Hi Chumps! Today is my birthday, so I’m taking it easy today, sort of.
You get a twofer. I got a wonderful letter yesterday from BarristerBelle, whom some of you may remember from her epic tale of the bunny hopping ex-husband, who when confronted, jumped into a pool fully clothed, then curled up into a sleeping bag and bunny hopped away in anger. (Actually I think this could be a contest… Most Psycho Cheater Reaction…) Anywho! She’s in a much better place these days and sent me a lovely letter, below.
After BarristerBelle’s letter, I’m rerunning my birthday column from 2012. I’m now 48 not 46, but my husband is as sweet as ever, and I’m that much further out from my 40th birthday (pre-D-Day), that I spent literally shoveling shit.
Older, squidgier, happier. Take heart, chumps, better days ahead. Invest in the good people — they’re out there. I’m not just talking romantic relationships, either. All relationships.
I haven’t been commenting on the site in a while due to crazy work schedules and a much-needed vacation (I still read each and every new post), but I wanted to share a happy update with you and our fellow Chumps: I’m engaged!
I am grateful to you, your site, and this community for helping me find my backbone again and to finally see the cheater word-salad / fog / excuses / FOO issues for the narcissistic bullshit it really was, and to start taking the necessary steps to walk away from the crazy. (And mine was an epic level of crazy…my XH is the ridiculous one who, upon the final DDay, threw himself and several items of furniture into the pool while fully clothed in his suit & shoes, then hid upstairs and finally bunny-hopped-down-the-stairs-in-a-sleeping-bag)
I’d only found ChumpLady a few months before that infamous event, and after that night I was finally FINALLY was able to stop trying to fix him, fix us, stopped being the Amazon Chump that I was, and started to focus on me and getting better.
Admittedly, I still worried after the divorce I’d be stuck with a loser “divorcee” label, that it would be too scary to risk dating again and getting my heart trampled upon once more, that no one would want to date me (I was damaged goods, after all), I’d have to settle for someone dull (I was so conditioned to SPARKLES), or that I was so screwed up from this experience I wouldn’t even know what a decent guy would look like if he were right in front of me.
I’m thankful for your stories about finding your Texas-lawyer husband, your birthday post and how the “walls in your house sing again.” Those posts and others helped displace much of the fear and what-if thoughts in my head, gave me hope that things can be better, and provided me with motivation to actually try dating again.
I’m glad I did. And I took things slowly and learned to watch his actions. I saw the effort he put into our relationship and his relationships with his friends, family and colleagues, and began to trust again. Just a couple of weeks ago we were on vacation out of the country at a lovely tropical beach, and on the last night of our stay, he proposed. We flew home the very next day (yup, on a Tuesday).
Thank you, Tracy & thank you for creating a space for Chump Nation. If you think this would be helpful, please feel free to post this.
All the best to you and yours,
Happy Birthday Chump Lady 2012
Well, I try not to blog about myself too much, because God, how narcissistic and dull. (Mommy blogging anyone? Does anyone want to know about my son’s travails with geometry?) But I’m going to make an exception today, because today is my birthday. (Cue Leslie Gore… “It’s my birthday! And I’ll blog if I want to! Blog if I want to!”…)
I’m 46, if you’re curious. Fairly ancient.
What does my descent into middle-aged decrepitude have to do with infidelity? Well, my 46th birthday is a nice reminder of my 40th birthday, which sucked epically. And I thought I’d tell you about it as a little example of how different life can be post-cheater.
When I turned 40, I had just moved to a new state with my then husband for his job. I’d been married four months. We bought a 100-year old fixer upper house (with my money) and it had been badly neglected. A widow had owned it and hadn’t done yard work since her husband had died years ago. But hey, you know what they say about codependents, right? Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. I was still a flaming codependent. I loved the potential of this ancient pile of house and I was resurrecting the garden single handedly.
It was the day of my fortieth birthday and I ordered myself a truck load of cow manure from a local farmer. He delivered it, dumped it in my yard and I spent the day ankle deep in shit, shoveling cow flop around.
At the time — swear to GOD — I thought “I’m ankle deep in shit on my fortieth birthday. This must be a METAPHOR for something!”
My metaphor called me about six weeks later. It was the Other Woman phoning to let me know she existed. Turns out — surprise! — my husband had a mistress spanning 20 years and three marriages. No, I had NO IDEA. Remember, I’m a CHUMP. No clue. None. Zip. Zilch.
I had just moved to a no fault divorce state, financed a serial cheater’s career move, and bought a 100-year old fixer upper with this fucking sociopath.
How I got out of that mess is another story for another time (many miracles, many blessings, a lot of idiocy on my part — idiocy I share with you as trial-tested results of What Not To DO). The point was… my birthday.
My fortieth birthday sucked. I literally spread shit on my fortieth birthday. My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen. (Admittedly a nicer gift than the tie-dye motif license plate cover he presented to me that Christmas). And during that weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was off screwing his mistress. Cherry on top of the shit sundae.
What a difference six years makes.
Today I am so blessed. I’m remarried to a great guy who is truly my better half. He’s nerdy and kind and super smart. Verbal. Bright. A mensch. A wonderful father to his kids and a rock to my son. He eats too much popcorn and loves polka music. His quirks fit my quirks. I marvel every day at my amazing fortune that this is my life and he is my husband… and I will shut up now before you choke on my treacly, heartfelt, love goop.
My husband has been pestering me for the last week about what I want for my birthday breakfast. He is a master at French toast, and tragically for him, I do not care for French toast. (“It’s JUST LIKE BREAD PUDDING! You love bread pudding!” No, it’s not the same. French toast is a pale substitute because it’s not drenched in Bourbon.) I got a sweet roll and coffee and roses for breakfast. Swoon.
He took me out on a date last weekend and gave me a ridiculously extravagant gift. He put a pressed shirt on, and the man hates to wear all things dry clean only. He opened my door. He bought the fancy dinner.
I’m not writing this to make you hate me. I am writing this to you to say — YOU ALL DESERVE THIS. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who delights in delighting them. Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them. Who will go to whatever effort just to PLEASE you on your birthday.
You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.
I didn’t know this until I was 42 and met my husband. I spent a lifetime in my relationships shoveling shit to one degree or another. I’m not saying <sniff!> no one loved me, no one bought me a pretty present. I’m saying — I didn’t know what reciprocity felt like. What it was to love someone who loved me back just as hard, maybe harder. Who if I lobbed the ball to him, picked it up and lobbed it right back. Who threw it further into the green, past me, so that I had to run to catch it. Who (damn him) is ahead on this birthday celebration thing. But I have a few things planned… his turn is coming…
Betrayed folks — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.
Going to go celebrate some more. I’ve got a sugar coma now, between my prose and the birthday cake… maybe I’ll go take a nap… Happy birthday to me!