OMG, I had to know everything about infidelity and personality disorders, like it was an advanced degree and my boards were next week. My husband too — he got on online boards and Amazon-ed it too.

And yet, some people just don’t get that far. Look, I have sympathy. I’ve written what keeps you stuck with a cheater. And I totally understand the limbo paralysis when you have Naugahyde remorse and you think you’re really in reconciliation. You ride that unicorn carousel for awhile. I get it.

I’m talking about situations in which it’s clearly totally hopeless. You can’t even get a contact high from the hopium any more. The person has checked out for the affair partner, they’ve admitted they’re gay, they’ve destroyed you financially, they’re threatening to run with the kids to another state. I’m talking red light CRISIS. Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter.

Why the fuck don’t you ACT?!

So, who better to ask than a bunch of chumps. Can you relate? What got you Unstuck? Was it a bad ass sister driving down from another state to drag you by the ear to a lawyer? Was it some final indignity that pushed you over the edge? An epiphany?

Or are you among the trampled? The cheater just left, you watched it all like a bad dream and didn’t put up much of a fight. Could anyone have gotten through to you?

Any thoughts on this? Because if we don’t solve this, we’re going to have to go pray over a bunch of stuck chumps, Mennonite-style.

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  • Oh boy, I am the queen of chumps, staying with a cheater for over twenty years until I couldn’t. I was stuck with that cheater with super glue from hell. Even though I filed for divorce (yep, lawyered up) after the OW 2, I withdrew it after he came begging for a second chance. I finally got unstuck when I decided I needed help. I went for counseling three years before the final DDay (3rd OW) and then wham. When he said he wasn’t happy once again, and before I even knew there was another OW, I filed for divorce. I left that marriage so fast. I was done. So what got me unstuck? By finally putting myself FIRST. As cliche as this may sound, I learned to love myself and, in the process, found my worth. Once that was in place, everything was so clear. I needed to get the hell away from this cheater. I haven’t even found Chump Lady yet at that time but I just knew there was a better way. I remember hearing Dr. Phil say that everyone has a breaking point, a point of no return. I got there. No turning back at all.

    I wasn’t paralyzed, though, in all the DDays. I contributed to Amazon’s bottom line, read everything that the reconciliation kingdom had online, went to marriage counseling, etc. The problem was I put my energies on on saving my marriage no matter what, being true to my vows, instead of putting myself first. Now I know there is no way anyone can save a marriage alone, no matter what Divorce Busting says.

    I’m not sure how one can convince your friend’s brother. He sounds like the old me – that somehow, divine intervention will somehow come and make things right. He needs to know that divorcing the cheater is also divine intervention.

    P.S. Tracy, I was laughing hard about the shoofly pie.

  • I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, but for me it was a mix of total shock and the situation — which I NEVER saw coming, heartbreak, hope, and a lack of sleep and nutrition. I was down to 118 pounds for a while after D-Day, and for someone who is 5′-10″, that’s seriously underweight.

    I managed to stay employed and to keep myself barely alive. I was like a prisoner of war or a ghost, and what little strength I had was put toward bare survival. That’s what it felt like, anyway. Dealing with a divorce seemed difficult to deal with, and less of a priority.

  • Trampled. Like by a herd. I’d been convinced to get on meds. They numbed me. Sick and weak and perimenopausal. Plus we weren’t married. Even after asking him to leave it took 3 months.
    We’d lived together in our 20’s. Five years. After we split we both married others for a decade. He to the ow, me, fresh start but to a guy who decided he liked men sometimes too. Both divorced, we saw each other out and started up again. He had kids, we became family. He moved in to my house. We got engaged. My family always loved him. His ex and I talked everything out and got on fine.
    Then the supreme triangulation, he’d been seeing the ow that broke up his marriage. The entire 8 years. When I confronted him, he beat my head off the floor.
    Now I know I was a fool for seeing him again in the first place. Sparkly spackle, rinse, repeat. I thought being a parent would have matured him. By the time I got off the meds, started therapy and got my sister to come and help me bag his shit, it was too late. I wound up losing everything.
    So much kept me stuck. Mostly thinking I meant something to his kids.

  • Wow!!
    This amoral woman is going to take him to the cleaners in a divorce if he doesn’t listen to some good advice fast.

    If her so called “filing” has not taken place yet, and if there is no mortgage on that farm (I’d bet my bottom dollar no mortgage since he is Mennonite); he needs to (if the state laws allow it and the farm is in his name only) hurry up and deed that farm in trust to the children with him having what is called a “lifetime estate”… i.e. he can live there until he dies.

    He can’t stop her from divorcing him, but he can protect his assets. Maybe someone can persuade him that this is not an aggressive act but one designed to protect the innocent.


    They way I see it, when they stray, it is time to immediately put on the “business hat” and find out what can be salvaged money and property wise. Cheaters have checked out emotionally and have no decency and regard for the cheatee. I may have been chumped emotionally, but I was never so far down that I couldn’t see the “bottom line” on separate property and assets that I helped acquire over a 33 year period. Someone may have stolen half the years of my life, but I was damned if he was also going to steal the lion’s share of the financial assets.]

      • Farming legalities are nightmare. As long as he can do paperwork now to protect his assets later, that may be the best your friend can get out of him. Especially since in this case, “assets” mean his entire livelihood/life.

    • I agree he should protect his ass(ets) — it’s really worse and more complicated. It’s a family trust, several farms, and there are elderly parents in the mix (transferring property over time) — so his inaction is potentially hurting the whole family. Yes, legal action needs to happen ASAP so she doesn’t take certain things.

      Ag property, and ag trusts, are a totally different kind of asset division nightmare.

      My relative is going through similar — major financial fuckupedness and continuing harm if she doesn’t act.

      I’m like you, fuck me over, fine. Chump me financially? I start to WAKE UP and get litigious.

      • It might be time for the elderly parents (who might be more detached) to wake up and bring some pressure on him to act. I wonder if they know what is going on? Too bad for him that it is so complicated, but it if becomes part of a property settlement it is going to be even more complicated. My best to the poor dude.

      • Well, I hope that if it’s an irrevocable family trust, she can’t touch it. That’s kind of the point of Family Trusts 🙂 At least she probably can’t force the sale of the property because it doesn’t belong to anybody; it belongs to the trust. She might get an income stream from it though 🙁

        Best to see a lawyer though.

        From Fidelity Investments page on irrevocable trusts.

        Ensuring protection from creditors, including a divorcing spouse. An irrevocable trust, whether created during your lifetime or at your death, can include language that protects the trust’s assets from creditors of, or a legal judgment against, a trust beneficiary. In particular, assets that remain in a properly established irrevocable trust are generally not considered marital property. As such, they generally won’t be subject to division in a divorce settlement if one of the trust’s beneficiaries gets divorced. However, a divorce court judge may consider the beneficiary’s interest in the trust when making decisions as to what is an equitable division of the marital property that is subject to the court’s jurisdiction.

        • This is what I’ve done. Now, I DO look like and sound like a stuck person. And I admit I probably am in some ways, but I am also a warrior. Like other people have mentioned, I am spending time working on me. Uncovering the person I am under years of emotional abuse.

          Please please get this guy to an attorney. This was the BEST thing my friends STRONGLY suggested I do. He needs to understand his rights and get himself and family protected.

          This sucks because it is so emotional. He needs to remember that his spouse has already “consciously uncoupled” years and years ago while he was unknowingly unconscious or in extreme denial. Poor guy. He needs a friend to drag his ass to a lawyer to ensure his kids/parents/properties are safe.

          • Hey ANC, the best way to get over emotional abuse is to get away from the person emotionally abusing you.

            Just saying’. ((Hugs)) We all get to the other side in time.

    • Amen!!! I was shell shocked in the beginning, but I thank God that He created me with a touch of the warrior princess that said, “No more, you are in for a war !” My kids and I are worth it!

  • What finally, finally got me unstuck was realizing that I was doing ALL the work to try to keep my family and marriage together, and he was doing worse than nothing. He was complaining about it. Complaining about me. Who was practically killing myself to claw out even a half inch of what felt like progress between us.

    It took two years of this. I don’t know. One day I just snapped. Done. I realized that he was never going to try. And as soon as I said that I would file for divorce, he couldn’t respond fast enough that this was “the right and best thing.” He never had the guts to say “divorce” himself, of course. Courage is not his strong suit. Neither is honesty. His plan — and I see now that it was a conscious plan — was to so traumatize me that I would finally give up all hope and do the messy filing.


    This is not optimal, obviously. You’d rather not go through all that prolonged trauma. But that’s what it took for me to loosen my death grip on my intact family. I would have done anything, tried anything, not to hurt our daughter with the news of her parents’ divorce.

    Sounds like your farmer friend is thinking along those lines. Keep his family intact at all costs. And it sounds like the cost is going to be his mental, emotional and likely physical devastation.

    If I could whisper into my 3-years-ago ear, I would give my younger self the excellent advice to start paying attention to all of my husband’s actions and none of his words. None. It’s so standard, so obvious…now. But then, doped up (and how) with hopium, I kept getting hung up on his words.

    Whenever there was a contradiction between what he did and what he said, I favored the words. Or, I took his lack of words to mean that if he wasn’t coming right out and saying he was done with the marriage, there was hope that he might yet come around. What a chump.

    Watch her actions, farm friend. They’re telling you a whole lot about where you and your family fall on her list of priorities. And when someone shows you how little you matter, don’t kid yourself into thinking she has your (or your children’s) best interests in mind. She likely isn’t thinking about any of you at all, except as obstacles to her real happiness.

    Also, like Uniquelyme, I laughed out loud at the shoofly line. That was awesome. So was your husband’s “dull as dirt” line.

    • ah, RallySquirrel… yes, we do all the work. I worked so hard for us (finding babysitters, quiet time on the porch, etc) and in the end he never met me halfway.
      Could not say divorce, told the MC he was “content in the direction things were going’…WTF?? where were we going, there was no admission of the other woman at that point!

      Lazy, selfish bastard: I filed, I found his lazy ass a place to stay that was kid appropriate, all because he could not be dragged away from the OW.

      • Yep, zyx321. Sounds very familiar. Oh, and let me add another devastation to the list of mental, emotional and physical: financial.

        • Mental and Emotional is kind of redundant. I think the trifecta is emotional, financial, and physical abuse.

          Some folks get all three 🙁 Most of us get the first two.

          • Oh, no, TimeHeals — to me, mental and emotional devastation are two separate things. The first is when you have been so gaslighted that you doubt your sanity. The second is pure heartbreak.

            And someone doesn’t even need to lay a finger on you to leave you physically devasted. High, chronic stress, sleep deprivation and the infidelity diet will take care of that part nicely.

    • Thanks, Rally Squirrel. This is my situation to a T. Until last week, I’d desperately hung on for five years (so freaking chumpy, right?!) trying to keep my son’s family intact for him. It makes no sense at all to do this. Thank you for stating it so plainly.

    • I could’ve written this Rally for I too was married to an unbelievable coward. He wanted to stay with me because it was financially convenient but he didn’t want to do any of the work.

      My dday was in November of 2010 and in January of 2013 I stumbled across chumplady. When I could finally put words to how false our reconciliation was I started to get bitter. I would start fights on purpose, bring up the affair to make him uncomfortable and the humiliating dance of pick me was performed with a figurative and literal middle finger being stuck up at him. ( I literally flipped him the bird every time he left the room). This went on for 7 months and I kept waiting for him to say something and he never did.

      He was the same coward he was three years prior. He was unhappy because I was going out of my way to make him that way but he wasn’t saying anything. He was cataloging all the times “I missed a spot” and saving them for excuses for his next affair.

      After 7 months I finally asked him for a divorce before he could do that to me again. I finally paid attention to his actions instead of his words. Thank god for chump lady!!

  • For me, it was simply disbelief and lack of evidence.
    Disbelief: I would never do that, so I could not even contemplate my “soulmate” doing it
    Things seemed off, but I was gaslighted, etc. When it was finally clear things were over I was the one who had to file and find a mediator. I kinda wish I had been less chumpy and gone with an attorney/PI who could have found out that there was someone else, and found all the marital assets spent so I could have gotten it back.
    But, in the end, I got what I wanted: kids and the house.

    Healing would have been faster,I think, if I had had evidence for misdeeds. Instead I have spent over a year mulling over the “woulda-shoulda-couldas” since exH spent all his time talking about my/our issues (you never did x, we did not learn to communicate, etc) and making me feel as it I was to blame for the end of the marriage) when in reality he cheated multiple times during our marriage; never ‘fessed up, and never attempted to make amends. None of our issues were insurmountable if he had tried. Instead he was a lying, lazy, selfish, coward.

    and I ditto notyou… the Mennonite farmer friend needs to protect his assets for the future.

  • Yes. Thank you Rally Squirrel, the disconnect was maddening. I was actually worried he had a brain tumor or was doing drugs. My attention was all on trying to figure out what was wrong and how to make it work.
    Then one day a friend from work (who didn’t know him and so be charmed by him) literally screamed at me to follow his actions and not his smooth, shiny words.
    That was the d day. The courage to look him in the face and ask why should I not put myself first and be the selfish bitch he accused me of being. And to get out.
    I hope farm guy doesn’t wait for the universe to right itself like I did. Ain’t going to happen.

  • Gee. I have avegetable garden which is beautiful and lush. This year everything grew but I got 3 beans, one beetroot, no zuchini or cucumbers. I am slack about watering but what you said about water content enlightened me. No one has been able to put it like that for me before.

      • Dirt is fascinating. In my area, we’re lucky to have 20 inches of it, since under that dirt is limestone. Lots of limestone. I haven’t done anything about gardening while married to STBX. I used to like herbs and roses, but STBX would plonk those anywhere, and on top of it all, he’d dig a flower bed, but his idea of prepping a bed would be to turn over the turf. The result was an absolute eye sore. Of course, I’d have to say how nice it was, as he’d spent hours in the hot sun doing this.

        I’m considering taking master gardener classes post divorce. I have spent a significant amount of time around scientists concerned about sustainability and biodiversity. Much of the property I’ve looked at is wooded. I will probably make a real effort to see what I can do to preserve habitat on whatever acreage I buy.

      • Dirt and flowers are triggers for me suddenly. I have 3 new beautifuly landscaped areas in the yard I never had before, full of neat brick-work, plants that survive 90mph winds in the coastal winters, and now the bright yellow daffodils are followed by beautiful red tulips. People love them. Well, the pompadour planted them all last fall when I was on many trips and she was moving in. It’ll take me awhile to think of dirt the same way. I’m going to replace all of it someday with skunk cabbage.

          • Yep – she not only landscaped but planted bulbs last Fall in the hopes of seeing them this Spring. Yeah – Round-up sounds about right. Can you believe the NERVE of the levels of cheating – she wanted my whole life! WHORE.

            • Cut down the flowers down and give them to someone. With malice or with joy. See it as a metaphor for something. Your choice. Take control and be empowered.

              Then, move the bulbs to your liking. Or give them away.

              When I said I was threatened by my fucking ex-husband’s new friend, he told me that she wanted what we had: the family, the home, etc. Understatement. She wanted what I had.

              I still have it. I no longer have the marriage or the cheating husband but I have everything else.

        • I liked that typed Pompadour! When I was a kid, we had this regular substitute teacher named Mrs. Pompura, and she was a bitch. All us kids would sing, “Pomp-pomp-pompadours are calling…” at recess when she was our sub. Simpler times. You should sing that song to yourself, with unbridled glee!!

          I am loving the idea of skunk cabbage, but instead, maybe take a moment to breathe, and eventually plant something beautiful that will be pleasing to *you*? Take her hard work and put it to your advantage! Nice of her to do your landscaping.

          • OMG, I can’t imagine someone doing that!

            I was going to say to plant creepers in memory of her…However, you could go for “spiritually protective plants” for your future, instead of sowing your past… Ex:

            Trefoil, vervain, John’s wort, dill
            Hinder witches of their will.

            (I can’t believe I’m giving pagan advice….)

            • I *love* that you posted this! I still need to smudge my remaining shared possessions–even now thankfully I live in a space I never shared with the monster. Smudge suggestions welcome!

              • Lol. I used white sage smoke on my bed about four times before it felt right. Sage is supposed to get rid of icky bad energy but Sandalwood and Palo Santo sticks are supposed to clear and bring in positive energy!!! The only bad thing with sage is sometimes it smells like pot.

                Mint and lemon verbena are refreshing and protective. But I’d be more apt to tear those plants up and create a rock garden. Egads, what a messed up thing to have to put up with!!!!!

              • A yew would symbolize rebirth/renewal and protection, and my own tree, which could also act as a large shrub, the rowan, would symbolize wisdom, which I would wish for any chump…

                (I still can’t get over I’m having this discussion–my husband is a minister!)

        • Me too. Except I try to apply it to the infidelity and I cringe from it a little. I suppose the leveling with my cheater is my chumpiness.

          I love your blog. I’m a Florida boy born and raised. I’ve had good times in the keys. Key West is unlike anywhere I’ve been. Used to be in Islamaroda a lot. (Coral Grill)

    • I have back issues, so when it comes to food, I stick to container gardening on my back deck.

      In my front yard, though, where the previous owners had put a flower bed along the driveway and path to our door, I replaced the flowers with black and red currant bushes, 2 little gooseberries, and 4 blueberries. (the currant bushes I brought with me from my old place–they were a gifts from a dear friend). Once they feel happy and well established, I’m going to just put a few bright annuals in between (like, maybe geraniums). I figure if I’m going to put effort and $ into gardening in my front yard, I jolly well better get some food out of it….

      I liked the asparagus in my old yard…if I ever do a hedge of it, I’m going to space them further apart and put cosmos in between. I love that asparagus is perennial, and while I have frequently heard people complain about having more tomatoes/zukes/cukes than they know what to do with (we have actually had a box of zukes put on the church doorstep with “to a good home”), I have NEVER heard someone say they have too much asparagus.

    • PS Gardener’s/ farmer’s joke–how do you know you don’t have any friends?

      You have to buy zucchini…

  • For me, it was my STBX’s drinking and his total lack of compassion. Plus he scared the crap out of me one night when he came home wasted. I lawyered up big and fast. He sat the hell down and behaved himself.

    I was scared. He’d had unprotected sex in our home with one and who knows how many others. I had a child. We had assets. My instinct was “GET HIM THE HELL OUT” and I knew I’d need a good ass lawyer to do that. I got one and it cost me a small fortune but it was money well spent. He was out in days. No pussy footing around.

    I think it takes some time for the mind to process what’s really happening so I understand delays on contacting lawyers. I was really nervous about going to see a lawyer but it was the only way I could see out of a shitty situation that was getting worse by the minute. If I had a friend going through what I did it would be the first advice I’d give. GET A LAWYER NOW. That and get tested for STDS and shore up your financials.

    My STBX told me that both of us had to sign on one of our accounts. Truth is either one of us could drain it. When he wasn’t looking, I took out 50% and that shut down his plan to drain it and put me under financial strain. Paranoid? Nope. It was smart because I had that money in case he didn’t want to play fair during a settlement. Trust that they will back you into a corner if they can. Fear was a great motivator for me. I don’t do well with denial. If they have fucked around on you, all bets are off.

    • Thensome- Standing Ovation for you!!
      I wish I had been that decisive, my X was (is) a huge drinker, had unprotected sex, and a lack of compassion for me, too. And we had assets, but because he won’t play even close to fair, I’m super lucky I got out with just my sanity!
      I hope chumps will look the way you made a stand and protected yourself, and your kid, and do the same!
      The thing that finally got me unstuck, after 3 years of pain, was taking a trip to see my sisters and father, in the state where I had grown up. Just being far away from the evil mindfuck my life had become- I could suddenly see! There was a world, where people were kind, and told the truth, or at least laid it all out for you and wouldn’t take lame excuses! Four days of that, and I was ready to make a move, and save my fucking life. 5 months later I was divorced!

      • PattyToo,

        It was a devastating decision. I was sad to end my marriage but it was clear there was nothing left to work on. I was the only one who was working and I was getting increasingly sick and unhappy.

        There are kind people out there for sure! I’m glad you found your way out. Good for you!!! You are very brave.

        • Thanks. Yes, my heart is really broken, and I feel robbed, but I feel like There was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. I could have stayed and been horribly mistreated, and humiliated, but who needs that? Cheaters that think they are just fine are probably unreachable by us normal folks! I found out after I left, that it was EVEN WORSE than the couple I knew about, but he denies that still. Once, he let the mask slip for a second, and looked at me with sadness and said – I’m probably going to go to Hell.
          If you feel that bad about your actions, why keep doing them ?
          I have no answer for that, but I’m glad I’m away from what I feel is an evil lifestyle! Happy life to us both, we deserve it!

    • My ex tried to take my money from the investment account but he made the mistake of telling our financial advisor we might be divorcing, that bank has a policy that if they hear that word they freeze the accounts. I know because I called to put a freeze on the acct and our advisor told me no problem, already done and that my ex had been furious…

      • After I asked X where he got the money for the European vacation with his poopsie and he confessed that he had sold some of our jointly-owned “underperforming” stocks without my knowledge, I quickly alerted my financial advisor. Since I’m the “fun” and cordial half of that previous couple and had become pals with him, the advisor assured me that until I could get the assets legally divided, he would surreptitiously and immediately call me if X asked to liquidate any more items. The divorce was finalized just before Christmas, and X is now complaining about the capital gains we paid for 2013 because of my reinvesting (quite wisely and lucratively, thanks to the aforementioned financial advisor). Hey, it was X’s idea to file jointly, and it was his idea to spend thousands of dollars to divorce me, and too too bad if his half of the money has dwindled. Hah!

  • Oh and maybe I am just a little too practical but I called the solicitor the day He tapped into our mortgage redraw to get money totake his little girl fwend out for dinner. I was suddenly left supporting 3 kids on my own ans was paying into the mortgage and he was going to the pancake parlour at my expense. I froze that facility cleaned out our joint account which was my mortgage money anyway. He wroTe a check which for some reason they cashed which put the joint account into the red. I told him to fix it and close the account. It’s not noce to be told by a bank emplyeef “you’re being played, he hasn’t even enquired”. I closed it and that was the end of my financial dealings with him. Oh….and I kept the house and the car 😉 it was worth it!

    • Good for you Nat. I used to work at a bank and one thing that happened quite a bit was people coming in to find out that their spouse had completely drained their accounts and there was nothing they could do about it. It made me vow never to have a joint account. Ironically my ex did open one up for us but I never put any of my money in there. It just never felt right. I was nice though and didn’t steal his money either. But it makes me revow that if I ever EVER go anywhere near a committed relationship again I’m keeping my assets separate or putting a prenup in place to protect them.

      • This triggered something I had forgotten. ExH and I split the checking account, and after months he had still not closed it, only his money left. But I was still on it until the account was closed…. So I had to go in and get a cashier’s check to give to STBXH. The bank manager was so sweet and did not charge me the fee for the cashier’s check. As she pointed out, I could have legally taken the last of the money (only a few hundred dollars at that point).
        Again, a sign of my passive, lazy exH.
        So glad I am re-living all this to give me perspective 😉

      • I kept our accounts separate, mainly because he was always rubbish with money and paying bills. I worked out how much the household bills were and he put half into my account when he got paid. I still often had to ask him repeatedly for the money. Chumpy me earned more than he did and happily put my extra income towards clearing debts, paying for all the extras like Christmas & birthdays and putting a little away when I could for emergencies and big household purchases. All his spare cash went on partying. He was a tight as a gnat’s chuff unless he was showing off at the bar buying drinks. That should have been a massive red flag but I stupidly overlooked it.

  • As soon as I caught my X in a motel room with the Skank Woman I got a lawyer right away. He was so eager to go be with his Twu Luv that he gave me EVERYTHING and then some. I kept asking for more and more and more. Maybe he was human enough to feel guilty since I had just saved his life. My attorney couldn’t believe how much he was giving me.
    To this day he still gives me money and he doesn’t have to. I had to replace appliances last year and he paid them off. I need a new lawn mower and he’s going to buy me one. I just sit around and dream up shit I need. If Skank Woman had any idea he was doing this she would go berserk. Hahaha!~
    I couldn’t care less about either one of them. There isn’t enough money in the world to make up for the hell they put me through.
    I recently started dating and have met some pretty nice men. I tell them straight up I’m not interested in marriage. Had enough of that shit.

  • I have to agree with the others. At first you are paralyzed, can’t breath. When I found out about the OWs and Ashley Madison buddies I was devastated. I cried for days. Plus I was afraid. XH threatened me if I got a lawyer. he said he would take care of everything and would give me $18,000 to walk away. we were married for 19 years, had a house and investments. I looked at him in disbelief.
    I was lucky that I had good friends and a badass brother. They let me a cry but after a while they pushed me to get a lawyer. I got half of everything plus maintenance and child support. Needless to say, I burst his and Scanktessa’s plans- at least financially

      • I only knew what it was because I had read an article on WSJ. it was unbelievable to sit there and read his profile and the type of woman he wanted.

        • Yeah, well, I went on to check if someone’s profile had truly been deleted. The guys on there completely grossed me out! I wanted to hurl! And since I had to make a profile to look, I got checked out by 8 guys while I was on for only 15 minutes!!! I made cat-furball-horking sounds for 10 minutes after I got off…

  • My lawyer called it “being beaten down”. I literally could not *think* in the way I needed to to protect my interests. At one point, he literally screamed at me — “if you don’t get with it, they are going to asset strip you down to your underwear”. That helped, because I was trying to keep the farm too (no mortgage either) — it was the only home my kids had ever known.

    I went a saw a lawyer right after Dday. I didn’t really like him. So I dragged my feet waiting to see what evolved, and four months later got the “screw you” settlement papers that were so obviously a set up, that I had to go back to the lawyer. Except he had been called away to a judgeship in the big city, which left me with his partner, who turned out to be the perfect lawyer for me. 60 years old, seen it all, drove a pickup truck instead of a Jag. I trusted him. After a year and a half of tooth pulling nonsense, he got us into a settlement conference mediated by a retired judge. It could have been better, but it could have been a LOT worse. I got full custody of the kids which is all I really cared about, and I know the ex had a hard time explaining to all the soap opera followers how that could have ever happened.

    I don’t think I ever really snapped out of it until after it was all over and I started piecing together how shitty he had really been to me and the kids. Manipulative and controlling. Lying, deceitful, sack of shit, dirty old man. Good riddance.

    I concur with whoever said above to rush to put the property in some sort of protective trust or family LLC, like right damn now, while the legal system isn’t involved yet. I wish I had.

    • Absolutely secure things financially as early as possible. As one lawyer friend told me ‘Do it while they still feel guilty, because that won’t last for long.’ Great advice that I ignored because I was in such shock and really couldn’t believe that ex would behave so badly. Stupid of me, of course, because if he was able to screw around for years and years he certainly wouldn’t have any problem screwing me financially.

      Get the practicals in order and, if you can, get a good therapist. Draw close those who support you and don’t bother with those who don’t. It’s going to hurt like hell on a lot of different levels but just keep your eye on your goals, the most important of which should be to get this person away from you.

      • Oh, yes, getting a good therapist helped me get off my ass. Every Tues at 10:00, I’d go see her. She was a voice of reason in all the chaos my life had turned into. She educated me- domestic violence is a lot of things, like speaking cruelly to someone, controlling the money, or controlling your ability to go places. I couldn’t even believe it at first, but then it became so clear. And then he couldn’t control me anymore. It makes me sick to look back and think about it, now that I’m away from it.

        • Yes, my therapist called it abuse very early on. She pointed out all the things he had done that left me incredibly vulnerable, while at the same time he was out screwing around with impunity. It took me time to see it for what it was but now I absolutely think it was abuse. Naturally, the second I used the ‘abuse’ word ex started screaming abuse himself, because I had yelled at him and been quite the bitch for a number of months after finding out what had been going on for years. What a wad he is.

      • Nord, a lawyer friend of mine told me the same– get the property settlement agreement done quickly while he still feels guilty- or whatever version of “guilt” a narc-sociopath feels…

  • It took a lot for me to get unstuck. The 2 OM that I know about didn’t do it. Neither did the secret cell phone or the umpteen times I caught her communicating with him when she swore it wasn’t happening and that it was really over this time. I can’t really point to one thing that did it so I guess that the scale finally had too much shit on it. I told her that I’d had enough and that she couldn’t keep doing what she was doing. So she left and I have never been so grateful for anything in my life, except for my children of course.

    I think what is required is for the the person to be able to see that the world is different than they thought it was. I think that those of us who got stuck simply couldn’t accept that what was happening was reality. We were certain that the person that we knew and loved would snap out of it. We kept making all the crazy shit fit into our distorted view of what we thought our world was.

    I think that just keeps on happening until the world as it really is snaps into focus. For some this happens quickly. For some it’s painfully long in coming. For some it never happens.

    Understanding and really getting that the world as we knew it was a complete lie is a really difficult thing to accept. More power to those that are still going through it and to those whose journey has only just begun. Hang in there. The new world is so much better than the old one! 🙂

    • It is difficult to accept and there are times when I still pause and think ‘Did all of that really happen?’. But it did and there’s no changing it. It sucks so face, though, and it’s very difficult to do.

      • My divorce was just final. It’s been a year and a half since D-day. I still stop in disbelief that this all happened.

    • I’ve accepted now that a part of me will go to my grave stunned by what ex did. That’s why I have to remain NC, because whenever we have contact I still don’t fully believe it somehow.

  • The Troubles were characterized by the Ex’s cheating, which went hand-in-hand with his descent into alcoholism and then drug addiction. That’s a very confusing maelstrom to be living in. I have tremendos compassion for those who suffer the brain disease of addiction, and so I struggled with thoughts of “how do I love this stranger (who looks and sounds exactly like the beloved man I married)?”

    How I got unstuck was touched on in a recent post, when CL wrote: “So how does the lawyer/diplomat handle it? “You don’t have to hate him. Work out who he is later. What’s evident is that his self-destructiveness is hurting you, you have zero control over him, and you need to save yourself. Get out now.””

    My father said the same thing, telling me I could always remarry him if he ever got sober and started behaving like a decent human being….that approach gave me a way to summon the bravery I needed to take the steps to get myself out of the chaotic life of addiction and infidelity. I had a tremendously difficult struggle with the concept of going against my vows, especially because I felt my situation was muddled by that “in sickness and in health” bit. So, I helped provide him all the tools and information he needed to become healthy, the opportunity and support to do so. He opted not to do so.
    Our marriage ended strangely, but the process of becoming unstuck started with my knowing I had to extract myself from the destructiveness and chaos. I wished I had pulled the trigger sooner, but then I wouldn’t have had the benefit of all those freaking life lessons.

    • My husband (soon to be divorced) is an alcoholic. I also took my vows seriously and tried to support him and encourage him to seek help. I was used to coming second to alcohol but it was the infidelity that finally forced me to walk away. Like your ex mine had no interest in changing but it took me a long time to realise I had no control over it. It is only after a year out of the crazy I can see how much his addiction was affecting me, my emotional health and my self esteem. Sometimes I am ashamed of what I put up with because I had learned to always put my needs second.

      • Alice,
        I hear you on the feeling ashamed part…all part of the crazy-making process, and for me at least, why they call it a family disease. A while back there was a post here on forgiving yourself. The discussion was fantastic (as usual) and helped me see that issue differently. When we knew better, we did better.

  • I guess you could say I got unstuck when he divorced me. That was the last straw! I did not have a lawyer because I was too worn out from all the gaslighting, and other emotional abuse. I also knew it would be best for me if I “made nice”. I didn’t want to anger it. So I got everything! All proceeds from the sale of the house, the best car, my intact pension (I don’t have to share). I also got the young adult kids, the pets, and the in laws (I recently gave them back). I did alright! Except I kind of stayed stuck until I found this site last June (nine years post divorce). I was still spackling and trying to untangle the skein. I am better now! Thanks to CL and Chump Nation. I really admire all of you who had the courage to lawyer up and fight. I did not have the hutzpa to do that.

  • Chump Lady, have your friend take the Mennonite Farmer to a lawyer but first have her tell the Lawyer not to say “divorce” but instead “conscious uncoupling,” hey… Chumps can play that game too! It’s only fair.
    Ever notice how Cheaters have fancy high tech devices to assist in their cheating ways but if a Chump uses them, voice recorders, GPS, keystroke loggers, spy bubble…. They cry foul? WTF !

  • I left because he said he wanted out of the marriage after 28 yrs. I stayed with him after 1st affair, my choice. I didn’t know he was having a send affair this time but he was pushing me away again so I just stopped trying. I just was so lonely again. I left within two weeks and I retained a lawyer at my daughters insistence. My daughter and I found evidence of another affair within a week after I retained council. I knew I just couldn’t take it any more, the lies and betrayals had taken their tole. I left with my dignity in tact although my heart was in my hand. I went NC right away, before being aware that I should as I couldn’t bare to be humiliated any more. He has filed for a divorce but separation agreement has not been settled. He’s put the horse before that cart but thats how he is. Wants the end but not the work getting to it. Its in the lawyers hands. Coming to acceptance eventually. Good luck all!!!!

  • Well – I am still stuck. Still with h and reading here, I wish now I had left. In the beginning, it was mostly shock and pride. I would not let this former friend take my life – my husband, my kids, my house. I didn’t want to lose – not really thinking through what it was I was trying to win. I was stuck during the year and a half post dday while I am sure he was still in touch with/seeing OW because I didn’t have any physical proof. And when I did find something, it was through snooping. I was such a chump, that I believed my snooping was worse than him meeting OW for dinner. The other thing is that I know that my h did not want divorce (at least not now.) He wants cake. He wanted to keep his family, friends, lifestyle in tact and have someone on the side. He came out and told me he “needs variety” and can’t understand anyone who doesn’t. So his actions are all about me, unless he is not with me and then I am not to invade his privacy and ask what he is doing. It isn’t often, but there are hours here and there when he is off the radar.

    I think for me, it was just hitting rock bottom emotionally that finally made me see that I had to protect myself. I did consult a lawyer, and started squirrelling away cash. Just $20 here and there because the only way I feel comfortable walking is if I have proof. So I have now saved enough for a PI and I have followed the advice that the lawyer gave me about getting a different job and protecting my assets. Also, instead of reading the marriage saving literature, I truly started to work on me. I have read a ton on codependency and have been using the 12 steps to make progress. I believe that uniquelyme is absolutely right – we need to learn to love ourselves. Now my h is no longer seeing OW, but I don’t doubt that he will find someone again. He hates getting old and hates boredom. Ok, so I just re-read this post, and holy smokes I am still such a big chump. Ugh.

    • Lake, I hope you can reach a state of mind where you realize your own self worth and leave him even without “proof” of an affair – you already have enough proof that he doesn’t respect you. This is all I needed after finding out about prior OW to the one that I found out about last year. He confessed to the 2013 one and I threw him out that night (9 months ago)… last week I found emails he wrote to a prior OW in 2009 and I still find myself thinking, “well the emails don’t actually SAY they fucked” then I remember — he thought it was OK to have secret “friendships” with women I never heard of? to say “thank you for letting me into your world” to them? to say “thank you for a wonderful Friday night?” Even if all he was doing was flirting or trying to date her… WTF we were not married but we owned a house together, I supported him $$ for 16 years and most of all he KNEW I thought he was monogamous with me. He robbed me of my chance to pursue other people too!!! he robbed me of my 16 years. You too are being robbed. It doesn’t even matter if your H finds another OW, look what he’s already telling you – he is telling you that you don’t matter. But you do!!!

      • Yeah, the stolen years still piss me off, along with all the various levels of relationships he had with various women. Some were on the friendship level, while others were much more affair-like. But what it really was was that he had all these women at different levels of grooming. Some were at the beginning, some were in the middle, some were already conquered, so to speak. I was the ultimate example of his grooming because I was so blissfully unaware of what was going on that I often encouraged him to ‘go do his thing’. Which he didn’t. He instead carried most of this stuff out at work or in the hour or so after work, came home and then moaned after dday that our life was boring and we never did anything. So, you know, I was set up, basically, to take the blame no matter what.

        • I think it’s the “grooming” part that creeps me out the most about my ex and still makes me shudder. That more than anything makes me question his humanity and want him to stay the hell away from my kid. Heck, I think it was discovering this behavior that caused such a subconscious warning bell to go off that catalyzed me to leave the house and move out of state immediately. Which is weird. Maybe I knew some serial killers in a past life or something? Either way as a feminist it strikes me as a fundamental issue in the treatment of women. We were all being “used” by my ex.

        • Another one here pissed off at the stolen years especially after the history re-write that he hasn’t ‘been happy for years’ which oddly he never mentioned to me. My STBXH always had friendships at some inappropriate level. I know of two physical affairs and suspect a third but he always had all these women hanging around him who thought he was wonderful. Once I even worried he was gay due to his sudden close friendship with his openly gay male boss. Truth is he just loved people blowing smoke up his arse telling him how great he was.

        • I think my x asswipe was your husbands twin. Omg mostly everything was conducted during work time, after work.

    • Lake- I was married to your guy’s twin brother. Wanted me, loved the kids, disappeared for chunks of time ALWAYS, and very cagey about all that.
      Well, mine turned out to be a serial cheater. And absolutely loved leading a double life long-term (I found that out reading his texts with asshole OW neighbor, where she was furious and told him to stop playing her, and leading a double life!!).
      Yes, they really do want cake.
      No, the sweet life you thought you had won’t be fixed.
      Good luck, stay strong, and when you’re ready to leave, you will.

  • So Tracy, would that mean that nitrogen is water-soluble? ( I nearly flunked chem because I skipped on about 50% of my classes)–Cause I mean, if you need moist soil to have it…

    And hey, you can answer this question when we were passing by a grass sod farm–do those cause erosion, because since you cut up slabs of grass with earth? Or do the farmers have to spread more soil to grow more grass? Or are there crops they plant in between grass crops to replenish the soil?

    See, I can talk dirty…(my mom was a self-avowed granola before it was trendy– ate raw tofu slabs in the 80’s before they discovered flavour—she dragged me to all kinds of sustainable eco-homes with composting toilets….)

    • OMG I just had a terrible mental visual!!! Mr. Chump *ahem* “wooing” Chumplady while whispering sweet dirty talk in her ear…”Loam…..clay….peat….humus….”

      • Hey, CITS!! You are sooooo amazing with your wit!
        It would have worked for me, that kind of ‘dirty talk’!!

        One year, when cheaterpants & I were doing OK, he asked me what I REALLY wanted for an anniversary gift. My reply? A compost bin!!! Seriously…..That is what gets me going!! I needed a proper place to compost. We went together to pick it out. Organic, sustainable….all of those types of things are at the top of my “What Moves Me” list.

        But, my compost bin/anniversary gift stayed with the house when we sold a few months ago. But, talk about VALUE!! Got more value from that anniversary gift than from any other!

        OK……Now, How did I get unstuck? That is a question for the ages. Not sure I can formulate, but it probably did have to do with finally focusing on self-care & the things that are of true value in my life. I really needed to take care of my self in so many ways. Once I realized that I had been basically sacrificing myself on the altar of “Cheaterpants”, I knew things had to change.

        The sacrifice I really wanted to do was a sacrifice to serve my Creator. That has always been so important to me, but it had become second place. So, the focus shifted to back my Creator and to me. That was HUGE! Absolutely HUGE! Still took some time (years) to work it all out, but I finally exited one year ago this week, though still no filing of divorce. Do not have the finances yet.

        I do hope our Farmer Friend takes heed of all the excellent suggestions & advice from CL and the Nation.

        Love all of you! Such strength and encouragement!

        Forge on, Friends……and keep praying for Chump Son’s family………

        • Forge On, I had the BEST compost ever when I lived in an apartment. I had a pet bunny, and between the kitchen scraps, the manure and the wood shavings, people would have paid good money for my compost, which I couldn’t even USE because I was in an apartment! I had to drive it over to my mom’s to put in HER garden–imagine that!

          Thanks for the reminder and the compliment. I love reading your comments.

          • CITS, hopefully Mom shared the resulting bounty! Sounds like an awesome formula!

            I do recycle my scraps in my landlady’s compost heap. No bunny poo, though…. 🙂

            Yeah, isn’t it interesting? No matter where we are, what situations, we just keep doing the good things we do. Like continuing to compost…….And recycle, even though I have almost no where to put a recycle container, except in front of my tiny stove (have to move it to cook!) or in the back seat of my car! And treating others with love, kindness and dignity.

            Take that same concept and use it to look closely at our cheaters. No matter what we did, no matter how many chances we gave them, they kept doing what they always do! Bleeeeehhhh! Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, what we do is who we are! Just remembering THAT can help in the process to get unstuck.

            Thanks again, CITS!

            Forge on, Nation……..

  • Well, my cheating dickwad of a BF left me—ish.

    I guess what happened was I kept closing my self off from him, one part at a time–in bed, in affections, in conversation. I detached one bit at a time. In the end, there really was nothing left for him to hurt any more, and he left.

    I would not recommend that. Especially if there are kids in the home ( I didn’t have that issue). I wish now I would have grown a spine faster and left.

    Honestly, Tracy, I struggle watching people make those bad choices to allow themselves to be shit on systematically (I get these from church as well as family life). If I had a book, a hammer, a speech, a food group, a vitamin, a giant boot that I could share with you to unstuck someone else, I totally would share it with you (heck, I would UPS it to you overnight), because it breaks my heart too (I’m on stress leave right now partly due to this).

    It’s the chump’s to fix, and that can only happen when the chump chooses to–and sometimes I think it’s a star alignment or something, because it seems so darned…random?miraculous?… when someone realizes enough is enough.

    Having said that, make sure to steer the Mennonite farmer away from Bible studies/ sermons from the book of Hosea. (Am I the only person who sees the irony of a book of the Bible where God tells a guy to marry a cheating prostitute being called HO-sea?)

  • I swore I wasn’t going to comment anymore because I am not a chump, just the sister of one but…….in my work I dealt with many Mennonites and they are the most caring, thoughtful, decent people I have ever met. The mystery to me is how a non-member of their faith married him. Their religion does not allow electronic devices in the home. Their children are either home schooled or educated at a Mennonite school. The women wear home made dresses. How did the wife decide to marry into that? He is probably very innocent in just how connected the rest of the world is thru the internet. His wife must have been sneaking away to communicate with her sister. Sounds like a lovely twosome. Please, CL, try to help this man. He is just a babe in the woods.

    • You’re describing conservative Mennonites. There are different kinds. (Think of the difference between Orthodox Jews and secular Jews.) The older generation is conservative, the younger generation is reformed. They drive cars, use technology. Etc. The culture, however, is about the suppression of self for the family/church. And simplicity (no jewelry, ostentatiousness, consumer culture).

      Unfortunately, I’m not really able to be of much assistance. I’m friends with his sister and I live far away. Best I can do, (and did) is offer the name of an excellent attorney and said feel free to call me or my husband about this, as we’ve both lived it.

      • CL,

        I don’t know how much you recall your Biblical stuff, but if it comes to religious discussion on his marriage, here is my humble opinion:

        1. What does God say about a loving marriage? (he can answer that).

        2. How does SHE exemplify God’s idea of a loving marriage (he can’t answer that).

        3. If he does the scriptural thing of Christians not being able to leave non-Christians, point out Jesus’s scriptures about adultery.

        4. If he brings out “turn the other cheek” point out “body being the temple of the Lord” and how leaving yourself open to STD’s contravenes that.

        5. If he brings out “adultery is not grounds for divorce, but grounds for forgiveness”, clench your teeth, try not to strangle him through the phone, and tell him that’s a bumper sticker, not Scripture–which one does he want to live by?

        6. I was not joking about avoiding HOsea, but if he brings it up, a) he’s not a prophet, b)he didn’t actually get the voice of God telling him to marry a cheater, so he can’t say he’s in the same position, and c) God used that as an illustration to bring a point to people around Hosea about God’s love. Your friend is not elevating people around himself, he is being a chump. This is not Biblical “martyrdom”–no one is questioning his faith.

        7. As a parental “head” of the family, he owes his children the best image of what love of others is. Sacrificing your family to someone else’s “sinful behaviour” (for lack of a better term) is not acceptable.

        • Wow, CITS! There you go again!! Perfect! Excellent Bible knowledge….

          Only thing I could add to your amazing list is that even though Christians are no longer under the Old Law / Ten Commandments, that Law code still helps us to know how God views certain things. Under that Law Code, one of the few things that merited the death penalty was adultery. Actually, that standard has been there from the beginning and was again restated when Christianity was established in the first century. (Acts 15:29 / Heb 13:4)

          THAT is how God views adultery. The only reason given in the scriptures that allows for a scriptural divorce is ADULTERY. That is God’s standard & it is sad that many who profess to be Christians think that divorce is wrong under any & all circumstances. Twisting the scriptures……

          I have never seen that bumper sticker of which you speak, but how sickening! Adultery IS grounds for divorce for even the most devout Christian, even this Mennonite farmer Yes, there is the OPTION to reconcile; many of us tried that route. But, it is telling that, at one time, God attached the death penalty for adultery; shows how sick it is and how rare it is to truly restore a marriage after such ‘stupid’ has been unleashed! God did not even allow reconciliation as an option at one time.

          Thanks for those thoughts, CITS! Since this gentleman farmer puts scripture & Godly devotion high in his priorities, these thoughts should help him ‘sort this from that’! Hope he reads it……..

          Forge on…….

          • Thank you ForgeOn!

            Like you said, it is because this man is clearly a Christian that I went there about Christianity. (If I were to put a label on where I am in my journey, I would probably choose “post-evangelical” as the best description, as I have been burned by the evangelical culture, and watched how some people’s walk were tripped up by it). I know that there are groups of Christians who would make this painful situation more painful by insisting he remain a chump.

            I chose to point out Matthew 5:32 (had to look it up–not a good at memory verses) because I figured out of the mouth of Christ would carry the most weight, what with the old vs. new Testament issues some people have–I didn’t want anyone to end up in that theological debate as a tangent. But good point, and thanks for bringing it up.

  • It took me three weeks.

    The first clue was that he started blameshifting me and it didn’t fly. First of all, he didn’t have much to go on and came up with some pretty pathetic stuff. Second, his office lunch break blowjobs from OW had nothing to do with the fact I was still working on my doctorate. OW’s face was “scary”, not the fact that I was still finishing my dissertation.

    Second, after I began packing to at least separate, he started hoarding money and valuables. I had to practically fight to get my stuff back and, even then, he went through my boxes when I wasn’t around and took out things HE wanted (mostly electronics). That was a huge wake up call.

    Finally, there was a DDay2. He broke NC with OW and his “we had pizza” together turned into an admission that they had sex again. That was it for me. It was hell, but I refused to be disrespected further. He had seen how destroyed I was by his actions for weeks at that point, and still he went back for more. Game over.

    Now, that all sounds like I was pretty strong and proactive… but I wouldn’t have seen half of the real picture or been able to get my ass out of there as fast as I did without some pretty amazing friends and family. They had my back and they saw him for what he was, even if I was still trying to figure out his FOO issues as I packed. I continued to hope he would come back for months after I left. But my friends and family forced me to maintain NC with him. It was maintaining that NC and his subsequent silence and abandonment that finally woke me up about 6 months later. My birthday went by, our anniversary, the death of a close family friend… and nothing from him. He just removed himself from our phone plan without a word. Again, so painful to experience, but it was what I needed to see.

    Late April it will have been a year. Early May is when I moved out. My friends and fam say I am 90-95% myself again, occasionally topping off around 97%. I don’t think about him that much anymore. I can see now the abuse and the detachment the led up to his affair and I don’t want to go back there. I’ve maintained NC. He’s broken it, and his family, but my response is always to block or crickets. And it’s worked.

    But without that support system, I wouldn’t have made it. In my opinion, that’s everything. And, depending on how chumpy you are, you may not have a great one to begin with. That may be what gets other people stuck.

  • I just read a study that was talking about all of the things that the brain chemical Serotonin is connected to and one of them is motivation (also ironically it’s connected to delayed gratification so there’s a theory that cheaters have more dopamine and less serotonin then they need). So maybe this guy would benefit from and SSRI . Or petting lots of puppies. Apparently petting dogs increases Serotonin.

    For me I grew up with messed up people and learned the futility of expecting certain changes in behavior. I tend to deal with things analytically because sometimes no matter how much you love someone or something it’s not good for you.

    I guess maybe some people don’t realize that cheating is in a lot of ways similar to having a gambling addiction, drug addiction or alcoholism. They don’t realize the nature of the beast and so they deal with it like it’s something that happened rather than something that their spouse IS.

    Plus, lawyers are effing expensive. It’s like someone telling you you suddenly have to spend $1500 on a roll of toilet paper because you’re going to have to shit. And you’re like…um that’s a lot and I’ve never spent that much before. Plus it can’t be that bad of a shit. I’ve had to shit before.

    I’m just saying, if you’ve never done it, how can you fathom it’s gonna cost you so much money to go through the worst shit ever?

    • 1500 bucks isn’t bad. I remember blinking when I heard a similar figure for a retainer. In retrospect, if I hadn’t done the reconciliation thing and called off the first divorce, I’d have saved a fortune (my ex-spouse was a cost-center, no doubt about it).

      Now, it can cost more. Contentious divorces can cost a fortune. Chris Rock has a joke about that kind of divorce:

      You know why divorces cost so much?

      Because it’s worth it.

      • Lol, usually $1500 is just the first roll. Without assets (no house, retirement etc) mine would’ve cost about two roles. IF he doesn’t fight on custody. Even $3,000 is cheap. But if a person hasn’t gone through it or witnessed it that seems like an astronomical amount. Ex came out of last divorce with about $14,000 in lawyers fees just from his ex wife’s side. There was another $6,000 funded through credit cards etc and $4,500 for a GAL.

        • A coworker needed an attorney, to divorce her cheater. She found two: the first, well known to be efficient & effective and successfully used by another coworker, wanted $4500; the other was $3000. Against everyone’s advice she went with the cheap one. Her STBX demanded she have a psych eval as part of the custody battle and it cost her $1500. As they walked out of court the day the demand was ok’d by the judge, her cheap attorney said “Wow, I never saw that coming”.
          In the end she got pretty screwed in numerous ways. Before you cry big tears I must tell you she was the OW in his first divorce. Might have been the karma bus.

  • Codependency (as opposed to interdependency). The term is over-used, but it’s apt here: too busy trying to control things you have no control over because you got into the habit of placating the other partner and forgot part of having good, healthy boundaries is knowing you can’t control somebody else or manage their moods, and so on.

    That’s my best guess, and I was guilty of it myself after DDAY1, and most infidelity forums and most marriage counselors (especially of the religious variety) feed into that too easily.

    I’ve spent years now (geez, what a waste, eh? Why did I have to be so stubborn and slow when it comes to these things) talking to others who’ve gone through this stuff, and the ones who get stuck (some of them do it 10 or 20 years!) are fixated on trying to control outcomes and react to their partner. I’ve watched many people twist themselves into human pretzels, trying both carrots and sticks until trying to manage the train wreck that is their marriage becomes a central part of their personal, day-to-day narrative, and they can’t seem to imagine any other sort of existence… unless it is thrust upon them… and sometimes not even then. It’s sad stuff.

  • I kicked him out when he continuously lied to me – but remained very chumpy through out that time (still going to marriage counseling, still trying to spend time with him, still trying to FIX). After 5 months of that he finally admitted the affair (I already knew) and we tried to work on things – I took the steps at that moment to separate ALL financials, took half of our savings and removed him from the credit cards. Soooo glad I took that step. 5 weeks later he said he wanted to move out (he also was incapable of actually saying the word ‘divorce’). I couldnt bring myself to find a lawyer for almost two months. I just didn’t want to believe it. The final push came in the form of my supposed best friend sitting me down and telling me that she had in fact also slept with my husband before we even got married and had heard rumors about him sleeping with another aquaintance of ours. It was then that I got off my ass and ket with a lawyer. I realized that I never knew this man – he had lied the entire time about who he was and that I needed to GET OUT. It was also tue last weekend I spoke to my friend. I saw my lawyer in the beginning of September and was Divorced by the end of January. I pretty much got everything except the car we just bought. But he’s had his whores in there so I didn’t really want it!!

    • Are you still friends with the friend who screwed your husband before the marriage? Curious because I had a friend who screwed around with my husband (they refuse to admit they actually fucked) and at first I actually stayed friends with her! That lasted about two weeks, when I told her to fuck off out of my life.

      • Oh, and while I kicked out ex right after dday I still went to counselling with him (until the therapist put a stop to that), tried to fix things, tried to figure it out, tried to hope that this would all be over soon. His parents helped me keep on that track for awhile, as they couldn’t imagine he’s end up with the dingbat he ended up with. They also didn’t know the whole story. I doubt they know the whole thing now and if they do, they probably blame me.

  • For me it was a physical breakdown. I had already filed for divorce, but was still living with my H and dancing the pick me dance as hard as I could, while he jumped from her bed to ours. I had not eaten or slept (much) in a month, and I literally collapsed in tears at work. I realized that I was no longer safe to work with patients (I work in health care). I had completely lost emotional control. At that point I knew I there was nothing left to do but get the f- out of there. I talked to my boss, made arrangements with my parents, shoved all my belongings in the garage (to take later, or not), left a note for POS XH, shoved my dogs in the car and moved in with my parents the very next day, until I could get my feet back under me and find a place of my own.

    Less than two years later, I have a new career, a new house, a new city, and a new boyfriend. Life is so good.

    • Thanks! I never thought it would happen to me – the cheating, or the breakdown, or the moving back in with my parents at 43!! I guess the moral of my story is that you can TOTALLY fall apart, and with a little help, rebuild a wonderful new life.

  • It actually sounds like the Mennonite community here is trying to help him get divorced. His sister is the one trying to get him to a lawyer right? I suspect that divorcing a non-Mennonite might be easier to do than divorcing another Mennonite would be.

    • That’s a good point. I know from Christian communities it can be hard to leave a spouse, because you get judged, even if your choice could be entirely justifiable. Perhaps if he knew the community had his back, and could help him with logistics (ex, babysitting, covering chores if he had to spend a day in court, etc.), he could envision the process being do-able.

      It’s also possible that he doesn’t mind her going away to party (not because her cheating would be ok with him), but because he gets a break from whatever insanity she must sow at home when she’s there. I can’t imagine her being easy to live with. He just may not admit it to himself–perhaps if he did, he could see how he and his family could have that peaceful break from her craziness permanently.

  • Anger. You have to get to anger. Have him write down everything he is angry with her about and read it out loud to someone. I’m angry with you because…

    • I agree, anger has been one of my main motivators toward action in the last 8 months.

  • It may not be a full solution, but maybe just to get the guy to the lawyer, it needs to be put in terms of something that might not end in divorce. Something like, come up with a plan for separation with a possibility that she’ll come back later or maybe protect the assets and decide later if you want to get a divorce.

  • I was stuck for 15 years. Fifteen freaking years – I was just tenacious. Tenaciousness has served me very, very well professionally but I just absolutely refused to throw in the towel. I wasn’t really in denial about things or blindsided, I just couldn’t imagine another life and I wasn’t a “quitter”. And, he knew how to screw with my head.

    Years of D- Days and reconcilements. I had seen a lawyer after one and knew my rights and our state’s custody/asset split. He would get 1/2 of my retirement and I would have to pay HIM spousal and child support as he’d been a student for 10 years. I had him refi the bigtime student loan debt I’d co-signed over the years into his own name. And I paid off my debt. I knew I was nearing the end.

    I was finally done when he decided he wasn’t going to go on a family vacation planned for months – because he needed space. So I just said take it – went without him, had more fun without him – as I could just relax and unwind with a 4 year old and 9 year old in a cabin in the Smokey Mtns. No drama, no control issues, no nothing but me, my kids, some books, some movies, and walking long slow mountain paths for a week.

    I asked him to leave the night we came home. I never, ever realized how much weight I’d carried until he was gone. His absence filled me with comfort.

    Once I filed, I let everything between us be good. I offered to pay of his credit cards of several thousand $, and told him no need to pay for his own attorney as we split the savings account already. I continued to play the “chump” and give in on little things, while he never retained his own attorney to learn what he was legally entitled to from me. I never, ever lost a wink of sleep over screwing him over financially.

  • I should call myself ChumpLawyer because, Chumplady, I am a Lawyer. And twice a chump. First husband cheated and mooched off me. I was a single Mom for two years then met most recent cheater, who being a love-bombing super-Narc, convinced me he was nothing like first x, and yes, my picker was seriously defective.

    D-Day devastated and shellshocked me. Then I did the stupidest thing that any lawyer could do, yes, I attempted to represent myself a craft a legal document that we would both sign. I did one very smart round of things the very next morning after D-Day, which was go to my office and cut Cheater out of my will, my health care proxy and my power of attorney, get him off my life insurance and my beneficiary designations for my IRAs.

    Then I descended into an emotional puddle and drafted a settlement agreement that would have given him $10,000 as an advance against his “equity” in our co-owned house (we were not married but own the house together). I felt SORRY for him, you see? He is a remodeling contractor, and had his workshop in our basement, and I gave him office equiptment and the document I drafted would have given him $60,000 more after the initial $10,000 advance. My best friend and my daughter screamed at me on the phone, “what the HELL are you doing!?” and I said, “oh, I don’t want his business to hurt, and I just want this over with.”

    Did that change my mind and snap me out of it? Of course NOT. What did? The day after I gave him the agreement to review, he came back to the house to talk. I asked him if he would sign the agreement, and he said, “Not yet. I have a feeling I am somehow getting snookered in this process,” because was not physically present when I had an appraiser here to appraise the house. Appraisers use standard methodology like measurements and comparable sales, and they don’t rely on the property owners’ statements, or their physical presence, when they arrive at a valuation, so that was just his control freakery.

    But when I went to bed that night, about 2 in the morning I awoke and just said out loud, “SNOOKERED????” I had supported him financially for 16 years. I paid for most of our bills and 100% of our groceries, and two-thirds of the mortgage payments and the house is now almost paid off. SNOOKERED? It was that WORD from his lips that changed my mind.

    Next time I saw him I told him there would be no agreement. I told him I needed time to heal and to leave me alone through the winter. In January (now 6 months post d-day) he called me and said “we need to conclude our business” and that he was getting his own appraisal done. I allowed his appraiser to come to the house but he never showed me the appraisal she did (hmmm). A month went by and suddently he texted me that he had been “thinking and reflecting” and really wanted to just talk to me.

    I foolishly took the bait and spent about 3 hours on and off all day long listening to him and talking to him. He has always been a master manipulator and pretty soon I was crying and saying “I still love you” to him! Meanwhile my brother and daughter were calling me on my landline and the phone was ringing in the background while I was talking to X on the phone, then my best friend drove into my driveway, banged on the door and asked if I was okay — finally I hung up on X. My fog cleared and I realized he was manipulating me again so I called him back and said all future communications about the house will come from my attorney.

    “What!?” he screamed and went ballistic – “what did you bring attorneys into this for?? We had a deal! Half of everything is mine!” I said, no, the day you accused me of trying to snooker you, I changed my mind. There is no deal and I will be relying on experts to sort this out. He snarled, “I’ve just been played!” He was so mad. There were more choice words but not all repeatable.

    Several months ago I met with forensic accountants and retained an attorney. The forensic accountants are of the opinion that not only do I not owe Cheater a penny!!! but that he actually owes me money, for the years of support I provided to him. I still need to negotiate to get him off the deed to my house, and I may have to pay a nuisance settlement to him to get rid of him, but had I NOT listened to my friends and family and most of all my GUT REACTION to the word “snookered” I would have given this asshole $70,000 and still be paying my mortgage for twenty more years instead of having a paid off house in 2018 which was my original plan before I realized he was a cake eating cheater.

    So even a lawyer can be a fool, well, most certainly a lawyer who has herself for a client. The old saying is true.

    • hahaha…I’m a lawyer, too. My lawyer (who was my partner in Family law years ago) told me the other day I’m near the bottom on her worst client list.

      • Oh yeah, one of my drinking buddies is an awesome family lawyer, and thought she could do her own divorce–didn’t hire someone until at least 5 months into the separation (DOH!). Her divorce is one of the uglier ones I’ve seen.

        Don’t worry though–it’s not career-specific–doctors make the worst patients, and I cringe when one of my students has parents who are teachers

    • TheMuse, good that he said that one thing! I had a similar moment of trying to do a fair thing and he called me by a nick name only my Dad ever used. He had never used it before and his saying it in the nasty way that he did reminded me that he had manipulated me and fucked me over so much and that he would do it again. From that moment on I went all ninja kill zone on his ass.

  • UnStuck 1:
    I married at 19, gave birth just days after First DDay (found letter, with picture, hidden in room we were painting for the nursery). Lived out in the country, no family near, no car, no money, felt I had no options. 2nd DDay, Thanksgiving (he awoke in bed with friend’s girlfriend, ‘couldn’t remember’ but “I don’t think anything happened” which of course would account for why his friend hit him in the head with a bucket and forced him to tell me, or friend would). I was gone by Xmas, with my infant, clothes on our backs, ten dollars, and a box of diapers. What unstuck me really, is that he came home after skanking and for the first time in months had sex with me. This was two hours before his friend showed up and he confessed. No shower between us! Felt like he tried to make me dirty on purpose, and my outrage at this unstuck me. I look back on that departure and cheer for my strong self. It was extremely difficult for a few years afterward, and I do understand those who stay stuck because they feel they aren’t up to extreme hardship, financial or otherwise. I may have been too young to realize what I was in for.

    UnStuck 2:
    Narcissist Husband 2 got us evicted because he once again spent the rent on drugs and who knows what. He went to his mother’s garage, I didn’t follow.

    UnStuck 3:
    ExBF, DDay 1, a year into Fake Us, and I broke up immediately, but then reconciled and bought the whole “just once, she’s crazy, I tried to get away, she stalked me etc” shtick. DDay 2, three years later, exposed a hidden relationship that had ended months before. Broke up, only to reconcile AGAIN…omg I was so stuck. I am still trying to fathom how 19-year-old-me could leave under dire circumstance and yet professional, employed, 50-something me could not walk away from cheating lying doucheturd BF…not even a marriage, no kids together, no property to split, and there I sat, chumping along in chumpity chumpage
    It took HIM breaking up with ME to unstick. Claimed he wanted to ‘regain his integrity’ and ‘become the man he used to think of himself as’. I think he was already boinking next GF and wanted to go on a long mountain hike with her. Two years of NC and I am still angry. I learned of more OW’s after the fact, so he does not know that I know about him and my coworker, nor his ‘just a friend’ fuckbuddy. If I knew AS it was happening, rather than long after the fact, perhaps I might not have been so stuck. If I had followed my instincts one night and gone to a certain place at a certain time, I would have seen with my own eyes what was eventually confirmed, and maybe got unstuck. So Mr. Mennonite might need the benefit of seeing with his own eyes to get unstuck. Perhaps a private eye and some photos would help.

    • crushed, I think by the time we’ve done this once or twice before we really REALLY want so much for it to work out THIS time, that we cling to it even harder. At least that is what I did.

      • I also think it’s because grown ups believe in commitments and do their best to make things work. We also in return expect grown up behavior from those we’re partnered with. My ex behaved like a 23 year old, not a 40 year old. At 50 something you would expect that your BF would be better than that. Unfortunately I guess age has nothing to do with it. Although something I just thought of, it seems like it’s sooooooooo much rarer to hear of cheater women over a certain age. I’m sure they’re out there.

  • For me my ex’s behavior really shifted when my son had a really bad skateboarding accident. You know that whole coma ICU drama thing. That whole year was tough on my entire family but like most Chumps I just stepped up to the plate. So did my girls who were 13 and 17 at the time. Ex couldn’t have been a worse person in the two years that followed. Giving money away for other people’s kids to attend college while spending ours in creative ways to destroy me financially. I think he blamed me for the accident, I was with my son the day it happened and I purchased the board. I also think he was cheating. In the last two years my ex became someone I no longer knew. Looking back I think he was distancing himself, like most cheaters. His friends were all divorcing, or single. I always made excuses. He never seemed to understand that whole priorities chart. Family first? No. Work. Play. We always were thankful when he’d spend time with us. For the first time in eighteen years he had weekends off and who knew where he spent those. I too gradually moved away from him. Nothing seemed right and he was very angry. I definitely tried. But realized I was the only one who’d been working at it. His best friend used to call all the time, and talk with me. My ex was always at the club. When his friend mentioned that I chalked it up to trusting him and being more independent than all those other wives. In April of 2009 he announced to us all that he wanted a divorce. I was blindsided. All those little pieces fell into place though. I knew then he had an OW. I knew my finances were screwed. And I knew there was never going to be a fair settlement, not if he could help it. He moved out and took his athletic bag and truck. And stopped paying the bills. Nothing says fuck you louder. My advice to this man who lives a decent life and plays by the rules. Someone needs to hep him to protect himself. Emotionally as well as financially. That wife of his? Truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If children are involved their assets will be destroyed as well. Narcs have no limits to the injustices they heap upon their families. You can’t save that.

  • Yes crushed it does help . The evidence of the affair helps. I knew it was over the minute I figured out he was cheating. The whole thought of that destroyed whatever feelings I had left. I also think it’s hard to move forward because the family court is not doing what would be in our best interests and lawyers drag these cases along. No wonder it’s so damn expensive. I think it would be great for the gentleman to draft an agreement very SOON. Waiting cost me my house and property. If you believe the court has any power to enforce orders you are wrong. My ex never presented a truthful financial statement. Narcs are very creative when it comes to dissipating community assets. Marcie, I was tenacious too. That’s a gift 🙂 (unless you are married to that Narc). One of these days I hope we meet someone who’s worthy of us.

  • I’m still stuck. Not physically but emotionally. I’m 8 months past D-Day, the divorce is not final yet. Though he actually moved out 11 months ago to “figure things out”, I didn’t find out about OW until 3 months later. I believed he just needed space and we’d be fine.

    I had no choice but to lawyer up and divorce him. He walked out, completely blind siding me. He filed for a divorce because the skank gave him a deadline. I had to get an attorney. I surely wasn’t dumb enough to go through the divorce process without representation. I only wish I had had the guts, desire, anger to do it on my own! I’ve just never been able to get there.

    For 9 months after the divorce was filed he continued to cake eat and give me hope that he would “snap out of this”, remarry me in the future, that we would reconcile or some other unicorn would come dancing into my life and give me the husband and family I thought I had. I bent over backwards trying everything under the sun to get him to pick me! I finally, last month after some particularly nasty things he said, decided that no matter how much I think I WANT that (yea, I know…) in my head I know it can not work so I called my attorney and told him to proceed. (It was on hold for our 3 month false R)

    I have gone to therapy, gotten the kids in therapy, go to support groups, bought my own house, found a job after 12 years home with kids, made friends, I have DONE what I need to DO.

    But I don’t know how to get unstuck from the SADNESS.

    If I’m being completely honest with myself…there is still a part of me that wants him back, despite the horrible things he has done. I hate the rejection. I hate that I’m alone, working my ass off, single parenting our children, recovering from the trauma he’s put our family through…and he’s just…not affected. I hate that he seems so happy and I’m so lonely. The loneliness sucks. Though I know his “happiness” is very superficial and what he has is not true love. He told me himself she wouldn’t love him if he was broke. I learned a lot about that relationship during our False R and I know he has not miraculously turned into a faithful and devoted man just by ditching me. He’s the same cheater. But I still feel rejected.

    • I so understand what you are saying. But wow–you have done wonderful things to
      get your life back and protect yourself and your kids. Of course you are still sad. You have been badly hurt. Of course you feel rejected, because he was unfaithful. That’s all part of what they do to their spouses (and the kids) when they cheat–they reject the people they promised to love and protect. I wasn’t married to my cheater; we were on the verge of moving in together when he suddenly distanced, started gaslighting about that. He had a legitimate family tragedy and I was supportive but he rejected me in a very cruel way. But it was almost three months before I found his FB page with only one “friend”, who is married with kids. I too feel the rejection. I hate that I spent two months before D-Day and a month after barely able to function and he couldn’t pick up the phone that he paid for with the money I had given him for our business account–although I am sure he had plenty to say on that phone to his “friend.” I am lonely too, but it is getting better. As CL has written, your brain is wired to be in a couple and you are feeling the kind of “phantom” pain you would get with a missing limb. It will take a while for you to re-wire. There is a part of me, too, that still wants the Jackass back, because up to the moment he started to distance, I was the happiest I have ever been. Now I know that is about me, not about him–that the happiness I felt means that I have the capacity to be happy! And I can do that alone or with friends or eventually with a new partner that doesn’t need Ego Kibbles and cake. And from your post, I am absolutely sure that you will be happy too, once you have had a chance to catch your breath and start making your happiness a priority.

    • Grieving has it’s own timetable. Kudos to you for doing all of the other positive things for yourself and your kids. That in itself is amazing. I’m lucky that I don’t have to interact with my ex. I think that would make it a lot harder to get to the other side. Whatever you do don’t be hard on yourself. Many Hugs!!

    • Helen – Feel Sad you’re allowed. Know though, it gets soooooo much better! And, you’ve done amazing things to set a foundation for a great future of you and your kids.

      There will be a day you wake up and the destruction is not the first thing you think about in the morning or the last thing you remember at night.

      Having friends and developing a strong YOU is a wonderful thing and will help you move thru it all. You’re taking care of your kids, your economics, and you – and it will pay off.

  • For me it was (during false reconciliation #3) going on my husbands computer to pull up my emails, to find that he had forgotten to sign off of his. I clicked on it, to my horror, and found video of ow #??? giving him a BJ. Putting the pieces together, I realized that the video was taken on a work/fun vacation 3 weeks previous. The vacation that I was supposed to go on with him, but he told me his sister couldn’t watch our kids. I found out later he never asked his sister. The reality was, he wanted to bring his “gf.” I probably will never get those horrifying images out of my head, BUT, it was what finally got me “unstuck!”

    • Good god Free, that’s awful!!!! I wasn’t stuck but the door got slammed with FINALITY when I saw an email that my husband had sent responding to a nsa blowjob ad and there was a picture of my husband’s penis attached for the other person’s viewing pleasure. No doubt about who’s penis it was. But still, that’s not as bad as video.

  • Oh dear God in heaven, help me, this is still me, I am still stuck. One part is, I DO read like mad. But I still can’t believe it. The other part is, I saw a lawyer. His retainer was unbelievably expensive, but more than that, the news was all bad for me. Turns out, because I make more than my husband and live in a no-fault state, He can move out, in with other woman within a month, have my children over with her without informing me first, and this legally entitles him to at least half and possibly more of our joint assets. Including my 401k money. And the house on which i have historically paid all of the mortgage. And the bank accounts in my name alone which really have all of our money. I was already in such sadness and shock that my world was dismantled and my kids spending 2 nights per week away from me and with another woman through no choice of mine. Now I really couldn’t sleep. There were and still are no upsides. I have trouble to this day accepting it. It’s been 6 months since ‘I’m not in love with you anymore’ and 4 since move out, but he is making no legal moves. It seemed unfair for me to have to do all the legal moving too!!! I don’t get any of this.

    • Can your attorney try a low-ball deal while he’s in “escape mode”. Something like “we’ll split some of the furniture and you can have your stuff given as presents”, every other weekend with the kids.

      I don’t know your situation, but if he doesn’t hire an attorney, you could point out there is no need for to have two attorneys if you both agree on things.

      Once he lawyers up, things get more complicated.

      • THIS. Get him while he’s seeing sparkly rainbows and wants you out. Get him while he’s “guilty” (assuming he’s capable of that.)

        Present him an offer and hope he doesn’t fight you.

    • Chumparama, get a better lawyer. Ask around. I am in a no-fault state and when I went in to talk about a divorce from my ex (who was neither a Jackass or a cheater or a bad guy, just a guy who had unplugged from the marriage) I was told the same stuff about the 401K and the house, etc. It was a nightmare scenario and nearly scared me off. Now in the end, we worked out our own deal (no kids, 50/50, nobody gives us pension or 401K), no lawyers! But if you have kids and a decent lawyer, you have a shot. Don’t be in a hurry to get a divorce, but I agree with TimeHeals that you might be able to sit down and hammer out an agreement. Maybe all he cares about is being with OW and having custody time. You can argue for no overnight in custody, if it goes to court, especially if he is living with OW. You can agree to revisit that once the kids are better adjusted and you feel stronger. In any case, figure out what you really want, your bottom line, and then fight for that. Courts prefer it if people can come to an agreement on their own (with lawyers or otherwise). He can’t control what he gets in court either. And if he thinks you will fight to the death to keep the house, the 401K and the kids away from OW, he may prefer to settle.

      • No offense but “your” guy IS a bad guy. I think you’re still spackling.

    • Find a different lawyer. Mine had the same sunny outlook (different circumstances though). I know he was trying to give me the hard reality of things through his tons of experience but he was completely ignoring the fact that I was a person with an individual situation. As the others have said, it usually has a lot more to do with how you maneuver it out with ex and what the two of you are willing to budge and not budge on. Plus, who wants a lawyer that treats them like an invisible face worst case scenario? I don’t know what state you’re in, but it seems like in a lot of places it’s rare for a judge to be ok with a completely new person being overnight when the kids are around. They sort of frown on that. Either way, find someone who’s an advocate. They may tell it to you in a no nonsense style but that’s a hell of a lot different then a “no good news” one.

    • Chumparama,

      I was in a similar position financially. Get another lawyer.

      Strike while his attention is diverted and do it fast. If he’s still with OW he may be interested in quick divorce and not focus on the longer term picture. See how fast you can move things and perhaps preclude him from lawyering up. You may be able to have him walk away from the larger division of assets if his immediate short-term cash flow is improved (because for these people it’s all about the here-and-not and not about looking down the road).

    • Consider the alternative.

      It isn’t fair.

      No-fault states . . . except for those 11 where the alienation of affection laws still exist . . . are annoying.

      But you don’t have any options. You can’t allow him to continue benefit from being married to you. Cut bait. It’s only going to get more expensive.

      I deserved more than I got but I refuse to complain. I now have an opportunity to be happy and to be around people who are honest and kind.

      I left security but I no longer have problems with anxiety. My life is different but it’s so much better. I no longer have to worry about where his dick is.

      • Thanks all. I got a recommendation for a different lawyer from a neighbor. I’ll set an appointment this week. Chump Nation!!!!

  • Well, I stayed with my cheater for 20 years, and it was sheer terror of being alone that kept me there for most of that time. Once he dumped me, I lawyered up. I was then dumb enough to fall for the bogus reconciliation, but when he eventually said, “I see no reason to work on this marriage since you won’t accept me unless I get a job,” I realized there was absolutely no hope, and I had to get out no matter how scary it was.

    It did take me well over two years to get unstuck inside my head, however. That’s the toughest part. I think it was just tincture of time that did it, along with this blog, a new good boyfriend and help from my friends.

    Now I look back and cannot believe I stayed so long. I wish I could have those years back, but since I can’t, I am focusing on making the best new life for myself possible.

  • My light bulb went off right away. I Googled personality-disorder. Found Chump Lady, and immediately filed for divorce. Best thing I ever did and it was only 3 mos after DDay (35 yrs married). Yeah, damn tough, but I also got all my financial ducks in a row too. EVERYTHING I’ve learned and benefitted from has been online at this sight.
    Now, what does that tell you about Chump Power! (D should be done next month!)

  • Ok, so while I harbor no thoughts of reconciliation, nor was I blind-sided, I am having a hard time pulling the trigger. Here goes: my marriage was on the way out for about 3 years. I learned when a pathological liar tells you they’re a pathological liar… believe them. Then there was the drugs (which he kicked on his own, what, no parade?), the drinking (out of the trunk of his car) the panic, anxiety, depression…most of which were my fault. I “made” him drink & do drugs (doncha know) they were his coping mechanism- for having to deal w/ me. Then I finally drove him to open an eharmony account. (Told him he would have a hard time finding someone who would put up w/ his BS, so he “had to prove to himself that he “could be loved” – or a fuck buddy, but I’m just splitting hairs) So as a 10 yr SAHM, I gave up a well paying job to raise our children (happy to do so). Basically, the only reason I haven’t filed is because he’s paying all the bills – as a business owner, he can’t have any marks on his credit. Also, he claims he’s doing everything “in the best interest of the children”. You know, the ones he hasn’t called in the over 3 weeks since he moved out, and only spent 4 hrs plus one (1) overnight. But he’s a “great dad”.
    So my reason for not pulling the trigger is because 1)he’s out of the house, 2) he’s paying all the bills. I’d be interested to know if there’s a reason why I would file at this point? I have records of our accounts the day he moved, he makes a good living, & judges *hate* it when people drain accounts. He’ll be require to restore them should he get stupid. Also, he has access to a significant trust fund if necessary.

    • So you’re seriously asking us if you need legal protection? Without it… you have what?

      His word? Okie dokie.

      • Wow – that was a cold splash of water!
        I guess that’s what it really comes down to – I know his business partner wouldn’t be party to his income mysteriously declining. Hell, I pick up his paychecks & deposit them. This is the guy who’s self-worth is wrapped up in stuff & things, & his credit score.
        He’s also been promising to send me “terms” that he is proposing for the divorce. I have been hesitant to move forward until I see what he has in mind. My fear is I’ll leave something on the table if I move first. Also, as he is a narc, I’m trying to avoid any perception of aggression towards him. It just makes life easier & so much less stressful if he’s not “provoked” – which we all know changes as the wind blows. So, I guess I’ll stay “stuck” until it doesn’t work for me any longer.
        To recap I’m rolling the dice that his reputation & credit score mean more to him than trying to “screw” me financially. Because, truly, that’s what it comes down to – protecting my kids & myself financially…until he begins to act in such a way that that’s no longer the priority. (And he’s only been moved out for 3 weeks, Dday was just over 4 weeks ago)

        • I’ve known people for whom remaining separated was more financially viable instead of divorcing–but they still had a separation agreement, as it made it easier in terms of NC or limited contact.

        • Whodathunk, I consulted a lawyer just to know what my options were, and then used that information (told me ex I got it off the internet!) to help my negotiations w/the ex. He doesn’t realize I spoke to a lawyer, but it really helped me know where to be careful, how to organize our finances to protect myself, and what my rights and responsibilities were. It also felt good to know there was already a lawyer up to date with the situation and ready to roll if the ex started jerking me around on the money, custody, house etc.

          BUT, all this was way easier for me because our house is jointly owned, I have a good job (he had only very recently started making more money than I do), and I knew that if I had to, I could deal with everything entirely without him – it wouldn’t be fun, but I could do it. You’re not in that comfortable a position, so you’re at a BIG risk of his jerking you over the MINUTE he thinks that’s more advantageous for him. Don’t count on it staying as is.

          We weren’t married (standard here in Quebec), so no need to file for divorce, and I just got things set up in such a way that, worse comes to worst, I’m still fairly well protected. Custody and child support are completely independent of marriage/divorce here. So far he’s being quite generous financially – partly guilt about the kids (and knowing his mother would skin him alive if he didn’t take care of the kids), partly some faint hope on his part that some day I’ll let him come back. Hahahahahahahaha!

        • He’s a narc and you really think his “terms” will benefit you?

          Get your own lawyer, someone who knows what you’re legally entitled to and will negotiate for that. Don’t give your cheater the power to control your financial future. “Oh I’ll just wait and hope he keeps his word…” Bad idea. Totally.

          • Oh, I have a lawyer – retainer paid and all. Even have all the papers drawn up to file – it’s just pulling the trigger.
            The other thing he seems concerned about is that he is perceived as “generous”. What I’m learning, slowly, is that he’s a lot of talk, & not much walk. So, I’m going to make an appt w/ the lawyer, review with him what I know, & make a decision based on that. Good news? This lawyer has dealt with lots of narc STBX’s, so he’s familiar with their tactics.

        • Dear whoda,

          My situation has several similarities to yours. We have owned a business for many years. Cheaterpants always took his financial obligations seriously. He values his credit score, loves what $$ can buy, loves ‘stuff’ and ‘things’, so, yes, he has continued to pay all bills, including my cell phone, auto insurance and fuel. (He is at the milder end of ‘crazy’ in comparison to what some of the other Chumps have had to deal with, so I know this is not typical. And, he is not living with any OW, so that helps keep things calmer)

          And since I am a ‘traditional’ sort of girl, I was never the prime wage earner, NEVER paid any of his bills and over the last few years, if he wanted something, he had to sign on the dotted line alone. I refused to be party to any more of his purchases, even though he did always pay for what he bought. I just knew the marriage was over and I did not want to owe anyone anything, just in case he turned ‘stupid’ in the $$ arena once I departed the home.

          One of the main reasons, IMHO, things are peaceful between us is due to the way I handled myself. Learning to truly ‘be calm and carry on’ is an art, but an art that can bring many rewards, especially before and during a marital separation. Does not mean you be a doormat, though!! BIG difference!

          Reading Dr. Simon’s books and William ‘Bill’ Eddy’s books helped dramatically. Because I did learn these things, it only took a couple of months after I left & he settled down to where financially things are not really an issue. Of course, in my case, our adult son, our business partner, has ‘gone to bat’ for me on numerous occasions on the issue. Not because I asked him to; but because he believes in honesty, truthfulness & hates what his Dad has done & hates how his Dad has treated me.

          Also, before I left, I had squirreled away enough to take care of myself short-term, knowing my son would be sure I had $$ after that, as he and I discussed it. I knew my departure would have a major impact on our family business, so my son had to be aware of my plans. That way, I was able to just ‘let things lie’ for a while.

          However, another key point is that we really had no assets, other than the house, which I got my 50% of proceeds from sale. [Wasn’t much, though 🙁 ] We divided up the furniture & household goods while we packed up things once house was sold. (Had very little—I always lived simply) Went fairly well, actually. No investments, no 401’s or other retirement accounts. So, those who do have those joint assets do need to take appropriate action to protect those things and NOW!

          So, I wholeheartedly agree with TimeHeals——-DO NOT depend on him ‘keeping his word’. His words mean nothing. However, his actions do seem to show he wants to continue to protect his credit score & his business reputation. And your not wanting to be aggressive or provoke him is right on. Bill Eddy’s books especially will help you to continue to protect yourself & your children’s interest without doing either of those things.

          Take care, whoda, but take action!

          Forge on, all…..ForgeOn!

        • Believe it or not, for the first several weeks after Dday, my ex was still VERY concerned about his career (his real one he used to have as a very successful loan officer at big bank), his credit score, his house and his reputation as a businessman in our community.

          But then he decided his real destiny was to be an actor, and he quit the job. He stopped paying the mortgage. He stopped paying the credit card bills. Once the house foreclosed, he declared bankruptcy. He has spent the past couple years moving from place to place, wherever he finds someone willing to take him in for basically nothing. He lives off undeclared odd jobs, unemployment and occasional gigs doing background work. He owes me well over $25K, but with no assets and no real job, not much the state can do to collect.

          The point I’m trying to make is…… don’t count on your STBX’s concern over his financial status being big enough to avoid his screwing you over/financially devastating you in a divorce. You just don’t know what will happen. I don’t think most guys go quite as far/insane as my ex, but plenty of people do whatever they can to get out of paying court-ordered support. My ex used to make well over $100K a year, and was a well-respected businessman in our town. Now, well, he’s got some videos on YouTube.

          Talk to a lawyer.

  • I have a lifelong pattern of staying in relationships long past their shelf life, but I went into therapy to work on that, with some success. But in the case of the cheater in my life, I chumped along for nearly three months while he gaslighted and blame-shifted and changed the “rules” we had lived by in the relationship, while he talked about “needing to rethink” and “having a new life.” I knew something was terribly wrong, and I was afraid he might be involved with someone, AND on the day they reconnected, e mentioned this married woman in a phone call to me and I wrote in my journal that I was concerned about what he said. But I didn’t get to D-Day for 9 more weeks. But I found his FB page by accident on a Friday, saw that his only FB friend was that woman, saw there were no posts on the page and that he logged on via mobile, and the light bulb went on. I sent him a FB message that night, contacted him the next morning to ask to meet to talk about it, he got angry. I wrote a letter telling him that he had hurt me terrible and I wouldn’t be anybody’s back-up plan and mailed in Monday. Saw the therapist Wednesday and said, “I don’t think I can ever go back, can I?” And she said, so kindly, “No, you can’t.” That’s what a GOOD therapist can do. Friday to Wednesday and I was done. Now, we weren’t married or living together, but I had made major financial decisions and took on a large property based on his commitment to be with me “forever” and I have had a lot of struggle. For a few months, I battled hopium and loneliness and fear, while I tried to unravel the skein of fuckedupedness and figure out why he would do these things. But even if he came back, I would never be able to trust him to go to the funeral home without making a new “friend.” It would have been an awful life. And I would never be able to see him as the guy I had been so happy with again.

    The biggest problem, I think, is that we go into marriage and romantic relationships with the “forever”/”soul mate”/”happy ever after” idea as the default. So instead of keeping our standards in mind (respect, fidelity, honesty) we hew to the “save the marriage at all cost” and sacrifice actual PEOPLE (chump, kids) for an idea (lifelong marriage) that requires TWO committed, faithful people to work.

    • LOL. The mere mention of “soul mates” would send me packing these days.

      I figure at it’s best a marriage is really a very intimate partnership: kind of like being in business together, but you also are committing to be each others’ loyal friend and remain exclusive sexually.

      When I hear “soul mate”, my brain translates that into “I am looking for somebody to complete me”, as if there is something missing. Having been through the wringer before, I don’t think I’d ever volunteer to try to fill a giant, gaping narcissistic hole in somebody ever again. No thanks. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

      • Yes, that brings back Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire”–if someone isn’t complete, he or she needs to move on to another incomplete person…

        • I frickin’ hate that movie!!!!! Always have. And my ex was my soul mate too. And I would also run for the hills if I heard that word used near me.

        • Oh God…my STBXH & I saw that movie on our first date. I thought it was so romantic at the time. Now? Don’t believe in soul mates or needing someone to “complete” me.

  • For me, it was finding years upon years upon years of lies. Each time I would uncover another set (Craigslist postings; Ashley Madison etc.).

    Him having protesting, verbatim: “You can’t make me admit to something I haven’t done!” And then I’d find another squalid pile of lies.

    And–I had about 5 months of phone message data–just length and type of message. Being trained as a data analyst, ahem, I worked it. Besides figuring out that he called her 19 times on my birthday, but me never, and fun stuff like that, I also was also able to estimate with good probability that they exchanged about 100-150 photos per month. All he would admit to was “pictures of the backyard”; and, “pictures of pets”. I guess those are modern euphemisms. The fact that he would never come clean with me was the absolute breaking point.

    It just hammered home the point that the man was a pathological liar, and narcissist of some variety–at least, lacking in normal human empathy.

    So I turned, immediately to being as pragmatic as possibly, and trying to figure out how I would live. Technically I was not a SAHM, but I never made much money, woking as a consultant, and in public humanities and like that. And I’m close to aging out of the job market and my tech skills are rusty. I made it my job to ensure that even in a nofault state I would have enough support to subsist on, and I do.

    He’s still a world-class asswipe and a liar, and my daughter loathes him. But he’s receding in the rear view mirror.

    • OK, sorry to be crude but pictures of pets –> pictures of pussies…What an idiot. I admire your data crunching. I would have loved being able to see how long the cheater talked to OW when he dropped me off after the movie on my birthday at 10 pm on a Friday night …and who he talked to the next day when he didn’t manage to get to my house until 10:30 pm. God, they think we are stupid. I’m lucky to have no kids with him and no reason for further contact once he sends his minions to pick up the rest of his stuff, because, don’t you know, he can’t possibly talk to me in person because I accused him of “stepping out”..

      You would be a great person to work in a legal office helping other people make sense of that data. I don’t know where you live, but don’t assume that someone as smart as you are can’t find a good job, even if it means you go back and pick up a certification somewhere to give you a great starting point on a career “change” from SAHM/consultant. Make a list of 15 smart employed people and have coffee with each one and start networking. I am over 60 and I feel confident that if I had to start over, job-wise, I could do it. I am lucky to have a career in which I can work as long as I need to because the cheater left me in a terrible position economically, but the challenge and growth for me is going to be in facing that situation and coming out better, stronger, ahead. You’ve got the brains and the skills and the guts. Don’t let conventional wisdom about the job market tell you otherwise.

  • Getting unstuck for me took me the whole ten years together. No shit. I’ve said before “it was the bombs bursting in air” that I missed, not the red flags. I ought to have run from that woman long ago.

    We were in MC again, at the time of my unstucking. In MC, she complained that my style of arguing was abusive. This was the same old blame shifting on to me an issue that was made up crap. Also, she said she was detached from the marriage, but not really…?. Victimology 101.

    Over the previous year, I was becoming more clear about things. I was journaling daily. I was in a group that was practicing the “Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I was growing up and expanding.

    My actual unstuck moment came on a Saturday morning at 10:34 am. No kidding, I remember. We began to argue. It was about money. We ended the argument. Nothing resolved. The issue in the end was about me and not the money. An epiphany came to me that I cannot fully describe. Ten minutes later, I calmly demanded a divorce. She had threatened divorce for years during fights (manipulation). I never did until then.

    It was like I was shot with a blue diamond of clarity. We were fighting the same fight (dynamics) for ten years now. I mean, the same damned fight. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. It was her manipulations, gas lighting, blame shifting, no accountability, no amends, and yelling. Little did I know then she was cheating on me for years with her schmoopie. I found out later, as most of you know already.

    What did I do? I did not relent. For a couple of days she tried to reconcile. I remained steadfast. I asked her to move out because she refused to grow up and be an adult. It took a month for her to get out. It was very difficult, but I barely talked to her then. Then, she miraculously found the best paying job she has ever had; found a great apartment, and was entirely smug. (I still did not know I was headed for chumpdom.) All that new found industry confirmed that I was on the right track with this unapologetic person called “my wife.”

    I just reached a point where I was done. I never saw it coming from me. Friends and family were shocked. They implored me to reconsider. I said no thank you. Then I found out I was a chump. Motherfucker. Another blue diamond.

    What was “friendly” but not “conscious uncoupling” by any means, got ugly fast. And, I made sure of it. I blasted her. She remained “spiritual” through it all. I sought a lawyer within two months. She kicks ass and has got my back when I slide to chumpy Thirstyfish. My STBX continues to be wretched.

    It’s been 8 months since that Saturday morning. And, some days, I’m still a little sticky. But, most of me is unstuck.

    • thirstyfish, I KNOW those fights! The ones where you start out gently trying to resolve a problem and within minutes find yourself confusedly trying to defend yourself from all sorts of weirdness! You didn’t approach the problem correctly! The problem exists because you do this other thing! Why do you always come after them about problems, why can’t you ever let go of things? Yeah, yeah, you just think they’re a terrible person, nothing they do is right! And what about this other completely irrelevant thing that YOU do?

      Such mindfuckery. Once you have that bolt of clarity, it’s SOOOOOO obvious! But until you do, you stay a chump, trying and trying to resolve things.

      • Hi KarenE,
        It really was awful. I think of it now as I read your post and write this. Nearly every time we fought it ended up this way. It’s like my daughter says “You’re a meanie!” I was a meanie by the end of the argument; every other issue mattered not. I know I sucked at some things and I owned that shit, but she never owned up to any of her suckiness. So, it went on and on.

        I swear the hardest thing for me lately is forgiving myself for living for so long with this loser. She’s a LMHC, by the way. lol. it cracks me up.

  • First, I feel bad for piling more porno pathos on the Trauma-Com Post heap. Next, I talk a decent game to other chumps; I’d be frustrated by your friend even though I understand the paralysis. But–and I hate saying this–if he’s not moving he doesn’t want to go. I hate saying that because it reminds me of people saying I created my cancer. Even if I did, I don’t think anyone should be allowed to say that except about themselves.
    He’s not there yet. Your friend may seek advice and referrals for two more years. Hopefully, probably not, but in theory.
    I know, because in spite of everything in my marriage flashing ” EXIT” in pink neon like a girlie sign at a nudie bar, I stayed years past the expiration date. I had information, awareness, evidence and lawyer referrals. I had ChumpLike advisors, though I wish I’d had benefit of your blog much earlier in the game.
    I Amazoned narcissists, p-paths, verbally abusive relationships, compulsive liars; read Lundy Bankcroft, Alice Miller and filled my therapist’s pocket to hear what I already knew. I tried, but no one was willing to borrow my life and get divorced for me.
    Ultimately I only signed that retainer after winding up in bruises. Nothing like a good boxing to mess with denial. Denial which, by the way, included lots of good intentions and plenty of plans to leave. And that was only the beginning. I’m a pain in my ass. I need to go to CVS three days now, I need to get to the market. Today I decided there were simply too many earthquakes. To do anything. So I stayed home watching re-runs of The Real Housewives Of New York City.

    Must have caused my cancer.

    • Sara: thank you for this, because your reply really resonates with me too. And I’m sorry you had to deal with all this and cancer as well. But there is just a whole lot to process, turning the whole ship of expectation of our relationship roles around on a dime, at the same time as dealing with the practicalities of daily life and trying to figure out what you want and how to even go about dealing with lawyers and finances. With now more time caring for your kids than you did when he was there for you. I would find out a new facet of his ability to hurt me through my kids every week for awhile. Then I tried to sit and find out all our account and retirement info. But I’m a mess organizationally. And emotionally too. Then I have a very demanding job and a 3 hour per day commute. And I have not been giving the job the attention it deserves because I obsess about this. All the reading and investigating lawyers takes time and makes me so miserable that I would take a break from it and put my head back in the sand and that keeps me more stuck. Even tried a counseling session solely focused on that, but the counselor just said maybe I need more time to sort it all out. Not helpful.

    • Sara, I’m sorry you wound up in bruises. OMG, that AND cancer?

      My great-grandmother had a saying (probably originally in German) that went “If you don’t listen, then you must feel.”

      You’re right. Many of us (and I was one) get the advice we need, and we know what he need to do, and we don’t do it. Because really — simplest explanation — we just don’t want to.

      Then we have to feel the consequences of that. (Because we didn’t listen.)

  • I’m still in stuck mode. The EA ended ( I think she dumped his ass) I have been to the lawyer, got my ducks in a semi straight line. Held off for 2 life events (his health and tree hitting our home) Tomorrow is tax day (see the accounttant) after that well not much more. After EA flamed out he started being nice to me and when I didn’t bite he got mad and now it’s “You’re the witch; I’m the only one keeping this marriage together (UHN?!) But also the few times I have mentioned divorce he goes int an emoitional tailspin threatening suicide ect…

    • As I read these stories, I think one of the issues is the finality of divorce. Maybe it would be easier to get unstuck if the goal was–separation. Getting a calm, rational living space for your Self and your kids, if applicable. Getting breathing room to see how it is not to be gaslighted and blame-shifted and deceived. Getting enough distance to see the manipulation. Getting time to think about other ways to live. Getting in touch with the potential for happiness and joy. Even in a case where there is a marital home that may need to be preserved, a separation that includes agreements about assets and support and custody can give chumps some breathing space and a chance to observe the cheater from some distance. And while I understand that separation can seem like limbo, in my state at least, once you live separate and apart, the only thing you can’t do is remarry. And many of us would rather sleep with a nest of rattlesnakes than jump into that anyway. The cheater, on the other hand, may not like limbo if the chump has stopped giving out kibbles and cake. There’s power in that.

    • Janet, suicide threats can be of two types;

      1) the entirely manipulative ones. For these, a good answer is ‘be my guest’, as you walk out the door.
      2) the real ones. The person really is thinking seriously of killing themselves, or feels like they would do that if their ‘worst case scenario’ came about.

      The problem is, of course, that we can’t be sure which is which! And someone who starts out threatening type 2 can easily switch into type 1, when they see how effective it is in getting you to back down.

      So if there are threats and you have any fear they’re real, you need to arrange things as best as possible to keep the idiot safe, and then WALK AWAY, KNOWING that this is NOT your problem, NOT your responsibility.

      You don’t ‘mention’ divorce. You get EVERYTHING organized, paperwork, finances, a new place to live, and a new phone number and e-mail address. Then you meet them in a public place, tell them you are moving out that day, and they will be hearing from your lawyer. Tell them ALL contact must be through the lawyer.

      Then you walk away and call someone in THEIR family or from among THEIR friends. Tell them you are divorcing, and that you are concerned about the idiot’s stability. Tell them there have been threats of suicide. Give them the number for the local suicide hotline. Ask them to keep the idiot away while you pack up the essentials of your stuff and move out. Then tell them to have a nice day, and hang up.

      Now you go back to your place WITH FRIENDS, pack up, and move. If the idiot shows up, treat him as if he were a potted plant in the middle of the path. If he threatens you or his own life, call 911. Close the old e-mail accounts, cut off the old phone number. Block him on Facebook. Cut ALL ties. If he manages to reach you or find you later and is threatening suicide, call 911 IMMEDIATELY (even if you think the threats are not serious), the police and ambulance will take care of him (or embarrass the hell out of him).

      I know this is much easier to read than to do, but while suicidal thoughts are a real problem, directing his suicide threats at you is ABUSE. Treat it as such.

      • I am in no means making light of a possible serious suicide threat but if it is indeed serious, than no amount of bargaining, cajoling, promising, whatever is going to prevent someone from killing themselves. It’s like what we talk about all the time on this site – you can only control you, you cannot control his actions. So, if he does threaten suicide, call 9-1-1 or a suicide prevention hotline. You’ll find out real fast if it was just a manipulation tactic or not. And if he was serious, you have done the right thing by letting the professionals handle it.

        (Personally, I think he’s manipulating you. My STBX tried that shit and I immediately moved towards the phone & said I’m calling 911 – that changed his tune and he started back-pedaling very quickly.)

  • but I am glad to read everyone else’s stuck stories makes me feel less chumpy at the moment

  • Trying to navigate divorce on the brink of death (truly, if he would have handed me papers within the first 6-9 months I know I would be dead) would not have been wise… some chumps are blessed with the ability to get there quickly. I, on the other hand opted to believe that the crumbs I got (real or perceived, he didn’t give me any clarity even when asked point blank). That hope was my lifeline to this point in my life. Timeframe is irrelevant, it takes as long as it takes. I know divorce is going to happen, I’m probably the one that will file, I know it’s going to be expensive because we want different results (financially) and I know we are at different ends of the spectrum therefore costly. The fact that he hasn’t pursued divorce has allowed me to get closer to meh on my own terms, afforded me the time to gain strength. I don’t care right now if I’m legally married, truthfully it’s economically more stable for me. I’m trying to make sure I’m as much out of debt as possible. If he files so be it but I’m strong enough now to fight, if that would have happened close to dday I would have be raped in court. Admittedly I wanted reconciliation but the time and indecision has given me the gift of perspective. I’m stronger and smarter, I know what the right thing to do for me and my son is. Now I’m travelling the road to finally end it, but I won’t be the same person he dealt with before, I won’t concede to keep the peace…

    Maybe we could start a fund to get CL’s site to pop up first when chumps are looking for when those “save your marriage” sites. Those sites and books and blah blah blah just prolong the suffering and make you feel worse because you still haven’t been able to save your marriage all by yourself.

    • One caveat, I care about the legality of my marital status only concerns me when it comes to the pursuit of a relationship. That won’t happen until the divorce papers are signed and filed.

      I’ve complained recently about the sadness I’ve been suffering lately but I’m just grieving the loss of hope… withdrawal is hard, relapse is easy until you are strung out once again selling your soul for one more hit. Until you are disgusted with yourself forward momentum is impossible. And when, as in my case, your drug of choice is right there in front of you but you can’t get ahold of it you continue to think if you just reach out further or pay more you’ll get that high. I truly feel like an addict, do anything to get him back, keep trying, alienate friends and family, focus all energy on getting what you have known and relied on for so long. Normal became this dysfunction, just like addicts need to get high to be normal.

      Ugh… suffering from insomnia right now… sorry…

        • I agree. You are going to get through because you see things for what they are. And I share the pain and grief of the loss of hope, which is really giving up a future we dreamed about and worked for. I was reading a wonderful blog post this morning about leaving our dreams and hopes for our life behind, or holding them in one hand and the reality in another, and just cried and cried. The ticket is to understand that our wishes and hopes were about the grace of our own hearts, not about this deceptive and unloving other person. You loved what he showed you and once you saw behind the facade, you acted in your best interest. Love is never wasted. We grow from the love we gave, and we grow from letting it go if we see that the other person is destroying us. But it is hard as a bitch.

  • I was only married for 5 years, but those years were full of suspicion and stress. He lied, denied and gaslighted, making me believe that I was crazy. I really started to believe that there was something seriously wrong with me, as I ignored my intuition and stifled my gut instincts.
    For me, I had to “see it to believe it”, and boy did I. My narcissistic motherfucker actually videotaped himself (on his phone) fucking another woman. Even then, he tried to tell me that I was misunderstanding what I was seeing! Anyway, I yelled at him for a couple minutes, then suddenly realized that I had to get my infant son and myself away from this toxic bullshit. I spoke to a lawyer that day and 3 days later got on a plane with my son and flew home from Europe to Canada.
    This happened in July 2013, and I’m not divorce yet.. navigating divorce from one country to another isn’t a picnic. I am so looking forward to the day that I am officially rid of that piece of shit.
    This website has helped me in so many ways, making me see him for what he really is and knowing that I’m not alone!

    • I’m so glad you were able to come home away from that sicko.

      I had post-partum–if something like that had happened to me, I’m not sure I could have done what you did–good for you and your boy.

      • Thanks, but I think I was just in survival mode and shock. I just knew I HAD to get out, so I dealt with all the bullshit, the anger and betrayal once I was safe, away from him and with my family who actually love me.

  • I needed a court order to get “unstuck.” I told him to leave on numerous occasions, but he replied, “This is my property; you just married into it.” Meanwhile, he was carrying on his relationship with his “colleague” in plain sight of me and our kids. He’d stop in to change clothes then rush off to his getaway weekend at our family house on Cape Cod.

  • I got unstuck when, after a year and a half of pseudo-reconciliation, I received a letter in the mail from his final OW telling me the truth; that he never really stopped contact, that they had met on and not at the hospital as he had told me (he is a doctor and she a nurse), and that she now realized how dishonest he was. My first thought when I read the letter was, “I’m not crazy!”. He had been gaslighting me so much, had told me I was in insecure for feeling like he was still living a double life. So I said nothing to him, made copies of the letter, called my lawyer and filed the next day.
    Life is truly better for me and my kids without him. I am getting there.

  • He walked out on the Saturday giving me just 12 hours notice and I had a lawyers appointment by Tuesday morning. By 3 months I had sent my ‘intention to divorce’.
    It was all done on auto-pilot… with help from family and friends.
    Self preservation kicked in early knowing his history of hiding money. I did my research and knew exactly what I was entitled to. He was clueless, his mistake!

    • Wonder if somebody can help me concerning filing for Divorce first, before they do. I felt quite powerful just being the one the filed. It said, he fucked me over, cheated on me and I’m leaving for those reasons. Well, that’s if anybody cares to read the D papers, which I doubt they will. Not that anyones opinion should matter but doesn’t it say something that one of the spouses is fed up and won’t put up with ‘it’ anymore, even if they don’t know what the ‘if’ is. I guess I would wonder what the defendant did to make the spouse file. Or, perhaps, I was the meanie and he was the nice guy, therefore, I’m the bad guy? I dunno – it gave me power. And, it shocked him how quickly I did it – so he got completely caught off guard – and this is a complete control freak. I had an attorney long before he even thought of one – so, I had a step up on him. Am I thinking right?

      • SheChump, while it can be damned satisfying to do anything that makes us feel more powerful in a situation where we had our power stolen by lies and betrayal, it doesn’t really matter in the end. You got out, you filed, you are on your way to a better life without that jerk – that’s the most important thing.

        But damn there IS satisfaction in being the one who says ‘OK, that’s enough. I’m getting you out of my life!’ Doing this to my narc ex when I discovered his 2nd affair helped me re-gain a little of the self-respect that being such a chump had battered!

      • Some think it does not matter, but my experience was that filing gave me advantage, when you do that they either have to answer discovery or risk contempt. Forces a shit or get deal, and once you file your stbx has to shit or go to court.

    • I cannot say I have much of a green thumb, but I love having a large garden for working on the projects that I love: raising chickens, having a cat and a dog, growing grapes, making my own wine. Next year I am considering keeping bees. I compost because it seems like the responsible thing to do. Combined with table scraps, chicken manure and wood ash – it should make a nice fertilizer for someone else’s garden, if they want it. I also recycle.
      I became unstuck about 8 weeks post D-Day. Stbx made a lot of noise about wanting a divorce but would not tell me why. OW was denied, denied, denied. Because we were living in his home country, the kids and I were very isolated from any support system. Fortunately I had a friend back home who told me to lawyer up asap – which I did. Thank God I listened to her! D-Day was on Friday and I had first appointment with L the following Tuesday (but I did not tell stbx).
      I dithered for the next 8 weeks, did the pick-me dance and hoped that stbx would see the light. During this time I was still working to financially support him, looking after the children, cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying the bills, etc…He did nothing to start divorce proceedings but continued to treat me like cr*p. On reflection, he had the best of both worlds – schmoopie on the side to give him good lovin’ and wifey to keep house and keep him in money. What person in their right mind would want to mess up that arrangement?
      After 8 weeks of this, I finally had enough. I realized that man was going to work me like a mule, take me for everything that I could give and still tell me that I was worthless and unlovable. By then, I suspected there was OW but I did not have proof. I instructed my L to file for divorce and start proceedings for a legal separation. Two days after I told L to file, I found evidence of several OWs, including our daughter’s god mother!
      Between the day I told L to file and the day the judge said we could legally separate, I kept my head down and did not confront Stbx with the information I had. I didn’t even tell him I filed. I spent my time gathering the evidence of all the OWs (4 that I know of) and forwarding info on to L.
      I gathered up all the paperwork and was amazed at the things I discovered: if your spouse can cheat on you sexually and emotionally, they are just as likely to cheat and lie to you about other things such as finances. What amazed me the most was that he was so sloppy about covering his tracks. He was so arrogant/stupid to think that I would not figure out what he was up to. I used the arrogance/stupidity to my advantage. By the time we stood in front of the judge, stbx had been well and truly sucker punched. Thank you to CL for the sound advice on how to leave a cheater!
      I guess that everyone has their own personal ‘unstuck’ timer. It goes off at different points for everyone. That being said, my only regret is that I did not file for D sooner.

  • I don’t know how much this will help others, and I was lucky to get “unstuck” very quickly for various reasons (finding internet support, having friends/family who said “Throw him under the bus!” right from the get-go, etc.). However, there was one thing that did help me a great deal.

    My father is a retired police officer who knows our state laws very well. He’s also a very calm, practical man. When I sat down with him and told him what was going on, he pulled out a legal pad and pen and started writing things down. He gave me a list of all of the things I’d have to protect and fight for so that I knew what I was facing and how dire it was for me to find a lawyer yesterday.

    I know that cops are not there to provide divorce counseling, but it helped me to speak with someone who knew the law and provided me with the cold, hard facts. This was what could happen to me. This is what my then-husband could take from me. This is what I needed to protect before it was too late, and I got screwed over. Having that conversation helped me calm down and get down to business.

    If you can find someone who won’t get emotional and can tell you what you’re up against in plain, understandable terms, that might help light the fire under you that you need. It helps if the person can be objective about it like my father was. Does my father love me, and did he want to protect me? Of course. However, he’s also really good at removing the emotion from a conversation and just talking about the facts.

    Maybe that’s what we sometimes need to get unstuck– we’ve got plenty of people in our lives who will let us cry on their shoulders and who will proclaim that our STBXs are scum-sucking bottom-feeders. We need that someone who can pull out the legal pad and calmly explain what needs to be done. Think of the people you know in law enforcement and the legal profession (just not the lawyer you’re looking to hire– it should be someone who doesn’t stand to earn money off of your situation). That person might be able to have the caring but straightforward conversation you need to have to get the ball rolling.

  • I was punch drunk for two years post first dday and so called reconciliation but second DDay three months ago was motivator for me to throw that reptilian piece of crap out and dump his shit outside the latest OW house.
    But last two years stress took its toll and next day landed myself in hospital intubated and flatlining in ICU Hospital bed where i spent last Christmas and New Years. the horror on my childrens faces was enough to pull me out and My only option was to practice self care. Still going through legals with the narc. When does this end …:( ????

  • Frankly, I was fed up with him by the moment of bomb-drop. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t devastated, but some part of me realized I had been given a gift–a legitimate reason to extricate myself from a bad marriage. It wasn’t until I was far enough away that I could see him for what he was, and I’m still having revelations. Growth is a wondrous process. It’s uncomfortable and so very comforting, too.

    I drank the hopium, believed that if I could just untangle the skein, or say the right thing, that he would come back to our family. When he withdrew a large sum of money from our joint account (not all of it–in some ways he is decently indecent), I knew I had to act, for in that instant, I realized that even after 20 years, I didn’t even know him. I knew he was under the influence of something very cold and evil. My parents begged me to lawyer up, while he urged me to Keep Things Amicable, that Mediation Will Save Us Money. So I filed Pro Se–you know, because I’m a chump. And when I received the letter from his attorney, let me tell you, the fucking gloves came off, and it was ON. I’ve never been so angry in my life–not hurt, just flaming mad as hell. No doubt his enabling professional victim mother counseled him to retain legal counsel in the most deceitful way, but, thankfully, what little self-protecting instinct I had kicked in.

    I’m still a little stuck, even nearly two years after the divorce was finalized. I still daily grapple with Phantom Spouse Pain (thank you for that analogy, Tracy!!) I cannot wrap my head around how the two of them can be so open about what they did, with kudos and adoring approval from their mutual friends. I would hate myself for the rest of my miserable life if I ever caused another family the sort of pain that those two caused mine. Daily, I am told that I don’t deserve to be alone, that I am quite a catch, but alone I am, and it causes me a great deal of pain. I wear it with a graceful smile, just like the rest of my lovely co-chumps.

    As an aside–I can’t help but notice, as we all do from time to time, what lovely, intelligent, insightful people chumps are. We truly married down. It’s a phenomenon, isn’t it? I really believe we were too good for our significant others, and they knew it, and being the cowards that they are, rather than take an opportunity to grow and elevate themselves, they took the easy, spineless way out. I also believe that their cowardice will eventually catch up with them, if it hasn’t already. It would SUCK to suck like cheaters do. It really would. Occasionally, my chumpiness takes over, and I feel sorry for xH, for sucking so bad. Imagine waking up every day only to realize that, in fact, you really are a total loser, all attempts to convince yourself otherwise, to the contrary.


    What helps to unstick me is to fill my life with joy–and I have. I have such a near-perfect life. His absence has been a tainted blessing. I get closer to meh every day. At least I don’t have to live with the sins and failures that he does. What respect he lost, I gained–in spades, particularly with my children, and other people who MATTER–you know, people who are not cowards and losers.

    I’m getting there. I don’t know which Tuesday it’s going to be, but I will arrive at meh, I am certain.

    • Tracy, you played a major role in getting me unstuck. You and all your readers who take the time to comment here. You’ve got a special spot in heaven for the relieve you’ve brought to so many people.

    • Miss Sunshine, I am wildly applauding your post — particularly your “As an aside” paragraph. That’s it in a nutshell. The gift part of your post reminds me of a Deepak Chopra quote:

      “See if you can find the gift, no matter how badly wrapped.”

      • Love it! The OW really is a gift, badly wrapped. If they stay together forever, I will not have to feel responsible for his misery–and I would, for I am a chump. They will have each other to cling to.

  • The poor guy may continue to be stuck because of his religious and cultural beliefs, as well as his love and commitment to that Whore of Babylon. I get it, but they need to physically carry him to a lawyer if at all possible, poor guy. I’m sure, like most of us, he just can’t believe that this is his life and that there’s not much he can do to fix it or her. CL, your friend really needs to give him your “House on Fire” speech. Let him know that he’s about to be rendered unconscious from smoke inhalation and he needs to escape, get some oxygen into his lungs (an attorney) and then he can rescue the rest of those he cares about. Sacrificing himself to the fire isn’t going to help anyone.

    I got unstuck (even though from time to time, I am a little “sticky” – thanks to the poster for that description) by sheer force of will, therapy, this site and finally recognizing that I had been and was continuing to be abused, mentally, emotionally and financially. I was also insulted when I found out who the OW was – that I was being replaced by a ferret-faced, personality-disordered Wart Hog (my apologies to Wart Hogs and Ferrets everywhere). I was reading on SI and Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder and Narcissism were mentioned and I started researching them and that led me to Dr. Simon. Then I found this website, screamed Eureka! I finally someone who’s telling me I can put down the shit-eating spoon I had been using to continue to eat the shit my cheater was continuing to serve me.

    I already had an attorney lined up from the prior D-Day and went to see her immediately after I found out about this new/old OW. The correct legal representation is key. I had interviewed another attorney before settling on the one I have. The first attorney I spoke to, because we were in a no-fault state, and because our assets were pretty basic (read: we are not a high end settlement), she basically boiled everything down to dollars and cents. When I spoke to the attorney whom I chose to represent me, I realized she was well-versed in the dollars and cents area, but she also expressed a willingness to be a sincere advocate for all of my interests. Having worked for attorneys most of my adult life, I will caution everyone that not all attorneys are created equal. I cannot emphasize how important it is to have the right person representing you. Some divorces can be pretty cut and dried and you can have the dispassionate slice everything down the middle representation. However, when you are dealing with a person who is a pathological liar, who is looking for any and every way to cheat you out of anything and everything to which you are entitled, you need an attorney-advocate and not just an attorney. That does not mean you will walk away with everything you want or even that everything will go your way – but having the right representation gives you the best chance of the best outcome.

    It was not easy for me to walk away – I think I’ve already shared how beaten down I was and how close I came to ending it. However, there was always a part of me that was disgusted with chumpy me and constantly yelling at the chumpy part of me that my cheater was full of shit and I needed to get away from him. That part of me, even when I was at the lowest of the lowest point, refused to consent to divorce mediation with the Cheater because he was a “fucking liar, and the truth was nowhere in him.” Once I was away from him and went no contact, that Wonder Woman part of me gradually began to take over. She pretty much rules the roost now and metaphorically slaps Madam Chump-A-Lot when she begins asserting herself.

    I am still a work in progress, but I know that getting away from him helped me on the road to healing. Road to getting unstuck? Attorney, therapy, support system and Chump Lady, in no particular order.

  • A lot of my inertia was because I believed I was worthless. He treated me like cheap help for years. I worked a part-time job from home so I could take care of the children and household. With every year that passed, the children became more independent and my value depreciated to the point that I was “traded in.”

    For me, returning to school was the path to getting out of hell and building a “loser-free” future. It was an investment that has paid off for me in so many ways, not the least of which was a return of my self esteem when I discovered I am valued and held in high regard by others. Interestingly, as strangers appreciated my contributions and efforts, the monster at home’s opinion of me became less and less important and influential.

    I have been “loser free” now for 15 months, and while it hasn’t been easy, it is so much more genuine and peaceful. And lo and behold, the monster remains stuck in the muck he brought into our family. Still unemployed and taking me to court for alimony now! LOSER never changes!!

    • Great job Chutes, on getting your self esteem back!
      My favorite part of my divorce decree is ‘ there will be no alimony, as both parties are employable’. My X swore he was going to get alimony, and it kind of scared me. My lawyer just laughed, and told me not to worry. I was relieved when it worked. X is mentally ill I’m pretty sure, and yet strangely on top of things when it’s something HE wants. Hmmmm….
      I know one thing- he’s the laziest Fuck in town, and now he’s filling out papers, and going for tests, to get disability for ‘anxiety’. Gravy Train here I come!
      Glad it’s his circus now, and not mine.

  • First time poster…long time lurker. I just had to write in on this one because I was so furious with myself when I realized and HEARD myself mutter these words to him: RESPECT ME, THAT’S ALL I ASK FOR.

    You see, after DDAY#2 (first one being 7 years prior), I was in total disbelief that he would do this again. I spent 3 months in a total fog. He spent those 3 months trying to convince me that it was a bad judgement call, loved me, etc., and I believe him. So one thing leads to another, and we are intimate for the first time in 3 months. Lying there, I asked him to respect me!!!!! I asked HIM to respect ME! I heard those words come out of my mouth and I felt like shit!!! This whole time, that one thing I was asking for is totally the opposite thing he’d been doing all along!!!! Oh man, I was furious at myself. I cried, literally got into the fetal position and cried myself to sleep. He offered Jo hug, no cuddling, no nothing…. For me, this was the MOST HORRIBLE FEELING EVER, WORSE than being chumped.

    Needless to say, this got me unstuck. The next day, on April Fools Day 2013, I found ChumpLady and the rest is history. I read posts from day one, even called in sick to work for two days so that I can read read read! And I still read religiously!!!

    Since then, I got my ducks in a row, asked him to leave Jan2014 (he did) and happy to say, filed for divorce 2 months ago. After 21 years together and 16 year marriage, I filed on what was our 16th wedding anniversary!!!! I filed on our anniversary date! Sure did!!! This, for me, made up for the plea in asking for respect. I look back at that day and I flutter but this felt good…it felt SOOOOOOOOO good.

    As I write this, I am now waiting for the 61 day wait period to get a default divorce since he didn’t file a response. My life has been so much better with my here daughters (15, 10, 7). His life is going to be just like his dad’s…lonely loser with no one to listen to his apologies!!!!

    Hugs to all and thank you CL and every single one of you for the support!

      • Thanks CL. I’m not going to say this process was without tears, pain, suffering and sleepless nights. But, the moment I found myself asking for his respect after yet a second D-Day (first one while I was pregnant with our youngest, no less) was the moment I realized I was loosing respect for MYSELF!

        Like Kat below, this site (you CL) organized my thoughts, every post and every comment un-paralyzed me and opened my eyes. 9 months of playing nice (i.e., getting my ducks in a row, lawerying-up, etc.) and 3 months after his moving out, I HAVE A NEW LIFE! I live for myself and my daughters while he is…oh wait, who gives a F*!

        AGAIN, thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do! You are a true blessing for everyone here. We sometimes need that slap in the face to wake up and refocus on what is important…US!

    • Congrats Todo Va! I also understand very much about the respect aspect. And even though I’d already moved away from my cheating ex before I found Chump Lady, this site is what validated all of what I was feeling and thinking about the situation. And also a lot of what I didn’t know I was feeling. I’ve said it before, but if there is such a thing as angels then Tracy is one of them.

      • Kat, validation is quite necessary when dealing with situations such as ours. They are life altering, to say the least, and when you get even a hint of confirmation that you are on the right track, it is very liberating.

        Validate on my dear…it only gets better!!! (((hugs)))

  • I think rage unstuck me. I’ve never felt anger like it & I hope I never do again.
    I had been completely off balance for months due to his behaviour. He was drunk most of the time and even though he was never physically abusive I was terrified of his moods. He would fly off the handle at nothing, would stay out late (or not come home at all), ignored my texts and calls yet when I tried to talk to him about his behaviour he would deny anything was going on, swear he was committed to our marriage & make me feel like I was imagining things when I questioned him.
    I had to snoop to find evidence, I worked out the password on his suddenly locked phone and read his texts. I told my sister and one very good friend what I knew. I believe this was vital in encouraging me to act as they were both outraged on my behalf while I was numb from shock.
    I confronted him, he tried to lie his way out of it & when that failed cried tears of self pity giving the whole ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you, I still care for you, I don’t know what I want, blah, blah, blah’ speech and (unaware that I’d read his texts to & from OW) tried to claim they had only kissed. The anger came a day later when after telling me he needed time to think I read his messages again (the drunken fuckwit still hadn’t worked out I was doing this) and found he’d texted the OW telling her I knew & for her to be patient and she had responded with such gloating glee that I just snapped.
    The complete lack of any concern or care for my pain on both their parts still chills me now and it broke something inside of me. I flipped. I marched downstairs to where he was sat with my hair half straightened (I must have looked utterly crazy, something which now makes me laugh – I have very frizzy hair & had only tamed one side when my head said ‘enough!’), picked up his house keys and told him to leave. He ran straight to the OW crying with a toothbrush and a bag of random clothes. I think self preservation just took over.
    I hired a solicitor a month later when it became clear he would show no remorse. She has only been able to work as fast as I could pay her but she has been amazing. I live in the UK, could file a ‘fault divorce’ citing adultery and could apply to the courts for STBXH to pay all my divorce costs. The fucktard was either too drunk or too stupid to seek any legal advice (actually told me he was in ‘no rush’ to get divorced) and she used this to our advantage getting him to sign a ‘statement of adultery’. He finally sought legal advice when the divorce papers landed on his doormat (I named OW as correspondent & I think she dragged his in denial arse to a solicitor) it was too late. He spent 4 months refusing to sign & trying to bully me into dropping the costs but my solicitor gave me the strength to stand my ground. My decree nisi will be granted next month and he’s paying all the costs associated with the divorce.
    I kicked him out, bagged all his personal stuff & made him collect it, filed for divorce, moved house & didn’t tell him my new address, took what I wanted from the house (I did tell him I was moving and asked him to let me know how he wanted to split things, he ignored me so I divided it myself then he had the cheek to complain that he had to pay for storage for his half) and I became unstuck physically thanks to family, friends and a solicitor. I’ve found becoming emotionally unstuck a lot harder.
    I have been completely no contact for almost 5 months (I’ll know meh is imminent when I don’t feel the need to count!) when it became clear that he would use any sort of contact as an excuse to twist the knife. I can laugh at the crazy conversations that I had now but at the time it was a complete mindfuck, so much better that I don’t deal with him at all. Maybe Chumplady could do a post on how we finally came ‘unstuck’ regarding non-essential contact and what made us finally say ‘fuck this!’ and delete their numbers. NC has helped me enormously with becoming emotionally unstuck along with some fabulous friends.
    Sorry for the long post, last Wednesday was a year from D Day & I guess I’ve found this cathartic.
    In summary I believe to become unstuck you need the following:
    People who love you enough to be utterly outraged at the way you’ve been treated while you are still numb with shock & hoping for unicorns.
    A good solicitor

  • I am still paralyzed where my cheater is concerned.
    NC has become a way of life for me.
    If I can at all help it, I will never hear his voice or witness his being again.
    the idea of such encounters brings me right back to that day when I realized, or should I say thought I was imagining or dreaming what was happening to me.
    Will I ever be able to reach a place of acceptance?
    Who knows….
    For now I am trying my hardest to move forward and deal with things as the arise.
    I was always trying to control the outcome of everything in my life.
    Now I know I really have so very little control in anything.
    Except for how I proceed.
    Even that can be stopped dead.
    Then I step aside and make a new plan.
    So right now. I ride the gravy train.
    I continue to let him support me, minus his actual physical presence in my life.
    He is there, and yet I know little of what he is really up to. I try not to think about it too much. But it’s always lingering waiting for the next crazy thing to happen.
    I have pretty much handed it over to the universe at this point as I get my ducks in a row.
    Long story short, I think he is just as fearful of me as I am of him.
    It’s really like a standoff really.
    A really sad sad duel of the wills….
    Will he lose his job
    Will he pull the trigger (metaphorically and otherwise)
    Will I cave and ask for him back….Never!
    Will I ever be strong enough to face the truth
    Living life in limbo is scarey
    But I am more afraid of the alternative in this moment in time.
    Call me crazy
    Call me chicken
    Call me late for dinner
    All of those things.
    Even though I like control
    I fear confrontation even more…..

  • While I spent a few days when my lying, cheating bastard of an ex told me he wanted a divorce (I didn’t know about the crazy skank with whom he’d planned a new life), I was meeting with an attorney by the end of week two. Maybe it’s watching soaps with my mom or all that LA Law in the 80s–I am happy to give my life over to professionals when necessary. I don’t tell my dentist how to clean my teeth, I don’t want to know how to get up that high to clean my gutters, and I sure as fuck don’t want to deal with the legal system. It’s funny, but I always assumed if I needed a lawyer, I’d be calling one from jail, though!

  • With no kids or property to tie us together – there was not much keeping me “stuck” with the STBX, but I still stayed with him longer than I should have.

    DDay #2 happened right after his company Christmas party in December, about a week before Christmas. He swore that “nothing had happened” between them yet, but that he had fallen in love with her. I arranged to take the bus home and spend all of my Christmas break with my family and friends. He arrived late on Christmas Eve because he was too selfish to arrange to leave work early (plus the OW was at work with him). He left on Boxing Day (Dec 26). I was such a Chump that I tried to spend New Year’s Eve with him, OW and her husband, and another couple. It was a horrible evening where I felt invisible and worthless.

    In late January I spent a week in my hometown working out of the head office for my company. When I got back, STBX moved in with a friend for two weeks (until they could not stand one another anymore). When he came back into the house we rented, we slept in separate bedrooms. He would spend every evening with the OW.

    In February he finally told me he wanted to separate. I should have stood up for myself and left his ass in Dec or Jan. I got my job all sorted out, and packed up my stuff, and moved 300km away at the end of March. I have not seen him in a year.

    It took weeks of him pulling away from me, for me to get “unstuck”. Him refusing to go to counseling and not spending anytime with me. Eventually the fog began to clear and I realized that he had checked out of our relationship months ago and it didn’t matter why. Even if he told me “why” it would have been a bunch of lies.

    I can’t wait until our divorce is finalized (just counting the days).

  • Mine was kinda sad and I don’t know that I can point to just one event…but after Dday #3 I was completely devastated and doing the pick-me dance and all of its glory……..At one point in that pick-me dancing……I fell into a deep depression…..and lost 45 lbs in a month and a half……it didn’t look good on me. After discussing with the therapist who says I need to go see someone to get back on meds again…….my poor sausage proceeds to tell me that I look “Hot” at this weight…except for the fact that I lost my boobs and I still have a little bit of a belly………It was at this point I realized that I had to save myself and go find the liferaft…..because he would just let me die and was not capable of helping anyone other than himself. I would also be lying if I didn’t say that it really wasn’t me….it was the fact that I knew my kids would have no one if I weren’t around……so I pulled myself up yet again, got on meds, filed for divorce……and FINALLY got unstuck…….

    Today, I can say it totally sucked…..but all of the pain was worth it.

  • I got unstuck when the 35 year old OW walked up between myself and my husband as we were discussing our future (as we had been doing since he told me about her). She looked up into his eyes and grabbed his hand asking him to leave with her. He said “I can’t not talk to her”. I said. “I’ll take the car, the house, the savings and she can take care of you” and that’s how it worked out. Minutes before this he was walking toward me at our gym, smiling at me, and had just sent me a text that he loved me agreeing to spend at least 3 more months in counseling. We are both retired with limited incomes. Turns out he has had a secret life starting with porn then at least two affairs. I am learning that he was not the good guy I had thought he was. I read your blog every morning, go to counseling, spend time on (a website that supports people who have relationships with people with personality disorders), joined a divorce support group and a faith based DivorceCare group. I am not religious but there is so much love there. My favorite activities are hiking groups on meetup and a group I joined of women who help other women learn how to sail. I know it’s a grab bag approach, but some things do grab me. I am just beginning to make new friends. Did I mention I moved near my son and his family after I left the day he thinks he left. I struggle between hiding in my new condo and the necessary job of establishing new friends and a new community. I might just be winning – finding myself again.
    I did leave out all the tears, longing, questioning, feeling sorry for him because he was not himself, and texting him with what I have read about on this blog, “phantom spouse pain”.
    Right now I think I am taking two steps forward with only one step backward. I thank my family, my friends, my counselor, and me. Not so much the guy I was married to for forty years and have two kids and four grandchildren together.

  • My story is just like most her and he had to leave me for OW after 27 years of marriage and 14 years of no sex, no hugs, no touching! What an idiot I was. I was a fireball at first, remodeled house, bought everything I had ever wanted but wasn’t able to have because he controlled money and finances, I lost weight and felt good about myself but I was as numb as a 50lb block of concrete. Two years later I am 25 lbs heavier and STUCK like super glue. Totally immobile…lost my job, am too old to find new work and wonder why he has had everything he ever wanted in life land right in his lap…. Retired, on disability, moved into wife’s house, no financial responsibilities of kids(he pays $50 child support) and doesn’t work while his wife does. He wished that he could stay home and take care of house while I worked. He got it all and I just got DUMPED!!!i have few friends here because I worked an hour away most of our married life and did not grow up here. Kids are gone … Mostly. I just sit around and try not to let the negative talk go on too long in my head. I need an epiphany!! Any advice?

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