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All the Good Ones Are Gone

I’m sure by now you’ve realized you did not get the life you were expecting.

You can react to that in two ways — you can hold your breath and turn blue waiting for the life you expected to emerge. Or you can adapt, overcome, and be open to the possibilities of a different life.

Take your pick.

If you choose the first option, you’re going to spend a lot of time being disappointed and, well, literally blue. If you don’t first pass out from asphyxiation, you’ll probably expire from self pity. Measuring every day by The Loss is a recipe for misery. Other people are whole, but not me… I have The Loss. Nothing will ever be the same since The Loss. (That’s probably true… and so what?)

If you don’t get the life you were expecting, good luck trying to control the outcome. This is the mentality that feeds the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Just try harder! Feed your sense of failure and send me $399 and I will affair proof your marriage for you. Did you not follow the program? Well, I think that’s your fault. I will not refund your $399 — you failed.

If you would like to spend your life measuring yourself by the standards of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, please go right ahead. Internalize that marriage is the measure of your worth. What kind of marriage? Doesn’t matter. Just stay married and shut up, okay? Don’t be one of those pathetic divorced people who fuck up their children with their selfish, selfish divorces. Don’t be one of those sad single people who will die alone with cats. Don’t you know everyone is a cheater and all the good people are gone? You have to work with what you have, and so your spouse is a bit of a fixer upper. Well, so are you. In fact, it’s your very inadequacies that drove them to an affair in the first place. Spend the next several decades of your life working on that, and I’m sure eventually a unicorn will appear.

What? They left? What? You quit?

Loser.

—-

Or you can take the second option. Adapt, overcome, and be open to the possibilities of a different life.

If you take the second option, it’s going be difficult. Mostly, because people who don’t get it (which is the majority of people) will measure you by the first option — that you could’ve controlled this and you failed. So part of your job is to prove to yourself and those morons that they’re really fucking wrong. Because you’re MIGHTY. And it’s going to be difficult because it is an actual Loss. And you’re going to grieve about that. Grief isn’t self pity. They’re two very different things. Grief is coming to terms with a different life than the one you expected. Self pity is very much about staying stuck on the injustice. Yes it was unjust. Okay, and NOW WHAT? Self pity answers, “It was UNJUST!” Okay, and now what? Self pity is on a loop, it just feeds on itself and doesn’t get out much. Self pity is simply awful on dates.

So, let’s just establish that adapting, overcoming and being open is fucking DIFFICULT.

Apparently, I haven’t been sending that message very clearly because according to Gio (I did read some of my comments in the last four days while I was out of town, folks) — I believe life after divorce is magically falling in love at a blues festival. Oh, it’s easy for ME to say, move on and be open to the possibilities from my cushy, smug position as a Superior Married Person who doesn’t understand the slings and arrows of outrageous singleness.

I believe it was also said that I don’t know what it’s like to be single at 50, 60 and I judge from my 40-something armchair, and I think someone added that widowers who date too soon are dreadful beyond measure. Oh, and women have it harder in the dating world.

Folks, this isn’t the pain Olympics here. Whoever you are — woman, man, gay, straight, bi — someone’s got it worse than you’ve got. I guaranfuckingTEE it. Is it hard to date at 60? I’m sure it is. It’s also fucking hard at 30 with a toddler and an infant. Or in your early 40s with two divorces (raising my hand). This shit is no picnic for men either. How would you like to paternity test your children, or share them with psycho mom and her rotating cast of scary boyfriends? Please shut the fuck up about how you’ve got it worse. You’re in pain. I get it and I’m sorry. But your pain does not supersede others — that’s the mentality cheaters have. Don’t be that person. Know that you’re a voting member of Chump Nation and we don’t need the particulars of your special exceptionalism.

On the widower comment — you think that guy is too dreadful to date? So disrespectful he is to his hardly-cold-in-the-grave-wife? Take a pass then. There are a lot of women who’d be happy to have him. My friend Yoma was one of them. She remarried at 76 and her widower husband was 73. Did he move too soon? He’d been nursing his dying wife for TEN YEARS. He was depressed and met my friend at the retirement home she’d just joined and invited her to join the photography club. They’re going on their second anniversary, traveling around, happy as can be. They busted a move on this commitment thing. In your 70s, they figured, you don’t have a lot of years left.

Oh, that’s scandalous. He should’ve sat alone in his room nursing vodka tonics committing to the memory of his departed wife.

It’s not scandalous. It’s reinventing your life from the expected path.

Which is what I want you to do. Say YES to the invitation to join the photography club. Not because I want you to date and partner up again (although if that happens to you, mazel tov!) — but because I want you to GAIN A LIFE. Be OPEN to the world. Quit looking back at what you were cheated of (a narcissistic loser) and start captaining your own ship.

As to my smug, married 40-something ass? I know what it is to have your nose pressed against the glass of other people’s Perfect Intact Family Lives. I lived most of my 30s and early 40s as a single mother. Going to every school event alone. Hearing about other people’s Disney vacations. Going on dates, being rejected. (I remember one guy who looked like a potato — seriously, a POTATO, lumpy, oval-shaped, pock marked — dismissing me most clearly as Not What He Expected or clearly felt entitled to. Like… oh, you showed up. Ew, send it back.) Chump matrons in your 60s with 30 years of married life? I’m the single mother you never invited to your dinner parties. I know from suckitude.

I also know what it is to reinvent yourself. I know what it is like to suffer a divorce, find the strength to be open to life, recommit to another human being, move my life for them and discover they’re a serial cheater.

Did I come out of that nightmare going — oh, all the good ones are gone! I’m a 40-something two-time loser. Hang it up.

Sure, there were many days I felt like that. But I built a good life for myself anyway. Had a lovely home, raised my kid, grew my garden — and I knew something I did NOT know after my first divorce — this life was ENOUGH. It was hard won. It was peaceful. It was full and I was happy in it. I had no expected life plan. Maybe I’ll get a boyfriend, a friends with benefits. Maybe I’ll never have sex again and it will be enough to just plant oriental lilies. Who knows?

There is a freedom that comes when you’ve got nothing to lose. When you’ve lost it all anyway. It was that what the fuck attitude that took me to New Orleans, Sacred Mecca for the What The Fuck Saints of Nothing to Lose. An openness. A lack of smugness. An attitude that enjoys the moment and embraces possibilities. That drinks rum hurricanes and falls in love.

Does the story end there? Tracy gets her Happy Ending and everything is restored? No. Every happy ending has a steep price of admission. There was moving a life, there were painful goodbyes, there was my house flooding, there was blending teenagers and resulting drama, there was sick parents, and general life crises. But being a MIGHTY chump, being one of the WTF Saints of Nothing to Lose — I knew I’d seen worse. I knew I could get through it. And I knew I could reinvent if I had to, because I’ve done it all before.

I did NOT get the life I expected. And thank God for that. What I have is so much more joyful and interesting. And it’s authentic. I don’t eat shit sandwiches any more. I don’t keep up appearances. I won’t be nursing a narcissist after a health crisis, and he won’t be abandoning me in mine. I don’t try to resuscitate dead things. I live life open to the possibilities.

You chumps are tough motherfuckers. Happiness is yours if you’re brave enough to invent some for yourself. I have no idea what shape that will take for you, just like I had no idea what shape it would take for me. (Texas?! Really God? REALLY?!) But I know that it is out there. And I know it doesn’t live with your cheater and your past life.

So embrace the new life. Good people still exist. How do I know? Because my smug, married 40-something ass says so.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I know two women in their 70’s who divorced their cheating husbands 30 years ago. They are STILL stuck in The Loss. It’s all you ever hear about with them, how their man “done them wrong” 30 years ago. Bitter doesn’t begin to describe it.

    I was SO afraid of turning out like that.

    But not anymore. With a BIG thanks to CL and my fellow chumps, I’m slowly picking up the life that I abandoned all those years ago when I married XH…and it feels AWESOME! I can’t wait to see what happens next… 🙂

  • Hear, hear Chump Lady!

    I would add to this – STOP SEEING BEING PARTNERED-UP AS A GOAL. There are great times out there to be had just as yourself, as an individual – not as half of a partnership.

    We are so lucky in this day & age, that we don’t have to be married to exist as a member of society. Yes, I know I whine from time to time that I’m not invited to dinner parties & I’m exempt from things that seem to make married people uncomfortable if I turn up on my own – but I still have a happy & fulfilling life. For fellow women chumps, let’s throw off the shackles of our female forbears and revel in the freedom we have. If you think you can only be happy as part of a couple, then you need to think again. You should be able to be happy just as you – because if you can’t, then you are always going to be trying to plug a hole in yourself with someone else & that isn’t fair to either you or the hole plugger!

    So endeth the lecture from small sceptic isle on the east side of the pond! (We’ve just had a bank holiday weekend, the sun shone & I’m feeling perky.)

    • So true. Anyway, there are so many miserable couples out there. I see them in restaurants sometimes. You can sense the resentment, the silences and awkwardness between them. It’s as if they’re just staying together out of spite. There is such pressure out there to be part of a nuclear family and the mainstream media adds to it with their depictions of perfect families and how they ought to be.

      Hold your heads up chumps and be proud of your truth and authenticity. Nice if you can get partnered but not the end of the world if you don’t.

      • Since being separated and talking to friends I’m finding more and more people just stay together b/c it’s easier and more people than I knew have just “so so” marriages/partnerships and they’re not good.
        They all hide it well.
        I see those couples places, too.

    • This is what I thought yesterday as I read all the talk about there only being losers out there to date. What if Susan doesn’t want to have someone new in her life? What if she just wants to be alone? What is so wrong with that? I knew that I wasn’t meant to be alone and had no desire to be alone so I started the dating process. Yup … kissed a whole bunch of frogs before I found my prince. I didn’t ask to be divorced. Didn’t see my life headed that way, but when my H decided to pull the cheat card and proceeded to ask for a divorce, I walked away and figured out how best to live my life and fulfill my dreams. Not saying I didn’t have a pity party once or twice, but soon realized that all that gets me is nowhere. Everyone must figure out for themselves where they want their life to be and then do whatever it takes to get themselves there. Thanks English Lady for pointing this out.

    • Absolutely agree with you, English Lady. I’m not sure I want to be with anyone ever again anyway. But even if I reach the point where I want that, it’s not going to be the focus of my life. It never was when I was younger and it just happened that the ex came along and I feel in love.

      But I do understand the fear and pain and uncertainty of facing life alone, particularly at a certain age. We laugh about cat ladies but many don’t want to be one. I do, to be honest, but many don’t.

      Bring on the kitties!

    • Ab-so-fucking-loot-lee English Lady. Ditto and loud applause!

      And thanks CL. We often need reminding to get out of that pity pit. Bitter is my biggest fear, and it is definitely a squatter in my head far more than it should be. Awesome post!

      • I’m the odd person who is very sensitive. I don’t respond well *at all* to so called 2×4’s, never have, never will. My emotional self feels they are unkind. I find it amazing that so many people do respond to them. But, whatever, to each their own, always, and I’m glad that so many people found inspiration in today’s 2×4 post. It’s just not something that motivates me. I feel deflated, misunderstood, and mocked by it.

        The flip side of that is, I am someone who is very understanding of other people’s hurts and pains. There is a place in the world for people like me, people who feel that 2×4’s are harsh, and it will be nice if I don’t get replies that imply I need to recover from my sensitivity. I don’t, and I know that when my funeral is held, people will be lined up to tell my children that they will always remember that I was someone who could be counted on to understand their feelings, and to offer healing words, even when other folks were frustrated with them and their feelings. Just the other day, a young man was upset at work about a break up. EVERYONE, without exception, was going on and on about how inappropriate it was, how he needed to move on, how he needed to not be like that at work, bla bla bla. Not one person was THERE for him. Lots of 2×4’s. All he needed in order to get through the night without being upset was one person who said, “I know it hurts. You will get through this. What can I do to help?” I was that one person. He got through the night. He will remember how he got through the night and it wasn’t the 2×4’s that did it for him. Thank God for sensitive people.

        I also, once again, feel totally stunned at how many assumptions people make from these on line interactions. Someone responded to my post that I didn’t know how to self-examine. Excuse me? How in the fuck can someone know that from anything I’ve posted here PLUS the FACT that they don’t know REALLY know anything about me? I also noticed that more than a few of today’s posters seem to believe that a bunch of yesterday’s posters are desperate to find a mate, just because we posted about our grief about losing one. Newsflash: The two things are not related. You CAN lose a mate, and then NOT BE desperate to get another one. I don’t know. I’m just the odd person who gets nothing beneficial from being slapped upside the head. I’m not stuck between the past and the future and it is presumptuous for anyone to assume that from what little gets posted here. But, this is not my first rodeo with this on line bullshit. I know that when you post something on line, people and their prejudices and viewpoints get to working overtime, and the next thing you know, they think they’ve got you figured out, by God, and they are going to set you straight. Then, out come the 2×4’s. You’d think I would have learned my lesson. Don’t post. Just keep it all in, because someone is going to get their exercise jumping to conclusions, telling you what you are and aren’t, what you can and can’t do well (self-examine, for instance), and whatever else they can imagine from a few words on a computer screen.

          • A 2×4 is blunt advice that is painful and shocking to hear, so much so that it feels like you’ve been hit in the head with a 2×4 (a piece of lumber).

            • Aaa, makes sense. Thanks for the explanation. Sorry to wait an entire day to bombard with my commentary.

        • Carol: “I also, once again, feel totally stunned at how many assumptions people make from these on line interactions.”

          Carol, I feel the same way about the letters that come in. They are sketchy, superficial, and give no clue as to the personal strengths and weaknesses of the individual writing the letters. It is all good and well to advise leaving a cheater. In many cases it is probably the best advice. HOWEVER, separating from the cheater is only the first step, and so many people who never learned how to be assertive or to set boundaries drop the ball on effective follow through. Which is why there is absolutely no substitute for individual divorce counseling when dealing with a life crisis of this magnitude.

          FYI, I was the one who commented about the armchair quarterbacking. Since I have a thick skin, it doesn’t bother me that Tracy took exception to it. About the only response I would make is to amplify the comment to include people of all ages. Each age comes with its own unique set of circumstances; and as I said yesterday there is something called “opportunity cost” to consider along with your individual tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty…. no matter what your age.

          That having been said, the fact remains that people who are past 60 and approaching retirement age, particularly women who have stayed home and don’t have bankable professional skills, are starting over 20-30 years later than people who are younger.

          Anyone significantly younger can say all day long what they will NEVER do, but I have seen people eat their own words too many times to believe that one-size-fits-all solutions are appropriate or that people don’t change. They do. There are simply too many variables at work in each unique situation.

          I’ve been married twice, too. First divorce at 25 (after 7 years) and, second divorce at 61 (after 33 years). Trust me: For myself and many others whom I know, the length of bonding time with a spouse significantly affects the emotional recovery, and the amount of good, physically healthy years left to recover and re-establish financially are much bigger factors when one is older. And the odds of being successfully mated (if that is a priority with one) are diminished for older women in particular.

          Carol, I understand it taking you longer to grieve and recover than it might take some others. I also understand your uncertainty and apprehensions about whether or not you will be able to rebuild your life into a content one. I can also appreciate your dismay at getting what you consider to be a, “dressing down.” If I didn’t learn anything else from my years of work, I did learn this much. When we want to help someone grow and change, we must first validate their pain. We don’t have to approve of how they are coping at that time, we don’t have to agree with how they are expressing their pain, and we can clearly see that the individual is not going about problem solving in an effective way; but if we don’t convey empathy, they aren’t going to hear much of what we say except the parts that make them feel diminished. Not only do we lose the opportunity to help them navigate out of the “pity party,” we can drive them away. For some people, getting really pissed off helps galvanize them. For others, a gentler more introspective problem solving approach or a “discovery method” works best.

          Take care of yourself, Carol, and keep on keeping on. You are much more resilient than you realize.

        • Carol (and anyone else who misses their x),
          As someone who is still getting emotionally slapped down occasionally by my x (not physically), even though we’ve been apart for a long time and currently live in different states, I think that you’re probably SO much better off away from someone who can hurt you by cheating on your trust and love and friendship. You seem like a kind and loving lady who deserves so much better from a supposed best friend.

          I sincerely wish you a joyful and peaceful and unexpectedly adventurous future. 🙂

          • Also, check out Abraham Hicks talks on youtube if you want a quick turnaround.. I’ve been amazed at how much they helped me at any mood. Just search “Abraham Hicks” in youtube search. Hopefully posting that isn’t offensive in any way. I really have found it super helpful and just want to help others, too.

    • Yeah, because no one shows any compassion around here.

      Puh-leez.

      Given the perspective of a couple of years, most chumps will tell you that the best advice they got hit them like a 2×4 to the forehead. Good advice is rarely easy to hear. It was my experience that when I bridled with special intensity at a suggestion by my shrink (e.g., stop trying to tell your wife who can spend the night at your house, stop trying to prevent your kids from living full time with their cheater-mom, etc.) it was a signal that I really needed to examine what I was doing. Think of how a doctor finds where the injury is by palpating and waiting for the reaction to pain.

      Like CL said, this sh*t is hard. And painful.

      But avoiding the pain of self-examination, IMO, is the best way to stay stuck.

      • “most chumps will tell you that the best advice they got hit them like a 2×4 to the forehead. Good advice is rarely easy to hear.”

        This is so true.

        The message CL gave in this post was a needed one. It wasn’t meant to single anyone out, but just to tell everyone to snap the hell out of it, lest you get stuck.

        I’m guilty of getting stuck. Hell, the last years of my sham of a marriage was all because of was stuck. Afraid of losing all that I had invested into a shitty marriage. I didn’t want to be divorced, to fail. I would be damned if I would put in this hard work and let some whore have a new improved him. All that was – just me trying to control the outcome, wasting time, trying not to fail. Blech.

        There was a poster once on one of the pro marriage websites I visited that posted something similar to CL’s post. Basically that life isn’t fair. You can’t control it what happens, And yes sometimes they do get away with it and no karma bus runs them over to your satisfaction. And yes, you may end up alone with 100 cats. But that you shouldn’t worry or fixate on it, just make the most of what you have and try to be happy. That’s the best chance for a good outcome for you.

        I kept going back and reading that post again and again, until I couldn’t find it anymore. It’s message, like CL’s is scary, but true – and we all need to hear it.

      • Yes, that 2×4! One in particular I remember from my counselor was to “become hopeless.” The hope was keeping me stuck. And I KNEW there was no hope. I really turned a corner within a few days of hearing that. (That was months ago, though. I have long lost that particular “hope.” Now I think, “no thanks! I have better things to hope for!”)

      • Thanks nomar, for assuming that I don’t know how to self-exam. You don’t even know me. There’s nothing I’ve ever posted here that could even remotely allude to any inability to self-exam.

        • It’s not that I think that you can’t “self-exam.” Rather, it’s that it seemed to me you were taking sincere and solid advice as getting (as you say elsewhere) “beaten up.” That’s confusion that’s worth clearing up, I think.

          It also seems to me that you’re accusing CL and lots of really good folks here of malice toward you, which I think you might not really mean. I can’t think of any place in the real or virtual world where there is more good will toward the victims of infidelity at this site. And I tend to think you agree else you wouldn’t be here.

          Wishing you strength and peace.

          • Nomar, what works for You doesn’t necessarily work for EVERYONE… Carol is Stating it Doesn’t Work for HER. And Resents Being made to feel a “Freak” because she needs something GENTLER.
            She is not You * or US* and We are not HER…. Period. she shouldn’t be made to feel Bad for voicing what’s True for HER.

            and you Know What..There will ALWAYS be Critics. Whether it’s your Delivery, Your Tone, Your Capitalisation..WHATEVER.

            Take what you can Use, Leave What you Can’t.

        • Carol, I don’t think that’s what nomar meant at all.

          People just don’t want you to feel ganged up on. Cheaters have already made all of us feel shitty, no reason for you to feel that way here.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is, I get it. We all do. We’ve all been there, and are either doing that or have done that, and we’re either wearing the t-shirt or it’s on order.

          It’s damned not fair that we wasted years of our life. Years that we can never get back. We wasted earning potential, and healthy and beauty, that we cannot regain. And for what? Cheaters and liars.

          There really aren’t words to really explain how much it hurts to realize that you’ve been had and left holding the bag. There were so many days I wished for a do over, even now I wish I could go back in time and go this way instead of that. But we can’t. The only thing we can do is well, soldier on.

          I so get that sometimes the reality of what has been lost is overwhelming, and not even a gallon of Hagen Daz will make it better. But this is the only place I’ve seen that is safe for chumps, a place where everyone is on the virtual couch next to you nodding their head. Don’t be upset with the chumps that had 2×4’s, they only want to help. Stay, and pass me your bowl so I can give you a fresh scoop of ice cream.

    • You’re not being singled out. A lot of people really reached out to you yesterday. Don’t be offended. 🙁

    • There a lots of sites out there that will allow you to continue to feel sad. There are a few that will help you get up to your knees. Then some will help you stand.
      This one..it helps you walk and run. Not ready to walk and run yet? That’s ok, no one said you had to today or any day. What I get out of yesterday and today – it is not hopeless unless you choose to make it that way. Each one of us haschosen on some days to live as if it is hopeless – AND THAT’S OK for a bit. But I for one, don’t want to waste my life feeling that way and I’m 55, I’m not 30. I was with the same asshat for 31 years. I lost those years. Yes, there was good stuff during that time. But HE chose to make it be over. If I die tomorrow, alone, it will still be better than in the arms of someone who lied and cheated on me. I’m worth more than that and you are too.

      • Staying stuck is extremely painful and in my case, it became my normal. CL’s site was my 2×4 and I will forever be grateful.

      • “If I die tomorrow, alone, it will still be better than in the arms of someone who lied and cheated on me. I’m worth more than that and you are too.”

        Like x1000. There are so many people on this site who give me strength just by being strong themselves. You’re awesome.

  • Holy fuck, CL! THANK YOU for this. As always, you write wise words but today, I really needed this. I’ve been throwing myself a tasteful pity party and this is just the ticket to take off my none-too-festive sadness sombrero and pay some fucking attention to all the good shit in my life and start figuring out what is worth grieving and just needs to be chucked the hell out.

  • I love this. I allowed myself time to grieve what I lost but I am grateful for what I have. And yes, someone always has it worse. From where I’m sitting, I only lost a marriage and a lying, cheating husband. HE LOST MORE.

  • Thank you CL. I read some of those posts yesterday and I thought to myself, “Way to give Susan hope there.” I left feeling depressed and sad for all of them so I can only imagine how Susan must have felt when she checked in. Did any of them stop to think that perhaps their attitude had something to do with their lot in life? Did they stop to think that they could actually embrace where they are in their lives instead of complaining about it? Could they be happy that they are no longer the chump of some fucked up mindless idiot? I appreciate your candid post today. I started to write a reply yesterday, but mine would not have been as well received as yours will be. Thanks for putting my thoughts to paper today.

    • I was on the road all day yesterday so I haven’t read all the replies to Susan. I’m sorry to hear they were depressing.

      Look, I think it’s one thing to share our pain here. And grieve. And recognize that infidelity is a terrible loss.

      But there is another part of my message here, which I do NOT want to be overlooked — GAIN A LIFE. It’s not enough to lose the cheater — either by choice, or abandonment. You need to rebuild purposefully.

      Doom and gloom comes from a place of pain. I get that. But I want this community to be one of encouragement and support.

      It’s not supportive to imply that your pain is worse than others, (women vs. men, older vs. younger, etc.) We’re all chumps here. We’ve all been betrayed. So WHAT NEXT?

      My answer is take that shit ON. Embrace the new authentic life. Yes, it’s hard. Damn straight. Every liberation campaign is painful.

      • CL: “Every liberation campaign is painful.”

        Which got me thinking about these quotes:

        “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”

        “I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.”

        “It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”

        “Let them call me a rebel and welcome. I feel no concern from it. But should I suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul.”

        “The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”

        And,

        “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”

        Oprah writing about personal growth experiences? Nope. Thomas Paine. Writing about the American war for independence. Huzzah, CL!

        • Awesome quotes, nomar. I am a big fan of Thomas Paine. His pamphlet Common Sense is the ultimate breakup manifesto.

      • Chump Lady, forgive me for being off topic but this is a hugely important issue. Today the hashtag #bringbackourgirls is trending on Twitter to bring attention to the more than 200 teenaged girls who were kidnapped from their school and who will potentially be sold like cattle for $12 each. Groups all over the internet are trying to bring attention to this horrific situation and to free the girls. A change.org petition is being circulated: http://www.change.org/petitions/over-200-girls-are-missing-in-nigeria-please-help-find-them-bringbackourgirls Don’t know if a link will show up here, but if 400 of your followers could sign and encourage their friends to sign, well, that’s an army of signatures. Thanks for all you do here. You are saving my life and many others.

        • Actually, what those desperate parents need more than signatures, is MONEY. The government and army are doing nothing (Nigeria is a complicated mixture of Christian and muslim) and they have run through their savings. The parents know where their girls are, but Boko Haram are heavily armed.

          • You know, it was the girls in Nigeria that I first thought of this morning when CL said there are always people who have it worse than us, on any given day. It really helps when we are stuck in our self pity or inertia or fear, etc. to be able to look outside of ourselves and appreciate that all people have some challenge or pain or concern, most that we have no knowledge of. The things that we share on this site, our loss, our grief, our worries – all valid. But it IS a two parter – then what? Change happens when we are motivated to make the changes, and sometimes we need a nudge. Hell, nothing like being left for another woman/man to help with that! But do we take control of our own life then, or do we stay sad and victimized? Everyone has their own timetable, in truth, and there are good days, and bad days. I like to think that everyone here wants the best for each of us, and I for one appreciate the wisdom and eloquence of all of you, every day. I appreciate your COURAGE.
            So yes, on our discouraged, maybe lonely and scared days, remember those Nigerian families, and count your blessings, and be motivated to move forward and make your life the best it can be, and reach out to the suffering in the world as well. It’s a great equalizer.

            Chumplady’s post today reminded me of that scene in the Lion King when Rafiki hits Simba in the head…. 🙂

        • Thanks Moving Liquid for sharing that website for the missing Nigerian girls. I have been following the story and it is so tragic and sad. I signed the petition and I will share the website with several people, and if we all could do the same, maybe we can make a difference. Also, we must pray for their safe return and pray for their families during this very troubling time.

        • Signed, thanks. I can’t imagine their or their family’s or their community’s heartaches these days.

      • hmmm. I have a really different take on yesterday’s comments. They were sad and poignant, at times, but there was lots of stuff that really resonated with me. I think we interpret things within the framework of how we are feeling. I think it can be relieving and almost relaxing to grieve. I know that I have entered the “depression” stage of grief because it hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like I was frozen inside an ice cube, watching the world from really far away. But after a few days I learned there is a plus side to the depression stage. My pain is starting to feel fuzzy. It’s not so fresh and in my face. I started listening to meditation podcasts online. I started to do yoga. The depression stage has it’s healthy place in the process. It is helping me to feel like my X is far away- like he’s outside of that icecube and I’m frozen inside, happy for some peace. I feel like everything is slow, and a little fuzzy and I can only do basic, peaceful things. But, isn’t that ok? I don’t feel like yesterday’s comments were bad. I LOVED movingliquid’s. Sad is ok. Every stage of grief can help you move on.

        • This is how I read yesterday’s comments as well. I went through several stages after I found out about x’s affair. I also had that “frozen” period, followed by deep despair.

          I followed a few reconciliation advice books and sites for a few years, but never felt truly peaceful or happy inside.

          Finally I found talks on youtube from Abraham Hicks that resonated with me and changed my thought processes and eventually, my general perspective on my future.

          Very shortly after finding those Abraham talks, I found ChumpLady and it has been the friend who has just the right words to hug me or help me get up and run or to just to share a laugh because CLNation has the wise 😉 I only found CL about 2 weeks ago and it has helped me accelerate faster and with more humor than I would have on my own.

          Many thanks, CL! And many blessings and much gratitude to my fellow (previous!) chumps.

      • CL, I don’t think your post today was encouraging and supportive. It seemed to me more like scolding someone. I think you got caught up in the argument over who has it worse. It’s a difficult one that comes up in a lot of contexts, but I think it’s best to side-step it by simply saying that some people have it worse than others, but it sucks for everyone.

        • I agree. I readily acknowledge that many of the chumps here had it way worse than me and for a variety of reasons: horrendous abuse, abandonment, age (young or old), disabilities, illnesses, pregnant, mothers of young children, SAHM out of circulation through no fault of their own, etc…. Carol or Gio or myself, commenting to one of our peer group (Susan = 60 year old), that yeah it can really suck at times for an older woman, is in no way negating the experience of others or our desire to shed ourselves of the cheater like any other chump. I felt Carol’s and Gio’s comments were in context with the discussion and just another perspective that gave it balance. The consequences of infidelity and divorce don’t always conform 100% to the narrative: Leave a cheater/ Gain a life, at every given moment. Y’all have experienced the ebb and flow first hand.

  • Wow! Just Wow! You made me cry of happiness, because I get it! I truly get it!

    Just this weekend I had a self pity day – because of the financial mess I’m in now, but I did pull myself out of it, and applied for a whole bunch of second jobs – to work some nights and weekends. I got to do- what I got to do – to survive and make a better life for me.

    I know that I am a tough Chump, I’ve done many, many things that I never thought I would do on my own, and I really am proud of myself. Yes, it definitely is not the life I envisioned, but I really do believe that God/Universe has an even better plan for me.

    Fuck him! not only will I survive this shit. I will thrive!

    Thank you for your continued inspiration!

    • Yay! See? That’s how you have to look at it. Horrible shit happens everyday all over the world. I had to realize that myself so I wouldn’t get mired down by what happened to ME. Every day I wake up and I’m amazed at how happy I am, when I thought for sure I’d never smile again.

      I don’t give a damn if I ever pair up again. I’m just grateful to be happy on my own.

  • I’ve only recently discovered this website, CL, and found it a breath of fresh air. I was reading a lot of blogs by women who were cheated on and more often than not they stayed with their spouse and it began to make me resentful because my cheater threw me to the curb.

    I’m 56 and from a generation (or perhaps just mindset) that I am not whole if I’m not in a relationship. Because of that I’ve had four marriages and made a mockery of the “institution.”

    I had never been cheated on until now and have found myself in really unfamiliar waters. But I feel that this is a lesson I have needed to learn my whole life: how to be whole BEFORE I enter into a new relationship.

    Finally I am too broken and hurt (and frankly too old) to rush headlong into the next relationship. Finally I am working on only myself and my physical and mental health. Finally I am taking it slow. Finally I am behaving with dignity.

    Sometimes I’m terrified and panicked about my future and sometimes I feel true glimmers of hope. But all I can do is keeping finding out who I am after all these years of molding myself to someone else’s ideal.

    • Oh, me too. All of it. I thought the pain would literally kill me. I started out doing a kind of private “pick me” dance; I was going to be so awesome he would see what he was missing. Then it turned into survival as the situation I was in crashed onto my head and I had to face a number of things stemming from my choice to be involved with a jackass. In my case, I started out just trying to get from one day to another without losing my own dreams. I’ve decided to have everything we/I dreamed about, the parts that mattered to me, only without him. Another thing I’ve done is to find ways to challenge myself: how physically fit can I be? How healthy can my lifestyle be? How soon can I finish the book I’ve been writing? When do I send it out to an agent? How can I get the gardens in good order and get the house painted on a budget? Setting goals, timetables, planning within my limited budget. Where do I want to be in five years? I don’t think of having expectations, but rather concrete goals that will get me ahead of the curve in terms of keeping up my little house, having a reliable vehicle, etc. I am tired of reacting to things. I always liked having a man around to fix things, but that is neither an option not something that would be good for me now. And leaning in to the need to be self-sufficient has let me feel my own power. It was a major triumph to get the car inspected and not have to do the brakes until I see if I can swing a new car to get me through the next 5 years without repair hassles (mine is 11 years old, pushing 200,000 miles). I still think of the month prior to DDay when the jackass had “changed” and the month after as the abyss, and it was hard to imagine that I would get through to the other side. But here I am, doing the things I love.

      I wrote a poem about it called “The Cure for Heartbreak.” Here are the last lines:

      Here is my cure for heartbreak:
      Hope for what lies on the other side of winter and
      Love for what is in front of us:
      Bird and cat and deer and human
      Star and moon, snow and sun.
      Our own battered, still-beating hearts.
      We have lost too much to turn away from what remains:
      Everything our hearts and hands can reach
      Gratitude for all that lives, all that has gone before
      All that makes it through the dark.

      • What a beautiful poem! Very precious words to live by. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. (I really hope it’s going to be in that book you’re publishing 😉 )

      • LovedAJackass, wow, I so appreciate your reply. I sometimes don’t give myself credit for what I have accomplished in the 7 months since DDay. First, I stopped a lifetime of suicide attempts when things go wrong. Second, I realized a large part of why I’ve been unhappy for years is that I’ve been fat for years. Yes, at first the dieting and exercise was to try to get him back, then it was an “I’ll show him.” But ultimately it became only for me. I weighed 267 seven months ago and now I’m at 202 and I swim five or six days a week. I see a counselor. I volunteer. I SHOULD be working full time, but it’s been ten years since I worked outside the home and I’m gun-shy. The volunteering is showing me I can show up, learn, and do a good job. It’s giving me the confidence I need to apply for jobs.
        I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, but I need to hang on to the notion that, because I want love in my life, when I am ready I will find it. Meanwhile, taking care of me right now feels really good.
        I loved your poem. Thanks very much for sharing it. Do you have a blog?

        • Ha, ha, it’s a lot longer. Someday I’ll post the whole thing somewhere. One of my summer goals is a blog, so I will let you know when it goes up. I know I need one for my academic work but also am thinking about a more personal one, where the poems can go.

          So glad you are taking care of your health. 65 pounds in 7 months is awesome. Keep us (and for sure, me) posted on how you are doing. It took me 2 1/12 years to lose the first 20 but the last 20 have been post D-Day. You are killing it, as the kids say. I had never been overweight but I was in a marriage to an addict (not a cheater) and taking care of my mother and a bunch of other people. Living alone and now the weight falls off me. The weight of all those people. And the need to eat for comfort. It is amazing to have my body back. Such a basic thing. And you are on that powerful journey. And let me say: my therapist calls my suicidal thoughts my “end it all moments.” So I’ve been there, too.

          I love your plan! One thing I did was start collecting “wise thoughts” about things like confidence on Pinterest. Just collecting and reading stuff when I thought that if one more f&%$ing thing broke in my house, I would lose my mind. So glad you are taking care of you!

          • When you’re ready make a WordPress blog. They’re easy to manage and very flexible and compatible. I started one after my D-Day. It was supposed to be all about health and fitness and rebirth, but after I found out my husband was with another woman then I had that to deal with too. I have no friends in real life, due to weird circumstances of moving around so much. But I have the love of my family. When I really need to get something unpleasant off my chest, it goes on the blog. I recommend blogs to all! http://movingliquid.wordpress.com

        • “I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, but I need to hang on to the notion that, because I want love in my life, when I am ready I will find it. Meanwhile, taking care of me right now feels really good.”

          I don’t think it’s Pollyanna at all to believe that you will find love again. I think a lot of people are so used to thinking negatively that thinking positively seems foreign, at least it was for me. Now I have dreams in my head that I allow myself to think about before I go to bed and everything seems attainable now whereas before, I battled a lot of self-doubt and negativity. I think a lot of that had to do with that asshat I was living with.

          • Rumblekitty, You can find love again. I did, five years post divorce and after a year of online dating. Committing myself to the dating process was key in helping me to, as CL says, hone my picker. I am in my mid-50s and average looking. I met someone with whom I am just myself, and with whom I have no worries. Remember how stressful it was to live with a narcissist? Having several years by myself was key to reconnecting with myself and heeding the voice of reason in my head. That’s all I can add, just that it is possible.

  • Thank you once again, CL. I have felt myself being ‘stuck’ lately with no idea how to move forward. I still don’t know the ‘how’ part, but I know the why. Thank you for reminding me that others have it worse, and I CAN and WILL have a better life.

  • If you are lucky enough to survive cancer, do you then sit back and watch your life go by?? Hell no!!!! You live your life more intensely. You pick up the pieces and thank your lucky stars that you still have a life to live!!!! We were all dealt a shitty hand in this divorce BS but thankfully most of us have come out the other side or are at least working to get there.

    I have suffered a miserable existence for the past six years or so and I have finally crossed the finish line of the marathon of this divorce process! I deserve a happy life and I am not letting ANYTHING get in my way of that! I have proven to myself that I am one tough bitch and I can do just about anything I set my mind to. I am thankful every day for my two beautiful healthy daughters that my fucktard helped me make and I am thankful to finally be rid of him so I can begin a new chapter for myself! Is this the life I expected. NO! Did I really want to do this? NO! Is it going to be difficult? YES!!! But I can and will live a happy fulfilled life that is my own. NOTHING WILL STOP ME!!!!

    I hope everyone here finds happiness and peace again! We all deserve it!

  • Holy moly CL, how do you know exactly what I need to read EVERY SINGLE DAY?! You must be a Goddess ; )–my personal badass brilliant feminist Goddess! Thank you so much.

    • We had a helluva time taking a group pic with ChumpLady because she had a HALO! I kid you not! 😉

      Thanks for this post Tracy, spot on!

  • Thank you CL! I needed to hear this today as well. I agree…our individual value does not lie in our pairings. There was a time when I believed 100% that it did. I don’t know what my future holds for me…and I won’t lie, the thought of perhaps spending the rest of my days alone does make me sad and scared at times…but you know what? I would much rather do that than “settle”. I have become open to what comes my way, and I have my boundaries now…I have worked on my picker..I know my deal breakers now…. I may not be 60…I’m 40…with four young children….and I have been on a few first (and last dates) where I have seen the expression on their faces when they found that out. As IF…I need a rescue…no thank you Jack…I got this….check please!

    I think about the one line in Katy Perry’s song “Roar” (one of my favorites).
    “I stood for nothing…and fell for everything” That was me. Now I finally know what I stand for…that means more to me than anything.
    It’s easy to have bad days…bitterness can creep up on you…the important thing is to recognize that it is a feeling….and it does pass. I found that when I’m in the car and I’m driving alone….an emphatic “Fuck You!” in the air usually serves as a great release. 🙂
    Then it’s back to business…..

  • It really feels that assumptions have been made from yesterday’s posts that probably aren’t true. Someone posts, “I feel sad” and that is perceived as “I’m not moving on with my life.” As someone who posted a lot about my grief yesterday, I find this insulting because those feelings I posted yesterday, those are just SOME of my feelings, and excuse the fuck out of me for not posting the rest of them, which probably would have stopped people from making incorrect assumptions about my life, my frame of mind, and what I stand for. So, just let me share, I could write a fucking book on moving on. I could. I’ve done more with my life post-infidelity than many women do their entire lives. And I am a good person, caring and loving and I don’t let the feelings I struggle with interfere with my life because I’m Not The Bitter Loser You Might Have Assumed I Am. I just happen to still feel grief about what my ex-husband, who I loved and respected, did. So sue me. I NEVER, EVER thought I’d be mocked here, of all places. I refuse to feel ashamed that, while I AM working hard at building a new life, I still hurt. I am disappointed at the way those of us who shared our valid and heart felt feelings have been misunderstood, (mis) characterized as “bitter” and mocked. Grief is a process people.

    • Please don’t think anyone was mocking you. You are in a very difficult situation and you are hurting. Your feelings matter and will be honored. I think what I was trying to convey is that as bad as it is, at least the bastard who hurt you can’t inflict any new wounds. There are far worse things than being alone, one of which is being married to a lying, cheating bastard. Getting to meh IS a process and it doesn’t happen easily for anyone.

    • Nobody, not one person on this site, accused you of being a bitter loser. You received multiple responses from people trying to help you.

      Actually your attitude in response to this help is rather insulting. Have a great day.

      • Chill, Rumblekitty. When people are hurting and vulnerable, we just need to give them a bit of room and gentle acceptance. Tomorrow or next week, they won’t feel so bad.

    • No one is singling you out Carol. I singled out one person and it was Gio, for making a crack about blues festivals. That’s it.

      It’s a general attitude I read in the comments that needed a bitchslap. If you’re shocked that I bitchslap, clearly you don’t read here much. I don’t like to see chumps pitting their experiences against other chumps. Women have it worse than men. Older chumps have it worse than younger chumps. Etc.

      We’re ALL chumps here.

      If you’re going to get nostalgic about what you lost with your husband, we’ll remind you that he cheated on you. I’m not saying the guy is all bad and every memory of him is poison, I’m saying infidelity is either a deal breaker for you or it isn’t. My message is pretty clear across the banner — Leave a cheater, gain a life.

      I’m for leaving and rebuilding.

      No one singled you out. And I’ve written a shitload about “bitter.” It’s shorthand from non-chumps to get over it. (I’ve written about get over it too — see the post in the bar to the right). But I’m a chump and I DO want you to get over it and I DO want you to move on without bitterness. Because your new life eclipses your old life, and you make the most of it. I’m not saying what happened wasn’t unfair — of COURSE being cheated on is unfair. I’m saying — WHAT NEXT? Don’t let this shit define you.

      This is a support site. That doesn’t mean everyone is always going to agree with you, however. Sometimes support is a 2×4 upside the head. I know I took plenty of hits.

      • My friends told me in January they would stage an intervention if I let the jackass back in my life. Big fat 2×4.

        • My 12 year old daughter said SHE’d leave me if I even considered getting back together with HER FATHER!!!

          I didn’t need the 2×4 at the time, because I wasn’t the least bit tempted (turned out she was perceptive, though, because he did soon after try yet again to get me to give him another chance). But what a 2×4!

    • Carol, you didn’t just post that you felt sad yesterday, posted this; ” I’m just angry. Really angry. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m so traumatized that I’ll never get over it. D-Day was 9-12-2005. This is what moving on means for me.”

      I think if this is how you really feel, you could benefit from EMDR therapy to work through the pain, anger and grief. I saw other posts where you said you were fine being alone on a Friday night so I get it that maybe yesterday was a day you felt all this pain and today you do not. However, the quote above says that this is your normal. Chumpnation was only trying to help, we were not mocking you. ChumpLady is not mocking you. And, frankly you were not the only poster who felt defeated yesterday – this blog post is not all about you. Jedi Hugs if you want them.

      • ” you could benefit from EMDR therapy to work through the pain, anger and grief.”

        great suggestion! 🙂 seconded 🙂

      • I in no way believe that I was being singled out. If I made it seem like that, I want to correct that. I think that a lot of people are being taken to task with today’s blog post. I wasn’t the only one who was feeling sad yesterday, and made the what-seems-to-be-oh-so-stupid-mistake-of writing about about it. I do feel that I was being included in the group that this blog post was addressing, and that’s where I’m coming from.

        I felt incredibly triggered yesterday by the posts that make it seem like getting a divorce is the best thing that ever happened. Sure, it’s great to be rid of a liar, I don’t deny that, and for the record, I would NEVER EVER take my ex-husband back, and if given the chance to do the Pick Me dance, I know I would have come to my senses, but, I guess I am just too much of a realist or something…I just had to pipe in and say it isn’t all wonderful. It’s hard. It sucks sometimes. THAT’S ALL. I NEVER said, “Stay married to the liar.” I don’t believe that.

        I also never meant to get into a pissing match about who has it harder, and I don’t think I did. I’m not stupid. I know that everyone has it hard when it comes to this stuff. But, there’s different kinds of hard, and my perspective is not that it’s harder for some people as opposed to others but that we all need to see why someone whose experience is different from ours is still having a hard time. It is easy for the 60 year old woman to think that the 30 year old man has it easy. I appreciate reading about other people’s experiences because I learn from that and I develop empathy for people. Unfortunately, it appears that yesterday’s sharing was interpreted as a pissing match. I, however, never felt that. I never read a post written by the young mother with children and thought, “Gee, she thinks it’s harder to date when you have little children than it is to date when you are 60.” But, I see where that is what those of us who posted are being accused of thinking. I came away from yesterday’s postings knowing that we all have our private hell. And I guess I only share that with the people who put their selves out there yesterday and shared their deepest hurts, because clearly, today, I see that so many others think we were just pissing on each other’s experiences. I don’t get it.

        I also resent the implication that yesterday’s posters included a bunch of people who believe that a happy ending or a happy life ONLY includes a mate. As if we were all dumped and now we are desperately trying to find a new mate. Do I wish I was in a healthy, stable, mutually satisfying relationship? Yes. Am I pursuing that? No. Do I think it is necessary to have a mate to have a good life? Hell no. I can feel lonely at times (when I’m digging a hole for a new tree, for example) but I have made the very healthy choice to not give a fuck about dating. If I happen to meet a nice man, in the course of my normal life (not likely, but whatever), great, if I don’t, that’s great too. I’ve got too much to do to worry about dating. My guess is that many of the other bitter posters feel similarly. That doesn’t, however, mean we don’t WISH we had a nice partner. I wish I would win the lottery too. Doesn’t mean much, no need to make the assumption that we’re all out here heartbroken because we are, gasp, single. For the record, I’m VERY PROUD of my single status. But, I have my moments when I wish there was a man around. However, I am making it on my own, and I’m the pride and joy of my children and grandchildren for doing so. My neighbors think I’m the bomb because of all that I do on my own. This is just another example of a simple thought posted turning into an assumption that just isn’t true.

        I’ve had a particularly hard couple of weeks. A new grandchild was born premature. In order to be there for my daughter and her family, I’ve had to make choices that are causing me great financial hardship (being off work resulting in a loss of pay, boarding expenses for my dog, etc. etc.) and I’m on edge. I just came off of two anti-depressants. The anniversary of my former marriage is next week. I had to buy a new car, and while I like the car, I hadn’t planned to buy one and it is stressful to wonder how in the world I’m going to pay for it. My current state of mind is wrapped up in all of this.

        Everyone is having a hard time. I just didn’t expect to log on today and feel so, I don’t know, beaten up, for expressing my feelings. This is what is so hard to begin with, feeling so beaten on by people who have no idea what we are going through. I really never expected it to happen *here*.

        • Carol, big hugs to you.

          But feeling it doesn’t make it so. You haven’t been beaten up. People wrote things on a website. A website devoted to helping people in your situation. It’s being triggery that makes the one thing feel like the other.

          Please understand that folks who post here really want the best for chumps everywhere.

        • Carol..I was one of the pity-party people yesterday, and now I do feel bad for everything I posted. I didn’t mean to bring others down..that was not my intention at all. I feel like I did it all wrong by posting my heartbreak here, and not being supportive.

        • Carol,
          I don’t think yesterday’s posts were much different than many other days where we hear, in depth, details of others’ sad or difficult stories. I would have felt similar today, taken it a bit personally.

          With your full life with your job and grandchildren, it’s just sometimes we need to circle back and pick up threads of pain that still need to be stitched and there is something about the post menopause years which is such an adjustment as to how we see ourselves as women. Hugs to you. You too CL, love your fire.

        • Hi Carol:

          We’ve all felt hopeless and down and can absolutely relate to your feelings. They’re no more or less valid than those people who are happily divorced. I’m somewhere in between those two states, and like to hear from everyone. What triggers you can empower me, and vice-versa. We’re all just trying to move forward.

          I do hope things get better for you soon.

          ~LilyBart

        • Carol

          I think I get where you are coming from….I am your age and our lives are very similiar. I came home from the hospital to an empty house and a post office box. There was no pick me dance. I never saw it coming (roses the Tueday before)….and I think the shock of it all takes it much longer to recover to “normal”…whatever that is.

          I also understand why, after putting yourself out there, you feel so beaten on by people who have no idea what we are going through….that’s so true of blogs. Blogs simply aren’t the 1:1 conversation you have in an email thread or a conversation. It’s a group “stoning” some days. Don’t take it personal and if the advice isn’t relevant to you, helps you in some way, just toss it away and keep reading.

    • You are right, Carol, grief is a process, and we are all at different stages of it – I oscillate between Anger and Bargaining all the time. Sometimes what CL and fellow Chumps says is close to the bone, but I do not think anyone here is a loser, or offensive, just because they speak their truth about being at a stage I haven’t got to yet.

      I loved and respected Mr Fab, too, and I got repaid with std, infertility, bankruptcy, gaslighting and emotional abuse, and I am trying to recover. And yes, grieving. I am not at the point of seeking out a new partner- I am working at gaining a life for myself and daughter (and it is really hard).

      What we all have in common is that someone in our lives felt entitled to fuck around with our realities and sense of self, and we are all at different stages of recovery.

      You aren’t a loser for grieving Carol, nor is anyone here. But CL has a point, it keeps you stuck, and focussed on the cheater-WHICH IS WHAT THEY WANT. I lost my entire reality- moved thousands of miles away from my friends, garden, house, cats and career. I look to the Chumps who are further along the path to ‘Meh’, because their experiences give me something to have faith in when every other aspect of my life turned out to be illusory.

      If it takes the occasional 2×4 to the back of my head to realize that that ‘loss’ was actually a gift, and a second chance at a GENUINE life, then I will meet y’all in the lumberyard!

      And let’s leave the ad hominem attacks to the Narcs, Cheaters and Sparkly turds….I validate what you are saying, Carol, but I also understand from reading this post that focussing on what has been ‘lost’ is likely to prevent me from seeing what has been gained, and what potential there is for me out there. I would love to find another, nice Chump to settle down with, but I have more pressing concerns like employment, accommodation and single motherhood. I am not saying this in a ‘my-pain-is-uglier-than-yours’ way. That is just where I am at with it. Yep, the grief sucks.

      But it sounds to me, like everyone else in Chump Nation, that you are dealing with it how you need to, as are we all.

      And that is okay.

      • A few months ago today’s post would have seemed too hardlined and harsh for me. Today, it’s like a little motor under my ass to push me towards remembering that I’m responsibe for my happiness whether I say married or not. So today it’s empowering. And I had my std blood work done today and didnt have a breakdown. What I see here is support for all different stages.

        Because my kids have been very affected by the cheating, I’m going to copy today’s post, edit it so it speaks to my 16 year old son (delete the widowers eg) and send it to him. We all have our pity parties and there’s nothing wrong with that – I want to teach my son that we have choices even when it seems that the universe is pitted against us. Oh, the boo hoo navel gazing I’ve lost hours to in 4 months. No regrets though, it’s gotten my through this as opposed to around it.

        I wish you happiness and peace carol, I mean that with all my heart.

    • Carol- I totally related to your comments yesterday as a 57 year old, and I am sorry I didn’t chime in at the time and validate them. The whole CL article centered around a 60 year old woman in limbo, so your comments were very germane. In fact the prevalence of long marriages headed for divorce has become quite a phenomenon and has only recently become the topic of articles and books this past decade. We aren’t asking for hook-ups and hand-outs, but our long years of “service” – birthing babies, being the woman of all work, nursing through illnesses, supporting spousal career choices and businesses while managing our own, mutually saving toward retirement, nearly achieving it when the rug is pulled out from under us, is its own kind of horror show. The challenges aren’t insurmountable or unique, they just come at a particularly vulnerable time when you have not 5-10-15 years “all-in” but 30+ years. And if you have children and grandchildren and their life events, you will continue to run the gauntlet of their well meaning commentary whether or not you have coupled up “with a nice man.” So go ahead and vent and grieve like everyone else here. It certainly is legitimate. —this too shall pass.

      • Yes, we can’t get caught up asking if it’s worse to be chumped after 30+ years and left to face our supposed retirement years without the support of the life we have built or to be a young mother with kids not of school age watching the husband/father use his paycheck and the family savings to set up housekeeping with a schmoopie or to be a dad who has to watch the X move the married OM in with his kids. Or me–to have dodged a huge bullet because I wasn’t married but to have had my heart broken nonetheless. Reading the comments here is an education in how a percentage of the population is capable of deep cruelty and selfishness.

    • Carol, I went and looked at your posts on yesterday’s thread. The topic was advice for a woman who was years in limbo with a remorseless cheater, who was scared to move forward.

      Some excerpts from what you wrote:

      “Honestly, I haven’t found that the “possibilities” are all that grand

      But there’s no sense of relief or exhilaration that I have this fabulous new life, full of possibilities. My life now is fairly lonely…

      I try hard to carve out some pockets of happiness in my life…visiting with my grand kids, hobbies, etc. But honestly , it’s a lonely and often painful (physically and emotionally) life. Not at all the joyful existence I thought I had and had planned on having.

      I just don’t think it’s fair to make people think their life will be better after they get rid of the cheater. In my case, it’s different but I don’t think it’s necessarily better.

      I do have a lot to be grateful for, not the least of which is that the kids (36, 34, 32) all want nothing to do with him. At least I don’t have to see him at most family events. (The mother of my oldest grandson does tend to invite him to concerts and ballgames…I know it’s wrong but at this point, I often wish her husband would cheat on her, so she could feel what I feel when the asshole shows up.) I at least have a job, never mind that it barely pays my bills. It could be worse. I’m just angry. Really angry. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m so traumatized that I’ll never get over it.”

      In short, the compassion you showed a chump in limbo was a strong message of the possibilities are not grand. It’s a lonely, pain-filled, angry life that is not better than it was before.

      So, stay stuck, Susan? Don’t come out into this new life because it’s all a big con? I’m promising “exhilaration” and “fabulousness”? Do you think that’s my message here? It’s a big ol’ same ol’ same ol’ no matter what you do? “I just don’t think it’s fair to make people think their life will be better after they get rid of the cheater.” So your message to Susan is — it’s UNFAIR of me to say life is better on the other side.

      Self respect is completely overrated.

      As someone who wants a lot of compassion for her point of view and her sensitivity, you sure didn’t seem that interested in Susan’s pain yesterday, just your own.

      Look, I’m truly sorry you are traumatized by your ex’s betrayal. That he gets off scott free and you live paycheck to paycheck. I think many people here can relate to that. I think what distinguishes them from you is that they’re still hopeful about their future, and while the self respect that comes from not living with a remorseless cheater isn’t most people’s idea of “fabulous” — it has its own rewards. Not eating a diet of shit sandwiches is foremost among them.

      In the words of Tom Lehrer — life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it.

      If you’ve got PTSD from this, take it upon yourself to get the therapy you need, EMDR or whatever it takes. Don’t stay stuck in your pain.

      I am not DENYING your pain. See, a lot of places do that. They minimize the pain of infidelity. There are HUNDREDS of posts here where you’ll clearly see I don’t do that. I’m saying acknowledge the injustice and move forward anyway. Because you don’t want a “lonely, angry, pain-filled life.” YOU get to control how you react to this. You, Carol. Lonely, angry, and pain-filled can be a self fulfilling prophecy if you let it be.

      Don’t let it.

      • Carol,I really feel you are projecting judgement where there is none. Due to all your posts I re read also, I don’t see what you see. One thing I see clearly is that you do not engage with what anyone posts to you, unless you take great exception to their suggestions. You ignore everything else and post another monologue with the same issues phrased differently. I feel for your pain but you begin to resemble a concern troll. I hope you find a peace.

    • True, Carol. It is not a terribly difficult concept that one can be sad yet still moving on and productive.

  • I think some people equate moving on with no longer grieving. It’s ok to do grieve while you gain a life, if you need to. Exhibit A:

    I finished my first half-marathon Sunday (joy)!
    The ex came to watch (meh).
    He brought the baby to see her mother in action (joy)!
    I then went to breakfast with my friends (joy and protein)!

    Afterwards, I went home alone (grief). I cried because I should have been able to continue to share the joy of the entire day at home with a loving husband and darling child (devastating grief).

    So after my cry and my nap, I made a phone call. I went and watched a hockey game with a friend who was convinced that I would be too tired to move. But move I did! (joy)

    Staying stuck, standing still or floating in limbo are not the answers. They are quicksand. Save yourself and GO GET YOUR JOY!

    • Congratulations on your first half-marathon. Running is my therapy.

      I have also had the ex show up at races with our daughter and I experience the exact roller coaster ride of emotions. I get it.

    • So many things seem backwards when there’s a young child. Mine’s 3. I have those moments. Great job on making yourself get up and out though! Every single time I have a choice of leaving my house and doing something, when I make myself go, I’m so glad I did.

    • Damn, you really are an atomicfireball! send me some of that energy, I feel lazy as all hell now! All I did was work and watch hummingbirds in between.

    • Oh my! This is how I have felt the last several days or week… Difficult things and some emotionally hard things, then a really exciting thing that I have worked really hard for and it went well (yay!), but then the pain of not having a life partner to share it with hit hard after, and I am still trying to recover. So a big mess of joy and tears and pride and accomplishment that felt like a bit of a F you to my ex, followed by two times I almost-vomited (I thought that stage was over!!?), with some laughter and sharing and support thrown in too. Roller coaster indeed! Thanks for sharing that you too feel the same thing, because I’ve felt like a mess of emotions this last week….

  • I love you, ChumpLady. I knew this post was coming and was just waiting for it, because I am trying to move my ass out of the self-pity of living in my smug past full of Perfect Happy Family. Well, not for him it turns out. But there is something about just living in your expectations that is stultifying and we are sent to this hard and bitter school to learn it. Something about intention and self-actualization. Like, I thought I was self-actualized, but no, I was really co-dependent. Now, go back to school and learn what self-actualization really feels like. And living with intention. Keep up those lessons, ChumpLady. I’ve visited two lawyers but haven’t filed yet – I have to keep re-reading today’s post and I think I’ll get there.

    • I’m guilty of the smug. In addition to shit sandwiches, I’ve been supping on humble pie. How dare I think I was above having the rug pulled out from under me. Pilates, housekeepers, shopping, groovy loyal spouse, mani pedi, lunch out, always being home when my children come home – those are not basic rights, they’re privileges I’ve lost. Now I make minimum wage in a shop while picking up side jobs hoping to get to financial independence regardless of whether I stay married or not. Of all my peers, I’m the only one to fall down this hole and lose my lifestyle. And I’m really okay with it, because I AM going to be okay. I’ve only been abandoned by one friend – everyone else has my back and cheers me on, so I know my friend picker is spot on.

      • Come again? Whether you’ll stay married or not? So are you considering staying?? Please say it ain’t so. Otherwise, i would then add you to the small list of women I know personally who’ve chosen what you’re describing: luxuries and high disposable income over dignity.

        • I’m 4 mos out, pretty new, in another country with socialized everything. I can’t leave legally with my kids so I’m socking away cash (I’ve tossed all the above privileges so i can skim more). I have to be careful how I play this or I may be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be, forever. Away from my family and support. No crying pick me, I told h to go fuck himself, that the rules were mine to make now. He’s the remorseful idiot crying in the corner about the crappy decisions and psycho ow, I’m buying time to map out my life and take care of the kids – frankly, at this stage I can’t come up with health care, car, rent, 10k for a move, and he doesn’t legally have to let me cross the border w the kids. I’ve got to be careful.

          He knows my plan to move back, so he’s been looking at switching jobs to move back as well. He’s may pull his head out of his ass, but I’ll have him finance my next chapter. Any luxuries I get from here on in will be the ones I pay for and not fr a looong time – I took every gift back and banked the cash, the jewelry and wedding ring are next (its not much). I feel like the woman I was 5 years ago, very empowered, definitely with more dignity than I had as I let shit happen cluelessly. The more I feel that way, the more contract work comes my way, from all over. So for the time being, this works for me, rushing to divorce isn’t the legal option I thought I had, and could really hurt me (not being close to my parents as they age) long term. I’m not looking at keeping the life I had by any stretch.

  • I can’t speak for anyone else, but my final uncoupling was a relief! A huge weight was lifted; I no longer had to eat shit sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was no longer angry for reasons I didn’t even know. I know I am fortunate to be able to provide for myself and I definitely understand how that has made this transition easier for me. But I would have left ,even if it meant I had to eat oatmeal for dinner every night for the rest of my life. The emotional cost of my marriage was too great.

    I learned a couple of things about myself after my marriage imploded. First, I enjoy being alone. I spent years taking care of everyone else. I am enjoying getting to know me, the me that got buried raising a large family. I don’t want to be responsible for another human being in any fashion. Sometimes I get lonely, but not very often, because I intentionally live a busy life. There is so much “out there”that I wasn’t able to enjoy when I was married.

    Second, I am not the kind of person who obsesses on the unfairness of life. Is life fair? Fuck no! My brother lost his only son to a hit and run driver on Christmas Day; the driver was never caught. My 28 year old niece, who I helped raise, is dying of brain cancer as we speak. Now, that is fucking unfair to infinity and beyond. But there’s not a goddamned thing I can do about either of those things, except to be the best aunt/ sister I know how and that is what I am trying to do.

    Our time on this earth is short. It is up to each of us to find peace where we can. One of my favorite sayings is,”Life has meaning only in the struggles. Truimph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods. So let us celebrate the struggles.” I’m not a religious person, but those words remind me to embrace it all, the sorrows in equal measure to the joys. Those experiences make us who we are…

    • Sage advice Louise, “Is life fair? Fuck no!”

      It really is not is it? You have just put things into perspective. So awfully sad about your brother’s son and your niece. You sound like a good and wise person.

    • “I can’t speak for anyone else, but my final uncoupling was a relief!”
      Ugh! I still really want to beat up Gwyneth Paltrow!! Conscious uncoupling my ass!

      • Believe me, there was no “conscious uncoupling” here. Just alot of hard work getting to meh. There were times I never thought I’d get to this point, but I’m still standing, and damn proud of the fact that I did not let that asshole destroy me, my kids or my love of life!

    • Wise words. And I am so sorry about your nephew and niece. There is nothing harder than losing a child, whether a child of the body or a child of the heart.

  • How is it that every post seems to come just when I need it? 🙂
    Feeling pretty low the last few days that my life isn’t turning out like I wanted. Like I expected it would. That’s both good and bad. Wrestling with the changes and disappointments have been hard recently for some reason.

    I know I’ll get to a better place but it just seems so far away right now.

    Yesterdays admissions were kind of tough to read. I think what I decided was it comes down to standards. Anyone can get another person in their life – you see plenty of people bounce back super fast and they seem happy – but what is the quality like?

    So you have to have standards and acceptance. You set standards for a relationship and you wait for it.
    If it doesn’t come then you have to accept the life you build for yourself on your own terms.

  • First, this killed me — “I remember one guy who looked like a potato…”

    I shared my story last week and was so heartened by the response of CL and the rest of the crew here. After my wife moved out, I threw myself even more full-on into being a father … and I was a pretty good one to start. My seven year old wants to have a half hour wrestling match on the bed every night when he stays with me? Check. My ten year old wants to shoot baskets for an hour after school with me? Check. We established a weekly “Sorry” board game championship with a title belt, entrance music, and a cast of competitors including their grandparents. It is a raucous time! I don’t let them get away with murder but I am there for them and they feel settled and loved when they are with me. My ex is still acting like a nitwit (“We don’t need to sit the kids down to tell them we’re divorcing. Don’t you think they already know?”) but I am powering through that. I will do what I think is best for the kids by myself if she refuses to do so.

    A little while ago, I was introduced to a woman in the same circumstances as me — separated from a lizard-like cheater. A single parent with two children. She is outgoing, fun, and just all around lovely. We also spend a lot of time commiserating about what we’re going through. While being coupled isn’t necessary for happiness, there is a lesson here: there is someone out there who is like 9,000 times better than your ex, someone who won’t lie, cheat, and intentionally hurt you. If you’re considering reconciliation, just think about what you want to go back to. Chances are, it probably isn’t that great. And you know what? You deserve great.

    • Amen. If you want to find someone, there’s a lot of great people out there looking, just like you are. That’s what I remind myself after every “potato” date from online dating 🙂 I’m great and I’m singe, there’s guys like me too. And in the meantime, I’m great and I’m always available to entertain myself 🙂

  • It’s a shame ppl would resent you your happiness – sheesh you earned it, and the freakin hard way!! Your marriage/situation gives me tremendous hope and peace of mind 🙂

    And “Don’t be one of those sad single people who will die alone with cats. ”

    STILL better than being with my ex lol 🙂

  • Everyone needs good people in their life. Lose the a-hole cheaters, call (or find) a good friend, watch some Golden Girls, and think about what advice you would give Dorothy about Stan. I love the Golden Girls. I wish there were more shows about how great it can be to be single.

    • Golden Girls is what my friends and I aspire to! If we ever manage to pull it off, I know our house will be clean, there will be fresh flowers on the table, amazing food to eat, and a great bottle of wine ready to be uncorked. Our old folks commune for all the single ladies of a certain age. I truly think that is the future for me and alot of other women and I think it is going to be marvelous.

      • Agreed! I’m in my 30’s with a 3-year old, and when I feel down about being single I think “I can’t WAIT until I’m old enough to be the Golden Girls” 🙂 I think the happiest I’ve been was single in my 20’s with roomies. To be older and wiser and single with roomies – bliss.

    • ” Lose the a-hole cheaters, call (or find) a good friend, watch some Golden Girls, and think about what advice you would give Dorothy about Stan.”
      There was an episode or 2 where Dorothy waffled a bit about going back to Stan. Ultimately she decided NOT to! Maybe those episodes will give us strength!

  • CL, great post and just what I needed. I was actually feeling a little depressed/worried after reading some replies to Susan about how post-divorce life is lonely and dating is hard, especially for older women. These fears actually kept me in limbo for about 6 months post D-day (before I found you).

    I’m a woman in my mid-40s with two young children. I thought, wow, who would ever want to date me? I have attractive, childless, never-married female friends my age who are having a hard time finding a good man. I thought, well, it’s better to be married than not married at all, unless your husband is physically abusive or has some type of drug addiction, and my H does have some good qualities. No marriage is perfect, and we can overcome this, especially for the sake of the kids. After all, all the studies you read about (and the RIC) say it’s better for the kids to stay married. I actually desperately did the pick-me dance for about 4 months, and lost a lot of sleep from it, because I was working full-time, taking care of the kids and the home when I wasn’t working, and XH wanted me to greet him at the door when he came home late at night (he said from work) with good food, conversation and affection.

    With the help of you, CL, I came to the realization that my health (mental, emotional physical) is most important, for me and my kids. My XH had checked out, and I needed to be the best mother I can be for them. Staying in a situation where my XH had his own 1 BR apartment in the same city where he would stay at nights because of “work” and repeatedly lied to me about ending it with OW was simply too stressful, and I needed to get out. I had to come to the point when I realized I was better off alone (whether or not I found someone else in the future) than with him. But when I started reading some of the responses to Susan’s post, I began to think again about whether I made the right decision (I filed for divorce a few months ago).

    • “I have attractive, childless, never-married female friends my age who are having a hard time finding a good man.”

      I’m recently divorced and I found a solution to this problem. I don’t look for a man. 😉

      I have a few divorced/never-married friends too. We’re all on the same page as far as dating goes, that if we find someone great, but we don’t concern ourselves with it. It takes the pressure off and we’re able to have a great time without feeling like the night was a failure if we didn’t get asked for our number. We’ve been having a blast; going to the casinos, trying out new restaurants we’ve never been too, going to ball games. I don’t concern myself with finding anyone now because it’s ME time.

      You made the right decision to file. You will find what works for you and your life will start to unfold. Thinking positively is a must. (I tend to worry and be rather cynical by nature, but I’ve learned the value of telling the negative to shut it.) You’re going to be just fine.

    • Blue;

      I had so many of the same thoughts as you; exH left when I was 41 with two preschoolers; now I’m mid 40’s…

      It does keep you stuck, but you have wisely and bravely found the right answers – when they “work” late and you’re stuck wondering and sick to your stomach…because you know the truth…being single – even if I/you never date again – is so much better than THAT. Congratulations on filing. You’re moving in the right direction toward better times.

  • Turned 54 yesterday. Live with a man nine years younger whose neighbor lady (with cats) just died alone. I have sacrificed and won the knowledge that this is enough. It is good and real. Nothing is stable and guaranteed anymore. Life is now.
    He is not sparkly but calm and fun and had roses and dinner for me when I got home from my new job. He gets that although he wanted to take me “our” restaurant I’d rather stay home and eat pizza and watch hockey. Simple is enough. It wasn’t about him. That was a gift in itself.
    He has the same allergies I do to OPD. Other People’s Drama. And he’s good to my dog.
    I’d rather be a Saint OF wtf than a Martyr TO wtf . Thanks CL, you shine a light on the shit of this. These aren’t normal break ups and the compassion here keeps me going.
    By the way try foxgloves in the garden. Might contrast nicely with the oriental lilies.
    Hugs.

    • I love foxgloves. I can’t grow them in Texas. (One more grudge I have against Texas.) I used to grow them, finicky little buggers. But they’re lovely.

      • 🙂 sorry to hear!
        Your site really has been a God send for me. I waited a year and a half before dating. I found CL just in time to gain balance and absolve my trust issues to allow me to try a new relationship. No guarantee this will work out but I’m in it and happy for now.
        I was broken and suicidal for too long but kept moving. Often alone. Always grateful.
        The song by Janis Joplin comes to mind, when you got nothing, you got nothing left to lose. Good enough is good enough for me.
        Peace.

        • The song says
          Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose , nothing ain’t nothing if it aint free. Feeling good was easy now when he sang the blues hey feeling good was good enough good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.
          For more healthy lyrics I prefer Don Henley’s/ Eagles The Heart of the Matter.
          It says
          I’m learning to live without you now but I miss you sometimes.
          The more I know the less I understand All the things I thought I knew
          I’m learning again
          I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter but my will gets weak
          and my thoughts seem to scatter but I think it’s about forgiveness
          Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore

          There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
          They let you down you know they hurt your pride
          You better put it all behind you baby cuz life goes on
          If you keep carryin that anger, it’ll eat you up inside…

          I too love the ChumpLady….I come to this blog whenever I start to lose my perspective on all the shit that my husband has done. It is so easy to lose too as he is very good at deception I;ve come to discover.

  • I love you, CL. Your daily dose of telling it like it is helps me keep moving forward 17 months post D Day.

  • Well said, ChumpLady!

    I totally agree with your statement of moving forward and not getting stuck in the past.

    There are no guarantees in life anyway, so adaptation and survival are key!

    When my STBX dumped me I vowed that I would not let this destroy our children’s lives and that we would succeed at all costs. I refuse to go down!!

    And yes, sometimes I’m scared of the future but also curious to know what comes next.

  • Mourning the loss of something or someone is important. Life is a rolling process of births & deaths, beginnings & endings it doesn’t stand still. Grieving and mourning are necessary and shouldn’t be denied.

    I howled with misery and grief when I found out ex-H had cheated and when I knew our relationship was done, that my marriage was over, that I’d be a single parent etc. I felt like shit. However, note the past tense there. I grieved, mourned, had my pity festival & then tried way too hard to force my life to do what I wanted it to do. Frantic, desperate efforts to control it all. But that is all long past for me now.

    Different people will grieve for different times, but at some point you have to let go or risk turning into Queen Victoria who never let go & wore black for the rest of her life after Prince Albert died, consumed by her loss but never actually able to let go of him.

    The great thing for me about CL and this site & CL herself is the positive way it encourages us all to see our release from Chumpdom. We haven’t lost a loved one to death, we’ve lost cheaters, liars, dysfunctional fuckwits who treated us badly. Although, it hurts hugely, there is much to be celebrated when these sorry excuses are shown the door. I am grateful for the celebration that CL offers & only wish I could have shared her upbeat, positive wisdom 11 years ago.

    • I agree English Lady! Although I am saddened by the loss of a man that I loved he clearly didn’t and decided to cheat and abandon us. So all things considered, it was a good thing that he left because who wants a partner like that?

    • Well said. My D-day was 2008. I was a muttering ,angry, pick me dancing idiot for far too long. Then I stopped.
      Then tripped over a few triggers. Then a few more.
      Coming here soothes my pain. Others just get it. It’s a reminder that we did what we had to and we are still fucking here. We lost things, friends, families, gardens, pets, homes, lives were turned upside down but not lost. Thanks Chump Nation. Carry on.

  • Would love to know how things panned out for Potato Man! Hilarious description – he’d have been so lucky. Isn’t it awful when your confidence might be at a low ebb and you then get rejected by some ass who thinks they’re gods gift. Enough to make you weep and hide yourself away.

  • Thank you so much for your words, ChumpLady. You don’t even know how badly I needed to hear this today. You’ve thrown a rope into the pit of despair I’ve put myself in and given me the encouragement to pull myself out again. For that, I love you.

  • I said during my separation and even now, I remind myself, especially on days when it does not feel true:

    Even at my worst, I am better than him at his best.

    His life is easy and full of things that are exciting and fun. He is comfortable. He married the other woman in a flash. He has a nice house. He has a good paying job. Yet, he is still an asshole. Even serial killers have “nice” qualities or things.

  • I haven’t read all of the comments and I wish I knew how to do animations cause I would so one right now that jumps up and hands a standing ovation!!! I needed this blog to get my ass out of the rut. You jump started me and every day make me realize no matter what I do or don’t have,,, it is better than it was. All the romanticizing and wishing and praying was never going to make him change to treat me the way I DESERVE to be treated. He LIED and he CHEATED. I didn’t! I had lots of opportunity, lots of “reasons” but I DIDN’T. I may have thought for a year that he ruined my life. Then I found CL and realized HE SUCKS! I’m going to rebuild my life better than ever. Easy to do? hell no but then again living with him was never easy either. Keep telling it like it is CL.

    • “…living with him was never easy either.” So so true! I’d rather be alone forever than spend one more second married to my husband.

      Today would have marked 15 years being together. I could choose to be bummed about that, or happy that he did me a favor so I can live the rest of my life free from his abuse.

      We’re all in pain at one time or another, but it’s up to us to choose how to live from here.

      • Lunachick, I filed for divorce on what would have been my 16th wedding anniversary (20 yrs together). After two ddays, seven years apart, I woke up that anniversary morning and KNEW what I needed to do…best day evahhh!!!

  • AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME–(sorry for screaming)–Tracy you rock! I’d also yell “I love you” but maybe that is going a bit far………..

    THANK YOU (still screaming) 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • So…

    Step 1: Trauma. Try to get out of bed, shower, brush your teeth, go to work, buy groceries while in a zombie-like state of detachment (from yourself) combined with a hypervigilance that’s a bit like being on crack or something.

    Step 2. Accept that you have no control over the persons or events responsible for your trauma and endlessly re-living events or trying to understand why somebody would traumatize you just keeps you traumatized.

    Step 3. Eliminate the source of the trauma if it is still living with you 🙂

    Step 4. Realize that this may be a gift. You’re no longer stuck with somebody who thinks its perfectly ok to traumatize you, you don’t have to walk around waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time. You’re free from all that worry.

    Step 5. Life goes on. Find a new routine, find a new groove. Life is good.

    Step 6. [optional] Take a chance on somebody new.

    Is that about right?

    I marked step 6 as optional because… I’m pretty happy most of the time, and it just seems optional to me right now. That, and I’m not exactly a social butterfly, but I’m OK with that; it doesn’t worry me most of the time 🙂

    If step 6 is not optional, I may be in trouble. What do I know?

    • Great list! So true. I’m on #5 and can’t imagine ever getting to #6 and I’m okay with that. Being single is good….no, it’s GREAT!

    • Thank you TimeHeals, this is great. I believe I am currently on Step 5. Step 6 sounds nice, but merely amusing right now. 🙂

    • I love your list. I’m on Step 5 myself. I don’t know if I’ll get to 6, but I have a feeling I will eventually. Right now I’m just enjoying the freedom that comes from being “uncoupled”. Ha ha!

    • Great list Time Heals. I’m at step 5 too. Took a lot to get there. But then there were days where I never thought I’d get past step 1.

      I wish I had found this site earlier. CL’s kick ass approach is much better than some of the other sites I went to first. The chumps here seem to be more uplifting and vigilant about toughing it out and moving on. Thanks all!

      • It’s going on my fridge too, unfortunately I’m stuck on no 3. I think I’ve been in limbo sooo long that I don’t have the energy to deal with the conflict it would involve.
        But I’m getting stronger and I’m nearly there……

  • On a support site like this, it’s inevitable that at times discussions can turn into the Pain Olympics. Thank you CL for addressing this in your usual kickass way.

    My husband just got served yesterday and I can’t even tell you how happy I am. And I owe a lot of that happiness to this site. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without everyone here.

    • Lunachick, congrats! It does feel good to know you are moving forward.

      I don’t know about anyone else but back in the day when calls would come in to the house for my ex I took great satisfaction telling the callers “he no longer lives here, please do not call again” and if a bill collector was calling I was gracious enough to give them his cell phone number…

      • Thanks DDW! Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’ right? I wanna get busy livin’!

        haha That’s awesome! Satisfaction does come from the little things, doesn’t it? I too was very satisfied when I would call my cell phone carrier to tell them that this account will be in MY name going forward. Or I was able to cut the cable bill in half because I don’t watch sports as much as my husband does–oh wait, STBX!! I can officially say that now yayyy! 😀

  • ChumpLady,
    Thank you for this great post, you are right on. There is a difference with older women that you cannot know until you get there. OTH, I have no idea how hard it is to raise children alone and single the way you did. We all have our own roads. I’m not bitter about it, but I do understand what some of us older chumps are saying about being women “of a certain age” and meeting a good man. AND, there is something that most women will experience whether single or mated. I went through this weird thing a couple of years ago and I’m on the other side. I suddenly realized one day that I’d become “invisible” to most men. This is a thing, when I recognized it I googled it. Our society values youthful women very much, and when you reach what I call “a certain wrinkle weight” you really do start becoming invisible to most men. You see, I never realized that those nods, smiles and hellos to/from passing men were often driven by something more than just being friendly to everyone. The chatting in line at the store is no longer greeted with a smile or a response from most men. Women still see me, in fact they are nicer to me in the last few years than in my past. I’m analytical, so once I noticed this, I realized a small part of it had nothing to do with the wrinkles. I found it had to do with my lack of confidence, something I’d never lacked before, and which I’ve since regained. Nevertheless, most of it is age, I am still invisible to most men, unless I’ve made myself up, and I’m in dim light. It’s disappointing to realize that so often in your youth you connected with men due to your mutual interests, but now you are discarded before you can find out if you have any. What I decided is that if a man can’t manage to deal with my wrinkles well, oh well, he’s not that interesting anyhow. Those are from smiling and laughing and grief and they were earned! I have to get to work now, but if you like, I might try writing you a better description of this “invisible” phenomenon in a letter.

    • Meh, you won’t be invisible to anybody who would matter.

      I’m 50, and I’m not Donald Trump, so I am probably invisible to 29 year-old supermodels (well, I am probably invisible to just about everybody under 40 in a sexual way… unless they are weird or something).

      So what? Doesn’t bother me. Truth be told, anybody who could not see you as a potential mate isn’t dating material for YOU anyway. It works both ways. Fix that picker 🙂

      • TimeHeals, no offense meant but you really cannot understand this phenomenon, you’ve not experienced it and never will. I assure you, it has nothing to do with my picker, I’m not “picking” anyone, not even interested. It has nothing to do with dating at all. I’m talking about normal daily interactions that are no longer “normal”. Realizing the way you look/looked was the basis for those interactions, like it’s a missing stair. Anyhow, I cannot explain this better right now, off to work.

    • Speaking as a 50-year-old man, I wouldn’t be so sure about the invisible thing. As the saying goes, there’s a lid for every pot.

      Is a 50-year-old woman romantically invisible to a 20-year-old man? Often. But not always (if you’re into that). Is a 50-year-old woman invisible to a 50-year-old man? Probably not (and the blind ones are likely pigs you wouldn’t want anyway, right?). Is a 50-year-old woman invisible to a 60-year-old man? Unlikely. Youth is a relative thing.

      When I was chumped at age 46 the idea of dating anyone 10 years younger than me creeped me out (when I graduated college and got married the first time they were in SIXTH GRADE!!!). When I married for a second time, it was to someone only three years younger and also in her mid-40s. Does that make me weird?

      If you don’t want to take the risks associated with dating, or you don’t want to date outside your own age group, that’s your prerogative. But I think it’s wrong to think you don’t have options.

      • for fuck’s sake, how many ways do I have to say that this has NOTHING to do with dating? Or being concerned with whether a man wants me. forget it, I’m clearly not getting through.

        • I know what you’re talking about . . .

          When I was in my 20’s, I could be pumping gas, my hair a mess, I haven’t showered yet, and I had dudes hitting on me. Now that I’m older, I don’t get the same attention, unless I’m fixed up and dressed nice. When I was in my 20’s, I didn’t have to do a thing.

          • thanks Rumblekitty, that’s so much closer to what I’m talking about. Not the getting hit on part really. I don’t really miss the harrassment type stuff or even being hit on all the time. What I am talking about is the simple smile/hello as you pass each other kind of thing. Chatting in the check out lane.

            • Well, then I still don’t get it.

              When I was 10 years old, it was easy to make friends.

              “You like Batman? I like Batman too”. Friends for life.

              At 50 (really late 30s), people don’t strike up friendships over their favorite cornball TV shows usually 🙂 They have families, pets, careers, and they are pretty involved in their own lives.

              But… I’ve found, if your focus isn’t on yourself and you are genuinely just friendly, many people respond positively… provided they aren’t overly involved with their iphone or something 🙂

        • I get it. This happened to me when I was 7+ months pregnant. Guys would look right past me. This happened with all three pregnancies, so it wasn’t a fluke. I was “invisible”. Those everyday interactions just dried up (although I had plenty more interactions with women). When I got my body back, then I became “visible” again. On one hand, I found it sad that these everyday interactions were fueled (subconsciously or otherwise) by attractiveness, but on the other hand I also found it freeing to be invisible! I liked not having guys looking at me all the time, and I felt like I had more meaningful interactions. For this reason, I’m not at all dreading the day that my wrinkles make me invisible. It has many benefits!

          • Now the pregnancy thing I sort of get. Pregnancy = medical condition = you were having sex = intimate stuff, look away.

            When I was 22 years old, I was paralyzed for a few months. One day some friends came and got me for “a day out”, so they wheeled me and my wheelchair out, and one of the stops was a shopping mall.

            No adults in that mall would make eye contact with me. Several children did, and they were curious. One kid came over and asked me what happened, and his mom came over, grabbed him by the arm and scolded him for “bothering me”. My being in a wheelchair made the adults very uncomfortable.

            • That experience might show you what invisible feels like, but it doesn’t show you what “normal” is for a young woman is in the US. So you are missing the most important piece of this.

          • I get it. I’m tall. And a natural blonde. When I was younger, (and thin) I was extremely *visible*. Enough that it made me distinctly uncomfortable. Now that I’m older, and, well, upholstered would be a good euphemism, men literally look through me as if I have a burka on or something. (And let us not get started on store clerks 🙂

            But here’s the really interesting thing, at least to me. In Europe (Germany, specifically, exactly northern Germany…) that is NOT true. I had guys checking me out quite a bit. Men my age, thankfully. On the subway, walking down the street; having coffee… It was kind of fun to be honest–not least b/c I was last there with my Ex, who I already knew was a cheaterpants. And here I was getting interesting looks from guys. Sweet!

            So–all I can say is, the US is not the world…

            • Hopefully, we’re all going to get really old.

              And when we get really old, if you go to the doctor with somebody younger, the doctor will discuss things directly with them and bypass you most likely 🙂

              I guess at some point, people assume folks can’t hear and maybe think so well.

              • I should add… I have 16 aunts and uncles in their 70s or early 80s, and that assumption is true for five of them 🙁

            • I’m puzzled by the certainty with which women are stating that men find them invisible because of their age, weight, or other superficial characteristics, when men on this site are saying that at least in our case that’s not true. Just because you FEEL invisible doesn’t mean all men FIND you invisible.

              Imagine how you’d feel if a man chump posted that women find men “invisible” because they earn under a certain amount of money. Or are bald. Or overweight. I think plenty of women would be quick to say, “Hold on, that’s not true of all women. I’m not shallow. Don’t stereotype. You don’t speak for me.” And they would be telling the truth, even though it might not feel like the truth to the guy who is having a lousy go of it in his love life. Do you see my point?

              Everyone is entitled to their feelings, but not their own facts. That’s especially when it comes to facts asserted about others. The others have a say in that, as well.

              Nevertheless, BIG HUGS to all women feeling less than beautiful. Don’t let anyone, whether a jackass MILF-hunter at the local mall or editors at “Glamour” magazine, impose that sh*t on you. Whoever you are, and however you look, if you partner up, you deserve a partner who loves you and cherishes you.

              • I think most of us men are just used to women not “checking us out” way before we hit 50 🙂 lol

                Heck, I was surprised to find out that members of the opposite sex noticed me every time when I found out about it way back when I was in my 20s 🙂 That’s probably why I am not connecting.

                I get the “don’t look at the cripple” thing and “avoid eye contact with the pregnant lady thing”. Conversations could be a minefield if you don’t know how to talk about those topics; it’s like ignoring an elephant in the room, so it’s just easier to avoid all interaction rather than trying to look away from the wheelchair or baby bump and talk about “anything else” with the fear you are going to slip up and say something like, “So… how’d ya get knocked up” or “It must suck to be a cripple”.

                I get the geriatric thing too. Young adults stop interacting with older adults when they start looking very old, and when they do interact with them, they often are patronizing (the presumption is you are “not as sharp as you used to be”).

                I don’t get the “men don’t check me out” withdrawal, though. Probably because I have no experience in my limited awareness to relate it to 🙂

              • I said most men, not all, it’s real, I do not feel invisible, i simply am to most men, and these are not “my” facts. It is observable and shared by other women. Our society imposes that shit on both men and women, I cannot control culture. This thread is not about feeling beautiful or dating or any of that shit. But you are so inculcated by our culture, you felt the need to send a hug to any woman not feeling beautiful, way to illustrate the issue. Thanks.

        • I Get you, Dat.
          It’s about General AKNOWLEDGEMENT as a HUMAN, having Nothing to do with Someone thinking You’re a CATCH to DATE…and how Lesser ” Human” Beings Don’t Even seem to Notice you Or Able to have a Cordial Conversation if it Isn’t for Them Wanting to Get Em alil Somethin Somethin.
          I Soo Get It, Dat ** hugs*
          We’re MORE than just a ” CUTE ” place Lookin to be Filled or Filled Out.

    • I’ve only dated a bit; and when I did, it was the online thing. I wasn’t quite ready, so I’ve stepped back a bit; but I did figure this –

      The ones who are VERY focused on appearances will likely be the same ones “trading you in for a newer/thinner/richer model” anyways; so anyone that superficial isn’t going to be my type, any more than my size 14 and 47 year old self would be his type.

      I had sparkly before, and it turned out to be shit. I want substance; conversation, laughter. Just like the advice I give my daughter, who’s heading into middle school – only consider dating someone you can be/are already friends with – who you can talk to…and since I don’t want to give her advice I’m not willing to follow, I’m continuing to rediscover me and meet people who share what I enjoy. If it happens – great. If not, life is still beautiful.

      • broken record sez: The invisibility has nothing to do with dating at all. I’m talking about normal daily interactions that are no longer “normal”. Realizing the way you look/looked was the basis for many of those interactions. It’s like a missing stair that was always there and now it’s gone.

        I’m talking about the usual daily interactions you have with the world at large, going to the store, work, what the fuck ever. I’m talking about the seemingly automatic way in which men avoid seeing women that look old. I’m talking about simple shit like the smile and hello as you walk past people. Only somewhere along the way, half the people who used to do the same, they now ignore you, like you do not exist – invisible.

        and for the last time, this is not about fucking dating, or just plain fucking either.

        • We SEE you, Dat.

          May THEY out THERE start Witnessing Your Existance Too…Cause you’re WORTH Acknowledgement..Not being Looked Through like ThinAir.
          EVERY HUMAN IS.

          • You could never offend me Redefiningme, I was just frustrated with all the focus on something unrelated.

            Timeheals, you still don’t get it. I am not going to keep going, bottom line. In our culture women are overwhelmingly valued for their youth and beauty first, all else is secondary. Men are valued in reversed order. It was always clear to me, the invisible thing was just another footnote in all the ways that it’s true. Go and learn, hey, did you know that magazines have a 3 wrinkle rule for female models? Photoshop, go look at how women are portrayed vs men. I could go on but it’s not worth it, takes forever on iPad

        • DAT – I totally get you and have experienced the same. It has NOTHING to do with dating, it’s not about that, it’s like you said, just general daily interactions, general friendliness. It is totally A Thing! I’ve had conversations about it it with my group of women friends which consists of women of many ages. It’s not a *perceived* thing – and we need help because we’re *feeling* invisible. It is an actual calculable experience. And, I get the “freedom” feeling in the invisibility. But, the first few times that it happens, it is startling. Took me a little bit to sink into, or appreciate the benefits. I think what it did do for me too is realize how much I relied on my appearance to do some of that social work. It helped me realize I could hone some of my other mad skills.

      • Lots of non wealthy men go through the same thing. If you are not rich or hunky, women do not see you.

    • It’s a Thing. The great writer Cynthia Heimel writes about it, in I think “Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth, I’m Kissing You Goodbye” — about standing in the deli line and becoming THAT woman. The older invisible lady. She segues into batty old ladies in NYC and theorizes that they tire of being invisible, so they cultivate battiness.

      • Thanks for the validation Tracy, (and several other chumps who get it). I was boxing with myself for a long while. I’ll check out Cynthia Heimel, I didn’t come across her in my research.

      • Yeah, because there aren’t any lonely men in NYC. And certainly no batty men.

        Maybe the “thing” is a subjective thing?

        • I think to try & relate this phenomenon to the male gender you’d have to focus on something other than looks. The only thing that stands out to me is when a man loses his ability to earn. And that isn’t visible at first glance. Superficially, women are valued for their appearance & men are valued for their earning power. Clearly Nomar you are a fantastic man with great depth but this invisibility with age is a real thing that unless you’re a female you can’t fully comprehend its subtle existence.

          • Well, that’s a conversation-ending comment. “You can’t participate in this discussion because of your gender/race/age, whatever.” You can say it nicely, with an air of “tut-tut, you’re one of the nice men but you really don’t know what you’re talking about,” but it is what it is.

            So, I guess for purposes of the discussion of women being invisible, my opinion is . . . invisible?

            [sniff, sniff] Smell that? It’s irony.

            • I absolutely don’t think your opinion is not valued in any way. I just meant this situation is one of those that is hard to understand unless it directly applies to you. I don’t have children so I can’t exactly know what labor is like. I like your opinion & value it quite honestly. I was just trying to clarify not discount you in any way. My apologies if it came across otherwise. To be fair those “quotes” are not my words.

          • Not at all true. Men have the same pressure to look good. Gyms are full of guys trying to meet some standard.

  • Ok, I want you to know I really am working on moving my ass forward. I have decided on a divorce I have no idea how I will pull it off. Anyway, I look like I have been hit by a train, I have been sleeping, and I don’t look like it. So I was a little upset yesterday, someone said something about they are the same kind of woman or something not wanting their cheating sob back and I thought, have I been demented wanting my sob back at first, am I sick? And so last night I went to bed very early, just why stay up, I need to sleep. I drag myself out here this morning, with my coffee and read this, and wow. There is a reason to not think of I have decided on a divorce lets wait and see what happens. What am I doing, I can make things happen.

    Reading yesterday reminded me after the news of THE LOSS (I love that, it is so fitting, it can be this stoic label we can chuck out the window later with a ball and chain attached to the sobs) anyway, I was a mess. I was thinking there were none left, I posted it on a dating site and got over 200 replies of men who were proving they were decent, which I ignored, no idea what I was doing. And then I was thinking I would have to be way more sexy than I ever was to allure men as I had been left. I went through a lot in my head. Thankfully I came to the conclusion of why do I feel I have to be in a couple? Is it some thing I have to drag in life with me? If I go the days not thinking I have to be in a couple, why can’t I just be myself and be in my day, well, I feel better.

    I have to shake this hit by train drug down tracks look, I have been sleeping a LOT and look like utter shit.

    I really thank you CL for saying all this I needed to hear it.

    • Wow–that’s a lot of forward movement, Tess. In the worst of my abyss days, I took a selfie and thought, “I look older than my mother when she died at 84.” That too passes, I promise. And you aren’t/weren”t demented. For months I wanted the jackass back and I wasn’t even married to him. Just “in love.” It’s hard to let all that go, but chucking it out the window seems a good option.

    • In the first months, I too longed to have the jackass back, and felt stupid because of that. Then I realized that my head knew that relationship was over, even my body knew (revulsion the last times he tried to touch me), but it was just taking my heart a while to catch up.

      And it DOES catch up! Time, and a better life …

      • “In the first months, I too longed to have the jackass back, and felt stupid because of that.”
        KarenE..how long on average does longing for the jackass last? I know that everyone’s timetable is different, but good grief! I’m 4 months out and I still long for the buttwipe!

      • Wow, Tess more hugs. And wishes for more sleep– really! Your body and brain need it when you go through this trauma, and you’ll need the strength & resiliency to stay health through the divorce. Best of all wishes (and to everyone facing such challenges.)

    • Tess, sweetie, hang in there, you may not feel like it but you are going to be ok. You don’t need to be worrying about dating or making yourself sexy for some imaginary future man right now. You need to be looking after yourself – I call it extreme self-care. Look after yourself up the way you would look after a recuperating child or friend. Be gentle with yourself. Good, simple food, exercise every day and plenty of sleep. Your body needs the sleep because you are in shock. Your body is helping you to heal.

  • I’ve come to learn that in every situation, you always have a choice. It may not be a great choice but a choice nonetheless.

    You can keep slogging along unhappy (as I did for way too long), or take risks (which I finally started to do one day).

    And that’s true with anything- dating, careers, finances, lifestyle, etc. Choosing to not even try to be happy in a new way, or to evolve and grow even in small ways, for me would now be even worse.

    I’ve lost a lot like everyone- a partner who abandoned me, the possibility to have children is likely long gone because X and I were waiting and now it’s been too long, financial devastation at first, my career took a hit, not to mention dreams, etc.

    But at the same time, I’ve gained so much– closer relationships that I chose to invest in, a temporary relocation to reinvigorate my career that I chose to try, a new relationship that I chose to pursue when the opportunity arose because I had also chosen to get out and live again.

    There’s a quote I read early on into my hell that spoke to me (I think it’s an AA quote possibly):

    “True transformation can happen when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

    This became true for me. I didn’t want to be a victim anymore- it sucked and I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror at all. And I hated to let him break me, so I chose not to let that be the case anymore. It’s a struggle and I’m still not living life on cloud 9 at all times, but I’m now a lot closer than I was.

    Really appreciate this post- sometimes you need to look in the mirror to get your ass back in gear…

  • Joy Filled Chump….omg

    “From where I’m sitting, I only lost a marriage and a lying, cheating husband. HE LOST MORE”

    You nailed what I have finally started to see through all this pain

  • Tracy – THANK YOU – thank you and your “smug, married, 40-something ass!” That was what so many of us here in Chump Nation need to hear. That we are our own light and our own happiness – that all the shining we did on the cheap tin of our douchy exes didn’t magically turn them into silver and gold. It was wasted light. Time to shine out and live life.

    What is that great line from Auntie Mame? “You’ve got to live, live, LIVE! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” We’ve wasted enough of our hearts on someone who fed us a steady diet of cheap fast food and gas station sushi. Time to step up to the banquet and get the good cuts of meat for ourselves.

  • Interesting timing. I just had a conversation with my parents over the weekend about my grandmother. She was chumped: left by my alcoholic grandfather with 2 kids, one of whom had epilepsy. She had to pull it together and raise my father and his sister alone, which certainly took a lot of guts. This was a woman in the 1940s with an 8th grade education who managed a household on her own. Truly amazing.

    But she was never happy. In retrospect, she was probably clinically depressed and in need of medication and therapy. She spent her life miserable, bemoaning the loss of this life she thought she would have. She saved her money (quite a bit, given that she was a seamstress), but never traveled or treated herself. She was a good, honest person who deserved better than what she got from my grandfather, but in the end she was almost determined to be miserable.

    I loved my grandmother, and I do have empathy for her. I admire what she was able to do in her life. But in the long run, I do NOT want to model myself after her. I would like to be happy with what I have — whatever that might be.

    • THIS.

      We have it in our power to Empathise and Feel for those we Love, who Never Got Out, at the Same time, Insuring WE don’t Repeat Unfortunate History. Let Her Look down Upon You from Heaven and say ” Atta Girl” when you Find the Happiness, she, for whatever Reason, Could Not.

      • The clinical depression is often a block – it runs in our family, and I broke through the barrier by being the first to get therapy and meds when I was 20. Was told not to tell anyone, having a mental issue is taboo. Being raised by a depressed mother sucks, it was my upbringing, and she still refuses help. My kids have been taught that therapy and antidepressants are not shameful. I think my 16 yr old is going to need at least one of those.

        • A Wonderful All Natural Antidepressant is Getting Rid of the Losers, Users and DramaAddicts in One’s Life.
          Some may Find, they No longer have Need for the Meds.. Cause the Root of the Problem..that Cause for Internal Alarm goes missing, They are no longer Going Off…and Then they can Feel, Think and React, Rationally, not from a Space of Hurt,Fear and Confusion…Reactionary mechanisms.

          All Deal the way they have to For Them to Survive. I Begrudge No one That..So long as Their way of Dealing causes No one else Pain.

  • “She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.”
    ― Elizabeth Edwards, from her book “Resilience”

    ————
    I agree that it’s easy to get stuck in victim mode, it’s a constant battle inside my head to choose the more positive and empowering thought over the negative and diminishing one. Am I person with no worth who was tossed to the curb? Or am I a precious child of God who is loved and valued? Those two thoughts battled in my mind for many months after my ex left. Trying to referee those warring thoughts was exhausting! However, I found that the more I chose the thought that I was loved and valued, the easier it was to start believing it.

    The world is looking for inspirational people. People who overcome adversity give others courage to face their fears too. I want to be one of the people who inspires others. I admit that sometimes I’m bitter, sometimes I complain, but that’s not who I want to be. My grandmother was abandoned by her cheater husband during the depression. He left her high and dry with 5 kids, the youngest just a baby (my mother). She managed to go back to school and get a master’s degree so she could support her family. She paid for and handled her mother-in-law’s funeral arrangements while my cheating grandfather didn’t even bother to show up. Sometimes when I feel like a victim I remember that I’ve got my grandmother’s genes flowing through me.

      • Lovely Lyn…the world needs inspiration. I think chumps are quite inspirational even if we don’t feel like we are.

    • Lyn, thank you! Thank you for sharing the story of your grandmother. I, too, have been inspired by the women in my family who went before me. Both my grandmothers and my mom were widowed at young ages; they all lost wonderful men. Here I am now, in the same situation, except mine wasn’t wonderful and dang, he didn’t die (yet) 🙂 but the point is, I look at their lives, the choices they made when faced with their tragedies, and it inspires me…if they can do it, so can I. I come from these women, and I honor them and myself by surviving and moving forward. And in case you think it was all noble and shit…oh no. My mom was a wreck – they were both 48 when Dad had the heart attack, left her with three teenagers and an uncertain future. It was messy and scary and sad and sloppy, and the Scotch bottle she crawled into those first few years kept things pretty raw for awhile… but she figured it out, my grandmothers figured it out, and now that I am in a similar situation, being single, I guess, I KNOW I can do this, too. My girls are scrappers, too, and so as much as I am pissed about their dad, whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Once again, it’s what we have control over – our response to life and its little hiccups. I agree, I want to be the one who can inspire and lend a hand, and we can get through this together.

  • Well– this shit is complicated! My $.02. I still stand by my comment on the last thread–that social science stuff gets bred in the bone, and it is true the *if partnering is the goal* it is harder to achieve for older women, demographically speaking. That’s not a value judgement or a commentary on single parenting (hells bells, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on single mothers by choice).

    For my part, as I’ve also said, I’m not really interested in re-partnering at this point. I have enough to do. I miss being partnered, and would love a truly simpatico roommate, but am very happily not in the dating game.

    I love my dog…we take wicked great walks together; it’s good for my back, and it’s good for both of our souls, ticks be damned! For me, that is a big part of the “getting a life” part of the equation.

    But I also honor the sharing of grief that happened here yesterday. Of course as they say, on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog…and all the conversational nuance gets lost. But it speaks to the fact that this has become a rare safe space for all of us chumps. (I don’t envy the job of maintaing that balancing act!). I didn’t see an oppression Olympics going on, but that’s my take.

    A bunch of us from MA, RI and NH got together over the weekend. We had a great, chatty lunch. As individuals, we seemed quite different. Yet we always came back to the old, “Crikey, these cheaters all seem to check the same book out of the library theme… ” It was a very validating experience, and fun too.

    I guess it’s just not a straight line. For myself, I find that the more contact I must have with Ex, the worse my Chumpy symptoms are. (Like these couple of weeks, when I have no choice for various reasons.) But the less I have to do with him, the less space he takes up in my brain, thoughts, & the less it wears away at my new life, and the freer (and braver!) I get about creating that new life. It makes me happy to be as distant as possible, it’s really almost mathematical.

    • How fun that you guys got together this past weekend!

      I agree that distance from ex helps tremendously to heal. If I see my STBX my mind goest to dark places full of sadness.

      The no contact approach that CL talks about is very helpful to focus on the healing.

    • I live in MA- sorry I missed that get together. If there’s another, I’d love to meet up

      • MKISD:

        There’s a thread in the General Forum called “Boston-metro area Meetup”, or something like that. Find us there. 🙂

        • cool, a bunch of us from VA/MD got together over the weekend and had a good time too. It was awesome meeting Tracy on Sunday! She is as wonderful in person as she is on her blog, better 🙂

          We will do another meetup as well, check the forums for our yahoo group if you live in our area.

        • Maybe she’ll do a book tour! We can get autographs! (feeling a little giddy from getting my crap-ola dishwasher replaced.) We takes our victories where we finds ’em, no?!?

          • Did I mention she had a halo at one point? Well, the chump taking the picture said so anyway! 🙂

            Hey girl, I got a new silent dishwasher and it’s cool as hell, damn straight that shit is good!

  • I am so glad to have found this place – we all have similar, yet vastly different journeys. Although my dday was 6 years ago, and I was humming along pretty meh, the exH moving back nearby and acting creepy set me back quite a bit – which was when I found ChumpLady and the encouragement here.

    I was raised by parents who refused to acknowlege any type of self pity. Move on. Stop crying – they lived it. I remember both of them saying “Someone always has it worse than you.” I remember watching “Life is Beautiful” with my dad when he was dying of a terrible illness in his 50’s . And I remember him telling me that if I was feeling sorry for myself, I should watch a movie like “Schindler’s LIst” to get some perspective. Yes, my dad was dying. But those people saw their whole families die. At the same time. And they were beaten and enslaved. “You don’t have it so bad….” So I’ve watched that movie a few times; Hotel Rwanda too. Maybe it’s a bit dark; but I fall asleep in a warm bed with my children safe and close every night. I am still blessed.

    I cried every day for the first year. Hours every day. But it did get better; and I was told that I had 3 choices – I could stay stuck where I was; I could fall apart and stay angry the rest of my life; or I could choose to move forward. So most days I choose forward. Other days aren’t so good. But exH stole lots of years. One of my favorite songs from church has a line “God will wipe away your tears and return your wasted years – this is our God.” And at first I thought, “how? they are gone forever?” And I’ve learned that I may not get those numerical days back, but God has blessed me with insight, compassion, empathy, and strength that was not there before. I will be a better mother; I am a better sister and friend than I was before this. Yes, I lost years, but I’ve gained so much more – the years I have left will be better and richer – that’s what God has given me.

    Be blessed Chumps – wake up every day and choose for yourself to live again. Another awesome song “Tell Your Heart to Breathe Again” goes like this:
    Forgiven
    If only you’d forgive yourself
    You’ve been made new
    But you’re standing where you fell
    Because when you look in the mirror
    It seems like all you ever see
    Are the scars of every failure
    And the you that you used to be

    Tell your heart to beat again
    Close your eyes and breathe it in
    Let the shadows fall away
    You’ll live to love another day
    Yesterday’s a closing door
    And you don’t live there anymore
    So say goodbye to where you’ve been
    And tell your heart to beat again

    Forgiven
    Just let that word wash over you
    It’s all right now
    Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
    So, get back up and take step one
    And now you’re new life has begun
    And know that if the Son has set you free
    Then you are free indeed!

      • Thanks! It amazes me that the cheater can do what they do and not look back and we cry every day until it feels like there can’t possibly be more tears. “Tell your heart to beat again.” Exactly that.

    • Beautiful, brought a tear to my eye. I had been living a pretty cushy life that most would envy. Until it all came crashing down. I have been a sahm for 10+yrs. Petrified of getting a job, because – change. Well, the STBX just made his last financial threat to me. I refuse to be held hostage by his whims & subjected to his bi-polar rages. I am going to move. Move forward so that if he threatens to take our savings & hide it, I can tell him to “fuck off”, because I got this. I am strong, I am smart, I will come out of this a better woman, mother & person. This post could not have come at a better time in my life. For that, I thank you. I am going to get my ROAR back.

      • Who,

        Big hugs to you – I’d been a SAHM for 6+ years when the ex left. It was harder for me being away from my kids than it was to lose the ex…for obviouse reasons 🙂

        Just realize that there is nothing stronger than a parent fighting for what is best for their children – it is a righteous battle, and you will prevail. I had the financial issues too – but my children and I are better and stronger now. You WILL be a better mommy when you don’t need to dump so much energy, time, and love down the empty hole that is a cheater’s heart. Bless you, and your ROAR. 🙂

  • I’ve got 2 TRUE Horror Stories to Make EVERYONE Feel Better and Totally Stop Bitching and Feeling Sorry for Themselves…

    The Three girls from Detroit who were Kidnapped, Raped and Tortured ** 2 Impregnated..one Still Has her little Girl from the Ordeal ** for a DECADE by Ariel Castro…
    THOSE Women ,who were Mere Girls When this Happened to Them are Rebuilding THEIR Lives.. if THEY Can, After ALL THAT They Endured..WE’ve got Really NOTHING to Bitch About..Seriously.

    The SchoolGirls in Sudan,Kidnapped, from a Place they Should have Felt SAFE Within, who are RIGHT NOW Being Sold Off for $12 and Being FORCED TO MARRY Islamic Extremists..

    You Know…All WE Have to Get Over Is an ASSHOLE Not WORTH Mourning ANYWAY…and Get a DIVORCE….

    THESE Women had and have REAL Problems and Had/Have NO Choice in the Matter.

    GET ON WITH YOUR LIVES….YOU have the FREEDOM to Do So..The ONLY Thing holding US Back is US… PERIOD.

    Go on HATE on Me…It’s not Gonna Hurt ME… It’s gonna keep YOU From Getting over YOURSELF and HEALING.

    And Before you Say Anything to Me..I’ve Already Hit MYSELF over the Head with THIS Very 2 x 4 When I caught Myself wanting to Cry about what Happened to Me.

      • It’s okay, Edie..
        When the ” Victim” gets the Fuck Out, The Victor has the Chance to Emerge……and they are One in the Same..just on Other sides of the Door.

    • FUCK..CLEVELAND..OHIO.. is where they were held in Ariel Castro’s house for 10 years… Damn…

      Detroits Such a Shithole… Call it Freudian..Sorry about that Folks….

    • BRW – Thanks for that reminder.

      It is really easy to stay stuck.

      An acquaintance asked me, when we were talking about my situation, if I was lonely. And when I stepped back and thought about it, I had to admit that I was really MORE lonely when I was in my marriage. These days, I’m usually too busy trying to be a responsible mom to my sassy 15-year-old, working my very full time job and spending time with friends (when I have the chance) to even think about whether I’m lonely. Because I don’t wonder if/when STBX will be coming home at night. I don’t feel slighted when he’s not around for dinner. I don’t have to deal with people asking “where’s _____?” when I am at a family gathering or work function (because he didn’t feel like coming along.) I can actually make plans for myself, with people who WANT to be with me, and whose company I enjoy.

      • Yep..you are Infinitely More Lonely WITH Them than WITHOUT them…Cause even when They’re THERE , they Really Aren’t.

        • BRW, is there any chance you could stop using capitals in the middle of a sentence? Reading it for me is like having a conversation and the person who is talking to you suddenly shouts, it feels like a kind of an attack.

          Of course you are free to express yourself in anyway you want.

          • It’s Emphasis…
            After All my posts, I woulda figured readers woulda had That Sorted.
            If I was Yelling, Believe me, Most would know.
            That’s the thing about getting to Know someone, it’s not You or anything Personal or Angry..it’s Just Their Way. Try and Take it as They Mean It.

            I Don’t take it Personal when people talk Endlessly about Dogs and Gardening..Even though They’re Big Triggers for me..I know it’s not a Personal Attack on ME , so I Don’t Take it Personally.

            Peace be with you , Patsy.

            • BRW, it is really distracting *me* from your content because there are so many cap letters. And you are correct, I’m not attacking you – just would be easier for me to read and absorb without so much emphasis. 🙂

              • If my Worst trait is Random Capitalisation.. I can Live with that..

                Not Everybody’s gonna Get it…
                and that’s Okay with me.. but those Meant to..Evidently will.

                And I’m AT MEH..Trying to help those Who Aren’t.
                It takes Me More time to write ” normal”….I’ve got a Life too You know…
                Feel Free to Overlook my posts.

              • BRW, hah, I can live with your caps too, can’t blame me for trying, I’m not goin to ignore, you cannot escape my attention, bwahhaha

              • Agree. Most people don’t like being YELLED AT, in the name of poetry or otherwise.

            • Actually, some of your posts look like what you wrote them on a roller coaster, but it’s funny because I know it’s you without even reading your name. :D. I would never tell anybody how to type something, besides, it’s your “thing”!

              One more thing, you always try hard to lift others up and I appreciate that sister-pants.

          • I do it as well. So I wasn’t even phased by BRW’s caps. I just don’t have as many words I chose to emphasize. At least with my most recent post. 🙂

            • To Those who have Been Supportive of and Understand my Obviously Flawed, But Heartfelt Efforts….Thanks Guys ((HUGE HUGS ))
              I was Actually Starting to Wonder if I Should Just Stop Posting At All.
              This means a Great Deal 🙂

  • Coming way to late to all of this ~ so feel free to ignore.

    For people who feel mired in a grief that keeps lingering, please remember something about the human brain. When it experiences trauma (and betrayal most definitely can be experienced as trauma) it not only stores the *memory* of the event ~ it stores the experience of the event.

    So, like a cocaine addict trying to come clean, you can get a flashback to the feelings that came from your trauma with no warning at all ~ even years after the event. That is more anatomy than choice, in my experience.

    I liken it to my severe, asthma-inducing allergies. They are involuntary. And while I can control exposure to some of my triggers and have a clean-breathing life; I’m always asthmatic and always allergic.

    So to people who feel stuck ~ think of it as having an allergic reaction to your ex. Have a good cry; find someone safe to talk to and do the emotional equivalent of taking an antihistamine. I think this is what CL is trying to say ~ not to blame anyone for having the anaphylactic response in the first place.

    Peace, everyone ~

    • Yes, I agree. I found myself re-experiencing the panic part of the PTSD, and I thought, “what the hell?” Then I realized that there was a sequence of big life events repeating, just as they had unfolded right prior to, and following D-Day.
      D’oh! No wonder– My conscious mind didn’t know, but my body sure did. Once I figured out what was happening, I was able to calm the panic stuff.

      So much better–so much progress! than the first time around. So glad I left that cheater!! A journey, yeah, but so glad I am able to be on this one.

    • This is such important information. I have what I have been told is a form of PTSD from childhood trauma and falling into that hole in time has happened a few times in my adult life. Just brutally painful. But this betrayal thing really threw me because I couldn’t understand why the feelings were still so intense. And then people would say, “you need to let go and get past it…” Yeah, I would have liked to stop crying every time someone was kind to me or going emotionally back to DDay when I got a nasty Valentine’s message. So glad at least some of it is biology!

  • I am new to this community, and so grateful for all of you…I was needing exactly what CL wrote today, as sometimes I see myself as extremely lucky in all that I have , and other days I feel miserable for being alone and for not being able to share all the big and little things about my day and my daughters,. I will turn 50 this year and I was feeling victimized by thinking that his present will be a divorce, but at the same time I fel such a relief of not having to be with him for another awful birthdya. He never remembered my birthdays (last one, my daughters waited all night for him and he arrived last minute without any present or cake for me…they were sooo disappointed). So why should I be with someone who doesn´t remember the important moments and who was always trying to put me down? Even without being chumped there were more than enough reason for not contining with him. But at the same time, I miss his good side and the good moments, and the fact that I “thought” I could depend on him. I clearly have not reached “meh” but reading the comments here has let me understand what a long and difficult process it is to get there….

    • Welcome Martina and Jedi Hugs. It’s early days and of course there were good times or you’d not have hung in so long. And everyone reaches meh differently, for all you know it will come swiftly. You’ll have good times without him. Start by planning your own birthday, just the way you want it 🙂

  • I recently found this blog and this is what I needed this plus some. I’m a chump on the fence. I have no proof of a physical affair but definitely an emotional one. I left my husband and moved 2 hrs away from home (family). Then I took him back. Now I feel stuck because I have no support system here. Being alone is scary, but I do think staying married to someone I don’t trust is worse.

    • Try and Get OFF that Fence…Tends to Leave Ugly Marks on your Butt that MAY Become Permanent the Longer you Sit There 😉

      by the Way your Last Sentence is RIGHT… Your THINKING is what we on the Other Side KNOW..Staying IS Worse.

      May you find the Strength to Do what you Already Feel in your Heart is Right.
      The Biggest Part about Getting Unstuck, is Getting Hard about Yourself and stop Making Excuses for Them and Yourself which KEEP you Stuck….
      Then you get UNstuck.

    • “Being alone is scary, but I do think staying married to someone I don’t trust is worse.”

      Peace needed — I’m just on the other side of the fence (finally left last year after 2 years of bargaining and doubting myself). You’re exactly right. My life is not perfect, but it is worlds better than it was when I was still stuck. Trust your gut.

    • PeaceNeeded – sorry you found yourself here but welcome to you. I also had no proof of an affair that went on over 2 yrs but my gut kept screaming at me. As many here will tell you, an emotional affair is often worse than a PA. My stbx had both – one led to the other. Both are extremely destructive to the spouse who they are sharing very intimate details about. It took me 6 mos after Dday to finish the pick-me-dance and kick him to the curb and I just wished I’d done it early. Those were terrible times in my life and he was so cruel. Texting in her in bed at night while I was right there. Don’t get me started. I finally figured out I could never EVER get the trust back and am joining the gang in trying to move myself along on a road I never imagined.

  • Wait, what happened to Susan? Wasn’t she the original one asking a question re staying or leaving? I don’t come on here every day, b/c I find myself reading way too much. Did Susan ever come back, or respond? So many postings, so little time…..

    And Carol major kudos to you for your nursing skills……I love nurses. I volunteer with several (I was a paralegal b/c I know I can’t do messy medical things) and nothing phases them.

  • Chump Lady— have you been reading my mind? Do you have some special power to look through this computer and see into the dark recesses of my wonky, sometimes self-pitying but otherwise extremely smart and agile, normally successful problem-solving mind??? You must or else the universe has it’s ways of supplying just the kick in the ass you need when you need it. I will admit, somewhat red-facedly that I am indeed guilty of thinking some of the very things you mentioned. Trust me, in my head I know what you say is truth. Sometimes my heart isn’t on the same page. Those times when I am facing another weekend alone, with no plans. Or as I look for a house and realize, even with a good income I can’t afford the one I think I ” deserve” because, dammit I worked hard and was honest and faithful and I want a lovely place to grow old while anticipating my grandchildren and my very generous retirement from all those years of hard work– don’t cha know?
    Then I V-8 smack myself on the head or, read your blog, and say to myself, “self– quit being a whiny bitch and thank the universe for your good fortune; you and only you can prevent forest fires AND relentless self pity.”
    Thanks for the reminder that life is what you make it and if you are miserable there’s no one to blame but yourself. Also because of your post instead of sitting at the pool hiding behind my book I actually extended myself and talked to three new people, had a lovely time and maybe made some new friends.

    So you keep going girl. Tell it like it is because generally if someone has a problem with your message it’s pretty likely that they need to hear it more than most.

    • Oh and I meant ITS. Not IT’S. I have been grading papers all day and would have thought something snarky if someone else wrote that.

    • “You and only you can prevent forest fires AND relentless self pity.” This had me laughing out loud!

      Good for you for talking to three new people today. The pool side is a better place. 🙂

  • I really needed to read this. It’s amazing how I’ll find myself going down a certain path mentally, and you address it, CL. I didn’t post anything about it on here, but I was having a pity party for myself for the past few days. I don’t know why. I just started feeling lonely and sorry for myself.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants. I truly love my life. I’d NEVER return to my ex, EVER. But I do experience a slump now and again, and I appreciate it when you address it. It truly helps.

  • “I’m the single mother you didn’t invite to your dinner parties.” Amen to that, CL. I wish my five year old wasn’t penalized for my singleton status, but the other school moms don’t want the divorce plague to infect their circle. Thankfully, I have a wonderful group of friends outside of that arena. And I agree with your post. This forum (and life in general, really), shouldn’t be a pissing contest of Who Has It Worst. We’ve all been through shitty situations, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

    • Suffixed,
      Yes that’s been hard. Even though STBX left..my kids are I are treated differently in the community. Nothing hostile…but more passive…the invitations have stopped for me to all the “mom’s” gatherings. Yes, it does seem like people get totally freaked by infidelity/divorce like it’s contagious. Thankfully I have made friends at work with many people who have gone through it and proved to be great support. The kids also find the friends that are true. It’s a tough life lesson…but a valuable one to learn. It’s better to have a small circle of true friends than a large circle of fair weather ones.

      • Thanks, Single. One of the many reasons I love this site is realizing there are so many others who understand. I couldn’t agree with your advice more!

      • SingleandFree, I experienced that very clearly after I divorced the husband of my youth (the smart, sexy alcoholic one). The couples we knew dropped me like I was radioactive! One guy actually teased me, when I ran into him, that he had to keep me away from his wife, because I looked so much better and was clearly so much happier, post-divorce.

        Maybe those couples know something about contagion… 😉

  • CL

    “Prove to the Morons”

    I think this is the first time I have EVER disagreed with something you said (please don’t kill me it is only a little thing and I hope you understand it is meant with love :). I don’t think you should have to prove anything to anyone who is a moron. When I read the “prove” wording it reminded me of a clip from the movie Rudy–great movie!! Below is the conversation between a friend/mentor–Fortune, and Rudy. They discuss “proving” and “quitting”. In the movie, quit is referring to football but I am using it for the staying stuck, “quitting of the pursuit of a better life”

    Fortune: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey what are you doing here don’t you have pratice?

    Rudy: Not anymore I quit.

    Fortune: Oh, well since when are you the quitting kind?

    Rudy: I don’t know I just don’t see the point anymore.

    Fortune: So you didn’t make the dress list, there are greater tragies in the world.

    Rudy: I wanted to run out of that Tunnell for my dad to prove to everyone that I worked…

    Fortune: PROVE WHAT?

    Rudy: That I was somebody.

    Fortune: Oh you are so full of crap. Your five foot nothin’, a hundred and nothin’ and hardly have a spec of athletic ability and you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years, and you were also going to walk out of here with a degree from the University of Norte Dame in this life time you don’t have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself and after what you gone through if you haven’t done that by now, it aint gonna never happen….

    …Fortune: I rode the Bench for two years thought I wasn’t being played because of my color I got filled up with a lot of attitude so I quit, still not a week goes by I don’t regret it, and I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walking out letting them get the best of you. Do you hear me clear enough?

    Don’t quit and you don’t have to prove anything to morons!! Listen to CL and everyone here, we’re all in this together

  • A year ago I was emotionally devastated and I thought my life was over, but I think I’ve come along away, in part to you, CL and everyone at Chump Nation. I never thought I’d say this, but sometimes I think that XH’s affair was a blessing in disguise–it freed me from a bad marriage (I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got out of it). I would have never left XH and would have just continued to put up with his (and his parents’ and sister’s) emotional abuse of me, because it was the “price” of staying married to him. XH’s affair made it abundantly clear to me how little respect he had for me, and I couldn’t deny the reality of it or “spackle” any longer.

    Also, sometimes I think that divorced life isn’t that bad. Now I’m not so sure what I was so afraid of or why I thought my life would be over. With XH having the kids every other weekend, I get a break from taking care of the kids. And XH provides me with financial support, as he is legally required to do, which helps a lot. If I had stayed with XH, even if he had never had the affair, I would still be married to someone I had to walk around on eggshells with (his unpredictable temper, his blaming me for everything that went wrong with his life). And if I had stayed with him, I could still end up alone, as he would likely die before me. I think part of me bought into the notion that marriage is the end-all-be-all. I was also ashamed to be divorced, thinking that divorce is somehow a failure on my part.

    • I so hear you Blue, when I think of all the abuse before I caught my ex crossing the cheat boundary I don’t understand why I was still there to be cheated on. Well, that’s a lie, I do understand now, not in the moment is what I mean.

      • Yeah, it’s like everyone has a tipping point and XH unknowingly or unthinkingly went beyond it.

        I think Marx said something to the effect that a capitalist can abuse/exploit a worker to a certain extent, and the worker will just put up with it, but if the capitalist crosses some line, then the worker will be motivated to revolt.

    • Thank you, Blue, your words really hit me. I used to fear divorce so much, even though I was unhappy – clung to the hope that if we loved him enough, he would change. Then, the last affair happened, divorce happened, and it’s not as bad as I feared. And that’s kind of great to know that. On a sassy day I think I want to write the OW a thank you letter, all the while laughing because ‘my past is her future.’ I like my alone time. It DOES beat walking on eggshells, being dismissed or ignored or blamed. The relief that he isn’t going to walk through my door ever again is palpable. I still believe in marriage and am happy for people who are making real good ones. The thing is, we can only do our 50% of that arrangement. And I am relieved that I don’t have to take care of him when he is old, although you know, in sickness and in health…I just know FOR SURE

      • …that I wasn’t finished writing that last post LOL what I was saying was that I know for sure that he would never take care of me when I am old and sick. So better to figure out how to do it now without the expectation that he would do that. Anyway, it’s just balm to read all of your experiences and feelings, because I don’t feel alone while processing all of this.

      • …that I wasn’t finished writing that last post LOL what I was saying was that I know that he would never take care of me when I am old and sick. So better to figure out how to do it now without the expectation that he would do that. Anyway, it’s just balm to read all of your experiences and feelings, because I don’t feel alone while processing all of this.

  • CL, I think you’re being too hard on people. The reality is there is a point where you are old enough that you probably aren’t going to find another partner. That’s a hard thing to face and it’s understandable that it might make someone reluctant to get a divorce.

    It’s not helpful to compete over whose problems are worse or start talking about smugness. That doesn’t mean that people are wrong about what they are facing.

    There’s no great time to get a divorce, but it’s just a fact that women who divorce after 50 don’t usually remarry.* Some of that may be by choice (they have kids and money and they’ve been burned), but some of that may be not having enough good guys their age who are available.

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I have sympathy for Gio and others who are older and looking at divorce. It is hard in certain ways that would have been less of an issue earlier.

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but when you are older, money is a huge issue. Rebuilding your life is harder later on – you may be less able to change jobs, you have less time to start re-saving for retirement, etc.

    CL, you are mighty for getting out of the situation you were in with an abusive husband living in a new community, etc. As hard as it was, it would have been harder to start over again once more if you had been ten or twenty years older.

    Anyhow, I think you’re shaming people too much for pointing out some of their realities. It’s not easy for younger people who get divorced. Staying may not be a viable option even if you want to. It is, however, real that getting divorced is scarier and more difficult the older you get.

    I hope we can recognize that without getting defensive about how hard it is no matter what.

    *I don’t remember where or have a link, but I have read that this is true statistically.

    • I’m going to borrow a line from a movie regarding the statistics on remarriage. While it may not be true, it feels like it’s true. My experience is that there are a lot of fine women out there and I don’t know where the men are.

    • That is why a truthful discussion about age is so useful because maybe the younger chumps, instead of fence sitting will take our comments as an impetus to move forward and restart earlier (with or without partnering/coupling/hooking up as a goal) … “see the light!”

      • I think this would make a good blog post. One of the reasons I want to share my shit is in hopes other chumps get the fuck out sooner than later.

        Compared to many I am in good shape financially but I was on track to retire at 58 before my ex took half my shit, now I don’t expect to be able to retire. It is something that doesn’t go away.

  • I just printed this out and am putting a copy in my nightstand and another in my glove compartment to constantly remind me how FUCKING GOOD I HAVE IT now that I’m free of a prison sentence to a selfish, mean man. Thank you so much, CL. I treasure this blog!

  • I don’t think the message older women (or men) need to hear is that they can’t complain about the problems of a divorce late in life.

    I think what they need to hear is that there is hope even with the problems of divorce at an older age.

    There are ways to say it that are better than others, but there is a valid point here. If you are an older person looking at divorce, you may realistically wonder if what worked for Tracy in her 30s and 40s can work for you. I would.

    CL, I think you need to come up with a better answer to older people’s real and sensible fears about divorce than young people have it hard, too.

    • I am an older woman who left a long term marriage and I don’t see any lack of empathy from CL or anyone else here. As I said earlier, life often is unfair. Sorry, it just is. The best we can hope for is to try and live our lives the best way possible. I have drawn so much strength here by reading how the people have survived and thrived DESPITE what their cheaters put them through. Was it easy? Hell, no! Was it worth it? Hell to the yes! It’s fine to be afraid, but never let your fears keep you stuck, no matter what age you are.

    • “CL, I think you need to come up with a better answer to older people’s real and sensible fears about divorce than young people have it hard, too.”

      Instead of telling CL what to do, why don’t YOU come up with it, Diana? What’s your better idea? I’d really like to hear it.

      I can’t imagine you’d tell these people: “Be brave. Leave the person who abuses you. Find people who treat you better. You deserve it. You can do it. You will overcome. UNLESS . . . you’re old. Then your prospects suck, and you should accept the rotten hand you’ve been dealt. Because what’s you there for YOU is even worse.”

      WTF? Srsly.

      • Nomar, I think the better answer is in most of CL’s posts. This one today had a tone that was different from the rest. I think it’s important to be able to disagree and point that out. CL gives a lot of difficult advice to other people. I think she can take some about her writing tone in this one piece. It’s not a criticism of her whole blog our her approach.

    • Diana L — I am not saying people cannot complain about the problems of divorce in later life. I’m saying exactly what I say over and over and over again here — you do not control what happens to you — you ONLY control how YOU respond to it.

      You can fold up and give up — or you can embrace a new life.

      What I am objecting to — and you just made this very assumption here in your comment — is that I’m saying my story is the *only* story, i.e., you get out and surprise! you find love again later in life. I NEVER assume my story is the One True Ending for all that ails you. Frankly, not everyone wants my ending (or life in Texas). But my story is possible — probable? I have no idea — but I’m not the only one living it. Many people in this community live it too — Kelly, Marcie, and Kara come to mind off the top of my head. Not to mention about a dozen people I know IRL who found love in late to middle age and are not super models.

      I have nothing but empathy for chumps and the destruction inflicted on them by cheaters. I go to battle at HuffPo and just about anyone who will listen to me IRL to say infidelity is harmful and unjust and abusive. No one pays me to put that message out there or run this blog. I think that voice — leave a cheater, gain a life — needs to be out there.

      There is a shit load of reconciliation nonsense and there is a hell of a lot of gloom and doom. There is no other place I’m aware of that says — hell YEAH, leave the cheating motherfucker — you’ll be better for it.

      Because I believe that. You WILL be better for it. Richer? Probably not. Living the life you thought you would? Absolutely not. But happier — hell yes, if you’re open to it.

      • It’s respectable of you to defend yourself but no explanations are needed for someone like myself. CL lacks empathy?? That’s the biggest bullshit I’ve heard on this blog. The delivery might be a bit “tough love” like and could be perceived as rough around the edges, but it’s part of the appeal, not to mention more effective. I wonder who would devote their precious time to maintaining this blog (for zero profit) if they weren’t a true empath.

      • Let me say too that there is no guarantee that a Chump over 60 will have a choice, economically, as a cheater can just walk away, hide money, spend the retirement on a skank, etc. And divorce for any reason is likely to leave both parties with less than 50% of what they amassed as a couple, once the lawyers, real estate transfer fees, replacement costs for household items, etc., costs. Widowhood is no day at the beach either, as employment income or Social Security and pensions decrease or end but the house will still need a new roof. My point is that people entering partnerships of any kind–and marriage is a partnership–have to think ahead to how they will manage if the partnership ends. I know you talk about post-nups in relation to reconciilation, but SAHMs or SAHFs probably need one too, or someone who takes a leave to take care of an elderly parent or puts a spouse through school or relocates six times so the cheater can climb the corporate ladder. I’m not saying this as any sort of criticism of anyone (including myself, who was about to help the jackass launch a business, uh, with my money…). I’m just saying that we enter into the most significant economic and social partnership of our lives and think it is “not romantic” to protect ourselves economically. We trust that we are in it together with a spouse. In an economy that requires two incomes to support a family at something like a middle class level, men and women take a big risk if they don’t maximize their own ability to support themselves if left alone at any age. Hoping you’ll think of book #2 as a manual for marriage in the modern economic world.

        • Yeah, I have wondered about this side of things, and what I would do if I ever fell in love again and wanted to marry. I would be interested in learning how to make sure I protect myself (but not it in a distrusting way)…is that possible? Thoughts for a another time, since that is not anywhere near my reality at the moment. But I do wonder…

      • CL, I read and enjoy your blog. I think you have an important voice and help many people (also, you’re very funny).

        I also don’t think this blog post says what you intended it to. I don’t have the energy to deconstruct it, I just want to pass on to you, that the tone comes across to at least one reader as different from the rest. It sounds like you are scolding a Chump for the complaints they made in your comments.

        I can’t control what you do, but I hope you will think about that idea.

        Switching gears, I didn’t think you ever say that your story is the only one and I didn’t mean that in this comment.

        I was trying to say that someone might legitimately want to ask, I’m older, will CL’s advice work for my life? can I really start again and be okay? what kind of life will I get? will I be lonely and poor?

        I see that as an important question to ask (and maybe worth a column or two) without anyone being criticized for asking it (although it’s possible that someone asked the question in the wrong way).

  • What did Yogi Berra say? “When you come to a fork in the road, take it! ” : ) We’ve traveled to the fork, or we were driven there, or our relationship GPSs broke. We’re still at that location in our lives. And maybe now we’re on the road less traveled. It’s our journey even though we didn’t choose to visit this foreign, inhospitable space of cheaterville. But if we don’t want to stay in misery land, we need to find our way out. Tracy is correct, IMHO. Just as the cheaters made the choice to commit adultery, lie and deceive, we have a choice how to deal with their behavior(s). And as Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”

  • Oh, how I needed today’s post…. Not only my self esteem has been at its ultimate lowest, but narcissistic asshole keeps reminding me that “no one will put up with my sarcastic personality”, (if there’s such thing), that men don’t like chunky women, which I am, that my tendency to clutter the kitchen table is a huge turn off to most men (“unless he’s also a slob”, says asshole), that I’m too old now to have another child (I’m 38), that as soon as someone discovers that I have anxiety issues, they’ll flee, etc. the long list goes on. I’ve been so beaten up by this “man-child” that I’m starting to seriously wonder if he’s on to something… Oh yeah, I forgot to adds that my low sex drive was the relationship killer for him. Plus that I’m not “street smart” like OW is… I better stop, I’m getting depressed over this list. But honestly, this type of gaslighting does a major number on your head.

    • Don’t listen to that fuckwit. Listen to me, a chunky, sarcastic woman who clutters tables — know your worth. You deserve better. And better is getting away that kind of gaslighting abuse.

    • Heartbroken, please read the book “Why does he do that” by Lundy, the fuckwit is fuckin wit you to control you and keep you. You are mighty, that’s why he’s saying that shit, he wants to keep sucking the mighty out of you. Don’t believe his shit. Jedi hugs x 2!

      • Please explain? I’ve heard of the book vaguely but I thought it was about physical abuse vs mental? You know what I don’t quite get? How could a bright, highly educated girl like myself start to actually question whether those qualities I possess, will really deter men from pursuing me: I really AM that person my ex often describes: I mean, I AM a clutter queen (but I’m not dirty, just to clarify), I am overweight, I DO have a very dry sense of humor…. so it’s as he’s already convinced me that I represent so little to the world. I sometimes drive in my car and think to myself that perhaps my education and my child are really the only “things” that I’m proud of, since he dismissed everything else… Btw, I am not looking for sympathy or pity here, but a possible explanation why I let the gaslighting continue? Would it have to do where I am in this process? Relatively new chump, just a few months out from DD, nothing has been finalized, no child support in place, he threatens to take away my child, tells lies about me to mutual friends and even strangers… no wonder I’m still walking around in a fog?

        • heartbroken, you definitely need to read the Bancroft book (not just about physical abuse at all), and I’d suggest George Simon’s stuff too. This guy is emotionally abusive, and you are feeling beaten down!

          I admit, the part about the mess on the table made me laugh! My ex used to complain SO much about which radio station I listened to, which newspaper I read, and the fact I – heaven forbid! – drink Coca-Cola. It’s just an excuse to beat you down, make you feel bad, and create some kind of false equivalency. ‘Oh yeah, I cheated, but YOU, you drink COKE!’ Can you see what a jackass could bug us about little things like that? And in the meantime, they’re throwing away a loving, caring and loyal partner. Idiots.

          So, you’re sarcastic, chubby, and a little messy. Welcome to the club!!! It is highly likely you’ll be able to find a romantic partner who likes you just fine. But that’s NOT the most important thing. The most important is that even if you never do have another romantic relationship, you will be SO much happier, and have so much better a life, without this fucktard in it!

          My ex, too, almost had me convinced that I’m hard to live with. Then I reminded myself that I have several great long-term friends who put up with me just fine, no problems at all there, actually, and great relationships with my kids, my siblings, and many colleagues at work. Nobody but him finds me hard to get along with!!! (I admit to having a, shall we say, forceful personality, and not everybody at work loves me to bits, but we get along, I’m NOT intolerable!)

          NONE of this can stop you from having a great life! There are so many fun and pleasant things to do out there, and so many great people to hang out with! And when you’re ready for another romantic relationship, just look for someone compatible (even about the sex-drive bit; it’s not a huge deal for some people. And even with a low libido, you’re much more likely to try to get in the mood, once in a while, with someone who treats you well), and, as CL has emphasized, KIND.

          • Are chubby, sarcastic, and messy common chump traits? Because I fit that bill perfectly, too!

            • I’m sarcastic, not in the best shape ever and actually quite neat. So what does that mean? Nada. 🙂

              • I was kidding, Nord! Not trying to pigeon hole anyone, just noting the fact that those certain traits apply to me too.

        • Karen, all abuse generally starts out emotional, it sets you up, abuse is about control and I guaranfuckingtee you if you read that book you will get it. Buy it now, I promise it will help you right now, if it does not? You can bill me for it!

          • Yes, your H is an abusive, disordered a-hole, no doubt.
            Does anyone know why Bancroft seems only interested inwriting about abusive males? I mean, it is fairly well established that women abuse as frequently as men.

        • Heartbroken, your self-description fits me very well too. I spent a long time assuming, I guess, that smart, professionally successful, well-educated women didn’t end up in abusive relationships because we had all the resources and information to get out. Then, one day I realized that either I wasn’t smart (because I was in one) or that my assumptions were stupid. (Possibly both were true!) And I went and asked someone for help getting out.

          I don’t know why we buy into gas lighting from spouses when we wouldn’t be fooled in nearly any other situation. I suspect it happens gradually. We give the spouse the benefit of a doubt once, then twice, then eventually we forget the whole concept of “doubt.” Even if we know one thing the spouse says is a lie, we fear some of the other claims might be true. We know one friend will side with the spouse, so we fear everyone else in our world will believe every word the spouse utters. Liars don’t lie about everything–that is what makes them persuasive. Being “chunky” doesn’t mean you aren’t desirable or valuable or kind or funny. Don’t give him credence just because he managed to weave one (unimportant) fact into his tapestry of lies.

          Have you ever climbed a mountain and reached the top of a slope only to realize you aren’t at the peak but only on a ridge and that there is another slope in front of you? (And this happens again and again as you work your way up the mountain!) The ridge gives a whole new perspective and rewards your climb, yet it can be shocking to realize you really aren’t there yet. This is how coming out of the fog has felt to me for several years. I have an epiphany; I see how I’ve been chumped; I enjoy the view, and then I turn around and realize there is a whole new slope to climb. I am still making discoveries about how psychologically manipulated I’ve been. I still find I’m operating under false assumptions I adopted in order to preserve the marriage. One by one they drop away.

          Please have faith in yourself. Don’t worry too much about why you got into this mess at the moment. As CL has preached in other posts–when the house is on fire get out. Worry about why it is on fire afterwards. Keep on working for your future and your child’s. You can try to figure out why your spouse is a narcissist or how you became mired in gas lighting once you have some distance and can see more clearly.

          As to the threats to take your child away, I know those are frightening beyond belief. He is saying that because he knows it will scare you. It is another example of how horribly you are being treated. Try to use those threats to fuel the anger you need to get out. He is saying that to make you submit; turn it on him. Let it make you more determined.

            • I agree. It reminds me of the first time I climbed a mountain and was shocked that every time I thought I had reached the top I saw more slopes to climb. But what an adventure!

      • oh, heartbroken. What a sweet talker that guy is. Low sex drive? with all that lovin’ coming your way? He sure knows how to get a girl in the mood…! How’s that for sarcasm, ASSHOLE?! Honey, don’t be heartbroken. Be mighty. Get outa that. Holding you up to the light, girl!

        • Thanks. In regards to the sex drive, it’s never really been that low. It has GOTTEN low over the years, and it wasn’t due to menopause, which still too young for, or illness… it was that I was really never in a mood after I got berated for not putting the dishes away or him telling me that I could lose some weight and “then you’ll be more attractive to me.” Who would feel sexy now?
          It still hurts to know he really meant his disgust for me: both OWs were typical gym rats, very toned bodies, late 20s, fake tits, which he claims is what men prefer (“because they always look perky”), they took care of themselves with their manicures. Pedicures and regular hair maintenance. I, on the other hand, have always been a plain Jane, Ive got all natural DDs with a pouch around my waist, Target clothes… When I saw the one OW in person (confrontation), I almost died from embarrassment: I showed up on her doorstep at 8pm and she “greeted” me in full makeup, full blowout, Hermes belt, Chanel slippers…

          During very very brief (3 days) reconciliation, when I described to ex the above meeting, he simply acknowledged that “and that’s how a woman should really take care of herself.” That statement brought so much agony to my psyche.

          • Your ex is an ass. And yes, you can quote me on that.

            “That’s how a woman should really take care of herself”? Give me a fucking break.

    • Heartbroken, I feel like I MUST repond to you and to everyone else who feels like the “statistics” about the odds of finding a partner later in life, or being too old to get pregnant or crappy memes like “men don’t make passes as girls who wear glasses (or are chunky)” is some kind of Holy Writ, or Oracle of Truth. Statistics are all bullshit! Life can absolutely NOT be reduced to charts and graphs. Life is crazy, wild, amazing, terrifying, mysterious, painful and ultimately beyond our knowing. Here’s how I know this: After being divorced from a cheater, my sister remarried six years later at age 40. This is really nothing short of a miracle, because my sister is quite obese, has no money, has a sarcastic sharp tongue, has loads of anxiety issues and – according to the statistics – should have been relegated to the trash heap where relationships are concerned. You know what? She found this goofy, funny guy who just adores her. Just as she is. They’re been married now for 5 years. Even better, at age 42 my obese sister gets pregnant! Another miracle. We are the only sibs, I’m 10 years older and neither of us has kids. I figured both of us would go to the grave childless. Now I’m the proud aunt of a darling 3 year old! My sister’s husband is the best husband and dad around. None of this would have been predicted by the “statistics.”

      I’m not saying that such a success story is guaranteed to everyone. I’m saying it’s possible. My sister upped those odds by not listening to “statistics” and taking action, which I think helped move her from the ‘possible’ to the ‘probable’ category. I’m also not saying that find success means finding another mate – success is about the ability to embrace a new life as CL says, and move on without bitterness. As for me, I’m putting a lot more trust in the goodness of God and life than I am in “statistics.”

    • oh, heartbroken. What a sweet talker that guy is. Low sex drive? with all that lovin’ coming your way? He sure knows how to get a girl in the mood…! How’s that for sarcasm, ASSHOLE?! Honey, don’t be heartbroken. Be mighty. Get outa that. Holding you up to the light, girl!

    • heartbroken –

      Yes! to what CL said. Leave for yourself and because you know you deserve more than this piece of shit guy. I left not because I thought I could find better, but because I knew that being alone was better than being with him… that I would lose myself if I stayed.

      And guess what?? Once his semi-toxic personality was out of my life I was happier and I became a better version of myself. The version I am meant to be. I have flaws, had flaws in the marriage (I would argue these a-holes bring out our worst)… but they are not as bad as I thought when I was with him and I’ve since made a lot of new friends (I was isolated with my ex… it was almost just him and me with very few friends) and learned that lots of people DO really like me just as I am.

  • Thanks CL. I haven’t been fixated on future romantic relationships. Family and friends are more fixated on that for me than ME!

    I’m not looking for love or true romance. I had a bad sad breakup in my late 20’s before I was bombed by asshat. I know the best thing to do in the healing process once you have grieved is get an independent life.

    What keeps me stuck right now isn’t this dead marriage, it’s figuring out the damned logistics. Weirdly, I feel compelled to explain why the hell I’m still legally connected to this broken asshole.

    I need to find this poem a young starving poet wrote for me about a/the Phoenix. In a way we all are like that. The cheaters burnt our houses down. We need to rise from the ashes. Because that damned bird that came out of the cinders was pretty fucking awesome.

  • All I can say is thank you Chump Lady. This site is like your Mom telling you that she gets your pain but get off your ass and make something better of your life cause you deserve it. My Mom god bless is 84 and kicking ass. She ‘s not gone through what we have in regards to infidelity but nursed my Dad for 12yrs prior to his death , ran a thriving business , is the equivalent of the Italian Martha Stewart and will tell you to go
    to hell if you don’t respect her as a woman and as a human being. I get mad when people tell me to get off my pity pot but its for my own good. My therapist says infidelity is a form of abuse and her job is to get me out of the fog I’m in and back to a great life without my serial cheating, sex addict ex. And when I complain and say but he has no remorse and has moved on after a 22yr marriage she says that’s because he’s empty inside and you’re not. So embrace the grief and let it propel you forward. So I am and it’s damn hard. I will say the no contact info was the first piece of advice I followed and stuck to. If I had stuck to my diet like I’m sticking to the no contact rule I’d be a super model but hey that can be my next goal . No contact with massive calories. Keep us our toes Chump Lady cause we need it.

  • Well, wow, okay. This is one reason I stopped doing message boards. This is a great group of people. There are very helpful insights here, but I don’t have to time or energy to try to get my little old voice heard or work my way into the matrix. 🙂 I’ll say it now and then just listen and read. Maybe I’ll follow from afar on Facebook.

    If anyone cares, it is a really different world to be left, abandoned really, at 59 with kids still at home. Yes, at 62 I’m still doing the soccer games and all of that. I get to show up at kid-functions still. Is she the mom? Is she the gramma? Where is the dad? Yes, I made the choice to have a bunch of kids with my ex. And I trusted him even when I shouldn’t have. Hence, chump, right?

    It was not my choice to get slammed by a virus and see part of my heart get eaten and have a series of health issues that finally (and may I say hurray) drove the ex solidly into the arms and home of the OW. Some of us in our late 50s and early 60s put strong and smart career moves on the back burner. At least I have a part time job I like. I’m glad for that. What are the chances I’ll work my way into a prosperous life? Not much. Is prosperity everything? No. But having a place to live is good. I do worry about this kind of thing. I read books about “how to live on nothing,” and most of them, sadly, are written by 20 and 30-somethings who are going back to the land. They think it’s fun to live on less than $18K a year. They haven’t had their first babies yet or maybe are blissfully pregnant. And good for them. But their life isn’t my life. Their survival on less isn’t my survival on less. I’m already on the land and want very much to find my way into a good walkable city. BTDT as far as the “thrive on the land” meme goes.

    Do I get depressed? Sorry, yes. I’m strong as fuck and I do get depressed. Enough that I wonder what to do about it. Should I see a therapist? Probably. But my ACA subsidized plan offers no mental health options. Besides, my cardio doc tried me on some anti-depressants and my heart goes cattywampus on them. So I’m left with exercise (yes I do it), time outside (yes I do it), eating and resting well (yes and yes) and thinking positively (sure, I try, you all know the ups and downs of that).

    This is not a pit party. This is my life. I wonder who is going to hire me at 62 to get me out of a job with no benefits. People tell me (1) I need to retire — how does that work with nothing to live on — I was a SAHM during my prime earning years and have so little in Social Security and ex left me nothing (yes it can happen); (2) I need to reinvent myself.

    I’ve been reinventing like crazy. I got a master’s degree when I began to suspect the ex of his “indiscretions” (I was late by about 5 years on that). I got a part time teaching job. Then I got a PhD. Then I began a local learning farm. It makes no money but it’s fun. People call me “Dr.” and that element of respect feels good, sure, but it doesn’t pay any bills. And no one wants to hire a woman like me. It is not a good time to be underemployed and 62. In fact one asshole told me that the PhD would only hurt me, not help me get a better teaching job. I won’t say reinventing is over-rated but it can be tricky in the real world with real people who hire their lovers and spouses for the same job you apply for.

    And before I slip back into the world of lurkdom, I want to say that being freed from my ex (in spite of the issues I’m going on about) is a very good thing. My divorce is to be celebrated even though I don’t know how the rest of my life will unwind. I’m freed from the doubt and the gaslighting, and all the fears that trying to live with a sociopathic individual brought to me. I encourage divorce in these situations. I don’t regret my divorce, not at all, in fact I’m proud that I was strong enough to get through it.

    I don’t care that I’m alone. I’m not concerned with dating or not dating. It’s very much for the best that the ex is gone. This man *left me to die* and I didn’t die. Yay me and yay my good friends and yay my kids. I do care that I was left, cleverly, with no financial assets, a part time job with no benefits, and some serious health issues. Am I bitter? Feeling the victim? Fuck no — I don’t have time to be bitter. My victim time is behind me. Now I’m scared. I don’t want anyone to tell me “don’t be scared” unless you’re living on borrowed time, still have teens reliant on you (and have sole custody), are living in the poverty zone and being overlooked for jobs because you are 20 years older than prime candidates. Go ahead and tell me like one friend did that I’m not thinking big enough. Yeah, okay. Maybe that. I’ll consider that.

    I don’t want sympathy and hugs. I want a way to feel safer and more secure financially over the next decade. And yet, life is better now, in very many ways, than it was when I was living with him.

    • I am so sorry and because I cannot offer anything else, I’d hope that you’ll meet a wealthy and nice man who will rescue you? And I don’t mean it sarcastically. It seems it would be a fantastic solution to many financial problems us single moms face… Of course, I wish the same for myself. I think CL should do a post how to survive financially as a single parent… My household income was cut by 90%! I’m depleting my savings rapidly and could really use some solid advise and inspiration. Especially since I know ex would just gloat knowing that he also ruined me financially.

    • You are entitled to half of your husband’s social security if your marriage was longer than 10 years. I know it’s not much, but you have earned it, so make sure you get it. The SS website can explain it to you. As to you other comments, some of us are carrying burdens that others can only imagine, so don’t let the superficial stuff fool you. Everyone has their cross to bear.What matters is that we have not surrendered.

      • Kath, I’ll skip jedi hugs since you don’t want them. I agree with Louise on SSN, also something I’m looking into is finding one or two ppl too share my home with to defray costs and create a family. You have land, this might be something that would help. I can’t comment on job prospects without knowing what you are a doctor of. If you are interested in chumps pitching ideas for you, can I suggest you start a thread on the forums? It is not put of the realm of possibilities that we can help, maybe not, but as my Dad used to say “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. And I live by that.

      • Oh good lord, that means my always self-employed cheater STBX is eligible for half of MINE! Shit. And half my retirement. This sucks. And, like Kat, I’m in my late 50s with a kid still at home.

        But I know I’ll be better off in the long run. Sometimes you just gotta bitch a bit. 😉

    • Kath, you said you don’t want sympathy and hugs, so instead I’ll give my acknowledgment, my recognition, and my thanks. I’m glad you shared, I can relate to a lot of what you said, and I really hope you don’t ‘slip back into the world of lurkdom.’ This board needs a multiplicity of experiences and voices, and anyone who racks up 2 grad degrees as a mature student and while being chumped is someone I’d like to hear more from/about.

    • I know how you feel and I’m younger than you. I was left screwed, with added screwiness on top of it (I’d rather not explain as it would probably give me away). I am thinking I may end up roommates with friends or whomever in my older years. I’m thinking Golden Girls – we all club in our resources and make it work. Otehrwise, I’m worried and scared all the time, mainly because I have no pension and while I’m working my ass off at the moment it’s all hanging by a thread.

      So, let’s be roommates if it all goes pear shaped. 🙂

  • The 7 years between my divorce from husband from hell, and remarriage to wonderful guy that I never considered my type was undoubtedly the single most dynamic period of my life. I defined myself – to myself, determined what it was that I wanted in life (whether it be the color of my walls or the values for my family), and had a great time.

    Were there times of loneliness and uncertainty? Yep. But not nearly as much as in the 17 years I spent with XH. I made new friends, found new interests, dated, fell in love, fell out of love, had a friend with benefits, fixed up my house, learned to make exotic cocktails and clean gutters, thru my kids in the car and drove across the country a couple times, and by and large just found pleasure in living.

    When I met my current husband, I was smitten – but knew I’d be fine if he wasn’t! He was and I moved onto the next phase of life.

  • Thanks CL. I needed this post as I’ve been in a bit of a self-pity rut. I know it’s ok to feel pain and frustration but when I dig into it, it only ends with me feeling worse.

    By the way I met up with a man who I’ve known for a long time. Anyway he wasn’t a “date” but I have to say that he treated me so nicely I wondered what the hell was wrong with him. Ha. Not creepy nice, but decent and kind and asked what I wanted to do, what I liked. Wow, nice change! It reminds me that yes, good people are out there.

    It’s not easy for me to get out there and “gain a life” but it sure as shit is better than staying at home moping about my loser cheater.

  • ugh. hello friendz. I did it. I just did it. I said okay, I can’t prove anymore, I can’t agonize anymore, I can’t be a divorcing mess anymore. It’s an unfair game and I lost, but I had to let go. I guess that’s why they call it Settling. I considered sitting in the car that I now have to sell because he ‘ungifted’ it and I can’t afford the payments, with the engine on and the windows up (yes the garage door closed, details) but decided that would be…boring. So I’m not going to sit in the car and die by carbon monoxide poisoning. But I am going to be divorced. I took a walk and considered every way I could continue to languish in anguish and nothing worked. I had a moment of clarity where I could *feel* how utterly nothing I mean to him. Not that I didn’t know, but I could feel it, hard to describe. I am less than nothing to him. Trash. A ‘u’ instead of a You. Who needs that? What a dick. What a waste. Maybe fighting for a year and a half kept me connected in some weird way; I thought it was for my life but it kept me connected to him in some umbilical primal way. Yuck. Asshole tells my 85 year old father he’s paying for the car and dumps it on me. He’s been a year late with every penny he choked up from his flaming Hollywood success. That’s Hollywood. Hollywood is he gets a standard of living and I get fucked. It all seemed so not Hollywood at the beginning. I didn’t plan to have a pretend marriage with someone who is incapable of being authentic. So here I am, life. What now? I’m not in a wheelchair. Right? I’m short and insecure (boy did he snidely whiplash me about my short insecurity) but I can still walk. A little bit. It hurts but I can walk.

    • Oh, honey. For sure, you don’t need that. It hurts, hurts like nothing else, hurts like your chest is coming apart, to feel like utterly nothing to someone you love. Someone above has a great post that talk about how the Asshole can do what he does because unlike you, he’s empty. And if you are insecure–you’ve been living with someone who is abusing you, which will make anyone insecure. The gaslighting and lies are designed to make you insecure. That’s temporary, and getting your life back will take care of it. It hurts, but you can walk. You can still walk. And you aren’t alone.

    • Sara, you can do more than walk, take you time, make your life yours. Jedi hugs and read the Lundy book ref’d above, you will gain strength from it. Rock on

    • Sara, I am so sorry you had a shit day, and I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through. But in each of your posts I “hear you.” Use your voice and tell your stories. Write a book, man. I would buy it! Your douche X isn’t the only one who can have a success, ‘flaming Hollywood’ style or otherwise.

  • Sara,
    If you can walk…that’s a good thing. The journey of your life starts with a single step…you’re on your way!! Wishing you strength and clarity along the way! 🙂

  • Dear Kath, ditto this without the job, and unfortunately with the Bitters. “This man *left me to die* and I didn’t (check) I do care that I was left, cleverly, with no financial assets and some serious health issues…I’m scared (check) living on borrowed time (check) living in the poverty zone (check) and being overlooked for jobs because you are 20 years older than prime candidates (check).” Support. Right. They didn’t support us in marriage, why would I think he’d support me through a divorce? Since I just settled today I’m not quite to Free. I’m spinning, not in real time. I don’t feel victim but I do need care and feeding, and I’m desperate for nourishment from the life I’ve dramatically withdrawn from. Sorry ladies but I’m going to be vulgar: I feel like I just took a huge shit. I’m gutted and empty, but with a vague sense of being relieved.

    • I felt like I had my chest ripped open as my divorce got underway. I didn’t think id ever know what happiness was again. Now, I am more content and grateful than I’ve ever been in my life. You will get your life back and you will find peace again.

      I don’t want to minimize what your going through, but wanted to you you’ve been heard, you will climb out of this misery, and you’re going to be ok.

      • Thank you rumble, LaJ, fool me, single and dat dam (love Jedi hugs!)
        I don’t feel minimized at all, I’m happy to hear from all of you.

        • Hang in there, Sara. HANG IN THERE. I promise better days are ahead! We’re all here for you. xoxo

  • So I just spent a bit of time reading through many of the posts of the last two days and I have to say that I found one of the major trends troubling. The idea that anybody has it worse than anyone else. As if anybody is somehow more “justified” in the pain that they feel.

    Pain is pain. The details are unimportant. The reality is that we are suffering or have suffered and we are entitled to that. The fact that my experience is different from yours makes not one damn bit of difference. Who really cares about the details? Do they really matter?

    It is far to easy to play the comparison game. Just because one person did not have to experience another person’s particular horror does not mean that their wounds are any less real. I for one feel for all of you, regardless of the story or where you are in your particular journey. No matter the specifics or the particulars you have experienced a trauma and life has dealt you a blow. I am immensely sorry for that and you have my compassion.

    • This is exactly how I feel! If people looked at the surface of my life, they would think I have it made. Little do any of them know what I have been through to get here. I keep a smile on my face and always try to stay positive because what is my choice? To become a bitter old woman? I refuse to let my circumstances change my belief that life is an amazing journey-all of it. Don’t get me wrong; I still have my black dog ugly days, but I am still here and I am still trying to appreciate the good things in my life.

    • I had some pain at first. Now, I am happier than a clam. I do not have much money, but I have a small condo and , after sleeping on a friend’s coach for three years, I have a bed. I have two cats(down from 7 when a stray female arrived , pregnant and we took her in. Found homes for all the kittens and the mom).
      I am playing the best golf of my life, traveling some, my kids love me and just enjoying my dotage. I am poor but at peace. I maintained all my friendships with my XW’s siblings and parents.
      I love being divorced from that asshole abuser. I can control my $$ and not have to work three jobs anymore to keep my XW in clothes and other garbage.
      My kids are so bright and fun. One son is on Methadone and doing much better. He is in school and working part time.
      I will say if your kid is a Heroin addict, consider Methadone. I have my son back thanks to it. It works better than any of the inpatient programs he went through.
      I just cannot fully describe how freeing and what a relief it is to be away from a NPD.

  • I’m thinking we can hash out and help each other on financial and other issues when we are divorcing in middle age on the forums. I also want to start a thread for happiness, counterbalance, dontchaknow? I hope some or all of the chumps that posted about the real issues older chumps face will join the forums and talk there. We can help each other find creative or maybe simple ways to do better. Hell, we just had a detective squad help out a chump on a divorce date with an unknown state, surely we can share some ideas on how to be more secure? I hope to see you there.

    • Datdamwuf I have not visited the forums as I’m new to sharing even though I have followed site for about six months. But if someone were to start a financial forum or instruct me how to I would be glad to provide any services or advice for free. I am a
      chumped self-employed CPA so I am a financial nerd. Unfortunately married and divorcing a CFO/CPA sex addict asshole. Handled all the finances and lived very frugally in order to get kibbles from someone who never appreciated it. I would rather help or offer services to people who can use for their good ( strong women on this site) vs. my ex who used our residual saving secretly for his extracurricular
      illegal activities.

      • I need help badly! Facing foreclosure, car repossession, bankruptcy, thousands of dollars in savings gone in 6 months due to ex leaving me with zero (we were unmarried.) I was a sahm- say no more? I think many forget about forums, and i always have a hard time accessing, but I’m active on our FB chump group if youd like to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chump.nation/

        Btw, common misconception is that fb posts aren’t private, and the truth is, if you aren’t an idiot in navigating social media, they’re actually safer than most online platforms.

        • This is a great idea. I was also a SAHM and while I’m kind of putting it back together I am very nervous about the future.

    • Need to sign up for the forums – I work in the financial services industry, and do lots of “counseling” of potential clients. Hoping to be helpful.

      Quick recommendation – Dave Ramsey is a little quirky, but has generally solid advice. You can get his books at the library (free 🙂 ) and there’s also a class; his recommendations do have some faith-base to them, but as someone who’s been in this field for 25 years – he’s right about most stuff. I was following his plan for a few years before ex left – if I hadn’t been, I would have lost everything.

  • I rather die alone with cats than spend my years, my life with someone who is a cheating, lying, untrustworthy piece of shit! I am single by choice and will not ever date again, why? Because I am happy with my own company and I have a peaceful content life than I ever had before. I don’t want to date and partner up again, I am blissfully VERY happy being single without some shithead and all the excess luggage their bring in to my life, who disrespects, cheats and lies to me and makes my life miserable. I dumped my lying cheating douchebag ex and I GAINED A Better LIFE than I ever had when I was with that loser! Now I am enjoying this beautiful, peaceful, content, happier life that I have ever meant to have and I will not risk that again. I am in my forties and FREE!! 🙂

    • Me, too, Nicolette. I think if we let go of our preconceptions of what life is supposed to be and live in the moment, it helps.
      I have a plan for retirement- buy a small RV, like a Winnebago 20 ft, and just travel the country playing low buck golf courses. I will park in Walmarts and Hospitals.
      I will have to live on 3500 a month or so, but can do it easily, as material things mean little to me.
      I l0ve that book about the kid who died(unfortunately) “Into the Wild”. To me,he had it right. Life for me is not about comfort and acquiring things. I want to experience as much as I can.
      I’ve practiced law for over 28 years and have little in my 401 k after two divorces and 5 kids. I have 5 years to pad that thing and with my SS and the ability to work some , should be just fine.
      One thing about having lived with two NPD women, when one stops , it feels so good, no matter what happens. At least I am no longer subject to sarcasm, derision, lying. cheating, overspending and all the entitlement and lack of empathy issues accompanying the disordered.

  • if I in any way contributed to who’s got it worse I sincerely apologize. I just meant I’m here, today, finalizing a divorce and it’s weird and I appreciated Kath’s post.

    • You don’t have to apologize for anything. Stay here and keep reading and posting. It really helps. 🙂

  • I have to chime in. This post needed to be made today. There was a lot of pain in the responses from yesterday and that’s understandable. Honestly by the time I was finished reading through all of them I was a blubbering idiot. (I was also somewhat hormonal and over the past 7 days had to have contact-email only-with the exfuckwit-which always makes me a little cranky).

    It physically hurts to know that some human beings are capable of inflicting such pain on others. And as we all know, the saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from people you love and trust. That being said, I don’t think CL has ever denied anyone’s pain or told them it would be easy to move on. I think the message is to know your worth and have faith that there is something better out there than living in fear with someone who cares so little about you and shows no respect.

    I thought the danger in some of the posts from yesterday weren’t from those who expressed the most pain but those in which the subtle, yet underlying message was to take stock of what you have and balance that out because if you’re a certain age it might just be better to dance with the devil you know. I’m paraphrasing but I’ve had enough exposure to the RIC to hear that underlying message loud and clear. My opinion:It’s totally over done at best; and at worst-it keeps chumps stuck. Honestly I felt like some of the responses were almost like the antithesis of this blog’s mantra to leave a cheater and gain a life.

    As for those ladies in their 50s and 60s who’ve been abandoned, I can’t pretend that I know what you’re going through. I was in a 27 year marriage but tied the knot when I was 20. I also got the opportunity to do the pick me polka so one could argue that I had a choice, but I also wasted 3 years of my mid forties with an unrepentant, coward, passive aggressive fuckwit. Trust me when I say that it feels really shitty to know that even after I gave him a second chance he couldn’t meet me half way and do any of the work. It just about killed whatever was left of my self esteem and still hurts to this day.

    The only thing that gets me through is being thankful for what I do have and continuing to do a little each day to make my life better. That’s all I can control. I needed to find this blog and it’s message to help me realize that.

    Keep doing what you’re doing CL; your message is truly unique.

  • Dear CL,
    Your timing today of this post was perfect because after reading the depressing comments on the post before this one, I was like oh lord, cry me a fucking river, NOT!

    No offense to the other Chumps as lord knows we have all had those days where we feel like giving up and never again (great film by the way, “Never Again”).

    Nothing will let me stay in stinking thinking that life is over especially over a Creep, Loser, Asshole cheater.

    No cheater, Man or Woman is worth sacrificing your life for. That would be moronic to let a cheater make you stop living for fear of meeting another cheater! Trust that you have learned the signs from your experiences. They all come with red flags, I know that like I know my name now that I have experienced it.

    Hell, I grew up in a family with a raging narcissist, micro managing, controlling, manipulative, Father who is an energy vampire and just takes and gives next to nothing and oh gawd when he gives, he reminds you of it every time you want to say no to an unreasonable demand from him! No wonder I wound up in a relationship with a cheater. But thank goodness it lasted 10 1/2 months and I walked away. There were sooooo many red flags right from the start, I just kept waiting to see if things would change and they did, they kept getting bigger, badder and worse until there was no choice left for me but to leave. Thank goodness I did.

    Yes it sucked afterward and it has gotten a lot better now a year and a couple of months out. I went on a lot of dates from online dating sites and for me, I didn’t find any men of interest so instead of torturing myself by going out on another bad date with what I have nicknamed (leftovers), I stopped the online dating and felt better as it wasn’t working well for me. Have I given up, hell no! I will be turning 50 in December this year and I look good and have many things I still want to do and I will figure it all out as I go. If one thing doesn’t work for me, I will try another and this applies to all aspects of my life.

    For the first time in my life, I feel really free, free to make choices and decisions and if I wind up alone, I wind up alone but I will figure out how to make that work for me. If I don’t wind up alone, I will figure out how to make that work for me as well. The thing is now I know what I can accept in others and what I can not which makes life a lot better. Of course, I don’t want to be alone but I sure as heck don’t want to be with an asshole either and I know what that is like : )

    So fellow chumps, please don’t let yourselves go down the self pitty path, there aren’t any rewards there unless you feel happy feeling miserable. Roll with the punches, it gives them less impact when you do (an old boxing trick).

    Have a good night and keep on fighting for the lives you want for yourselves and don’t feel sorry for yourselves too long, it’s much better to get angry and kick some ass even if it’s your own from time to time to stay moving forward.

    Life isn’t easy and change is never easy and there are happy days and sad days and good days and bad days and I have learned through this experience that I will never let another person intentionally make me sad or fee