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Who Was Your Infidelity Angel?

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I was reading on Facebook this morning and a friend of mine (a fellow former chump) recently lost her mother. She requested that instead of flowers, to pay it forward for someone in need instead.

If you’d like to give in honor of my Mom, she was a pay it forward type of person and she adopted people that needed help so I’d like to leave some suggestions … Instead of sending us flowers, pick someone in your life that is having a hard time or needing something and send them a bouquet, pay their rent, give them a gas card or gift card for HEB – find a single Mom whose children would like to play in city league sports and pay their fees, or treat them to a movie or dinner – if you are out and see someone having dinner alone, pay their tab or pick a person in your life who works hard and never seems to catch a break and do something to totally make their day.

Such a sweet request and it got me thinking about people like this woman. So today I thought I’d ask you all — who was your angel? Who helped you in real life through the meat grinder of infidelity? What was the casual kindness that made all the difference?

I had many angels. Tops would be my friend Yoma who financed my escape at the scariest moment. Who never wavered (even when I did) to trust that he sucked. To my friend Caroline who watched my dog and my kid when I had to travel for work, who was always cheerful and positive. To my dad and my aunt who came right after I threw him out to pack up his shit with me. To my mom who sent money to tear down the wallpaper. That may sound weird, but NOTHING could make me happier at that time than to rid myself of that wretched wallpaper in the hallway. (Wallpaper removal is my love language.) To the total stranger I met at a Christmas party once, an old man, who told me that the worst thing that ever happened to him — a hail storm that wiped out all his crops — turned out to be the best thing that ever happened, because he left farming and became a successful stock broker.

They were all lights along the path out.

So, tell me — who paid it forward in your life?

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  • There were many angels in my nightmare, the first of which were my parents who came to help me sort through 36 years of memories and pack up my house. No one else from my family would come during that time, not even my kids. Living alone in that enormous old house in the country felt like living in a tomb. Memories of how happy we were when we first moved there compared with the desolation of being the only one left made me feel a bit crazy. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. My mom is in poor health but she faithfully helped me sort through the pictures and pack them away. My dad has had two heart attacks and started having chest pains while carrying out some of my furniture. I remember feeling so angry that my ex had put us in such a rotten situation and caused pain for so many.

    I also had a wonderful friend who’d been through a grueling divorce and encouraged me to move in with her for a year. It was like discovering an oasis in the desert. I remember being so thankful when I went to bed at night knowing she was in the next room and I wasn’t totally alone. She was the one who demonstrated to me how to live alone, how to cope with car and house issues, she showed me how to live alone and be happy. She was almost as good as any paid counselor.

    There were lots of other people too, especially the people from my small church who threw me a dinner party the evening after I moved to my new house, and helped me celebrate a new life. Don’t know how I’d have survived without all these angels in my life!

    • Oh, Lyn, you must be quite a person to have such love and support around you. I wish I had a friend like yours!

      • I wish I had a friend like yours!

        Me too! Figuring out how to do things on my own isn’t an issue but, more than anything, I wish I had one person who has experienced this too and would be there for me to talk to whenever I need to. My friends are great but they can’t relate and don’t really know what to say which makes me feel like I shouldn’t bring it up.

    • MB, what your mother did is awful, I’m so sorry she’s not giving you the support you need. Keep reaching out to others, find a Divorce Care group, or talk to a pastor. I’ve found that divorced people can be some of the most compassionate people in the world. Just keep looking because they’re out there. And of course you always have us.

  • My two BFFs who started a “therapy-ish” book club and at our second meeting, when asked how I was doing, I blurted out that we were getting a divorce. They cried with me and have kept me on track. Now after having bought an apartment, one painted the whole place (1000 sq ft) for free and it took weeks. She knew I was in a fog and instead of making me help, she would send me on some errand to get me out of the house. These women have been my rocks and I couldn’t be where I am today without their constant and unwavering love and support!

  • My family never let me fail, or even think about failure. They helped me purchase my first home and hated him from the moment he was exposed.

    And then I have the two very best of friends who have NEVER EVER wavered. Stood by side through thick and thin (the irony, ha) and have been my greatest source of comfort throughout this whole process. To have these two friends who would listen to me complain and cry about the same things countless times has really shown me just how true friends should act. They instantly refused contact with him. They never sided with him. They saw the raw pain I was in. They stepped up when all I wanted to do was curl up into fetal position. Their moral compass didn’t include being a neutral party. They stood up for me and have made it known that they will always be on my team. I’m moved to tears just thinking about how incredibly lucky I am to have them. I’m the luckiest girl in the whole world despite my ex’s deplorable choices.

    • I’m so envious of you fellow chumps with such amazing friends! You must be a good friend to have such good friends.

  • I had three good friends that held me when I cried, listened to me rant and showed me what real love and friendship means. They were my support group. Even though they knew I was not thinking clearly, they did not try to make decisions for me, they just listened and loved me. When the day came that I finally had enough and filed for divorce they were my cheering section, encouraging me and offering support in any way I needed.
    Just knowing these great friends were out there lifted me up during those painful, dark nights after DDay. When I was in doubt, when I felt unloved, unattractive, I knew they loved me no matter what. I realized that the relationship I thought I had with my husband was not even close to what I had with just a few good friends. The love and commitment that was supposed to be in my marriage, paled in comparison as I finally saw how unloving, uncommitted and how much the man that was supposed to be my rock lied and hurt me.
    I spent 20 lonely years waiting for a man that was not capable of true love to show me that he loves and accepts for who I am. I can truly say I have not been lonely one day since I swallowed my pride, looked my friend in the eye and said, “My husband is cheating on me.” I have not one, but three angels.

  • 1. Mom & sister battling (battling her second bout of breast cancer) came to my aid the night asshole told the children. They brought dinner and supplies (tons of stuff from Costco).
    2. The first counselor to start trying to help the 4 kiddos.
    3. My gal-pals at the gym who became secret santas: bags of stuff from The Gap dropped off at my house with no one to say thank you to. The bag that contained a gift card to get a massage and a free color and style for my hair. The $400 gift card to Amazon to make sure that the kids received Christmas presents. I know who each of you are, but I will continue to keep your secret.
    4. The karate dojo who put my kids on scholarship so they could continue their training. One just earned his 2nd degree black belt last night.
    5. The karate teacher who gave my oldest all his old shoes when his father wouldn’t give me money to buy him some. (We laugh now at the fact that this child now has feet larger than the teacher.)
    6. The people who watched my children while I went to mediation and court hearings.
    7. The psychologist who saw through the crap and testified against x.
    8. The people who filled out affidavits regarding x.
    9. The church that has given me gift cards at Christmas, and helped in spiritual ways.
    10. My sister who lets me stay the night when my kids are gone and goes to movies and dinner with me.
    11. My nephew who is a shining role model for my kiddos and entertains them.
    12. Countless friends that listen, provide a sounding board, give advise, etc.
    13. Parents for taking us in when the house foreclosed dues to fucktard rolling his student loans and other debt into the house during the boom and then walking away from it all.
    14. Parents for providing countless car repairs and buying a new car to keep us going.
    15. The amazing people at the Department of Economic Security that shake their heads and have a few choice words to say about x every time I have to visit their office.

    AND…………….Chump Lady!!!!! & Chump Nation!!!!

    I am sure that I could go on and on. Thanks!!! Someday, I will get back on my feet and be able to pay it back and forward.

    • Your list made me cry. It had been building up as I have been reading down these comments (and I’ve only begun!). I am thankful for your infidelety angels too and everyone else’s too.

  • I am only just beginning to reach out for help to get out of this abusive marriage. I’m pretty much a shell of the person I used to be. I’ve fallen so far, that I can’t even open my own bank account because I lack proper identification.
    In case anyone remembers me, I’m the one who spoke about how my parents haven’t been supportive. So I decided to keep them out of this divorce process for my own sanity.
    My sister has been my angel, along with her best friend. My sister lives across the country, but her friend lives nearby. Yesterday, she picked me up, and paid for me to get a photo id (which my sister will pay for). She then took me out for lunch. After DDay hit, I realized the few friends I had were also toxic and decided to protect myself from them as well. It’s left a pretty big hole in my life, so it was nice to sit with someone who actually wanted to help me, instead of trying to get help from those who just don’t want to. It gives me hope that I will some day have healthy people in my life again.

    • super_chump: I have no idea what kind of abusive relationships you have been in, but to not even have a driver’s license and a bank account of your own as an adult married woman screams of someone who has been stripped of an identity. I have no details here, but it sounds like you need to get some professional help here to get you going. Women’s shelter or something that can get you on your feet, get you some counseling, maybe a pro-bono lawyer. WOW! honey!!! Big hugs!!! Glad there is at least one person there for you.

    • Super_Chump; I second that advice, reach out to your local women’s shelter. Most offer free therapy, help with financial issues and things like the ID. Many offer varying levels of pro bono legal aid. Jedi Hugs!

    • super_chump–I want to echo what HSM and Ddw have said about reaching out to the community resources for abused women. You will be starting from scratch, and these places are very good at working with women who have nothing but the clothes on their backs.

      I agree that removing yourself from the toxic friendships means that you have a hole, but I am reminded of a conversation I had with my mother about life post-divorce. My mother opened up by saying that there’d be a hole. I, thinking she was referring to the fact that he’s been part of my everyday life for a couple of decades, answered that I knew there would be. After so many years together, it would be weird for me to live life without him. There’d be an adjustment on my part. “No,” she replied. “It’s like having a boil. Once you lance it, you have a wound, but you need that wound in order to heal.”

      So yes, there’s a hole in your life, but it’s because the pus is draining from your life. Take care of yourself and get the help you need so that you can heal well.

      • Thank you everyone.
        There was no physical abuse, which is why it’s been so difficult to see it for what it was. My main role was to walk on eggshells around him so I wouldn’t trigger his anger. It got much worse after the kids were born, and to my horror, his emotional neglect and annoyance were targeted more at them than at me. He wanted me to stay home because he wanted to concentrate on pursuing his career. I was afraid to leave them alone with him. If I left for a few hours, I’d come home to two crying, hungry kids in dirty diapers. So at the time, I thought being home was the best thing. But, in the process, I gave up everything.
        The emotional abandonment was really covert. I’ve recently read some things about narcissists and it’s like a light bulb has gone on in my head. Everyone else is shocked by what’s going on too, because hey, he’s “such a nice guy”. I’m so happy that I’m finally reaching out for help. I qualified for legal aid and I’m seeing a lawyer tomorrow.

        • They are twisted dementors, I lived that too. You will be so surprised at the life you lead when you are though this… you will feel like you have balloons attached to your arms… you will feel so light. That is the way I feel. I so love my life… 39 years, 32 years of marriage and 7 years before of suckitude… he is gone, his anger is gone. His weirdness is gone. How lucky I am and we all are. Ha Ha! living well is the best revenge.

        • Yep! The eggshells, the anger, the emotional abandonment, etc. etc. Shiny on the outside, rotten on the inside! I tried to work part time and from home and was told I needed to stop. Then, in court, he and his lawyer made me out to be a lazy gold digger. GGGRRRR!!!!! Talk about gas lighting and DARVO! Hugs to you and the kiddos!

          • Eggshells, yes!!! Oh my yes!!! Especially concerning the kids, my God how I hate him for making me feel bad that the kids were getting on his nerves!!!

        • Emotional neglect- YES!!!! That’s what I’ve been dealing with for a while now…he’s preparing to leave, thank God!..this past 12 months or so he has been leaving the house all night instead of being home with us- not once in a long time has he wanted to take me out…so sad, but I see light at the end of the tunnel at least and have realized that this is the path he has chosen and once it’s over I will be better for it…

      • And kb, I love the boil analogy! The more I detach the more believe that I’ll be better off when I leave.

        • Plus in regards to your toxic now-ex-friends, I don’t see it as a hole, but instead a blessing. Who wants people in their life who don’t have their back?

    • God bless- (((hugs))). I’ve been there. Dig deep and find the strength within yourself. Fuck the vampires

      • super_chump, your story sounds very much like mine. My ex did not physically abuse me, but living with him was like walking on eggshells all the time. Once I found out about his affair, things got a lot worse, and he began taking out his anger on the kids and punishing them in ways I felt were abusive. You are fortunate he isn’t hurting your kids physically, but please have an “escape plan” ready in case he does. After one especially bad altercation we had to walk away–fortunately, a friend had made arrangements for us in case we needed a place to go. Be brave and be smart!

  • I had a surprising blessing from a high school friend. Funny, beautiful, intelligent and diametrically opposite from me on nearly every political issue. She reached out to me at my lowest, shared her similar story, railed against my spackling, insulted my ex in the most ruthlessly hilarious ways posssible, and shared the meh and magic of her life now. It was inspiring and helpful and made me realize that character has to do with how people live, not what they seem to believe. I felt so incredibly blessed.

  • Wow — just so many:

    My college room mate, who told me I should be angry and not blame myself
    A friend from high school, who I contacted because I thought she might know something about the divorce process. Turned out she didn’t, but she’s been supporting me every step of the way.
    Old and new friends who were there for me when the trauma of infidelity brought up the past trauma of sexual assault.
    The therapist I’m seeing to deal with the sexual assault trauma, who has let me see that I deserve a full life and helped me get there, slowly but surely.
    Three former bosses who make a point of checking in on me to see I’m alright.
    My one remaining aunt, who has offered financial help to buy out my wife from the only home our kids have ever known,
    Last but not least, Tracy — who validated what I was feeling about my wife’s attitude, and the many members of Chump Nation who are here for one another. Thank you, all!

  • Hate to be that person who has nothing positive to say but I’ve got NO ONE on my side, if you don’t count my therapist. My parents in their late 60s are “staying out of it” and my mom has hinted numerous times that maybe I “should have taken care of him better because you know honey, men have needs and they’re simple.” My mother even tried to reach out to ex’s mother to form a new alliance, sowmthing I didn’t find out about until months later. When confronted, she said it wAs none of my business who she decided to stay in touch with. Overall, my very small family have decided that I’m not worthy of any significant support because oh well, shit happens and I should be a big girl about it.
    Friends and strangers have offered their sympathies but nothing profound or special, just the polite “I’m sorry it happened to you.” Maybe I’m just unlucky that I don’t have any kick ass people in my life because I think I’m pretty good friend myself. As a matter of fact, I recently offered my help and support to an acquaintance who is a bone fida chump and “trying to reconcile” but my help was in the CL style a la leave the loser and guess what? She pretty much told me to back off. I swear, sometimes this lack of support fucks with my head because I start to wonder if I’m the one who is wrong… and that’s a slippery slope right back to the land of chumpdome.

    • I so understand what you’re going through. It’s been a very lonely road. Keep reaching out and trying to find healthy people who want to help. They have to be out there somewhere. In the meantime, keep coming here, to keep you from sliding back into chumpdome. That self doubt is easy to fall into if we’re not careful.

      • I do have many friends but none of them ever went above and beyond like so many of your stories. Maybe I pick them wrong or maybe these friends are superficial or maybe it means sowmthing about me that I don’t know…. wish I had those kick ass friends in my life but sadly, aside from some small talk, they don’t offer much.

        • MB: Sometimes even your friends don’t know what to do with your sorrow and grief. They aren’t superficial and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. Some people, even ones that appear relatively close to you, simply don’t have the depth of spirit or life experiences to accommodate your suffering. That doesn’t mean they are bad people.

          I was the first of a close group of 8 ladies to be left by a cheating husband. My ladies felt for me, but didn’t really understand the horror of it all. They were all in their early 40s with intact marriages, young children and busy careers. My life was not their life. Over the course of the next 10 years, 4 more ladies marriages imploded because of their husband’s infidelity. Only then did those ladies really get it. Lucky for the last one that she had 4 of us to lean on. It’s a club no one wants to belong to.

          • You are so right about people not understanding unless it has happened to them. And it’s sad so many have experienced it. What does that say about our narcissistic society?

            • Age of entitlement, indeed.
              People living cushy lives and thinking they’re ‘entitled’ to everything on a silver platter.
              MB: You got us guys on your side, too. Screw superficial people and ones ‘who don’t want to take sides’. They have taken a side – its the other side.
              Your mother is especially heinous for conspiring with the fucked up excuse of a family of the ex. When she said it was none of your business, she basically told you that she doesn’t care – which is disgusting to say to her own child.
              As for the others who offer up nothing more than ‘so sorry this happened to you’ – ignore the superficiality. They likely have no idea or experience what you’re going through.

        • MB-I think sometimes that our friends just don’t know what to do or say in these situations. Some of my friends were afraid to say anything bad in case I was going to reconcile or really didn’t know what they could do to help since it wasn’t a secret my marriage had been bad (non-infidelity stuff at that time) for a long period. I did isolate myself for awhile as well to try & deal with the whole implosion of life as I knew it. I was afraid to burden/wear out my friends. Now 10 months out, I can see my angels clearly:
          1) My mom-She had been chumped in her 1st marriage & then found her prince charming in my late father. She has listened to me at all hours & stayed calm at all the times I couldn’t. She can’t give me money or a place to stay right now but emotionally speaking she has been the great wall of China
          2) My best girl-friend-we don’t see each other all the time but she is always a phone call away with love, support, and a sense of humor. She is also a voice of reason & plays devil’s advocate to make sure that I am staying on the straight in dealing with stbx. She has also done everything but open her own company to help me find a job (I’m getting closer-interview tomorrow)
          3) My gay work husband-Carrie had her Stanford & I have my own darling. Always supportive & loving-he never lets me forget I’m a worthwhile person & is also helping me find a job. He doesn’t judge & is always calm in any situation which I need
          4) Lastly, I have an old friend from high school. Yes, at one point years ago we were involved but ended up that we were better as friends. 30 years of friendship later-He is a great insight from the mans point of view and doesn’t sugar coat anything. Although sometimes it is painful-It is true tough love at it’s best. He makes sure that I am a realist & not seeing unicorns. He clears the fog so that I clearly see the jackass donkey with the toilet plunger on his forehead.
          Sometimes when I start to feel sad-which is getting less & less……any one of these 4 fine friends can make me smile & laugh. They always remind me that better days lie ahead and that I am going to get through this

          • I almost forgot to list my gorgeous little boy-he is my biggest angel of all & my reason for fighting for a new, better life for us. When he tells me “I love you mommy”-it makes all the hurt go away at that time. And my lovely fuzzbutt himilayan kitty-Ted. He waits for me to go to bed every night after I tuck little guy in . He sleeps on my pillow and is always touching me with at least one paw just to remind me that he is there. He has cuddled with me & let me cry on him on numerous occasions but never seems to mind….He looks at me like he understands….Silly I know but it means the world to me

            • Ted sounds like such a sweet and attentive cat. So glad you have him and your son (and everyone else too).

          • When I first revealed, the ones I confided in responded hesitantly until they asked me THE question: “You gonna try to work it out?” To all of them I answered emphatically no- I have put up with A LOT of bullshit these last few years, but this one thing was then and always has been my deal breaker, non-negotiable- once that was made clear, they’ve been like, OK, let’s do this.
            I get that some people really don’t know what to say because they’ve never been through it themselves. People can only relate to what they know, but maybe that’s just me. Luckily for me, even my happily-married-never-had-this-issue-friends are extremely supportive of me.

    • MB, grrr to all the sluffs you’ve encountered. Give your therapist more credit. You do have ONE person on your side. They do count. Plus, you have Chump Nation now!

    • Not sure how you ended up with no friends, but for me it was that we moved so much, and I had a ton of shame about our situation and didn’t know how to explain it to “normal” people. So I isolated myself.

      If your counselor is a comfort to you, let’s definitely count her/him as your angel. And you always have us. We’re virtual, but we’re real.

      P.S. You’re not wrong.

      • Hi Moving Liquid,

        I’m sure you are as schooled now in the tactics of abusers / sociopaths as I’ve become trying to make sense of all this madness we’ve had to live through. Isolating you from the support of friends and family tends to be high on the list of known tactics.

        Also, I’ve travelled about a lot in my life and know exactly what you mean about that. It’s difficult to maintain regular, daily contact with people when you live completely different lives, and miles and miles away.

        Another thing I’ve noticed is, as I’ve got older, the friends I make are married / cohabiting couples and, while I love all my friends, there’s always that feeling like a gooseberry (on my part) and no doubt, with some couples, their fear of chumpdom contagion! Mostly, I think people are so caught up with just getting on with their own lives, it’s few and far between who’d actually go out of their way to make sure you’re ok. I do believe they probably care for you, they are just, perhaps a little unimaginative? Couple that with the fear of jinxing their own relationships, and sadly, it leads to isolation. I also think that I give off an air of self-reliance (who can blame them, I’ve travelled all over and done lots of things on my own – even many years before I met stbxh) so perhaps that ‘puts people off’ broaching the subject? Ironically, I don’t know that many divorced people either so, of course, I’m a bit of a freak in my circle of friends / family and acquaintances.

        What I do know is, even when you are surrounded by people, you can feel utterly isolated when you are going through this sort of thing, sometimes even lonelier than if you were actually on your own. Here, though it is a virtual connection, we do all share the connection. You don’t have to worry that when you vent it isn’t being dismissed, or that you’re being painted crazy, or that we’d just wish you’d stop banging on about it already, which IRL I know I feel very sensitive about – even with people I know are right behind me – I do find myself having a rant, or having a cry, or ‘wallowing in self-pity’ and then cutting it short and apologising profusely, which you honestly don’t have to do here, because we all get it. You offer kindness, support and cheer-leading duty along with the rest of us, you get it too, when I need to go fruit-loopy – So, my thanks to you too ML xxx

        • Thanks so much, Jayne, you’re so kind. I used to feel worse about my lack of friends in recent years but I’ve begun to accept that it was the isolation and shame and it’s nothing I can’t rectify in time. I don’t need tons of friends, just one or two good ones will do. And I believe I am more capable now of being a friend to others than I ever have been before. I took comfort in knowing my family seemed to love me and believe in me, and that meant everything to me. I hadn’t crossed that line into being a burden to them. I do agree that only people who have experienced infidelity can understand the pain of it. xox

    • MB, don’t feel bad, I’ve got no one on my side either, not even a therapist..My cheater ex was my best friend, so I thought…I gave some of my friends up (males) because he wasn’t happy about it, he kept saying “men and women cant be friends because men are after one thing only, under the pretense of being friends” but he had female friends that I never knew about, you know the ones that he was talking to daily and sharing things with, the ones he was also fucking regularly while pretending that I was the love of his life.. I thought his mother and I were close, it turns out she knew all about what he was doing and covering it for him, while telling me how happy she was that he found a good woman like me…she was even hanging out with the married ho-worker and her best friend regularly, the one he was fucking for 3 damn years and she knew it the whole fucking time! I worked a lot so I didn’t socialize much except with him and his family. I had some friends but not very close and the reaction I got was, “well forgive, forget and move on” They didn’t get it, they didn’t get the shock, the sleepless nights, the pain I was in, all they said was ” I am sure it must be painful but you’ll be okay.” so I hold it in and kept to myself until I found this blog where I finally felt understood and could vent which helped a lot! and I mean a lot! I have Chump Nation who offered their incredible support and they helped me a lot in my way to healing. I also have no family except my son,(16) its just the two of us and he is my world. We have chump nation MB and I so understand EXACTLY how you feel and where you are coming from….Big Hugs MB!

    • I too have no one on my side. Well, my parents wouldn’t let me starve or anything if it came down to needing money, and they don’t like the EX now, but that is as far as it goes. My sister is just so happy that “she got a good one”, as she told me one night, that she probably can’t figure out how to be supportive of me (and to be fair, the family is 1800 miles away). I lost all my so-called friends, and due to plant closures, I’ve had to change jobs several times in the last couple of years, so I haven’t made new friends. I’ve never been good at making friends – I’m much better at being there for other people than I am at finding people that will be fore me.

      So, funny as it sounds, the most help I’ve had thru this whole thing is the people that lied their asses off about the shit-hole of a house I bought (I thought it was in good shape at the time – and none of the issues could be found without tearing out walls), so I have something to occupy my every waking moment in getting it into decent shape before the winter.

      Oh, and of course, Chump Nation keeps me from getting too far down because there are several people that I can tell have it much worse than I do.

  • It was my friend Maggy, she saved my life, she really did, during that first year of TT, blame-shifting. One day I would call her crying, the next day I’d call her and tell her everything was OK. She always listened, never judged and told me off, when I needed to be told off.

    She would always ask me, “what do you want?” – I was so lost, I had no idea what I wanted, other than him to choose me.

    She was, and is with me for every major step I took towards leaving the Cheater. She would always tell me, “why would you want to be with a man that obviously does not love you?” “You deserve better, he doesn’t deserve you”.

    Always, always there to listen, to support me – and to let me make my own decisions without judging, even in those times that I tried to reconcile, and she knew that he would never change.

    Will be forever grateful for this wise, loving and true friend.

  • Mom, co-workers, cousin (and I am sure I am forgetting others, but I am multi-tasking while in a conference call–lol).

    Mom was angrier than I was, made a few trips from Texas to Tenn to “help out”, and I can’t begin to place a value on that. My boss and co-workers were great and covered for me for weeks, and then again when I had meetings with lawyers, and so on. I feel really lucky to be part of a team at work like that.

    I had a cousin who I just core-dumped on repeatedly. Probably was hard to bear, and I should probably thank him for being so patient.

    • Thanks Dat! The humor site is on the watermark, but I appreciate being able to give proper credit. Link is on top of post now. 🙂

    • I love Allie Brosh’s work. I was and am very worried about her struggle with depression, but her posts about her struggles are wonderful for conveying to people like me, who do not suffer from depression, what life is like when you do battle depression.

  • Chump Lady.
    Divorce Care friends from Church.
    Next door neighbor.
    Midlifeclub forum.
    Sometimes… even myself.

    • It’s been weeks and I’ve not yet gotten approved for the midlifeclub forum. Are there that many people trying to get on?

  • During my lowest time, I’ve been so blessed with wonderful people:
    1. My family. They called me everyday and supported me emotionally. Took me to dinner, treated me to mani-pedi’s, Vegas shows and other wonderful things. My brother made a sock-monkey voodoo doll complete with a “burning” flag for the dolls penis. 🙂
    2. My friends – all over the world – have been so supportive. Carrie with her daily support for me, held my hand and helped me figure out how to accomplish what seemed insurmountable. Paula, who who took ex’s place on our long planned vacation. Far from being a dream vacation, she hugged me as I cried every morning. Oddly enough, we had the best laugh of our life on that trip and both peed our pants laughing in a swanky Hong Kong hotel elevator after we had chicken served to us with it’s head on it during dinner. Alice, for listening and sending supporting words – and celebrating my divorce with me Vegas-style – like the Hangover, for 40 something women. Lisa, who welcomed me into her home and shared a great trip to South Beach.
    3. A friend of the family that had been divorced a few times offered me her beautiful guest home – without charge! Ex and his whore enjoyed sending process servers to our joint home while I lived there and I was afraid to answer the door. My friend Nicolette helped me “get off the grid” and live a life un-tortortured. She and her husband Dave took me in and make me and my dog Chucky feel like family.
    4. A professor from Golden Gate U that was unlucky enough to sit next to me on a short flight after I had just been served with divorce papers – the day before my birthday – as I was leaving for a much needed trip with a girl friend to Hong Kong and Australia. He talked to me about his own experience and then gave me his Bose headset to use and DJ’d some Toto for me. He then gave me a hug at the end of the flight.

  • Surprisingly, my mother in law is the person who completely had my back and still does. She was always 100% on my side and reminds me all the time that I deserve better. I’ve been chasing unicorns, so far, things seem to be genuine and I haven’t seen or felt any Naugahyde coming my way, but my MIL still reminds me everyday that if I get even the slightest feeling that things aren’t right, she will be there to help me out in any way possible. She never once pushed me to reconcile with her son, even constantly asked me if I was sure when I told her I was going to try. She suggested waiting a year before taking him back to see how I felt about things by then even. She is a chump too, I think that is why she gets it better than anyone. So thankful to have her in my life.

    • Hmmmm. She may also have more information/experience/clearer insight about “who he is”.

      I’d listen carefully to what she is saying.

  • Sadly, because my husband isolated me and we moved constantly, plus I was too ashamed to bring anyone new into my life, I have no friendships outside of my family. I know in time that will be rectified, but I am envious of the chumps here with awesome BFFs.

    My family disliked my husband from the start and because they disliked him, I never wanted to tell them negative things about him. So they were gaslighted by me and didn’t know how severe the poverty was, the abuse was, the stress was, or how I was using up every cent I had.

    At the very end, when I highly suspected another woman I finally admitted to my parents that we hardly ever saw one another and I was home alone every night. This broke their hearts and they began asking me to stay over and made it clear their guest bedroom was always ready for me.

    On the night my husband coldly told me to get out, he left and I took a huge overdose. In my letter I wrote that I wanted to die, but if I lived my husband is not allowed to visit me or inquire about me. They honored that. I spent several days asleep or out of my head and then spent another ten days in the psych ward. My parents visited me, and when it was time to be released I went home to their house.

    I felt deep shame that I had allowed this man to use up every penny of what I had managed to accumulate in 56 years of living and working but my parents and daughter were just so relieved that I was finally rid of him. Because I didn’t want to add any more stress to the lives of my elderly parents I had to keep myself under control. My crying and suffering was done in silence. I was glad for that. Without their presence I would have caved in to the misery.

    It took months, but between the swimming, the weight loss, going to therapy, and FINALLY finding Chump Lady, I began to feel like a whole person again.

    So my family, my therapist, and the Chump Lady website were my angels. To say I am grateful for them is a huge understatement.

  • Like so many others here, I have a great family and many wonderful friends. But one couple stands out among them all. This husband and wife are dear friends of my in-laws (and my exH and I) and are my parents age. They own their own business and they have access to a large enclosed truck. They brought it over when I sold our home so I could move all of my things to our new home. They brought hired help to assist me too!!!! When the sale fell thru they brought my things back and helped me move my furniture back in so I could re-stage the house to go back on the market. The house sold in a week! Again……they came back to help me move my things back out. They stored it for me until settlement and then delivered my belongings to my new place. It took several trips. They had stored half of my things in their warehouse! They checked on me for months (knowing that my parents live out of state).

    I am having them over for dinner this month to celebrate my new beginning! They are simply awesome people and they consider me their daughter! They are friends with my in-laws but they think what their son did to me and our children was just pitiful!!!!

  • All right, I’ve just about had enough of you rabid, mean-spirited maniacs expressing gratitude. Where is the bitterness? Where is the Dark Side of you nature that Chumplady is always whipping into a frenzy?

    I demand that you immediately cease and desist in this unseemly display of compassion and generosity spirit! Stop it! Stop it right now!

    Now, if you will excuse me, I must go and post my 79th comments to my own bad review of Chumplady’s book at (which I still haven’t read) and state for the 79th time that it will be my final comment.

      • Fake Fiona needs no hugs! Fake Fiona is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise! Fake Fiona has mastered all the higher pseudo-sciences as well as the more evolved mental and emotional functions! All hail, Fake Fiona!

        Now, bugger off of this thread and get back to your primitive tribal war chants, your black and white thinking, and your insulting of the mentally handicapped! You hoi poloi are making me look quite the pillock–Bollocks to you all!

        • I have successfully chortled Pepsi through my nose from laughing so hard. Jesus, it burns. You made my day!

    • I absolutely LOVE ChumpLady, I have no idea who that awful person was who posted bad reviews about her. She is NOT like Hitler or a Nazi or anything and her fans are not rabid, they are charming 😉

      • LOL – I love this Fake Fiona 😀

        I did try to add a comment on her review pointing out the tremendous support here, but she got it taken off because I’d made the mistake of putting her name in my reply (fool I was). Shame, because, even if I say so myself, I thought my points were careful, considered and relevant. Nevermind, the silly sausage burned her own boats there.

  • My friend Megan who went with me to the courthouse for the first time to pick up the packet for the do-it-yourself divorce. She was so patient and so kind and so kiss ass. She made me face the fact that I HAD TO DO THIS. She was angry for me when I couldn’t get there yet.

    Same Megan and her husband, Craig, who had a cord of wood delivered to my doorstep when my furnace stopped working on Dec 20th after my asshole ex moved out. They tried to have it delivered anonymously, but I tricked the delivery guy into telling me who it was from.

    My friend Kimi, how had recently gone through a divorce and was the only other single mama I knew. She listened and guided and reminded me that this really wasn’t the end of the world. Even thought she lives 2 states away we now go on family vacations together. Her kids and mine.

    My wonderful employer who continued to pay me when I showed up for work like a zombie for about 2 months. I work in law enforcement (not on patrol… zombie patrol officers are no good) and the kindness and support (often unspoken) I received from my department was amazing. Man I love these guys!

    My beautiful daughter who taught me that life goes on once you get out of your own head. The lessons from that little girl have been invaluable.

    And of course Chump Lady! The day I found this blog my whole attitude about my situation transformed. It was amazing.

    And so, so many more.

  • My friend G. On D-day, she came over and packed all of Mr Fab’s stuff. The next day, she helped me get all the paperwork in the house in order. We joked at the time about starting a service for immediate post d-day triage, but I sometimes wonder if it might not be good to get a Chump Squad together. I might have done something really stupid if she hadn’t been there.

    Many of my friends did the Switzerland thing, alas.

  • Oh so many:
    1. My friends & colleagues who helped watch kids while then H was away from home for a year at a new job because he was “unhappy” with his local job.
    2. the same friends who have continued the help the last 2 years as our lives were turned upside down by betrayal and divorce.
    3. to the very good friends who sat me down at a party and asked “are you REALLY ok?” when I was hiding the marriage problems. I FINALLY opened up at that point and got the support I needed.
    4. to the random stranger who bought our Christmas tree at the local tree farm (I thought I was ok on the outside, but must have had the “deer in the headlights” look)
    5. to my two new friends who were also chumped around the same time. We spent that first year keeping each other busy when the kids were at the exes’ houses (and acted as listeners when we needed to VENT and no one else would understand due to the infidelity.
    5. my sisters , always there for support

    I am 2.5 years post DDay, and 16 months post divorce finalization.
    Finally feeling at peace.

  • Off the top of my head, two people in particular that come to mind. My dear friend, Vicki – one of most petite women I’ve ever known – showed up with a sledgehammer and a power drill to help me remove the homemade bar in the basement that represented all that was selfish and vile in my husband. Watching her swing the hammer and kick over the wall of the bar is one of my fondest memories of that dark time.

    Then there is Paul, a neighbor who has renovated his entire home into a showpiece, going so far as to move an upstairs window in the front of the house because it didn’t quite align with the others. He came over one day and taught me and my sons how to drywall over gaping holes left in the walls where the TV used to be, where X hid his cheap hootch to fill his expensive-label bottles, and patch over holes from bolts from where the bar used to be.

    Those are the two that come to mind off the top of my head. I have hundreds.

  • 1) My best friend. She was there through everything. She was there the night assface finally left. She came out to get food with me even when it was late at night. And even though I had forgotten my ID, she snuck me sips of her cosmo at the table when the waiters weren’t looking. XD (I was of age, but y’know the rules. No ID, no drink.) She stuck around to help me clean up the remnants of what he left behind. She stayed the night and all day the next day. She was there when I found out about not just the last OW, but all the other ones before her. She spent many days and nights with me at her house, watching obscure movies, making chicken dishes and rebuilding my self-esteem. When I took him to court for a restraining order when he wouldn’t leave me alone after I announced my engagement, she was there the day before the court date, sat as my witness, and had lunch with me after. And when I got married last year, she was one of my bridesmaids. (She also helped deal with finding food dishes FAST when the stuff we’d prepared for my bridal shower turned out to be rotten. 0_o ask me about THAT story…)

    She also was the one who introduced me to my now husband. If it weren’t for her, I never would have met him. She’s still my best friend. She lives in another state now, but she’s thinking of coming out to my state for school. If she needs a place to live, she’s always welcome with us.

    2) My husband himself.
    I didn’t find out about ALL of my exe’s OW at once. (Like most of us didn’t…) No, the information came tricking slowly over a matter of what ended up YEARS. I caught him with one, and found out about the rest two years later. But he had been bugging me via text intermittently. The man who is now my husband, once we met, became a great help.
    I had already heard from everyone that my ex was an asshole. I knew that. What happened was still painful. I didn’t need to hear it yet again (I’m the kind of person who really hates the repetition of something I already know said to me as if I don’t.) I didn’t need to be told something that not only I already knew, but was not helping me deal with the pain.
    He listened. He sat through my spilling all my emotions and feelings and sadness. One night in particular, I was telling him about the confrontation I’d had on Dday, and how my ex had denied having sex with the OW. (I’m not stupid. When I asked him “Have you fucked her?” and he says “That’s not important…” I knew he meant “Hell yes, probably more than I did you.”) Anyway, both myself and my now husband got quiet for a few seconds and I just looked at the ground and said “He’s fucked her hasn’t he…” and he just put his hand on my shoulder and gave it the simplest of squeezes.

    We both knew the answer. We both knew it was an unpleasant one. And we both knew that he’d probably done far more than just fuck her. But none of that needed to be said and I just needed someone to listen to me in that moment. His hand on my shoulder was all that was necessary. He didn’t need to go into a diatribe about how much of an asshole my ex was, or how much sex he’d probably been having with his OW, or where he’d probably been when he came home late or all that. Just a sign to let me know he was there for me.

  • My wonderful neighbour and friend Joyce who was the first to notice how much weight I lost, held me while I sobbed uncontrollably, told me he was expecting too much of me when he left me the first time after 3 weeks for not having gotten over it, and who has never, ever in 5 years (through D-Day, false reconciliations and now divorce) ever looked at me with anything other than concern in her eye, not the impatience and annoyance that I haven’t shut up about it yet that I see in so many other people’s eyes. Thank you darling Joyce x My lovely sister Helen who also held me and called him for everything and helped to deflect some of mum’s stupid, insensitive comments (mum was taken in so much by him that she spackled even worse than I did – she’s over it now though!). Thanks Helen x My lovely friend Jan who’s disgust and ideas for revenge are so extreme that they help me stay grounded and laugh at the absurdity of even thinking of revenge – thanks Jan x My lovely, sadly missed sister-in-law Tracey (my brother’s wife – don’t even get me started about his sister) who recognised him for the raving narc he is and my lovely brother for calling him silly names that a tribe of head-shrinkers would have taken pride in – thanks Tony x My lovely young nephews who told my Dad they wanted to go and give him a good beating (god bless you boys, so glad you didn’t and are intelligent enough not to give in to that violent urge, but it was good for me to hear someone wanted to beat the crap out of him :-D) thanks Ant and Josh, and my lovely, lovely Dad who, though hurt by being betrayed by someone he had thought he could love and admire, was still able to discuss everything with me, help identify the gaslighting and bullshit and even tried hard to untangle the skein with me on many an alcoholic evening when I went to stay with them. Love you Dad x And, even though you spackled like a mad person at the first, thank you so much mum for trying your hardest, even when you were buying into his crap, but now just wishing him dead (shocking – but glad to hear your mum would feel this angry towards someone who would treat you like that) I love you mum x Thank you to my lovely friends Jo and Gerry who have invited me over to Tenerife to stay with them and who were disgusted (not cheater apologetic) straight away, and who have no idea how much worse it got because, to my eternal shame, I haven’t contacted them since D-Day because my story became even more pathetic than it was – if your reading this Jo – love you, think of you all the time x And to everyone that hasn’t fled the building like being chumped equates with a bad case of the ebola virus, or hasn’t hidden behind parked cars when they’ve seen me walking down the street, or who hasn’t said some shite that equates to ‘ ah well, these things happen’ – thank you all so much (though it’s amazing how few of you REAL people are out there) thank you x

    • OOh crikey!

      And, of course, Tracy, Chump Lady Website and ALL you mighty, wonderful, wise and witty, empathetic and justifiably disgusted people who make up CHUMP NATION. I shudder to think how I’d have coped without finding you all – I’ll never be able to express my gratitude for that.. Love you all, and thank you xxx

      Kind of apropos to nothing, heard a joke yesterday that made me laugh, and hoping to put a smile on your faces, here it is:

      Man: Doctor, I keep thinking I’m a moth!

      Dr: I really think you need to be talking to a psychiatrist.

      Man: Yes, I agree, but your light was on.

      Boom, boom 😀

  • Forgot the voodoo doll, how could I?

    At one of the lowest lows, I had a business trip with a former colleague. She made me The Best Voodoo Doll ever! Not only was it the spit tin’ image of my husband, it was finished with a wonderful array of maladies, a couple I even had to look up…. and then the finishing touch was a lovely Victorian hat pin for selecting the affliction of the day.

    I hadn’t laughed for months… and when I unwrapped this little beauty, I laughed for so long… it felt so good. Receiving this handmade voodoo doll, made with love and caring, was truly the turning point between what was and what will be.

    I’ll always be hugely grateful to my friend who took the time to make it… and more importantly, took the time to be with me in those dark days.

    (**Merchandise, CL! Customized voodoo dolls!)

    • Mehsmerized;

      What a great, great idea your friend had there. Your voodoo doll has made me smile 😀

      • oooohhh….love the voodoo doll!!! What an awesome friend to do that for you!
        I actually didn’t reach out as much as I should have. It took me awhile to find the right therapist. My parents and sister were dead. My daughter got sick of me right away. I got the feeling people didn’t want to hear about it. I tried to be stoic in front of people but at night I hid behind lace curtains and drank.
        CL and the Nation hadn’t been founded yet. I live in a small town so no Divorce Care groups. Went to church to try and find comfort.
        This site has done more for me than anything. Thanks to CL and all of you.

  • I’ve been very blessed to have the support of my parents and brother & sister as well as several good friends, many of whom I’ve grown closer to sinced sharing my story and showing them my vulnerability.

    One particular thing happened this past Mother’s Day that really felt like a little gift from an Angel. It was my first Mother’s Day post-separation and earlier in the week, I was feeling sorry for myself, lamenting that I didn’t have someone (a husband) to take ME out to lunch on Mother’s Day. I decided to not let that stop me so took my two daughters out to a nice brunch and some shopping. At the end of our meal, the waiter told me that “someone paid you an unexpected kindness and paid for your meals”! I was stunned! And incredibly touched. Not just the monetary amount but that someone had clearly seen me dining with my two young daughters and must have suspected I was a Single Mom and “paid it forward” by paying for our meal. It’s inspired me to think of ways that I can “pay it forward” to others.

  • I had way too many Angels helping me along the way but probably the one I remember first….On our first Christmas which was a few months after my ex left the kids and I (and with no financial support), I started getting anonymous cards in the mail addressed to me and the return address simply said “From Santa”…..I got 6 total and they all included gift cards so that I could give my kids a good Christmas. Whoever it was knew I had no extra money for gifts. It was a total of $625 in all…chickfila, walmart, sports authority, Safeway, etc.
    I never did figure out who it was. But it was appreciated more than they will ever know and something my kids and I will NEVER EVER forget. We’ve tried to pay it forward many times since then….sometimes in money and sometimes in another small acts of kindness but always remembering that wonderful act that was done for us that first year. It was so awesome!

      • HappyXChump and Samantha,

        Thank you both for each of your wonderful tales, I’ve tears in my eyes. It’s a lovely gift to hear the world has such kindness in it! Thanks very much for telling me this xxx

  • Friends – both old and new – who helped me through the months after BD with support, funds, hugs and laughs while I tried to keep it together long enough to move continents with my son. Stand outs were the friend who dropped everything and flew out to say goodbye before we left, the newly made friend who offered her home for sanctuary if needed, the friends who were there for 24/7 phone calls and pick ups if the abuse got too bad, the friends who helped us start over in a new place. And my parents, who gave us shelter and as much help as they could in getting us settled.

  • Thanks for this post…I have been thinking about all the angels and “helpers”, the ones I knew I could count on (parents, sister, closest friends) did turn out to be amazing on more than one occasion, but I have been more than surprised at the anonymous angels that have shown up to help me (taxi drivers, moving guys, school teachers, bank clerks…) most people who I tell my story to, had a word of wisdom, shared their stories (or of what happened to someone close to them) or helped me in some way (like the bank guy who opened an account for me when I didn´t have any money or an address, or a job! He had gone through a divorce too…). Many friends from my pre-cheater years have suddenly shown up for random reasons and they have lifted my ego by showning me why I was liked by them, while my STBX barely has any friends from the past, and most of his friends from now are either cheaters themselves (and not my friends) or introduced to him by me (and now are on my side). And of course, real chumped friends and virtual chumps on CL…have been my savers just by showing me that this will all pass too, and that life is so much better without the cheater ..

  • My aunt, who listened to me without judgement over the years and fully supported my decision to end the marriage.

    My friend Laura, who turned out to be the only one in our social circle who wasn’t a fair weather friend, who doesn’t treat me like a pariah. Who sometimes watches my kids and laughs with me.

    To the smartly dressed lady at the grocery store who, after observing me interact with my kids, made a point to come over and tell me that I was a wonderful parent and why. That single, heartfelt gesture was packed with more kindness and validation that I had received from my ex and his family during 10 years of marriage and it changed my life.

  • Oh Lord, too many to even fit. I would say to start – my friend Jeannie who had the dubious honor of coming and escorting him off the property after he broke into the house while we were away. Right up there is his brother, Bill, and his wife who stood and continue to stand by me completely and basically cut ties with someone who – from there perspective – was just a bad, selfish person who did a lot of damage. Then all our mutual old friends who also knew that there was such a thing as right and wrong and supported me 100 percent. That doesn’t even include my late father, who loaned me retainer money for a lawyer or my sister and brother in law who gave us a refuge in the summer to try and “relax” in the immediate aftermath. Or my sorority sisters who actually had my ex as a teacher and told me after the fact that they’d always thought he was the biggest asshole but somehow he’d turned it around by loving me….until he proved them right, after all. Or the fellow teachers who told me after the fact that I was the only good thing he’d actually ever had in his life and that as a teacher and musician he was average at best. Or my minister who confided that over the years, he’d recognized early on that I was an open hearted, honest person who lived life “all in” but that my ex had always had a mask that hid his true self from everyone – which I’d never seen or recognized until way after the D-day. Or my wonderful sorority pledge mistress who is now a crackerjack family lawyer who gave me insight and “off the record” advice as to how to read threats on child custody as sabre rattling. Or my real lawyer, who never was a blusterer – but was very, very smart and never missed a detail. Without him – I wouldn’t have gotten any alimony of note. And what about my children – who saved me in every way you can save a drowning person – just by being there? And my therapist, and my boss, and so many others. Last but not least – Chump Lady – who still resonates and keeps me afloat when unicorns threaten to poke a hole in my lifeboat! Thank you is never enough – but I will do my best to pay it forward.

  • I am so happy to respond to this!

    1. My chumpy self when I finally realized that I was NOT going to roll over and let him walk over me. Talk about mighty – I may have been hospitalized, depressed and not functional but I DID NOT stop fighting to tell the truth to everyone and to get a settlement that would give me financial security. I became MIGHTY – yea me!

    2. The mediator who, after many failed meditations, told me to go back and hire the toughest lawyer I could find.

    3. That bad-ass lawyer and her associate who I love dearly. She hated my ex more than I did and the associate who always listened to the ranting but kept me focused on the legal issues. My ex’s deposition was the best day of my life; talk about satisfaction.

    4. My sons. No words to adequately explain their support, patience and love. I would not be here if not for them.

    5. My therapist. Also no words. She consistently goes above and beyond…now, if she would just adopt me!

    6. My mother is an interesting one. She was a terrible mother who told me the affair was all my fault, as was my father’s death, and every bad thing that ever happened to her. The greatest gift she gave me was dying the same day as my father-in-law’s funeral (which I was not allowed to attend). By passing away that day, my children were not expected to participate in sitting shiva for the ex’s father or feeling sorry that his father was gone. No one will ever tell me that she did not do that as a final gift to me.

    7. My secret person who fed me all the details that I needed. That person will always be a secret. Thank you.

    8. All of my BFFs, old and new, who listened endlessly to my crying and anger, fed me because I didn’t feed myself, loved me and my kids, pulled me out of the deep holes and celebrated every time I was able to smile, never told me my mascara was running and supported me through every stage. God bless all of them. I am so lucky to have them in my life.

    9. The other woman. Thanks you for taking him off my hands and out of my life. He is all yours, honey. That is my gift to you along with the memories of all the times we spent together as a family with you as the single law partner and family friend.

    10. Last, but not least, ChumpLady.

  • At first it was my wonderful coworkers, Bob and Diane. They formed a tight circle around me and let me have my nervous breakdown on the job. They covered my butt for way too long and never said a word to the big boss who worked in a different state. Diane was a chump herself so knew the devastation I was going through.
    Also my BFF…we’ve been friends since we were 11 so we’ve been through a lot together. I had several other friends who were willing to listen to my sorrow.

  • So many to name:

    1. God–I am convinced I would have taken my life in the darkest hours without the love and support of my Savior, Jesus.
    2. My parents–They financed my move back to my home state and my flight for the interview that got me a new job as chaplain resident. Don’t know what I would have done without them! I thank God for giving me such supportive parents–a true grace.
    3. Divorce Care leaders and my cousin’s in-laws. These people essentially adopted me and supported me during the adultery discovery aftermath and divorce. When I just needed time away from it all, I will never forget the trip I took with the Divorce Care leader and his son to winterize his cabin in Northern Minnesota. And I will never forget the loving concern and non-judgemental support of me by my cousin’s in-laws. They showed me genuine Christian care asking me if I had been tested for STDs and helping set up the appointment.
    4. My best friend, Imran. He tried to hold us together even talking to my toxic former FIL in the dark hours. In a trip to visit him in NYC, he help set me free of much pain by reminding me of the truth that the divorce was not my fault and I was not responsible for it.
    5. My seminary friend, Jon. He was the straight shooter. Told me to set boundaries and helped me grow a spine–both in dealing with my ex and a fundamentalistic, rigid religious people.
    6. Andrew and Rachel. Provided their car so I could get to work while my car was broken down. Offered his presence without judgment during the earliest and darkest days.
    7. Anthony and Susan. Two prophetic counselors who set me free from a lot of junk and bondage.
    8. And the list can go on and on…I think of all who testified on my behalf to keep my minister’s license as well…many, many people.

  • My husband’s aunt (who is also his godmother), who has the status of being like a second mother to him. She remains to this very day the only person who called him to his face on his shit (other than me, of course). In fact, she used those words: What you have done, and what you are doing – it’s total shit. She also told him emphatically that unless he got his head out of his ass and began behaving like the person she loved, she would cut him out of her life completely. Out of all the people we know (even my own parents), she is the ONLY one who dared to call him out. I needed that so much. I still call her Bad Ass.

    My friend Tiffanie and I had plans to get together with our kids on Saturday, May 5th, 2013. D-Day was late Friday night, May 4th. I texted her Saturday with a general apology and backed out. Simply, “There is a lot going on right now with Husband, and I am not going to be able to make it. So sorry. I’ll explain some other time.” Without asking for an explanation, without asking ANY follow-up at all, she arrived at my door ten minutes later. She walked in, hugged me tight, and said “I think it would be a great time for your son and my son to spend some time together. I’d like to take him home with me for a week, is that fine? You need some time, and I’m just around the corner. You can back out anytime if it isn’t a good idea, or if he wants to come home. But please let me.”

    My three-year old son had the best week of his life, getting spoiled rotten, treated like a king, and being with his best friend (her four-year old). He still talks about it, well over a year later. No one else offered to help me with any childcare at all during the tumult of the weeks leading to discovery, discovery itself, and the aftermath – not even my family. She is the only one who recognized that I might not be able to be the best mom on the planet while our lives turned upside-down, and she didn’t even know what had happened. Everyone else was kind of “Yeah, shit happens. Sucks. So anyway…” I will forever be grateful to her for allowing me that week to fall completely apart without having to worry about my little boy being scarred for life. I firmly believe that being able to allow myself to rage, cry, scream, obsess, and just generally freak the fuck out is what saved my sanity in the long run.

    I don’t want to be a complainer – but I’m so jealous of all y’all’s wonderful support systems – lol! I didn’t have that. My parents are very old-fashioned, patriarchal household, “boys will be boys” types, and they spackled like crazy for their beloved son-in-law. Our friends all went Switzerland, and played the “He must really be going through something awful” card. The most venomous thing anyone I knew could muster up saying at the time was my mother, who said “His behavior right now seems very immature.” What I wouldn’t have given for people in my corner!

    But there were those two, my angels, and they helped more than they realize.

    I have spent the last year-plus cultivating better relationships, so that is good. On top of that, I know what it feels like to experience chumpdom in isolation, without any real, tangible support system in place. I won’t ever allow anyone I know to go through that. I will be the angel in the life of someone else if I get the chance. I am determined to be the person I wished had been there for me.

    • Wow, I love your friend Tiffanie! Amazing! That’s not an angel; that’s an archangel!

  • Oh my gosh, the people who have helped me are legion. I truly did not know how much I was loved and how many good people there are in the world until my life fell completely apart.

    My parents who have been right next to me every step with emotional support, advice, money, and whatever practical help I need. My oldest daughters have dropped everything multiple times to be with me. I remember saying how it is me, as the mother, who is supposed to help them and one replied, “Mom, you’ve never let us down. Now it is our turn to be here for you.” Together with their partners they’ve helped me move, delivered groceries, watched their younger siblings so I could get out of the house and on and on. Aunts, uncles, and cousins from all over the country who constantly send me messages of support. Believe it or not, my first ex and his wife AND her extended family who have to come to visit, taken me out to dinner, and taken my younger two daughters out with them. They’ve sent me cards, a fancy pressure cooker for my new kitchen, and a bottle of wine. My STBX FIL who emails me from his office with his concern and support – because he is the only one from that family who gives a damn about me and isn’t supporting the a-hole (his son) and the tramp.

    My yoga teacher who taught me relaxation techniques and yoga poses to help me get to sleep – on her own time and at no cost to me. Two of my friends, especially, who have taken me out for pedicures, to the movies, to a play, and more all while listening to me talk endlessly about what was happening. My dear friend in Hawaii – so far away physically but staying so close with constant emails and calls to check in. The gift cards he sent me from Amazon so I could buy books when he knew I didn’t have the money (we share a love of reading and were in a book club together). My neighbors who took my daughter with them to the park when I was too distraught to function and who had her over for play dates so I could go to the doctor, the therapist, the lawyer. My primary physician who sat and listened while I wept and then helped me figure out how to gain some equilibrium when life was out of control. My therapist who answered every email and came into the office on her days off to see me when I was in real crisis. The divorce “communication coach” who literally held my hand during face to face meetings with the STBX and his bitch lawyer. My lawyer who is so cool under fire and who tells me how strong I am and how I can make it through this when I am feeling anything but strong.

    Then there are the perfect strangers who helped me. The agent at the U-Haul facility who, when I started to cry at her counter, gave me a hug and told me how she had been through the same thing and that I could look at her and see that I would be better than okay one day. The woman in Costco who handed me a tissue and a bottle of water when I was having a breakdown and stayed with me until I had control again. The man with the floor refinishing company who got me on the schedule ASAP so we could get the house listed on time – because I reminded him of his daughter and what she had been through with an abusive husband. The owners of the Christmas tree farm where we bought our tree every year who took my daughter on a special tour when they realized it was the first time to pick a tree without daddy – we saw them once a year yet they remembered and went far above and beyond to help us on a hard day. It just goes on and on. There are so many people who could see something was wrong and offered a kind word or help getting kids and groceries to the car, etc.

    I have been through the worst 2 years of my entire life but I’ve never felt so much gratitude for the many, many ways in which I am blessed.

    • Wow – all these wonderful stories! I’m so impressed and cannot quit reading. They are such a relief to hear about after all the pain we’ve all gone through, to realize how wonderful these angels have been in our lives. Even if some of us only have one – thank you for posting.
      This thread today has totally picked me up.
      Today – Chump Nation is MY hero.

  • I’ve got a few:

    -My best friend who I’ve known since high school, and was in my wedding. He calls me, includes me in things he and his other friends are doing (they are friendly acquaintances of mine, some of whom are now becoming friends). He regularly checks in to see how I’m doing. He doesn’t trash the W (they had been “friends” for several decades since the time W and I started dating) but he lets me know he’s 100% on my team. A family ski vacation got messed up earlier this year when W hooked up with a guy she met at the bar. Since that “didn’t work out so well for you”, my friend asked if my son and I would like to join he and his girlfriend this year to ski instead. Way beyond the call of duty. Even more awesome because I tend to be the stoic type who keeps stuff to himself.

    -My therapist, who knows my W well (he helped her with depression and bi-polar years ago) and is always a kind figure, but from the time this initially erupted he told me, “Chumpguy, she has burned her bridges with people, and she will with you also.” He’s never wavered and just has the situation nailed.

    -CL -this site has been a godsend. To the extent I cannot even properly express, other than to humbly say, “Thank You”.

  • Brene Brown has a handful of talks on vulnerability and shame. She’s a very good voice to boost your spirits (it’s not letting me post the link to the talk for some reason). If you don’t have someone in person, listen to her via the internet, read her books. The one I’m listening today is “listening to shame.” Chump Nation, we are daring greatly just by posting your stories!

    • Her book “The Gift of Imperfection” was very helpful to me as I was working to heal from the terrible circumstances I was facing.

  • My friend M saved me. When my life was upended thanks to the cheater narcissist, I called her in tears. She said, “Pack your overnight bag and come over to my place. You’ll be staying with me now.” It was one of the most kind and loving things someone has ever done for me. I had nowhere to go, thousands of miles from family and no job. She let me sleep on her guest futon for 3 months, helped me move my stuff, and listened to my grief. I was-and still am-incredibly grateful for her generosity. I had a safe place to sleep at night while I worked to get out of the state and find a new job. It made all the difference in my life.

  • So, so many friends, family members and co-workers, but a special thank you to the warm, encouraging Home Depot workers who guided me through so many repair and replacement projects in those early weeks after D-Day after I kicked Big Chief Dumb Fuck out of the house: hot water heater replacement, toilet valve replacement, dry wall repair…. they gave me the advice and tools I needed to feel competent and strong, when I was feeling so broken and weak.

    Once I replaced the last electrical outlet and conquered the dickey three-way light switch in the kitchen, I knew I felt Mighty, and I haven’t looked back. It was those little triumphs, all the piddly shit Dumb Fuck never got around to doing, that gave me back my confidence to soldier through the divorce.

  • Like others, I have so many:
    My break-up buddy, Neil, who exchanged emails with me every single day and kept me from giving XH the house when I was in the throes of insanity;
    Every single person who registered the news (of D-day then again of OW) with total shock on their faces;
    My sister, who refrained from saying “I told you so,” because she never did like him;
    A particularly well-liked client at my clinic who, when told, both registered shock and then exclaimed, “Motherf***er!” (Unexpected for so prim & proper a woman);
    My work friends, who dragged me out & made me do stuff with them and listened and listened and listened to my story.
    And of course, CL & Chump Nation, where I have found sanity and inspiration and courage and strength. And some really fine writers, as well.

  • The list of Angels is long! My Aunt, who has walked this path herself; my Mom who provided a safe haven for me and my dogs; my sister, her husband, my Dad and step-mother who had me packed up and out of that house of heartbreak in two hours flat; my mother and father-in-law who shared my grief and provided a shoulder for me to cry on; my sister-in-law who was a great source of support; my besties…L, C, and J who hated stbxh for the pain he caused; my amazing attorney; my dogs C and B…without them I would have gone days without joy. They are the most constant source of unconditional love and devotion; and for all the folks along the way who reminded me that I did not fail. Thank you!!

  • I also had many.

    Two girlfriends– I’ll call them Mary and Sue. Both had been through difficult divorces; one was due to infidelity. However, both of them listened, and listened, and listened. They gave me coping strategies, commiserated, and made me feel sane. If I was having a hard time at work, I knew I could turn to them.

    My dad– he was very calm when I told him what ex-cheater had done. He immediately whipped out his legal pad and began taking notes. He (and my lawyer) helped to guide me through the morass that is divorce. He made a whole list of assets that I needed to protect, and when ex-cheater would propose an idea for our settlement, I immediately bounced it off of my dad to see what he thought. In a terribly emotional time, I so appreciated my dad’s practicality. I needed someone on my side who could take the emotion out and be my advocate when it came to my rights. My lawyer was great, but my dad was awesome.

    My mom and siblings– they were the emotional side. My brothers wanted to go after ex-cheater with baseball bats. My sister was ready to tear him a new one. They all made me feel like I had a posse who had my back– and they continue to attend concerts and other functions so that I have my “people” with me and don’t have to deal with ex-cheater alone.

    All of the online and IRL folks who helped me– whether it was just with divorce in my support group or infidelity in one of my online forums, what a blessing it was to have people to talk to who understood. No explanation needed- they just got it. They (and you) all helped me reign in my anger, stick to NC, and be a better mother to my children during that time of hell. This continues today as my ex-cheater continues to be an asshole.

  • Reading these posts has been a great reminder of the vast number of people I have to be thankful for. Looking at the kinds of help you all have received has made me recognize that there really isn’t an arena in my life in which an “angel” wasn’t posted–from my family to my kids’ schools to my job site to a kind woman at a ball field. I’ve had emotional help (tons and tons of it), financial help, physical help, and childcare help.

    I’ve been lucky in so very many ways.

    It is still hard to feel lucky when the Jackass is at it again (custody . . . it’s always about the custody issues), but it is also very good to be reminded that, more than 3 years out, I’m in a position where most of the time I can pay it forward now. This is one debt I am thankful to have.

  • First let me apologize for the length of this post – it is really stinkin long! Reading Tracy’s comments today reminded me of the Christmas one year after d-day. I wrote a letter to women who were my angels. Two years later, many say that they still have this letter issued straight from my gut and heart:

    My Most Treasured,

    This has been a year of dramatic change and growth. It has been filled with despair and confusion and redemption. There are a group of twelve extraordinary women who have loved me and shoved me toward healing. From the day I discovered the affair, these women propped me up and kept me from sinking into the sorrow quicksand.

    They listened to me repeat the same thing again and again and again and always responded with gentle nodding and murmurs of comfort. They were enraged on my behalf and for my children and coaxed from me, cleansing anger. At my side they logged miles upon miles of hikes and runs. They counseled me in parking lots, in offices and at Wal-mart. Hundreds of texts and hundreds of static filled cell phone calls between us. Countless emails filled with wise counsel – countless silent moments when there just weren’t enough words to explain the pain.

    These women asked about my children with loving and worried concern. They know my quirky wonderful kids and have wisely guided me to be able to guide my children in turn.

    They have reminded me of the progress I have made when I could not see it myself.

    You are these women. Each selflessly bringing me light ~ and each your own unique perspective and restorative balm. How fascinating to it has been to see the specific fierceness this has brought out in each of you.

    Please know that I send a collective letter of gratitude because you are extraordinary women and individually and together are strong and favored. Never will I be able to repay you for this year.


  • I will name my wonderful friends, Abby, Sarah and Sue… they held me up when I felt like I was breathing water and not air. When I hadn’t slept for a month. That is how twisted my reality became when all of this happened. They have been my friends forever and I would do anything for them. Need a kidney, take mine…

    My mother, narcissist that she is, basically told me I deserved it and wasn’t at all helpful. Go back and mend my fences, be a better wife, so I did for 27 years. My sisters were and are useless. I am the scapegoat child, the truth teller so sort of radio active in my fucked up family.

    Here is what I tell my daughters.
    Husbands leave, parents die (foo issues) kids grow up but your girl friends will save you, time and time again.

    My oldest daughter poo poo’ed this idea when she was in high school. But in college she found her forever friends, and one day after college, the Mohos were gathered and she called me, slightly tipsy, to tell me that she had found them, her forever girl friends and would always be safe with them. I smiled and I slept easier that night.

    Did you know that the biggest predictor of how long a man will live is whether he is married? Did you know that the biggest predictor how how long a woman will live is whether she has girl friends? I tell my girls that too.

    Lastly, the lesson they have always gotten from me, is never, ever trust a man for your livelihood. Always have an income and always, always be able to take care of your kids. When my girls have kids, I will never tell them that they are crap mothers because they aren’t stay at home mothers, like my mother told me. I will tell them to do the best they can with raising their kids because an emotionally honest environment with a working mother is so much better than living with a nutter. I will tell them to sleep well at night, knowing what ever happens, they can take care of their kids. Sending angels and wisdom to the MIGHTY chump nation.

  • Two very close friends, one of whom is a prominent attorney in my home state. She immediately linked me to hard-ass family lawyers here in Chicago.

    Another angel is my den co-leader/friend. Ironically, she and her husband are also attorneys and hooked me up to the other half of really tough litigators in Chicago ( the creep is so screwed).

    Of course, my siblings too! And my small circle of close friends here who have been terrific.

  • And like Paula said, thanks to all of you Chumps. And thanks to CL for creating a safe place to vent. A place that affirms I am not crazy, that cheaters deserve a multitude of chances because they need reconciliation, that being the stable parent for my kids is what they need vs. sparkly Disney dad, that trust is earned and sometimes never regained and that’s OK.

  • My sister who took a week of her holidays to stay with me and provide child are while I went to classes required by law to get divorced. My friend, Danielle who stored things, provided child are, had us over for multiple dinners, put up Xmas lights.

  • Like so many of you, I don’t have close family. My parents are dead. My brother, bless his heart, would have judged me. I have no kids. But I had lots of support.
    1. My best friend, who flew 2000 miles on New Year’s to spend her vacation helping me put a life together. I was hanging on, but barely. By the time she left, I was on the road to healing.
    2. The child of my heart, who walked miles with me and listened when the gaslighting was at its peak. She knew Jackass and couldn’t believe it either. This summer, she and her husband have been my “lawncare angels.”
    3. The owner of my gym, who sponsors a fitness competition, which was the true turning point of my recovery–nearly 4 months focusing on eating, sleeping and exercise, with the support of the other “contestants” and my trainers. It was an amazing experience that got me up and moving every day.
    4. It also introduced me to hot yoga, which has become a way of life with me. My yoga teachers are kind and they are working hard at having authentic lives themselves.
    5. My spiritual teachers–my parish priest who is also my good friend and a nun at my institution. They loved me unconditionally.
    6. My therapist, whose first words were, “You can never go back to him.” She kept my focus on my own growth and recovery.
    7. My students, who always know when a teacher is struggling in her personal life, but who show up ready to do the work with a good heart.
    8. My banker, my plumber, my hairdresser.
    9. My XH, not a cheater, who has answered every possible question about the house and helped when I was stuck (I do the same for him, of course, when he can’t figure out his iPad.)
    10. The veterinarian who came to the house at the height of the gaslighting period because I couldn’t bear to put my cat down in a place where nothing was familiar to her. This when Jackass couldn’t pick up the phone to talk to me.
    11. My cousins. We don’t discuss these things, but they simply accepted that Jackass didn’t make the cut. That was enough for them. He’s out.
    11. And Rich. I travel with a sports team on big tour buses. This winter, at 1 a.m. in the terrible cold and snow, I would get off the bus and our driver Rich would be standing there with my bags in hand, so I didn’t have to crawl into the cargo bay and drag them out. Every single time. He had no idea what I was going through. He is simply a kind man. And he has no idea what that repeated, simple act of kindness meant to me. A shout out also to one of the player’s dad, who did a clean up after an event so I could go out with my cousin.
    12. Many writers. Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability and “daring greatly.” Marianne Williamson on prayer (which shifted me from praying for things to be fixed to praying for others, praying to survive the pain and to live my best life. Pat Collins, who does a wonderful astrology blog on the new and full moon phases, focused on authentic living. Dick Wolf, for the “Law and Order” franchise, which kept me company into the wee hours of many nights. For those who feel alone, writers provide a lifeline to growth and sanity.
    13. Facebook brought me D-Day, but it also reconnected me to a number of friends who live elsewhere or whom I don’t see because we are at different stages of life. It gave me an opportunity to speak positively about things other than infidelity. If I could post something funny or inspiring or showing gratitude 3-4 times per week, even if I had to push myself to do that, I could stay connected in positive ways to people who didn’t know about what happened and really didn’t need to know. And Pinterest helped me redesign my life (not in HGTV terms; I don’t pin fancy kitchens) but in terms of having an electronic bulletin board to collect and collate thoughts, inspiring images and re-train my brain as the brain of a confident woman. And the child of my heart looked up MOW on Pinterest,FB and Twitter and we read her stuff for a while and concluded that Jackass didn’t trade up. That ended the terrible pain of “why did he love her more than he loved me?” He didn’t, of course, but for a while I was stuck on that. I had made her into a vital, attractive, lovely younger woman. She’s not any of that except younger. Great reality check.
    I am so fortunate and so grateful for all of these people and resources, and for you fellow Chumps. We are mighty.

    • I forgot the cats, including my beloved Lucky who passed away in November; the woodpecker who made holes in the house but who lived through the terrible winter, just like I did; and all the critters who pass through my yard every day, reminding me that the world is full of hearts to love.

  • Divorce One:
    After (then) H kidnapped our child, some girls in the office I worked with found me a lawyer while I went hunting for my child. A friend of the OW felt so sorry for me that he gave me the information about where they were hiding. That was all the help I got. No parental, sibling, or friend help. I was working temp at the time, so it was always a mad scramble to pay bills, find work, and make sure the child had adequate food and daycare.

    Divorce Two:
    Again, no parental, sibling, or friend help. Even had a friend’s wife tell me I should give her my current king size bed since I was now divorced and clearly didn’t need it anymore – I could sleep on a full-size futon bed since it was only me. I quite firmly declined her generous offer.

    I’ve always been expected to take care of others – and I always do. I fought my way out of food stamp level poverty to home ownership and a college degree. These days, it extends to the ability to take in those family members and friends in crisis while they clean up their problems and get back on track.

    I don’t usually come off this bitter. All lives have problems and certainly mine are no worse than anyone else’s. However, I can’t help but notice that the healthier I get emotionally – and thanks to Tracy, this site, and the mighty members of Chump Nation for that – the less my family members have to do with me. Mom is NPD; since it would be toxic to have her involvement in my life, I just don’t. Since she’s NPD, she isn’t even aware she’s missing anything. Most of my siblings have nothing to do with me now; my youngest sister, who I thought was there for me in many ways, apparently isn’t.

    I made the mistake (if you can call it that) of suggesting this site to one of her chumped friends. I hoped it would help open his eyes to what his STBXW had been doing to him. Within a couple weeks, she’d blocked me on FB and no longer has anything to do with me. Apparently they all preferred me chumpy, codependent, and compliant.

    That Sunny is dead.

    • As you get healthier, the people who want to feed off you fall away. That’s sad, but not in any way a reflection of your worth. You are mighty….

  • *My friend L*, who let me stay at her apartment while she was out of town for the week after D-Day #1. What a gift that was.

    *My mom and dad, who have never questioned my decisions, and who have had my back since day 1.
    My sister, who’s cure for what ails you consists of bar crawls in Key West. (Sometimes that works . 😉 )

    *My good friends — the ones I kept — who have kept me laughing and let me talk until their ears bled.

    *The strangers that I’ve met here (including CL, of course) and in other forums who had walked through a similar fire, understood the pain, and made me feel loved, appreciated, and understood. Oh, and NOT crazy.

  • My best friend, who supported me even though she was bedridden and desperately ill, who mentored me through those dark early days and forbade me to make contact therefore keeping me safe.
    My counsellor, who unravelled my disordered thoughts and translated them into plain English, who gave me permission to ‘feel’ ‘whatever emotion I presented her with.
    My lawyer, whose professionalism gave me the confidence to divorce.
    The receptionist at work, who became my life coach, talked me through every encounter with the ex, whose mantra “calm and dignified” saved me from making a fool of myself.
    My writing buddies that I met at college after D Day, who laughed with me when my writing was openly about my revenge fantasies, online dating escapades and held my hand when my voice wobbled reading my thinly disguised despair and pain. Who gave me back a sense of worth.
    The amazing random group of people I met online, who ‘knew’ my pain, held my hand and got me through my darkest hours, who have now become my closest friends.
    My kids, who were the reason I carried on.
    The random stranger who mowed my lawn and taught me about human kindness
    The dog who knew all my secrets, dried my tears, whose death I will never fully recover from.
    The brand new Grandchildren who remind me every day, that life does indeed go on and the best is yet to come
    And finally… the ex

    If he hadn’t left, I would never have known just what I could be without him.

  • No one single person…little bits here and there. Mostly from my sister, and sister in law (chumps themselves) who gave what they could, notwithstanding their own trauma.

    The therapist who identified my condition *as* trauma…and warned me to stay away from co-dependency lingo, since it was not MY fault.

    My daughter, who gave me the love she could (despite her pain), and allowed me to continue mothering her, which is really the best thing.

    My dog, who made no judgements, and always loved me.

    My all-women’s college, all those years ago, which taught me that women’s voices matter; that we are people; that we should be valued and value ourselves, and we can be kickass when we need to be. It’s been twice that those seven sisters have saved my life, (despite their flaws).

    I’m grateful.

    • Also, too, in addition, moreover….like so many here, I nominate ChumpLady, and all of you in ChumpNation!

      This place is a space of healing. So much forward motion. Backbone infusions. Funny jokes out of tragedies. Sympathy for the heartbreak. Every kind of the best camaraderie.


  • First my kids. There are eight of them with the cheater. As soon as word got around (it took less than a day) that the ex had walked, they gathered together at my house while I was working. I work at night. All of them were there except one who lived far away and she called. I walked in about midnight and they all began to hug me, Some cried with me. I was crying because of their wonderfulness, not even so much because he’d left after 35 years. They supported me through it all. One of the grown kids wanted so badly to believe the ex, his dad. That was hard and hurt but we move past things like that in time, in different ways, don’t we? My kids’ presence with me remains a tremendously powerful thing. They keep me going.

    And there were my friends. They supported me in different ways from deep emotional support to financial help at a tough time to giving one of my younger kids a job when it was so needed. The ex’s sister has been kind and one of his daughters from a previous marriage (he was a prolific man, I’ll say that) had been very kind.

    I don’t want to leave out the therapist who offered me free therapy for the rest of my life to apologize for downplaying the cheater’s sociopathic tendencies. He didn’t talk me out of the relationship like he might have – years earlier – if he’d clearly seen what was going on. He also helped me with court proceedings. I haven’t taken him up on therapy for life. I’m taking a therapy break now. The divorce was finalized almost 2 years ago.

    My attorney was pretty much of an angel too. And my CPA who helped me with some shady IRS dealings the ex had left me entangled in. She made a difference.

    None of us really knows how we might help someone in need. I know none of these people thought they were or attempted to be an angel. They just were, doing the things they do when someone has a crisis.

  • Oh dear. This question breaks my heart. One of my biggest cheerleaders after d-day was a mutual friend of my X. Lovely, lovely girl. She was the first person I called because. She knew both of us well and was fully aware of the cheating that occurred in my relationship and in my X’s previous marriage. She washed my hair as I cried. She took me under her wing and introduced me to a new group of girlfriends who gave me hope that all was not lost.

    …. Until 6 months later. She informed me over dinner with friends (in public so I couldn’t react rashly) that she and my X were seeing each other. When I tried to reach out to her the next day, she refused to speak to me except in text messages and email. I lost her and all of my new “friends” and went back to square one. She is very religious, a virgin, and apparently easily fooled. My agnostic X is now an avid churchgoer (he wept during the sermon she told me) and has promised to wait for her until marriage.

    I consider losing her my second d-day. Since then, I have to thank one of my dear friends and coworkers (a fellow chump) Angela, who helped me off the floor and showed me what the life of a chump looks like on the other side. Katy the wife of X’s best friend, for calling my X out on his bullshit and never letting me forget what an asshole he is. She has seen me ugly cry more than anyone on this planet. My brother, for showing me how a real man treats women. And Chumplady herself. Because I am seeing color again in my life.

    • “Lovely” girl is an idiot.

      You didn’t know he was a cheater. She KNEW and got involved with him. She’s asking for her heartbreak, but she must believe she’s really special and can heal his brokenness or WTFever.

      I don’t think losing her is a great loss. She just volunteered for a ride on the crazy train.

      • Broke the friend code, absolutely!

        I have been doing great for months until last week when I found out, one of my friends (ex now) who at the time was telling me to get rid of his ugly ass, the one I helped with her rent, electric, food, clothes, the one I was there in birthing room when she was having her child (the father bailed) the one I took care of when she was sick, bought her and her son clothes, food just name it, had also slept with my ex in 2008 many times. I am the one friend who is always running around helping others whenever its needed, I am a nurturer, giver and I am the strong one. Well I am done with all of that and its funny when you stop giving, it’s interesting how many people slowly drop out of your life which is fine with me, since I don’t need friends like that, but this really stung…I guess ne good deed goes unpunished.. and when I said not even a therapist, I didn’t seek out one, because I can’t have that in my medical records, it may bite me in the ass in the future so I deal with it here and on my own.

        I just have to say that I am grateful for Chump Lady who created this blog for us and all of its members. I just wish I found this blog years ago, but I guess it’s better late than never..

  • There are so many in my life who were my rocks, who were there for me and my kids at the lowest points and even now.

    My mum and dad were there the moment he left, my dad literally picked my kids up off the kitchen floor. We stayed at their place until I could face going home to a half empty house (he moved out while I was at work, I had no idea). Then we moved in with them for 6 months while the house sold and I got back on my feet. My dad changed the locks for me on my house.

    My friend Tracey, the most amazing, strong, kind hearted person. She was on my doorstep the day after. I would ring her at all hours. She said I could call her anytime even if I just needed to cry. And she did just listen to me cry. I spent hours talking to her about my emotions. She had been through similar.

    My friend Theresa, she stepped right up, made dinner for me and the kids so many times, just was an ear to listen to my rants. She had experienced the same 10 years ago.

    My best friend Rosie, whom I’ve known for over 20 years, legal representative extraordinaire. My rock, my strength. Somebody who rang me the day he ran off and told me what I needed to do legally to protect myself. Who was there for me no matter what. Pushed me to fight financially for myself and my kids.

    All the people at church, who provided meals, prayers and just kind welcoming words.

    My colleagues and amazing friends at work, my boss. They provided me with whatever I needed. Time off, support, kindness.

    I hope to some day pay it forward.

    • I forgot the two most important people… my two kids. They have been so strong throughout the whole thing especially my son. I can’t tell you how many times he has just come up to me and said mum, its going to be ok and just hugged me.

    • I keep remembering all these amazing people in my life.

      The group that I met on line. They are the most incredible beautiful people that have gotten me through some really really dark moments.

      My adopted sister Lisa and her husband Peter. My old neighbours who held my hand while I cried, made me cups of tea and Peter who did random things around my house like change light bulbs. Who welcomed me into their home at all times of the day and night.

      My pets, my dog, my cat, my horse and my ferrets. They gave me unconditional love…

  • My daughters. For propping me up when I couldn’t stand on my own, running errands (because I could barely function) and listening to my endless cycle of tears, rage, confusion and despair. My youngest daughter in particular who spent a whole day out of her busy life (2 jobs and 2 small sons) who – after several months when it became apparent I couldn’t do it myself, came over and did a clean sweep of the mess my apt. had become….sorting things out, organizing and getting rid of traces of “HIM”.

    And you CL. You and the other Chumps that held my hand online and convinced me I wasn’t crazy and YES he was that bad. I woke up in the middle of the night for months, turned to my Ipad looking for new comments on CL. I would read them, then start at the beginning and read all the posts and comments over and over again (there weren’t quite so many then 🙂 – so proud of how CL has grown!) I can’t begin to tell you how much love, gratitude and admiration I have for all of you…. What an amazing testimonial to paying it forward this site is! XO

    • Toni, you were the first poster who greeted me here after I gulped and (bravely) posted my first post here after lurking from the get-go. I thank you.

  • My teenage daughter who had the courage to tell me as soon as she learned about XHs cheating.
    My therapist who told me at our first meeting that his cheating wasn’t my fault.
    My 80 year old aunt and cousin who attended every day of the divorce trial with me.
    My two friends who helped carried his garbage out of the house.
    My work colleague who attended an out of town conference with me the week after D Day and let me cry on his shoulder.
    And all of my college friends who have stood by me unfailingly for the last 40+ years.

  • I was pretty isolated by the time the cheating happened and my only two good friends were co-opted by my ex when I needed them the most. Both later apologized for falling for his shit and I forgive because the asshole fooled me for years, how could I expect them to recognized his manipulations before I even knew?

    So in those dark days, thank you Ghost cat for always demanding I pet you and having the most amazing purr on the planet. I promise to turn on the faucet whenever you demand a drink for the rest of your life.

    Then there was the day of the gun, when I could finally escape him, or so I thought, it was a near thing.

    Thanks MIL for agreeing your son was dangerous and needed help with his alcoholism the night I called you after he pulled a gun, threatened suicide and nearly shot me. Your support when I asked the magistrate to have him mentally evaluated helped. Too bad he bullshitted the docs and walked out in 3 days. BUT! That gave me time to get a temporary protective order and put safeguards in place, so angel move I guess. OTH, fuck you for believing his lies and blaming me for his shit later, you are actually an asshole angel. Temp Angel, maybe that should be a song.

    Thank you brother of my ex, you and I became friends over the years when your bro was always too busy to bother with you. You are a man of integrity and your testimony at my protective order hearing was crucial to my winning the day. You were also afraid of your brother, would have been safer for you to refuse to testify, or to lie. Sure I had you subpoenaed for cover, but hey, you told the truth. You risked losing your relationship with your own mother, you did the right thing because you are a truly good person. And thanks for still being my friend even if sometimes talking to you brings back bad shit. You did an angel type deed for sure.

    The only possible real angel is someone I do not know, never even got her name. I was in CVS printing out pics of the horrible sythe knife my ex had in his bed, I took the pic on a bloody pillow from when he punched himself in the face in an attempt to set me up for a second time. I was pulling out all the stops to get safe cos I had only one chance at getting that PO. Anyhow the pics were pretty awful, the knife was very nasty. A young woman came up and asked me if I could help her print baby pics cos her parents really we’re after her, I said of course as soon as I’m done. She said she was visiting from Ireland and the dam machine was “deviling” her, this cracked me up. I swear laughing is so amazing sometimes.

    She saw the pic print out, gasped and patted my shoulder. I told her I was trying to get a PO and poured out why that was so hard, especially because he attacked me when I asked for a divorce and set me up for a DV charge previously. Anyone could see this made it easy to claim I was the abusive one. I told her my own attorney was telling me I had no chance. She didn’t walk away, she told me her story of abuse, how she didn’t know what was going on until it got bad. How she got away with help from her friends, and how wonderful her current husband was, she hugged me and she said “don let the bastard fuck ya over, don’t let your lawyer convince ya that ya can’t win, I know ya can, I’m standing here and you can beat that bastard at his own game, get in the ring, if I could do it you can do it”. She was fucking right, I did beat that motherfucker, she gave me strength that day, she was an antidote to my defeat. She reminded me that you play to win or you don’t bother. Because of her I over rode my lawyers advice and went full fucking Monty on his abusive ass in court.

    According to the judge, my hearing was the longest ever to be conducted in our county. The judge had to reschedule all other cases that day. We went from 10am to 4pm without a break, she ruled in my favor and held that asshole for half an hour to ensure I got home safely. I was so damn happy that I didn’t need the suitcase I had in my car, instead I kept the locksmith appt set up for 5 that day.

    That Irish woman gave me some power back somehow, she gave me a dose of mighty, I cry when I recall it. If I believed in actual angels, I’d say she was one.

  • My best friend Karen who was on my side from the very first phone call to her to tell her what happened. She has been a true blue friend to me since this started months ago (D-Day). We were friends 20 years ago in law school, and she had gotten to know Ex, and yes, I did know over 16 yrs of the relatsionship that she never liked him and remember her taking me out to dinner about 5 years before D-Day and summoning up the courage to tell my she thought he was abusive. I spackled and said he had a “little anger management problem.” Eternally grateful for hours of listening to me, and legal brainstorming (we’re both lawyers), dishing about X, laughing about his ridiculous statements (“No, Muse, I can’t stay with you because I alread ran the sharing idea by OW, and SHE won’t go for that!” among other gems.) But a favorite memory, last summer, a week or 2 after D-Day, she invited me over to her house just to be there; I fell asleep on the glider on the front porch while she just sat in her chair reading a book. I think I felt safe for the first time in many years, during that sweet nap. She, too, had been through infidelity many years before and has been fiercely loyal to me (a phrase X claimed he was, after D-day, believe it or not).

    My brother, who had just been through a similar infidelity episode. He understood like no one else could and he moved in with me. Then, when a paralegal in my office quit with no notice last Feb., he subbed for her and is now working in my office! He has been a godsend to me.

    My three children, each of whom said to me, upon hearing that X had cheated on me and I’d thrown him out (he’s not their Dad), each separately said to me, “Mom — I’m so glad he’s finally out of your life!” They had witnessed his abuse over the years and each of them, God bless them, upon my begging for their forgiveness for having exposed them to his emotional and verbal abuse and narcissistic rages over the years, said no forgiveness was necessary because they understood that I loved him and had just been doing my best.

    My therapist Pete who cut through the psychobabble and after 7 months of really spiritual guidance, just looked at me and said, “Muse, you have got to stop hooking up with freeloaders.” But the words that have stayed with me and gotten me out of the cognitive dissonance of even now sometimes “missing” the man I thought loved me and respected me, are: “Muse, you have GOT to see him AS HE REALLY IS.”

    Legions of people, including some of my clients, business acquaintances, who upon my (sometimes tearfully) trying to explain why I’d missed deadlines, looked like a zombie, and coudn’t focus or talk in sentences at times last year, offered sympathy, condolences and advice. A client named Becky who explained to me how she escaped an abusive childhood home and supported herself through high school, by identifying with her “spirit animal.” A Reiki teacher who, after a trenchant session with me, in which she repeatedly invoked me to “let go of that which no longer serves you!” (I pictured Cheater’s penis, sorry, but that’s true), who then actually thanked ME for the session!

    A hairdresser who’s heard the whole story and at the tender age of 25, keeps telling me, “I’m proud of you girlfriend!” because I’m fighting back to save my house and my financial investments from X.

    A kickass lawyer who, after I fired the first one for taking too long and being too conciliatory, believes my accounts of the sexual exploitation and verbal abuse and agrees that yes, it is relevant, it’s not just a bean counting contest. She has morals!

    Finally, without sounding egotistical, I thank myself. Somewhere deep inside of me, the awful night of D-Day when I summoned up the courage to log on to and see his cell phone log because he was acting so weird. Then after an hour of staring at the obvious truth on the computer screen, summoned up the courage when he walked in the door jolly and smiling, to ask him had he been out on a date? then when he lied to force him to tell the truth that I DESERVED; then after an insane hour of crazy talk, to tell him that he needed to leave. Then had the courage, after years of being afraid of this man, to tell him NO when he said “I can totally see us getting back together if it doesn’t work out with her,” and NO when he said I was trying to cheat him out of the house when I offered him 50% of the equity, and NO when he still kept trying to hoover me into believing him. And YES to the rest of my life, free of this parasite. I feel like I have rediscovered an old friend, someone I used to know … and it’s me.

      • You are welcome, Datdamwuf. As for many others, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Way harder than my first divorce, years of no child support, their Dad moving out of state, law school as a single parent, paying back mega school debt… but still. I almost left out my friends S and L, who have also been true blue friends despite a horrible D-Day of the sort Linda2 describes below. They retired, sold their house, and learned he has cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant. They came and stayed with me for Christmas and I’ve been to visit them in FL three times. Now I’m running an online fundraiser for their uncovered expenses for the transplant. Their grace and courage keep my situation in perspective.

  • My daughters. Never asked a word. Just loved me and helped me pack his crap.

    There was a kind old southern woman who I worked with at church on Sundays, who didn’t know the story. Out of nowhere she called and told me she had a sweet potato pie she wanted to give me. I picked it up, came home, sat with that sweet potato pie and had a thin slice. One thin slice everyday for a week. Cried with every slice. Best sweet potato pie I ever had in my entire life.

    • Hope you won’t take it the wrong way but your comment reminded me of that Stephen King novel “Thinner”, written under Bachman”…. If you read it, the irony is strong

  • Bless my dear friend, Martha. She was a rock and a real prayer partner! Soon after my DDay, she had her own DDay. It was a different kind of discovery. A doctor discovered lung cancer in her beloved husband. He is a veteran and may have been exposed to carcinogens. It has been a rough ride for both of us these two years. Her husband is still fighting his battle. Those of you who pray, please include Charlie. He has come very close to death a couple of times and yet, he is still going. Martha has remained a concerned angel for me even with her own trials. Thank God for true friends!

    • Prayers and blessings, Linda2. This same awful Dday happened to my very good friends who were all set to retire young, move to FL, when a routine test turned up leukemia. Short version, no retirement, she is working fulltime again so they can have good insurance, and a bone marrow transplant is happening 4 days from now. I love them both deeply. It’s very ironic to me as I may have idealized their love for each other as a “perfect” relationship and look what is happening! Hugs and prayers for you and your friends tonight. Margaret

  • Oh I love this post. I have so many. I have two amazing siblings. My brother has been a great support from financial advice to listening to me cry and grieve, giving me endless strength to insisting I hang out with family—He is a gem of a person. My sister flew to my side when I told her what happened and looked so sad and horrified she had my insides on her face. I love them so much it brings tears. I am truly lucky.

    My mother is always there in a crisis and even though it is a shitload of money she is paying for my lawyer. Her generosity is enormous.

    I also have dear friends. My friend Faye always has just the right things to say—she reminds me of my joy and who I am. She feels the sickness of my ex and is horrified. So many of my friends have given me support by listening offering practical advice and reminding me that I was on a train to destruction got destroyed and survived. Asshole is done and now I learn from this.

    My therapist and child’s therapist—so many insights and helpful ways to parent well under duress.

    AND of course CL and everyone who posts here. I feel gratitude for you all when I read your words.

    May those of us who are struggling have financial stability and freedom from the pain and anguish very soon. Every day should bring us closer to actualizing our lives using all that we have learned for growth, listening to ourselves and for better pickers from now on. May we attract only honest respectful people with integrity from now on.

  • Chump Son was/is my angel.

    May he rest in peace, my dear friend who held my hand, cheered me on and never for one minute let me give up. My best friend. I miss him so much.

    • I miss him too, he was an amazing person, I wish I’d been able to know him IRL as you did. Jedi hugs

      • Totally agree. A very superior person was Chump Son. Lucky you to have known him skategirl.

  • My family: my parents, who contributed advice and financial support; my brother, who is my best friend and listened to hours of my ranting; and my other brother, to whom I am not particularly close, but who nevertheless gave one of my daughters a much-needed car when her father refused to help and I was unable to purchase one. And my daughters, who have suffered so much with their narcissistic father but been so loving and supportive of me. I could not have made it without these beautiful people.

  • One more thing, this site, Chumpster Lady. This site and these wonderful people saved my sanity. We always think we are so alone and this community of good, caring, loving people gave me insurmountable hope that there are others in this world who share my values. I am not alone.

    I thank God for all of you. All of you.

  • Easy. My daughter, my friends Jamie and Trish, who understood my need to spill and vent, even when they didn’t really get it. They trusted me enough to know “crap….it must really, really suck” if Einie is this upset.

    And to God, who blessed me with the mind and soul to overcome and be whole, and genuinely grateful for all the many, many beautiful things he did set before me.

    And Chump Lady, and you guys.

  • My friend G. for sure. She talked with me at all moments, whenever I needed, acted as my reality check, let me spend days and nights at her apartment so I could get away from the situation and not be alone … she was amazing. She definitely saw me at my most vulnerable–and self-centered. I was so self-centered when I was going through the process of finding out about the affair and then divorcing my spouse. I didn’t want to be, but it was like my brain was so occupied adjusting to this new reality that I could only think about myself and my situation. And she let me cry and talk and cry and ask questions until I didn’t have to do it anymore, because I had her to help me work through it.

    Now, a year later, her husband has some serious chronic health problems that have gotten worse, and I know she is struggling as his primary caregiver. I want to help her in the way she helped me.

  • Thank you CL for a wonderful subject. This is what I needed as the 13th anniversary of 9/11 was remembered today. Speaking of those that have helped us, shows just how fortunate we are.

    My angels included Kelly and Jack. Kelly and I have been friends since we were six. She and Jack make a great couple. They put up with me showing up at thier house at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes crying hysterically, sometimes just standing at their front door in shock. They hugged me, talked to me, never judged me and even let me smoke a cigarette if I needed it 🙂 ( I had quit years before). They provided the refuge I needed to pull myself together and be of sound mind for the kids.

    Allison, my best friend from college, who always made me laugh. She hates him as much as I do. She was great at telling me what a loser he was and is more than happy to send me e-cards related to douchebags and dickheads and losers in general. Although she lives a few hours away her door is always open when I need to get away.

    My employers. I work in a small office and my bosses were very understanding with this whole thing. My boss is the one who christened him with the name dickhead. They have and still do offer their support. My coworker Emily. This was her first job out of college and she had to learn how to deal with a crying 50 year old. She is wise beyond her years and told me yesterday that I have really become mighty in the last three years.

    My mom – all 93 years of her. She took my boys and I in 3.5 years ago. I hadn’t expected to stay this long, but she wants us here. Her love and understanding makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world. I’m good for her and she’s good for me. She says she knows now why she had me late in life – and I know too.

    My therapist who takes great care of me and tells me my idiot is the stupidest person she has ever encountered. My lawyer who seems to be the only person that actually seems to scare my idiot.

    And of course I need to thank CL and Chump Nation. I really wish I had found this sight earlier. If I had I might have become mightier sooner, but as long as I am mighty now, that’s all that matters!

  • Gratitude to all the lovely ladies at Sisterhood Of Support who were worth more to me and safer than counseling in the first months.

    For CL for putting into words exactly what I felt, even if I didn’t know that’s how I felt yet. To chump nation for being incredibly funny, smart, insightful and compassionate. And for sharing all of your stories because it made me feel not so alone and helped with the recovery process.

    To the first person I ran into after having been back in my home state for a while. She immediately invited me to lunch. We were never close in high school but when I told her my story and said how embarrassed I was for people to find out she simply told me that no one was going to think there was something wrong with me. They were going to look at my ex and see a fraud. She was the first person in about 9 months….friend or acquaintance who got it. Prior to that only close family and a few friends knew. That simple act of compassion in that lunch and her words started letting me finally tell people.

    To the lovely ladies at WIC. Despite wanting more than anything to exclusively breastfeed my son I wasn’t able to and instead had to go with formula. Having absolutely zero dollars after being abandoned by my husband I had no way to pay for it which is about $17 a can. I have cried twice out of straight gratitude in the WIC office. Once because the lady there not only told me that WIC would cover the entire supply of formula needed for my son each month but also provided an electric pump as well so that I could at least keep giving him some breastmilk. Prior to that I’d been trying to handpump while feeding him and taking care of myself without any help of any kind from anyone. The second time was when I discovered that my son was sensitive to the formula he was on and I was in despair because I thought I was going to have to come up with the $170 a month to feed him. The WIC lady not only helped me to get a prescription for a different kind but also assured me that the WIC checks would increase to cover his feeding needs. To any of you who look down on WIC PLEASE PLEASE don’t. If it wasn’t for the formula that program provided, my son would’ve have starved and his six figure salary dad wouldn’t have given a crap.
    I’m grateful for my awesome therapist who’s helped me deal with both the drama from my ex and the drama from my family. Although I am grateful to my family for the help moving and the meals that were cooked (especially the tacos) during my first trimester until the normal family bs kicked in.

    For my good friend Lisa. Who has been an angel. We went to the same small high school and just happened to (not under that greatest circumstances for either of us ) end up back in the area at the same time. Her daughter is five months older than my son. She has kept me sane as a single mother. She is happily married but about a year prior to me having D day she had to pack up and sell her house while very pregnant and ended up on the road in a motor home with her husband traveling for work. So we have been able to commiserate not only on how long it really takes for those lady parts to recover, but moving while pregnant, showering in ridiculously small showers, having all of our stuff in storage, having no dishwasher while having a baby, and wanting desperately to nest but having to stay with relatives. And she’s listened A LOT compassionately about what a douchbag my ex is. Watched my kid so I can go swimming and doesn’t care if I forget what the hell I am talking about mid sentence. She’s also handed down toys that have kept my kid busy for hours. (Anyone with an infant knows how important this is to get anything else done). Because her husband has had to be gone for long periods for work she also understands how hard it is to be a single mom of a baby. Her being a psych grad also helps with understanding NPD.

    Bob, my fellow lap swimmer. Who upon finding I was short on money bought a punch ticket for us to share so that I could continue with my normal twice weekly swim time.

    And to my mom’s dog. Who cuddled with me during my pregnancy. Who rode with me in the car to my ob appointments. Who was a wonderful companion through all the crying. And who I’m so glad got to meet my son before she had to be put to sleep this spring.

  • My angel was the young man, a stranger to me, who worked in the same office as my ex and his OW work colleague. That young man’s principles would not let him stand by and watch an affair carried on in the open, with so many colleagues staying neutral. He came out of the office, saw me sitting in my car waiting for cheating ex, and had the courage to tell me the truth, apologize for possibly delivering bad news, and then simply walk away. His action gave me the lead time to plan my divorce properly and take care of myself before I was totally ripped off, emotionally and financially. Bless him.

  • Thank you to the two burly policemen who came to my house after being called out on my domestic complaint after my cheater ex held me at knifepoint for hours, promised to kill me, then tried to deny everything…they gave me the best advice I could have hoped for, comforted me , and when they realised I had no family in a foreign country, called me each day for weeks to make sure I was OK. One of them emails me regularly to let me know where the ex and OW are even now, three years later. They were so disgusted with the prosecution office’s failure to make charges stick that they took it upon themselves to mete out ‘frontier justice’, let the offender’s employer know what he had done, (he lost his job over it) and intimidate the ex enough that he will not likely try anything with me. They risked a lot to help me get back to normal.

    • I wish one of those cops had responded when my ex attacked me, instead I got a cop who arrested me instead. I got the opposite of an angel that night.

  • I’m so fortunate that my immediate family is an amazing group and I have a mighty core group of girlfriends who stood by me steadfastly and showed up, sometimes uninvited, but almost always miraculously and with perfect timing just after the shit hit the fan. It is strange — I’m a good record keeper but now, two years out, I’m still unable to identify what months they appeared to help me re-do my house, or to whisk me to a nearby resort. Angels.
    My former employers, who may have had some questionable ethics but who never judged my need to leave work early and often. My therapist, my alternative counselors, my pets, my neighbors, my guy friends who would fix stuff and who offered to kick his ass, the kind strangers at places like the dog park who,some days, represented the only human interaction I had. My mentor, who is 25 years my senior and had been married to an alcoholic who cheated and took his own life — she went back to that painful time in her life to helps through mine. My uncle’s wife who had lived thru it too, in her first marriage.

    I know I am a fortunate soul to know so many people who held me close and shored me up and let me be vulnerable and who had my back.

    Not every one has such readily accessible, loving support, so I also want to mention the people I didn’t know who became a huge part of my healing, who are available to even the most isolated and introverted among us:
    1) divorce support group – mine was based on a book “Rebuilding when your relationship ends” and was not a church based deal. I got a few great friends and cheap therapy out of the ten week program, which was held on Sunday evenings (the hardest time of the week for me).
    2) Al-Anon – I went to meetings and rarely uttered a peep…sometimes I just sat there in tears (“I’m Doop”…”HI Doop!”) but I always left feeling calmer then I walked in. Some weeks, holding hands while saying the Serenity Prayer was the only physical contact I had. Highly recommend for anyone whose relationship became overly enmeshed.
    3) online support: for me, the combination of sober recovery for friends and family of alcoholics/addicts and ChumpLady helped me connect with honest, funny people who are ready to make the change to a better life, and who know we have to face some opposition en route to the new deal.

    Some of you say you have no IRL friends – I recommend a rebuilders-type group and a 12 step meeting ( for Al Anon ers or codependent or whatever fit

    The real friends will be back.

    • This is good advice. My community has no divorce support groups, but we do have al-anon. And I suppose I could always start a Rebuilders group myself, maybe thru Meet-up. I think there’s a Meet-up based on CL somewhere in Oregon — it’s how I found this website initially, one day when I was cruising around online, up at 4am because my brain won’t quit, like today/tonight.

      • I googled the organization for rebuilding/fisher seminars and see four towns in OR – maybe one is yours. Another thing that I found helpful on sleepless nights was listening to guided meditation – there are some great free one on YouTube and I like BelleRuth Naperstak.
        We must sleep.

  • My new friend, Michaela, who caught me in town crying the week after DD, let me stay with her, cared for my kids, cared for me. My new friend Deb, who caught me crying at her cafe on boxing day, and said “oh yeh, I’m going through that right now”, a tremendous source of strength. My parents and brother, who demand that I take no shit. My online network of old friends, remarkably several are going through the same thing right now. My neighbours, although aloof, they always care for me and the kids. The daycare, who understand that I am going through the toughest of times and have shown my children the best of care through it. My kids best friends mum, who takes them for me when I just can’t manage. And my angels Dave and Peta, who gave the best of friendships and times through the darkest of days.

  • My OBGYN, she offered to write a letter to the court stating my child would need to be breastfed for 4 years and couldn’t do overnight visits 🙂 She was so supportive and so nice, she’s a tiny little thing and she would get so fired up when I told her about what my ex was doing. She also said she could have him banned from the hospital during delivery. My 2 brothers who offered to pay my mortgage and bills as long as needed (they are not rich) if I would move to where they were and live with them (I couldn’t). Friends and coworkers who painted, put furniture together and shopped with me for the nursery. So many great people helped me. It definitely has made me eager to help anyone who needs it whenever I can.

  • You, Chump Lady. You are my angel and my therapist and my sanity. Back when both the couples therapist and my personal therapist were saying I should never tell anyone the basic fact about our divorce — that my ex CHEATED on me! — you told me no, tell. Now as I’m going through the divorce and he’s jumping repeatedly through the cycles of abuse like a monkey through hoops — you show me his playbook so I can anticipate what’s coming next and laugh at how predictable he is instead of getting scared. Right now as we’re negotiating finances, you’re giving me the courage to stick to my guns and fight for as much as I can get, for the sake of my kids, while also recognizing that HE SUCKS and I can’t trust him, so I need to do everything I can to not be dependent, ever, on the money he’ll owe me. And as I’m making decisions like whether to keep co-owning the house (wtf was I thinking with THAT idea?!?) or move, you’re giving me courage to believe that there’s a much, much better life out there, and the more I can go No Contact, the better for me and my family. There’s no one and nothing that’s helped me more than Chump Lady. You’ve given me the story I need to believe in myself — and the courage to believe that the ending of MY story will be AWESOME.

    I also have a fabulous group of friends, with way too many people going through the exact same shit. One dear friend and neighbor of mine has been married almost the same length of time and discovered about the same time I did that her STBX was cheating with a whole gaggle of people, just like mine was. She has been a rock for me. When either of us desperately needs 20 minutes alone to cry our eyes out, we call the other to watch our kids for a few minutes. When either of us is stuck at home after bedtime and really wants a beer, we call the other to see if she can make a quick grocery run. So yeah, she’s been an angel too. But the person who helped me most is CL. Truth is such a powerful thing, especially when NOBODY else is saying it.

  • My best friend Amy 🙂 She’s been with me prior to marrying and will be post-marriage. She knows the crap I’ve dealt with. Even when she kept telling me to leave him (and I didn’t listen) she still stood by me… waiting for me to see him in the same light as she did. She’s treated me with tough love and she’s the best friend anyone could ask for!

    There’s also my drinking buds 😉 4 of the best Girls Night Out partakers one could ever have.

    There’s also my 3 cousins whom are like sisters. Though we don’t hang out as much as we should I still know they are there for me when I need them.

    My family has been good too. I can show up on any one of their doorsteps with open arms. Course I’m too proud to actually do that but… I like knowing I can if the need arise.

  • Hmm, it was over 10 years ago now, so it’s hard to say. My grandmother was pretty good help. My own mother, not so much. My ex-wife’s parents, well they had her married OM in their home for the holidays. I guess they didn’t want to offend their little angel.

    My church? Hmm, pastor asked me what I did to force her to have an affair. Make that former pastor and former church. (You can see where that is going.)

    My best friend and his wife were a great help. I dropped everything and drove two hours to be with me when I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.

    My daughter. Not that she did anything, she was 4-5 years old when all of this kicked off. She was just her, and her presence made sure I didn’t do anything lethal and/or criminal, either to my self or to the two of them. I didn’t see how I could be there for her if I were in prison or dead.

  • My top angel was a childhood friend who never calls my cheater husband by his real name. She has her own name for him–she never met him as she lived on the opposite coast when we married. Her favorite saying about divorce is that it is the gift that keeps on giving–and giving–and giving.

    She made me laugh when no one else could. She has held my hand though we are so many miles apart and said that I couldn’t see her but that she was standing there holding the light at the end of the tunnel and that I would make it–that I would see the light. I did but I’m still struggling at times–lots of times because of my health and the financial burden he put on me (long awful story). We all need that one angel that makes a difference…the one we can call in the middle of the night, the one who truly understands what we are going through. I owe my angel so very much! 🙂

  • Last night and this morning I read through this post and the comments and cried over so many of them. From the stories of the strangers whose kindnesses made a huge difference at a needed moment to the stories of friends’ loyalty and care…there are so many different, beautiful ways that chumps have been cared for, and I was moved by all of these stories.

    I too had have stories of the people who supported me, some people who I would have expected, like family and long-term best friends, and many unexpected like newer friends, acquaintances, my ex’s family and even strangers. I am deeply thankful to all of them. But I don’t know how I would have made it through without my best friend, who spent hours on the phone and infinitely more time through very frequent, attentive, encouraging emails since dday (and listening to all my emails as I process stuff), and Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Reading this site opened my eyes to the truth. I am so incredibly thankful I stumbled upon it in the middle of the night one night about 6 weeks post-dday, and I’ve been here ever since. Chump Lady’s wisdom and straight talk has facilitated (and acclerated) my healing in amazing ways. I know if it weren’t for her, I don’t think I would be able to see my ex for who he is, or maybe it would have just taken years longer before it sunk in. And thanks to what I have learned from all your stories, I think I know a lot of red flags to look out for with other people. I have confidence in this new life I am building and I know I will be okay. I feel optimistic again. I hope to find love again, but I have faith I will be okay, no matter what. My life did not go how I wanted it, but I am sure as hell going to make it the best life I can. And someday, I hope to be like some of you and know that my ex leaving was the best thing that ever happened to me. I like the story someone shared (on this post, or maybe another recent one?) of the farmer who said that the worst thing that ever happened to him (a hail storm that wiped out all his crops) was also the best thing that ever happened to him because it led him to become a stock broker and he was good at it and it made him rich. I don’t have that perspective yet about my own life, but I hope to someday.

  • It was my family who helped me out. My parents were divorced and my father was a chump from his second marriage as well. He even warned me that something seemed off with my now-XW during a visit to his house. His wife also provided lots of no-BS advice that was definitely needed at that time (CL would like her). And my brother offered violence against the OM, which, while appreciated, was obviously just a bit misguided.

  • I know this is an older post, but since it was first published, it has been working in my mind…who I’m grateful towards for angel-like kindness during this mess. I’ve delayed putting this down because recounting that darkest of periods still causes some pain.

    My infidelity angel was quite possibly a real angel.

    Nine years ago, my STBXW suggested we to go for a car ride to discuss difficulties in our marriage. It was then that she explained she was leaving the family to get some space for herself. I knew at this point that she was having cyber-sex with multiple guys and was making plans to fly out to be with one of them. Chump-like, I beg her to stay and work things out. The wreckage of our 25-year marriage, the lives of our 6 kids, and emptiness of a casual affair were arguments lost on her. I was utterly crushed…not for the first nor last time in this Odyssey. Afterwards, I dropped her off and being unable to face the kids quite yet, went for a short ride. I stopped behind a local grocery store and sat in the car and wept like a child. It poured from me in confused torrents. My grief was so extreme, I did not notice the approach of an older woman who gently knocked on my window. After fumbling to open it, she asked if I was alright. I lied of course and said I was fine. She persisted and asked again if I was sure. She explained that it looked like I was in distress.

    This was the first time anyone had taken notice of my grief, and a stranger no less. I blurted out, “My wife is seeing another man”. She walked over to the passenger side, sat down, and let me talk about everything. I’m still not sure how long I rambled on but it could have been hours. She was kind and patient and very understanding. In the end, she explained that she was a therapist of some sort and left me her card with an offer to call whenever I needed to talk. Just as quick and lightly as she arrived, she left.

    These were early days in my chumpdom and I never did take her up on the offer. Instead I danced like the fool I was. I danced thru the STBXW’s false reconciliations and many affairs. I danced through her wild emotional storms and faithless commitments. I danced to save my marriage life but failed to stop the river-flood of her infidelity. There were many other bad moments where the loneliness and despair seem to mount incrementally and but for those stranger’s few kinds words and caring attention, I did it alone.

    I wish I had honored that angel’s advice promptly. She said “there’s no pain like that of losing your spouse to infidelity. Whatever you decide to do, do it for you.” The years that followed were continually filled with the caring and feeding of my STBXW’s narcissistic needs but as of six weeks ago, I finally heeded those directions and put that work towards myself.

    Thanks angel.

  • As of lately I’ve been calling her Dick Breath. Disease Infested Shit Mouth. Jackie Cock Breath.
    I want him to look at her and think of these names that all have to do with all the cock and balls and shit that have infested her mouth. Maybe it will make it a “little” bit harder to do her job with his mind hearing “Dick Breath, etc. hahaha

  • Oh, and one of my favorite names: “Millions Dollar Hole”. that scanky hold has cost us both hundred of thousands of dollars. Might take a little fun out of fucking that skanky “Million Dollar Hole.” hahaha

  • My buddy dave who opened his man cave garage for me every night. Sherie who talked me down dozens of times, andy who always asked the questions that made me think and helped me escape, but most of all my sister…on the phone, every day, even in court. Talk about a great support system. Wow.

  • From the moment I revealed his bullshit to my friends, I have received nothing but love and support, they all have been extremely supportive of me and have been my listeners, my crying partners, my help, my advisers…they all see him now for what he is- a selfish bastard!!! When I first revealed, they all responded with, “No! Not him!!!” then when I showed them what I had, they were like, “That motherfucker!!!” and have been team ME ever since!!!!

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