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What Did You Do That You’ve Never Done Before?

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lawnmowToday, I’d like to give a big shout out to anyone who learned to start a lawn mower after their divorce. God, lawn mowers are intimidating. I remember I bought a rusty red one off my back neighbor after my first divorce. The guy was a weirdo who hoarded lawn mowers. He had them until styrofoam coolers, stored by the dozen stuffed under his deck in various degrees of disintegration. But hey, I was a single mom on a limited budget, so he sold me one that ran pretty well for $50.

I hated pulling that cord, trying to get the blasted thing to start. And who the hell knows how to maintain lawn mowers? Oil? Sharpening the blades? Even if you’re committed to their care, you have to fold them like an Origami Project from Hell to get one to fit in the back of a car.

And then there is the Lawn Mowing Walk of Shame. Nothing says “Hi, I live alone” like mowing your own yard.

Maybe for you it wasn’t lawn mowing, it was braiding a daughter’s hair, or shopping for training bras. Or some other gender-prescribed chore o’ doom. Taking out the trash, cooking, cleaning gutters…

Or maybe you were just used to doing absolutely everything and you realized, hey, I don’t miss this person. I was already single and just never knew it.

But today, tell me your small acts of mighty domesticity!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I am one of those chumps who had to learn how to DRIVE a lawnmower! I was living a pretty wonderful life (I thought) using my push mower in our little yard in the city when my now XH decided to start screwing other women. I found out, divorced him, and moved to my home state to help care for my elderly mother. The move was to a friend’s rural property. Country life is full of surprises (one of them is a lovely man in the next county with whom I’m now spending my free time) but life SHOULD be full of surprises. I’m up for whatever the future may bring. Thanks for the props, ChumpLady!

      • LOL… so much better than my XH’s intensive assaults on my nether regions… This day is off to a good start.

          • I bought MORE and varied kinds of toys….I had quite a few already lol. That was one of my ah ha moments…my EXH always went on about how we weren’t compatible because of my low sex drive. After the last DDay I got to thinking about all the lies and shit and one of the things that dawned on me was that all of my toys got a hell of a work out thru the years for me having such a low sex drive..sorry bastard… And now I am exploring my kinky side and loving every minute of it at 57yo!!!!

              • Im 57 and I thought there was something wrong with me. After DDay we shared the house and on the weekend I would come home and he would go to his OW bitch house. One day I was putting something in the recycle bin and I saw a tinfoil pill like thing and I picked it out thinking maybe he was on new meds he already takes 6 pills a day for his health problem. I looked an it said Viagra well I laughed and Hi fived myself I KNEW it wasnt me!!!!!!!!! He is with a new woman and he cant get it up and he blamed me for being dried up bahahaha I almost put a little bow on it and put it on his desk with a note saying jokes on you BITCH lol

          • At Strad,
            My cheater ordered me several ‘toys’ (all his idea), as he believed that I wouldn’t have any ‘fun’ with him after first D-Day (I was too shell-shocked) and he didn’t want me to ‘go without’ any thrills. Awww–how thoughtful of him. I hope that he took his paraphenelia with him when he moved out.

    • Oh the rechargeable ones are the best. You can actually get vibrators that are rechargeable themselves, no batteries needed. They have little charge ports. Lelo makes the BEST in the market. No joke. Lelo vibes are rechargeable, medical-grade silicone, fully waterproof (most vibes that claim to be waterproof are mostly just “splash” proof, but can’t be submerged. Lelos can be.) and they come with a one-year warrantee, with the option of a ten year (but you really don’t need the ten year. These things are SOLID.) They are super quiet and don’t have a bunch of complicated buttons. They’ll run you up into the triple-digits with cost, they are pretty pricey, but like I said, they are the best in the market.

  • I learned to download music from the Internet. A small thing, but it mattered to me at the time (early 2009). One of my roles in my first marriage was Head Dork and Dullard & Defender of Un-hip Ideas and Outmoded Technologies. And while I admit I like old stuff, this role was imposed on me to a degree that in retrospect included more than a little gas-lighting. I mean, who could be faithful to such an embarrassing drip when the world is brimming with cool people like my ex-wife worked with? Plus, I’d heard that crap for so many years that I was starting to believe it. Even I found myself a bit embarrassing.

    So it felt good to download scores of songs about finding your inner bad-ass, kicking cheaters to the curb, and forging a new and improved life, then blasting them from the car stereo going down the highway at 70 miles an hour with the windows down.

    It’s amazing how a horrible and enduring spell can be broken by such a tiny act faith.

    • Nomar, my stbx loves new gadgets and technology while I prefer the unhip and outdated.
      We are not divorced yet, and I don’t care if I have to do his chores; I can handle that. The one little thing that I did that I had never done before was to change a doorknob. The doorknob was broken and needed to be replaced. When my stbx saw that I had changed it, he got this weird annoyed look on his face.

      • Congratulations. Yes, Cheaters hate to be shown that they aren’t as indispensable as they think they are.

        Sounds like you got rid of more than one “broken doorknob!” LOL

        • Thanks, Nomar for pointing that out. I was sitting here, remembering when the kids proudly told their father about a project we had tackled with some help from a few family members post-divorce. It was something he had always claimed he was going to do and then never did. It really upset him that we had done that. I think you’re right, it made him angry because it was an illustration that I/we didn’t need him.

        • Yes, my ex: totally dispensable. Disposable. Done. And, oh, did he howl! “You don’t neeeeeed me!” he cried, indignantly! (Nope. I don’t.) “You’ll DANCE ON MY GRAVE!!” What a poor sausage.
          Well, now he has a very needy sidekick, and I’m sure all is well.

          I, too, downloaded “throw the cheater out, it must suck to be you, but it’s great to be me” music which I blasted at 70 mph down the highway. Yeeeeeeeehaaaaw!

        • During bogus reconciliation, a headlight burned out in my minivan. I went to auto supply store, found the right bulb and replaced the light myself. It was more complicated than I expected, and a filthy job, but I was proud of myself for doing it. I posted about it on Facebook, and got tons of likes and comments. I guess this bugged ex, because he posted, “Now aren’t you glad I didn’t take that experience away from you?”

          I was floored, because first of all, it was such an incredibly patronizing thing to write, and secondly, I had never asked him to do it and he had never offered.

          • GIO, I did the headlight thing too!

            The only thing I can think of that I have to do myself now that I wasn’t doing before is hauling the 40 lb. bags of water softener salt from the store to the car to the basement and heaving them into the water softener. I hate it but I get it done. After separation I bought some bags of salt and left them in the garage for my cheater to carry down for me when he came home. After waiting 3 fucking months of him walking past the bags and “not seeing” them, I did it myself and have been doing it myself ever since.

            After the reading the comments above, I think I might just have to get myself a B.O.B. (battery operated boyfriend) from Lelo as a reward. 😀

        • Nomar, you are so right! My ex used to say, “You’ll never find another man who will rescue you like I did every time your vehicle breaks down.”
          Yeah, but I don’t need anyone to rescue me because I don’t have anyone sabotaging it, asshole.
          When I fixed it myself he didn’t say anything but I could tell he was pissed. A week later I come out to go to work in the morning and he is crawling out from under my truck. I asked him what he was doing under there and he said he thought he saw something hanging down. I left for work and when I went to leave my first job I had no brakes or steering. God must have been watching out for me because had it broken while I was driving it could have been really bad.
          That will teach me for fixing my own truck. I bet he was so disappointed when he found out I had crashed and died.

    • A lot of real cook kids love old vinyl records (although I don’t know anyone pining for the 8-track tape…._

  • I have unstopped toilets, painted walls, mulched my garden beds, learned to clean my pool, hired a yard crew, but really, when it comes down to it, I was doing it all along, he threw me a bone once in while and did something, those were the times he could yell at me and tell me how he worked his a– for me and the kids. I was the one that took care of the house, kids, school activities, I have felt like a single mom throughout my 20 year marriage, so yeah, I was mighty and just didn’t know it yet.

    • Same here. My X never so much as changed a light bulb, so I was the cook, maid, maintenance lady, finance director, plumber, driving instructor and all around cruise coordinator. He did drive the kids to school in the morning when they were young ’cause LOTS of kibbles there! “Wow, what a great husband you have, so involved with your kids.” LIke you, CTTM, it was not much of a stretch to be a single mom, because I had been one for years.

      I am very proud of: throwing a backyard bat mitzvah for my daughter on a shoestring budget that her friends still talk about, helping my kids move in and out of dorms (anyone who has ever but together an Ikea futon knows what a engineering feat that is), removing what seemed to be acres of popcorn ceiling from my home with assistance from my children-a nasty job, and travelling by myself to see some of my favorite musicians perform in some of my favorite cities. Travelling alone was my last frontier and I love it! I have met so many nice and interesting people and it has somewhat restored my faith in humanity.

  • I’ve learned how to mow the lawn, use caulk, install and uninstall air conditioning units, and oversee a move – all stuff that XH used to handle.

    I had to watch two YouTube videos on lawn mowing, one on how to start the mower and another on how to attach/remove the grass catcher. The first time I mowed the lawn, I was singing, “I am Woman, Hear me Roar!” 🙂

  • One of the things I came to realize, is that she didn’t really contribute much of anything. Cheaters take. they don’t give. I fixed her car. I fixed her computer. I fixed about everything in her life, and it saved us a lot of money. She hardly appreciated any of it. I cooked. This can go on.

    If anything, she’s missing the comfort of all those fantastic plates of food that I made and served her. Shes missing those massages she liked so much. Shes missing having all her things magically fixed and repaired. Good luck, finding someone who can make sushi, those shrimps you like, work on their doctorate, and rebuild an engine. I’m sure all that student debt you piled up and hid from me is really attractive to those guys.

    I’ll be here, debt free, eating a lovely meal, with a person who enjoys what I bring to the table.

    • I’m with Chumpster. XW contributed very little. Although the full panel STD test was a new one for me. Thanks for that.

    • Yeah, same with me. X did next to nothing at all to contribute around the house or with the kids. I was very much a single mom before I was a single mom.

      A friend of his basically told me it was a shock to the system for X when he left. Suddenly, he had to DO things! Things that weren’t fun! And Schmoopie apparently wasn’t much help.

      • Yes, Kira! I’ve said SO many times that I’ve been alone for the last 7 years of what I now know was a sham marriage. I believe I lived in-and-out of 23 years with this asshole essentially as a single mom and single person, with him rarely if ever having my back. Fucker. The vows, the rings, and the whole family image was just what I held in regard, or in my head. I knew deep down that the only reson I even asked the cheater to do any jobs around the house all those years was just so that he’d be engaged in the family stuff, and also to make him feel good or accomplished (kibbles). I could have done ANY of those jobs. Asshole abandonded almost immediately after I busted him, but I didn’t file for 8 mos. Two week after I filed, I changed all the deadbolts and locks. He asked who did that when he finally managed to come to the house to get some of his shit and couldn’t use any keys. I told him I did it, and there was a long pause and a genuine look of confusion, as if it couldn’t be possible for me to have done it. Got the same look after I hand-sanded and refinished the kitchen cabinets in two months, and installed handles. Douche-bag had 12 years in this house to do something. Instead I got about 8 unfinished projects. Dumbass. At least I’ll know I did it all and “rebuilt my house.” But again, it is just like I always did with everything having to do with the kids, being the family CPA, manging his stupid-ass failed “business” ideas, and the list goes on, and on. We’re all SO much more mighty than we gave ourselves credit for. I’ll NEVER doubt myself again. (((hugs))) to all of you Chumps! Thanks, Tracy, for helping us remember all the ways we each kick ass. xox

        • Contempt hearing tomorrow because I refused to continue to be the CPA of the family business I started… I’m not as anxiety stricken as I was after reading your blogs 🙂 Love this site! I feel strong enough to go through it now 😉 THANK YOU ALL AND TRACY!!!

          I too have been doing it by myself 🙂 This year I even found the energy to put in my large vegetable garden and can it 🙂 Have been canning since I was a child, raised my kids on the good food and…didn’t do it last year due to the crazy making of this nasty divorce. 🙂 This year I got it together and did it!

          Also bought myself a riding lawnmower 😉 the one he left here (he took the rider) was impossible to operate…I found the rider used and just as cheap as trying to fix the nasty one 🙂 Now I love to mow!

          i WAS a chump for 36 years NO MORE 🙂

    • OMG! Chumpster, you hit the nail on the head for me. Cheaters take! I did everything here, even managed our finances. Although I didn’t necessarily fix things, I organised everything to be repaired and serviced without him even knowing that these things were done. He was only interested in doing his own thing and didn’t mind paying for anything. Different story now that we no longer live together: why do I need so much money on a monthly basis, he questions? Duh! Because it takes money to run a household. Like you, I bet Mr Cheaterpants misses my cooking and baking now! And I bet all his bills don’t get paid on time since I’m sure he has now put that in his mother’s hands because he is not capable of doing it and neither is she!

      Trying to let go of this crap and breathe and believe that life will get better once the divorce is final.

      • This seems to be in the cheater handbook: “do nothing except give orders, criticize and get angry when things are not done how you would have done them if you did anything”…yes, me too, I was a single mom and never realized it until now. Now I do the same things I used to do but better because I don´t have the nagging and the constant criticism.

        Cheater didn´t even do the “male” things like change a tire (he was scared that they would blow up) or kill a cockroach (he was also scared of bugs). So I don´t miss anything. I even got him a place to stay when I kicked him out, I packed his stuff and I drafted the divorce agreement. He now looks twenty years older and ugly, while I have had a makeover (divorce diet + stress removal works wonders)

        • Those cockroaches may have been related to him; there were evolutionary constraints on him for that reluctance.

          And, yes–a shout out for the infidelity diet! Down to my college weight, wearing skinny jeans at 50.

          • I’m glad it worked for you. I’ve always been pretty thin, the infidelity diet aged me 10 years, I look like hell – I lost over 20 lbs in less than a month and I didn’t have it to loose. Now I look 60s instead of 50s. It really fucked me up, almost overnight I went from some crows feet to major wrinkles, it sucks.

            • Me, too, Dat — The weight loss was OK (have gained it back, mostly) but the aging? yeah, it reminds me of those photos you see of Presidents, before & after their term(s) in office: MUCH more than what they should have aged. Oh well, no one who meets me now — my new friends — didn’t know what I looked like before, anyway.

        • Chumpita – you wrote my story. Just after cheater pants left there was a story on NPR about single mothers and my daughter says to me, “Mom, you’ve always been a single mother”. Life got easier after cheater pants left and I had some time to look after myself. I did absolutely everything. One of his complaints – I was too independent and “didn’t need him”. Yeah, I didn’t need XH to fix the lawn mower because I could and he couldn’t, but I did need XH to be a good husband and father. Looser.

          • I heard that too – I was too independent and ‘didn’t need him’. Yes, I became that way because I had to get things done because he surely wouldn’t. He resented me fixing things in the house – but I only did that since he refused or didn’t have the patience to figure it out. Once I left a clogged sink for him to fix – he tinkered with it for a while and then proclaimed that it couldn’t be unclogged – not possible. In order to preserve his manhood and not embarrass him in front of the kids, I left the gross water in there for two weeks thinking surely he could figure something out. Finally, I went to Home Depot, bought a $2 Zip-It wand, and the clog was out in 2 seconds. He noticed and then was angry. Angry because I solved something he couldn’t. Found out later he lived the fantasy of a white knight – “saving” women on various continents – all of them with problems. But he never really solved their problems, but instead gave money to them (in reality it was money for sex but he envisioned himself as a hero). That money should have gone into our kids’ college funds.

    • Chumpster – I agree with Doop, you are a dream come true!

      Here’s the flip side for my situation….my cheater did routine work around the house, I give him credit for that.

      He mowed the lawn, worked on the cars, and took care of most issues that came up that he knew how to do himself. But, I was right there working beside him all the time. If he was mowing the grass, I was cleaning out the flower beds and natural areas. Spreading mulch – I was shoveling it into the wheel barrow or spreading it afterwards. Working on a car, electrical, or plumbing issue – I was there, handing him tools or whatever. Were the other neighbor’s wives doing this stuff with their husbands? Absolutely not. And we both used to comment about how well we worked as a team. Cooking and cleaning? We were a team there too although he preferred me to do the cooking. If I cooked, he did the dishes and vice versa. We both did laundry and neither one complained.

      Did he help me with the bills, finances, and taxes? Nope. I was on my own no matter how many times I asked him to be involved. Did he help with issues that came up at school for our daughter? Not really. He would show up if there was a meeting scheduled but that was about it. Did he discipline our daughter when she need to be? Only when I made him be involved and then he tried not to say anything so I would be the one doling out the consequences (in other words, the bad guy). Did he help plan vacations, trips, and social outings? Nope. It was all left up to me to handle and just let him know where to be. The only scheduling he did was with his many women…..

      Like you, I wish him luck finding a woman who want to help him with the manual chores, take care of the financial, social, and parental responsibilities, take care of his ‘needs’, and let him have his side flings too.

      • But, I was right there working beside him all the time. If he was mowing the grass, I was cleaning out the flower beds and natural areas. Spreading mulch – I was shoveling it into the wheel barrow or spreading it afterwards. Working on a car, electrical, or plumbing issue – I was there, handing him tools or whatever.

        Yeah, this is pretty great. She usually sat inside, waiting for me to magically fix something. This help you were doing – pretty awesome.

        • Chumpster… I hope your dance card is full…With those mad skillz you will find a great woman who has equally mad skillz too.

      • This. This was my life, except I also used my money to run the house. He used his for top-of-the-line tools, an elaborate HO train setup, and his many failed business ventures. He was highly upset when the DV judge ruled that those were marital assets and he could not take them when he was forced to move out.

        This WAS my life. Now I am still doing those chores, still using my money to run the house, and becoming knowledgeable about how much to charge when selling seldom-used top-of-the-line tools and HO train components.

    • Yep, he did so little there wasn’t much difference. He rarely even cut the grass – I remember mowing when I was 8+ months pregnant, and the neighbor’s husband even told his wife that my exH must be a real dick to let that happen. My kids were 2 and 5 when exH left, and the 5 year old took over his one chore – taking out the garbage – and didn’t even wait until garbage was overflowing…lol. I even had my own set of tools (pink) that he ruined by always putting them away dirty. I now have a nice box of clean, well kept tools, and an organized garage. Oh, and I’d highly recommend Worx chargeable mowers for anyone intimidated by the idea of cutting the grass. It helps if you have a little yard, but there’s no oil or gas or spark plugs. And they’re so cute!

        • Ooh, I’m about to buy a push-reel mower. Environmentally friendly and I get to live out those Laura-Ingalls-Wilder dreams (okay, she probably had a scythe. And I’ll keep the indoor plumbing, thanks).

        • I don’t think I could do a push reel here. Before I got a riding lawnmower, it took 3 hours to mow the thing with a walk-behind rotary mower.

          That reminds me; I need a new battery for the riding lawnmower soon.

      • Your ex having you mow the long at 8+ months pregnant really pisses me off just like your neighbor…I would call your ex an asshole, but that would be an insult to assholes!

      • I have a push mower! 🙂 Is that a chump thing? I love that I can cut the lawn on a summer evening when it’s not as hot out, and I’m not disturbing my neighbors. The work out is pretty good, too!

    • Same here– single mom long before I was a single mom. Ex managed the money. That was his biggest contribution (and a lot of that stemmed from control– he would interrogate me about my purchases, and I would throw his massive expenditures back in his face). Otherwise… uh, he skimmed the pool and mowed the lawn, both of which are seasonal in my neck of the woods, so he got a good nine months off from one task and six from the other. He didn’t help with kids, cleaning, laundry, errands, buying birthday gifts (for HIS family), anything related to the kids’ schooling… the list of what he didn’t do is far longer than the list of what he did. Why did I marry him again? 😀

  • I used to call my marriage, single mom with direct deposit. I did everything and got his paycheck twice a month to pay the bills. Like CL says, I was already alone. I don’t need a yard man or a pool man, I am the woman!

  • In all seriousness….big shout-out to You-Tube. I have learned to be my own plumber, carpenter and handyman. Lowes and Home Depot also have free ‘ How To ‘ classes. I dod want to send out huge cosmic hugs to the young plumbers assistant who helped me at Lowes one afternoon. I had a plumbing issue and was trying to follow the directions off You- Tube… For some fitting… I stood staring at the wall of connectors, elbow thingys and male/ female adapters for about 30 mins… A young man approached me and asked if needed help.. Said his was a plumbers assistant… He helped me find the right connectors and even gave me a little tutorial on site. I thanked him with tears in my eyes… Told him he had no idea how much he helped me… He said ‘ I had to pay it forward. I cant tell you how many times I have stood in the femine hygiene isle for my wife with the same look on your face. There was always some woman there who could read what my wife wrote down and pull it off the self in seconds flat. Just different plumbing problem.’
    Karma , yes?

      • I read this and thought, dang…he’s married!

        My cheater pants did NOTHING around the house. My dad who has two knee and a hip replacement helped me with the heavy duty yard work such as mulch and did my mowing. (He’s the greatest!)

        Since I booted him (with a court order, long story) I have fixed the garbage disposal and dryer with some help from Youtube.

        I have replaced my laundry room floor (with help from my wonderful boyfriend), painted the laundry room, removed wallpaper and repainted MY bathroom.

        I have taken my 2 teenage sons camping, kayaking and white water rafting. We have had some great times.

        The mightiest thing I have done was buying a new car, what I wanted, ALL BY MYSELF. I traded they “family” SUV for a bright red Jeep Wrangler. I live in a small town and that Jeep is now legendary.

        No matter what cheater pants say, WE ARE MIGHTY! and they just plain suck.

  • On my Dad’s side of the family “work” did not have a gender assignment so I grew up seeing adults both male and female doing all kinds of things. Both sexes did farm work as well as house work. He told me when his grandfather had to leave the farm his grandmother worked the fields and took care of the home and if she had to leave his grandfather did both as well. My Dad could do auto repairs as well as cook and sew. In school I used to get two grades on sewing projects. Dad got an A and I got a C for showing up and trying. (Dad would always re-do my stuff the night before it was due.) My Mom had two sisters who were the primary breadwinners while husbands worked part time and took care of the kids. These were Depression era folks so I guess they were ahead of their time.

    Hope our NE Chumps are safe and warm this morning. I’ve been praying for you.

  • I used to fear cooking with gas on the backyard grill…but then I started missing all the great food that just tastes better grilled. So I got over myself, bought & hooked up the propane tank, fired up the grill and became a grillmaster. That was a big summer for me.

    • Me too Doop! That is the one big thing for me. I was doing most everything else. My mom came and stayed with me for a month and took over my chores- cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I had so much more energy! No wonder my husband had so much energy for his canoodling. I haven’t mowed the lawn. My husband hired that out because it was beneath him of course. I have two teen boys. I think I’ll be teaching them soon. 🙂

  • I was a daddy’s girl growing up – I followed him around and helped him do what ever needed to be done including mowing the lawn (push and riding mowers), working on car and tractor engines (we had a farm but lived in town), plowing, feeding cows, hauling hay, painting, and fixing most anything and everything. So I had decent skills already but of course let my cheater handle most of that stuff after we were married. I haven’t done a lot these things on my own in 25 years but I’m tackling it as it comes up – spackling (walls, not our relationship!), painting, electrical (replaced 2 light switches that went bad), gutter cleaning (I hate heights!), mowing, trimming, edging, blowing, restringing the trimmer (yuck!) and cut down a 12 foot hedge bush on my own. I’m sure there’s more that I’m not thinking of too. Now I need to figure out how to tune up my mower and blower for the spring. It can be hard to do this stuff on your own and I curse him the whole time but I do feel a sense of pride when I’m done. Not to mention that it feels good to not need him!

      • I agree Doop, one of my biggest meltdowns was when the string holder thing flew off and cut all the string into pieces and I didn’t know how to get it back on… I had to walk down the street to a neighbour and ask…

        My biggest triumph was changing the washer on a tap and installing a shelf unit.

        Worst job is picking up the dog poop in the garden

        Best thing is being able to just do it and not wait for someone who promised they would do it and never gets off the couch.

        • I’m actually okay with picking up dog poop. Also, I can’t leave any poop in the yard because one of my dogs is a rehomed farm dog. She was in a kennel and a run, and the kennel was likely a dirty one. She’s a neat little doggie, so yes, you can guess what she does to the poop laying around in HER yard.

          STBX just lets the dogs out and in. He has never realized that the bad breath he complains about is because one of the dogs has pooped and the farm girl has picked it up, as it were. 😛

          Also, he never cleans up the poop.

      • I hate restringing the trimmer….and I always end up doing it several times while I’m using it cause the string gets tangled. My neighbor laughs at me each time he sees me cause he knows how much I hate it.

          • Just last week, my STBX cheater H asked to borrow the trimmer and then asked me to restring it -because he HATES doing it!

            I just looked at him, paused blankly for a few seconds and then patronisingly said “Oh, well.”

            His reply?

            “Fair enough.”

            He’s only just now starting to ‘get it’.

    • Amen to restringing the trimmer sucking. Blech. And don’t edge/trim in sandals. Learned the hard way 🙁

      • and don’t use your hand to clean off grass clippings, etc. from the mower. I’ve burned my hand twice on some really hot part even though the mower wasn’t running.

        • Ditto ByeBye – never hose off an electric mower after you’re done. Looks like it’ll blow the motor every time. Gotta cool it down first.

      • LOL– yeah, no weed eater in shorts. Everybody does something like that once, and then it’s at least 10 years before you forget again.

  • I did most of the work anyhow so when she left so did headaches, sleepless nights, blown budgets, a cart load of users in law, moronic arguments, now obvious overtures by every man in 10 mile radius, obsessive hoarding, a voice blasting all day long “i hate my life im gonna kill myself”. Thank god im away from her.

      • What is it about these people that causes sleepless nights and panic attacks… I thought it was just something in my biology. Waking up at night with anxiety and awfullizing running a mile a minute in my chattering brain. I wasn’t ruminating about him and his shit per say… but this awful senses of dread and doom about everything else. My sleep patterns started to change the minute that simmering lazy ass volcano left the house. I sleep very well now. When people go to the doc to ask for help with sleeping, the first thing they should ask is: Are you sleeping with a dickhead.

  • Well I did everything IN the house, The ONLY thing that EX was responsible for was maintaining the Yard and I have to admit, he did a great job. So, when he left – this seriously was one of the things that scared me, mostly how the heck was I going to start that lawnmower and worst yet – that Weed Wacker? But you know what – I did not give up, I pulled and pulled that damn string – until I got it going. The relief I felt – every single time – it truly was so empowering! Yeah I can do this !!!!!

    The other big thing for me, was drive 5 hours across states to visit family by myself. Anytime we went, he would drive, not that I couldn’t, just there was no need to. When I did this – It truly was a turning point for me, it feels so dumb -now, I mean I’m a 40 something woman and I was scared to drive by myself for 5 hours?

    These were the ONLY two things that EX always did – and I accomplished them on my own!!
    Go mighty me!!
    Thank you CL

  • Well, I have an electric mower (love it). I had a family friend show me how to put it together (it collapses for easy storage). I don’t have much grass to mow (it takes me longer to shave my legs!) but I feel pretty fabulous after I get it done!!!! I feel my biggest accomplishment was finding my own home, researching mortgage rates, completing the paperwork, getting approved by myself, making the offer on my house, negotiating the deal and going to settlement alone!!!!!!!!!! God that felt so damn good!!!! I own something pretty damn nice and I did it all by myself. I LOVE IT!!! 😉

    P.S. Chumpster……..you rock!

  • The lawnmower walk of shame… I always picture him and his lousy family seeing me mow and laughing.

    I have bought an electric mulching mower as I couldn’t start the pull start no matter how I tried. Mulching mower is fab. No grass clippings to deal with. Bought a snow thrower too but it doesn’t really help with blizzards like we’re having now. I have to hire help for that. Which is hard because they tend not to show up. I’d rather do it myself if I can.

    Bought a new fridge and put together a new cage for the two guinea pigs I rescued. Set up a digital cable box and elderly friendly remote for my Dad.

    My goal is to not have to depend on anyone as I’ve been disappointed so far.

  • Unclogged toilets, garbage disposals and more – but the defining moment was when I changed the windshield wipers on my car. For some reason, it was a watershed moment! 🙂

      • Try baking soda and then follow up with vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar). It’s like that old volcano experiment and the hair clog bubbles right up! Then use one of those wires that grabs it and pull it right on out. It’s actually fun and my daughter and I had a great laugh over cleaning the drain! Follow up with really hot water (we used a tea kettle). Who knew and saved a plumber’s visit!

        • Here is a trick for avoiding plumbers… in the shower take one of those nylon net scrubby deal that they sell for bathing… They look all bunched up. Find the end and and cut off about a foot. Then unscrew the shower drain cover, slip this under the shower drain with the long ends in the shower, then screw it down again. Every hair you have ever shed will get caught in it. When it gets gross, just unscrew, throw it in the trash and get another piece from that scrubby thing. I was having plumbers come to snake out the drains twice a year…not any more baby… not any more. It is also good for keeping lint from the washer from clogging up the trains too.

          • I’m definitely trying the scrubby net trick. Today’s responses have me so inspired, I’m going to attempt to replace my basement sump pump, too!

  • It’s not much – but I took my car to the dealer for maintenance. Twice since DDay. I hate car repairs SO MUCH. I understand nothing about how cars work or if the mechanics are fair/honest.

    Oh I did find and rent a house – and arrange all the utilities and move in.

  • My son and I ripped out the floors in parts of 3 rooms finding a series of plumbing leaks. Then I repaired the primary leak, which was a t-valve supplying the washing machine, and we replaced the flooring in those three rooms. The best part? Getting on with it, spending less than 200.00, and not having to hear how inappropriate it is for a woman to use a tool. Because the real tool was gone.

    Incidentally, this leak started way at the other end of the house, under STBX’s side of the vanity, and he ignored it for months, I ended up replacing the bathroom floor too.

    I had always done the majority of the yard work. Giant Baby Man couldn’t be bothered. No change there.

    We furnished and painted the two empty rooms after Ex and SD moved out on a shoestring, and son decorated his room with Muhammad Ali, Hunter S Thompson and Art Deco posters, as well as original photography from a very talented friend. It looks great.

    The other room is s sort of multipurpose room. It has huge modular desks for work or crafts or homework, a futon and a TV. It’s so versatile and fun!

    • Luz, similar leak issue for me too. Before I ‘knew’ about cheater, our washing machine had leaked. It’s on the second floor of the house and fortunately, over the garage. He and I pulled the washer out and cleaned up the water from the leak. Everything else looked ok. Fast forward about 6 months later which was after I kicked him out. I looked up at the garage ceiling and noticed a patch of drywall all messed up. My daughter walked by and said ‘oh, that happened when the washing machine leaked. Dad knew about it.’ Of course he did and he didn’t do anything to fix it. So I climbed up the ladder, scraped off the messed up drywall, patched it, let it dry, then painted it. Can’t even tell there was an issue now!

  • A little different, but my then five year old son got hit in the boy parts at T-ball with a pretty serious line drive. Totally had no idea how to handle, and was raised in a family where “this type of thing” was not discussed except in hushed tones with medical professionals. So my kid is in a heap in the backseat of the car crying, and I took a deep breath and called a divorced daycare dad that I’ve known since high school. Apologized profusely, and explained the situation – what do you do for a little boy who was clocked in the parts? (doctor’s office was closed, and had left a message..ice? heating pad? you can’t bandage anything…). He groaned in sympathy and gave me the (I can only assume) proper advice; son calmed down quickly, and I was able to breathe again. But son never did go back to T-ball…lol. And I remember thinking, “I can do this single mom thing…” – with a lotta help from my friends. 🙂

      • He told me to make sure nothing looked twisted or swollen. Then to have him sit in a cool (not cold) bath for a bit, then watch superhero movies and sit on the couch for awhile. Check a couple more times for swelling, and let him rest a cool (not cold) water bottle in that region. He told me ice was too painful (that was always true for my kids for other injuries…). Seemed to work – whether it was medically sound or not. Oh, and invest in a better cup. Better yet, have him change his sports to track and swimming. 🙂

        • LOL RedefiningMe!!”Better yet, have him change his sports to track and swimming.” Good one.

          Honestly I do not know how moms whose kids want to play football or hockey are able to watch. My eldest liked swimming (ironic huh?) and my youngest liked basket ball and golf. Basketball has some contact but nothing close to football and every time some kid would elbow him I’d want to run out to the court and elbow that kid back!

          If either of them liked football I would’ve had to watch with one hand over my eyes!

          • Up here it’s hockey – they move so fast and get slammed so hard! I was SO glad neither of my kids was interested. Never mind the endless practices and games to drive them to – there’s no such thing as ‘recreational’ hockey, every team practices like all those 7 year olds are going to the NHL. And the expensive equipment!)

            Yay for swimming and soccer!

  • What did I do that I never done before?

    Take time for myself. He had me circling him like I was a moon. Ever in orbit, always accommodating.

    I am free of the gravitational pull.

    Amen, amen, amen. God is good.

  • I bought a power drill and changed all the door locks by myself. The thought of plumbing, electrical and auto issues leaves me with cold sweats, but I guess I’ll figure it out when I get there. Shoveling snow and mowing the grass are going to suck. Since these tend to be social events in my neighborhood, there are going to be lots of uncomfortable questions about why my cheater is no longer there to do those things. I think a good many people are in for some big shocks…

  • The only thing my stbx ever did was change lightbulbs and air filters! I did the rest, or paid someone to do it. So, now I’m a pro at changing both. And to think, he said he found MOW because I didn’t thank him for emptying the dishwasher the two times he did it!

  • When I found out about the long term affair I was absolutely devastated and nearly non-functional. I thought that I loved and needed my wife , but after a while realized I had been essentially been living alone for a few years with a fake shadow of a charming narcissistic spouse. I remember when the realization hit that I had been doing the bulk of the parenting, lawn mowing, laundry, etc. I was already independent.

    Dumping the pretense that I had a partner in the first place was freeing. It was like having a large tumor removed. The surgery hurt, but now I get to live longer.

  • I did everything anyways. He never lifted a finger to take care of the house. He failed to mention before we married that his parents cleaned his house and took care of the lawn. I was shocked to come home from my honeymoon to find that my in-laws had let themselves in to clean. To maintain some dignity and privacy, I just did everything.

    But I did learn how to mow the lawn after he left. Change water filters to the house. Make spaghetti.

  • Decorated MY yard (of my beautiful little house that I bought and maintain by myself) for both Halloween and Christmas. Hung Christmas lights and everything!!

  • I was one of those single, married moms… Though we did some things together as a team (Ikea assembly, fixing things), it was a real eye opener to me that I really didn’t miss him for practical reasons. Sick child, yard work, repairs, garbage? I’m your (wo)man!

    After the divorce I even picked up tasks we were planning to outsource, like tiling a corner in the attic and installing a sink there… All by myself! These kind of things became much needed distractions the first restless weekends the children were at his place.

    The only thing he religiously took care of: the finances. And boy, did I find out the hard way why…

    • Oh one thing… I’m afraid of heights and need to install a light fixture above a stairwell. Tried and failed several times and will have to ask for help.

      Wondered, are there more chumps out here who have serious problems asking for help? I wonder if it’s more a matter of not wanting to be in someone’s debt, or of wanting to be self sufficient. Maybe both. But having no light in the hallway sucks!

      • It’s okay to ask for help. And yeah, I think it’s a chump thing. We Can’t Have Needs. We ALL need help sometimes. Go ahead and ask, or do a favor swap with a handy friend, or hire it out. Something.

      • Dutch-chump, it’s a mixed bag for me. I don’t want to bother someone else and I want to be self sufficient. Being in someone’s debt isn’t an issue because I would never let it be….I would help them with whatever they need or bake/cook for them, most anything to feel that I had ‘repaid’ them and I would offer/do it right away so I wouldn’t feel indebted.

        • I know, that’s what I do too, repay favors immediately and preferably tenfold… So chumpy, but that’s how I roll!

      • I agree it’s part of our nature, I have no problem helping anyone out, but I have a problem asking for help myself. I’m getting better at it, now if I just had more friends to ask!

  • I am embarrassed to admit that I acquired something called “Learned Helplessness”. It started in high school. My mom is also a Narc (although not as bad as my X). Because I wasn’t performing to her expectations in school, she would often take over my homework. Unfortunately, the affliction continued after I got married (I married young, too). The XH would do pretty much everything physical around the house, insisting on doing it himself; and, doing anything *he* felt I was “inept” at (including properly placing dishes in the dishwasher). So for a good 40+ years, I had important people in my life convincing me I was rather incapable.

    Until I got rid of the jerkoff, I never really realized HOW dependent I was. Then I had to start doing stuff for myself – and my family – for REAL.

    Lawnmowers and mowing were never a problem for me (although I had to have a neighbor fix ours when the X left). But, discarding dead mice (especially one who drowned in a bucket in our basement) HAS been a problem.

    The very first project I did after the X left was removing the horribly moldy calk in the seams between the shower and bathtub. I watched a YouTube video about it and did what they said. I did a really good job of it and I was SO PROUD of myself!!

    Dealing with the sewerage that was my divorce process for almost a year sunk pretty much all of the stuff I wanted to do around here – and took my energy with it. But I am, slowly, climbing back up.

      • oh overthehill and Tracy, I completely forgot about this until the dead mice were mentioned! The houses on my side of the street back up to the woods so the deer are everywhere. I woke up one Saturday morning and there was a dead deer in my front yard! OMG – how do you get rid of that! Well, I did. I called Animal Control to report it and they gave me what I assume is the typical weekend response….someone will be out sometime on Monday to get it. Really? a rotting carcass in my front yard for 2 days in 90 degrees with the neighborhood kids running around? Fortunately a friend used a connection and it was gone by noon on Saturday. Thank goodness for our support networks!

  • I did most house/yard/kid stuff before he moved out, so changing the bulbs, building the furniture, mowing the lawn, etc were already mine (plus herding kids, preparing most meals and cleaning up after.) What I hadn’t done was taxes: the way he took weeks to calculate different options for capital gains cost bases, different options filing separately/together, etc., I really thought it was a terribly complicated process. Turns out – Yep, I have two degrees in math. I can slam the numbers through Turbo Tax and be completely done in a couple hours. The various optional things were to see if we could save $4 by using alternate methods. Dumb shit.

  • Sad to say, I fixed everything, organized everything, maintained everything…but I have a crappy back and when I need an extra pair of hands, or set of muscles, Ex would help (with a pouty face of course). Now that I’m alone, I have to plan things like it takes me 5 days to move the old shower doors down to the basement because I can’t do it all at once. So I don’t really feel mighty, just annoyed.

    And the snow! Ex did used to do the places the plow didn’t reach, and now it’s all on me. (In the middle of that blizzard now). That is on me, or I’m stuck in my Hobbit hole till April. Somehow clearing and scraping snow in dire pain does not feel mighty, or like a victory. Just like the bad leftovers.

    • Me too namedforvera. A small snow thrower helps and it’s much better than shoveling. Doesn’t help much in this much snow though.

      Any ladies here run a regular snow blower, like a two stage? I’m thinking of getting one but have no clue how to run or maintain one.

    • Lina– I’ve run a snowblower…It’s not hard, but they are pricey. Maybe I’ll get a little one for the walkway. I just finished digging out 1/2 (!) my car. Thanks to the wind it was packed in to the roofline.

      Still better than living with Monsieur le Jackass. Way better. I don’t care if it takes me 4 days to dig out…. on my knees.

      • Thank you. I’ve looked and they are pricey but I figured if I pay someone else to do it it will pay for itself in time. One jackass wanted $500.00 for ONE TIME if the snow was over six inches.

        The little ones are great for less than a foot of snow. I recommend the lithium battery type over the electric. No cord to deal with.

    • Shoveling snow was one of the things my ex used to do, and that first winter after dday had me shoveling and cursing at him and crying a lot. Since then, I got rid of the car, so now I don’t have to shovel it out of snowbanks all the time. I have been much happier this winter. 🙂

  • Okay, so I can’t resist this one. One time mine offered to ‘help’ with dinner – so I gave him the simple chore of making couscous. I pulled out the grain, the measuring cups, the stock and the pot. He stood there helpless with his hands in the air saying “what do I do?”. Now I don’t know if any of you have made couscous before…but it is quite possibly the single easiest dish to make maybe besides a peanut butter sandwich – there are even instructions on the package. Look I don’t want to be ungrateful but the whole purpose of him ‘helping’ was to lighten the burden on me and maybe, just maybe, contribute something to the meal for once. Anyway, this single event sticks out in my mind as encapsulating our relationship.

    So what did I learn to do after him? Nothing, I was already doing EVERYTHING in that relationship. Good riddance: go be a burden on someone else’s meal/life.

    • My ex didn’t cook a meal in sixteen years with me. When we had summer bbq’s of course, he would “operate” the grill but all the rest was left to me. He also had “delicate” skin so he “couldn’t” touch dishwater. It wasn’t until after he moved out and I was looking at the utility sink in the laundry room where he would clean his paintbrushes and shit from his contracting work with his bare hands, that I realized that he ran water over his hands every day. I guess kitchen water is different somehow.

      • Oh, also, in one of our post DDay discussions about our life together when he was saying he did “every fucking thing around here,” and I reminded him that I personally bought, paid for, prepared and cleaned up every meal he ate for sixteen years, he replied, “Yeah? well I bought pizza and chinese for dinner sometimes!” Sheesh, I said, so did I in addition to all the groceries.

  • My ex complained about me being fat and out of shape after 2 kids. (I was never fat, IMO. Humph.) He told our therapist that I “didn’t take care of myself” (funny how hard it is to work out when you’re trying to work with almost no childcare and your spouse refuses to ever watch the kids alone). So the day I filed for divorce, I also started training for a half marathon, which I ran last November! Last weekend I ran a 15k and joined the local track club, which means I can run a bunch of races all year for free. Yeah I’m so out of shape now!

  • Lawn mowing and yard work-did that.
    Housework and cooking, did that too.
    Raising children and working full-time, yep!

    Looking back I wonder want the hell he did all those years?

    One thing I have done is to start making my own decisions. Big step!

    But the most important thing I have done is to take care of my finances myself. I went straight from parent’s home to marriage. Stupidly I let him have control of all the fiances. He didn’t waste money on Howorker until the end, but he was a deplorable money manager. I may not have much left after this fiasco, but NEVER again will someone else be in control of my financial future, except for ME!!!

    Keep on keeping on, Chump Nation!!!

    • Same here! All the yard work, house cleaning, laundry, errands, child care…you name it, I did it as well as working 30+ hours a week with two kids (and then 40+ a week once youngest was in elementary school). We did pay someone to mow the grass because we had a huge yard and ex could not be bothered. He had important things to do like holing up in his office for hours on end running his various “consulting” businesses (that brought in minimal to negative income for most of the 5 years prior to our divorce). He did clean the gutters once a year (pouting and huffing the entire time about how he had to do it to save money because I spent too much on this or that). He also changed the water filters (we had a well) once a month and made the most enormous big deal out of it – showing me the filters and leaving them out in the driveway for days rather than tossing them in the garbage (“see…look at what I did…I’m so helpful…) Narcissists have to be stroked constantly for every little thing they do. It was tiresome and I typically chose to just quietly do things myself rather than have to make a huge production out of acknowledging his “efforts.”

      The only thing he did do was pay the bills and manage our finances. He kept an iron fist on our accounts all while convincing me it was so complicated and I could not possibly understand. He moved money around all the time and paid off one credit card with another…borrowing from our home equity line like it was a never ending ATM. He ended up filing bankruptcy for his “business” to get out from under the mess he created. I was such a chump about money – I just handed over my paycheck every two weeks for twenty years like a trained monkey.

      It has been so empowering to realize I can manage my finances and do so in a responsible manner! No debt. Living within a budget. Saving a little each month for emergencies. I feel financially free!!

  • I did the opposite of most people here – I STOPPED doing some stuff.

    I had lived alone for a few years pre-narc, so was already pretty good at re-wiring lamps and dealing w/accountants, drills and hammers, plumbers and mechanics (man, that’s intimidating!). While we were together, I did most of the child-care and household stuff, took care of finances, and kept us all organized and doing fun stuff. The ex did help some w/cleaning (but HE decided what he did, and I got all the rest by default), some of the yard work (tiny yard) and a bit of the cooking. Everything else was mine. Whenever I asked him to do anything else, he’d look so annoyed or pissed, or be so suddenly busy or exhausted, or said he’d do it and never get around to it; I’d just give in and do it myself.

    So after I kicked his cheating ass out, I stopped giving in! He wanted the kids and I to stay in the house (so he could come back later, he thought. HAH!), so I said it was too much for me to do alone. He offered to deal with the yard, wanted to look like the good guy, still looking after his family. So I agreed to that. And when he didn’t actually DO any of it, as usual, I reminded him. When he said or implied that he was too busy or tired or stressed, I reminded him that he had said he would take care of it, and I expected him to do so, whenever it was reasonable. And safety stuff, like shovelling a path to the back door, I insisted be done soon. And I DIDN’T DO IT!

    The yard looked like SHIT for much of the first two years, he did the absolute minimum, and even that only when I kept reminding him. (Turns out he was also wrecking his credit rating by being late paying bills, etc, out of sheer laziness.) Then the third summer, he really stepped it up (turns out Schmoopie had dumped him, surprise surprise, and he was yet again trying to come back), and made many declarations about what a good job he was doing despite not living here, implying that this made him a good person and good father. I thanked him for his contributions, and only made one snarky comment about what it meant that he hadn’t done much for the previous two years.

    I also refused to cut back on my twice-monthly three-hour cleaning woman, when the ex was feeling broke, refused to do things I would normally pay someone to do, like replacing light fixtures. Told him that if he could no longer afford what he had been paying, we could sell the house and I’d be happy to live somewhere smaller. He hated that, how would that make him look in his own mind and to his mother?

    HE left, HE treated the kids so poorly that I’m now a full-time single mom, HE wanted us to stay in that house. I am DONE bending over backwards to accommodate him.

    • I stopped doing stuff, too. I have a lot of tools, but STBX has scattered them. He also leaves tools outside. This from a neat freak? I’m not as fussy about neatness, but tools get put away and put away clean.

      STBX sees himself as a keen gardener and a whiz at repairing anything in the house. In actual fact, he’s neither, and one of the issues is that he doesn’t think about getting the job done right. He puts it off and puts it off, and then just slaps stuff together or on or whatever. And he thinks the job is wonderful!

      I hate having him paint. He ends up covered in paint and he never cleans the brushes. There are drips and spatters everywhere, but hey! He’s an expert! 😛

      I’ve replaced faucets and put up shelving. I can use a power drill, a level, and most tools in the toolbox.

  • I started playing league soccer at 41!!! It was scary but I knew I needed something to DO. Plus he hates soccer :)- says its a “girl’s” sport…yeah well come on and play against us anytime! JERK.

  • I was the son my father never had so I learned early on how to mow the lawn because as soon as I turned 14 that job was mine. Let me tell you how fun that was during a freakish summer in MA when gypsy moths took over our state. They were falling out of trees and into my hair; a thought that still gives me the creepy crawlies whenever I think of it. Around that time I also learned how to shovel snow so that became my job as well-no snow blowers for us!

    After I left ex-flaming cheater pants I moved into an apartment complex so I don’t have to worry about a lot of home repairs but I did have to repair my computer; reboot my wireless router a couple of times and learn the art of banking online. I let the ex have total control of our finances and my paycheck which in hindsight seems pretty silly and as it turns out I’m way better at finances than I thought. All the bills get paid on time, I put something in my savings every pay period even if it’s only 25 dollars and I don’t carry credit card debt. I also am going to pay off my car this March which is a full 15 months before the loan is supposed to mature.

    As it turns out, I really didn’t need that coward in my life after all.

    I am a little concernicus that I can’t open either of my doors to get outside at the moment but lucky for me, I don’t have anywhere to be today. Juno is turning out to be quite the raging bitch but it’s supposed to end this evening and eventually snow melts so it’s all good. 🙂

  • Christmas lights. Mine are actually still up and my STBX is too depressed to take them down (I filed last week). So this weekend I will climb a ladder and take those lights down. BY MYSELF. I also need to fix a hole he punched in the wall and the door he broke by slamming it too hard.

    • Be oh so careful on your ladder, XMAS. I put mine up and took them down this year by myself for the first time and was super mindful of how many accidents occur with ladders. Google “correct way to use a stepladder” for help. You don’t need to jack yourself up right now! Best of luck, sister!!

  • I’ll take that lawnmower, Chumplady, and raise you one snow thrower! Thank God the snowblower has an electric starter.

    I taught myself to change the sparkplugs in my mower and snow thrower (and damn! that first winter on my own we had a record breaking total snowfall, over 120″!) YouTube is an awesome source of information.

    I managed to change all the 1953 electrical outlets in my house, and installed modern dimmer switches in every room without shorting out the house. When the three-way switch in the kitchen baffled me (who the hell installs all three wires THE SAME DAMN COLOR?????), I got in touch with an old friend who offered to come over and help, in exchange for dinner. Three and a half years later, I married him. 🙂

    I replaced the flapper valve in a toilet. My new beau and I replaced all the faucets in the house, because every last damn one of them had been leaking since Ex and I had moved in.

    Cleaned the gutters, and hung Christmas lights for the first time in 20 years.

    Learned how to install tile.

    Big Chief Dumb Fuck thought he’d be a petty bastard, and absconded with all the screwdrivers and the only hammer when he moved out (he was never much of a DIY guy…). So I became best friends with the guys at Home Depot, and bought myself a full set of new tools and a tool bag. Then I started buying power tools; I now own nearly every Ryobi One+ tool on the market. Did I mention that I bought myself a chain saw for Christmas last year?

    All my DIY projects had triple benefits: every room I painted, every switch I replaced, every window frame I sanded, every bush I dug out – one more trace of Dumb Fuck was erased. Every new skill I learned in the process made my confidence level go up and up. And best of all, my house is finally an amazing home to live in. Five years after his sorry ass left the front door, I’m finally truly happy with new hubby in the home we made together.

    ….and in a year or so, we plan to tear off the roof and add a second story!!!

    • Funny my ex did the same thing. He didn’t lift a finger yet he took all the tools with him! WTF is that about? Who knew you’d need all these tools for an apartment?

      Anyway, huge hats off to you. I’m nowhere near the level of your mightiness with tools, but I’m getting there. Just painted my bathroom cabinets and installed light fixtures–it’s my awesome bachelorette pad! 🙂 Congratulations!!

  • I was already a Jill of all trades. But when I moved out to my own place I needed stuff!

    I was gifted an old Black and Decker electric mower that does on ok job.

    Then one of my clients felt that I should have a decent mower and he gave me a lovely gas mower with grass catcher and the whole 9 yards !!!
    Lightly used but reconditioned 🙂

    I am always amazed at the kindness of near strangers and aquaintences !

    2.5 years out and I am amazed at how things have come together. It’s not easy, but it is good.

    I think I spent a lot of years putting out fires and keeping our heads above water. Now it all seems so simple.

  • Sadly I knew how to run a big professional walk behind lawn mower, run a snow blower, use a log splitter, haul wood for our wood burning furnace , keep a fire going heat a 4,000 sq foot house all while I was married and then lived in the house during separation. House sold in August, I moved most of the stuff, except the heavy furniture, out by myself too. Husband, now ex, never appreciated all that I did do while he went off on bike rides, hiking, skiing , sailing and screwing other women. Heading out soon to deal with 18″ of snow. This will test my snow blowing skills.

  • I’m a a scotch guard expert. I’m thinking of starting an awareness program on the victimization of throw pillows by unhinged cheaters.

    Other than this, I really didn’t have to do anything new when I divorced my preying mantis in neon yoga gear. She was a wanna princess without the bloodline, but if being born in Buffalo and from a money hungry line of heredity, it’s plausible in a weird delusional way.

    namaste y’all

  • Got myself a masters in biomedical engineering from one of the best schools in the country and then got myself a good paying job. I’m NEVER being dependent on anyone again or letting them talk down to me.

  • I am one of those that was single without knowing it; I did everything in the marriage anyway. From finances, to cooking, to handy stuff.

    But I have definitely done things I have never done before since he left.

    I tore up my lawn so I don’t have to mow it anymore. 😀
    I learned how to change out light fixtures.
    I learned how to inflate my tires.
    I painted my bathroom cabinets, using a sander and drill to install hardware into doors and drawers.

    My next venture is learning how to install tile backsplash. 😀

  • What I did during the marriage: All the painting in the house; built a new wall by myself, every diaper change, 95% of the parenting, came close to earning enough knowledge for a medical degree after dealing with 2 children with autoimmune disorders, minor plumbing and air conditioning repair, etc., etc.

    Critical skill I still have to learn: Programming the remote.

  • I auditioned for an actor’s conservatory program and got in. Did conservatory training for two years and at the end of it all, I performed a piece from Swan Lake en pointe. I was the only student in my class to go en pointe.

    And a little bit after that, I started doing pole dancing. Because of pole dance, I am in better shape than I have ever been in my life. I’ve been doing pole for almost 2 years and I am going to compete in PSO’s (Pole Sport Organization) central championships next year. I’ll be competing at level 4. Which is one step below pro. (Pro winners go on to the Nationals.)

    My ex was indifferent to my interest in ballet at best, and at worst, thought theatre was a worthless degree. I met him in a theatre class, and he eventually dropped out. When I met him he was interested in theatre and thought acting was fun, but by the time we broke up, he had lost interest in all of that. So I got pretty much zero support for my interest in theatre and dance.

    My husband was part of the conservatory program I joined, a couple classes before me. So I got plenty of encouragement from him.

  • I got myself a battery operated lawnmower and I love the silly thing! It’s easy to push, starts easily (no pulling, yanking and cursing) and it’s light. My daughter and I go out and mow the lawns now together. I do the front and she does the back.

    I learned to do a few household maintenance projects that my cheater used to do (and fuss that it was soooo much work) and meh, it’s not that hard to learn to replace a light bulb.

    I’ve purchased some new furniture but my biggest deal was travelling to a southeast Asia, a place I always wanted to go but cheaterpants never quite thought the timing was right. I went with a bunch of people I didn’t know and made new friends. It was a great experience and I hope to travel more.

  • Not all of these are domestic-type activities, but they were all firsts after leaving ex:
    I found an apartment, signed the lease and moved in
    I changed a headlight in my van
    I dated men who were not my ex
    I had sex with a man other than ex (he was my first and only up until that point)
    I shot a gun
    I learned how to blow glass
    I learned how to throw a clay pot on a wheel
    I put up Christmas lights
    I started a new career

    • I had sex with a man other than ex (he was my first and only up until that point) Did that and it was great and so MUCH better than with dickhead.
      I want to learn how to blow glass
      I want to learn how to throw a clay pot on a wheel.
      You are mighty Glad…

    • Ooooo, I am JEALOUS GIO and ROMOB! My STBX is my first and only too and I am DYING to have sex with someone else. I mean, if the single men around here only knew just how eager I am for that experience…

  • Well, I felt pretty good about setting up a new router for my wireless network, and everything that’s on it. It wasn’t that hard, but I’d never done it before and was afraid I would really mess everything up.

    What’s been the hardest chore is taking out the trash, believe it or not. Last might daughter was laughing and asking me if I remembered the time I wrested with the garbage can and sent soda flying all over the kitchen. It was not one of my best moments, but thank God the kids thought it was funny. I can’t seem to get the overstuffed trash bags out in one piece without someone to hold the can for me. The can now has several dents in it form me losing my temper a tiny bit. Time for a new trash can, you say? Yes, that would be the simple solution. I just never seem to remember to pick one up when I’m out.

  • My ex used to tamper with my truck and then bitch because he had to fix it. or he wouldn’t fix it and I would have to get a shop to do the work. The s.o.b. was just a real asshole. By the time I left, my truck was barely running and I had thousands in repair bills, so I decided I would fix it myself. (You can Google anything) I changed my fuel pump and put an inline fuel filter in (because he put bad fuel in it and it plugged my filter and burned out the pump) and I changed my water pump.
    Now,….. you have to realize people used to tease me about being a girlie girl, when I met him I got a manicure every week, I didn’t know how to even check my oil, at 40 I had never put oil in a vehicle let alone change the oil, I had never popped the hood of a vehicle. I either had a man to do that sort of thing or I paid a man to do it. I didn’t want to break a nail or get dirty.
    It was so empowering to fix my truck myself. It took me 10 times longer, I swore a lot and I did ask a few guys how to do something, but I did it!

  • My ex rarely mowed anyway and I used to think it took special knowledge that I did not have. It does not – if you can hoover then you can mow.

  • Ok ladies, this has been a little one sided. After 20 years of marriage I finally did my own laundry. I looked at the machine as if it could launch something into space. You know, all those dials and buttons with temperatures and stuff. I also became a real wizbang at microwave dinners. Oh, and lets not forget the vacuum cleaner.

    But I did it!

    • TennisHack – you crack me up! X also could not run a washing machine or dryer. I thought he was faking it until one time I was on business for 3 wks overseas and all his clothes were sitting there still dirty. This is a guy who could change an engine in a car but the domestic machines seemed to blow him away. Now, I see, it might have been a real challenge for him. lolol Thanks for the input.

  • My XH was actually super helpful around the house. He helped me clean on weekends and took care of our vehicles and kept the outside like a park. So I was really intimidated when I had to do it all myself. Last year I power washed the deck and restained it myself. I learned how to fix a garbage disposal. My yard isn’t as wonderful as when he lived with me but it’s still pretty impressive. I’ve learned how to trim tree branches and what to do when I don’t want my cherry trees to bear a zillion cherries. (Spray off the blossoms as soon as they appear)

    I hired a lawn service. I found a handy man who can fix everything and he’s super reasonable. Sometimes I ask my neighbor to help me with something. I also have a furnace filter to change that’s 10 feet high. Whenever someone comes over that’s younger than me I get out my new ladder and ask them to change it for me. I lined up a couple of guys for helping me shovel this winter. I only had help once, the rest I could keep up with. It made me feel so good to see that mine was the only driveway shoveled down to the pavement on my street. A single, kind of old girl (~; had hers done.

    I installed all new hardware on my interior doors. You Tube is awesome!

    I figured out that I have to ask for help and/or pay for the jobs I can’t do.

  • Not a damn thing.

    Because that is how little he did. (And yes, this is a source of my embarrassment.)

    I already did all the yard work, home repairs, car maintenance, taxes…you name it.

    Poor sausage is an actor, but has strategic incompetence down to a science.

    Loading the dishwasher? So complicated. Reading washing tags on clothing — oh no, he might ruin something! Cleaning a bathroom? “Oh, I just know you won’t like how I do it.” Cooking a meal? “But you do it so much better!”

    Not cooking, cleaning or doing his laundry is reward enough.

    • Not cooking, cleaning or doing his laundry is reward enough
      OMG-THIIIIIIIS!!!!!!!

      I have been a single parent for the last 5 years. I handle all the cooking, cleaning, childcare, bills, etc. Yes, stbx is good at fixing things (except for himself & our marriage) and people tell me how lucky I am. GAG-if they only knew what he was really like! I would gladly pay a mechanic rather than deal with a narcisstic, cheating, porn & hooker addicted assclown.

      Stbx actually tells people that now, since our son is getting older, can talk, and is potty trained- he can handle more of the dad duties (What a total douchebag) But he’s so dumb, that he thinks it makes him look like a good guy to have pawned off all the hard, early years on me. And just this morning he told me how ungrateful I am for what he does around the house (which is really nothing) and he brought up that he even put up the Xmas lights.

      I think I need to make a bumper sticker……”……..But I put up all the Xmas lights”
      So, I’m supposed to forgive him for being an angry, screaming a-hole jerk and for cheating on me with all the skanks and hookers because he put up Xmas lights…..?

      I guess I’m just unreasonable that way.
      I’m very close to have everything set up/in place to finally file for the divorce and escape!!
      I can see the town of Meh from my window!!!!!! And it is Tuesday!!!!!!

      • Sorry, I did have a mighty fridge repair this year which is new for me cuz Mr. iPorn was too busy.
        I looked up youtube videos and the GE website to diagnose the problem & was able to get the part from a local Sears parts to fix it for $40. And I changed the water filter. It would have been $100 just to get a repairman out.

        I also signed my little guy up for T-Ball. He can hit ok but I am working with him on the throwing/catching part!

        I think I’m going to sign both me & little guy up for karate too-so we can kick butt together!!

        • My coworker does taekwondo with his son and loves it! He even started going to adult classes too and goes twice a week (once alone, once with his son) because he lives it so much! (I know they are different, but still…)

  • I am learning to cook. Really cook not just the packaged stuff and its turning out really good too. Not trying to be sexist or anything but cooking tends to be a skill women have before men. My exwife was a great cook and I thought I will never have a decent home cooked meal again. However I now realize that I don’t need her for that anymore I will do it myself and I think I am actually eating better now than when I was married. As good of a cook as she was she didn’t do it very often while i do it almost every night.

  • Unfortunately, absolutely nothing…I was already doing the majority of the cooking, cleaning, child rearing, yard work, etc…But I do enjoy it much more now!

      • That’s awesome. And no small accomplishment 🙂 I did try to cut my son’s hair with the little clipper things when he was about 2…it was super traumatic for him; either the buzzing freaked him out or I did it wrong (or he was 2…) and he ran away from me screaming, in a diaper, half bald. I have learned to take him to a “man barber” for haircuts. At least I learned something.

        • That is hysterical…I must say doing a taper cut on a two year old is much, much harder than de-tangling and braiding the hair of a 5 now 6 year old!

  • Never did before? I was the only mom in the cub scout pack who helped her boys complete two awesome pinewood derbies by herself. These events are a festival of dads and my STBX did almost nothing, so I decided to run with it. Both our derbies looked fantastic and one won a trophy! I never told anyone I was solo on the project, but a few dads guessed when I had talked wheel alignment strategy with them and asked to borrow some tools. One dad came up to me after the win, gave me a huge hug and said “YOU did a great job!” It felt wonderful.

    Other “never did befores:” I cleaned out the gutters last fall, changed oil in the leaf blower, and my dad showed me how to use a chainsaw, so I chopped up and then axe-split a good-sized tree for firewood.

    I kept off the weight I lost after D-Day and plowed all that anger and pain into running and working out. After D-Day, I started winning my age division in 5K races and am in the best shape of my life. My little girl arms can now do pull-ups – like real, military-style pull-ups! — and over 100 push-ups – something I could never do before.

    I discovered in digging for affair-related evidence that I have some mad research skills and am transitioning to a new career in investigations. I hope to one day start my own firm.

    • BestPathForward….Awesome on you!! I too became as clever as any CSI detective digging for dirt on his affair and OW. I acquired amazing super powers in the process. Affairs and liars do that for us. Good for you becoming an investigator. That’s going to be my back up job ~:()

      • Thanks, Syringa! Maybe we can team up 🙂 I’m learning the investigative field is huge, but one area I’d like to one day pursue is helping betrayed spouses legally obtain digital evidence of infidelity. You don’t need surveillance photos from outside a hotel room any more… as we all know, it’s all on a cell phone or email these days. The day I dug it all up was the day I felt more in control of my life than I had for many years. It was awful, but also the first glimpse I got into the REAL person I married. And if I hadn’t found it, I would still be with him. That information is the first brick that you can build an honest life on…

  • I defrosted my pipes! We had some freezing temps this month and my pipes froze. I got myself and my two kids ready for school and work, and when I went home at lunch I brought home my space heater from my office and rigged it up with an extension cord on the side of our house and did a little DIY (read: Sanford and Son) insulating with some foam, interlocking, floor tiles from the playroom and within the hour, had defrosted my frozen pipes! Yay me!

  • I was always involved in any “reno” projects (just as a “helper”) but this time I did it all myself… I installed an engineered-wood floor everywhere in that was wall-to-wall carpet in my new narc-free home: living room, upstairs hallway and 3 bedrooms. And I did it in a week. My knees have never been the same since!

  • I had DDAY #2 a few months after we had moved into our new home. Of course, in those few months, nothing broke, everything stayed in tact…but as soon as I kicked him out, EVERYTHING started falling apart and breaking.

    Aside from changing the locks (huge lady boner!!!), the most memorable though, for me was trying to fix the toilet lever/flusher. It took three trips to the hardware store to find the right one…who knew there were two different sides you can face them?!?! Not I! And who knew one could be a shorter and I needed a longer one?!? Ughhh…

    Now, I smile everytime I flush the toilet because I DID IT!!! Took me about an hour to do it, but hell, it works. Now I just envision my exH going down that hole along with…well, you get the point!!! 🙂

    I know, it’s a small accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless!!!

  • I am with you stuntchump, my ex did very little. I had to find just the right moment to ask, so he didn’t blow up, then I had to be with him when he did it so he didn’t feel alone and picked on. When we were first married, he refused, I mean refused to write a check to the cashier, even if he was in front, he passed the checkbook to me and glared until I did it. He also didn’t speak on the phone, he would answer it but would pass it straight to me so that I could say Hi. He had also mastered the art of strategic incompetence (Love that). If he didn’t want to do anything again, he would muck it up so badly that I never would ask him again… and look so so sorry and pathetic. Then one day he let that cat out of the bag… that if he didn’t want to do something he would do a terrible job so I never asked him again.

    Oh he did the bills, so that my saving ways wouldn’t impact his spending ways and he came on the food shop weekly, not so that he could really help, but so that my healthy food choices could be undermined by whatever processed shit he fancied. And if he ‘helped’ with the food shop, it meant that he had done his bit and the rest of the weekend was his, to sit around and read. No fun trips, or excursions, no vacations, nada. He had done his duty by doing the food shop. God, I hate that man.

    Oh and as for cleaning up and tidying up… He would put things in lovely piles but not sort anything and never cleaned anything (His penalty box is disgusting after 4 years of living in it, I am sure.)

    Lastly, he never disciplined the children, that was left to me, so that he could undermine whatever I said and curry favor with them… did I say I hate that man… well I do.

    Cannot wait until he moves to the frozen north… ha ha someone has to shovel that shit, er I mean snow, Schmoopie, scrape the ice of the windshield, get the gutters ready, batten down the hatches etc…oh and he is allergic to most of their plant species as well… Schmoopie, there is a reason my post to my friends when the divorce was final was Juneteenth… I think you should get a tattoo when he finally arrives…to begin the rest of your life in romantic bliss. What language would you like, Filipino=alipin, Czech = otrok, Dutch=slaaf, German = Sklave. Doesn’t matter what language it is in… it all means the same thing… SLAVE!

    So I clean the house, and do the yard and love every second of it. Youtube is my friend. I learn everything there. I learned how to blow insulation into my walls from youtube… what a day filled with fuzz that was but still fun. I can drywall too, and blow texturizing, replace the garbage disposal, fix running toilets, fix faucets, and irrigation systems, pipes, sprinter heads and that fucking timer. Invented my own whole house fan sytem that is so quiet. Most recently with the help of a mason friend and youtube, I made a cob oven… took about 6 weekends and that bad boy is going to produce bread for the most fantastic parties. Ha Ha! Come on over. Every last one of you chumps would be welcome but not senor dickhead.

    The last event dickhead will attend is my daughter’s hs graduation party… and my girl friends are all lined up to toast me as the person who did it all, who got her through a divorce and graduating as valedictorian with barely a shred of help from dickhead. Can’t wait, Can’t wait to see his face. They are planning to politely but publicly shame him.

    • Ha! yes, the “it is neater in a pile” ploy. A dear friend of ours wrote a play where my husband was featured as a character and another character said of him that “his main organizational principal is that of the heap.”

      It has not changed in 20 years.

      • OMG….Ringing……your XH actually FOUND a schmoopie willing to put up with this kind of shitty abusive behavior?? All I can say is ‘Wow!’ Schmoopie must be absolutely desperate for a man to take on this guy. I wouldn’t care what he looked like or how much money he made. I’d be gonging that MOFO in a minute. Good for you getting away from that waste of skin.

  • My STBXH was a Master Mr. Fixit. Usually…. There were often things that were partially fixed or not done right. But mostly he handled all the manly chores, and even became an excellent cook because I’m allergic to the kitchen! We live on rural property, so I’ve learned how to use the Gopher Stick to kill gophers, remove dead mice (my farmer girlfriend told me the right poisen traps to buy and set around the OUtSIDE of the house and barns so for the first time in decades there are No More Mice inside! I’m unstopping toilets, changing lightbulbs in 12 food ceilings, and other simple chores. Embarrassed to say I have texted him to fix the leaky roof (for the umpteenth time) on the rental house on the property, and have had him buy replace fence posts after a big storm blew down a big row of fencing, of course he buys smaller diameter posts than what we had before, so they dont match. He fixed asomething in our irrigation system yesterday too. I only request he does this stuff, since he still “lives” (not- he’s always at Schmoopie’s) in the guest house which could be rented for $1750/mo… I realize I too had a case of learned helplessness.

    • Wow, Chump Change, I would really like to know the mouse trap trick as well as the gopher one. I live on 1.5 acres in rural upstate NY, and there have been mice “guests” every winter.

  • I’m very scared to be responsible for 30 acres by myself, there is a ton of deferred maintenance. I have a worker 2days a week, but the upkeep is endless. I live in the dream home that we designed and built that was even featured in a book called “Along Bungalow Lines”. I call it the jewel box of my own creation… So I will fight to keep it, and to get enough spousal support to pay for it too. STBXH has been paying what he’s always paid towards the bills, and I am working to build my little business. So we will see. Stay tuned.

  • I’ve been doing everything for over the last decade. Even before I threw my cheater out, I had felt like a single mom for a long time. Like other posters, my X would occasionally do something for me( throw me a bone), and oh I was supposed to be sooooo grateful. I am very happy that OW now has his lazy ass! he’s great at impression management, so I bet he’s having everyone think he’s so great to her, but I guarantee she’s doing most of the work!! Ha Ha!!!

    My recent feet, shoveling a driveway, all by myself. Usually had to do this when X was here, since he would just look at the snow blower and get an asthma attack. I’ve also unclogged sinks, fixed toilets, and fixed an old furnace, even the furnace guy was impressed! Jokingly offered me a job, LOL.

    • Oh, just remembered, I also hooked up my first HDMI TV and wifi dvd player by myself. Always been good with techy stuff, but my X always did it since he thinks he’s a genious at everything. I am mighty !!

  • One typically man-ish task that I simply cannot do is pull kids’ teeth. Can. Not. Luckily there is a somewhat angry tempered ex-nun at my kids’ daycare who LOVES pulling teeth. She’s done at least 10 of them between the 2 kids, thank heavens. I guess finding people to do some of this stuff is also half the battle. We are not alone…lol

  • Just bought my own house complete with all of the normal maintenance needs of almost 80 year old structure. Luckily, it has been remodeled and well taken care of. But I have a lot to learn and I will be asking for help – I really want friends and family to teach me how to do stuff and not just do it for me. As for the lawn mowing . . . when I was in Junior High (late 70’s) my Mom got involved in the Women’s Movement and decided to re-assign household chores. My brother had to cook and iron, my Dad had to mop floors, and I had to MOW THE LAWN! So I have been doing it all my life and I don’t mind it one bit. It takes a little time but it is a good meditation the way vacuuming is. It’s some good thinking time and it puts you in touch with the yard and garden and neighborhood. I find great satisfaction in how the lawn looks after I’m finished. I would recommend investing in a new self-propelled mower. It will be easier to start. Make sure you learn about the gas and oil and air filter. You should take it in somewhere once a year for blade-sharpening and a check-up.

  • I’m not doing anything different that I didn’t before. I grew up on a farm so I am use to hard work. FuckWit was as worthless as tits on a chicken. I had to remove the dead rodents from the mouse traps because he wouldn’t touch them; too dirty. I did all the yard work (too messy for Mr Perfect) and the general maintenance around the house. I enjoy working in the yard and getting my hands dirty.

    • There are so many things I learned to do since he made the announcement that he found someone and wanted a divorce after our 36th wedding anniversary. This was after the first three months of paralysis and numerous Ddays and past reconciliations
      The first thing I did that I never did before was to clean out his closets and tell him to leave. He planned on keeping his things in the house while sleeping with her until she threw out her husband. The second thing I did thAt I couldn’t do before was to find my own lawyer and file for divorce. The third thing I did was to have no contact. This proved to be difficult as I was pissed that he dumped me like a bag of garbage. Deep down I knew he was a cheater but didn’t realize my role. The fourth thing I did was to find a therapist who could help me stop loving someone who clearly had no respect. The next thing I did was to find a support group. I always thought it was my fault until I found ladywithatruck and read about the three stages of a narcissistic relationship. I felt free for once! I relived this abuse over and over. It truly made me feel pathetic yet relieved. Finally I stumbled upon this site and knew I wasn’t beyond repair. Before I accepted my life in an abusive relationship and now I work on myself toward Tuesday and meh. I am intelligent, independent, and have family and friends. I am a chump that cam mow my own fucking lawn!

      • These guys operate from the same script. I tell you. I had to lawyer up to force a buy out of the property we owned. He had moved his OW in and changed the locks while I still co-owned the place. I had to play hardball with the bastard. Yes, I was pissed. I had to go no contact or I might end up in prison for committing a terrible crime, like going Lorena Bobbitt on him. The stuff he left behind in my other home I donated to charity or threw in the garbage. ………. We are both certified Chumps with new skills that we can add to our resume. 🙂

      • Yep, what is it about these guys at 36 years? I too busted my husband in a 1 year affair while we were in false reconciliation, after I kicked him out when he came home from a “business meeting” at 3:00 a.m. (Lots of traffic) um hum… I didn’t understand narcissism yet, my therapist told me to look up the term gas lighting and it all started to come together. Now I realize I am a victim of narcissistic abuse. It is sickening to realize that it is intentional and they know exactly what they are doing. I filed for divorce, and am dealing with the lawsuits he’s gotten me involved in – made me CFO of his company, but didn’t happen to mention it. We are being sued for fraud and other charges, and I had no knowledge or involvement in his business. So he is also a sociopath too it looks like. A snidely whiplash character. Handsome Schmoozer, charming, and a cheater. In business, and in his marriage. I’ve learned he’s been cheating all along and I had no idea. Lawsuit has been going on for 3 years, happened a few months after the 3:00 am incident when I kicked him out, and he had just talked his way back onto the property into the guest house with promises to woo me and prove his devotion. Crickets. I am such a chump. We both agreed that we didn’t want to date, that we were going to get through the legal stuff, so we were in a scary legal limbo. Then my mom died unexpectedly, and that made me want to either break up or make up and we decided to date again and work towards reconciliation. Several months later i found out about a second lawsuit he hid from me, and a week later about Schmoopie. I am now a year out from d-day, and slowly trusting in my heart that he sucks beyond any microscopic shadow of a doubt, and i’m lucky to get rid of him. Cant wait til my lawyer wipes up the floor with his ass, and gets him off the property.

  • I figured out how to clean the screen/filter to the washing machine. I already mowed the lawn and outdoor stuff. I like it. I will say that I am now doing LESS. I don’t cook every night and I wash less clothes. I sit still. For more than 5 minutes at a time.

    I did NOT use the weed wacker. My neighbor came over during the late summer to wack the mess out of my weeds. I let him. That thing scares me. He also fixed my garage door when the pulley system came off the track. I let him do that too. Then I baked him brownies. Worked for me and worked for him.

    I am making better decisions with money…like saving some!!! And paying off debt!

  • I have just started the path to regain my competence. I have managed to fix a running toilet, and I just learned how to clean the pool filter. I was responsible for most of the work around the house (even though he didn’t work and I did), but there are a few things he always did. He keeps the tools locked up and he likes having me dependent on him to fix anything. He can make me wait, just to emphasize that he is in control, and then he gets to act like the hero when he actually does something. Once I finally get him out of the house there will be all kinds of things I need to learn how to do. This post is very inspiring and I can’t wait to get started on fixing light fixtures, painting, building a lattice for the garden, and most importantly, changing out the locks!

  • I just do or not do whatever the heck I want whenever I want. It hasn’t got old even after nearly 2 years.

    The first year, I installed surround-sound speakers for dolby 7.1 in the rec room, and then I turned my office into a sound design studio and dumped a ton of free cash flow into that.

    I am going to have to be a bit more pragmatic this year, though, I think. Time for painting the house’s trim, etc. I have a sofa that needs to be shot (dogs have done bad things to my leather couch–:( ).

    But… I do not get bored. I thought I would. I don’t. I am just less stressed all the time.

    • I’m getting furniture, and a sofa is factoring high on the list. I was thinking that leather would be better with dogs? Guess not.

  • Things I have done by myself since DDay2 that I am proud of:
    #1. Got a lawyer and filed for divorce!
    *Finally trust that he sucks.
    *Reached a state of “Meh” via no contact. Yay me!
    *Moved an incredible amount of heavy shit into my daughter’s dorm room by myself (with a wee bit of help from her)!
    *Bought a new car by myself.
    *Held my head high while I sang like a canary about the real reason why I am getting divorced to anyone and everyone!
    *Found and filled the washer fluid in my car- all by myself!
    *Learned to clean the pool by myself.
    *Be a happy, fun teacher for my kindergarteners, even on days when my heart was aching.
    *Be a fabulous role model for my daughter on how to be a strong, independent, smart woman.
    *Found myself again.
    *Stopped taking shit (lies, manipulation, deceit, gaslighting) from STBX.
    *Rediscovered my humor and optimism.
    *Just shoveled a foot of snow by myself!
    *Added “stop being afraid of the snow blower” to my list of future goals.

  • Like some on here, I was able to do a lot less when the ex left. He wasn’t remotely mechanically inclined, whereas I learned a ton from trial and error and my father. The ex would pay people to do most things- including changing car headlight bulbs. I’m willing to try most things and know my limits- no major plumbing is one. I saved him $200 once just by googling how to and then doing a small repair on his car. I should’ve made that turd pay ME the money! Anyhow, life pretty well went on for me, with a lot less to do since I wasn’t taking care of his stuff!

  • When my clothes dryer stopped working, with a load of wer clothes at 11pm that my college daughter needed for trip next morning, i took the back,of the dryer and removed the starter switch. Saw a gap. Took it apart and put it back together and it was fixed. Best part, college daughter witnessed and had to assist with screws and lifting. Did not even have to say…who needs XH.

    Truth be told, i did these types of things even when married, but would have felt freer to call GE guy due to more $$ with dual income.

    BTW, last few days of topics and posts have been sooo helpful. Have not been able to post much due to work…then one got lost in cyberspace. But i am always rooting and praying for for every New and Old Chump’s mighty achievements, however small or big.

  • Hey Chumps, in the resource section of the forum… how about posting your favorite fixit youtube video.

  • Let’s see…

    *painting and waterproofing my basement before I moved in
    *fixing my wonky fridge by watching a video on YouTube so I didn’t have to get a new one!
    *lawn mowing and other outdoor work; that was never my domain (though the ex didn’t do much more than mow the lawn when we were together)
    *talk about puberty with my eldest son (not as bad as I thought!)
    *deal with any and all workmen
    *organized a trip out of town for me and my kids
    *deal with all aspects of finances– that was the scariest for me; my ex is very good with budgeting and money planning, so he did everything… I’m not a financial whiz, and I’m sure he does much more with his money than I do with mine, but I’m debt-free and paying my bills on time!

    I also recently used my latest Christmas present– a power drill– to install a canopy in my daughter’s bedroom. The best thing about doing all of these things on my own is that I don’t have to wait for anyone else (as in my ex) to do it. While I don’t love doing everything on my own, I am also glad that I no longer feel resentment because the person who said he would do it hasn’t “gotten around to it yet.” 🙁

    • “The best thing about doing all of these things on my own is that I don’t have to wait for anyone else (as in my ex) to do it. While I don’t love doing everything on my own, I am also glad that I no longer feel resentment because the person who said he would do it hasn’t “gotten around to it yet.””

      LIKE!!!!

  • Learned to start the lawn mower and mowed the lawn a few times!! Downloaded an app on my phone for the first time ever! Bought my first vibrator! Bought my second vibrator (LELO…waterproof!!)! Got a part-time job in customer service for a company that requires I learn basic low-voltage electrical wiring! Located and cleaned the filters for the furnace!
    But the thing I’m most proud of? Trained myself to be a private investigator. We own our own business and it became very apparent that POS was diverting funds to finance bachelor lifestyle and woo schmoopie. I hired a good attorney and a forensic accountant, but couldn’t afford a private investigator. Became kind of a game to see what I could find! The very first time I snuck upstairs (when POS was still living in the house) and looked in his wallet while he was downstairs in the kitchen, I was shaking like a leaf and could hardly keep my hands still enough to snap a picture of the large check made out to him personally from a business client. The very first time I looked, that’s what I found!!! It inspired me to keep going to find new ways to discover what he was up to. And boy, did I!! Preparing to go to trial in June!

  • I did most of the work around the place anyway, so when Cheaterpants left it wasn’t such a big deal. In fact it was easier as I didn’t have anyone around the place making a mess.

    I wasn’t very good at decorating so I enlisted the help of some other divorced ladies I got to know.

    I hosted “stripping parties” – and that isn’t what you think it is !!

    To host a “stripping party” you need to cook a huge pan of chilli (or bolognaise, or anything else that’s simple and can fit in one pan) and provide fresh crusty bread, and a few bottles of wine. You invite your friends around for about 10.00 on a Saturday or Sunday and equip them with scrapers, spray bottles, sandpaper etc. Everyone turns up in their old clothes and gets to work removing the old wallpaper and sanding down the paintwork. After a break for lunch and a bit of the old vino-de-collapso everyone is in fine spirits and it soon gets the job done.

    The next week-end you move on to the painting and decorating, but you need to keep them sober for that !!

  • For several months after separation, when I had a computer / technology problem I would turn to my STBX and more often than not he would help fix the issue. I began to feel that he thinks that by being helpful he is showing what a nice guy he is, and how we can be pals, and how much I still rely on him.

    It was hard but I forced myself to stop asking him for help. Along the way I managed to figure most things out, including something on a website I run that he was unable to figure out for me!

  • Just like everyone else, I was the mother/manager/martyr. I pretty much did everything. The only thing I refused to do throughout our marriage was weed eat. Come to find out, it’s really not that big of a deal. Last May I replaced my water heater all by myself. I can do anything. I don’t need him for anything. He was just dead weight all those years. I was always so worried about him being resentful of me for holding him back, when in actuality he was the one holding me back. His life is so much better because I was a part of it. I certainly can’t say the same thing about myself of him. Such a shame but, at least I know before he drove me to my grave. Fight on.

    • So when he finally confessed about schmoopie, I said are you planning to marry her. He said. “Well I have come to realize there are some benefits to being married.” My face must have given my thoughts away, “I bet you have… you lazy SOB.” Then he asked me if I was ever planning to remarry… I said no, not just NO but hell no… He asked was it that bad? I said, yes it was.

  • Like many of you here, I called myself a married single mom, because I did pretty much everything around the house and with the kids. The husband would disappear for hours in the garage working on some special project or loving maintaining “his” vehicles: the truck, sports car and boat. Never once changed the oil in my car, but whined about the cost when I took it to Jiffy Lube. He is much too sparkly to be bothered with any routine home maintenance, so after I asked him 2-3 times to do something, and he didn’t, I did it myself. Then he would get this sulky look on his face when he noticed… The garage was such a disaster that I could never find the tools I needed, so I bought myself a set and hid them so he wouldn’t “borrow” them. He even managed to dump the lawn mowing on me by having a temper tantrum about how busy he is, and couldn’t I see that and volunteer to help? Well, sure, I am already doing everything else, so why not?

    • The tools, oh yes. My ex always bought new tools for every job because he couldn’t find the ones he bought for the last job, the one he never did. Drove me up a wall that he spent a bunch of money to do a small job, never actually DID it. Then insisted I shouldn’t hire someone for the next job that he never actually did. Frustration factor is now gone. I found 8, count em 8 pairs of identical pliers when I cleaned out the basement and garage.

  • My EX was quite competent, but he made a scene about everything he did–whether it was fix the dryer, mow the lawn, or make dinner once a month. His “projects” always took hours and required at least one trip to the store–often more. So if he wanted to mow on the weekend, he couldn’t do anything else on Saturday–not run the kids to a soccer practice or lift a finger anywhere else. And when he finished a project–often after displays of temper–he expected a ticker-tape parade and heaps of praise. With each passing year of our marriage he took on fewer “projects,” they took longer, and they seemed to require amazingly elaborate amounts of preparation (we are talking about grilled steaks here, not a 7 course banquet).

    My revelation as a single mom was that it only takes 15 minutes to change the water filter–not 3 hours. I can mow the yard in an hour–it doesn’t take all day Sunday. Taxes take me 4 hours to do each year–but he expected about 7 evenings of a quiet house and dinners made to order while he worked on this project, etc.

    One of my fears on separation was that taking on his work would be too much–I was already doing 90% of the house and kids and working full-time, but it has rarely been a problem. His big projects turned out to be no big deal, and many things I had already been doing were easier to do without having to tiptoe around him or manage his criticism.

    So, count me among the club of YouTube Video lovers (minor plumbing issues), confident lawn mowers (taught a child to take on that job this past summer), filter changers, steak grillers, and tax preparers. The biggest thing I’ve really learned, though, is that there is nothing he contributed that I can’t do myself just as well, more cheaply, and in about 25% of the time–with a lot less stress.

    • I learned how to do so many things for myself over the past 8 months that I wouldn’t have thought possible. I know for sure that I can problem solve anything that comes my way. I was set up to fail financially but I survived. Once I am divorced I will be in control of my own future and it will be bright and free.

  • Unlike many chumps, my ex was quite handy around the house; he also did all the cooking. In false reconciliation I learned this was an avoidance strategy on his part. I would have done more on my own, but exFIL likes to come over and help out, so I allow that. This way xILs still see the kids.
    Also, I never let exH keep me down, so I did tons even when married.

    So, what have I learned/done:
    Drove on the opposite side of the road without killing anyone
    Have become a cook
    Diagnosed dryer problem, and bought the correct part (still needed assistance, darn belts and drums, but figured it out).
    Did some mud runs
    Bought my first car solo

  • I put 60,000 miles on my truck in one year traveling around the country showing my dogs – all solo. Set up all the crates and paraphernalia by myself and with a broken arm at one point. I’m a mighty driver!

  • I never asked him to do anything for me after DDay#3 or was it 4? I just started to do things myself, cleaned the gutters, power washed the house, painted, stained the deck. Who needs a man anyway especially if we have rechargeable batteries!

  • Today I learned how to use the snowblower!! I’ve had friends stop by and plow my driveway, and a neighbor clear my sidewalk, but I hate that feelilng of having to depend on someone. As much as I didn’t want to, I knew I had to learn how to use my own snowblower. And the nerve of my STBXH, calls my son and asks him who cleared our driveway. My son asks, why? And bozo said because its his house! Well, he wasn’t so concerned when he dropped the kids off Sunday with an impending blizzard on the way!! Didn’t even ask if we needed anything or if we’d be ok! Thank goodness it was just a couple of inches and not 2-3 feet of snow!! But it felt good to the snowy driveway myself!

    • When I lived in the Hudson Valley, my snow blower was an orange snow shovel. lol Boy, that can be a bit of work. Get up and get ready to go to work at least 2-3 hours–depending on snow depth–before you need to go anyway.

      Plus, I’d go out at night an periodically clear things until it was time to sleep. Probably should have bought a snow blower 🙂

  • I also, bought and sold our house on my own, went to the closing on my own (he could not get off work) bought many cars on my own. Did the cleaning, shopping, laundry, gift buying, bill paying, kids scheudles, cooking, yard maintenance, except grass cutting (now my boys do it). I just realized he did nothing but screw and text his ho-worker!

  • This post has been so much fun to read today, as they have been all week!…Next should be no that the chump is free, what dream are you going to pursue that you could not because you were tied to a Narc!

    • Cletus –

      All I do is dream about my wide open days now available for new pursuits. I go to flight ground school tomorrow night, I was at a sporting goods store today looking at kayaks, I asked my neighbor about getting a horse, I have a 1974 El Camino I have been holding back on restoring for way too many years, I am getting quotes for a pool, just put air in the tires of an 1987 Schwinn Beach Cruiser bicycle, and I can go on and on. All on hold because I was circling the “drain” for 16 f’ing years. PUN intended.

      I am making up for lost time and God willing I hope to get it all done. What a waste of life to be in pursuit of copulation outside of marriage instead of embracing what this planet has to offer with someone you love.

      Fools.

      I, too, would like to hear about the new pursuits of those of us freed from the mental anguish of a lying, cheating, controlling, soul sucking, narc.

  • Late to the thread. I did pretty much everything before, during and after our relationship, nothing really changed on that front. For me it was doing what I wanted, the way I wanted to do it (purple living room anyone?), with no arguments. The things I do NOT do anymore feel good to me, like not cleaning up after an inconsiderate asshole. If I ever end up in a live in relationship again, that guy better know how, and be willing to clean a toilet. LOL, I’ve decided that’s my deal breaker, if you won’t clean the toilet, forgettabout it.

    Ya’ll mowing bitches are mighty, watch out for mailboxes though, I nearly tore my hand off on mine a year ago. And weed wackers are satan’s spawn. Srsly, hire a neighborhood kid to do that shit if you can – I did the math and as long as he only mows when it really needs it the cost is not that much different than the maintenance, etc I spent doing it myself. Plus the 3 hours is now spent on line… I have 2/3 acre so cannot get by with a push mower.

  • My xH never did yardwork. Never. He left it to my senior citizen father. He also didn’t do house repairs. I generally paid all bills. When he left he complained that I didn’t cook for him when I was at work. Yes honey it is hard to cook for you when I am at work. After all I am AT WORK. One time I sent for a mail order kitchen table, and I gave it to him and asked if he could please put it together before visitors came. Four weeks later the kitchen table is still not assembled and visitors are coming so I put it together myself. He was furiously angry. This was two weeks before Dday. He said my assembling the kitchen table was evidence that I didn’t need him and OW did.

  • I bought an EZ Pass so I don’t have to search for change when I go into the city. It’s a small but significant thing for me. X always scoffed at an EZ Pass because, “You’ll never use it.” Back then it may have been true; I rarely went out and never with him because he is an epic cheapskate. Not these days, though… last Sunday night I went into Boston for Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood! Met some friends for drinks and the show was incredible.

    And I sailed in and out of Boston, breezing through the tolls. No need for chump change anymore! 😉

    • Oh, and I bought a car alone and refinanced my home alone. Aside from my scary, nasty-mouthed teens, I’m kind of a bad ass these days.

      • Your ez pass story reminds me of similar issue with ex. I wanted the all in one rollo bin for recycle and he insisted on the ones you carry that were too heavy for me. Nice to be able to roll the recycle to the curb now, heh.

  • Count me in with the “I did everything” camp. My household work load actually got a little easier after he left because, for the most part, I no longer had a 3rd child to clean up after.

    He did know how to change a spare tire on a car, a skill that I have yet to learn (to my embarrassment). Pretty much everything else around the home, I knew how to do and routinely did, and if I asked him to do it for me, he did a terrible, half-assed job that left me regretting having asked.

  • On D-Day, Cheater demanded that we sell our house that we lived in together for 12 years and fixed up together (I paid for everything and he did the work as he’s a contractor). I refused to sell the house and move, and he said, “This house will swallow you up, Muse!” He also said he had told Schmoopie when she “started putting conditions on him,” that he could never leave me because “I needed him to take care of me.” The truth is I was already paying for everything as well as all his food and cell phone that he was calling and sexting Schmoopie on. Then he said, “What are you going to do if something breaks?” I’ll hire a repairman I said. “I can’t stand the thought of you hiring contractors to work on the house!” he said. “Contractors will rip you off, they always do!” Hmmm.

    He was always OCD about any of the manly chores around the house and he always did all the lawn mowing (said I couldn’t do it “right” though I did it many times, he always criticized what I did), house upkeep, etc. and renovation work. I did all the stereotypical female chores – i.e. all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating etc. in addition to being the breadwinner of the family – seriously, over the years, he earned about 25% of what I did, and contributed only 20% of our household expenses. I never minded that, though towards the end I started resenting it that he never increased his income; but I know for certain that if I’d ever known he was a cheater, I would have broken up with him on the spot and gone back to apartment life with my kids in a heartbeat.

    Since kicking him out I have found affordable and reliable help to do things I’m physically not capable of at 59 yrs. old with a full time job. The cost of doing that is FAR cheaper than the cost of feeding his lazy ass and putting up with all of his abuse and anal control of our household. Far far cheaper!

    I did try to operate our large snowblower and it fell down only inches away from me, and my kids convinced me to just sell it and get a snow plow guy which I did. I have also found reliable contractors to replace my garage door, pave my driveway, do masonry work, and repair the boiler a couple of times. I would gladly pay any of these people rather than have an abusive lying lazy ass cheater doing it then complaining about what a fucking martyr he was for doing “everything” when all his housing and food and cell phone costs were paid for by me working my ass off in my stressful job for the 16 years he was here.

    Gladly!! I’d rather have my soul than have a “handyman” cheater living with me.

    • that was a typo, he contributed 10% of our housing costs. not that its such a huge difference. This seems fairly common with cheaters – they are also freeloaders. Comes with the entitlement, I guess.

  • The whole lawnmower issue resonates with me. I have 2 acres here and an expensive riding mower. I got away this summer without driving it myself because a young couple owed me some money and they worked it off mowing. They are moving out of state so sometime in May, I will reach my day of reckoning with the big mower. I have an old mower of Jackass’s for the front yard, which is rocky and has trees, but it was impossible to start. So I went to Home Depot and picked out an awesome mower that starts on the first pull AND has a backup electric starter. I also bought a weed whacker with an ion battery; the gas operated one was too heavy for me to handle accurately (and I lift weights so it’s the tool, not me!). In 2013, during the discard phase that preceded DDay, I was overwhelmed with the leaves in this yard. A lawn service said ONE visit for fall cleanup with be at least $1000, so hiring it out was not possible. So I got a mulching blade for the big mower AND I learned to use the push mower to make leaf mulch for the flower beds. The yard looked great before the snow hit–although I still need to get a truck to haul away about 30 remaining bags of leaves…. My mightiest achievement might be learning how to unclog gutters in the middle of a rain storm.

    My next projects are to put up a mounting bar for my last cellular window blind, re-caulk the tub (that scares me) and learn how to change out fluorescent bulbs.

    What really makes me proud, though, is that I got the house painted on the outside and had the driveway re-gravelled. This spring we are finishing up outdoor painting with the screen porch and deck and I will do another layer of gravel, hoping this time that the dump truck won’t take out the TV cable… I see that stuff as the first steps of having a maintenance plan.

    I hope new chumps see these points and believe that they can do these things too.

  • “Or maybe you were just used to doing absolutely everything and you realized, hey, I don’t miss this person. I was already single and just never knew it.”

    Don’t mean to brag, but I found out this was me–in the “utilitarian” sense, that is. I cooked, cleaned, and maintained almost everything in my marriage…to the point that I had to go back and help my ex-wife take care of numerous tasks in the first year–help with her taxes, fix her computer, etc. And I know this was chumpy of me to help my ex, but I was playing the “be nice until the divorce is finalized” game plan so she didn’t slow it down. And it worked.

    The one thing I did fail to maintain during my marriage was a strong, separate social circle. When my wife’s affair started, I realized just how alone I actually was. I have a large extended family, but few local friends (I moved across the country to be with her). I realized how many would actually qualify as “her” friends if we got divorced. So, I invested a lot of time and energy in a casual group of friends, actually bringing them together for a couple of years.

    It took time, and I still have more work to do. But it’s been worth it.

    • That’s sweet.
      Friends are SO important. I only have a few, dear ones, but slowly I am making community connections that may bring more of them. I am definitely picky though- no Narcs wanted!

  • -learned to ride a horse. I recommend it for chumps in the early stages as for at least 1 whole hour a week, I had to think of only how to control
    & not fall off the huge beast – worrying about my personal troubles at the same time could have spelled disaster.
    -bought an electric mower, no fuss, no gas muss
    -studied Italian
    -took paralegal courses – still job hunting
    -replaced a toilet seat
    -replaced a washerless facet with the help of youtube
    -bought a beehive – first batch of honey due in the spring
    -bought cross country skis, good outing for a single girl
    -visited a friend who had a temp job in Moscow, Russia which coincided over what would have been my 25 wedding anniversary
    -bought a new car on my own
    -learned to weed whack, I hate doing it so much that I haven’t done in it in 2 summer & who cares?!!

  • Wonderful posts! Funny to read and remember all that dickhead couldn’t/wouldn’t do.

    -Bugs- I was in charge of all bug removal. Even flies in the windowsill.

    -Varmints- ditto rats, mice, and things that died after they went bump in the night.

    -Putting gas in the vehicles- he was too busy. Same with car washes. Except when he had a schmoopie date.

    -Laundry. No way, no how. Never never never. I was once pilloried for him running out of white socks, so he drove off in a huff to Costco and bought a 90-pack of socks and hid them so he’d never run out.

    -Grocery shopping- beneath his dignity.

    -Taking child to/from school. Unless is was parent teacher conference nite, so he could look wonderful.

    -Paying bills. That was a wife thing. And oh, yeah, I earned the money to pay them, too.

    SO basically when he left, very little changed except I could more or less do what I wanted, when I wanted, without cutting my feet to ribbons walking around on all those eggshells.

  • Oh gosh, taxes, who could I forget? Always my responsibility to figure them out, or pay someone to, and to make sure i had the money to pay anything owed… including the penalties because dh would always hand me his business info on about… October 12th.

    First year we separated, poor sausage got a $20,000 tax bill… he’d fired his wife, you see, and forgot to pay any withholding from his self-employment earnings. He’ll be paying that for several more years. : )

    • My cheating ex actually thought I would still do his taxes after I kicked him out!!!! Poor sausage, I am sooooo mean, and for no reason, too!

      • LOL, mine asked me last week about doing his taxes. I reminded him that we have a clause in our agreement that we will use a particular CPA so he needs to drop his paper work off there and not with me! A-hole has no clue what was in the document he signed.

  • Aside from mowing the lawn (almost the only domestic chore he took care of), I think the other thing that I learned to do was hook up electronics. No, it’s not that hard… pretty self-explanatory really. But yes, I’ve got various things going into various inputs and I set it all up myself, which is something I’d never had to do before. Even in college, I remember my roommate taking care of that for me 🙂

  • 70 degrees tonight here in North Texas setting on my back patio drinking a glass or two of wine at the house I will probably have to give up because I’m in the middle of getting an alternative teaching certificate and no jobs open right now. My car’s starter is acting up, my dishwasher died ( yes I tried youtube) and heater sensor went out and I had to ask for help from “him”. What have I done? I walked out and stood on the grass and admitted to God that I had a case of the learned helpless disease and told him I was ready to grow up and learn how to take care of myself. I took the first step “mentally” into my new cheater free life.

    • Sketchyokgirl,
      You will grow up and learn to take care of yourself. I have started doing that, and I’m not a spring chicken! After having someone “take care” of me, it is a new and scary feeling of being the only one in charge. Taking the first step, even a mental one, is one step closer to victory! Best wishes and hugs to you in your new cheater free life!!

  • Hmmm……lets see…Designed the house my insurance company rebuilt after the fire, lived in it for a good long time and then was able to sell it for enough profit to completely pay for my 3 acres out in the country plus a well, mound septic system, a driveway and a used garage which I had moved onto a poured pad. Bolted that garage down myself. I almost totally rehabbed an old mobile home I was given that was going to be junked…. into a cozy, comfy home. Am currently debt free. Bought a .357 magnum and learned to shoot it and maintain it. (my form of psycho cheater ex family repellant.) Took up riding a recumbent trike which I love and has helped with fitness. Taken a lengthy road trip through half of the US by myself. Rescued 2 stray dogs and around 10 stray kitties and found homes for them. Made 3 quilts and hand quilted them. Taught classes on body energy work, hands on healing, intuitive reading and did some ghost busting. Volunteered by facilitating grief groups for folks who have lost loved ones to homicide. Wrote a book to help them heal. Working on being the best grandma I can be. Designed a “tiny house” which I’m presently working on construction drawings for.

    Wow…. I never realized how many new things I’ve tackled. Cheater ex would have put the kibosh on almost all of that because he could not control it, didn’t like it, or felt it was not suitable for a woman.

    It is just awesome to be cheater free and able to fully express myself. Even better….to be free to explore life to my little hearts content. Woot!

    • God bless you Tessie for helping others who have experienced loss like you have. I cannot imagine how you must have felt and it amazes me that you had the energy to give back. Best of luck to you with your plans to build a new home. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

    • Tessie (my autocorrect changes your name to “yessir”, which is kind of great and makes me want to sing about how that’s my baby. No sir, I don’t mean maybe)

      It seems to me you have done an amazing job of being a miner – from the depths of darkness, you’ve mined amazing strength and gifts you are using to help heal others. Your post today helps me believe there may be a higher purpose to the struggles we encounter in life.

  • I’m going grosery shopping on the bus because she was the one with a car, but I feel empowered by doing it.

    I found my own place, have housemates, but have my own room.

    I’m doing my masters

    I’m just back to doing all the things I used to do before I met her.

    Most importantly,

    Now I have time to exercise, already getting a bunch of compliments on my new figure. 🙂

    I’m going to keep investing time in being happy.

    • Awesome Bea! These are really healthy choices. I have always worked out, so I didn’t have any weight to lose after Dday. Dday was August 17, 2012. Like you, I went back for my masters starting in 2013. I just graduated last month with my masters in social work. I promise to pay it forward to all of the chumps I encounter in counseling. I promise there is no mightier feeling in the world than completing your degree. I’m so glad to see you’re feeling better and moving forward. Hugs!

  • I’ve always been pretty independent, and never shied away from physical labor. I mowed yards as a teenager to earn gas money. I rather enjoy the exercise, although my exH took over this role during our marriage. I felt sorry for myself the first few times I mowed the yard by myself. It would have felt different if it were my choice. I could have cried. I sure didn’t feel mighty. It made me feel mighty just to be able to afford a used mower (it was given to me but exH didn’t know that!!). He was eager to see me fail on my own. I watched a YouTube video and learned how to fix my bathroom faucet. That felt mighty. I painted the bathroom, hung new curtains, and bought new living room furniture. The first thing I got rid of was the sofa he slept on. I got new carpet in the basement where he spent all of his time. It looks nothing like it did when he was here. At first i didn’t want to move and neither did the kids, but now I can see that may be a healthy thing for us to do. New memories in a house where he has never lived sounds nice. I’m loving all of thr stories today!!!

  • One last thing, I had never traveled anywhere before without my exH. I had been saving up travel points for he and I to take a trip together. Then Dday hit. I held on to those points and waited until after the divorce. I booked a trip to Hawaii and took my lifelong best friend. Most liberating experience I’ve ever had!!

    • Just before D-Day I had planned a trip to Nova Scotia, where I’d wanted to go for many years. Previously Ex and I traveled a lot to visit his family and mine, both some distance from here. We’d also visited friends in Florida three times. Each time me paying for most of it, of course, so that was nothing new. That summer, I begged him could we go on another vacation (yeah that’s fucked up that I was always asking permission). He kept refusing, so I finally told him I would go with two members of my family instead. Figured out later why he was so “busy” and “too poor” (not new) to travel. The trip to N.S. was crazy – I was in PTSD shock for sure as it was only 10 days or so from D-Day which was so unexpected. I tried texting him from the ferry and learned that the minute I left town, he took Schmoopie on a vacation to the Adirondacks to our (my now EX) friend’s summer home. He saw nothing wrong with any of this. I tried to focus on the lovely scenery but I was a mess.

      Since then I have travelled to Florida twice by myself and to San Diego. I want to go to England, and back to San Diego (have family in all these places) and have a standing invitation to visit family in Australia!!! It feels great to be free. Money is kind of tight this year so harder for me to blindly charge things to credit cards but I will find a way. Beginning of my new life… cheater free!

      • Muse, I can totally relate to money being tight. I’m in the same boat with you. I love to travel but can’t afford much. Wasn’t it the most liberating experience to see amazing new places WITHOUT the Cheater? It was the best experience ever for me!! My exH makes 3 times what I do (AND lives with his mother so he has NO bills) so he can afford to do so much more with our daughter than I can. It depresses me. I would have loved to take my kids to Hawaii with me but I couldn’t swing airfare for three kids.

  • I sold my car on craigslist after cheater got a blow job in it from first (known) OW. X gave me a list of times he was available to ‘help’ me meet with total strangers to test-drive and negotiate. Since he was ‘so busy’ I arranged a time he could not be there, such a pity…got my price, cash, from the first caller.

    Went to hear some local cover bands (that play music I love) alone, since cheater would never ever listen to impure bands that play other people’s music…

    Joined a Zen meditation group which meets early on Saturdays. Cheater always slept till noon, then watched TV (5 hours of Hoarders, anyone?) so I used to spend those mornings quietly doing stuff around the house, awaiting his awakening. Now I am seeking my own!

    • OMG, that reminded me of when we were selling our car on Craig’s list and I asked the husband to be here because I was nervous about strange men coming to our house, plus I know little about cars… He said he was “too busy” and that I would be fine. I was, but that’s not the point…

  • I’ve mastered the mower years ago. Since he was more focused on Ashley Madison than home repairs in recent years, I’ll soon be turning to You Tube to learn: how to use the snow blower (vs shovel since I’m 8 months pregnant), how to wire lights, and how to change the furnace filter. To be followed with regrouting shower and trapping whatever critter has made its home in the attic!

  • My big one has been getting over killing Texas sized cockroaches, waterbugs, whatever you call them. They’re HUGE and horrible and they underscore my aloneness. I’m still working on this, but I’ve learned to wap them with towels or better yet, drop books on them. S5 saw me do this one night and said, “you got ’em good, Mom!” A proud moment of mightiness.

  • Ooooh I LOVE this question.

    Ok, after my divorce I learned how to do the following:

    1.) How to mow the lawn (as well as maintain a lawnmower and lawn!).
    2.) How to use a Husqvarna Chain Saw in order to cut down trees that were too close to my garage and ewes that had been left to their own devices (After my divorce, I purchased an old 1915 fixer-upper estate sale home that had sat on the market for 2 years).
    3.) How to landscape, plant trees, thujas, shrubs, rose bushes, etc…
    4.) Plant a garden
    5.) Repair the roof of the garage & paint the garage
    6.) Power Wash the vinyl siding on the house & clean the gutters
    7.) Rip up WW Carpet & sand hardwood floors
    8.) Swap out the bathroom faucet (my plumber taught me, no doubt out of pity).
    9.) Unclog a train
    10.) Waterproof my basement’s field stone foundation and then paint the walls/floors (this took 5 days and years off my life!)
    11.) Shovel out from blizzards, including the one we got yesterday (I live in Massachusetts).
    12.) Add air to my tires, washer fluid, as well as take my vehicle in for oil changes etc.
    13.) Remove a snake that had some how entered my basement. Read: I HATE snakes!
    14.) Hire contractors to take care of anything I couldn’t handle on my own, which I realize isn’t a big deal but for me it was because I was married to a contractor so the fact that I had to start hiring people to do what he would take care of, left me feeling unsettled. But not any more! Now I’m a royal bitch if I feel like I am being taken advantage of. Because, “…sometimes, you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang onto.” ~ Vera Donovan in the movie: Dolores Claiborne

    🙂

    • Vegan you’re my hero. Thata quite a list!! I had almost forgot about shoveling snow. The first time I had to shovel snow was a pity party day for me. It’s so easy to get down and feel sorry for myself. I had to force myself to suck it up and get the job done. We had some bad snow storms the year I had my Dday. I woke up a couple of times and my driveway had been cleared for me. I had no idea who had done it. Until the next time it snowed that is. I saw my neighbor and his little boy (probably 7 years old) shoveling out my drive. It renewed my faith that there are good men in this world.

      • Thank you MmmHmmm. 🙂

        I know just how you feel. 2013 was a very difficult year for me. The first few snow storms we had, I threw myself a major pity party, until I changed my outlook. I went from, “Poor me. How am I going to do all of this by myself?” to “F*ck it! I can do this.” And this is pretty much how I tackled everything in regards to my house. If I couldn’t figure it out, I’d Google it or YouTube it. Or, I’d throw caution to the wind and just do it.

        I never knew how resourceful and strong I could be until after I got away from my Ex. That list is everything my Ex would take care of while we were married. Now I do everything. I am known on my street as “The single lady who gets it done.” I’ve got neighbors coming over to ask me for contractor references. It is a riot!

        I cannot recall the last time I was THIS happy. Honestly.

        My Ex married his mistress and all I can say is, “Honey you can have him because I am better off without him.”

  • Hi all! New to posting but have been reveling in all your stories & posts for about a week. I’m happy to join the group.

    So once I became a single about a year ago I realized that, yes, I pretty much already had been for 2 years of our 3 year marriage…surprise!
    So I’ve learned that when something in my home breaks now, I FIX IT! Seems obvious, I know, but the ex had this irritating habit of pretending (imagine that) that he knew just how to fix it or that he would have a buddy over that weekend to work on it with him but when his habitual procrastination went on for months and so many of the simple-fix issues in our home remained unusable I began to realize it was just all bullshit. His lying was so deeply ingrained in him that it just spewed from his mouth about anything and everything. And his ego was so fragile that he couldn’t stomach just hiring someone to do it and admitting he wasn’t able. So many of these things remained broken or half-assed fixed until recently.
    I am slowly working on getting all the toilets fully functional, the leak in the pipe that leads to my dishwasher remedied, finally putting the quarter round down in the nursery (the baby is 2 and a half), the hokey sensor for my garage door replaced, learning why the gas stopped working in my fireplace and fixing a defective washing machine. Boom! It feels good to be (somewhat) self sufficient!

  • I’m another single mum while married and it turns out that other than financial woes my life is a hell of a lot easier without the ex around. Less laundry, less cleaning, less everything. I still take the kids to everything, I still make sure their lives are on track, I still do what I always did. If the idiot paid what he should pay I’d be living better but besides that it’s actually been less of a burden.

  • I was never allowed to pay the bills or go grocery shopping. Now, the bills are paid and learning to budget. Weekly me use are discussed with the boys, a grocery list is made and I’m shopping withing a budget. No more wasted food and we’re not starving… Actually, the meals are pretty diverse. Learning to get on the boys’ cases about keeping after their teen faces too.

    Probably TMI, but I’ve recently learned I wasn’t inept in bed as I’ve been told. I guess I can do that too.

  • I spackled (really) a whole back room (had been a porch, you could see right through the cracks) after I threw out all of his hoarder shit and made it into a studio so I can paint. i sharpen my own knives again, the way Daddy taught me, and I fry my own damn fish that I catch!

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