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A Guy Chump’s Tale from the Other Side

MEHToday’s post is from Steve, who’s been with the blog almost from the start. He recently wrote to say he’d gotten engaged (now happily remarried), and I asked him to share his “leave a cheater, gain a life” story. So here it is! Enjoy! — Tracy

First off my entry has plenty of Chump Lady quotes. Like a marine when bullets start flying they rely on their training….the voice of their drill sergeant keeps them going….move forward… keeps them alive. Back in 2012, I had two letters discussed on Chump Lady’s blog. I was the “state of Meh” guy. I proudly have a shirt and coffee mug with that great image drawn by CL.

I am a male chump almost four years out….and by going on message boards and divorce groups the male chump population is unfortunately a growing, burgeoning group. Maybe men are more forthcoming now about being cheated on than in the past. I was gaslighted to new levels of mindfuckery. What was the most disturbing, wake up call was that who you thought were friends, neighbors, and co-workers with a general sense of morality, decency, and values DID NOT share your beliefs. You are jolted by a perverse alternate reality. I always said my Potemkin marriage village got blown over by the wind and I saw that cold, barren snow.

Chumpdom can appreciate that remark and I know that we all lived it in some part. I know men have cheated and have been colossal brutes to their wives from the dawn of time, but I was shocked how suburban moms closed their ranks fast and ran with my ex’s narrative. All the while dismissing me as crazy, while her boyfriend moved into my old house.

But ahhh the other side……I always said that I mentally put my intestines back into my gut then applied multiple rolls of duct tape. Then climbed the ropes like Rocky. My kids, exercise, work, CL blog, family, friends, therapy, prayer, support groups, playing in my band, and my faith got me through it. I understand others working through their demons and pain with self destructive behavior. It’s not recommended, but I understand. As CL says, this hurts like a motherfucker.

I am very strong now. What I told others in my support groups is that somewhere in our marriages we left dreams by the side of the road. Most likely your mentally abusive spouse told, yelled, and spat repeatedly at you how worthless, weak, unattractive, and talentless you were. Hearing years of that bullshit makes it hard to shake. I know. Like CL says we thought this was our spouse. The person who knew us intimidately supposedly. A trusted source. NOT!

So time and being actively committed to kickass really works. What also really helped me was breaking the victim trap and realizing my mighty. Mind you this is not spackling my ex’s actions and behavior. We can not control their behavior, but I absolutely can control my response. And with self-reflection and therapy I realized I should have drawn stronger boundaries in my marriage and taken swifter action.

So I started living out loud without the condescending voice of my ex muzzled in my brain. I tried out and won a part in a short film that was played at film fest. In the film was one of my band’s songs. I cut an album and a pro video with my band, what’s the best part….my kids saw me co-write the songs, record them, then they were in the videos. Instead of the image sketched by their mother, they saw their father kicking ass. Working hard, talented, and involving them on the process of dream fulfillment. Maybe your dreams are something different ….each dream has its worth. Take the steps and as Shia Labouef says on YouTube — Just DO IT!!!!!

My bond with my kids was never in doubt. I get my kids 50% of the time. My love tank with them is full. I was always a hands-on Dad. It pains me to think back on how they perceived me, where I cowered to their mother. No more. I do not editorialize, but I am firm and not to pushed around. Being mighty does not mean being a self-centered idiot. It’s calling bullshit on Narc’s tendencies to prey on chumps’ good-hearted nature. Oh yeah, public service announcement, Chump Dads: Do not settle for standard visitation schedule, push for more time with your kids in your parenting agreement. Your cheater wants to spend time with the “love of their life”, not your kids so NEGOTIATE.

Also on the other side with support groups and mentoring other chumps, I have a group of new amazing friends. I lost the old friends who really didn’t share the same values and just didn’t have my back. Like anything there is a community of people that get you, if they shared a similar experience. Helping new chumps navigate the waters has helped me extremely. By coaching you see how little energy you should put in the past relationship and move on. Move forward.

With therapy and self actualization I fixed my picker. As CL says I went out and found me some real monkey love. I found a super sweet, affectionate woman, who gets me and my quirks. She’s smart, successful, great mom, maternal to my kids, and sexy as all hell. Going through previous marriages with disordered people builds up your appreciation level. What’s great is that it’s a two-way street on caring, loving, and thoughtful gestures. Instead of trying desperately to constantly win someone over…. and get scraps of love. Before with my family of origin (therapist speak) the disordered relationship is what I thought I deserved.

We bought a dream house and married. How I describe the new marriage is that it’s just an easier vibe. Now I am no fool. Relationships and especially marriage takes work and continuous connection. From counseling I can tell you, everyone after a certain point in any marriage needs to choose love. Love is a choice. And that’s not saying you go back and just eat crap sandwiches. It’s that my wife loves politics, so it means I am going to the DNC convention with her. She knows that I am crazy baseball fan, so she will be shucking peanuts with me at Wrigley Field. That’s real love.

We had some amazing vacations. What’s really really great is that I do not have to walk on egg shells and I am my real self when we were on vacation. In years past it was a ball of stress. Chumps it’s great experiencing life and travel without that knot in your stomach…..because of the cheaters’ constant disdain for us. I am very considerate to my new wife. Brought her breakfast and coffee, but here’s the kicker she really appreciates that stuff and the love is reciprocal. She has dated jerks. I am kind, romantic, goofy, successful and most of all a stand up guy and she appreciates those qualities. Chump guys find yourself a nice chump woman. If she has her head right she will go head over heels for a sweet, nice man….seriously. Next week we go to Paris for our delayed honeymoon.

One last thing — like many chumps I spent hours, days, and sadly weeks trying to figure out what was the license plate on the truck that hit me four years ago. Unraveling the skein of fuckedness. We wish for a verdict — your day in court — but it will never come. With co-parenting our kids I still get angry at my ex’s actions. I spoke to my therapist about it. She had the best line. The problem is that we expect people to act rationally and do the right thing, but as she said, “Quit expecting to get milk from a chicken.”

Chickens can’t produce milk PERIOD. This is not to excuse their behavior. Chumps hold to your boundaries, call your cheaters on their bullshit, but quit wasting time trying to figure out why they act the way they do. The untreated disordered will not play nice PERIOD. Just raise your kids with love and leave those nasty chickens alone to sit in their own chicken shit.

Be well.


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  • Love this post! I can so relate. I am fours years out from the 3rd and final Dday and I have found a great guy and we are buying a house together. Marriage is in discussion, but I still am still trying to get over my trust issues after 20 years of emotional, verbal and physical abuse. I hope to get to where you are, and stop trying to make chickens produce milk. It is hard when my grown kids are getting used by the X to spy or control me. The craziness never ends, but it is up to me to learn to deal with it. Nice to hear what is like on the other side. Almost there!

    • “It is hard when my grown kids are getting used by the X to spy or control me.”

      ChumpedtotheMax – I understand this completely. I love my daughter dearly but when she ask questions a certain way or about a topic I know she wouldn’t normally ask about, I know that it’s coming from him and whatever I say will be repeated back to him. Sometimes it sends me back in time to the chaotic life because of the manipulation, gaslighting and lies that I didn’t know about at the time so I don’t react well. Other times, I simply give a generic answer like ‘I don’t know’ so that will be what he gets in return. It’s horrible that she gets used that way but I’ve talked with her about it and she’s allowing it to happen so at some point she will have to be strong enough to say no to him.

      • The narc idiots don’t care if they put their kid in a difficult situation! My kids found it helpful to just say ‘I don’t know’ to their dad when he asked about me, even to the very obvious stuff that of course they knew!

        ByeBye, when you suspect your daughter’s question actually come from your ex, could you say something like, ‘I’d like to share that with you, but don’t want to put you in a spot where your dad can pressure you for info about me.’. This would help put the responsibility back where it belongs, on him, and her.

        This also might open up a conversation about how hard this must be for her, and what her options are.

    • What a great, inspiring, beautiful post Steve!!!! You are amazing and I am so happy for your success in getting through this!!! Loving someone intimately is a choice as you said. Your lines, “Instead of trying desperately to constantly win someone over…. and get scraps of love,” and “because of the cheaters’ constant disdain for us,” really made me cry. What a heartfelt impact you had on me today. Thank you so much.

  • Awesomeness!! Congratulations to Steve in his new life and marriage…..

    “Quit expecting to get milk from a chicken” and “leave those nasty chickens alone to sit in their own chicken shit”.

    ^^^ Adding those two to the memory board lol.

  • I absolutely love this story! Congrats on your new marriage Steve and have a great time on your honeymoon! Very inspiring!

  • This is SO inspiring!! I am so happy for you Steve! I hope everyone in Chumpland reads this and feels as inspired and hopeful as I did when I read it! I hope more recovered Chumps in the Lovely Land of Meh will come forward and share their stories too, we need more of this!! Stay mighty Steve!! ?

  • This is a fantastic message and a solid reminder that we DESERVE happiness. I spent 9 years with a frog; 3 years ago I found my prince. Know your worth and find someone who knows it too.

  • I so needed this today, thank you. A postcard from meh.

    Now I’m wondering if I lost all that weight because I was on the chicken milk diet….

    • “chicken milk diet” LMAO! I can see the Seinfeld soup guy screaming “NO CHICKEN MILK FOR YOU!”

  • Congrats, Steve! So happy for you and your new life!
    What you said about chump men finding happiness with a nice chump woman is true. I can attest to that except this chumpy chick found a wonderful chumped guy. He’s considerate, caring, silly, sarcastic, and treats my two kids (9 & 4) like his own. Not an easy thing to do for a guy that does not have any kids or any prior experience with them. My kids adore him as much as I do. We’re in the process bidding on our old Victorian dream home:) Marriage is definately talked about and will happen in the future, but for now we’re just enjoying eachother and our new blend of family.
    It’s true…it’s all a give & take. When you respect and love someone, you take interest in their interests even if it’s not quite your thing. Like his Godzilla, Jaws, and Terminator “collectibles” (when I say “toys” I’m always corrected lol), and Pens games. For me, he watches period pieces (he actually liked Pride & Prejudice ?) and my obscene amount of Marilyn Monroe framed photos in every room.
    I too had to quit focusing on the ex Fuckwit and his disordered actions, conversations, etc in order to get to this point. Yes, I still have some “bad days”, but each day gets a little better and I notice my blood pressure doesnt spike the moment Fuckwit is mentioned anymore. To me, that says something.
    I love “quit expecting to get milk out of a chicken”. That saying sums up what chumps HAVE to do in order to move on to a better, happy life.
    Kudos, Steve! Keep on keeping on?

  • That’s a great story Steve. I’m glad you finally reached happiness. As a fellow male chump, I can appreciate and almost imagine your ex and her narcissistic rage. I think some friends almost don’t believe you, when you tell them what a abusive monster a wife can be behind closed doors, when they display a perfect facade in public.

    • Kraft – My family didn’t believe me until I showed them some video I took of ex during one of her drunken rages. It was like she was two different people.

      Thanks so much Steve for sharing your story. Very inspiring and give me hope!

      • I figured everyone thought I was exaggerating about my stbx’s rages. Of course – he wouldn’t rage AT me, he would wait until he was away and would BITCH text me. Until I showed them proof of his outlandish behavior, they didn’t believe it because he ‘was such a nice guy.’ The response I got was “I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was THAT bad.” Yep. Yes it was…..

        • X was the good guy In his children’s eyes until the final DDay. I’m guessing he was too old to keep up the false image. X found the answer and discarded all of us. Now when others SEE him with such a downgrade and loosing everything and the personality changes (angry, selfish, delusional actions) they believe it. In truth he got so much out of staying as I was his cover. No more.

          Steve, you are an inspiration to all chumps because you did the hard work and thrived. Gaining a life is really a funny concept sometimes because I loved so much about it prior to DDay. It wasn’t until I stepped away, threw him out, went to therapy, and found CL/CN that I realized I had been abused for years. I’m finally getting rid of his voice from my thoughts and taking back control over my emotions.

          This reminds me of something I read today, “today is a gift”. It’s a gift because we choose to heal and WE own it. It was NOT given to us by the cheater or the immoral OW/OM. They deserve no credit or thanks for their actions.

          I kept what made me happy, my home, my family, friends, and my job. What I lost was the misery associated with being with the disordered. Every day without him is a gift, and what he said is fading.

        • “It wasn’t until I stepped away, threw him out, went to therapy, and found CL/CN that I realized I had been abused for years. I’m finally getting rid of his voice from my thoughts and taking back control over my emotions.” Donna, I love this! Exactly the same for me! Still working on getting those thoughts out though.

  • Thank you CL and Steve for this fantastic post! “time and being actively committed to kickass really works,” onward!

  • Great post Steve! I’m so happy for you.

    It’s amazing the amount of self reflection we go through during this experience. Now that I can finally listen to music again these lyrics I just rediscovered from an older song really hit home for me:

    “And I wonder, with all your broken dreams
    and promises,
    If you ever knew me at all”

    That’s how I feel about him now.

    I was just explaining to someone exactly what you said about getting each other’s quirks. I accepted his and some enriched my life. (Learned to love baseball. Have a special place in my heart for Ron Santo and The Cubbies BTW) Him with mine, not so much. I also walked on eggshells most of the time.

    All the best to you Steve. You’re mighty.

  • Wonder! So glad to hear another mighty chump story. And I totally can relate to having a much more sane life post divorce. Having Mrs. DM in my life is truly a night and day difference in comparison to being married to my ex. No more crazy mind games. It took me a while to actually believe Mrs. DM meant what she said. Nice to be around such sincerity.

    • It’s a post like what you said that has me crying. It’s so sad that all the crazy mind games played on us causes such non-trust of others. I hate not trusting and thinking everyone has an ulterior motive. Really stinks. 🙁

      • I agree, IHaveHate, losing that ability to trust was maybe the worst part of the whole experience for me. I’m happy to say, though, that it is starting to come back. It is a lot wiser and more cautious and alert for flags, but I don’t feel under siege all the time any more. I hope you will find the same with time.

  • I love, love, love I mean I love this posting. Everything you wrote Steve is so very true.

    Also finding new and better well real love and getting remarried is very true. I am remarried myself to the same type of person (he is like you in a way) and my husband is amazing. He is not perfect; however, he has morals and character and such a goofy person and I don’t have the red flags I had with the ex.

    I have been out of the first marriage longer than you and also the many many D-days I had. Just like you I should have gotten out much faster. Sadly I didn’t. I was a very slow learner and didn’t have the knowledge I have today about Personality Disorders. My husband (now) is very understanding and supportive with me finding what went wrong in my first marriage then what happen was that I found that the ex had a mental disorder and I have learned from that. With this knowledge now I am able to grow within myself and I have forgiven myself (never him or his followers). My husband (now) and my new friends also has given me some great insight with helping me in my healing process with my new knowledge of Personality Disorders. Also I had the pain of my friends and my family taking the side of the ex’s. Today I don’t think it was a lost at all but a gain for me to break free faster and easier. Just like you I got into my work and into support groups and I moved pretty far away and today have such a better life. I have been full no contact with the ex and all of his followers for many years.

    I say one of the most important things about finding someone new and even getting married again is laughter and just enjoying being together. I have that now and so much more. I enjoy things so much more because I wasn’t “babysitting” the loser I call an ex. Also finding happiness is something that comes from within; however, life in generally you will have loads of ups and downs. The downs is when you need to learn from and grow stronger. My marriage now is so different than with the ex. I guess it is just easier to be with someone that is just normal. Yes, we have had our ups and downs but it is more normal ups and downs not the abuse I had before.

    I love your therapist comments about the chickens. I’m going to take that one also.

    Congrats Steve for all of the growth you have done. I know your children and your new wife (congrats on the marriage also) are very proud of you. We are very proud of you also. Thank you for your comments. They are very powerful!!!!!!

    You are Mighty!!!!!

  • Steve

    What an awesome post. Your story really touches a chord with me. I’m just in the process of divorcing my Barbed Wire Monkey after DDay which was 4 months ago. With the help of CL and other “no nonsense” forums, I’ve thrown away the feelings of guilt that I was somehow responsible for my BWM’s affair. That shit is for her to own, not me. I’ve got to go through this now, but your story gave me a real lift.

    Thanks a lot and well done

  • Fantastic! So happy for you! I too have been with CL since 2012. I haven’t found the new love yet but am confident it will come when the timing is right. This just reminds me that there are nice guys out there. Luckily, I don’t keep the bad ones around anymore like I would have in the past. I have a date tonight with a chump man. His wife left for his best friend and he raised their 3 daughters together. We shall see how it turns out. Thanks again for your article!

    • Ashley, I hope your date tonight turns out to be fun for both of you. You deserve it!

  • Its nice to know there are some happy endings/ beginnings. I know a lot of people want to have another person in their lives… I dont. Sure i am lonely at times but i am also forced to deal with the one person in my life that I have ignored… Myself. I spend a lot of time trying and I say that again ‘trying ‘ to be productive or atleast interesting. I think a new partner would just be a bandaid at this point.
    My child’s childhood is zooming by and I dont want to be absorbed in another person. She is my one and only opportunity to be a mom( Idiot refused to have more children) and I dont want to miss a thing. I wont get a do over. I wont get another chance. It will be all too soon tha she will be off exploring the world and I will have all the time in the world to …? … Paint? Ballroom dance? Travel? Who knows where life will take me. And right now I am totally ok with that.

    • Well said, TheClip. I’m really enjoying the peace, my space and spending the extra time with my sons and daughter. I find myself rediscovering previously forgotten interests and uncovering new ones. If I find a chumpy gal to partake with me, great. If I don’t, that’s fine too. It’s not my mission at this stage of my life though. Soon enough my children will be on their own and I can reevaluate. For now, I’m glad to be at meh and I’m really enjoying being good to myself and my kids.

    • TheClip

      I agree about putting your children first. I have no regrets raising my three children. My granddaughter is turning 15 soon and I will wait until she gets through high school before I get into another relationship.

      It’s funny now to think about assholes parting words that no one would want me the way I am. Now I know he was projecting his own fear of being alone. The pain is minimal now, yet I still can’t imagine the amount of energy he has to put into his performance of acting he’s in love with someone who looks and acts like a meth addict, as my children describe her.

      Raising the bar so high at 58 makes me laugh, but I don’t care. I enjoy my life.

    • Single is also a choice, and you should never feel that its not a good one. It can be just as fulfilling, sometimes more so, because you have no demands on your time.
      My mum (chumped) has this very mentality – in fact, her words are “I will never get married or get attached again. My children are all I need, and I don’t need a partner to enjoy my grandkids. Besides, one fuckwit was enough.” Since being chumped, she reconnected with her family again, which the fuckwit person who contributed 50% of my DNA subtly phased them out for her. She’s also travelled to multiple places (again, was forced not to do because of same reason). In other words – life is so much better now. In 2 weeks time it would have been 10 years since D-Day.

    • I am right there with you The Clip. Just hit the one year anniversary of Dday and I am solo and plan to stay that way. My focus is on my son because whatever I need to do to help him navigate the implosion of his life with the least damage is all that matters to me.

      I am not ready, nor am I interested, in dating or a relationship. Not after what I’ve been put through. Maybe eventually I will want one…but I am just fine on my own, I don’t have to latch on to another person because I can’t stand to be alone.

    • I am echoing those stating they are not ready for a relationship. I can’t imagine it and as you said NCstevie, with the implosion of my 16-year-old’s life, I will not put her through me dating and being with someone. She needs me fully right now. Ex lives with the MOW (now divorced) and daughter won’t visit him at his home because of her so I don’t want to add me dating and being in a relationship into her life. That being said, I can’t imagine in the slightest dating at my age (mid-50s) and learning to trust someone. I feel like an abused dog who never really gets used to being pat on the head because they are worried they may get beat.

  • It is nice to hear from some one who has made it to meh, and who has been lucky enough to find a new and better mate. I would like to remind everyone, though, that finding a new mate is not necessary for you to find meh. I personally think it would be wonderful to have companionship, and I am not ruling it out, but it is not necessary for me to feel successful in my recovery or to feel good about myself.

    I know (now) that part of the reason I was attracted to the Narc men in my life was this desire for a relationship. I received a pretty clear message from my family of origin that marriage was expected, and kids, and a house, and a job — I was somehow responsible for all this happening, and would be considered a failure if I didn’t have it. I had to learn the hard way that I was perfectly fine all by myself and just as I am. To be clear, I am not knocking the dream or the goals of marriage and family, I am just saying that those things do not define your success as a person.

    I did have all the trappings, and I enjoyed part of that lifestyle. I raised my sons, and I think of that as one of my greatest accomplishments in life. But my sons are responsible for their own choices, and their own lives — and what they choose does not necessarily reflect my choices. I love them and support them, but I make a decided effort not to live my life through them. I think they have a type of freedom I did not know at their age because of my commitment not to try to place my definitions and desires onto my children like a burden. I did not feel that freedom, and I was raised to put other’s needs before my own, and I put myself into a servant’s role trying to keep other people happy. I was not happy, and I thought that was just the way it was. Then I was betrayed, and all my efforts were for naught, and I wondered, “What is wrong with me?”

    The answer is nothing was “wrong” with me – but I had allowed others to set the boundaries of my life and I had not believed my own wishes were important when compared to the wishes and desires of others. I spent so much time trying to please others, I forgot how to please myself. That was an error in judgement, and I had to correct that if I was ever going to be happy.

    So I decided to stop trying to “fix” others, and stop trying to make their life easier. I concentrated on making my life easier and better. I did not abandon my children, but I actively empowered them to learn how to take care of themselves. They were teenagers, and were going to leave the nest soon anyway — so I taught them how to fly solo by showing them I could fly solo, and that solo flight had a beauty and a sense of accomplishment in and of itself.

    I have not abandoned all hope of finding someone I would like to fly with, or to share a roost, but if I do find that someone, he would have to be able to fly solo, too. Sharing joy does not mean I have to expect less, or cater to his flight plan. If I find a mate I will deal with those challenges, but if I do not find a mate, I will still enjoy the flight.

    Meh is not a place to go, Meh is a state of mind.

    • ^^^THIS^^^ thanks Portia for putting it so well!!!

      Congrats Steve! Inspirational story! Thanks for sharing it!

    • The Clip and Portia – My thoughts, exactly.

      I am learning and doing way too many things that I put on the back burner for most of my life by thinking I had to be in a relationship to feel whole.

      Meh is wonderful from any angle.

      Congrats, Steve, for doing the work and getting the right tools to get through a heartbreaking time to find meh.

      • I spent so many years married that it just isn’t something I am interested in. I know my feelings may change, but I am over four years out and I really don’t think so. I enjoy being alone, in large part because I never had the opportunity to be alone for most of my life. Raising four kids and working in a profession that requires daily contact with alot of people did not give me much opportunity to spend time with myself. Couple that with an X who needed adolation of others and I was often lonely in the middle of a crowd. I don’t know how I will feel when I retire. Maybe then I will seek out the company of others, but I am taking my time to get to know me, for the first time in my life.

        I think that many of us who spent significant time “married with children” want to spend time alone. At least for me, most of the child rearing responsibilities were borne by me. For almost thirty years, everyone else’s wants and needs came before mine and I now realize how much I lost in that process. While I am firmly at meh, I am quite happy in my own company and I am fine with that. Mazel to those who find partners, but the state of contentment can be reached alone, too!

        • Violet, this is where I am at too. I am also in a profession where I am taking care of people all day long. Then, I come home to take care of my two small children. When I was married, I also had to take care of the ex. At least now I get some alone time when my kids are with their dad. I would actually love to have a partner, but I am afraid that it would mean me taking care of yet someone else without reciprocation. I just don’t have anything left to give to anyone else. I am exhausted most days. I am also honestly not sure that there are good guys out there. I am truly scared that I will find myself in an even worse position down the road if I marry again. Right now, I can pick up the pieces and recover emotionally and financially. I am not sure I will be able to go through this again and make it out the other end intact. There are no guarantees in relationships. If you could promise me a good, honest, and giving man who would never hurt me and ruin me financially, I would be all in. Unfortunately no such guarantee exists.

    • Beautifully put Portia! I think for the first time in my life I’m comfortable with being alone. It’s not the same thing as being lonely which is how I felt for much of my marriage. I suspect I’m not the only one here that experienced that either.

      • Yes, chiming in here with the lonely-in-my-marriage. I didn’t notice it because I’m fairly self-sufficient, but certainly suffered the subtle effects of knowing deep down that X was not interested in me as a person but as a wife-appliance.

        • Yep yep, I was so lonely within a 30 y marriage and was a wife appliance. I am 4 years out from D-day, 1 y from divorce and although I have ups and downs, being alone with myself is fabulous! Getting to know me and love myself has been the greatest gift from all of this.

          Thank you Steve for sharing your journey, you give me strength that I will also succeed!

          • There was always something missing. Oh, that’s right, it was TRUST.

            I hand it now. I TRUST he sucks and his little whore too.

      • Cheaterssuck, I understand how you and Tempest feel. It’s sad to share a home with someone and still feel lonely. Being lonely equated to being ignore, not worthy of attention, and unloved. I agree that being alone is very different than being lonely. I’m happy being alone with myself and I’m happy when I’m with friends.

    • @Portia, this is exactly how I feel and am striving to get to Meh. I am really working on not trying to “fix” everyone and every thing for my loved ones and letting my kids live life how they choose. I still rescue them more than I should but it’s me not them, they rarely ask me for help. Would it be ok if I quote some of your post, as something I’m striving for, in my blogging?

      • Sure — every comment I make is intended to be shared with the Chump Nation, and any others who may be interested. I find sometimes that a thought will resonate, and somewhere inside that feeling, healing and understanding start to work their magic.

    • Thank you TheClip, Portia, Violet and others who are comfortable and fulfilled with themselves going solo. You’re role models for me.

      After going down the aisle to marry Mr. Eagle Scout, and coming back up the aisle with Mr. Sex Predator. I have no interest in taking that journey again.

      Just entering therapy, I am now realizing that, after a quick shotgun marriage/divorce to my biological
      father, my mother quickly did it again with my step-father, who turned out to be a full-blown, fur-lined, ocean-going, recently Psychologist-confirmed Narcissist. . Watching and experiencing the abuse and destruction his behavior created, and my mom’s choice to be a ride-or-die woman, I decided to “go off script” and spend decades throwing myself into my chosen, well-loved profession, opting for the single life. I believed that with age comes wisdom. Not necessarily (or at least, not automatically). I thought I had wed a man the opposite of my step-dad. I really married a Narcopath – he was just another flavor (covert-nut).

      I’m thankful that my wonderful Counselor is helping me fix my picker. It will be invaluable in choosing future friends, and safely navigating around dysfunctional family members. However, I don’t think I’ll be using it to reach for another romantic partner, and I’m good with that. Hugs to everyone!

    • Portia,

      I so appreciate your wonderful posts!

      Not only because I identify with so many of your sentiments, but also because they are always beautifully expressed!

  • Congrats Steve and thanks for sharing. Reading your story gives us hope and inspiration that meh may be just around the corner. I’m confident I will get there one of these days….

  • Steve, thanks so much for the inspiration. I don’t know about the other ladies on the board, but I sure will be looking for a guy that understands what I’ve been through, and me what he’s been through. Chumps make good partners.. and the “I thought this is what I deserved” rings so true.

    My STBX wasn’t bad to me, but he was always pushing my limits. Always putting himself first. That was a theme.. I just chose not to see it. That was MY choice and I need to learn from it. Tighter boundaries going forward.

    You are mighty Steve and CN thanks you!

  • I really do enjoy these stories from the other side. They truly are inspirational and they give me hope that I will someday be able to shake the HasBeen not just from my house but from my brain. He’ll be out of my house at the end of the month, then I get to the hard work, me. Thanks for making me feel like I can’t wait to start my new life!

  • Steve, your story made me smile (and I haven’t been smiling much lately about abuse dished out by Cheater and legal results). Thank you for speaking for many of us.

    I, too, find myself in a wonderful new partnership. I just wonder how to prevent my angst over horrendous marriage and divorce from tainting great new relationship (with fellow chump). As fellow chump has been my friend for many years, I often treat him as a friend and thus talk about unpleasant events related to abusive Cheater probably way too much. I think that I should try harder to minimize discussion of on-going problems with Cheater with my loved ones.

    • My husband and I talked about our former chump-relationships quite a bit in the past. Chewed those bones pretty thoroughly, actually. Twenty-five years later,the topic is almost dead, except when I reanimate it by reading him something relevant here, and we do some analyzing. Mostly we just marvel that we found each other, and it’s still going strong.

        • I’m just saying, it’s all right to talk about it as long as you need to. Everybody grieves at their own rate, and everybody deals with this horrible betrayal at their own rate. It took a whole lot of years for us to stop bringing our pain back to the serface. We still aren’t completely done with it, that’s why I read this every day.

  • First off, congrats Steve on your new life and new wife! That’s justice and redemption you can always take with you.

    You made me realize one thing, that I am happier today than I was 6 months ago on D-Day, if for no other reason than I no longer walk on egg shells. Looking back, I’m not even sure how I got to that point where I had to watch everything I said and did around my ex. It came on subtly that’s for sure, like a frog slowly boiled in hot water. I use to tell her that she was like a mine field. One false step and BOOM! Off to do damage control. That sort of dynamic even ruined the honeymoon, which look back was a farce to begin with.

  • Steve, thank you for sharing your story. It’s great to know that something so terrible can have a happy ending. I hope you guys enjoy your trip to Paris!

  • Congratulations Steve so wonderful you found a good lady. For me I’ve been married twice and all I want now is peace and quiet and contentment. I can be fine by myself. I need it. No more listening to lunatic rants or rages or hearing he needs drugs cause he can’t cope anymore. I stupid ass I am let him come back after being with other whore for two years. He missed me, missed our life together, blah, blah, blah, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. He was fine for six weeks and then it started all my fault their relationship broke up because I wouldn’t go into the rental and give them my life. Damn I’m tired but I’m clear now and I can’t believe how stupid I was again! He’s here now cause he left her and she wants no part of him but I’m thinking and yes hoping she is just doing it to teach him a lesson. They have no contact for 30 days and then she will reaccess the situation. I can’t let him live in his car he did pay all the bills here while he was gone but I’m hoping to the almighty she wants him back and he goes. She’s pissed he just upped and walked away from her “snap” just like that! Promised her everything and walked away. Only two years makes me laugh! He did the exact same thing to me did she really think hooking up with a lying cheating bastard would work to her advantage? And her? Suffer cuntface for getting involved with a married man! They deserve each other, me I just want some peace.

  • Congrats, Steve! Yours is a story of real inspiration, thank you for coming back to share it. I fully agree – rekindle the forgotten dreams and resuscitate yourself! It’s working for me as well. Not as far along as you, but taking steps daily to get to where you’ve been. And you’re no doubt still moving along in your new life. Keep on keeping’ on! Thanks again!

  • I’m so happy for you Steve! I hope you and your wife enjoy Paris! Your story is inspirational. You managed to forge through the mess with a focus on you, your kids and hope for a better future. Seems you may not have had a complete picture of what you wanted, but you knew you wanted better for yourself and your kids and you created a great framework for that. You set out with faith and hope in the right direction.
    I am only six months out from my divorce from Mr. Sparkles, but I’m basically doing the same thing. I am going to concentrate my efforts on creating a peaceful environment and not dwelling on why he did these horrible things because it’s the past now and it doesn’t matter. I am however going to carry the valuable lessons I learned with me. That education was something I could have lived without, but it will be useful in future relationships whether they be romantic or not because we all know that there are plenty of dysfunctional people out there that are better off at arms length! For now I am not rushing anything and am enjoying making my own decisions without having to pander to a Narc! It’s great! But Thank You for sharing your experience reaching Meh and happiness. I hope to join those ranks soon! Have a wonderful time in Paris!

  • Steve, what an inspiration! I keep reading your words again, they are golden. I too heard that ‘condescending voice’ for years, I need to get that thing muzzled!
    I’m glad you found such happiness, especially because you worked for it so hard! Continued joy to you, and your family!

    • What actually attracted my new wife to me was my relentless pursuit to get well. She admired the self actualization. Plus she is now a believer of therapy. And trust me a lot of this is an imperfect science. But you do not need to white knuckle it. Get help…support groups, take courses on your passion, help at food pantry, become active in your church. Live.

  • Steve, Thanks for the success story that was so well (and hilariously) written. I have to remember the old marriage as a Potemkin Village metaphor. Congrats to you from a fellow happy Chumped-dude (although I am constantly struck by the huge similarity between how narcissists behave despite their gender). Extra kudos for navigating other people swallowing your ex’s narrative. WTF? That part is especially hard on me, but has translated into a higher quality group of friends.

    I have worked hard on altering the mate choosing process and am in a great, positive relationship. I trust her implicitly, but my chump past has made me really appreciate my boundaries, alone time and independence. Perhaps some day I won’t feel this way, but I got heavy religion on being transparent and talking out the relationship hard parts.

    Great story and thanks.

  • Chump nation! It’s Steve. Wow. Thank you….I am blown away by the stories and amazing feedback. Thank you for sharing. Most importantly the message was meant to help everyone navigate…not a Facebook brag.,,,..and there is an other side. I was raised Catholic that’s part of reason I tried gutting it out with my ex. But honestly I should have forced the issue of demanding a better connection and marriage years before. Avoidance is something that we all do. For the people in the still in the swamp…When you are in the mire the sun doesn’t seem to come out, but remember it’s there behind the clouds. Move forward take action.

    Some post script….. I lived on my own for three years and it was great. I kicked ass as a single Dad. Please please please do not take as an absolute end zone ….remarriage. I was very lucky and I believe in the union. I believe in the commitment. Kicking ass being single can be a wonderful fulfilling life. My intent was to compare and contrast my new marriage and frankly all your relationships are impacted by your sense of self worth. Key is don’t let that distorted painting you ex drew shackle you into the future. Throw off those chains. WE can either keep buying that bill of goods….or call bullshit. Call bullshit.

    Also going through it my Bp and health suffered big time I was on three new meds. Heart attack stroke run in my family. Once again I had to get strategies to deal with it. Luckily two great movies really helped Silver linings playbook and the descendants.

    Help others it will help your perspective. You can do it….even if you stumble with your dreams….you tried. Trying, getting up is real mighty. The narcs ……they are chickenshits..they tear us down because they self loaf..truly…..their sense of self is 100 times worse than us. Trust me it’s in there.

    Psalm 40 is awesome as well.

    • Hey, don’t ever apologize for being happily remarried. It’s not bragging. It’s a fact. And it was hard won. There’s not a damn thing wrong with being single (I did it for years), but you have a special appreciation of what a healthy GOOD relationship looks like after being in a toxic one. And that was the perspective I asked for — and you delivered!

      We all have our own paths of mightiness.

      • Thanks Tracy. Also chump nation…..I still get triggered and lose/ jump out of State of meh but I will tell you, it’s rare and not as painful. These demons nag you. But as Song’s hard to dance with the devil on your back so shake him off.

      • This. Whether or not I ever remarry (and I’m not yet divorced, so dating is definitely far out of the picture!), I’m always happy to see that someone else has found joy. I do believe that marriage to the right person is an overall good. But as those of us here in CN know, marriage to cheaters is a terrible, soul-sucking experience!

        Meh is what you get after you’ve healed. You’re okay with yourself and the world. You aren’t wrapped up in the idiocy of your X–at least not more than you need to be if you have to parallel parent. You tend to your own life’s garden.

        If you find someone who shares your gardening philosophy, and who wants to see if the two of you can merge your garden into a larger, more complete garden–perhaps with companion planting–then that’s awesome!

        Congratulations,Steve, and thanks for posting your story. 🙂

        • Every cheater who marries a cheater or the stupid ass that knowingly sleeps with a married man or woman gets exactly the future they deserve.

    • My BP shot up sky high too. Top number was 200. Very scary. I’m on Amlodipine now but hoping I can get off at some point. Last reading was 111 over 78.

    • Your post could not be more timely Steve. There is a thread in the forums where we are discussing why we keep coming back to The blog years later and wondering if it’s healthy. I shouldn’t say we because I have not yet responded to the thread. Any how, I do believe many of us have forged friendships here through fire and even if some of those are online only we don’t want to lose this community. The other common response is we want to give back, help others, and truly? I believe that is why CL started this blog and wrote her books, an attempt to save chumps from the RIC. Hell, chumps help, it’s what we do! And damn, there are so many people here whose voices I don’t want to loose, the triggers can be dealt with and maybe in doing so I can put them to bed (or kill them) forever more. I’m sure a chump is going to quote Edgar Allen Poe now…

      • I can’t speak for all of us fresh chumps but I appreciate the advice, support and occasional butt kicking from those that have been there. At only four months past Dday I know there will be a long exhausting trek to meh ahead of me, but I have faith in myself and my abilities to get there because those who have come before me have demonstrated that it is possible. Thank you to those who have come before and continue to validate our fears, hopes and dare I say, dreams.

      • The main reason I’m still around, despite being at ‘meh’ months ago? Because the stories, advice and so forth are not just relevant to infidelity – they are important life lessons as well. Things that impact our non-romantic relationships or even just random strangers.

  • You Go Steve! Absolutely spot on! It’s tough to just get going sometimes, but the small steps we take towards our own well being each day are victories! I am absolutely awed by your strength. And one of the things I always remember when I’m not doing my best some days is the fact that my Ex is always going to live in that bottomless pit of need and he can’t escape his own skin or past! That will be with him like a second skin forever. I can and will move forward and when I lay down to sleep at night I will rest well! Too bad he won’t be able to do the same because shitty behavior brings about shitty results and his pillow will forever be like a hard brick! I can escape. He NEVER will! And that’s his Karma!

  • Steve, your post is wonderful. I’m so happy with you staking your claim in the State of Meh, and with your new marriage. Hugs to you and your bride. Have fun in Paris!

  • Congrats, Steve. Great to read your powerful and positive story.

    It took me three years to find my partner, a fellow chump. He is a good man, but he still needs to do some work around how beaten down he was left by his Cheating Wife. Maybe I’ll encourage him to read your story.

    • Marci, what’s interesting is my new wife and I always referred to each as shelter dogs…..been mistreated, sometimes really careful to trust again. She had a mentally abusive marriage as well.

      Be patient. Encourage him. Uplift. Restore. It can be done, tell him put that voice out of his head….his ex was a liar.

      • This comment is truly beautiful. I am so glad to see some positives stories in the site. Helps to see that vision of a brighter day–mehmorrow!

      • Going home,
        Great idea, I may take the approach that we are still both healing. He is very much still vulnerable to his CheaterEx despite being 14 YEARS out from d-day. This is because a court order allowed her to remain in the marital home with the kids. This month the house is finally on the market, so this means he must once again have contact with her.

        The sad thing is, she is as blameshifting, gaslighting, dishonest as ever and I think it must be very painful for him to try to set boundaries. He said he thought he had reached MEH but she has a way of pushing his buttons over issues to do with sale arrangements. She has made a circus of her life since the divorce, having “relationships” with several different men -and chump partner knows them all since it is a small place we inhabit. He feels truly embarrassed for his kids, but they seem to just see her as a head case.

        We will be so glad when this last issue is settled. I am planning a celebration and perhaps I will surprise him with a nice holiday to officially end our chumpdom. We only live an hours’ flight from Paris…so we might see Steve there!

  • Thank you so very much, Steve, for this post. And congratulations on your well-deserved happiness.

  • Absolutely FABULOUS, Steve! Thanks for that very well written, straight to the point, piece.

    I took a pause more than midway down and tears rolled down my face from these 3 sentences that for me, took my breath away: ” It’s that my wife loves politics, so it means I am going to the DNC convention with her. She knows that I am crazy baseball fan, so she will be shucking peanuts with me at Wrigley Field. That’s real love”.
    This is all I ever wanted; this is exactly what I gave. I never got it back, never.
    Still searching too, not very hard though. Just kinda giving up on that end.

    Also, LOVED, the ‘chicken and milk’ story.

    So happy you’re happy! Have a great time in the City of Lights!

  • Great post! I am well past chumpdom and still, perhaps forever, unattached. I’m content as I am but I do love to see new love stories. Congrats Steve, and thank you for sharing your story.

  • Thank you so much Steve! I need this today. I’m fairly new at chump nation and going through the very hard part now. My wife left after telling me about her affair. We’ve been separated for 4 months. I am waiting for the final divorce which should happen this month. Chump nation and people like you have helped me move forward even more than counseling has. I am taking a lot of the steps you mentioned you did. Individual counseling, divorce support groups, and church small groups. Sometimes I just feel like they aren’t helping much. But for me, it’s just taking those steps that seem important. After reading your story, I know they are what I should be doing. In the long run, they will help me heal. I don’t know if i’ll ever remarry, but I know i’m taking the steps to help me pick a healthy person next time. Thanks to everyone here! Because of you, I know what i’m feeling and dealing with is normal. And that one day, I will feel human again.

    • Lostntx, buddy hang in there. Maybe that sounds weak. My best friend from divorce support and He and I were train wrecks four years ago. And it didn’t seem like things were working. But note I found him…..that friendship changed my life. We were pathetic almost tabloid worthy tales of woe. Made our moderator shake her head.

      There is a line from a song…….”when you can’t hold on…..if you can’t hold on .,.hold on.”I see that you are religious God is/has/will always be sending you the cavalry. Hold on brother hold on..then RISE. Kick some ass.

      • Steve,
        Thanks for the reply. I’m only 4 months from D day which was also the day of separation. I have a great counselor that’s been working with me from day one telling me my marriage is over and letting me know what to expect. And it’s following his script to the letter. The only bad thing about the divorce group is it’s 8 women and 1 other man. It’s ok, I’m just not sure about forming a real bond with another female right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love being around women. I just know it’s dangerous when we are all venerable. But I am fortunate to have several support guys that have been where I am. But Chump Nation has done so much for me! And I appreciate all the posts and sharing of experiences. Glad you have found a real life partner. It’s like you said originally, love is a choice. And finding someone that gets that is priceless!

    • lostntx….I passed up your post but wanted to reply. I now scrolled back to it. I hear your pain and I hear the ‘sound’ of feeling beat up and lost. I was right there too (still am to some extent).

      It really does get better. I know these words ring out everywhere and seem so redundant and at times, not even true. They are.

      Keep doing what you’re doing.

    • lostntx –

      “Individual counseling, divorce support groups, and church small groups. Sometimes I just feel like they aren’t helping much.”

      This touched me so deeply. I am over a year post-Dday and separation, I am still working on my divorce decree… I hope you will get yours very very soon!

      For months, going to therapy, support groups, and venting with my friends felt like the gentle swipe of a microscopic q-tip dipped in witch-hazel applied to some corner of an oozing gaping Grand-Canyon-wide wound that ran from the top of my head through my heart to the deepest depths of my gut. Every time I had to endure more frustrating attacks from my STBX, it felt like acid was sprayed generously on that damn gaping wound.

      Upon finding CL and CN, and reading post after post, comments after comments, I finally listened and only believed my STBX’s action. That was like coating that damn festering thing in the teflon of NC.

      As much as co-parenting and divorce proceedings made possible, I limited contacts with STBX, no words exchanged in person during kid’s exchanges, only email and texts. I took my time, ideally an over night before responding to any of his requests.

      It is freaking hard, it still hurts like hell, and some days I wake up and know today I will need to practice what Luziana called in a brilliant post “extreme self-care.”

      Every so often, I take the time to remove the teflon from around the wound. That happens with the help of my therapist, or by reading a chapter or two on Cluster Bs. Every time, I look at it, I am frustrated that it is still gaping so wide, that I haven’t been able to heal faster. But it is no longer oozing, and it feels now that it runs from somewhere around my neck to my navel.

      Most importantly, and thanks to CL, to posts like the one from Steve today and to the many comments and stories so generously shared by CN, I now know two things for sure: (1) it will be a hard, long, and arduous journey, and (2) at some point, that wound will be healed, and that every time I look at scar, I will see it as the badge of resilience and strength that I share with every member of CN.

      That was way longer comment than anticipated, lostntx, but I hope it will help you as you keep building your cheater free life!

      • Thank you for the comment. I am limiting contact to the bare minimum. Right now that is almost nothing. My kids are old enough that I don’t have to discuss much of anything with the stbx. The thing that gets me the most is how she can’t seem to handle the nc. She texts me a couple of times a week. Last one today said she still loved me and cared about me. Call her if I need anything. Thanks to CL and CN I know exactly what she is trying to do. This site has done so much good for me. By the way, I never reply to that garbage. And I totally agree with your 2 points and the support here makes me much stronger to make it to the end of this journey.

        • Lostntx,
          I have a theory that most cheaters, while bold in their initial actions and sparkly affairs, do come to regret what they’ve lost.

          That is when they start the contact game, and it is so important for chumps to know that what a cheater sees as their loss is the ‘attention/kibbles’ and NOT the great person they dumped. They love to characterise you as the victim for whom they feel sorry enough to grace you with their sympathy. Barf.

          This early on, for you, is one of the hardest times to maintain the NC. Once you get used to being just you, and truly adoring yourself, her contact will seem laughable. Look in the mirror as often as possible and repeat “love ya, bro”, smile and repeat your list of all the good reasons why she is history. Someone once advised me to do this, and the routine now, strangely, is comforting. It makes me draw a refreshing, deep breath, relax, and carry on.

          I remember being contacted about two years after dumping a cheating boyfriend who was very attractive, and whom I dumped in the face of blatant cheating, but I still found him creepily attractive. It took all the resolve I had to simply delete his text.

          As for your future, I can honestly say it was not until I reached the “I will never remarry, I am happily single” stage, that I became open enough to objectively enter into a sensible, normal relationship with a fellow chump. We will never marry but I would urge you to keep an open mind about things to come.

          • Thank you for your insight Marci! It is hard to not answer most of the time but I don’t. I understand that it’s for her. And dating/marriage isn’t even a thought for me now. I certainly need to heal before I would even consider it. Fortunately, I have a good counselor and i’ll count on him helping me determine when I reach that point.

      • Damn Chumpitude you just described it better than I could ever say it. That’s exactly how it felt/feels.
        NC is teflon

        • Thank you Arlo, sorry we share this painful experience, but happy that we can support each other along the way!

  • This story is almost identical to my own even on handling situations as of today.

    My friend Dan put it best, “stop trying to rationalize an irrational person and then you will be able to see things more clearly”.

  • Yay, Steve! Way to heal, move on, flourish and leave the past in the dust! Inspired by your story. Thanks for outlining the steps to getting to healed. Your point about setting tough limits early really resonated with me. I remember thinking I was being kind by not calling him out on his bad behavior and just “letting it go.” I thought I was being smart and picking my battles, but what I’m learning is that with disordered folks, it’s all a battle. I also like what you said about your new relationship being peaceful. That really sounds nice. Thanks for letting us have a peek at the light on the other side. I know now that the only way out is through and I just have to keep heading for that light.

  • Thanks so much Steve for sharing your story.

    I am eight years out from Dday but the pain rocked me for years until I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation and could connect on that kind of level of what the hell happened to me. I had to work with my XH and see him almost daily which didn’t help at all. He left town a couple of years ago thank dog. There wasn’t much gaslighting or blameshifting because he just LEFT one day. I never saw it coming.I’ve never been so sucker punched in my life. One day he was madly in love with me, the next madly in love with Skank Woman. I found out when we were married I was his FIFTH wife instead of his second like he had told me. He cheated on every single one of his ex wives and girlfriends over the years. Him and Skank Woman canooldled all over this small town we live in and couldn’t have cared less if I saw them. The cruelty was breathtaking. They were soooo giddy and in luv. *gag*

    Fast forward to today. XH has scary medical problems left over from the cancer he endured while we were married. Skank Woman refuses to marry him. Ha! She wanted my husband so damn bad but apparently now doesn’t see him as husband worthy material. Imagine that!! I saw a recent picture of her and honest to dog, she couldn’t be more unattractive. Her ugly inside has caught up with the outside. Same with the XH.

    Me? I met the love of my life. A fellow chump who is the best man I’ve ever met. He makes me laugh so hard every day. He has the same values and morals as I do. I can’t wait to get home after work to him. We’ve combined households and set a wedding date for next summer. I would never have believed I would be here. If I had only known I could have missed out on all those depressing, sad nights where I all I could do was cry my eyes out. One night I said to him ‘I’m going to thank my XH for leaving me.” He said, “No, that’s MY job.” He doesn’t want me even talking to the guy because he says there is no way a man would leave a woman as wonderful as me and he just has to want me back. Ha! He has no idea how stupid the guy is but that’s okay…I don’t talk to the X. I have nothing to say to him anyway,

    The moral here Chumps, is the pain is finite. I guarantee it. Oh and BTW….we’re old! I’m 60 and Lover Boy is 62.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story! Glad that you found the love of your life. You’re story lets me know there is hope for the future. I love to hear about others that have survived this hell and now are leading a wonderful life.

    • Lovely to hear Syringa. I am 63 and whilst society considers us old, I don’t. I will never remarry of that I am quite sure but I wish you a wonderful future with your soon to be husband. Congratulations to the both of you.

    • Got tears just reading Steve’s story and everyone elses, give me hope and something to look so forward to, thank you for sharing them all. And Syringa, this part “One night I said to him ‘I’m going to thank my XH for leaving me.” He said, “No, that’s MY job.” it gave me goose bumps, blessed you are to have found someone that truly loves you. 😉

      • My new hubby says that if we ever ran into ex and wifestress, he would buy them a drink to thank them, because without them he wouldn’t have me ?

        • Kelly,
          My partner says that too. I even said it to my partner’s grown daughter. She smiled and said, yes, Dad seems happier than I’ve ever known him. Hope that gets back to the Cheater some day.

          One odd coincidence…i recently moved in with my partner after dating for 3 years. I had to use the services of a local physiotherapist, so I just got a referral from the doc. Turns out, this physio is THE GUY with whom my partner’s ex originally cheated years ago and ended the marriage! My partner was horrified when he heard who was treating me, of course. I made a joke of it and he calmed down. However, on a subsequent visit, I said to the physio, thanks for bonking Mrs X way back when; without that, I would not have my new happy life. His jaw hit the floor and he looked truly shitfaced. Needless to say, I cancelled all future appointments.

    • Syringa, thank you for sharing your now happy story with us. My ex told me once that I’d never find the type of man I want so I’m glad to hear that you have. So happy for you both!

    • Way to go, Syringa! I am turning 60 in November and my husband turns 62 one week later. Sometimes I feel it, most times I don’t. And we have a great time together. Good thing, too. We bought a supersized Scrabble game that I swear takes hours to play. Some nights we just order a pizza, put on an MST3K movie to half-listen to, and duke it out Scrabble style. Probably excruciating boredom for some, but we like it.

        • Come to Montana, we’ll have a Scrabble party! (Be warned, there are occasional snarky remarks passed back and forth, when the perfect word is lost due to one’s selfish opponent.)

    • LOVE your story.. In a way it is like mine. One day he loved me and the next day he was gone and in love with MY BEST FRIEND! I did all the work for those fucks as they were the two closest to me. Never saw it coming……….. PUNCH! We are 5 months into this shit and he is STILL claiming they are “just friends” even after catching them together, discovery of clothes and evidence all over and his ugly truck parked at her house. I DREAM of the day when this nightmare will be over and I can get on with my life at 36 and two young girls! YOU GO GIRL….. rocking it! Love hearing post stories.

  • Congrats!
    I myself think I will stay single once the papers are signed. Alone seems to be a better place than another DDay! The good thing is, the further out I get…. the less I care about her. To see her now just turns my stomach. The thought of being without her now seems like a great thing! 9 months post DDay, seems time does help!!!

    • Man I hope so. I am about 5 months out of DDay and the shit just gets weirder and weirder. SO freaking glad I found this site and read the book early on. I agree to see him now turns my stomach and I am getting used to the thought of being with out him more and more every day! I hope it only goes up from here for all of us CHUMPS.

  • Thanks for your message, Steve. It really hit home for me too.

    The old me let lots of things slide: my undefined boundaries and the defined ones cheaterpants defiled. The new me doesn’t take shit either. I call him out on it. And he likes to rationalize it as Cheaterpants v.0 compared to the new and improving post Cheaterpants v.1.

    What I have found is that the common thread of dumb ass, selfish behavior remains. His tool box sucks. When push comes to shove,he resorts to the same shit. Just the window dressing is different. Although he is committed to change via lots of therapy, I am refusing to hold his hand on his journey. It’s just too much for me to handle. It wickedly fucks with your head.

    Kudos to you on your happiness. I am on the path to seek mine.

    • >>The old me let lots of things slide: my undefined boundaries and the defined ones cheaterpants defiled. The new me doesn’t take shit either.

      Me either ANC!! Thanks to what I learned here, I know how to spot that shit now, and call it for what it is.

      >>Although he is committed to change via lots of therapy, I am refusing to hold his hand on his journey. It’s just too much for me to handle. It wickedly fucks with your head.

      That is exactly the conclusion I came to: I am not at all equipped to deal with his fucked up shit.

      It’s so awesome to read Steve’s story and all the other tales from meh here – I do have hope that I’ll find a nice normal person to love again

  • Such a wonderful commentary Steve, and very happy to see you doing so incredibly well. Your insight and calm perspective are simply beyond value. Congratulations, it is better on the other side!

  • Steve and Chump Lady,
    Really, Really glad you posted a “happy ending story.” This story and the one you posted on Labor Day about the lady whose entire family died. Then her buisness burnt down. These stories give me hope. My one little piece of hope is that I will once again have a great vacation without a cheater who is constantly taking selfies to send to ow while we were on our family vacation.
    Too many more Positive Stories like this one!

  • “But ahhh the other side……I always said that I mentally put my intestines back into my gut then applied multiple rolls of duct tape. Then climbed the ropes like Rocky. My kids, exercise, work, CL blog, family, friends, therapy, prayer, support groups, playing in my band, and my faith got me through it.”

    Thank you, Steve, for an inspirational story from the other side! I love the image of you juggling life with your intestines duct taped back into your gut!!! What is duct tape not used for?! This so accurately describes a Chump’s life after DDay, down to finding time for the CL blog. (I’m in the college library checking out CN instead of doing homework!) You gave this Chump (who is still in the “swamp”) the gift of hope and it is much needed and appreciated.
    PS Flowergirl14, I was on vacation this summer where my cheater was taking selfies for the same reason! Gave me that knot in my stomach Steve referred to in his post regarding how he felt on vacations.

      • Theres only 2 things you need in life: WD-40 and duct tape.
        If it doesn’t move and it should – use the WD-40.
        If its moving and shouldn’t be – use the duct tape. 😀

        • That’s what I need ,duct tape! I told friends I feel like I’m lying in the highway after being hit by a semi,broken and bleeding.Somehow I’ve got to scrape myself off the pavement and run to safety while dodging vehicles coming at me 85mph.They stare at me blankly having not been through anything like this.Reading Steve’s story ,on the other hand,was like being handed a giant roll of duct tape! So helpful and hopeful.Taping my guts in now……Thanks Steve!

  • Thanks for this, Steve – I really needed it. My old neighbour and friend texted me this morning that developers are tearing down the house I sold last year, our family home, the house I was in for over 30 years, poured my love into, raised my kids in. I’m a little teary here at work even though I realize that it is just one more sign that that phase of my life is well and truly over. The way i feel right now I know I’m still not at Meh, but one of these days soon…….

    I love reading stories like yours. You are kick-ass and so deserve all the good that has come to you and your family!

  • Congratulations, Steve! You know what I love best about this story? That it is all about Steve and his new life, and a teeny, tiny bit of reference to his ex about some angst. And that’s what our stories should be: just all about us and our new lives.

    Well done, Steve, well done.

  • “Going through previous marriages with disordered people builds up your appreciation level. What’s great is that it’s a two-way street on caring, loving, and thoughtful gestures. Instead of trying desperately to constantly win someone over…. and get scraps of love. ”

    “I am my real self when we were on vacation. In years past it was a ball of stress. Chumps it’s great experiencing life and travel without that knot in your stomach…..because of the cheaters’ constant disdain for us.”

    Hell hell to the yes yes

    My sweet husband is a dear and he appreciates me after his marriage to Mrs Yourenevergoodenough. I got food poisoning in Istanbul on the day we were supposed to go to the Grand Bizarre but he wanted to go shopping and not watch me sleep/vomit all day. I told him to go and have fun…he looked so scared “are you going to throw this at me later?” “no, go and have fun” he was incredulous. and no I didnt later tell him he was a horrible person.

    Traveling with my lateH was a nightmare on earth…horrible. Life is SO much better now!!!!!!!

  • “Your cheater wants to spend time with the “love of their life”, not your kids so NEGOTIATE.”

    so very true, and quite heartbreaking for the kids once they start to realise that they are second-in-line to schmoopy.

    you’ve got to be the positive counter-example.

  • Oh, I do so love a happy ending. I used to say that in my case Pollyanna died, but now I believe she was just shell shocked. It’s good to hear about growth, and hard personal work blossoming into love and trust, taking the risk to let someone in and finding a soul mate as a result. Yay! That to me is the definition of courage, being scared to death, but doing it anyway.

    Kudos everyone. One thing we can say about Chump Nation. We definitely do not lack courage. It may take us a while to get going, but once we decide to kick it in the ass, we are just about unstoppable. I am indeed honored to be counted among you.

    I have learned so much here. It has helped me make sense of so much crap that was darn near incomprehensible. I have grown in many ways since finding CL, learned what I did wrong, and what I did right. You’re all helping me fix my picker, and for the first time in a very long time I can say that I’m open to the possibility of letting someone in. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t…. also great. The damage cheater ex did is healing. I have hope again.

    Best of all, you tell it like it is. Gentle therapeutic butt kicking is essential for maintaining reality when I want to go hide in la la land. We care about each other enough to tell each other the truth, even when it’s painful.

    Thanks everyone. You are all appreciated.

  • The best stories are the ones about overcoming and finding happiness. Sometimes you need the light and sometimes you are the light. Thanks so much for sharing your story Steve!

    • “Sometimes you NEED the light and sometimes you ARE the light.” I love that! I’m going to use it on my journey to meh. Thanks for that!

  • Thanks CL for this post. It occurs to me that we survivalists need these perspectives to remember how far we have come. Thank you!

  • Congratulations to Steve and the others. I am three years out, 2.5 yrs divorced. I admit I had hoped to have found a sweet fellow Chump at this point, but given the abandonment issues the kids are having, dating is out at this point.
    So I will simply remain hopeful for the future.

  • I seldom comment here, but I’ve been reading this blog daily since March, and I have to say that this is the kindest, bravest, smartest, most supportive online community anywhere. Steve, thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    For anyone on the fence about whether or not they will ever date/marry/love again… just breathe! You don’t have to figure it all out yet. I’m ten months post-DDay #2, four months post-divorce. And I’m in a wonderful let’s-see-what-happens relationship with an amazing fellow chump. We “met” on another support site, just two people going through the same crap at the same time, and things evolved from there. Neither one of us was ready to date when we started getting to know one another. But with someone who really, truly shares your values and understands what you’ve been through, it’s okay to say “let’s just see what happens.” No promises, no expectations, no games. We both have our hang-ups, fears, and scars after what we’ve been through, but when you are in a relationship with a healthy, emotionally-available grown-up, you… talk about it.

    I don’t know how this will end, but I don’t need to. I’m truly enjoying the experience as it comes, and learning so much about myself in the process. Added bonus? My confidence is through the roof, I smile and dance more, and I take better care of myself. That makes my home and my kids happier, and (I suspect) gives the ex an off-kilter feeling whenever he picks up the kids. Nope, not pining for you, cheater!

  • This is just what I needed to read today! After 3 or 4 bogus reconciliations, my STBX moved out. I just kept doing what I was doing… it was beyond me how he could bail on 20+ years of marriage. I was blessed to find this website. I did everything pick me dance.. spackle… he is a full on narc with 3 channels.. I have been through hell the last 2 years. I look back in March and how I had jelly legs walking to the courthouse to file for divorce all on my own. I almost turned around…. but I took a deep breath and filed. He abandoned his child and only had random visits an hour here or there… the he said if she wants to see him, just have her call. Really, you put that on a child.. well she tried… the answer was always no or I’m busy.. even on the birthday and fathers day… busy is right.. with his gf… anyway. it is what it is. I am in the home stretch of the divorce being final, about 3 weeks away.. and guess who wants another chance to work it out, who left his gf, he knows he wants to try again.. I might not be super mighty, but I am mighty and I work on it everyday. It’s as if, he’s like you can have me back now, I want to do this. Why in the world would I even want to be friends. Narcs must be clueless.. Well Thanks for posting Steve’s awesome story.. It helped and made me feel mighty.

  • Big thanks!!!!!!!

    It’s Steve, the author of the post, my wife and I want to give our dearest thanks to everyone who wrote us well wishes. We appreciate the love, good vibes, and your great story sharing. She was blown away by the community. I am real glad the post uplifted folks. We can and will overcome. We can do it.

    No matter what dream you achieve in the future, focused on your kids, being mighty and single, or finding new love…..I am telling you the world (good people good souls) is rooting for you. A number of them had troubles as well. Be mighty and rise.

    Peace CN,

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Steve. All the best you to and your wife. CN rocks. Woooh!!!

  • Congrats Steve and thanks for that spot of hope. Some days such as this one I wonder if I will ever totally recover. On my way to Meh-dom but having to work with Narcboy AND also having my favorite area in which to teach taken away soon due to HIS screwing up on the job is making this a long, hard slog. Five years til retirement, til I can sell out and leave, date someone compatible again. However, there are glimmers of progress; slowly paying off bills from my dads passing, no longer walking on eggshells, no longer wondering if I can believe what Narcboy says, and best of all, a much more sensitive BS detector. In four very long years, I’ve gone from someone very isolated, very vulnerable, to someone still alone not by choice but who is one helluva lot tougher and stronger.

  • Chumpdom trumps politics pal. I’m a conservative all the way, but i give you huge props and hope you have a phenomenal time at the dnc convention. Sounds like you are on a path that will bring you the decency and success those cheaters in our past hate…so enjoy the lovely karma of happiness….and meh!

  • I was cheated on almost 3 years ago now. Stayed with the girl for another 2 years and am about six months out of that hell hole of a relationship. Thank god. Funny enough I saw a flier for this website in Berkeley, CA with my ex (snake woman we will call her) and never visited until now. After reading a few of these posts I have found that I truly am a Chump, but I would much rather be a Chump then a cum dumpster(snake woman). This post has resonated with me the most on here even though I quite a bit younger than you solely on the fact that you have children and I am still a college student. Everything you said resonated with me though about the cheater (snakewoman) just building up distain for me while I just sit quietly and get trampled over because GOD FORBID YOU SAY SOMETHING THAT MIGHT MAKE THIS BITCH ANGRY. It has taken me this long to realize that calling cheaters out on their shit is the way to go… who gives a fuck if they get angry… I, we, us, everyone, are better off without them.

    This website is so great. Everything on here is a reassurance for the good people in this world. The people who have a set of morals. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories on here, I am happy to be a Chump.

  • Dear Steve- I’m a chump from 1996, stalled in chumpdom because I let her continue to abuse me. I wish This site was around then! Children gave my ex an opportunity to keep taking from me- 2 years ago, after the LAST TIME, I told her I never want to speak to her again. So far, so good.

    I remarried 5 years after my divorce. I thought all was happily ever after then. Little did I know, through my 3 boys, she started abusing me again, this time my relationship with my boys was the leverage she used to continue to TAKE. Only by giving up and ceasing contact with the whole bunch have I begun to heal.

    I hope you continue to live happily ever after!

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