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Enough with Divorce Shame

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congratsMy cousin got divorced yesterday and I noticed today on her Facebook page that she wrote a very kind thank you to her friends and family who helped her through this difficult “journey.”

She didn’t mention what that journey was — divorce.

Several people wrote “You’re in my prayers,” and “hugs” and other supportive kind things, a few of them having no idea what they were supporting her about.

I wrote: “Congratulations on your new beginning.” Which is what I say to most people who’ve gotten divorced.

It’s a START. A new slate. It’s a gulp of fresh air after you’ve been sinking in the quicksand of dysfunction. And it’s a cause for pride because you endured a battle. However “amiable” you worked things out in your settlement, you just had to do legal warfare with someone you’d once promised to love forever. The disconnect of that is heart rending. In my opinion, a newly minted divorcee doesn’t just need hugs and prayers, he/she needs a slap on the back and a cold beer. “You survived! Hurrah!”

I have a tendency to over share and I realize some people are more circumspect and private. Not everyone wants to spill their bucket of emotional slop onto others, thank goodness. I’m an admirer of tact and reserve, even though I possess none of those qualities. So, if you don’t announce to the world, HEY, I GOT DIVORCED TODAY! that’s your right and due.

I just hope you’re not keeping your mouth zipped because you’re ashamed.

If you got chumped? If you loved with your whole heart and tried your damnedest? If your partner drove their life into a ditch and you had to jump away and save yourself? And you SURVIVED that shit? There is nothing to be ashamed of. NOTHING people! NOTHING.

If you got divorced because you’re a cheating douchebag, this post isn’t for you, because you probably feel no shame. Most likely, you’ve already remarried to your Schmoopie or you’re out partying in a nightclub somewhere or trolling Craigslist…. or all of the above.

I’m talking to chumps. Those of you who stuck out terrible marriages of disrespect and dysfunction because you were afraid to be alone, to figure out your own life, to be One Of Those Pathetic Divorced People. If you feel responsible for other people’s crimes. If you internalize the shame of being abandoned. I’m talking to YOU — DROP IT. Let that shit GO!

Yes, divorce is a loss. It’s painful as hell and financially calamitous. But it can also be noble and brave. If you left a cheater, you’ve demonstrated “I will not take this crap anymore.” You’ve fomented revolution. You’ve stood up for your self-worth. If you were left by a cheater, and you had to file the goddamn papers yourself, you’ve survived injury AND insult. Hold your head up. If a cheater divorced you for some new piece of ass, well good riddance to bad rubbish. Fuck ’em.

I’m writing for myself as well as you. I left TWO marriages. I’m a double loser at this Pick a Life Partner thing. I hung on to that second marriage to a serial cheater so hard because failure was NOT an option. No sir! I was NOT going to be a two-time divorcee.

I had some wonderful artsy sister friends come visit me from New York City when I was in the throes of D-Days. I told them I was worried about being divorced twice. How weird and freakish that would be. One of them, Sara, said to me “I dated a guy who told me he was a vampire. Now THAT’s weird. Divorce? Not so much.” Her sister Dana said “You should move to New York.”

And that exchange gave me hope that, hey, there’s a metropolis somewhere of cool sophistication where no one will look askance that I’ve been divorced twice. Maybe I can do this…

Meanwhile, Mr. Cheaterpants was still screwing the OW, getting stumbling drunk, and threatening me, and my biggest worry was — will I be the freak?

In the end, I didn’t move to New York. You know the story, I eventually wound up in Texas, a place known for its tolerance and liberal outlook on life. (Not.) I don’t go telling everyone I’ve been divorced twice, but it does come up if I have to explain both my son (from marriage #1) and being a chump (marriage #2), which means I have to know you pretty well.

It’s just part of my story now. Some days it’s even a joke. I’ll ask my husband, “Hey, am I your favorite wife?” and he’ll say, “Am I your favorite husband?” and we’ll laugh because the other ones were such horrors.

If you’re feeling any twinge of divorce shame, consider that you’re divorced exactly because you DO value marriage. You DO believe in commitment. You DO believe in love throughout sickness and health. You DO believe in family. And you’re divorced because your spouse did not share those values and you refused to live a sham marriage.

Not one damn thing shameful about that.

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    • Good comment zyx321. I was so ashamed after 37 years (45 years all up) that I wanted to die, just die because I saw myself as a wife and mother and I loved being both even in the bad times, so that was my whole identity. I am not longer ashamed of course as one has to adjust. I was provided with so much false information I am very lucky I got out with my sanity intact but only just !! 🙂

      • Then take care of yourself and think about what Maree would do if she had no such history. You are still a mother, but don’t need to be a wife. How exciting to write a new chapter!

      • I am not ashamed of divorce, the shame comes from being duped for so many years, for living a lie, for being disposable, replaced and fucked over for a younger, prettier, sexier, smarter, everything I am not upgrade. Excuse me, I want to go and throw up now. (*but… thanks to this blog I am FINALLY seeing through the gas lighting, blame shifting, etc.and slowly growing some ovaries)

          • Yes. I realize that. Until I have to face the coconspirators-aka the inlaws and man friends.. Plus I don’t know who the AP is so it could be anyone. Sometimes I think it’s a blessing I don’t know who it is, sometimes a curse ( the imagination truly is horrible at times) It’s like everyone knows but me.

            • willowchumpx30, the co-conspirators in my situation are my 35 year old daughter and my 32 year old son. They can no longer face me and treat me like dirt.

              • Maree, My ex spent so many years degrading me and had my adult children believing his distorted view of reality, often helping the asshole. It took awhile but they finally realized he discarded them also. These guys get worse and start falling apart. Hopefully your children will figure it out.

            • Willow, I spent years blaming the AP and became a great detective. I made it my mission to see them, call them, and blame everything on the AP. This is what I learned:
              1. He lied to each and every one of them. He made up stories about how awful I was as a wife.
              2. I had enough evidence. He cheated. Knowing every detail nearly destroyed me in the end.
              3. There are some things in life you wish you really didn’t have in your head. What my EX ended up with and abandoned his entire family for is a scuzzy whore.
              4. Cheaters are disordered. It is about control.
              5. You can’t fix the fuckers.
              6. They are assholes. The people who support assholes are assholes. Stay clear if assholes
              7 never say I can’t believe about a cheaters behavior. They cheated. They lied.
              8 you deserve better!
              9. File.

              • My only detective work now is finding records of as much money he wasted on whores and AP as I possibly can. Years worth. Hundreds of hotel stays, found out he rented condos for 3mos at a time ( all those business trips to Florida? Nope. Was livin la vida loca.) I want to plop down that stack (and believe me, it is a STACK) and get as much back as I can. It has been ten months of digging up financials and I am still not done. I have yet to go back and dig into bank transactions. I don’t want to know the sordid details of the affair unless it helps me in court. Or destroys him. Believe me, I don’t want it imprinted in my mind what he did and said to her/them.

            • These are stories you tell yourself. I, too, used to think he suddenly became sexier, smarter, all the things I wanted him to be with me. But he’s the same man, with the same problems. She’s probably crying herself to sleep every night, or will be. Me? I’m free.

    • GODDAMN I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS TODAY! I don’t know how or why but every time I come on Tracy, you have just read my mind as to what I needed to hear. Bless you lovely lady, bless you!

      • Same here!!!! I needed to hear this in so many ways! I even quoted a part of it on my social media…lol I have been very quiet about the whole thing but I’m not carrying the weight of being left by a cheater who was a coward. Thank you so much for always bringing me up when I’m down!!!!

        • Me too, was feeling sorry for myself, just got back from a walk on the beach. Lucky me, told myself to get over it. I will. be ok, Tracy,you have read my mind, too! Thank you all for being here for all of us!!!

      • Goddam I needed to hear this too!!! Just spent two days accusing him, then being gaslighted, followed by the volcanic temper tantrum cause I got too close to some truth. Which was followed up with an anxiety attack (me). Have decided to look for a therapist who specializes in disengaging emotionally. I believe that I have been gas lighted for years and years. I need help to disconnect. I am like a fish on a hook and have to figure out how to shake myself off.

        • If you are in a pinch, Al-Anon meetings are great for helping to learn how to detach/disengage emotionally…you don’t have to talk or explain why you are there, and most cities and towns have meetings daily. Good luck to you.

            • If you don’t like the first group you attend, try another. Different groups have different vibes. Keep trying.

          • I reinforce Doop’s suggestion. Al Anon or any other 12 steps programme is the kindest, and most loving way to learn how to accept stuff that is pretty much unbearable, and to let go with kindness – and you don’t even know what you are absorbing. It REALLY helps ramp down the exchanges. All for a $2 donation.

        • WillowChumpX30…. you are SPOT ON with this >>> “Volcanic temper tantrum” That is EXACTLY right, I have been trying to figure out what the hell to call whateverthef*ck it is they do….. mine did that too…. if you made him “uncomfortable” be it a truth he was hiding…. telling him he did something “wrong”…. whatever… the screaming… manipulating …. ever threatening “tantrum”.

  • Let me be the first to agree–divorced 5 days and I no longer feel like Atlas, carrying the weight of a dysfunctional marriage (and a dysfunctional man) all by myself.

    Yeah!!

    • Congrats Tempest! I am seven days out today from my divorce. It’s a relief to at last be sure of my future. And this message is definitely something I needed to read! Of course it is always easier to get through the divorce when you know you cleaned them out!

      • I’m a week out from my divorce, too. Still coming to terms with being divorced. Great reminder that sometimes divorce is a good thing!

        • Yes ma’am! I got everything! He wanted ( demanded) mediation and I was opposed, but my attorney told me the advantages so I thought, okay because if it doesn’t work then we can still go to court! I believe he thought he could do better in mediation and I’m certain his “genius” (NOT) Schmoopie told him to do it! Unfortunately it went very badly for him. He not only gave me what I had asked for the past year, but I was given a few other bonus items! Basically I received 80 percent and he gets to work for the rest of his miserable life! His Schmoopie now will have to support him!

          • Congrats, Roberta! I can also say that I did pretty well in mediation back in Oct., too. He took nothing from my 3 retirement funds, nothing from the home, and nothing from the home equity. I thought I was doing much better since the Dec. 30 divorce, but got a letter in the mail last week that the douchebag filed Chapt. 7.

            Now, ALL the debt from his “brilliant” rental property business is on ME, even after this asswipe signed legal documents that he would be financially responsible! It’s a house of cards, and this DICK could give a crap less how it’s hurting me and our 14 year old daughter. So, yes, sometimes it feels as if the shame of these whores sticks to us in spite of all we do to maintain our integrity. I sometimes wish it was 9-12 months out, that way I’d already know all the bad news, and can cope better than the daily F-Us I get in the mail, or emails, or phone calls because of how badly he SUCKS!

            (((Hugs))) to all of you mighty Chumps. Just want it to be better NOW. =(

    • Congrats tempest. I’m newly divorced to 13 days ago and it feels glorious until I got my lawyer bill. I posted on my Facebook page a image of a t-shirt with a check mark next to divorce for all to see I have no shame. Some friends commented that they were sorry to hear that , obviously they were not aware of al, the crap that I went thru to get my divorce and what the x did to me for me to file. Those in my inner circle wrote congrats ……I have no shame and I tell my story to all that want to hear and even though who don’t want to hear.

    • Congratulations, Tempest! I am late to posting on this today but wish you all the best. Happy Divorce!

  • Thank you Chump Lady for wonderful words of wisdom relating to the big D. This will be year 3 marking my divorce. Your pep talk touched my heart. Brave, noble, self worth are words of truth.

  • Being married to a cheater, watching my life as I knew it fall apart, going through the divorce process: Those things all sucked. They sucked hard.

    Being divorced: Amazing. I feel like I was dragging a heavy log up a mountain like Rocky in “Rocky IV.” And now that the chains are cut, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.

    Divorce needs better PR.

    • LilyBart,

      Like a surgery, divorce can bring forth some very good things even though it is painful in the execution. Who ever starts a marriage saying they want to be cheated on and have to divorce the arrogant cheater?

      Personally, I am so thankful that I was divorced. No more “heavy log” as you put it. Mine was tied to constant anxiety regarding (my now ex) spouse. Now, I have a new beginning with a new and wonderful family. Divorce paved the way for this “atmosphere” change, if you will. I call it a true mercy from God now.

      DM

    • Hear! Hear! Lilybart… divorce needs better PR. Kick his sorry ass to the curb and feel like you have helium balloons tied to you. How great is that.

  • I’m almost there… It will be about another month before the papers are signed and I’m already thinking how I’m going to celebrate. One of my friends said that upon signing her papers, her guy friends took her out for martinis and then bundled her into a cab and sent her home telling her to take the next day off. For me, I’m thinking of treating myself to a piece of jewelry so that every time I look at it I can remember how strong I was and the battle I survived!

    • Susan – jewelry is always a good idea. I got a freedom ring – I love it. And my idiot never bought me an engagement ring (or any jewelry) so it symbolizes that I love ME!

    • Well… I can’t afford new jewelry so I’m getting myself a new tattoo “With pain comes strength”. It has a double meaning for me, I’ve already mentioned a few times that my cheaterpants walked out 6 days after my being diagnosed with breast cancer. I survived both fights simultaneously… pretty much alone (without meds) and somehow came out with my mind in tact and standing upright!! Whew!! My younger sister says I’m a beast lol 😀

      • You are a beast! Congratulations for a surviving and I wish all good things for you! A tattoo is a great idea!

      • Love the tattoo idea and congratulations on surviving both. You are The Awesome. But simultaneously? What a coward to run away just at the time you needed some serious support. What a dirt bag. I sometimes think I was lucky to have already been divorced when I was diagnosed with TNBC, because I don’t think my ex would have allowed me to take care of that the way I needed to. It was, after all, NOT ABOUT HIM.

      • You’re amazing! Rock on with your bad self!

        I got a tattoo after my divorce and I love it. I got a tattoo of a peacock feather on my left ribs (of course I pick the most painful place to get a tattoo for my first tattoo). It reminds me of what I’ve survived and how grateful I am for the new life I’m building.

        • BothFeet… you be a badass yourself…. that IS definitely the most painful (tender) place for a tattoo…. especially the first. I have 2 tattoo’s already, both in memory of my niece, neither of which is on my rib cage lol. I have witnessed people getting tattoo’s there…. again… definitely THE most painful.

          We should all have “Survivor” tattooed on our asses!!!

        • I suppose it would be off putting to any future mates, if I have my ring finger encircled with a tattoo that says, Never Again!

          • Ringinon.. It might have the opposite effect–they’ll view you as a challenge and the offers will come pouring in!

              • I know what you mean–my mother used to say I was a sucker for lost causes (though even she was buffaloed by my X).

      • NCS – wow, you rock! Yes, I got a tattoo too! Thus my name Marked711. After surviving suicidal thought in the first few days after she said she was leaving me, I knew I would survive. I got a Phoenix rising from a flaming unconditional love heart. It’s on my left pectoral. It’s really cool and it reminds me every morning that I will always rise from the ashes. I survived.

      • Thank you all very much 😀 I guess… I should mention that… according to him I “pushed” him out the door (blew a gasket about the affair and let loose a barrage of truths I had been withholding) and I guess the poor sausage’s EGO could not withstand the honesty…. he DID offer to stick by me through ALL of it…. but it was obvious to me that he was planning on sticking with OW simultaneously too…. so… being the asshole that I am…. I said “ummmm thanks, but no thanks, you couldn’t possibly have any love for me…why would I want you to stay?” Ho hum…. ever so ungrateful I am…. I just can’t help myself. Yes… double mastectomy in December and just had my final reconstruction surgery last week…. for the record… they turned out fabulous!!!

        All of this…. surrounded by Thanksgiving…. and Christmas…. I was devastated to say the least, couldn’t even understand where any more tears could possibly come from. After what he put me through, I swear I could make it through almost anything. I worried more about my poor little boy than anything else, didn’t have much time to worry about myself, also probably a good thing. I think it was a blessing, having SO much going on at one time kept me from focusing too much on any one thing lol.

        Hugs & Good JuJu to all my fellow chumps <3 <3 OORAH!!!

      • Oh NC! So sorry to hear that your scumbag walked out and you battled breast cancer! I can connect, I had a diagnosis of lung cancer and my POS Kept stringing me along and boomaranging back to me BUT only to gain something for himself! The last straw was during my first recovery from surgery. I picked up his phone and found emails between him, his lawyer and the HO. The jist was they were assessing damage control and how it would “look” to other people of he moved in with his paramour and I died!! I have to say it was horrific to see, but after nearly two years of his BS I wasn’t surprised! So, that’s all I needed to boot him out for the last time!!! I don’t regret it at all!!

        • WTF?? Seriously…. you just can NOT make this shit up….. astounding. They are just the absolute bottom of the barrel aren’t they??

          Good for you Roberta!! No regrets is right!! Me either!! I’m sad that it all turned out this way…. but I’m glad I didn’t do the “pick me dance”. I did the “stand up and tell the truth or get the f*ck out” dance.

        • Sweet Jesus, Roberta…..what an asshole! We hear all kinds of crazy stuff on here and from our own spouses but sometimes you catch something that really makes you nauseous. And your X, his lawyer and the OW make me want to barf!
          Thank God you got away from that mess!

      • You’re sister is 100% correct! You are a beast and if you survived both those things simultaneously then you can tackle any challenge that comes your way.

        Congrats!

    • jewelry is great– I sold my rings (engagement, wedding, and promise), had the stones removed, and designed a beautiful pendant that the jeweler made for me. I love it.

    • A while back, several CL posters said they had gotten a new ring for their middle fingers. I like that idea!

      • Freedom rings are great. And when I later married a former chump, we took our old wedding rings and our cheaters old rings and sold them to help pay for the wedding. It was symbolic, of course, but boy did that feel good! I gave my freedom ring to my new stepdaughter during the ceremony.

      • I got two silver rings, one for each index finger. The one on my left hand is inscribed, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The one on my right hand says, “Love Life” on the outside of the ring, and on the inside is, “Be Strong.” I liked that so much I had “Love Life” tattooed on my ankle. I plan on getting a phoenix rising from the ashes tattooed on my hip one of these days as well.

        • GladIO–after what you survived, you deserve a full-body tattoo of a phoenix.

          I love the inscriptions on your rings. Very inspiring.

  • There is a stigma to divorce – especially for women. I continue to be stunned when asked details of why “I am single” at this age…..by folks that really have no business asking. Of course, I do not dissolve in the rebelling of the sordid tale. I did look the latest inquirer in the eyeball (after church) and said, “I was abandoned”. It stopped her in her tracks but she drifted away as if I had a disease.
    It’s funny, no one asks how a women of “this age” managed to be retired, or managed to raise 2 successful and amazing sons…..it’s as if those achievements are not as great as being married.

    I get it – no one wants to see the pain. I just wish that I wasn’t an object of pity or …..fear. I think it’s fear I see in those questions. But CL is right – I took a big hit and I’m still standing – better than standing. I’m walking down MEH road very briskly.

    • It’s a lot of fear, and I also think a lot of bullying. Don’t feel obligated to share anything about yourself with someone who doesn’t need to know. Was her tone judgemental? You could just reply, with a knowing twinkle, “It’s a long story with a happy ending. I’m pretty resilient.” Or you could laugh and say, “Wow! Are you always so direct?” Keep smiling, and also keep your friends close.

    • I think sometimes the ‘why are you single?’ query is actually meant kindly – I’ve been asked how such a great person as me could be single! But it’s one of those awkward social things that people just have to stop saying (like some of the stuff people say in the face of bereavement).

      And hey, why IS such a great person as me single??? ‘Cause my ex is an idiot, and I haven’t met the ‘next’ husband yet. Oooooh, that doesn’t sound good, does it???? Gotta work on that!

      • I’m getting a lot of, “Are you seeing anyone yet?” Like that’s my ultimate goal; to be hitched to someone else’s wagon.

  • Rock that shit CL!!!!!! Damn straight to all of the above!

    I am approaching the one year mark of my divorce and it remains the VERY BEST THING I have ever done for myself!!!! While drop kicking dumb ass to the curb…….I gained back my self respect!!!!!!

    NO SHAME!

  • Amen, sister. I do carry a bit of shame about the label, but then I’m all, Maury Povich-like, “You don’t KNOW me!” Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty A-ok.

    Divorce was not part of my culture until I met my ex husband, and I hate what he did to my children’s family. I feel a little shame that I chose their father, that I was married to a loser coward. What does that make me? Divorced.

    Not that I revel in it, since I deeply value and honor marriage, but I know many people who wear the distinction of being Married, but whose relationships seem, mmmm…stressed. I’d rather be divorced.

    My favorite is when people exclaim in outrageous indignation, “Who would leave YOU???” Or, “THAT’S your ex??” I tell them that my ex’s new thing is really pretty, on the outside. That generally elicits a snort. Which feels awesome, and the shame melts away. The best revenge really is living well. Be your best self. Find and do what you love.

  • “still screwing the OW, getting stumbling drunk, and threatening me, and my biggest worry was — will I be the freak?”
    This made me laugh today! love you Chump Lady

    • Yes at meh I agree! I would add that I worried my children and grandaughter would believe the blame shifting bullshit he fed them while fucking a sleaze before DDay. He cut off his wedding band and told my daughter it broke and asked to move in with her because we wernt getting along. This was while he was telling me he loved me while in bed with a slut. My therapist was amazing and told me to let it play out and sure enough his mask was removed for all to see. He dumped our children and grandaughter and doesn’t see anyone. He says he’s working. I was told he was reinventing himself and going through an identity crisis a teenager experiences by my therapist. My oldest daughter asked why he gave them all 100 for Christmas but didn’t spend any time with them. They have figured it out. It’s hard to sort through everything initially and the anxiety and fear take over. It is crystal clear now to our family that he is very much disturbed. The true freak was revealed.

  • Perfect words once again. Im in the divorce process and thats crappy as well. I am simply saying that my adoring cheater husband preferred cheating and porn over me and the family. That usually shuts up the nosy ones.

    Im getting ready for the divorce comments…..I have some ammunition now. Looking forward to MEH land!

  • This is wonderful and so very true. I do not feel shame for being divorced. I still do though feel some shame for staying so long with an abusive man. Trying very hard to forgive myself for that part.

    He tried to hurt me through a text the other day, “I have only been married once but this is your second divorce.”

    He has only been divorced once because he has never been able to maintain a “relationship” for longer than 2 years. The others saw through him more quickly than I.

    Now if I start to have that “missing you” feeling I conjure up the screaming man child or the adolescent jerking off to porn.

    I am proud of myself now for believing in me.

    Thank you for your writing. It validates my experience, thoughts and actions in a way that nothing else has.

    • Me, too, freedom. I have a whole thing I need to work through about forgiving myself for allowing myself to be treated so badly for so long by a verbally and emotionally abusive man. It’s hard but I’m getting there.

      As painful as it was, his cheating was my golden ticket out!

      • Hi Flowerlady, it is a whole tangled mess when you finally “see” who they really are. As I am away from him now the memories that come up of the abuse are a bit shocking! How did I not see it then??? How could I accept “I’m sorry” over and over with no change from him?

        I agree about the golden ticket. It was the final abuse that crossed the line. After the first affair, I changed, I demanded from him real change. I finally saw that he just was not capable of being a good person with character. Took way too long though.

        I cannot wait to arrive at “meh”.

        • Meh cannot come soon enough for me. Still not sleeping through the night; haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 3 mos.

          F2L: I’m with you – – It makes my head spin when I think of the fictional person I fell in love with, had sex with, shared my life with, vs. the horrible person he’s turned out to be. A whole life that I built turned out to be just a house of cards that he and his ho-worker took down with one blow (job). [Actually, I’m quite sure it was much more than that. I had to stop the pick-me dance before I got more trickle-truth than that.]

          FL: “I have a whole thing I need to work through about forgiving myself for allowing myself to be treated so badly for so long by a verbally and emotionally abusive man. It’s hard but I’m getting there.” THIS. We accept all of their shit because we love them, faults and all, and we’re repaid with cheating.

          We will get through this. Bring on the Meh.

          • Six year chump I have often thought of that moment when he made that choice to go for the blow job and disassemble our family and entire life. Now that I am divorced I pray some day he will recall that very moment and be tortured when the infatuation subsides and reality bursts his magical balls.

      • Flowerlady, exactly! If I hadn’t discovered my Ex’s cheating, I would still be being abused right now. It was indeed my ticket to freedom and to getting my LIFE back!

  • I don’t think I ve ever cared what people think. Maybe this is due to where I live,
    ( canada)people are more tolerant. I have 2 kids from different fathers and never got married. No one ever bats an eyelash at that. I knew I wanted kids but no necessarily stay with the fathers forever. I never was a romantic and didn’t understand why people got so upset when a relationship didn’t work. I thought it was simple to just move on. Unfortunately this changed when I met the love of my life. Perhaps I did find out what it was to love someone other than extentions of yourself and that’s a great experience but it also brought me such heartache. I found out he was a liar and cheater. If I could go back in time I would have walked right past him and stayed clear of trouble. It’s caused me too much grief and I still don’t have all the answers to my doubts and questions. I’m still trying to figure it out….

    • Me either fbi, you and I are soul sisters 😀 I have 2 kids from different father’s and never married. I’ve been “full on” chumped by two men, both the father’s of my children; once in my early 20’s and most recently in my late 40’s, both were lying cheating bags of shit but were different in other ways. Both of these relationships lasted 8 years and I’m sure it was the fact that my choices would affect my children that made me try EVERYTHING possible to work it out before throwing in the towel…. I can move forward knowing that I can tell my son some day that I did my absolute very best and he was always first in my heart.

      • Hi ncstevie u say that both were liars. Can I ask u a question? What and how did they lie about? I am asking u this because I m so not a hypocrite so I have a hard time understanding how someone could lie to the person they love. I have all these clues about my boyfriend cheating only a few times hard evidence but he always denies anything. It’s really frustrating. I have very good instincts and not an alarmist

        • fbi–Information is power. By lying to you, the cheater holds the power to him/herself. That way, they are able to (a) know something you don’t and thus have something over you, (b) cause you to feel pain or consternation at not knowing, which also makes them feel in control.

          Don’t expect logical explanations about fucktards anymore than you expect a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

        • Hey fbi ~ I would have to say that the more recent Narc was the bigger liar. Most of the outright lies were in regard to every aspect of the “affair” he arranged to have himself positioned so he could meet up with her in another town a few hours away (made a few phone calls & got himself a “request” to guest judge a show) and lied about that…. he lied and tried convincing me there was no romantic interest…… he lied about the “nature” of their conversations….. lied about the context when I’d seen with my own eyes…. lied about them “stopping” the affair…. asshole even bought another phone plan for the two of them with two new phones…. idiot. And he LIES about “facts”….. things that took place during our time together….. as if I weren’t there and don’t know better. Wtf? I swear…. I’m not sure if that part is just lying… or if it’s their delusional thinking, trying to downplay their own shit show. Example: he AVOIDS dealing with people when he owes them money, instead of telling them it will be a few days… he ignores their phone calls, it’s ridiculous…. and then when I call him out on it he’ll say “well, that simply isn’t true.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Lunatic.

          • Oh… and the biggie…. I almost forgot…. upon discovery of his EA last year… I called his ex-wife (she and I have a great friendship now) and I flat out asked her “Was he cheating on you? Is that why you left him?” I always wondered because their youngest was only 11 months old when she left and filed for divorce. She basically said that “yes” she caught him cheating when their youngest was 6 months old… and that was just the excuse she needed to get free of him. She had put up with years of the same shit I have… lies… hiding money…. selfishness…. addictions.

            When I caught him cheating this time…. and I confronted him I said “oh for God sakes… you STILL won’t admit that you cheated on Abby (fake name to protect the innocent)!!!” and his response “I did not cheat on her, it was already over…. why don’t you call and ask her!” I said “I already HAVE… where do you think I got my information?” Of course, upon her story not jiving the way he wanted…. she was a liar too. Every one else is a liar…. not him. Whatever… again…. lunatic.

  • Thanks, CL. This is awesome! Cheers to you and to all of us who have made it to the other side (and to those who are working on it)!!!

  • When people ask me if I am married, I say I am no longer married… then they always ask why… I just say my husband was in to sharing and I wasn’t… I stopped counting at woman number 150 and decided who cares how many, he is a disgusting human being who no longer deserves to be in the same room as me…

    D-Day is next week and in July I will be divorced a year… rock on Chumps!!!

    People still tell me that it is my fault and if I had just been more attentive and less career driven… and I just smile… because thanks to Chump Lady I know better than that!

    • Hi shared marriage I was wondering how in hell did u figure out it was over 150 women? This is an outrageous amount of cheating. My heart goes out to you and you are better off away from such a monster! !

      • The swinger he had an affair with for 2 years told me about quite a few, and then his previous boss gave me his online presence on South Africa’s version of Ashley Madison… he was meeting with 2 to 3 woman a week at lunchtime over a 7 year period. So I just did some maths… but 6 proper affairs… (that I know of)

        And I was clueless, he was always home on time, attentive funny husband… he worked Saturdays so I never questioned that all though it appears he wasn’t working… so this man was a real psycho living so many different lives.

        It is 8 months since the divorce, he is engaged and I am yet to be brave enough to go on a date… but I am getting stronger every day and living my authentic life.

    • Sorry, but 150 women screams PATHOLOGY, not “my wife was too wrapped up in her career.” Tell the cheater apologists to kiss your business-suit-bedecked ass.

    • “People still tell me that it is my fault and if I had just been more attentive and less career driven… and I just smile… because thanks to Chump Lady I know better than that!”

      Wait, your husband balled 150 other women, yet somehow it’s YOUR fault the marriage ended? What the hell is wrong with those people?
      My ex admitted to having sex with hundreds of other men, and although he did claim that it was MY fault he did so, no one else ever seemed to agree.

      • Idiots always claim it is the chump’s fault. When that didn’t fly with my kids or the general public, mine is now claiming that “there were marital problems that he dealt with badly by falling back on a crutch.”

        Yes, marital problems = “you are an entitled narcissistic a**hole who took advantage of my good will and loyalty”
        “crutch” = the grad whore you banged for several months and then took on a trip to Mexico (plus the other loose women you’ve crawled in the sack with since then)

  • Thank you CL for this. I came from a divorced family and I really did not want this for myself or my family. However, cheating is a deal breaker for me and he knew it. So I’m getting a divorce. And it’s true that I have learned a lot and grieved a lot. I wouldn’t go back to that marriage. Getting a divorce has saved my sanity and yeah, he’s stumbling around drunk somewhere.

  • Love it! Although I am fine about telling people I’m divorced, at first, I was so shellshocked from the process itself, I couldn’t even say the words. I felt like that blobfish when the papers were signed and executed—I still couldn’t even go into his office in the house, because I was never “allowed” in there without his permission. Took me weeks.

    But then, I gathered up every single thing that had any connotation of him—and donated it all to the Catholic Charities. Everyone thought I was insane—or just still grieving so hard I couldn’t think right. Nope….it was purging and cathartic.

    Nobody but one person gave me shit about getting divorced…his mother. Not because it was un-Christian, but because she was afraid she wasn’t going to get the “heirloom” engagement ring back from me if the atmosphere was hostile. She didn’t get it back. 🙂

    Didn’t have a lot of furniture after that, but hey. 🙂 We had beds to sleep in and a roof over our heads and food on the table.

    I don’t talk much about the details, except for on here some—but when I’m asked, I am not “single”. I am DIVORCED and happy!

  • I don’t know if there’s any right or wrong answer here. Your cousin phrased it in an ambiguous way to garner some type of support. This is how many people convey information, or lack thereof, on facebook. So, I get the “hang in there” comments, but you, you know what’s going on with her and I congratulate the way you approached it too.

    I wouldn’t worry about oversharing something like this on facebook. Everyone that knows her will know that she’s divorced eventually – and truly – if she’s not turning the page yet (from grief to moving on) then eventually she will…and your “onward and upward” comment will take on the meaning it was meant in.

    Best to you.

    • I don’t fault my cousin at all for how she handled it on Facebook. Not everyone wants to disclose in such a public forum, where maybe people from work read, or something. I just hope by not saying the D word it doesn’t mean she feels embarrassed or ashamed of it. Because she really was a trooper in a horrible, horrible situation. I’d like people to able to dump this shame back on cheaters. We shouldn’t wear it.

    • Facebook is the land of the fake, the home of the cowards.

      It leaves its users only some of the parts of social interaction with easy names. The crappy, kibbley parts.

      It doesn’t count as support if no one has any idea who it really is that they’re supporting, and why.

      “Social media” makes its users lonely.

      • Amen to this!
        I’m separated four months and feel a whole lot better already. Can’t wait to be called divorced from my abusive ex-narc. Shame…yes, over how far I went and how low I stooped to ‘keep this bondage not marriage’ and for all the wrong reasons like pride, fear, ‘kids’…11 years. Almost lost my mind, and did lose some health, teeth, a whole lot of dignity, all money, credit you name it. But piecing my personhood and life slowly together. Calling the cops finally was the best decision I ever made a few years ago…but I have a feeling that this will be the best decision yet. 🙂 Dreams of freedom..:)
        Thanks, guys, Tracy and everyone, you have been my lifeline and courage to go through with this.

  • I don’t know why, but I still feel ashamed and embarrassed. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. Maybe because of his walking out and filing on me like I was garbage. It’s so painful.

    • Lina, you haven’t done anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Hold your head high. The pain will eventually subside. This journey that we are all on is a slow one but we all get to meh in our own way. I hope you have support around you?

      • Thank you Maree. It is so slow. I don’t have much support but have a therapist. My Dad is with me but he is 91 and has Alzheimer’s and I try to keep my pain from him. He doesn’t need this ruining the last few years of his life.

        • Lina, I tried to post but it got lost in cyber space!! I know the effects that Alzheimer’s has on families but if it is any consolation, you still have your lovely dad with you. Lean on your therapist for support as you need a lot at present. I hope you also have a good friend or 2 to support you, even if it is to listen when you are feeling down. It will get better Lina and keep with Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I don’t know where I would be without both.

          • Thank you. X

            Most of my friends are overseas but they are very supportive and check on me by email. No one here. I’m so grateful for this community.

    • Lina, part of how you feel is because that’s how he WANTED you to feel. His one last chance to beat you down and control you, while he looked good. Try not to let him have that power over you.

      Remind yourself that the feeling is NOT the reality. You were honest and caring, he wasn’t. He cheated, you didn’t. He treated you like garbage, that does NOT mean you are garbage; it says something about HIM, not about you.

      If it’s hard to believe, think about whether you would EVER tell any of the other chumps here that they deserved to be cheated on, they deserved the end of their marriages, that they deserved to be dropped the way they were. Then try to apply the same kindness and compassion you would show other chumps to yourself. Keep reminding yourself, you can feel better in time.

      • Thank you KarenE. You make so much sense and I know you’re right. I guess I am harder on myself than others because I would never ever tell any other Chump they deserved it or should be ashamed. I feel righteously angry for them. My therapist asks me why I’m not angry for myself. We’re working on that and my self esteem. Right now I just feel sad.

        • Lina, I think everyone mourns the lost time and energy they invested in scumbag cheaters. The anger comes when you realize that the slot machine you married was NEVER going to produce a jackpot, and KNEW it was never going to produce a jackpot, and kept taking your time, effort and money anyway, just because it could. Sure, it might make pleasing noises, blink it’s lights and toss you a couple of coins from time to time, but that was just to keep you in your chair. When you find your anger, you’ll get up and go do something rewarding for you, and it will feel really good. Hugs to you.

        • Lina, some of that sadness is your anger turned inward. In the beginning at least, I think we all feel sadness for the loss of the make-believe world we participated in. One thing I do is imagine my story as a movie. Who is the hero? Who is the bad guy? Where would my sympathy lie? And inevitably, I see that from the outside, I wasn’t dumped like garbage. I was attacked by a predator and survived. You too.

          • ” I wasn’t dumped like garbage. I was attacked by a predator and survived.”

            That is so perfect LAJ. Thank you for that. There need to be T-Shirts, cups, magnets, napkins and bumper stickers emblazoned with that.

          • LAJ–Awesome!! I’m with Chump Princess, “Attacked by a predator & survived” t-shirts all around.

    • Lina, I also felt this way. XH left me for a 25 year old waitress, just as I was about to turn 50. God bless my therapist because as I sat crying in his office one day (early on), I sobbed, “I’m just so embarrassed..,” he said, “What are YOU embarrassed about? Have you done something shameful?”

      We live in a small town and it’s easy for people to know all three of us (me, XH, OW), and I think I felt “embarrassed” for getting old and being unworthy of his continued (? was it ever there?) love and commitment.

      But of course it is he who should be embarrassed (XH, not MC), for lying, cheating, casting aside promises made to someone whose heart he held in his hands….

      I am most certainly not embarrassed anymore. I’ve come to realize the divorce is just something that happened to me, like an earthquake. I’m actually pretty awesome for NOT having driven off that cliff in Oregon, or used the box-cutter for nefarious means as I was contemplating one particularly dark evening. — Here I am, out the other side, safe as houses. And when people ask, I tell them XH “traded me in for a younger model.” He’s the dick, not me.

          • Those shiny new things never do have what was tossed away. That is why the most shameless of the cheaters look over their shoulders and think they can get the more dependable older model back. The correct answer is “No Thanks!”

      • NWBiblio, I’m late posting because I had a super busy work day but it’s obvious that your EX is an idiot!! don’t let the age thing become your hangup… he didn’t leave you BECAUSE of your age! My cheater was 5 years younger than me. He traded down for a woman one year OLDER than me. Though I wholeheartedly believe that if I had not caught him, he never planned to leave me as I was a reliable gravy train for him. I sense that about your ex too. So good riddance to them!! Your posts shine brightly with your personality which is as full of life and wisdom as can be. That baby-aged OW is no match for you!

        • Not to quibble, but he did. I’m sure of it. I think he’s terrified of getting old himself. According to him, this whole thing started when he was at his dad’s 70th birthday party — there’s a picture of him (ex-FIL) doing a handstand on the beer keg. The apple hasn’t fallen far from that tree, for sure. And there were issues we had, which I can trace to his concerns about me getting older. I wasn’t wallowing in inpt. In fact, I’ve taken pretty good care of myself. I run, swim, do yoga, take an occasional ballet class… But on out trip to turkey recently, the waiter asked him if I was his mother — he looked like … Well, he was horrified.
          To me, aging is inevitable (sure beats the alternative), and I embrace it. I like who I am and what I know and the wisdom from my life experiences. But that’s all stodgy to him. Whatever.

    • Lina–pain, I get. Ashamed? Nope. You did everything a healthy person is supposed to do–trusted, loved, committed to the marriage. What did he do? belittled you, cheated on you, exhibited total lack of empathy or commitment. He sucks, you rock.

      And you should be angry. Who the f*ck does he think he is to just walk all over you and think he can get away with it. You’re a warm, contributing member of society; he’s an air thief using up valuable oxygen the rest of us could use.

      If you can, find some local group as support. Even if it only meets once a week for coffee, it will do you a world of good just to make extra connections.

      Hugs to you.

      • Thank you all! I guess I’m waiting for my heart to catch up with my head. I’m smart enough to know I shouldn’t waste another second feeling bad over him but I still cry.

        • “an air thief using up valuable oxygen”

          Tempest is on the money here. When you cry, Lina, cry because you were mistreated. Nurture yourself. Then realize your worth and be angry that you were mistreated. See that you treat yourself better, and require others to do the same.

        • Remember the crying will heal you. There are actually stress hormones in tears, so you’re ok. Let yourself cry over promises broken, the unfairness of life, but not over him… No, HE isn’t worth it. But you are. Do what you need to do to heal, then move on to a better you.

  • I was astounded at the faked ‘oh my stars and garters!’ when I even very vaguely HINTED at infidelity on the dreaded FB. We had separated and I was simply asking that people not make things worse by resorting to taking sides and gossiping, that we were doing our best in a bad situation.

    My mistake was saying ‘something happened that I have tried to get past, but found I couldn’t’.

    You would have thought I painted a scarlet letter on her. How dare I do such a thing! The confusing part for me – in the next breathe I was told ‘you don’t have to say anything, everyone knows what happened…’

    What a massive mindfuck this whole business is.

    • I posted a link on Facebook to the song by Sam Smith “I’m Not The Only One” one night when I was out… I got a text “Are you SERIOUS??” He had NO remorse for ANY thing he put me through…. deliberately for months… and I’M supposed to care that he was embarrassed?? Not embarrassed that he DID it….. not enough to QUIT…. just enough to not TELL anyone. Who gives a crap. They are nothing but a mindfuck, only problem is that we have a hard time catching on because it is just so undeniably incomprehensible to us chumps. My mind just does NOT work that way… and I for one am thankful for that!!

      • NCS: the same thing happened to me re: Facebook. I’m apparently supposed to shut up and protect his image. Mine also is without remorse. And without heart.

        • Fuck that. If it is not bad enough to do, then it is not bad enough to talk about. Yell it to the rooftops. Fuck that.

        • Not only was I not to talk about it I was expected to sit quietly in the corner and wait for him to be healed. When he realised I would not take the blame and shoulder the responsibilities for his actions I instantly became his enemy. I am 4 days post divorce. People can think what they like. It’s my life and I’m free. He told me a week ago that he never asked for my forgiveness because he didn’t need it. And I don’t need his poor excuse for a marriage.

        • My younger sister has claimed the position of “mortal enemy of the asshat” and I don’t even have to post anything… she does it all and enjoys it. She suffered the worst tragedy any Mother should have to, I lost my only niece over 4 years ago, ever since then… my sister went from low bullshit filter….. to NO bullshit filter. She doesn’t hide her disdain for him at all. She does reign in her hatred a bit…. but only because I have to remind her that we are all friends with the kids too. Her posts are just the bad humor ones…. snarky and covert. Makes her feel a little better and keeps me giggling 😀

    • Jobin–Screw ’em. Truth is worth promoting (one of the key virtues and all). If they didn’t want their behavior condemned by others, they shouldn’t have done it.

      Mine is upset that our kids know what he did. His problem; I’m not owning up to being the cause of the divorce when he poured gasoline and set the thing on fire.

      Accountability.

    • Jobin, yeah. I know what you mean. What you said was not at all offensive. The truth is just too hard for these cheaters to acknowledge. Mine spent months accusing me of “character assassination” (his words) for simply telling people “Ex and I broke up because he cheated on me.” It was true and I had every right to say so. But as others have pointed out, the cheaters also want to control the narrative.

  • Funny how often I come here and feel something was written directly to me. I just got word by email from my attorney yesterday that my divorce is final. While I understand the well-intentioned “congratulations”, it was news I received with mixed emotions. It felt like the culmination of a series of painful events perpetrated against me. I am glad to be free. I’ve felt that from the outset as well as knowing that all of his actions are a reflection on him, not me. But the collateral damage, e.g., losing a sense of family, dealing with friends and family that judge and will never understand, and the feeling like I failed somehow even though I know intellectually I did nothing wrong, has been painful. Overall, I am happier being free and know I’ve acted with integrity during this whole ordeal. I am so grateful that a friend referred me to your site early on. You,Tracy, and this community have been such a source of strength and solace. Thank you!

    • Nina, congratulations on your divorce, though I know it’s with mixed emotions. When it finally sinks in, I hope the emotions swing more towards the happiness of being free.

    • All totally understandable Nina, it is still a loss to us… even if we KNOW we are better off in the long run and we understand they are disordered. We still loved these disordered pieces of sham and even when you reach the point of understanding the “why” it doesn’t change everything that you “lose” or give up once it all disintegrates. It is all still painful.

      Wishing you hugs & good juju 😀

    • Only now, almost a year from Dday, can I start to perceive the “congratulations” in my divorce. To me, it’s still a bit sad that two adults weren’t able to sit down and maturely work out their differences, work toward a better finale, were that inevitable. Of course, the key word there is “work,” which was never XH’s strong suit.

      This is, though, a new chance, whether we chose or wanted it or not. I see that much more clearly now. Initially, I thought it meant I could just get fat and no one who just met me would even know that I hadn’t always been fat. You know, superficial stuff. But …. it’s a world of opportunity. And I can just choose whatever path I want. Sure, the option of being a star for the Joffrey Ballet is no longer in the cards, but … well, lots of options. “Congratulations”? Still too harsh for me, but I’ll take any positive vibes coming my way. And anyone who thinks XH is a jerk, well, those are bonus points.

    • Nina, I’ll extend to you my heartfelt “congratolences.”

      It felt peculiar to be congratulated on the end of a marriage I had cherished. Something I had loved was now dead, and was to be mourned. My condolences to you for that.

      But, I also appreciated the congratulations on moving past the horrible treatment that led to its end, and marking the start of a new life. My congratulations to you for operating with integrity throughout a painful process experience you did not seek to have imposed on you.

      • I also had a terrible day when the divorce was final. Nope – sure didn’t want congratulations but people were sweet and said and wrote nice things like…finally, the rest of your life will start. I wasn’t ready for that at all. Never wanted the divorce. But, now that I’m so much closer to Meh, one year later – I’m gonna throw myself a big party in the new (old) house I just bought and about to begin renos on. Mr SheChump – who? This does feel good and yes, you will move on. Something I never believed in the early stages. And…drum roll…here I am…sort of arriving in my new life.

  • This post is thought-provoking for me. Frankly, I am a lot closer to “meh” in regard to my EX than I am in regard to my status as divorced. I think untangling shame (which I understand why Chumplady is exhorting us to refuse) from disappointment and fear is hard to do. I am not sure how much of my dis-ease with being an unpartnered, middle-aged mother is due to shame, but I know my life is not what I’d expected in a very central way, and that despite my exhilaration at being out of a bad marriage, I’m not really comfortable with all aspects of where I have arrived.

    I keep trying to write another paragraph about this . . . and then deleting it. Which tells me that today’s Chumplady post unsettles me more than anything else. I can’t capture how shame (or pride) feels for me in regard to marriage, divorce, and being a parent–but it is clearly still pretty messy for me.

    • I think it’s totally natural to GRIEVE. You’ve got a lot to grieve. But I think grief work is different from shame. I say “congrats” not because I think divorce is a happy occasion, but because I think we should take pride in how we navigated a trauma, particularly a trauma as unjust as infidelity. And because closing that chapter of our lives means new ones are open to us.

      After you do the grief work, you get to acceptance. It just sounds to me like you’re still in mourning. That’s okay too.

      • Sometimes I think the trauma they inflict is purposefully cruel to keep us from moving on. When my therapist strongly suggested I wait at least two years before I start dating I was angry. They move on with such disregard an ease.

        • I know right?? How CAN they be so fucking cruel? I couldn’t inflict such heartless cruelty on an enemy much less someone I supposedly loved. Wtf?

  • Here here!!! As always… on point CL!!! I can’t begin to explain how I wish I had found this site at d-Day 6 months ago, or even the day my bag of shit walked out the door almost 4 months ago…. THIS is THE best therapy EVER!!! I look forward to reading the new post every morning and you NEVER disappoint.

    Somehow, your “no bullshit” viewpoint brings laughter & many “aha” moments. My kinda gal 🙂 thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I saw a comment within this site where another chump said to you “CL… you had me at motherf*cker”. I couldn’t agree more!!

  • Seven months after D-day, I still can’t bring myself to mention anything about the split on Facebook. (We weren’t married, so there’s no “divorce” word left unspoken.) Everyone on FB whom I want to know, I’ve already told. And everyone reacted with disbelief and disgust and support for me, so there’s not much more I want or need to say on FB.

    • Even after catching Jackass with MOW on FB, I still have an account. I use it to stay in touch with family across the country, friends from “back home” and to keep in touch with colleagues and former students. But I would never, ever, use it to post anything about my actual personal life. I’ll put up pictures of a snowstorm or critters in the yard or articles that may be of interest (few takers there, for sure). But bleeding all over social media or using it as an emotional outlet? Hell to the no. I did go through a stage on Pinterest in the months after DDay where i pinned a lot of stuff about betrayal, but I eventually corralled it all into one board and left it there in case someone else needed a collection of that stuff. I never look at it any more; it’s an artifact of that part of my life. The best thing about Pinterest is that it’s a pretty anonymous outlet and unless you have a stalker or a huge following, you can express those feelings and eventually delete them. Just make sure your profile doesn’t turn up via Google. As MOW’s does. And I am in DAY THREE of my belated Lenten “fast” in which I give up reading her Pinterest boards, which have been a daily expression of how horrible her life is and how lonely it is to be her. Kicking that person out of my head for good. But my point is–don’t leave a cyber trail of your suffering. I’d have no scruples about outing the two of those hyenas but moving forward, I want no part of my life linked to them.

  • I did shame myself for awhile. I loved being married, I loved the idea of marriage and I saw growing old with my ex and allowing my kids to never have to navigate a dance of multiple households. That life was for shitty self-involved parents, right?

    Well, the ideal of something is one thing, and how that works in real life is another. If your spouse is cheating and lying, operating under the pretense that all is well is worse than cancer for everyone. I hated getting divorced but thank goodness I did.

  • The last paragraph is exactly what I needed today… “you’re divorced exactly because you DO value marriage…” Thank you, thank you, thank you, CL!

  • This very much speaks to me. I was one who stayed in an untenable situation out of endurance, hope, shame, fear for far too long. It took almost seven years to file for divorce after that, and it wasn’t easy. During those years, I went from being physically unable to speak the D-word to finding the strength to do this. And even after all these years, it’s been very, very hard.

    Something that helped me a lot is knowing other people who I admire greatly who have been through this. People of integrity, intelligence, compassion, beauty. One said to me, “I was abandoned,” and another who said, “He left us for another woman,” and I looked at them both and thought their husbands were absolute idiots.

    CL, you wrote in a different column something that also helped me a lot. Something to the effect (and someone else will probably remember the article), “Divorce: a legal action that allows you to separate yourself from someone whom you don’t want to have in your life anymore. What’s not to love about that?” I thought then of all the people throughout time and those living today in places or cultures where this was not an option, and I *got* it. This is hard, but that just means you have to lace up your boots and do the hard thing, and get stronger in the process.

    Now when I meet people who are divorced, I feel as if I am meeting someone from a far-away country where I once lived, too. There’s a connection there, as if we just have to look at each other and know we each survived a difficult journey to get to where we are today.

  • I’m from a small town in North Carolina. I’m sure my reputation proceeds me. This will be my 3rd failure at marriage. The first 2, I own my part. Selfish, immature, you name it….that was me. I hit rock bottom and decided I better get NY shit together , so I did. Along came number 3, presenting himself as a Christian man, great family, good reputation….what more could I want??? Turns out, he is a cheater and a sex addict. I stayed in the marriage because I did not want to be divorced a 3rd time. I have 3 children now, with 3 different dads. Sometimes I have to laugh so I won’t cry. I was such a GOOD girl but I am a POOR decision maker. A CHUMP!! I decided I’d rather let people talk than continue to stay in this abusive marriage. They can truly all kiss my ass!!!

  • I remember my voice faltering the first time I told someone I was divorced. Now I just say I lost 240 ugly pounds.

    For those chumps that are still ambivalent, I was there with you for about two years post d-day and divorce. Coming from a very conservative family, where several cheaters were taken back and there’s been a metric ton of under-the-rug-sweeping, it was hard to go against the norm and say “ENOUGH!”. I found surprising supporters (my ultra conservative, straight laced, devout Christian mother) and some appalling wanna be Swiss: several cousins, including two who had been chumped. But I don’t worry about anyone’s opinion now.

    In fact, the whole experience has changed my outlook – before it happened to me, I was one of those who had the oh-so-smug mindset of what did that person do to make their spouse stray? I beat myself up with that for a long time before I realized the true answer: *absolutely nothing*. I wish Chump Lady had been around in 2003 so I could’ve gotten my head on straight sooner.

    • “Now I just say I lost 240 ugly pounds.” <—- This.

      Weight, and carrying it, apply so well, I think.

    • I’m pleased to hear about your mother, too.

      I was surprised at some of the ways my grandparents reacted to this sort of thing, too, actually.

      Some of the people with the scariest ideologies have the easiest time getting past them: {Mother/Daughter/Friend} first, {Christian/Democrat/Plebe/”Chill”/Ideology} second, because they’ve had more experience with real life getting in the way of it. Just a theory, though. I have a lot of respect for people who, even when they’re wrong, are willing to consider turning against themselves if they realize it’s the right thing to do.

  • Thank you thank you chump lady , especially the last paragraph ,says it perfectly, and helps so much .

  • Great post, CL.

    Two time loser and I thank God I didn’t marry the third.

    I don’t know if I would have had the courage to throw the third one out if I was married to him.

    Now that I think about it…

    HELL YES I WOULD THROW THAT ASS HOLE OUT!!

      • @Calamity Jane @Tempest: I fantasize that if I *had* killed his worthless ass, I wouldn’t have been convicted by a jury of my *true* peers (read: fellow chumps). When my theoretical defense lawyer would’ve polled the jury on the not guilty verdict, as one, they would’ve asked, “what took you so long?” and then added, “and thanks for taking him out of the dating pool”.

        Or maybe I just should’ve moved to Texas like CL where a viable defense is “But he needed killin’ your honor!

        • Her Blondeness–If I’d been on the jury, not only would I have acquitted, I’d have given you a medal.

          • “But he needed killin’ your honor!

            This cracks me up I live in Australia but have friends with strong southern US connections. I remember being wound up just after my X had been served with the divorce papers. Being the devoute Christian he is, he instantly set about redefining history to distance himself from having caused our marriage ending. I stated to a friend “if I lived in Texas and owned a gun I would use it”.

            Would it be wrong of me to let the current girlfriend know that if she ever kills him I am happy to testify on her behalf? I know what her future holds and would not wish it on my worst enemy. She was not his AP so I hold no ill will towards her.

  • I had two as well. Glad to be done, and like CL stayed in the second one as long as I could because I didn’t want the failure stigma. In the end though, I rarely think in terms of failing twice at marriage. I think more about cruelty and being freed from it, living my life my way, making my paycheck, paying my bills hanging out with friends, etc. When I do think about the divorce I think about what she lost, not what I lost. I had everything to gain by being divorced, she was a cheater, an emotional cripple, a life sucking attention hound, and she had a great setup, nice life, big house, attentive husband, two great kids. She had everything to lose. And man did she ever lose out…

    • Same here, Scott. He had everything to lose and he lost big time.

      Nevertheless, it was a huge burden off my back.

      I nursed him through two major heart surgeries and the only thing he was worried about was if his wonker worked.

      I understand the worry, but it wasn’t me he was worrying wonking. Loser.

      • I can relate here. X and I went from a youthful row boat, to a bigger and bigger boat, and when we got 35 yrs into it and had the perfect “cruise boat’ – lifestyle…well, the Captain pulled the plug. I’m sure he never thought he’d wind up below the boat and I would wind up on top. My reputation, integrity, morals and values. That’s what kept that rowboat moving forward. His lover had nothing to lose and he lost it all. Friends and too much family to count. Yeah, I’m at meh.

  • I hated getting divorced. The process sucks. Loudly. I LOVED being divorced. I could eat what I wanted, sleep when I wanted, read a good book without being harassed for “sitting around doing nothing.” I didn’t have to clean up after a slob who treated me like the hired help. I could have friends over without asking permission or dealing with surly disapproval. After living with a control freak for so many years I felt like a hostage who had escaped her captor. I was happy to pass the keys to that prison to the OW and quietly move away from the drama. When people would ask me if I was married, I’d just grin and say, Not Anymore!”

    For those of you still in transit, know that there are sunnier days ahead, and they will be custom made by you and for you.

    • Oh Survivor I look forward to being where you are! I have been patiently biding time so that I will be eligible to share his retirement regardless of what stunts he pulls during the divorce. Soon .. oh so soon. And it has been killing me to wait (a lot of funky anxiety symptoms – anyone else lose blood flow to the fingers and toes because of stress?) but it makes me so happy and light to think that I like you will have all the little freedoms of reading, eating, sleeping when I want. That I will have a chance to save my kids from growing up in a more normal home, even if divorced.

      • ca-chump, you will get there. The little pleasures are the best. It’s a fun self-determined place to be. The air is fresher. The sky is bluer. Like so many here, I’d carried the laboring oar for years because I signed on for better and for worse, while my ex apparently signed on only for better, richer, and in health, and that wasn’t enough if there was a younger, thinner and prettier option available. If you can’t get away sooner, at least look into those tingling fingers and toes. Stress robs the body of vitamin B-12. It’s a form of anemia. Try a supplement if you like. Sublingual tabs are best. It won’t stay in the body to become toxic, but if you are in fact deficient, you’ll feel better right away.

  • Thank you….this is something that Divorced Minister has written about also.
    The shame was huge for me. Why, who knows…
    I found out right after giving birth that ex was cheating during pregnancy. I believed for a long time that I must had done something wrong to have my husband cheat on me and cheat whilst I was pregnant, it was somehow my fault. The the utter shame along with postpartum lows lasted way to long.
    Finally, I woke up and realized (thanks to this site, DM and others) that WTF is wrong with me. This A-Hole did this crappy thing to me during what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of our lives. I did not do wrong, this shame is not mine to bear. Beginning step was filing for divorce. Oh, yeah, I danced the dance for 2 long years. Woke up one Monday morning and knew I was done and filed that morning.
    In the year since, I have finally let go of the shame of being divorced slowly. I can finally say i am divorced and state reason why in such a matter of fact manner. To finally not carry that shame daily is a huge relief.

    • Moxie,you are mighty. If your ex could behave so badly while expecting a child, that’s a pretty good indication that he didn’t have it in him to be a proper husband or father. He flunked that test. Didn’t make the team in tryouts. Even with tutoring and extra practice time. It’s not your fault he couldn’t perform. He just wasn’t good enough.

  • This was a much needed post this morning. I remember my STBX saying that I didn’t value marriage because I was not willing to “get over it” and get back our the business of our life. Your post is very validating, and I am happy to say that being without him has transformed me into a happy, optimistic person again. Nothing like feeling the sunshine again. Thanks, CL!

    • malbecrioja–Those cheaters are amazing, aren’t they? I was told to “get over it” and “be forward-looking.”

      Another time he asked, “You’re really willing to give all this up?!” (the intact family, house, etc.) Nope, I’m just willing to give you up, your skanky little man-whore. [And I kept the house : )]. Sunshine ahead.

      • I can honestly say my X never said these things to me. Because he hid behind the pastor and elder of the church we attended as a family who were willing to say it for him, along with other uncaring, unchristian and unfiltered notions of their own. I remember realising I had to stand up for myself against these opinionated morons but it was hard. Handling all of their verbal abuse, seeing no remorse in the X as he already considered himself forgiven by God, and dealing with my youngest in hospital on chemo left me with a lot of mental gymnastics. But the minute I began to disagree with those who expected me to remain married I was labled disrespectful, thoughtless, one even tried to convince me that I suffered from a spirit of rejection which was causing me to reject their opinion on how I should handle my marriage going forward. These same people are now supporting the X and his new girlfriend. And I love my life, I admit it will be easier once property is settled but to no longer have to deal with the crazy is awesome. And I have changed so much as a person in just 15 months.

  • I agree; when the chump leaves, she or he has no place to go but up, and from what I’ve seen, they mostly do, and the cheater heads downhill. If I weren’t gay, I would’ve been divorced twice by now as well, due to my partners’ cheating ways. I used to feel bad about that before I started visiting this blog. Now I’m grateful I left. The first time, it took four or five OW before I got out. The second time it only took one. I guess that’s progress.

    • That’s Done, best of all is that next time, you may be able to sniff out the potential cheaters/other types of selfish idiots before they get anywhere at all with you!

  • It’s been fifteen days since my divorce agreement was signed and I am waiting for the final order. There is no room for shame in my life anymore. I can feel myself getting stronger now that the fuckwit finally signed the papers. There are so many things I lost when he signed the agreement. I lost a pathological liar, cheater, drug addicted, alcoholic who was addicted to porn. I lost my need to reconcile, check phone records, cry myself to sleep, obsess about what he was doing, and feeling worthless. I lost the idea that I could fix a narcissistic asshole. I lost my love for this creature.

    What I have found on this journey was the support of many friends, family, and chumps. I anticipate the wounds will become smaller over time. There is no shame in telling the truth. I hold my head high.

  • So much bad advice out there in our culture: “Do everything you can to save your marriage.” (This shit even from lawyers.) “If a boy asks you out, you need to say yes because you don’t want to hurt his feelings.” (This from my mom). The victim blaming of our culture that the chump/victim must have done something to deserve it or at least trigger it. BULLSHIT. Those beliefs are part of what keep chumps/victims (your spouse doesn’t have to be a cheater to be an abusive asshole) in unacceptable relationships. Now that we know better, we chumps have an opportunity here to raise our children to the sound of a different chorus so they don’t have to “unlearn” a bunch of malarkey in their middle age. I for one am teaching my kids that no one has the right to talk down to them and treat them with disrespect – teacher, coach, friend, parent, sibling, boy/girl friend. My daughter actually quit dance because of her abusive ballet coach and I backed her up on her well-thought out decision. This man actually expected more emotional self control from his students than he had himself. She saw the irony and ultimately chose to remove herself from the situation after she completed her recital. She has taken a break and now we are looking for another studio. I’m teaching my kids to set boundaries. I’m teaching my kids to treat others well. I’m teaching them that just because you care about someone doesn’t mean that they have to be a part of your life. I’m teaching them about reciprocity. How to support others who are downtrodden. In another instance, my teen broke up with her boyfriend because she saw him pick on another boy at the park. She witnessed the incident, which happened during a game of pick-up football, and she walked right over to him in front of all their friends and said, “Guess what, you are single now.” When he asked why, she said, “I refuse to date someone who treats people that way.” You go girl!!!! I’m teaching my kids (a teen daughter and a 9 year old son) to listen to their gut, even when they don’t have any hard “evidence.” I’m teaching these as they relate to all areas of life, not just romantic relationships. But my hope is that it will help them with their pickers and in any difficult situations they find themselves in long after I’m dead and gone. One thing that has come out of it is they notice when people stand up for themselves and they notice when people tolerate unacceptable treatment. When their best friends’ mother divorced her husband because of abuse, they watched the whole thing play out over months were proud of her for making some tough decisions and moving on with her life. They had in fact noticed the condescending way the dad talked to the mom and they are proud of her for saying “no more.” There will be at least two people in the next generation who will not look at divorce as a shameful situation, but will instead place the shame on the person(s) with the shameful behavior.

  • I needed this today. Thank you!!!!
    I’ve had “one of those mornings” dealing with STBX Narc, battling his endless power trip by trying to keep his pathetic life that I care nothing about secret from me- my one and only concern is my daughters health & safety when she’s with him….but even that is a cause for stress, threats & wasted money on lawyers for shit that should be a piece of fucking cake.
    Sorry….end rant. I just needed a good reminder of why my current life and future life will be better and his behavior and this post validated.

  • Thanks for the post, CL. Especially that last paragraph. That hit home for me.

    Like probably a lot of people on here, I try to avoid the pointless self-pity, but it sneaks in every month or two for a day. Friends and family can tell you a billion times to not “compare” yourself to others at your age/station in life. But until you do it yourself, and realize that they are correct, it’s all just words.

    There are some days that I “hate” being divorced — the only divorcee in my immediate family, one of only a few in a ginormous Irish extended family, and the only one of my group of friends. I hate that others my age have young children and homes, while I’m living in a sublet and wondering whether I’ll be able to rebuild a life someday to a place that I can have children.

    BUT, those are just some days. On most days, I remember what CL said — I’m divorced because I stuck by my vows while my wife didn’t. The size of my family and its relative lack of divorce has nothing to do with my situation, and comparing it to that is pointless. My girlfriend doesn’t care, at all, that I’m divorced — in fact, she considers it a gift because otherwise I’d be unavailable. And most importantly, it was a blessing that I didn’t breed with my ex-wife. It’s better to have children late than to have them with a serial cheater.

    I’m not ashamed of being divorced. I just get frustrated by the fact that my life, in some ways (financially, emotionally, reproductively, etc.), went “on hold” for a couple of years. There’s nothing wrong with that frustration. But I do my best to use it to drive myself forward to achieve my new goals.

  • Dear God Tracey, this is so very on target for me today! Just yesterday at my regular divorce therapy appt, I realized just how far into a regressive state I’m sliding. The final D Day in my 34 year marriage was June 2013. He walked out the door, and this time I finally said enough. I filed four weeks later, one day ahead of him. This began a wretched, classic litigated divorce, with even more than I ever guessed coming out in Discovery. He did everything he could to disrupt and delay the process, along with an astounding amount of blame shifting, revised history, obfuscating, and outright denial even in the face of documented evidence, etc. I missed the memo to get another partner ready and waiting, so while he, as usual, had another bed to hop right into when he walked out the door, I am not sure if I will ever find a simpatico soul again starting over at 57. I’m pretty confident I will never know everything, never have any answers, and never get any closure from the incredible fraud and coward that this supposedly respected executive of the business community is. After a protracted battle, I got a great settlement and the divorce came through in November 2014.

    I spent little time during the process weeping after the first month as it took all my energy get on with life, to prepare rebuttals, pull documentation, substantiate crap and absorb each new revelation of duplicity. I jumped every time my phone rang or a message came through in case it was my atty needing answers before the business day closed, and dropped everything to deal with whatever the electronic tether needed to advance my case. I did also make great strides establishing my life and gaining direction for my future during that time, tried a lot of unexpected, new things to get out of my box, took care of myself and am in better shape now than since my college days, all while remaining no contact for my own mental health.

    Now, in the three months since the divorce, I have been swimming in oil, losing momentum and focus. I never had nightmares before, and now get them portraying new variations on the abandonment theme, or or being tricked into attending his wedding to the OW, etc. There is a serious hurt to work through. I feel the humiliation of total rejection and abandonment, the first divorce in my family. I know I shouldn’t waste any energy on it, but I loathe that this callous jerk has labeled me the problem child, uncooperative, immature in my refusal for contact, unreasonable in my demands for a fair settlement after a lifetime of support for his career and what I thought were our mutual goals, did not “adore” him and keep the “passion” high (this is grotesque as I frequently felt like a whore singlehandidly trying to keep him happy while ignoring my own needs and frustratingly changing menopausal body) and utterly failed to appreciate him and the lifestyle “he alone” provided. This from a man who has never seen a need for any therapy for himself, had multiple infidelities, a long history (noticed by long time friends) of passive aggressive emotional abuse, several physical abandonments of his wife and daughter, stolen money, had secret accounts he claims he gambled away, stuck himself with three different types of steroids weekly for at least the last couple years, exposed me to STD’s, had several sexual harrassment inquiries and a lawsuit at work, and it was revealed that he sexually molested his own younger family member as a young teen… How much more corrupt can he get?

    I’m not stupid.. I’m really not, I’m just like every other chump who thought she shouldn’t judge, should extend yet another chance, should try harder, but I find it incredible and shameful I put up with this shit for so long. Somewhere in all of this I kept going, even earning a Masters degree during one separation. I reached out to our Catholic upbringing for help the second DDay, but no one had any time to discuss or even send information on things like Retrovielle– for which I am greatful now, and wish I had taken as a sign.

    Yet according to my ex, I am the real problem here because I didnt get over these bumps in the road, reacted badly and out of proportion, and greedily fought for a settlement other than what he intended to reveal as dividable assets. And clearly I am a troubled and delusional person because I am still alone, no one wants me. He on the other hand has gone on with his most wonderful upgrade, the answer to all his prayers to replace his substandard and deeply flawed burden of an ex wife who never understood or supported him, and he just bought a huge, fancy home in a nearby town for her, well beyond anything we ever lived in. He is a much better spin doctor than almost anyone I know, always coming off as so genuine, so pitying the sad case of his ex. I don’t want this shit to become public, I don’t want him to lose his job and renig on the remaining four and a half years of awarded maintenance which I feel I’ve paid for with my blood, sweat and tears, though I wish the world, and his new woman, had an inkling of the man behind the facade. I really do hope he has stopped all the post divorce letters to my atty with threats of lawsuits all around from his displeasure at the outcome, and move ahead with his Disneyland life with her, and stay gone. The whole thing is so fifty ways from fucked it really should be a movie.

    I’ve finally come through the crap, stuck with therapy, fought for and obtained a secure future, am physically healthy and reasonably attractive for my age, have cultivated new friends to replace those who were not supportive or simply ran for cover, have work I enjoy, and am so filled with gratitude for what I have. So why now the backslide? WTF? I have the best possible outcome in this shitty thing, everything to look forward to, yet feel like I’m right back at the final DDay sometimes. I feel God has abandoned people like me who are so emotionally wrecked, he has much bigger things to do, that evil and deceit have been rewarded handsomely… I feel like though it goes against everything in my core and my soul, that I should change track, just spend the money on plastic surgery touch ups, screw the high road, and just go poach what I want and enjoy life and don’t worry about the morality of it all. None of it matters, it’s working well for him, and for so many others.

    This feeling is grotesque and I don’t understand what’s happening. Here I thought I was so close to meh, and now I’d consider unspeakable acts to skate into the same happy, easy life so many unethical people everywhere are enjoying. After all, why not be like my ex when I can enjoy my time on this Earth and not worry about it because like the Forgiveness Police say, God loves him as much as he loves me, we are both equal in his eyes, and a late “repentance” will be the Get Out Of Jail a Free card. Who am I to judge if God doesn’t? I must prostrate myself and forgive this repulsive, unrepentant creature and wish him well to have any chance of a life at all in the years ahead. Well, I dont know if I will ever be able to do such a thing, and frequently reread Chump Lady’s essay on forgiveness from Sept 2012 just to wash that shit from my head.

    My therapist says this is both a crises of faith, and finally being done with the battle for “survival”, and that I now have the “luxury” of processing the full measure of what’s happened in my life. I need to finish grieving for the partnership I thought I had, and for the man I thought he was all those years, for my own naïveté that good morals and faith bring good things. I can see her point, but the turnaround is so abrupt and extreme it really disturbs me. Has anyone else experienced this? Is it really just that I don’t trust that he sucks and it’s not mostly my fault? Is it really that simple?

    • Dear Chumpness,
      First, congrats on first, surviving marriage to the a-hole and second, for reaching inside yourself and finding the energy to stay on top of your divorce proceedings. It really is like a part-time job, a full-time job for some. Now that it’s over you finally have time to breathe and your grief and emotions are surfacing once again. That is OKAY. It is NORMAL. Your therapist is so right. This is a luxury as so many don’t fully process. Since you are Catholic, allow me to recommend the books of my favorite feminist Catholic nun, Sister Joan Chittester. I recommend you start with The Story of Ruth: 12 Moments in Every Woman’s Life. In fact, I recommend it for all chumps here you don’t have to be Catholic or even religious to gain value from this book that compares an ancient tale with modern society. Let me know what you think!

    • Chumpness–“I am not sure if I will ever find a simpatico soul again starting over at 57.”

      What?!! “again”?? There is no way you were sympatico with that POS, aka known as your X. You were sympatico with some constructed fantasy of him, but not with some selfish bastard who cheated on you and then told you to “get over it.” For starters, there’s probably no way to be sympatico with such a person because there is nothing real to connect to.

      If by regressing, you mean that you have more intense anger than before, that’s normal. My therapist thinks the anger increases because our view of them & what they have done to us becomes more evident, and we no longer have the spackle to hide it from ourselves. I think that cheating causes both a pain of betrayal, and anger at “how dare you treat me like that!” The pain fades as you stop caring for the loser, but the anger remains.

      And toward hope–a widower friend of mine has found true and profound love…at 80. He’s off on a tour of China, Japan, & other countries right now with his love.

      • Thank you… Both of you… For letting me know this phase is expected. It seems like I know few people around me who have been through this, just a few friends, now acquaintances, who look upon my journey as more of a television series, and are under the mistaken Impression I would be sharing my Bridget Jones diary of dating adventures with them as they sit at home, having reconciled with men I would not trust to wash my car, and feel lucky they “don’t have to go through all that again after all”. I think Tempest, your forcefully pointing out my “again” label as incorrect is right on! Great catch, I didn’t even pick up on that, ever… That’s part of the long term mind fuck with all this, isn’t it? You get so conditioned to think a certain way… I met him at 19, we married right after college at 22, so I actually have no yardstick to marriage working any other way! I fell into thinking, well, the devil you know, and havent seen anything different out there anyway… I can absolutely confirm that most of the tears I cry now are connected with the most overwhelming RAGE!
        I’m safe and secure, have money for the future, so the fear of the unknown is pretty much the social aspect. Rage at being lied to, being used, being devalued and discarded, and that our adult daughter is being pressured to buy into his happy replacement relationship (and if you have read other postings of mine, you know he played a few ugly things out in front of her, and he was an uninvolved father her whole life, and has actively lied to her too), and that the rest of the community , and his parents who have cut me off (good Catholics that they are!) even knowing about the first infidelity so many years ago – yes blood is thicker than water) have no idea what a shit he is and he still enjoys being seen as a respected figure. I really want to NOT kick the hornets nest, even though it deserves to be exterminated, but like lots of others here, the basic injustice of all this sickens me. Then again, who,said life is fair?

    • Dearest Chumpness in Seattle,

      First, HUGS to you and your kick-butt, mighty self!!!

      You wrote: “why not be like my ex when I can enjoy my time on this Earth and not worry about it because like the Forgiveness Police say, God loves him as much as he loves me, we are both equal in his eyes, and a late “repentance” will be the Get Out Of Jail a Free card. Who am I to judge if God doesn’t? I must prostrate myself and forgive this repulsive, unrepentant creature and wish him well to have any chance of a life at all in the years ahead.”

      Perhaps a few scriptures to help you move out of the ‘oil’ into ‘fresh air’—
      EX 20:14 / LEV 20:10 / PROV 6:32 / Mark 7:21-23 / Romans 2:17-24 / 1 Cor 6:9,10 / Heb 13:4 / 2 Peter chap 2 / Rev 21:8

      When I read these scriptures, I hear the voice of our awesome Creator revealing how he feels about adulterers and liars & what he will do to them. Yes, he very much cares that this is what you are dealing with! Each faithful person is the MOST important person to Him.

      Yes, God most certainly does judge & he judges immoral people as worthy of death! In the mean time, they DO NOT have his favor! Yes, he most certainly does have requirements.

      No, he does NOT love a lying, cheating, abusive person the same as he loves a kind, compassionate, faithful and loyal person! What he DOES want is for them to repent and leave their wicked ways. In that way, he ‘loves’ them……

      Remember how God responded when his chosen nation of ancient times, the nation of Israel, continued committing spiritual adultery against Him? Yes, he finally ‘divorced’ them, he did not keep forgiving them, as they were unrepentant! God does NOT require us to forgive an unrepentant person. However, we do not try to exact vengeance, as that is God’s to do. In that way, we ‘let go off’, leave it in God’s hands, so it does not destroy our soul. That is what some refer to when they mention ‘forgive’.

      “….now I’d consider unspeakable acts to skate into the same happy, easy life so many unethical people everywhere are enjoying.”

      I know you wrote this to let off steam and express to all of your fellow chumps the distress you are feeling. It sure does seem like they are all ‘happy, happy, happy’ but I can promise you they are all really ‘crappy, crappy, crappy’! All an illusion…..

      Gotta go now, but just wanted to give you some love while you are navigating a distressful time…..

      Forge on, C in S….ForgeOn, all you mighty ones in this amazing Nation of Chumps!!

      • Thank you for such a comprehensive and comforting response! I have printed this, and have my evening reading cut out for me! Sometimes when you know your problems are nothing compared to the real unjust horrors in this world, it’s easy to feel that our marital situations are not really noticed by God, and these selfish freaks seem to thrive on their choices while getting off on our pain. I do draw comfort from the TD Jakes clip posted the other day, the one that incorporates Nothing just happens, and Let them Go… That was a good reason to be moved to tears. I’ll keep reading, keep concentrating on my own business, and do some revising again of my understanding of forgiveness… I like the thought of “Vengence is mine ” sayeth the Lord, ” so keep your nose out of it and let me handle it in my own way!”

    • Chumpness, speaking for myself, I found that after I was way out, and at what I thought was the meh point, THEN I got the nightmares. I think it takes a ton of energy and focus to leave, and then once you’re safe, you start to process. And that’s a whole other journey. You’re just healing, and being mighty! Hang in there.

      • Thank you! Just knowing this is something others have experienced makes it better, makes me able to stop, laugh a little, get over myself, and take a longer viewpoint. I know all about keeping my eye on the end game, I just forgot. And many thanks for being a safe place to download all the crap swirling in all of our heads… I’m so thankful your site was here, and that I found you so soon after D Day.. It is the more realistic counterpoint to all the self serving crap out here.

    • Chumpness- I didn’t get to read all the posts yesterday-so catching up this morning. I can relate to everything you have written. Obviously our marriages/divorces are different but the emotional fallout is very similar. For me, final D-Day June 2013, divorce September 2014. I am also materially in a better place- although nothing to do with the settlement- simply being on my own and not ‘losing’ money to the XH and his craziness.

      I have said before that I now recognise that we chumps are dealing with an emotional injury that takes time and care to heal. It is also compounded by our sense of injustice that a) it happened and b) many people either do not believe us or feel we should ‘get over it’.

      There is also that feeling – which is common for survivors of any type of abuse – that we could have prevented it or somehow caused it. Even though we ‘know’ that isn’t true. I guess cheaters sense this vulnerability and play on it. So when we see or hear of their version of events, especially when coupled by their ‘successful’ new life without us, we easily doubt ourselves, which adds to our confusion and pain.

      We’re both only divorced a few months. In grieving terms that’s not long. I’m allowing at least a year, if not two to grieve. But there’s no definite timescale and other things may shorten or lengthen it. My mother died just before the divorce was final, my dad is poorly. Sometimes that helps to give perspective, other times I’m bouncing between my losses. However I hang on to CL’s words that this shit is finite – the drama and the pain. As long as you get out and keep out (just like fleeing a burning building). Wishing you strength.

    • Chumpiness- if you didn’t live so far from me I’d invite you out to lunch. I just this week was saying that I don’t think God is even helping me, that he must love others more, that I feel abandoned not only by my husband but also by God. How can I be left so bereft and lost while others are so blessed? Is it karma? A lack in me somehow? And at 44, I know there’s time for other loves in my life, but how would I even do that? I cannot even imagine. I don’t even want to.

      Meanwhile, he has choices! The other woman is thrilled by him!! I’m just the leftovers from the past.

      • Chumpness…I read your letters last night late before bed and couldn’t answer then but I want you to know that the rage you feel is so normal. I remember those days so well. I would literally shake with fury and rage. I mean how COULD this man do such a shitty horrible thing to me? My husband got Stage 4 cancer while we were married and I took care of a critically ill man for two YEARS and slept with a chemo pump going off in my ear night after night. He spent countless nights in the hospital and when I would try to leave to go home and get some much needed sleep he would cry and cling to my ankles and guilt me into sleeping on the floor another night. What was my reward for all this?? CHUMPED!! I wiped this guy’s arse to get humiliated in front of the world. Him and OW had a blast rubbing my nose in shit. I never hated anyone so bad in my life.

        But today? MEH. I got a generous settlement too. My career is going fantastic. My future looks good. No man in my life but that’s okay. I think the XH is pretty damn sorry now that the dust has settled and he’s lived with Schmoopie for a few years and found that she’s just a dumb ass desperate woman who fucks married men. Neither of them are special people. One of my favorite sayings I saw here:
        ” The mills of the gods grind slowly but exceedingly fine.”

      • Twitching; Not to be focused on it, but I believe he will get his.
        I felt like God had abandoned me too at the beginning & for quite some time. Then I realized if I would have paid attention to previous abuse like verbal & control issues (the WHISPER you need to get out) then God would not have to YELL AT ME TO GET MY ATTENTION!)
        He took the floor out, he showed me who this person was, because I would have been willing to waste the rest of my life with him! God finally made me take a stand out of love because I did not listen to his whispers. He did not want me to waste my time, money, emotional health and future on someone who did not deserve it. Now I blame myself for not listening to the warning signs, and made excuses for his behavior for whatever reasons we each do that individually.
        Please God see that God didn’t abandon you, this is such a lonely place to be.

        • Regina, every word of that is wonderful, very comforting. What a tremendous explanation…..leaves you with a sense of almost a soothing acceptance.

          • NCStevie; I am so glad it gives you comfort too.
            God does love us, this is why he provided us with the ultimate, gut wrenching wake up call!!
            He lets others go on with their sorry life of sin(s) because you can’t help the uber selfish.
            Nothing short of this would have made us move on & not waste another day.

  • Oh, and one more side note. I’ve come up with a great response about divorce — this came as the result of watching my sister and also my best friend go through simultaneous divorces. (That’s how I found ChumpLady – wish you’d been around for my divorce 9 years ago!). I had their kids quite a bit because all of our kids play together. One of the kids was blaming her mom for the divorce. I said, “Sweetie, your mom didn’t want a divorce. All she wanted was to be treated like a human being. When that didn’t happen, she had no choice but to remove herself from the situation.”

  • I rarely mention my divorce because nobody has to know. I have been told I “get a pass” due to the circumstances. But I took my vows seriously and yes, still feel shame because my husband just fucked and walked. So thank you for writing this.

    I think I am going to use this when asked about my divorce. It’s nice and honest: “You DO believe in commitment. You DO believe in love throughout sickness and health. You DO believe in family. And you’re divorced because your spouse did not share those values and you refused to live a sham marriage.

  • I’ll be divorced for coming up to 7 months now and it gets easier every day to say, ‘I am divorced’. I had to write it on my dental form the other day and I did not cringe. I am now used to saying, ‘my children’s father’ instead of my ‘husband’. I have not had one person judge me – not my family, not my friends, not my neighbours, not my church, not the other moms at the school gate. Believe me that has made it so much easier. I go to socials and events with my head held high and others around me take my lead. But thank God for the wonderful people around me.

  • I just have to say what a lot of class acts I’ve seen here today. Good people. And each and every one of you deserve applause.

  • Another 2-timer here. Well, I can certainly say I’ve learned a lot!

    I got a tattoo post separation, and pre-divorce, for courage. That was Mehitabel (“There’s a Dance in the Old Dame yet.”) I’ve thought about a second, now: my clan motto (Dulcis ex Asperis, or sweeter after difficulties)….but I always seem to see it as “Dulcolax and Asparagus,” and that really won’t do.

    I sold all the jewelry that Crapweasel gave me, including my wedding ring (things my kid didn’t want anyway). Alas, I had to put the moolah toward her mountainous student loans. That’s a good cause.

    I noticed the other day, at the grocery store, that I used to feel like I had flashing neon antlers or something that said “loser! loser!!”. And I really don’t feel that way anymore. It just takes time.

    • namedforvera, healing takes time. Use it for a good purpose. I didn’t have flashing neon antlers, and it was after the divorce, but I was taken aside in the produce aisle and told “We know what you’ve been up to.” I was thinking at first that someone had noticed me unduly squeezing the vegetables, but no. I was wearing a head scarf during chemotherapy and the staff was in awe that I still shopped to cook during that time. They congratulated me for eating healthy to stay strong. So you might be wrong about people in the supermarket. You might think you are flashing “loser! loser!” and they might be thinking “What a strong amazing person you are!”

        • namedforvera, I am very well now. NOT ONE OF US SHOULD GIVE UP, EVER! An A-Hole can steal part of your life, but they can not steal your spirit. That belongs to you alone.

  • Going through a divorce here…I actually made a second FB account because I was afraid (since I was ‘friends’ with jackass’s family members) I would say something incriminating. And since I am going through a divorce – I didn’t need to do anything stupid to make things bad for me in the divorce. My second account I have like 15 ‘friends’ on there – mainly family and a couple close friends. I am rarely on FB and only post a few pics of my kids – that’s about it. Otherwise, the people who know what is going on in my divorce are people I tell personally. Until it is final, I need to keep things to myself and close friends. After the divorce is final however – I told everyone they can repeat anything they want to let others know what a fucking alcoholic cheating loser I was married to 🙂
    I LOVE RINGS – gonna get me a (maybe 2) middle finger ring as soon as this is final myself! Maybe that can be an incentive to get this divorce thing moving along a little quicker! Geesh!

  • For a long time, I felt really ashamed about getting divorced. I had been very proud of sustaining a 20-year marriage, and I did go through a phase of feeling like a failure when it ended. But that passed. Now I look back on that whole nightmare, and I am proud of myself for surviving and even thriving, despite how crazy it all was.

    I love the signs that say: “Better to have loved and lost than to live with a psycho for the rest of your life.” That’s my slogan these days! 😉

  • Though I was not married to my “current” cheater, (1.5 yrs since DDay, 1 yr NC) I have been divorced from my first husband since 1995. Separated in 1993, and back then, yes, OTHER people sometimes associated “shame” with my status, mainly my own mother, who seemed to treat me as “less” than my married sibling and my many married cousins. However, I rocked the single mother thing, was in 2nd yr of law school when *I* realized I had to end my marriage of ten years to a man who didn’t want to work and help financially support our 3 young kids; and yes, the last straw was caught him online cheating even in those early internet days, he’d found message boards, was asking a woman online for topless photos. When I kicked him out, his first words were “what? we can’t afford two households!” Sad thing is, after 5 years on my own, I fell for an even more severe freeloader, who has turned out to be a serial cheater. At 59, I’m totally OK with my legal status. It’s just been a huge blow to feel like a two time chump especially at this age, when I don’t expect or even want to try again for a relationship.

    I am relieved that I never married the second cheater, nor had kids with him. Only one asset (house) to fight over and it’s been rough so far. But I am so glad for my chance to make a fresh start… not same as a fresh start for a 30 or 40 something, but still greatly relieved…. what if I’d spent my retirement years with this asshole then found out about his cheating? that thought horrifies me!

    • Some women find out when the fucker dies and shows up at the services…..

      I would have got a phone call from the police department that my live-in suffered a heart attack or stroke at the local massage parlor…only in the movies.

      HA ha ha ….. now I laugh… ha ha ha. Today I would say, “Sorry you got the wrong number, I don’t know the man.”

  • Thank you CL. Perfect post at a perfect time.

    I am nearing the end (?) of my divorce process and I still have some emotional back and forth, but so much less than before. I have actually begun to examine some of my feelings of shame with respect to the divorce and realize any shame I feel with respect to the divorce label seems to be directly tied to whatever remaining internal “shame” I still have about being inadequate or not good enough.

    “If you feel responsible for other people’s crimes. If you internalize the shame of being abandoned. I’m talking to YOU — DROP IT. Let that shit GO!” You were looking at my picture when you wrote that, weren’t you? I have always been one of those hyper-responsible, it’s my job to fix everything and make sure everything is okay people – FOO training and marriage boot camp reinforced. When you were married to a Son of Satan who consistently and repeatedly recited the “You made me” mantra for well over 25 years, you’re pretty well-conditioned to believe you control his universe (but only the bad stuff). That can make for a lot of self-blaming and self-shaming when you’re metaphorically thrown out with the trash.

    I’m actually grateful that the STBX has dragged out this whole process (while claiming not to). It has given me the time I needed to see him for who he really his and to work on my own healing. It has allowed me to recognize the strong boundaries I need to erect with him (and people like him) and to do so. It has allowed people to see the me without him – and many of them are confused and amazed at the relative peace and joy that emanates from me. It has given me time to partially process the myriad of feelings, which ebb and flow from day to day, associated with the idea of being divorced.

    My life will not be the life I planned with the Flaming Turd. I may never have the experience of being loved the way I truly deserve, except by me. Since I’ve never fully loved myself the way I deserved, that in itself is turning into a truly transformative experience. I hope to fill my remaining years only with authentic people who genuinely love and care for me and to relegate the word and experience called “divorce” as a footnote to a life well-lived.

  • This is perfect timing for me! Just yesterday, I wrote in my journal what I would post on Facebook the day my divorce was final. Keep in mind, I keep my Facebook friends to a pretty limited group of people. (I have a very large extended family and use Facebook to keep up with them.) Anyway, this is what I wrote: “So it became official today. I am a single mom. Last year, after 19 years of marriage my now ex-husband decided it would be OK to betray me in every way possible and walk out on his family without a second thought. I would never wish that kind of emotional abuse and pain on another human being ever. However, It has brought me closer to my children, made me realize I deserve better and helped me realize I really can do anything when God is with me. This is the one and only time I will post about this but I’m an open book about what happened if you want to talk. Thank you to all the friends, family, church family, co-workers and even acquaintances who helped and continue to help me through this tough time (You know who you are). I feel truly loved and supported and would like to pass that on. If you know anyone going through something similar I would love to be a support in any way.”

    I realized I never wrote divorce in my post. I may have to rethink that- my post probably needs to be mightier! I am a Christian and divorce seems like a dirty word in my world sometimes. I come from a family with very few divorces and don’t have one close friend who’s gotten a divorce. This made me realize I’m still working on feeling shame that has been imposed on me. But really, what do I have to feel ashamed of? Picking a narcissist? Maybe a little, but he fooled my family and everyone else too. Today is the day that I let go of that shame.

      • Yes we do! I’m finally really getting that. Brene Brown writes a lot about that and Divorce Minister blogged about that a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard to shake in the Christian realm sometimes.

  • “you DO value marriage. You DO believe in commitment. You DO believe in love throughout sickness and health. You DO believe in family. And you’re divorced because your spouse did not share those values and you refused to live a sham marriage.”

    I think this will be my explanation from now on as it really represents the truth of the matter, THANKS TRACY!

  • Fear of the unknown kept me in that marriage from hell. Shame of being the very first one to divorce in my family kept me in that farce of a marriage. Co-dependence kept me in that forever pick me dance. Nowadays, I wear my divorcee status with pride because not only did I survive emotional abuse but I am thriving and living a free and authentic life. Being divorced from a cheater is the gift that keeps on giving.

    For those who find out I am divorced and judge me, I always think of Brene Brown’s line in her book:

    “…research tells us that we judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we’re doing. If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people’s choices. If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency.”

  • I agree – nothing to be ashamed of, but I didn’t make it publicly known because I just preferred to keep it to myself and a few close friends and family.

    Ex went immediately into image-management mode. Told me I couldn’t tell anyone etc. I kept quiet for a little while, but couldn’t keep it up and told a couple of friends.

  • I don’t feel shame about being divorced, just deep, deep regret of the years I wasted trying to make it work with a selfish man. He made it clear about two years into our marriage that he had no regard for me as a person, let alone a lover. By then our children started coming, so I hung on, hoping for a miracle. It was the loneliest 20 years of my life.

    I’m resigned to my future that alone is far better than being married to him. No regret there, but would it be asking too much for a nice man to ask me to dinner? I’ve forgotten what it feels like to feel attractive.

  • I wish we could post pictures, here, but description will do. A dear friend-and a genuine support, gorgeously cross stitched me the following, “Congrats on being single. You were too cool for him anyway.” I look at it every day, and say, “Damn straight”. Then I get my underwear for the day, and see the note to myself that says Tuesday is coming (TMI).

    I can give a longer perspective on this-that shame was never mine to bear (I watch my kid wrangle with it all the time), and two and a half years from D-day, I will.not.wear.it.

    I think accepting the shame is on them is part of the process of realizing who they really are, in my case, an alcoholic narkle-puss. Twenty years of my life, some PTSD for me and the kiddo, and upshot is we are 8,000 miles away, took a while, but self and offspring are doing well. Well, well enough…..I am holding no contact, getting about thirty per cent child support. I have -and this is a helpful Chump Epiphany-worked very hard at knowing that I don’t have to carry that useless MoFo around any more. I have to carry my daughter, and my household, and all the other daily grown ass woman stuff-I was doing that all along. So I picked up my Mighty Ass, and my kid, and as George Thoroughgood put it, “Out the MuthaFuxxxg door I went”

    The difference between doing all that caring and work for yourself, and what you did for them is the difference between slavery and freedom. I am not ashamed of how I reacted when I found out the truth (and had to manage a true aftermath shitshow, like we all do), and the steps I have taken since to rebuild and assure my and my daughter’s psychological safety are something to be proud of. I was never able to be proud with Mr Fab (and the Downgrade, my sister in law). I think that is because I carried his shame. Narcissists are masters of blameshifting, and there’s no room for anyone else’s needs, period. They use shame to execute that strategy, and just don’t feel it themselves

    But I am proud now, even when I can see people NOT asking why my kid’s Dad is so far away. The ones who say “That must have sucked.” are the people I have been making friends with. The ones with Reason, and empathy. The (Sorry, DM) Churchy ones, who see me as ‘depriving’ my daughter of something by taking these actions-with DD’s informed consent- not so much.

    I think that WEIGHT, that carrying we Chumps do of narcissists and just plain lazy whack jobs, sticks around. Like a ghost limb after an amputation. It fades over time, but there does come a point where you have to set that first foot on the Road to Meh.

    It’s a cha-cha, not a hike. But to Every Chump, whenever it happened or will happen: Happy Beginning Day. Every day after this will be lighter.

    x-Meh

  • In the very beginning I was ashamed, just like I was ashamed he had an affair. It took a lot of chump lady posts to realize the shame is theirs! 100%!

    I have no shame about it now and I’m in the process of taking back my maiden name. My first name will no longer have to be dragged down by his surname! If someone asks me why we got divorced I just tell them that I didn’t care for his girlfriends.

    Divorced over a year now! woot woot!

    • My divorce isn’t final yet and want to go back to my maiden name because I love my family. I’m afraid that my sons who are 12 and 15 may be upset. Do you have kids? If so what are there feelings about you going back to your maiden name?

        • I was tossing up going back to my maiden name when out of the blue my 16 yr old son asked
          “Mum will you go back to your maiden name?”
          Me ” I’m thinking about it why?”
          Son ” if you change back can I change too?”
          Me ” why would you want to do that?
          Son ” I don’t want his name on my back if a manage to get signed”
          Football made son was already contemplating the ultimate revenge on his self entitled father.
          Changing back to my maiden name has been shelved for time being.

  • Thank you, CL, for this post today. I don’t know how you knew, but those words were exactly what I needed to hear.

    I walked around like a zombie for quite a while after DDay unable to even describe what was happening without falling apart. I couldn’t even say the word divorce. I would avoid people I knew because I couldn’t bear to explain what happened. I went for months with only my family and a few close friends knowing my situation.

    I, too, was one of those people who believed that divorce happened to other couples. Not me. Never. We promised each other that divorce was not an option. But my husband (now X) proved that promises are meant to be broken. I thought after 30 years that we could weather any storm, but the storm of infidelity leveled our house to the ground. It is hard to explain to anyone how you can be singing the praises of your husband one day and the next day you are selling the house, filing the papers, and trying to keep moving one foot in front of the other. It is difficult to explain that your dreams of sharing grandchildren, retirement, traveling the world, and growing old together are gone in a puff of smoke.

    But finally, through a good friend who led me to Chump Lady, I have been pulled out of that depth of despair. I have realized that it is NOT my shame to bear. I was a loving and faithful wife who did the best I could for him. I tell people that he cheated and threw away the best things in his life…his wife and family. Thank you CL and CNation for saving my sanity and my life. Thanks for the reminders that I will be o.k., and I deserve to be o.k. I am not there yet, but I know that I am on my way. My Tuesday is waiting for me.

  • Late to the table tonight…. I wish I could remove the shame from my brain. I have shame. I have recently bumped into some old friends and was faced with telling them I was now divorced from Idiot. The look of pity from the wife sent daggers thru my heart. Her shocked statement” OMG if you guys couldnt make it I dont know who could. WWWHHYYY ? What happened? ” Normally i wouldnt hesitate to verbally vomit the last year of suffering I have endured…. But I couldnt do it this time. I felt ashamed. Tainted. Half of what I should be. Funny thing is … We were t even close to this couple.
    I hate him for that. I hate him for taking one of the only good things that I have ever had in my life…. And shitting all,over it like it was nothing.
    I think I have been in survival mode for so long and now that I dont remember the last time I slept thru the night or didnt double check all the locks.
    I fucking hate him that he made my life a shitty docu drama. Fuck you Idiot … And everyone that looks like u.

    • I can really hear your pain in this post. So sorry TheClip and I so get it. I lived a pretty charmed life up to this point, great childhood and all and he turned it into a “shitty docu drama” too. I so get it. Hugs.

    • Clip- DItto and Ditto!!! I hated my STBXazzhole for making me a “single baby mama”, another statistic, another broken dysfunctional family with no dad in the household! HATED THAT!! I didn’t want to be one of “those” people. The pitying looks when people find out your spouse left you and 3 great kids! ughhhh. It took awhile to get use to sleeping alone etc. Still not sure how im going to make it financially but I know God didn’t bring me this far to leave me. My life is so much better without my exazzhole! Id rather cut off my arm with a rusty knife than to go back to being a 2nd class citizen with that bottomless pisspoor excuse for a human being. It gets better.

  • It’s a funny thing but of all the emotions relating to my divorce, shame has never been one of them. I am the first in my family and close friend circle to be abandoned and divorced. I clearly remember the day my Absolute came through, I’d just taken 3 car loads of rubbish to the dump… seems I got rid of ALL my crap in one day!

  • thanks so much for posting this. I was feeling extra sad last night and this helped brighten my new day. Thank you!

  • TheClip… “Fuck you Idiot…and everyone that looks like you!” Priceless, thank you for the happy, laughing my ass off tears. THAT^^^ is going in my quote book with credit to you. Huge Jedi hugs my friend! !

  • I felt like a cheat free relationship for decades was one of my greatest accomplishments too! Guess he straightened me out on that one. And “why?” Because it was “easy.” I thought this was one of the most shocking things he said early on. All that time I thought it was because of love, respect, wanting monogamy too, wanting a perfect record to be proud of. No, all it took was someone “easy.” (Not too great in any way either). Well, I guess what do you expect from Easy? That day I knew I was a true Chump.

  • I needed this so much. I am about to file for divorce next week this is the second time wasn’t my choice but he cheated and basically tells me he will again wth…I know this is the right thing for me to do. I got a new job I will be leaving the state for training so I dont have to be here in the mess he literally disgust me and accused me of cheating the whole marriage. I am dodging a bullet I was miserable in this trash marriage. Thank you for these words!

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