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Dear Chump Lady, Got close to meh, and then… boom.

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MEHHey CL,

I’m a soon to be divorced dad with primary custody of my two adorable kids, 8 year old boy and 4 year old girl. It’s been about 10 months since D-Day, although I was naïve enough not to notice the affair with a married co-worked that was probably going on under my nose for at least a year. My wife started to seriously abuse alcohol last summer, to the point where she was falling down and injuring herself. We entered marriage counseling under two conditions – no contact with the OM and a serious attempt to cut down on drinking. In the ensuing months, while we were in therapy, she promised at the beginning of each session that she would stick to the plan.

She didn’t and it got worse. She was drinking by 4:00 PM and passing out by 9:00 on nights where she was home. Or she was out at all hours with OM while I babysat our own children. When she wasn’t out with him, she was locked in the bathroom talking to him on the phone (including Christmas Day) or texting him openly while I sat next to her on the couch. She eventually took to drinking for breakfast on weekends to the point where she was legitimately unfit to be alone with the kids.

In March, she was removed by the police from our home, while drunk, after persistent neglect (bordering on abuse) of our kids and a complete disregard for me, her husband and “best friend” of 12 years. It’s been a long slog of court appearances and custody hearings since then, and she has had her ass handed to her every time by probate or (if we made that far) the judge. I’ve been working very hard to let go and get to meh and thought I was making progress.

However, when going out with family friends, drips and drabs of information keep finding their way (innocently) into our conversations. Last night, a stream of particularly disturbing – check that, infuriating – new details fell into my lap and I find myself back at the beginning, hating her, her boyfriend, and what they’ve done to my family with the power of 100 suns. Except for once a week, court supervised visits, I’ve been pretty good about going NC. But after a night without sleep, I feel an overwhelming desire to lash out, confront, and wreak as much havoc as I can. She is without question a pathological liar, and I could pull a few cards to make things very uncomfortable at work and with her family.

I’m sure a lot of chumps out there have been in the same position. How do you step back from the edge when I’m continually reminded of what a terrible person she has become and what I complete and utter rube I was to let all of this happen?

Thanks,

Opposite Spouse

Dear Opposite Spouse,

Yeah, you’re still in the throes of trusting that she sucks. How much more can she suck? Well, apparently more and more! as you have found out from friends and family.

But before I get into the particulars of how you can get your meh back — huge kudos to you for gaining custody of your kids, going through the meat grinder of court, getting supervised visits, and managing no contact. What you’ve accomplished is MIGHTY. So please take a moment to bask in the admiration and bro hugs from Chump Nation. You get the Sane Parent award. You are modeling incredible strength and resiliency to your children, and you are protecting them from abuse and neglect. You’re a hero.

As for your ex — if all of her crazy is due to addiction, you’re also doing right by her as well. (Not that you expressed any guilty feelings about that, but you’re a chump, so I’m just checking.) As they say, “never get between an addict and their bottom.” By imposing consequences — calling the cops, leaving the marriage, receiving custody of the kids — you’re allowing hitting bottom to happen, IF it’s going to happen. (Of course, for some epic fuck-ups it never happens.) But it wasn’t going to happen if you stayed in that mess, trying to manage chaos. So, more kudos.

Now, about that meh. Part of no contact means you need to cut friends and family members off at the knees the minute they mention her or what she’s up to. You don’t need to know. It’s only going to upset you and ruin your precious meh.

As you have custody and the time she gets with the kids is “court supervised” — you’ve done everything in your power to protect your children from her fuckupedness. Excellent. So you don’t need to know particulars to spare them from harm, you’ve done that.

So, the only horrors left to learn are either a) what fresh hell she’s up to now, or b) shit she did behind your back before that you didn’t know about.

On “a” — you don’t need to know. If you truly trust that she sucks, you can only expect more tales of chaos, drama, and self destruction. That is who she IS. That’s the path she has chosen. And if she gets off that path, toward sobriety and responsible living, I’m sure she will inform the court and you’ll hear about it.

On “b” — there’s a point at which you don’t need any more information. You’re past that point, my friend. You can do the calculations and arrive at “she sucks” right now. You don’t need more evidence. If someone were to tell you something new along the lines of she once saved Haitian orphans from earthquakes, okay, you might have to recalculate. But you’re not learning those things, you’re probably learning she slept with more people, or fucked you over in some other fresh, imaginative way. You don’t need this, because it just underscores what you already know — SHE SUCKS. Trust that. Stick with NC.

Explain points “a” and “b” to your friends and family. You’ve got enough on your plate trying to maintain your precious equilibrium and raise two kids, you don’t need to know about the ex’s life. Put it out there and then enforce that boundary.

Next, on the revenge and telling people at work how horrible she is? Bad idea. First off, if she’s as drunk and crazy as you say, they know it. Her having a job helps you, gives her incomes, keeps her occupied. Don’t mess with that. Second, revenge is poking a tiger and you don’t need the blow back. And third, it messes with your precious meh. Protect your hard won tranquility.

As for feeling like a rube? Oh, join the club, Opposite. We’ve ALL been there. You’re in the company of chumps here. Here’s something you can work on — exploring who you were in that relationship. Were you codependent? Did you ever enable? Did you make your needs small? Did you accept continual disrespect and violations of your boundaries? Did you grow up doing that? Go explore this stuff in therapy, or online, or with a host of self-help books. But do take a hard, unvarnished look at yourself and say  NEVER AGAIN will I stay in a relationship that chumps me. Fix the picker, as we say here. You do get to control you and your vetting process for the people you allow in your life. You don’t control the ex’s crazy, but you do get to control your own shields and forcefields.

And remember too, Opposite, when you’re feeling like a rube — you are an AWESOME person. I’ll say it again — you’re a HERO. You saved your kids. You saved yourself. Think of how hard you worked to stay in that marriage and hold it all together. You’re Atlas. You take all that strength and love with you forward. And now, instead of wasting it on this dreadful woman, you have it to give to the people who are deserving of you — your kids, the loved ones who’ve had your back, and some day (when that picker is recalibrated) to a good person who can love you right.

Better days ahead, OS. You’ve been through the worst of it already. Don’t look back at the crazy you left behind. Just keep moving forward in mightiness. (((Hugs)))

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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 what you are going through, although not near as bad as you. It seems to be going well for a while and then something reminds you of her and all the anger and rage comes flooding back in. I’m still trying to sort out a financial settlement but thankfully that is all we have to deal with. Still whenever I get an email relating to it I just get back into feeling of wanting revenge. CL is completely correct in the advise, she has helped me so much over the last few months.

    I’ve not been through anything like many chumps on here have, but I’ve written a short blog on my experience. I found reading about others experience helped me appreciate that I’m not alone and that many others have dealt with much worst and come out strong.

    Hang in there Opposite, it’ll get better!

    http://infidelityexperience.blogspot.se/

  • Wise words from CL.

    And she is right, you are a total hero. Don’t lose sight of that.

    CL is also right about making it clear to friends and family that you really don’t need to hear every last detail about what she is up to. I have started to get this with a few, kind hearted, well meaning, friends. They assume they are doing right by ‘reporting back’ every snippet of information they get. But reporting back to me doesn’t change any of the facts, it just winds me up.

    I have one friend who can see what is happening, and she is subtly and discreetly policing the rest of them – she swoops in to re-direct the conversation where possible, and will always be the one to say ‘let’s walk a different route to the club tonight,’ because she knows I don’t need to be walking past OWs house and seeing my husbands car on her drive.

    So even if you can’t face explaining to everyone why and how you don’t want to hear about stuff, if you can get one good friend to ‘oversee’, that will be a tremendous help.

    Hope you find some peace, and keep on being a hero, chumps everywhere need people like you. Elle x

  • Sounds like we were married to the same woman and have kids the same age…I am two years past D-Day and received my final divorce order yesterday…So here is what I have learned…DO NOT ENGAGE!…nothing good comes from engaging….I have to remind myself of that and say it over and over every time I have to deal with her…She just won’t get it and will never be able to truly see the damage she has caused you and your kids because she doesn’t care … it is all about her…Now to the best part, it does get much better especially when you are legally free from from narcissistic abuse and begin establishing an authentic life of your own…I wish you luck!…Keep posting here…Chump Nation has your back!

    • Congratulations on receiving the decree! Forward to brighter days.
      “Do not engage” was my mantra, and the best takeaway from the whole experience. I no longer participate in dysfunction, and rise above BS so easily. An expensive, but ultimately very valuable lesson.

  • Opposite, I too could have created an issue at my STBXs workplace. However this little voice kept saying ‘keep this card in your back pocket for later use’. I never mention a word to him about exposing him there (he had affairs with a number of his ho-workers). I am SO glad I did! My attorney is going to use this as leverage to hopefully get him to sign the papers quickly and hopefully give me the assets I want just to keep his secrets quiet. What I really want to do is shout it from the rooftops but I’m controlling myself.

    • I had my ex a-hole served at work. By the Sheriff. I’d like to think he wished he’d brought a second pair of underwear that day….

  • I relate to being meh and still occasionally having the desire to lash out. When the chronic health issue my ex left me with flares up and I am sick I feel similarly. I want my ex to suffer and he does not. He is also an alcoholic, drinking lost him his job before we divorced. He hasn’t worked a day since, he lives with his GF (formerly OW), she supports him since mid 2011 when I got the protective order. Like you, there are many ways in which I could have (and still can) blow up his life. It would in fact be easy to do. I do not do it because then his attention would turn full force on ME. And that is the last thing I want, he might very well kill me. As long as the PO is in place and I don’t do anything to provoke him, I feel pretty safe.

    I assume your ex won’t go that far! For you, when the desire to blow your ex’ life up comes, think of your kids. You screw with her and she will know it was you. She will want to hurt you. She could get her drinking under control long enough to fuck with your custody, that would suck. If you think an addict cannot go clean long enough to get something they really want? Think again, how did she get you? How did she manage to convince you to stay with her as long as you did? See what I mean?

    Jedi Hugs!

  • The Warmth of THOUSAND Hugs, Opposite!

    Any all new information just made me feel more like I was in a David Lynch movie…..I totally get that. It is one of my triggers, too.

    I am two years out, have primary custody and doing as CL said has worked-and also how hard it is for Chumps to set and hold boundaries-even with my own kid, I listen to her about her Dad, but at least I call the spackling for what it is. And CL is bang-on right about the importance of looking for where this tolerance/codependency/spacklitis comes from. I come from alcoholic stock-grandparents, one parent, siblings. And, funnily enough, also cheating narcissist fucktards.

    I have found SOME Adult Children of Alcoholics stuff useful, with one exception, and that is just the ‘trust in a higher power’ part and also abrogation of control or resonsibility, ie-“I had no choice but to get drunk/cheat/abuse my kids”. Otherwise, this is stuff you need to know for the sake of your kids as they grow, and has really helped, so it might help to look at that. Things like just KNOWING, all your life that there is some horrid family secret the world can never know is common in families like mine.

    You have been and will be mighty, Opposite! Sometimes the Meh rolls under the couch, and that’s okay.

    love to all Chump Nation

    x-Meh

  • Awesome. You rock. Hang in there.

    I agree wholeheartedly with ChumpLady. NO CONTACT…and no dribbles and drabs of contact IS the only way to get to meh. It helped me enormously. But I will say this, the part she mentions about ” If you truly trust that she sucks, you can only expect more tales of chaos, drama, and self destruction.” – well that was the hardest part of it for me. Surely she must be realizing what she did wrong? Surely she must be experiencing regret? Surely she must be straightening herself out by now??

    Every time you go looking for evidence of sanity, of the person you once ‘knew’, you WILL BE disappointed and the resulting rage will ensue. NO CONTACT is the only way to get to meh. But believing she sucks (despite all of the good memories you are holding onto) is the only way to get to no contact.

    As for revenge: yup, nope, don’t do it. You will destroy your integrity. Always maintain your integrity. If nothing else, you will have your integrity. But you have more than that, you have your kids too. Plus, like CL says, ultimately it will just create more chaos for you.

    Finally, read this blog, often. As often as you can. It makes me feel strong when I am feeling weak.

    • The best quote I’ve read about revenge was on this site, “When you set off on the road to revenge, be sure to dig two graves.” That quote has tempered my reaction to unwanted knowledge more than once.

      • 100% true. I’m glad, in retrospect, that I mostly took the high road. It brings me a TON of satisfaction. In fact, the only regrets that I have are regarding the verbal abuse I launched at my ex before he moved out, and for a short while after that. I hurt, so I figured he should, too. But I didn’t hurt him at all–I only made myself look weak, and it fed him AND the OW ego kibbles.

        Bleah!

        • Yes, thank you so much for posting it. I keep that quote on my desk. Whenever I am tempted to stray from my path of calm indifference, it reminds me that the only person I hurt by reacting is myself. It truly has helped me (mostly) stay at meh.

  • All great advice as usual. Your NC will be enough revenge. I especially enjoy responding to X’s emails (and more importantly the abusive emails) with “Email received”. Because court order says I have to at least let him know that I have received an email. Wow does that piss him off!!!! Then he goes further with “Email received is not a good enough response………………..(add total rant here)” And what he gets in response is crickets. Then, I hear from my kids (11, 10, 8, 6) that he is on the phone bitching to everyone and his mother about it. Glad you have primary!!! My kids live in hell 50/50 and he gets away with everything. police reports, CPS reports, etc. Count your blessings and let the other crap roll off because the most important thing is the kids and you got that!

    • “Email received” is awesome. I used “ok” but even that implied more complicity than I wanted to send.

      • Yes! I just say “OK” to the emails that are really not necessary but also not psycho rants. To those I don’t respond. Don’t engage has brought me much more peace.

        • I use “Wow” when it’s really offensive or outlandish. “Received” would be better though. Hard to resist some push back but in the end it’s better to put up the wall.

  • Dear Opposite,
    You are mighty and kudos to you! You’re doing everything right, just keep on keeping on and don’t lose your meh.
    I also feel like I’ve been the sane parent, but problem is my kids(both daughters) are older 19 and 23 , and they don’t want or need the sane parent! They were both with me originally and the youngest one went to live with her dad after living 8 mths with me, when we were in an argument because I do still impose my boundaries and make them live and behave like responsible people. I’ve always had to be the bad cop or parent because the ex was a pretty much hands off parent, still is and is basically absent most of the time. My eldest was living with her bf while going thru university but when that broke up she also went to live with her Dad. She had barely not spoken with him for 3 years because she was angry at him for what he did and she would not co operate with his new woman and family. He basically ignored her and cut her out of his life and I felt sorry for her. The youngest accepted the situation and went along to get along, and he favoured her and spoiled her rotten. Now they both live over there, are great friends with the OW’s daughter who is the same age and they all get along like a big happy family. I’m the odd one out. My ex and OW are practically never home and all the girls and their bf’s party it up and drink alot. I’ve had 2 hospital admissions over the summer from my daughter’s having alcohol poisoning and I just look at the doctor, feel very ashamed and say ” I’m sorry I don’t have any control of this.”
    I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but is any one else dealing with this? I’ve always done everything for my family and kids, and now I feel like everything has gone to shit, the kids don’t want my guidance and basically are condoning the ex’s lifestyle and joining in with it!

    • (HUGS) MovingOn. I don’t have much to give you. At 19 and 23 they’re adults and have to learn for themselves. It sounds like they’re going to learn the hard way. Sucks to watch as a parent, that’s a really hard shit sandwich to swallow.

      • Thanks feisty, I have reached meh in regards to my ex and ow and have built a good and better life for myself post divorce and am very happy with a new man. I think maybe it’s my kid’s ages and just hope that all the good values and priorities I instilled will come out one day. I really do just want them to be happy . I love them anyway but it really does hurt seeing them going down this path… I just hope it’s a phase!

        • You might want to check out an al-anon meeting for ideas on how to respond to your kids.

          I don’t think your kids are condoning your ex’s lifestyle so much as taking advantage of a free place to live and party without any rules. They’re adults, so there’s not much you can do about that.

          It’s hard to know what to do just from this, so I’d suggest trying to get some kind of counselor to help you and your kids work things out. At least you want to be spending time with them in good ways so that they can turn to you when they need it (and they do need it).

          One thing I noticed – you’re at the hospital with your daughter. She knows you care and are looking out for her best interest, which obviously your ex is not.

        • Moving on I have a friend whose son went through alcohol problems at college during his parent’s divorce. After a couple of years he met a nice, loving girl and settled down. He’s a dad now and totally responsible. It’s very hard to watch but hopefully they’ll eventually calm down. Just don’t bail them out of jail or help them get out of any natural consequences for their behavior. I know it’s a very tough place for you to be right now. Hugs!

    • movingon@51 … “I’ve always done everything for my family and kids, and now I feel like everything has gone to shit, the kids don’t want my guidance and basically are condoning the ex’s lifestyle and joining in with it!”
      My situation is a tiny but different to your’s but it does involve my daughter (35) and son (32). They have turned on me like snakes and I have not had an contact at all with my daughter for 5 years and my son if and when he does make contact with me, abuses the hell out of me and tells me what a terrible mother I am not was. Over the years of abuse by my ex husband of 37 years, the kids know that he has misappropriated funds from a bank job and coincidently he is now working back at the bank 32 years later (oh, how I wish I could type an email and hit the send button, he would be finished in a second) and that he now visits Asia on a regular basis to have sex with teenage and 20 something year old girls (and that is questionable). I raised my kids without much input from him and now I have been sent to Convetry. It is not fair but I have to accept that apparently I am the one who sucks. The only thing I still need to get beyond is my anger for the situation the rat has caused and continues to be everyones favourite bloke. How is that possible? It hurts my head still trying to work out the mess.

      • Thanks for responding Maree,
        I really feel for you and know what a terrible shit sandwich it is in regards to your kids. This is the only aspect of all this that I have not reached Meh about, but sometimes I think the kids don’t really get it like we get it, maybe they don’t want to really get it, maybe it’s just too dark and hard to see their other parent in that light, and so we have to be content to know the truth ourselves and let everything else go. Maybe one day they will understand. I am trying to turn a blind eye to all of this and love them anyway, have a relationship just on our own without hearing about what’s happening on that side and still be the sane parent. Mine are at the age when they don’t want or need a parent’s interference or even opinions, and so maybe that’s why they like it over there at their Dad’s when no one is home and they can do what they like. I would not mention the situation with your grown children anymore and just try to have a relationship with them, agreeing to disagree. I would not put up with abuse from them though. You’ve had enough of that in your life and so have I! One thing I realized through all this, is that change in relationships takes time and is often painfull. I will not be codependent in any relationship anymore and it takes a while for others to realize that. Peace and Hugs to you!

        • Moving On…sometimes you have to get to meh with your kids, too…it’s a daily exercise to ‘let go’ with them, but…they have their lives to live and their lessons to learn, just as we do, so…?! it’s not always connected to their parents’ situation, sometimes it all collides at the same time….very challenging. But like CL said…boundaries are good. Set your own. And stick with it. Decide what you can live with, and stick to it. They aren’t going to like it. But…are YOU going to like it? Decide that…for YOU. That’s all we can do. Seriously…it’s all we can REALLY do. Peace. Love. xoxoxo

  • Big (HUGS) your way. What hell you’ve been through.

    “…and what I complete and utter rube I was to let all of this happen?”

    First off, You didn’t cause her to drink, to lose control etc. You can fix your picker, yes, we all have our own ticks and kinks to work out. But you did NOT cause the path she took. It’s hard being a single parent, I was one for 3 years. Props to you, you’re still standing, your kids love you, they have a sane parent to lean on through this mess. That says a lot.

    I echo having a friend to help ‘police’ other friends when they start to talk about your stbx. It’s completely normal to have the rage of 100 burning suns towards your ex too. I might even up it to like 500 burning suns if I were in your shoes. That shit’s no laughing matter.

    MEH is a journey. I have not lived your story, but I have lost dreams that were very close to me, been naive and utterly furious with myself, with God etc. It’s not a one-and-done thing with venting, with revisiting painful memories etc. I’m much better now 3 years out but that still doesn’t stop that familiar pang from coming back, from crying myself to sleep some nights. From the stories here, you’ll see all of us here have had moments when we thought we were okay and then a memory comes back, or a friend pushes the boundary and then we spiral out again. As messed up as it is, that is the journey. You are doing something right, something that works for you because you’ve made it this far.

    It’s uber tantalizing to think of having the power to knock her down at work. That’s also normal. Don’t do it though.” It’s been a long slog of court appearances and custody hearings since then, and she has had her ass handed to her every time by probate or (if we made that far) the judge.” She’s had her ass handed to her every time. Her worst enemy is herself. She is her own destruction, she doesn’t need any help from anyone else. As CL says, the people at work probably don’t need anyone to persuade them that she sucks, they know it too.

    For me, when I have my snarky moments of wanting revenge, what usually helps is just saying it out loud. My husband and I might go back and forth sharing our own snarky thoughts but it stops there. Action isn’t taken and it helps us to just go back and forth, say what we’re really thinking, give a knowing snicker/smirk, get it out of our systems and we move on. Find a good buddy, someone you can confide in and find your own thing that works for you.

    • “Meh is a journey.” Indeed. My first therapist, a truly great man, told me that growth, progress and recovery is not a straight line; it’s a zigzag, like a lighting bolt drawing. It’s 3 steps forward and then a step back. Each time something new comes up, it requires more learning and growth. I’ve been in a kind of “anniversary period” where things are triggering me back to the huge upheavals going on in my life at this time last year. What I am doing right now is treating myself for surviving that stuff. Instead of sending him a letter expressing how huge his jackassery is, I bought myself a camera to mark recognizing surviving the gaslighting last August. When D-Day comes along, I am going to do something special, maybe an overnight at my favorite hotel. So while you should by all means stop people from giving you information you don’t need to hear, if something does come up (say the kids tell you some tidbit that infuriates you), reward yourself for staying NC and extricating yourself and the kids. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Maybe just a trip to Dairy Queen with the kids.

      • A man I knew had this great expression–he would say “It took me 53 years to walk into the woods; I’m not gonna walk out in a day and a half.”

  • You are MIGHTY! 🙂

    Keep reading and posting here. It’ll help on the days when you feel closer to rage than to meh. CL is right; you’re still working through the “trust they suck” stage.

    For me, it’s close to 2 years since Dday. I started to reclaim my life and filed when I had enough of a solid footing to do so. I am probably 60-90 days away from divorce and I cannot wait. I am still living with STBX, but I am reminded daily just how angry I am with him for being such a self-centered asshole, and he is not going down the path of substance abuse.

    Your STBXW is an alcoholic. She won’t stop being one until she finds the bottom, wherever that may be. The good thing is that the kids don’t have to watch her fall.

    I agree that it’s a good idea to tell the people around you that you don’t need the updates on your STBXW. Since I’m a Chump, and therefore tend to be charitable, I think that some friends and family believe that they’re helping you by telling you tales of just how far she’s fallen. They don’t know that these stories set you back. You probably need to tell them that you realize that they’re trying to show you just how terrible her life has become so that you feel better, but since you’re still dealing with all the anger from her betrayal and her endangerment of the children, these stories stir you up instead of settle you down.

    Then limit your contact with the friends/family members who can’t seem to get this through their skulls. Eventually, they’ll no longer feel the need to give you updates.

    Cheers and kudos for being the awesome dad that you are!

    • i guess i am different. or maybe it is because i dont get a lot of feedback, i have only had 2 friends come forward and tell me just how bad he has gotten since january 2014.

      but for me, hearing the stories of how he is on drugs, how he is mostly always drunk, how he is STILL blaming everything on me, how he continues to make excuses and downright lies, how far he has fallen has helped verify that i made the right choice.

      dont get me wrong thou, it does still hurt me that he is doing this to himself. that he choose drugs, alcohol and people who could care less over me and the kids hurts like hell. i worry about him, i sit here and wish there was something i could have, should have, would have done to make him make better choices.

      but i have gotten to a place where i realize that i did do everything i could have, should have and would have done. in my heart i know i tried. i know i gave him 110% and more so and no matter what i did, or what i said never made a second of meaning to him. yes, i could have begged more, lowered my standard a little bit more (then i already did), and probably forgave and forget more (then i already did) but in the end, i can not control what he does or how he thinks. in all actuality, i should not have to remind him to pick his family over this shit. i should not have to constantly lecture and teach him what the right thing to do is.

      i know he is where he is at because he has poor (or no) coping skills, i know his FOO, i know he is hiding his guilt and shame for what he has done with alcohol and drugs. And in truth, if he had stayed i would have stood by his side thru whatever it took. be it drug counseling, AA, rehab, relapse, rehab again. i would have been by his side and dealing with his drama and shit every single day. But he fired me from that job. he did not want me to help him, he did not want to better himself for me or for his own flesh and blood children. he did not want to try and he left because me and the kids were a constant reminder that he was messing up.

      i dont know why but hearing that he is STILL not doing well is actually helping me get over it and on with my life. it was killing me thinking that he was happy and content with destroying our marriage and our children stable and intact family just because some hood rat made his dick hard. at least knowing that he is “getting worse” validates that i was “right” in kicking him out and choosing not to subject myself or my children to his fuckupness.

      Like KB said, my XH is an alcoholic and not likely to stop until he reaches bottom (apparently losing his wife and children is not rock bottom for him) but at least my children do not have to see him fall. in my heart, i still love the man i married but this man is NOT that man, i dont know THIS man. i can pray for THIS man and hope that someday he finds peace.

      • i couldnt “save” him. i really wish i could have been strong enough to “save” him, but he was only hurting me and the children. he would have dragged us all down with him (he is already on his 4th dwi, one more time and he is in jail, plus if he ever caused an accident with his drinking we could have lost everything) now he is on drugs and who knows what all kind of shit he has gotten himself into that he could have brought home with him (who knows, maybe a drug deal gone bad and they come to my house, hurt me and the children to get even with him?)

        we didnt and dont deserve that kind of life. you did the right thing and should be proud of the choices YOU made to save yourself and your children. Dont belittle yourself (your ex will do that enough for you anyways), congratulation yourself and hug your babies when you put them to bed tonight. if you are like me, that in itself is reward enough for what you do everyday for them.

  • Not sure if complete MEH is possible until the day she no longer has court-ordered access to the children. My BF is still going through this and his youngest is 20.

    However, at least your MEH is anger and not “wanting her back”. I still get occasionally angry after five years with no custody issues, usually when some ugly outlaw raises their head and spits at me.

    If you think of MEH as a straight line graph, then NC is the variable that keeps it straight.

  • Kudos to you on protecting your children immediately. It doesn’t always work out for the sane parent like it has for you. Remember, the cruelest thing you can do to your XW is to live your life well and respect her right to live her life on her own terms provided it is separate from you and the children are protected. Anything you could do to “ruin” her life pales in comparison to what she can (and will do) to ruin her own life if she continues on this path.

  • CL: spot on as always

    Opposite: you are simply amazing. Be sure to tell yourself that daily.

    You are not a rube, so stop thinking that say. We Chumps are trusting, loving, caring people. That’s why we put up with the things we have.
    By this point, your STBXW has shone her true colors. It’s tough, but time to accept it.
    I am 2.5 yrs out from DDay, and 17 months post divorce finalization, and I think I have FINALLY achieved meh. A bit more time will tell.
    The final straw happened this summer– daughter came back from a visit very upset. ExH spun all sorts of stuff about me to daughter. He does not think about his actions and words and how they affect the kids… It is all about him.

    Jedi hugs your way…. You are a true hero, and an amazing parent.

  • I too have been very tempted to destroy her life. I have evidence is many different forms that I could pass around in different venues. Her family, co workers (when she gets a new job) and former students would all see it.

    Sometimes the temptation to do it is so strong because I have moments where I get so angry. I admit a couple times I took a swing at the wall in the recent months.

    How do I stop myself from doing it? I tell myself that is sinking to HER level. That is the kind of childish immature crap that SHE would do. I do not want to be the kind of person she is. I want to be a better person than that. So I do not do these things and I won’t in the future.

    We have to find a healthy way to release this anger when it hits us. For me it has been beating a mattress with a belt until I am exhausted. If I had a punching bag I would use that, but I don’t. So the belt to mattress exercise works.

    I would highly recommend that you find a way to release that anger and remind yourself that revenge may be tempting and might make you feel good for a very short period of time, but a week later you will regret it because you will be reminded of how low you sunk to her level.

    You don’t want to live with that. Lets be the mature ones in our situations.

    • Such great advice here today from CL, Chump Nation, and in particular yours, Fred. I think it will be helpful for Opposite to learn how to release that anger too.

      Opposite, it seems you already know that an act of revenge won’t really make you feel any better and could very well make you feel worse. I feel what you’re really struggling with is the feeling of wanting to do it. Anger management can help with that, and of course our friend, time. (Are you getting enough exercise? That can help as well.)

      Besides trusting that our cheaters suck, we all need to Trust that Meh Will Come. But as you’ve noticed yourself, and many comments here reinforce that, meh is not a straight path, it’s very far from it.

      At first we just get glimpses of meh. Then we see it for moments at a time. Then we are set back. But meh crawls back again. We begin to enjoy our fleeting moments of meh and then, wham, something scares it off. What we begin to notice is that each time we’re thrown off our meh course two things happen: we’re generally a little less upset than we were last time, and b.) the anger or hurt or both seem to last a little less time.

      So, we all have to look at that big meh picture and trust that it will come and someday it will stay.

      I echo everyone’s comments about what a good job you are doing and pat you on the back for being the sane parent for your children. Chumps with children, especially, need to make certain their pickers are straightened out before embarking on a new relationship because innocent lives are involved.

  • Hi Opposite Spouse: Early days yet! Getting to “true Meh” is a herky-jerky path that takes years to accomplish. Two steps forward, one step back. It’s an arduous long term journey for us chumps, who have suffered at the hands of a narcissistic partner.

    I am 15 years post-divorce from my cheating first husband and 10 years on, in a very happy re-marriage. Our three children are grown – we no longer have to co-parent (happy days!), yet the ex persists on calling me after long periods of NC, just to “touch base” about the kids. There is nothing to touch base about – the kids are fine. He just wants to have a chummy chat – most likely, his wife (the OW) has completely lost interest in his kids, now that they are gone. My point in this preamble is that just the sound of his insipid voice over the phone, makes me twitchy and causes my blood pressure to hit the roof. I have zero interest in a chummy chat. I have learned to cut these conversations short. His telephone calls, (hoovering for kibbles) still have the capacity to put my nervous system into overdrive. One would think 15 years later I would be completely over it. For the most part I am – so it’s surprising that I can still react badly.

    The bottom line – trauma takes a long time to heal. Maybe when I am a demented 90 year old in a nursing home, I won’t care anymore. But I suspect that, until then, there will always be some lurking residual psychological damage. So, go easy on yourself – you have done a fine job so far! Your fragile equilibrium will get stronger over time – perhaps longer than you think. Let time run its course.

  • Meh is a process. It is also not a place you reach and just never go back. That is because unlike your wife and unlike our spouses and partners, we have a soul. Your wife is going to find you sometimes, as a casual reference in a conversation, something your kids innocently say after a visit, or in something innocuous, like when the knife set you got in the settlement breaks and you realize your entire marriage was an empire of shit (okay, that actually happened to me a few evenings ago, but back to you).

    You asked how to step back from the edge. That is an art I mastered during my divorce. So my husband literally deserted our marriage and home and was having an affair. I knew everything. I knew a lot of terrible everythings. I said nothing.

    It was far more powerful to remain totally aloof and collected while he did the crazy routine and deprive him of a confrontation. That was the grand “fuck you”. Nothing says “go to hell” better than indifference.

    Of course, privately, it hurt. It still hurts. But it’s cool.

    You teeter on meh because that’s what people do. Sometimes we have bad days. It does not negate all the days you spent sprinting toward meh, all the notches of meh under your belt, and all the meh to come. It just means you had a shitty day.

    As far as feeling like a rube, yeah, we all were total saps. I don’t think our spouses, though, thought we were saps when we divorced them and put an end to their shit. So, clearly, you are not a rube. You have your act together.

    Finally, making progress toward meh is great, but take it easy on yourself. Try not to rush it– You had a complicated marriage, a hellacious divorce, and children. You have to wade through all of that before you can really reach meh. The journey is worth it, though.

    Here is an ear worm: “You can’t hurry meh, no, you’ll just have to wait. Meh don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take. . .” (Sorry, the Supremes are so much better, but Phil Collins and I have some very tender divorce memories. Divorce will do Phil Collins to you). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sttWmXkYkd8

  • Please trust she SUCKS… that is the most power thing I have learned here. I spent 32 years with a disordered crazy person, who works very hard to look normal to the outside world. I knew he was weird but he had a ‘loveable’ side. He gaslighted me and my kids and a bunch of other stuff. (I now know that term.)

    The affair is just a symptom of suckness. The drinking is just a symptom of suckness. As hard as it now, once you are truly free of her for most days… I promise your your meh will stay and will stick. Watching her life devolve and watching your kids thrive you will come to understand that her punishment for her behavior is just living in her own head and your reward for your decency is watching your kids spread their wings.

    It has been 4 years now and I am just coming to see and truly trust that I will never had to live on eggshells again, never will I sit next to a smoldering volcano. Every morning, while I drive to work, at work, at the store, the moment strikes me all the time, I just give thanks to the universe, God, whom ever. I am so utterly grateful that is is finally over. I escaped. I lived through it. Thank you Thank you Thank you for this wonderful life.

    This will come to you too beause she sucked from the start but you papered/spackled over it… she sucks now and she will suck till the day she dies… how sorry is that. You my friend, will live, love and have a great life.

    ps My ex is going to move north to be with his AF. I cannot wait. If asked, I will help him pack… poor heart (AP) has no idea of what she is getting. Thank goodness she has a loving family around her, who can help her pick up the pieces when the mask falls and she figures out she is living with a nutter who has two speeds, totally disengaged and rageful nutter.

    They other day my 26 year old son said… Mom, he is barely a functional human… Don’t worry, you will get there, your kids will get there.

    • i realized mine one day while hearing cop sirens going past my house that i dont have to worry about it being y XH and that if it is him, at least i dont have to worry about getting the phone call, finding a bailsmen, going to bail him out of jail (i seriously HATE going to the jail, nasty, dirty, smelling, rat hole), court, punishment, more money spent and fined, more time dealing with the crap, and GOD forbid if he were to wreck the truck, into a house, into another vehicle and/or vehicular homicide. I literally used to be on pins and needles on the nights he didnt come home, worried he wrecked, worried he was in the hospital, worried he was past out drunk in some place and the people not even caring if he was choking on his own vomit, getting a dwi, getting in a fight, getting killed in a fiht or wreck. every time i heard a cop car i would literally start pacing the house….just waiting for that phone call. and when not receiving it start the process ALL over….ALL NIGHT!!!

      the first night i sat there on the couch watching tv, children in bed, and hear sirens, and NOT do the above. was such a relief. a monkey off the back. and realization that it was not my monkey anymore, whew!!!!

  • I have been reading this website for about 6 months now and this is my first post. I have my long story about my abusive cheating ex and have been NC as much as possible since I left him two years ago.
    Still not divorced. Still abusing me through the court system, but each time I have contact with him again (we have a child together), I want to do the same as you, Opposite.
    Here is what stops me: I’m giving him my energy and power again if I fall into this pattern.
    So don’t do it.
    I have plenty of setbacks, but thanks to CL and all of the other Chumps who have posted their comments, it has helped me get through it.
    Stay on the path, don’t get off it. MEH is very close for me. I have managed, despite all my son and I continue to go through, to build a life and will continue to do so.
    I’m not going to allow my son to be brought up in an abusive environment and you should feel really good about the steps you took to make sure you children are as protected as possible.
    Keep moving forward and don’t look back! 🙂

    • Welcome Evolving! ((((Hugs)))) Hope that divorce goes through soon. Just remember this shit is finite. He can’t abuse you through the court system forever. Judges hate that shit.

      Meh is yours! 🙂

      • Thank you both for your comments.
        He is delaying the divorce and the custody battle. Claims he doesn’t have the funds but earns twice as much as I do. Also, his OW is living with him.
        I hope it will be soon. We have accomplished so much and will continue to do so. I have good therapists and a good lawyer but only so much money. I don’t care what it takes as long as my son is safe.
        This website has helped me so much and when I read the responses along with what CL says, it was like I came to a different level.
        Hard to explain, but I no longer have fear and you all have helped me get very close to MEH.
        I just hope that with the court battle I don’t lose all that I’ve accomplished.
        I have not physically seen him since May and have not had any correspondence for a year and a half.
        Thank you for speaking loud and clear and helping others like me.

  • Opposite, everything everyone else said!
    plus, I think you need to give yourself a break. Do you journal? It really helped me for several reasons, I could look back and see how far I had actually come, when you think of all you have done on 10 months that is HUGE. We don’t see it ourselves because it is gradual. It’s like watching your child grow, all of a sudden none of their clothes fit and you wonder, “when did that happen?” Healing is much the same way…..all of a sudden one day you are going to realize you haven’t even thought of her for you don’t know how long or someone will mention her name and you will realize it doesn’t trigger you.
    You said you are trying really hard to reach “meh”. Thinking about how you haven’t reached “meh” in itself makes you think about her, being concerned that you are upset about her makes you upset of not reaching meh. Give yourself time, 10 months is not long in the big picture and not long at all when getting over what you have been through. It took me a full 2 years to get to the point of not caring enough to get angry. I am sure that if I was constantly finding out what he was doing now I would not have reached meh at all. It’s like having a bad cut and just as it is almost healed you rip the bandaid off and the scab comes with it. The cut is not as big but it bleeds again so you put another bandaide on, and if you rip it off it will bleed again and it will take forever to heal and it will leave a bigger scar.
    I had to tell my friends that I did not want to hear what my ex was doing, that it hurt and I didn’t need more hurt. Some true friends stopped immediately. True friends. I actually found that mutual friends was not possible, if they are friends with the ex they are trying to stay friends with both people and in my case they just could not, not mention him. Some people get some sort of sick satisfaction from having new painful information. I had one friend who would call “just to see how I was” and it never failed within 5 minutes was telling me the ex and his NW had just dropped by. Why bother? It was not helping me, I didn’t need to know that info, the friend was getting something out of it at my expense and my ex knew that if he wanted me to know anything he just had to tell this person and it would get back to me. A sick game. There are people out there who love spreading hurtful news, it puts them in the spotlight and some people actually like you hurt because they can then be the friend who consoles you. They have their own issues you don’t need friends like that. If you tell your friends that you don’t want to hear about the ex and they continue to “accidentally” let things slip you might have to tell them that if they can not stop you will have to cut them out of your life. I did have to stop talking to a friend who could not stop. But I don’t consider someone a friend if they continue to do things to hurt me. They can be the ex’s friend, just don’t tell me about it. It is hard to tell friends that because deep down we want to know that they haven’t changed. No contact is not no contact if we get the info by proxy.
    People always talk about forgiveness being the only way to healing and I think that is true, NOT to forgive your ex but to forgive yourself for being human, for loving, caring and forgiving, understanding, valuing your marriage vows and trying to make it work. Who doesn’t want to be described in those terms? We could use more people like you in the world. You didn’t know better, you have learned different and you have done another admirable thing, saved your kids from growing up in a dysfunctional home with a drunk. Stand tall with your head held high, YOU did nothing wrong. Learn the lessons you were meant to learn, give yourself a pat on the back and be patient with yourself.
    mega hugs
    Carrie

  • Opposite, you will prevail. Your ex is self-destructing, and you are wise to continue to protect your children. May I suggest that you explore family therapy for you and your kids? It may help them understand that what is happening is not their fault. Kids always blame themselves.

    One thing I found to be very cathartic when I want to lash out is to imagine the worst, most humiliating thing I could do to the happy schmoopy couple, and then write about it. I’ve made myself laugh doing this, and it helps me overcome my incredible urge to fuck them over for fucking me over.

    One of my more creative ideas was this: X is a weird mix of homophobe and homo-curious. He makes faces at any mention of gay relationships, yet LOVES to go to gay bars (with his beard, of course) in gay-friendly New England seaside towns. He always had to have sex with me on all fours, as if to dehumanize me and pretend he was fucking a man. [I hope this isn’t TMI for some.. it’s just the shit I put up with because of the “vows.”] Did I also mention he is a misogynist? He does not respect women at all and treats them (and me) like the help.

    So here’s my fantasy (before he lost his job). I wanted to send a subscription of the most racy, filthy gay porn magazine to their work place (a University). They work in an office, but I’d address it to “Professor X” (because that’s just the kind of self-inflated story he likes to tell strangers), and write “turn to page 45 (the page with the most filthy photo). On the photo, I’d write, “Looking forward to seeing you again, X. Call me. -Doug”

    Can you imagine the water cooler talk on that one? Because of course, the magazine would have to go through the mail room first.

    Opposite, I’m sure you can think of a million ways to screw her over. Do whatever it takes to process it and then walk away. You have much more important things to do than help her be more of a loser. All the best to you. -CAL

  • I would like to like to add my thoughts, but Chump Lady pretty much nailed it here. So, uhh — Yup -What she said. Opposite Spouse, you are amazing — and No Contact.

    No Contact is the King of All Healing From Bullshit Relationships tools. It unlocks the gates to the kingdom of Meh. We all have to keep learning this. It sounds like you are well on your way, OS. Good on you. 🙂

    • We forget that No Contact is also good for the family and friends that are on chump´s side. In a way, they have also been chumped. At least that is how my parents, brother and sister, and best friends feel. My mother is the one that wanted revenge the most, almost more than myself. Talking about him all the time and what a horrible person he is and how we could get back at him was her way of going through the trauma until I finally had to tell her that it was affecting her more than me and that she had to go NC verbally as well or else she would never heal. So we made a pact that no one in the family would talk about him, except when there was some absolutely fundamental administrative or legal issue we could not avoid. Problem solved…

      • One of my siblings comes up with ways to get even. In my case, the settlement is not signed and the divorce is not final. I told her that while revenge fantasies are fun, they’re just fantasies. I have bigger fish to fry and real strategies to work toward.

  • What was the “drab of news” that brought this on, I wonder?

    I agree with setting boundaries with friends if you are having trouble with this still, and I get it as much as possible without knowing what set you off.

    If you’re done, you’re done, so it’s OK to tell folks that you are no longer interested in the biological mother of your children, and you’d rather not hear about whatever nefarious exploit she happens to be up to at any given moment.

  • I feel blessed that my ex moved to another city to be near his married OW and her family (so weird, are they all blind?) Anyway, our mutual friends don’t see him anymore so nothing that he’s doing gets back to me. Those that are still connected to him on Facebook don’t tell me what he’s up to. One day a friend started to tell me something but I held my hand up in the STOP position and said “No one tells me anything about him, including my kids. I prefer it that way.” She seemed to understand and we went on to discuss more pleasant topics.

    If you keep letting family and friends know that you’re better off not knowing what she’s up to, they’ll respect your boundaries and stop telling you things. It’s up to you to protect yourself from this kind of gossip as much as possible.

  • Take the high road, Opposite! Be the kind and caring parent your children need. They will tell you someday that your behavior earned their respect. But you have to be that way every single day. CL’s advice to go no-contact takes time and conscious effort, but it is the best way, the only way, to get to Meh. It is hard to do with younger children, but do what you can to distance yourself from the drama. I have had to tell my adult children and others not to share any information with me about the Ex, it just is over. He’s out of my life, (and so are his abusive ways). I let them have whatever relationship they want to have with him, just don’t tell me what he is up to because I do NOT care. And I do not want to care. He does not deserve my sympathy, time, attention, or love.

    • well said. “I do not want to care. He does not deserve my sympathy, time, attention or love.”

      that is awesome, thank you

  • Opposite,
    I wanted revenge so bad I could taste it. I could have gotten him fired. And probably her too since they worked together. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind about a million times. In the long run it paid off well for me because they were employed he could afford to be generous in the divorce settlement and he was. And he’s still generous to this day and it’s been seven years.

    My XH was an alcoholic too and in retrospect I can see that I’m much better off without him because I kept him company on those bar stools. I’m much healthier these days and thirty pounds lighter.
    Drunks ruin everything. People don’t stand a chance against them.

  • I politely had to tell everyone that I didn’t want to hear any news about the ex. They all respected that and he was never mentioned again.

    When you are feeling low, please consider what a wonderful thing you are doing for your children. I had an alcoholic parent, and all of us kids still carry around that baggage. You can’t possibly begin to imagine what you are sparing them. There aren’t many upsides to this situation, but that one is a BIGGIE.

    You’ll have good days and bad ones, but even the bad ones get less and less visceral. You’ll get there, keep the faith!

  • Opposite,

    You and I are part of a very small club. According to the IRS, less than 8% of all US households identify as single parent father led households. My advice to you is to do nothing that might in any way jeopardize that. Do not lash out. Do not seek revenge. Do nothing that even remotely endangers your situation. Take your time to get to meh and enjoy all of the things that your ex is incapable of enjoying. Time with your kids, bed time stories, parent teacher conferences, etc. Good luck.

  • Oh I have been to MEH and back to tears SO many times…9 months since I was finally discarded… I think I’m just in a swirling toilet of how-to-get-myself-out-of-this-narc-path-smear-campaign-emotional incest with his kids-just-at-this-point-want-to-be-divorced-SO-sick-of-having-to-sign-HIS-FAKE-name-on-all-of-my-checks-OMIGOD…gotta-get-a-job-despite-taking-care-of-his-diabetic-ass-all-his-family-used-me-get-back-to WHOEVER-I-was-15-years-ago……

  • Opposite,

    Be cold. Be calm. Be cool. She is a hot mess. You know there are better choices for you, and your kids. She is self destructing every minute. Detach with love. Go to Al Anon. Be cold, detached, compassionate, but separate. This is HER path, not yours. It’s very sad, but…keep the goal of meh as the best option possible for all of you…You can do it…Let the drama be hers alone….

    • Nicely said JerseyGirl. Detaching with love and compassion is a very healthy way of looking at the trauma. When you have compassion it softens your heart and when your heart is calm beauty seeps in. It may be in waves but you know that the next wave of love and kindness is there for you to feel over and over again.

  • Dear Opposite,
    Hang on to what you read here. I heard some very wise, experienced and thoughtful advice here. I was not capable of going NC as soon as it happened. After that person (can’t even refer to person with pronouns) destroyed the marriage with addictions, I regularly ripped that person a new one. It was ugly, revengeful and eviscerating and it never felt good afterward. It took almost two years to process what happened over and over and over until I could assimilate it into my life experiences. I can now say my mind is finally at peace. It wasn’t pretty but I made my way the best I could. I can now say my mind is at peace, I’m content and sometimes feel happy and I was convinced I would NEVER, ever feel this way again. I hope that you have peace and contentment in your life soon.

  • Dear Opposite,
    I see in your account some similarities in an experience I had.

    You wonder how you have been so blind to the way she was. Blind to the affair. More like you were blindsided. You had every right to reasonably expect a normal life.

    Sometimes I think the way it happens is that we marry someone who has the latent possibility of being an addict, a liar, a cheater. They chug along fine, on good behaviour, during the “suckering” phase. This can last for a long time. Then, they encounter someone else, an OW/OM, who feeds their weakness. This is why I am firmly in the camp of feeling the OW/OM is often just as deserving of guilt…for triggering it. Their motivations are myriad…sex, thrills, lifestyle, whatever they can steal from you.

    In my case, I was physically assaulted by my partner. He was eventually proven to have been actively poisoning me. Even though I involved the police immediately, and he was questioned, banned, etc., the OW decided that she needed to jump to his defence by trying to publicly discredit me. Why, I am not sure, because in my very brief reply to one vicious email…I told her she was welcome to him. I think she was one of those malignant people who not only enjoy stealing attention, but love seeing others destroyed or even dead.

    She went on to persistently wage a smear campaign via twitter, blog, facebook etc. that cost me thousands in legal fees and hours of correspondence with various social media companies…simply to get the smear off the web and therefore not picked up by google. In her smears, she described all sorts of ludicrous things I had supposedly been involved in, named my employer, my children, even my previous ex-husband. And you know…I only ever met her once, at a party, when I didn’t know of the affair, and she went on to try to destroy my rep, even egg him on to kill me. . It took months to clear up. The restraining order cost me legal fees and time in court.

    The police behaviour is interesting. While they try to provide all sorts of victim counselling and that is nice. However the one thing that would put things right, i.e. a conviction, is notoriously hard to get in domestic violence cases. The prosecution office in my jurisdiction were the laziest sob’s ever, decided the case was too difficult, and even made the investigating officers livid. They told me they had eventually meted out some frontier justice on the happy couple. After that, the lovers filed a complaint against the police…which was roundly dismissed…so I suppose I did get some restitution from that.

    All this sort of thing just adds to the grief and takes away valuable energy that should be directed at loved ones…oh, and your work life. Let’s not forget we need to keep making a living through it all. I am eternally grateful to the couple of colleagues who witnessed my exhaustion and who cut me slack at the time.

    I guess the message in this is — only do what you have to, to keep the children safe, then get on with your decent life on the straight and narrow. Don’t let this addict cost you your legal record, your savings, your happiness with your dear children.

    Please try to not make yourself cynical about relationships. This is my enduring legacy, that I find it hard to trust again, that I am always now looking for red flags. It’s just not possible to know another person completely.

  • Opposite Spouse, you have gone through the worst, even though triggers bring back bad thoughts, the worst is over. What has helps me during these challenging times is to let go through love and compassion. We all have our demons to deal with. Some demons are so reckless that they bring havoc to all the people around us. Knowing that your spouse has demons that are controlling her can bring softness to our heart. Not that it excuses all the trauma she has caused, just knowing that she is suffering too may ease the revenge dialog. And again “If you go down the road of revenge, dig two graves.”
    Best of luck to you.

  • Here’s the thing…it’s not a linear process. There will be days when you bask in the exquisiteness of “meh” and other days you’ll slap your forehead and say “WTF did I just do?”

    No matter what, however, remember that at the end of the day, you are invincible. Your errant spouse will play mind games with you and there will be times when you will fall for their shit. It’s only natural. Remember, you’re trying to detach as best you can after having a house thrown down on you. These asswipes have already left us. By the time they get caught, or confess to their twu wuvs, their souls are already in a different place. They left us a long time ago. We’re the saps who are the lasts to find out and then have to try and figure out how to resurrect a life for us and our kids while dealing with the fall out from an emotional H-bomb.

    The interesting part is, you can’t figure it out. There is no answer. To understand insanity is to be insane.

    In the meantime, just take a breath. In the beginning healing doesn’t come in broad strokes, sometimes it comes in minute moments.

    Set your boundaries and try to keep them as best you can. And if you slip? Shake it off and start again. I can assure you of one thing – the road may be arduous in the beginning but with each step you take you come that much closer to smelling the sweet air of not only surviving, but thriving.

    • “The interesting part is, you can’t figure it out. There is no answer. To understand insanity is to be insane.”

      This is not in reference to the previous paragraph about trying to figure out what to do to resurrect our lives. It’s referring to trying to figure out why they do what they do and inflict the hurt that they do.

      Wish there was an edit, or an “oh shit I made a mistake” button for posters.

      Sorry for any confusion.

  • You saved your kids. You saved yourself. Think of how hard you worked to stay in that marriage and hold it all together. You’re Atlas. You take all that strength and love with you forward. And now, instead of wasting it on this dreadful woman, you have it to give to the people who are deserving of you — your kids, the loved ones who’ve had your back, and some day (when that picker is recalibrated) to a good person who can love you right.

    THAT. That right there was what I needed to hear.

    I’m in your exact situation Opposite. I’ve got all these (well-meaning) friends who finally feel like they can let loose with continual stories of my ex’s cheating. Every time I think I’m gaining ground, someone new comes along to show me more. So I’ve said “no.” Every time his name is brought up, I move on. And believe me, I may have alienated some of them, but there are as many of them who understand, often having gone through something similar. It’s difficult, we had SO MANY mutual friends, but that’s part of creating a new life- finding people who don’t know you as “so and so’s ex”, but simply know you as you. Congratulations on your victories!!

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