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Chump Lady Ages Into Another Birthday

bdayescapeHi guys! Every year on my birthday I rerun this post. (I’m now 49 as of today.) I promise to announce the Arts & Crafts winner tomorrow. (I know I said Friday, but I’ve been out of town and need to catch up…) Feeling very blessed today. Thanks for allowing me a day off. — Tracy.

Well, I try not to blog about myself too much, because God, how narcissistic and dull. (Mommy blogging anyone? Does anyone want to know about my son’s travails with geometry?) But I’m going to make an exception today, because today is my birthday. (Cue Leslie Gore… “It’s my birthday! And I’ll blog if I want to! Blog if I want to!”…)

I’m 46, if you’re curious. Fairly ancient.

What does my descent into middle-aged decrepitude  have to do with infidelity? Well, my 46th birthday is a nice reminder of my fortieth birthday, which sucked epically. And I thought I’d tell you about it as a little example of how different life can be post-cheater.

When I turned 40, I had just moved to a new state with my then husband for his job. I’d been married four months. We bought a 100-year old fixer upper house (with my money) and it had been badly neglected. A widow had owned it and hadn’t done yard work since her husband had died years ago. But hey, you know what they say about codependents, right? Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. I was still a flaming codependent. I loved the potential of this ancient pile of house and I was resurrecting the garden single handedly.

It was the day of my fortieth birthday and I ordered myself a truck load of cow manure from a local farmer. He delivered it, dumped it in my yard and I spent the day ankle deep in shit, shoveling cow flop around.

At the time — swear to GOD — I thought “I’m ankle deep in shit on my fortieth birthday. This must be a METAPHOR for something!”

My metaphor called me about six weeks later. It was the Other Woman phoning to let me know she existed. Turns out — surprise! — my husband had a mistress spanning 20 years and three marriages.  No, I had NO IDEA. Remember, I’m a CHUMP. No clue. None. Zip. Zilch.

I had just moved to a no fault divorce state, financed a serial cheater’s career move, and bought a 100-year old fixer upper with this fucking sociopath.

How I got out of that mess is another story for another time (many miracles, many blessings, a lot of idiocy on my part — idiocy I share with you as trial-tested results of What Not To DO). The point was… my birthday.

My fortieth birthday sucked. I literally spread shit on my fortieth birthday. My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen. (Admittedly a nicer gift than the tie-dye motif license plate cover he presented to me that Christmas). And during that weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was off screwing his mistress. Cherry on top of the shit sundae.

What a difference six years makes.

Today I am so blessed. I’m remarried to a great guy who is truly my better half. He’s nerdy and kind and super smart. Verbal. Bright. A mensch. A wonderful father to his kids and a rock to my son. He eats too much popcorn and loves polka music. His quirks fit my quirks. I marvel every day at my amazing fortune that this is my life and he is my husband… and I will shut up now before you choke on my treacly, heartfelt, love goop.

My husband has been pestering me for the last week about what I want for my birthday breakfast. He is a master at French toast, and tragically for him, I do not care for French toast. (“It’s JUST LIKE BREAD PUDDING! You love bread pudding!” No, it’s not the same. French toast is a pale substitute because it’s not drenched in Bourbon.) I got a sweet roll and coffee and roses for breakfast. Swoon.

He took me out on a date last weekend and gave me a ridiculously extravagant gift. He put a pressed shirt on, and the man hates to wear all things dry clean only. He opened my door. He bought the fancy dinner.

I’m not writing this to make you hate me. I am writing this to you to say  — YOU ALL DESERVE THIS. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who delights in delighting them. Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them. Who  will go to whatever effort just to PLEASE you on your birthday.

You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.

I didn’t know this until I was 42 and met my husband. I spent a lifetime in my relationships shoveling shit to one degree or another. I’m not saying <sniff!> no one loved me, no one bought me a pretty present. I’m saying — I didn’t know what reciprocity felt like. What it was to love someone who loved me back just as hard, maybe harder. Who if I lobbed the ball to him, picked it up and lobbed it right back. Who threw it further into the green, past me, so that I had to run to catch it. Who (damn him) is ahead on this birthday celebration thing. But I have a few things planned… his turn is coming…

Betrayed folks — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.

Going to go celebrate some more. I’ve got a sugar coma now, between my prose and the birthday cake… maybe I’ll go take a nap… Happy birthday to me!



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  • Happy birthday !!!! Have a wonderful day being spoilt, loved and cherished. As you deserve. thank you for this life-changing and saving blog and for all the advice, pep talks and inspiration (and the sugar…..we all need sugar sometimes:-) that you give us x

    • Happy Belated birthday, Tracey. I don’t care to think where I’d be without you, this site, your book, and all of chump nation. I hope your day was great!

  • Happy bday, CL, and a million congrats on your well deserved happiness. You’re an inspiration in so many ways.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady!! I found you a little less than a year ago now, and I appreciate everything CN and you have done for me. Thanks and have a great day!!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! You are feeling blessed and we have been blessed by your existence! Have a wonderful, wonderful day and thank you, thank you, thank you for your courage and for having created this blog for people who needed to see a different way forward. Love you to pieces!

  • Happy birthday. Hope you have another sugar coma from a great breakfast from your hubby.

    I agree with what you said; “effort is sexy” Damn right.

    Laziness & entitlement? Lack of effort to be kind to your spouse? Probably the un-sexiest thing ever.

  • Happy birthday! I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for your site and efforts, your generosity with your time and talents, and for the community you’ve built. I’m where I am today – 10 months post DDay – in no small measure because of the insights and support I receive here throughout the day. This is my first reply post to you but I am a writer and have had an internal reply “me too” to almost everything I’ve read here. I’ve felt loneliness and confusion lift. I’ve laughed (once in the Kansas City airport at 6 am) so hard I’ve almost choked (all I can remember was it had to do with the AM hack). I’m setting boundaries. I’ve started the process of lawyering up. Im healing from the PTSD symptoms I developed after D-Day. I have my kids in counseling with therapists who specialize in helping kids whose parents gave affairs, devalue, discard (there are at least 3 such therapists working full time in my community!). I’m dating and having something new: fun! Even went to the Keith Urban concert with the new man I’m seeing and didn’t cry once. H and I have been married 25 years and his affair completely blindsided me. 5 months of false reconciliation, MC, his love addiction DX, his relapse into daily drug use with AP (30 yo, barely employed, non-professional – H and I are very successful professionals- AP lives at home with her parents). H is 15 years older than AP. She knew all about me and our kids, and that we were in MC, trying to fix (haha, what a joke!) what H said was wrong with me and our marriage that caused him to do this. Gag?. H looks like hell. Has aged 10 years. I lost 25 lbs and look the best I ever have. My career is skyrocketing. My new sweetheart is gorgeous, kind, generous, a mensch too (yay!), funny, an excellent and devoted father and friend with lifelong guy friends. He is very successful. He makes me laugh. No cheating in his background. No red flags. This site gave me hope, not hopeium. Allowed me to begin to let go and move on. I cannot say enough about what a difference CN has made! Thank you again Tracy and I hope you have the best birthday ever!

  • It’s my 32nd birthday tomorrow, my second since separating/divorcing from my exWH that I was with for the 12 previous years. Last year I was flying high on the novelty of my new life and this year I want t curl up under a rock and hope the day passes quickly. I want to have hope that I’ll find that person someday too (no rush, but someday) but I’m feeling discouraged. I know I’m a catch so why does nobody else feel that way?

    But thanks for reminding me to not settle, to have self-respect, and to hold out for somebody who is going to treat me the way I treat them.

    • Happy almost birthday! Not every happy ending is a new relationship — I think un-chumping means accepting reciprocity in all our significant adult relationships. It’s totally human and normal to have the rock-curling days. They pass. ((Hugs))

        • And from someone in her early fifties, (how?? when???), y’all are both teenagers! I wish I had my thirties looks, forties enthusiasm, all combined with my fifties attitude! 🙂

          Happy Birthday, CL. Have a super day!

    • Kim, I know just what you’re talking about. Approaching my 2nd birthday since DDay as well, and my feelings are similar to yours. Take heart and don’t give in to despair (easier said than done, some days). We shall overcome!

    • The ‘nobodies’ who feel you might not be a catch – are the dicks you don’t need to be with. Devoid of morals and narcissistic.
      Its ok to be single! In fact, its sometimes better – you have no demands on your time except yourself.

    • Yes! Happy birthday to you, Tracy! Your work, advice, and insight, along with the support and lessons learned from all the Chumps on your site, have helped move me from a blindsided 39 year-old on DDay, to a stronger, mighter, divorced and yet, hopeful 41 year-old (last month). I certainly hope by 46 I’m in massive love with someone worthy of me and my children, and worthy of my love and loyalty right back. Cheers to you, girl!! xoxo =D

  • Happy Birthday CL! I just hit 49 myself. Looking forward to Life 2.0. Thanks for all you do. Have a mighty, kick-ass day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! I discovered chumplady a year ago around your birthday. I am divorced now (!!!!) and if it was not for you, would have gone around the reconciliation mountain again. And again. You showed me exactly where things are at and I COULD SEE HIM FOR WHO HE WAS for the first time in my life. I am so so so thankful to you. I have read this whole blog 3x over.

  • Seems like yesterday I wished you Happy Birthday and not a year ago. Time sure does fly. Here’s to many more happy birthdays.

    • Happy birthday, CL! I first logged on to this site approximately one year ago (shortly before your birthday). Like Chumpy, it seems (to me) like yesterday!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy – you deserve to be cherished! Bless your fellow chump hubby and welcome to the 49 club (of which I, too, am a proud member).

    P.S. Love your comment about co-dependency – spot on.

  • Happy Tracy Day!!! Thanks for all you do here CL! And may your day be filled with many, many blessings and much joy!

      • combined with the previous rallying cry, that leaves, “Put down the shovel and step back from the assclown!”

        Happy Birthday (and remember 49 is the new 29)!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady!!!!! Thank you so very much for this site. Sending many hugs and I hope you have the best day ever. You are our blessing in all of this mess we chumps have to deal with. I cannot thank you enough for helping me understand what the ex and his followers are and also getting me to educate myself about Personality Disorders which has saved my sanity (well what is left of it-Ha!). I owe so much to you that words will never be enough. More hugs to you!!!!!!

  • Hugs and Happy Birthday, Tracy. I hope it is a great day. Just know that you have made a huge difference in the lives of many, many people with this blog. In fact, I’m willing to bet you have saved lives. Thank you for your wit, wisdom, humor, and that great big chumpy heart of yours. You are a special lady.

  • Happy Birthday, Thanks for your great site. Personally I’m turning 51 soon and 19 months after cheating ex wife split I’m finally just enjoying the peace and solitude without her mind fuckery I was too blind to see. Have an awesome day!

  • Glad to see I share the same birthday with such a fabulous and talented lady! 🙂

    That being said, I do feel a little sad and down in the dumps today. I’m 39 and my stbx is with his coworker. Something that made me a cry when I read this is that if I were to describe stbx before he crumbled under the pressures of kids, career stuff and…eventually…the OW, he was everything Tracy described about her second husband. I miss him terribly—not who he is now—but who he was before he got a new job and met her. And on days like this, it’s hard not to get sucked into the vortex of “what if.” What if he’d never taken that job??? Our lives were simple and peaceful before then…

    I know that it’s a waste of time to focus on those things though. STBX has a major character flaw and no amount of “what ifs” are going to change that.

    Off to the salon to treat myself to a little pampering! CL, have a fabulous birthday! You deserve it! You’ve helped so many people!

    • Hi Mystique! We both share the same birthday with CL! Happy Birthday! Just wanted to say, I know how you feel. But the third paragraph you wrote, that’s the one to re-read. Soon, you’ll believe it more than you probably do now. You have a brand new year to recalibrate and refocus your energy. Sounds like you’re off to a good start at the salon. I’m headed there later myself! 🙂 Take care-

      • Best wishes to us! It’s a great day to share with both of you and CL! I’m getting my pellet stove installed in my little mountain home. It’s bound to be a day of ups and downs but being by myself is much better than being on the cheater tilt-a-wheel!
        After that, my repairs (hopefully) will be complete for this year!

        Birthday Hugs to you both!

    • He ‘crumbled’ only because he had a second life fucking the OW – not because of you or your children. If he didn’t want to crumble he shouldn’t have been fucking the OW then, should he?
      It shows just how devoid of morals and pathetic he is though – fucking someone from work? He’d only have to take what, 3 steps to find it? No effort needed there, especially if OW is a predator-type. You’d have to be especially dumb to pick up a whore from work though – what do they say – don’t shit in your own backyard? Because if the relationship sours, with a nutjob, especially from work, you’re going to lose your job too.

  • How did I not realize this before? We share the same birthday! Today is my 40th! And I’m happy about it! I’ve been divorced for a little over a year now and I’m single and happy. I actually feel happy! I am happy and at peace. I have to say, even to be at this place felt so impossible 3 years ago. So I’m optimistic about my future and I don’t want any part of it to hurry up. I want to enjoy where I am and be glad for it.

    Here’s to new beginnings! Happy Birthday to us both!!

    • Happy birthday Right Brained, I turned 40 two days ago. How great is it not to have to spend this day in a fake life….. I only managed to leave about 4 months ago, but am sooo glad I don’t have to spend my 40th having to fake gratitude for some insincere present and lack of attention from the ex.

      I have a great night planned with 25 friends and going to have a ball, while my kids get some dad time. Happy Birthday Tracey, I will be ever grateful for you and your site

  • Happy Happy B Day Girl! If not for your eye opening, take no prisoners, trust that they suck wisdom, I might have continued fighting for my 35 plus years of fake marriage! You are making a big difference and saving people years of suffering. Hope you have some bread pudding today or whatever your loving heart desires. Big hugs!

  • Happy Birthday ChumpLady! I am so happy for you! And I am so grateful that you decided to create this site for all us folks! Be healthy, be happy and keep writing! I don’t know where I would be today if not for you and your wisdom. You are one very smart cookie and you deserve the best! Party on!

  • Happy Birthday! I found your site about 4 months ago and am 10 months post D-Day. Those first 6 months were hell and I did all of the things you posted NOT to do after you find out your spouse is cheating – attempting to untangle the skein of fuckedupness, pick me dancing, unicorn belief in reconciliation, in constant states of either denial or hope – but now? Now I see the truth. Now I see the red flags. Now I see my worth. Now I see that this isn’t my fault. Now I see that what’s he’s done has set me free from a horrible person. Now I can be free to CHOOSE someone who is worthy of my love and that I am equally worthy of theirs. Thank you for opening my eyes, Chump Lady. I hope you enjoy your day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracey! Must be a good day to be born – it’s my birthday today too!
    I’m a bit older (53) and way behind you in the MEH journey but I’m definitely on the right path.

    Thank you for all the inspiration and a place to come when this journey gets hard.
    Birthday Hugs!

    • Happy birthday! Boy, there’s quite a few of us. 🙂 Wishing you meh and many happy returns.

      • Maybe it’s that on the cusp Libra thing that makes us chumps…..??
        Much Love to the Autumal Chumps!

  • Happy birthday ChumpLady ! Thank you so much for keeping this blog running despite your good fortune. It is so much easier to forget the bad times, yet you chose to continue to help people like us. Thank you for putting our misery into words, for seeing the humor of situations, and for leading us to better days.

    I am a well preserved 55 year old who hates to return to the dating pool. Cartoons have always been my way to deal with nasty relationships. Alas, I believe I am going to draw a lot in the months to come. If only us ChumpNation people could have the means to date each other…

    • Happy Birthday CL

      Your kindness, your intelligence, your sharp wit, your communication skills, your commitment, your voice that gives voice to others, your UBT skills, your integrity, your strength and compassion is much appreciated by so many here.

      Warm wishes for you birthday and many,many, more birthdays to come.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! I am so very grateful to you and this site!

    Tomorrow is my birthday. It is a sweet reminder to see how much I have learned, healed and evolved since my worst birthday – my 40th.

    (Short version, EX told me he wanted to to think about “things” but wanted to wait until celebrating my birthday before moving out. He told me he was living in a basement apartment but instead was living with the 25 year old OW in a house they bought together. He openly told all of the friends he was doing this. However, he repeated lied to me because he just needed time to “think” and left me living in limbo. Fast forward to false reconciliation, lying during MC, lots of nutty stuff, DD2 to divorce.)


    • Happy almost birthday! Yeah, what is it with 40 anyway? I’ve heard more 40th birthday D-day stories…

      • Well, I’ve always heard life begins at 40. Mine changed for sure. No DDay, just a diagnosis of MS. Whee!

        Anyway, I hope your having an absolutely marvelous birthday!

        • Pearshaped – (btw, I hate your name – just cuz I have the same shape :)) 40 was hard enough but I can’t imagine getting a serious diagnosis of MS at the same time. I was crazy during that time.
          How in the world did this affect you? Hormones raging, etc. I’m so sorry you had this extra burden to process at that time in your life. Hope you are doing well, my friend.

          As an old gal here at 59, if you think the 40’s go by fast…wait til the 50’s, then suddenly, out of the blue, you are looking at 60. I remember my parents when they were that ‘old’ and that’s when mom died.

          If there’s anything we can learn from being shit-sandwiched on, I guess is – try and live the rest of this life with YOU in mind – and if you are happy, others will automatically be happy behind you. I wake up ever morning and lay there, wondering again why I should put my feet in my slippers…and then I remember, omg, I have an appt in an hour.
          It’s really nice to keep busy when you don’t know what direction you are going.

          Happy Birthday to all the Sept 25th – just celebrated my painters b’day today, who is helping me remodel an old house (1974) to live in . .

  • Happy Birthday!

    I know I speak for all of CN when I say how happy we are you were born, and then self-born into CL, Tracy.

    Thank you for everything you have done.

  • Happy birthday Tracy. You’re mighty and provide an outstanding public service! I just wish I could be as optimistic about finding such a lovely husband the same. Feel despondent on that score and NO CLUE how you meet people especially potential partners. Shy as hell and that’s partly why I settled before especially with love bombing stuff. But I’m sooo pleased that you have a wonderful life. You’re my inspiration.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!!! You’re site has saved my sanity, and helped me navigate this new territory in my life. I found you by chance soon after you established the site (lucky me!), and although there was nobody out there like you, everything you had to say resonated with me; FINALLY something made sense! I asked cheater to move out 5 months ago. He signed divorce papers, of all days, ON HIS BIRTHDAY! I didn’t plan it that way. I think it was life’s little gift to me.

    I can finally feel waves of Meh more often than not. I can only compare it to the feeling of taking aspirin for a pounding headache; you don’t notice the moment the headache is gone, but at some point you do notice that you feel better, and because you’re so grateful to feel like yourself again, everything in life seems a little bit sweeter. Thank you!

  • Happy Birthday CL–you enjoy your special day as it’s so deserved!!! I too had many sucky birthdays with the ex narc until this year with my new man. It’s wonderful to be loved like you described!!! Yes, there is life after living with a narc cheater!!!

  • Happy birthday! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your blog. You opened my eyes and changed my life, words cannot express my gratitude. You rock!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!!! I hope it is beyond magical, rainbows, sunsets and things lovely. You deserve it. Thank you for helping all of us out of our darkness… thank you for being the voice of reason and truth. You tragedy has been the story of recovery and healing for so many. God has blessed you with a new life and new love. I have shared you with others who have been jolted into their new reality. You are doing a fantastic work!!! Now today….you get to eat CAKE…and not be cake for someone else.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! I hope you have a most excellent day. The sun is shining here in the Pacific Northwest and it’s a gorgeous fall day. I hope your day is full of sun and fun. Love what you said, EFFORT is sexy.

    This blog you created is fabulous and you’ve helped so many people. And as someone mentioned above, it would be easy to forget the past in your happiness today. But you have given chumped people everywhere a lifeline. God bless you.

    This weekend I’m going ring shopping with my gorgeous boyfriend. We plan to make it official next summer. I never dreamed I’d be here again in a million years. I thought I had totally given up on love after what the Cheating XH did to me. I quit believing in almost everything after that smack down. Cheating XH’s girlfriend (OW) now refuses to marry him and he’s had very scary medical problems and surgeries recently.

    Wouldn’t that be something if I’m the ONE who gets a nice life after the shit storm they created in my life. Ha! Can you say Karma? I’m loving my life today and my guy is a million times the man my X was. He’s kind, clear of eye, generous to the max with me, and has never cheated on anyone in his life. He’s a chump too and I know his XW’s family and they’ve all told me what a whore she was to him. She had tons of affairs while they were married and he was deployed, all the while sending his pay check home to her. After she got pregnant by some other guy was when he decided he’d had enough. We are planning on a very nice life together. I got my man the honest way. I didn’t fuck anyone’s husband to get my him. That makes me about a million times better than the Skank Woman.

    • Whoo hoo, Syringa! The rest of us love success stories! You’ll get a ring this time that you can wear proudly.

  • Happy birthday CL!
    I want to thank you and everyone on this blog for being such a welcoming and helpful group. I wasn’t married to my cheater nor had children with him but what I’ve read here has certainly soothed my heart and helped me realize how to fix my picker. I think I got off pretty easy after hearing all the heart rending stories on here. Keep fighting the good fight fellow chumps!

  • You’re a beautiful person inside and out Tracy, Happy Birthday! I hope you have the best day ever. <3

  • Wishing you a terrific birthday, Tracy. I found your site months ago when I was searching for information on narcissistic sociopath (user) personality types — since I desperately needed to learn how to identify them and block them from coming at me (bosses, clients, lovers and fake friends – a frustrating pattern still in my mid-50’s!). I learned SO much from reading your articles and all the comments from brave members so willing to share their stories and insights. Thanks for all you do .. and for who you are!

  • Happy Birthday! Thanks for all you have given CN. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. Have a great day.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! May the year ahead bring you truckloads of joy and a few zingy new adventures. Thank you so much for creating this site that has helped so many, including me!

  • Have a wonderfully happy birthday Tracy. You were put on this earth to save many lost souls and you have done just that. You should be enormously proud of yourself and the work that you do. You are a one of a kind girl. God bless you and Happy Birthday.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! Thank you for giving me strength and courage to carry on. I have learned so much from your blog and chump nation. I am eternally grateful! Enjoy your special day and carry it into the weekend!

  • Thanks so much for the birthday wishes. I’m really proud of this community. (sniff!) You guys are the best.

  • On my last birthday with my ex, I got nothing. We were living in different states at the time, and I didn’t hear a peep from him until about 7 pm, when I finally sent him a slightly pissy text about him forgetting my birthday. “Surprise!” he said, also via text. “I was just trying to psyche you out and make you THINK I forgot, but I didn’t. Happy birthday.” That was it. Then he took me out for dinner a week or two later, but I had to both select the restaurant and make the reservation. I can’t wait for the day that he devolves to this level of crapitude with his AP.

    • I was trying to psyche you out? What are we, 14?

      His AP was good with birthdays. For my last birthday with her, I said I wanted to play horseshoes at some renovated pits in the city’s main park (this being a novelty because we lived in an urban area). But I don’t own horseshoes. She actually went online, found someone who rents them, and rented them for the day. She invited all of my friends, brought the food and drink and afterwards we went back to our place for some more drinks, gift opening, and some dinner. The pics from the day are great!

      And approx. 3 months later, she was cheating.

      That’s what blew my mind, and still does if I let myself believe that she ever actually loved me. She put in so much effort…right up until she didn’t. As soon as someone came along that she saw as somehow better, that effort disappeared.

      My family saw it before I did. My wife had put in tons of effort with my family, making them each feel individually loved and special. But right around when she started cheating, the effort died off. No more communications with my mother or sisters about upcoming showers. No more asking about nieces and nephews. No more taking the time out of her Sunday to join me on a Skype call with Mum and Dad. (Of course, I was still there for similar efforts with her family…because that’s what a spouse does.)

      Three months after I told her we were getting divorced, I had an amazing birthday. Indoor ice-skating followed by some indoor bocce at a local bar, and everyone in the “right” mood. My friends still reminisce.

      She would have loved it. Too bad she wasn’t invited.

      • Right?? WTF.

        It sounds like her level of effort was as much for her own benefit as yours. That must have been really painful to have her put in so much effort for your birthday just to have her off chasing something new and shiny just a few months later. To those of us who live authentic lives, it really is unimaginable that they can live in two separate spheres at once, or else turn on and off their love on a whim. I would feel like a complete fraud. Of course, many of them do, so they just lean in in the hope that eventually they will strike something that is sound and true. To take a page out of Ester Perel’s book, they “search for unattainable authenticity in premeditated fraudulence.” How’s that for word salad?

        I’m glad that you hit your first post-separation birthday out of the park! I hope she heard about it through the grapevine and realized what she was missing.

  • Happy birthday! I hope you’ll write more about codependency =addiction to potential . This is profound. Thanks!

    • Happy Birthday CL, wishing you a great year ahead, can’t wait for your book tour!

      I am so grateful for all your insights, and your amazing generosity in bringing all of us together for support as we forge our way to Meh.

      “Codependency = addiction to potential” is so spot on, I look forward to learning more from you and CN on how to best discern when to say yes or no to potential when it comes to one’s career, to selecting a fixer-upper house, or to spend more time with a potential partner.

  • I’ll chime in to repeat the best wishes for a very happy birthday! I was so fortunate to be told about your site within days of Dday #2. This time, no false reconciliation, no pick-me-dance. I went straight to a kick-ass lawyer, filed within days, everything was completed and got final papers 2 1/2 months later. Got a great settlement and alimony. I couldn’t have done it without CL and CN. The first few weeks I almost lived on this site, reading the archives and almost every single comment, even into the wee hours of the night. Put down the shovel indeed!!! Thirty years was enough!

    I’m in Mexico right now, thoroughly enjoying a cheater-free life. Feliz Cumpleanos, Tracy! You have given so much to all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the enlightenment, the empowerment, the education, and the humor.

  • Lots of birthdays, and near birthdays on here today. Is being a chump a Libra thing (I’m a Libra too)? Is it some quality that Libras have (constantly strive for harmony and balance?) that cheaters seem to take advantage of?

    Anyone have a crystal ball in here? I guess instead of trying to figure out why my wife was always texting on her cell phone, I should have just read my daily horoscope.

    • Not everyone. But it could be a cusp thing? (I’m Gemini-Cancer cusp)
      No crystal balls, but you could get a Magic 8-ball with pre-prepared cheater-speak phrases, to predict what your wife was texting? Ten bucks says it was vapid nonsense with sparkles.

      • Gemini-Cancer cusp here too, Lania, as is my best and chumpiest friend. Maybe it’s more that the NPD types look for accommodating easygoing targets?

        • That’d be it. But being giving and accommodating is never a bad thing, just it was given to ingrates.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy. And thanks for all you do for all the chumps here on your blog. My D-Day, almost 19 years ago, was by far the worst experience of my life, and support was hard to find. It seems to me that the only people who understand what a person is going through are those who have been there themselves. You provide invaluable support and help to those men and women who find themselves, through no fault of their own, in a heartbreaking, mind-numbing situation. Enjoy your special day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Your site has been a great help!

    I have another birthday story – I took my cheating ex away for her birthday for a romantic weekend by the sea. We had a great time, hiking, dinner, naked hot-tubbing, etc. but she kept sneaking away for trysts with her phone. The next Friday (!) she dumped me and moved in with her AP.

    It shows her selfishness that she wanted to celebrate her birthday before dropping the D-Day bomb on me!

    It’s easy for me to trust that she sucks!

  • Happy Bday! Hope you have a wonderful day. My 49th is in a few weeks. Kinda weird looking at the number as being the last in this decade until we become fab at fifty.

    • The best is yet to come ANC. 🙂
      Also, happy birthday for your 49th in a few weeks. I hope you have a great day.

    • I leave the fab fifties behind in November. I wonder what I get with sixties. Sad? Scintillating? Silly? Senile? Sexy? I think I’ll go for silly. My sister-in-law learned kayaking in her sixties. She’s my hero.

      • You will be joining a very exclusive club Pearshaped. Whilst I never expected my life to play out the way it has, my 60’s are good. I am very content being 64 soon!! I would not go back for all the money in the world. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and the only thing I have never regretted is the birth of my 2 children. They are the best thing I have ever done even if they don’t love me anymore. !!

        • I hope your children wake up someday, Maree. I’ve read everything on this site since I found out about it last year. Nothing fills me with more dismay than the children who turn on their chump parent. But I have read about some of them who have come around, and I hope the same thing happens for you.

          • Pearshaped. I have tough competition! I am the youngest of 5, 4 of them Female. All of my older sisters, up to 7 yrs older are running triathlons, marathons, semi-marathons, swimming events..and they look thinner than they did in high school. So, I look to them as mentors for getting my mojo back in place. (they’re not the only ones with troubles…they have kids/grandkids, I do not) I’ve been out of commission for a full year with stupid injuries…and being lazy – I am going to get back into this exercise routine. I know I will feel better.

            Anyway, I was one of the lucky ones also that found CL and C/N early on. I read all the advice, collected the data, got proof in place…filed, and surprised the shit out of the guy. I’ve been 5 steps ahead of him the whole way. Got rid of my therapist early on, because I was learning so much more HERE, and still do.

            So, Happy Birthday Tracy and a cheer to you – you helped me so much on a PM about doing a Credit Check – woohoo, did That ever turn up a lot. And, I got what I wanted in the divorce, which I filed quickly.

            Future is scary but I’m excited about what I’ll be up to on My Bday next year…May it be good for everybody trying to move ahead.

              • Shechump, that’s just weird. I’m next to youngest of five, and four of us are women. And I too have no children (because somehow I was left out when they passed out the maternal instinct). But my sisters are just hanging in there, the oldest is still working. Out of necessity, not desire, like me. And the youngest died right before she turned 50, of cancer. Melanoma. I guess she enjoyed her life, she spent it tanning.

                No marathons, but they’re still active. But my sisters-in-law are downright amazing. And 59 has been a great year so far, I hope yours is too!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Love this site!!! This is my first posting (taking a dip into the pool here) but have been an avid reader since landing on this a month ago. As I flip through the archives struggling to recover from the demise of my 24 year marriage. I find inspiration and support just knowing I’m not alone dealing w. all the various emotions pulling at me. As I close in on the official end of my divorce one month shy from a year ago when he ‘abandoned us’ for the OW and his new life, I still struggle daily with the sadness of it all. This site helps to remind me to keep moving forward, that the pain will lessen just a bit each day as I delve deeper into recapturing the part of me – my needs and wants – that I have pushed to the side over the years in my attempt to keep our family together. Thank you for keeping this going even after you recovered and found love again 🙂

  • Happiest of birthdays! I just turned 50 and I decided to throw myself a party for all the ones my cheater-ex forgot. I finally enjoyed my birthday and loved to see old friends coming back to tell me how much they missed me and how great I looked. My cheater had isolated me from friends and ALWAYS forgot my birthday. This time I celebrated surviving him and moving on to a better life. Everything is flowing and though I haven´t given up on finding a special someone to stay young with, I realized I suddenly became attractive again and admirers from the past are coming back while new ones show up in the strangest ways. Its as if I am in this very nice stage of being appreciated and I know I have to enjoy just that.

    Thank you again Tracy for saving my life and giving me hope AND making me laugh when I was knee deep in shit. That is an awesome talent that not many people have. You are truly gifted and you found your mission in the strangest way, but now this is why you are here among us.

    And may you have a day of being totally spoiled by your awesome husband!

  • Happy birthday Chump Lady. You deserve all the pampering and good things that come your way. Thanks for all you give to us here. Have another fantastic spin around the sun!

  • Happy Solar return, CL…. thank you for being born and for being here to gather us all together, in Chumpdom and in glory of Meh…. xx

  • Happy Birthday, CL!

    Best wishes to you & warmest thanks for making me laugh & feel like i had a “tribe” on some of my darkest days.

    Bless you!

  • I hope you are enjoying a bright, beautiful day, and that the year ahead is filled with happiness, blockbuster book sales, and all the recognition you deserve.

  • So happy you are happy. But tell us what the karma gal has dumped on your ex ass hat. My divorce just wen final. He finally split the iras and realizes spousal support is a serious matter for which I will drag his cheating ass into court over. Don’t feel sorory for this cheating liar; support net what he gets from my pension gives him a plus $750 monthly. Gratefully I am the proud owner of half his pension which nets me $1000 more than he gets from me. He is well off now but as I managed the finances he probably won’t save enough to replace the retirement amount he lost. Even though he has double the Ira that I do. You now know someone who bought Apple stock in 1996 before steve jobs I returned. I took a $556 investment and turned it into $100k which I got none of.. But he spent &160k on a worthless atty; I spent half that and bought a house. Dude can’t make a decision worth a damn . So I really don’t care I have the same brain that guided our joint finances through the 2008 crash and God willing I will double what I now have.

    His OW turned out to be the most hated woman at his work. He can’t figure out why our adult kids don’t like her. Huh?

    I have so enjoyed your blog.. Your signs you overlooked entry pegged my ex to a tee. Thank you for this bit od sanity in the mirage that is divorce.

    I am finally free and thrilled with my new life.

  • Dang! I wished I’d known, I would’ve baked your a cake! A real yummy cake, not the AP kind. Hope you have a great day, Tracy, and thanks for this site. It’s a gift you give to us every day.

  • You’re 49?!!?? Shut the front door! You look terrific! (Not to imply that 49 or that one’s 50s means the end of being attractive.) Happy birthday, and thank you for providing a daily reminder that not only is it right to leave a cheater, but there is a great life waiting after leaving a cheater. 🙂

  • I’m eating real, yummy cake right now, in CL’s honour!!

    Happy Birthday Tracy, and thank you so much for your blog, and for creating the amazing community here. It has saved my sanity!

  • Happy birthday Tracy! I can’t thank you enough for this website. You, your blog, and all the chumps here have been such a blessing as I go through this horrible process (d day, divorce, custody etc). Thank you so much. I hope you update is on how your day went!

  • Happy birthday!

    I’m glad that you’ve rid yourself of the toxic waste dump of your cheating ex, and are celebrating with someone who treats you right. 🙂

    I like my birthday. It’s the one day I have to celebrate, and I like to remind myself of the closeness of family and friends. I don’t need gifts, just fellowship and some sort of acknowledgement that it’s my birthday. Phone calls are fine! STBX would typically completely ignore my birthday until the weekend. He hated doing anything during the week. It was inconvenient for him. One year, I realized that my co-workers did more for my birthday than my husband. The next year, I decided to visit my family that week, and this became my tradition.

    I’m actually not sure how I’d respond to someone who actually anticipates what I’d like!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! I found you a little over two years ago and today my STBX is finally moving out of the house — or would be if she hadn’t fucked up her movers. So she’s gone, and her stuff will be tomorrow. Or most of it — the crap she evidently plans on leaving for me to deal with will be gone shortly. I’m looking forward to a new life with my boys and, maybe one day, with a person with more class than to make their last act in their former matrimonial home is to leave a giant unwashed yogurt container, brought from your office fridge, on what is now your former partner’s kitchen counter, unwashed spoon still in it.
    Many happy returns!

    • Ah, the memories…my X’s finale included drunkenly vomiting in the basement laundry room sink, which I didn’t discover for days. By then he was gone, so I had the indignity of cleaning it up.

      • ANR – good to hear from you again – been awhile. Glad to hear you and your boys are progressing. You’ve had a long haul and I’m sure we could all still learn a lot from you. Happy resettling.

    • I’ve been hoping you’d check in, ANR. So glad to hear you’re getting a clear space tomorrow. It’s been a long time coming for you and your boys, and I’m sure you’ll make the best of it. The best really is yet to come!

      • ANR – “oof! grammar dysfunction at the end there. but you know what I mean”

        I think we all do it and we all know what it means…actually, I didn’t notice it, unless you meant: ‘She’d be gone if she hadn’t fucked all the movers, or you actually meant that, “she hadn’t fucked UP her movers’. I dunno – it’s all very sad and I’m sorry, but sometimes, just reading a sentence twice can make me giggle a little. I’m also going through a huge move and gallows humor helps me a lot. Good luck to you.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady,

    I found this site nearly 3.5 years ago when I first came to Oz to get away from the XH but was secretly believing in unicorns. I can’t believe how far I have come on this journey, I read every day, don’t regularly post but CL forms a part of my daily routine, after my morning meditation.

    I am going back to my hometown/country next week for 2 weeks (first time I will have left this country since I arrived) and I am catching up with the ‘real friends’ (yeah, I did have friends, even though XH stated otherwise, switzerland friends have been discarded) who have supported me through this whole shitty experience and I can attribute reading your ‘no nonsense approach to dealing with cheaters’ as one of the most pivotal moments of my recovery.

    I am nearly at Meh, not interested in dating yet, but I prioritise my needs and self development (physical, mental, day to day thankfulness) above anyone and anything else nowadays and I would call myself a much better person than before I discovered my XH was a lying cheating shit, the rose tinted glasses are off!

    My 40th birthday was also my turning point, humiliated the year before by a Xmas gift (the ‘Dear Fatty’ book by Dawn French) I celebrated my 40th 3 stone lighter with a mediocre birthday meal and an average gift from my then XH, no party for me but it was 3 days before Xmas. Fast forward a year and he was gone, walked out 10 days before Xmas and the rest is history.

    BTW I love French Toast

    • Digbert – that’s a humiliating, thoughtless and hurtful book to give anybody for Xmas. ASSHOLE! You should have thought about a book to give him in front of a group of ppl in the room called: 1) how to get an erection..2) how to grow some balls…3) how to properly kiss a woman. IN BIG PRINT. ha

      Personally, I am a connoisseur *ha of bread pudding with bourbon and raisons and, seriously, French Toast doesn’t hold a match to it when you light in on fire (the pudding) to form the excellent crispy crunch just before serving..

    • Digbert, I’d trade your “Dear Fatty” book for my last and most craptacular Xmas gift, a genuine Thighmaster. Well, except that I left that very thoughtful gift behind when I removed myself from the premises. It was quite used, but never by me, so I figured he’d actually bought it for himself, as was often the case. Really. A middle aged man buys a Thighmaster for his wife FOR CHRISTMAS so he can wear it out toning himself every morning as he exercises IN A LEOTARD AND TIGHTS. You can’t make this shit up.

      • Survivor, just the visual of a man in leotards and tights kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a bit! Now I keep visualizing my Ex in a leotard, but trust me, that is some kind of funny vision! Old fart thinks he’s an Adonis or something??? Far from it!

        • I think the only man I could admire in a leotard and tights was Jack Lalane back in the 60’s with his morning exercise show on TV. 🙂

  • Happy Birthday!
    We Chumps have many stories of s***filled occasions, particularly if the center of attention wasn’t Mr. Wonderful!!! (or Mrs. for our guyfriends through CL).
    Every one of us could tell horrific/laughable/tragic-comic/trauma-inducing stories about probably each and every holiday, but birthdays are something special.
    Thanks, CL for making this all a bit more bearable–humor is the best medicine
    Cheers to you!

  • So glad to know that you are having such a well-deserved happy birthday, CL! And wow. I was going to comment a few weeks back on your head-shots for the book saying that I thought you should pick one that made you look older because some readers might not trust that someone so young (I was thinking mid-’30s) could impart such wisdom. I want what you’re having!

    Your comment about codependency being addiction to potential really struck me–it pretty much encapsulates the crazy-making that being in a relationship with a narcissist is all about. The ONLY potential my STBX fulfilled was his ability to knock me up with three amazing children, and even that was dicey for a while because it turns out he had disordered sperm that ran around in circles chasing their own tails. But thankfully they straightened themselves out and left me with three good things to take away from 30 years of marriage.

    Ironically, the only other potential he fulfilled–becoming a solid provider for our family–was one I never even expected. He was a starving artist when we met and I signed on expecting financial challenges for the rest of our lives. His professional and financial success happened only through a series of serendipitous flukes that fell into his lap. Of course, in typical disordered fashion, he came very close to pissing it all away before I woke up and took control of our finances. Thanks to the wisdom and counseling of you and CN, I am hopeful that this unexpected potential of his will serve me well during the settlement.

    One more thing I want to say is that today, maybe for the first time ever, my therapist said to me, “You are doing everything right. Just stay the course and don’t let him rattle you.” A high-compliment indeed from a seasoned expert on personality disorders who has been trying to knock some sense into me for years. My ability to follow through on her counsel has been considerably bolstered by the support, advice, and sense of community I’ve received here, for which I will always be grateful.

    • he had disordered sperm that ran around in circles chasing their own tails

      I just fell off my chair laughing Other Kat thank you for that!!!!!

      • It’s kind of like CL shoveling shit on her 40th–if only I’d taken it as a sign! As I said, though, at least I can be thankful that, for whatever reason (we never did end up needing to undergo infertility treatment), the little buggers decided to straighten up and fly right.

        • OtherKat, now he’ll just run around chasing his own tail! Wait till he gets a load of the numbers on child support for three kids and alimony! He’ll be a spinning top!

  • My 50th birthday this year was ruined. Two days before my birthday, my H schedules a colonoscopy, yes a freaking colonoscopy, to be on my birthday. Our kids had no school as it was the first day of their Spring break, it was my 50th birthday, and he scheduled a colonoscopy. I got a generic card and inside he wrote “I can’t believe you’re 50.” I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d been replaced with his 38 year old secretary. Her birthday is tomorrow. I assume he will give her a better celebration than he did me.

    Happy Birthday Tracy, and I am so glad you don’t share the same birthday as my H’s MOW. You are far too good to share a day with her.

    • CalGal, For my 50th, my stbx threw me a party, because that’s what I wanted. It was great. By the time I was 51, he was with someone else. Kicked him out two days before my 51st. On my actual birthday, he came to the house to spend the night with our sick dog because I was going to visit our son at college that weekend. Yes, I kicked him out, but it was only two days before. It was my birthday. My heart was broken. He forgot. Said nothing AT ALL as I walked out the house. This, after many many years of a standing joke about how much I loved my birthday….just personal stuff between he and I. He apologized later. Apology meant nothing, because I meant nothing and he was still seeing her. I was a non-entity. It was all too clear.

      So we’re in our 50’s, starting over. Here’s to hoping they get old and tired and miserable WAY before we do.

      • My 50th birthday sucked. I never expected/requested much for my birthday, but I was looking forward to something a little special since it was a “big” one. Little did I know that D-day was a short 2 months away, and I was in the process of being discarded and replaced. He let our daughter do all the planning, was checked out the whole night, and got upset with me when I questioned him about not talking to me almost the entire evening. It was a miserable night. Shortly after Dday, he told me that was the day he decided he didn’t want to me married to me anymore. (I am sure fucking the Mhoworker didn’t have a thing to do with it.) Thanks for the wonderful birthday memory, asswipe!!

  • Happy birthday! I am so grateful I stumbled across your site. You are a rock and a source of inspiration to us fellow chumps. You give me hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I may just be able to blow this taco stand (formerly known as my marriage) Cheers!

  • I hope you’re having a wonderful birthday CL! Thank you for all your help – for me, for all of us at Chump Nation!

    I apologize for being late to the party. I’m babysitting six dogs, two cats, too many chickens to count, and a very, very busy beautiful two-year-old boy – my niece’s son. I’m blessed in my new life. Thank you for helping me make it happen. Hugs!

  • Hope you had a great birthday. Thanks for all you do. I hope some day I can take what happened and turn it into something so positive. Amazing, insightful people here. Just think..20 years ago, we would have had to go through this without *internet* support. Learned so much. Feel so understood. To great birthdays for all of us forever!

  • Happy birthday!
    As Tessie said above – this blog has saved lives. My own.
    I originally came to this site about 18 months ago, because I was neck-deep with an abusive, passive-aggressive, stonewalling boyfriend, as well as a VERY toxic working environment – and literally had nowhere to turn. In fact, it got so bad I ended up in the emergency room with a full blown anxiety attack and was told by a doctor I wouldn’t see 35 if I continued with my current stress level.
    I also have previous experiences being chumped, as well as being the daughter of a chump.
    I found CL the next day, after recuperating at home – and the door from hell finally opened. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, to realise NONE of this was my fault. Mighty difficult when you have been essentially told almost your whole life (by bullies) that you are worthless and a pathetic excuse of a human being.
    Shortly thereafter, I went no contact with my abusive partner, and I left that job (I received a job offer to another workplace literally 1 day after I started reading CL – coincidence?) And 18 months on, my life is so far removed from that situation it feels like I’m a completely new person – but with all the snark and one-liners on top.
    This site is truly amazing. I’ve laughed to tears from the wittiness of some of the people here, been righteously angry at the situations you guys have been in, and couldn’t have found a bunch of people who are more closely knit, morals-wise, to one another. Truly, people who have each other’s back through thick and thin.
    I can never express my eternal gratitude to this site, for precisely that reason. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • It is so sad that you being so young Lania, would have the need for this site but I do understand that being chumped isn’t an age specific issue.

      Your posts are always a breath of fresh air. I love that you don’t pull any punches and you say it as it is. Hopefully, not in the too distant future, a lovely young man will come into your life and he sees a truly wonderful young woman. You serve it and he would be blessed to have found you. Keep on keeping on Lania. 🙂

      • He already has. 🙂 Except I’m not un-modest enough to think that I’m “truly wonderful”, haha!
        He was one of the few people who supported me through that terrible time and gave me the strength to drag myself out of it, alongside CN. A true rock against the storm.
        I’m truly blessed to have met him, in fact. No rebounds though – because we were friends for quite a long time, and I felt that it would be supremely unfair to him as a person to think of him anything more than a close friend, until ‘meh’ came. Its so refreshing that I can be truly myself, and he doesn’t criticise that one bit. That there is no secrets and no lies, and even the ‘controversial’ topics that people don’t like to tread – I feel at ease discussing with him. Also, the fact, the rare times we disagree – it doesn’t degenerate to name calling or abuse. Or stonewalling.

        I think the funniest thing of all is though, and it made me laugh when it happened – the abusive ex got all uppity and said “That’s pointless” when I mentioned that I was considering learning his native tongue. My current partner, when I said the same thing, smiled when I tried to say a sentence in his native tongue (in fact, thats how I announced it to him), and was so proud that I tried. And has offered to help me as much as he can, with any questions I might ask. Even if I might fail at it – he is welcoming to the fact that I’m getting an insight into his ‘culture’ through it. It has given me even more appreciation for him, because his English is more fluent than most natives, even!
        Someone who’s abusive or just plain disordered would want to keep that a secret – sort of a means to be able to talk about you behind your back.

  • Late with my wishes, too, CL.I was shovelling shit, literally, but this time in my very own organic veggie patch.

    Happy birthday, and love to the Mensch.


  • Happy birthday!!!! I hope you had a great day all day long!!!! You and CN have been a godsend to me.

  • Happy Birthday!!!!!
    Thank God you are here to guide us – keep up the good work 🙂
    Eat cake for me ( a corner piece with lots of icing )!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! Hope you had an absolutely fab day, and thank you so much for everything you do. I will always be grateful for whatever happenstance led me here. This blog really is the one place I’ve found, either online or IRL, where people “get it” and can talk straight about the impact of infidelity, while supporting each other in ways that empower and uplift rather than further degrade (no 180s or other indignities here, thank God).

    These days I’m pretty much at ‘meh’ and read mostly to enjoy the writing and cartoons and the camaraderie of my fellow chumps. But last year, my daily dose of CL was one of the few things standing between me and a stint on a psych ward. If you ever make it to Vancouver, I’ll take you out for the best nachos in the city. 🙂

    • There is a 180 here! “Turn around 180 degrees and leave, for this is a twit who will not change!”

  • Happiest of Birthdays, Tracy! Hope it’s the best one EVER. And to be able to crack a smile about literally and figuratively wading in feces on your birthday is great encouragement to those still wiping those turds off their shoes and hosing them down before they can dance to their own music.

    I too am blessed these days, though it took me a lot longer than you to have a good and kind and thoughtful man sent my way. I mean literally sent my way. I wasn’t taking the hints from my friends that I should meet this one or that one who was time tested and definitely not a shithead. I was busy enjoying my tranquil home and good friends, and caring for my sick Dad. When my Dad died, a friend of decades handed over my email address to her friend of decades and said, “Go get her.” It took a while, but I agreed to dinner. Seven years later, I married him. Anyone who will see you through cancer treatment without a second thought is a keeper, though I don’t suggest that should be the best or only test. We’re married five years next month, and no regrets.

      • Yes, it is. I was a hard case. Could have been happy on my own forever after what I’d been through before. It was just that bad. Now is so good I want it for all of you.

    • It’s my 57th birthday today! My darling boyfriend of 4 years spend the morning washing the windows of my guest room so my daughter will have a beautiful view of the mountains on her visit this weekend. Life after a cheater is so sweet. I am where I am supposed to be with a man who is a true partner. I was devastated to learn my ex was a serial cheater. It rewrote the 30 years I spent bending over backwards trying to be a great partner to him . He left me for some narcissistic loony NY socialite. As he was walking out the door, he told me I wasn’t shiny and new. Who talks like that??? That statement and the crazy person he left me for told me all I needed to know. I was married to a truly disordered person. Fast forward 4 years. He’s not happy. Guess it wasn’t true love.

      • Santafechump, I wasn’t young enough, thin enough or pretty enough for him anymore after 16 years, so he went and got someone he thought was like me 15 years earlier. She didn’t last long. And I was lucky to have my escape, as were you. Life is better without asshats.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady,

    Your site has been a big support for me whilst recovering from my Chumpiness. I am in fact taking the fork away and leaving as I am divorcing my Cheater.

  • Dear Tracy
    You know the film Lord of the Rings, the first one, well maybe you don’t but anyway, in it Cate Blanchett’s elf character gives Frodo a light and she says something like “this light will guide you when all other lights go out”. I’m not really a big fan of the movies but that line has stuck with me since I first saw that film in the cinema years and years ago. Every time I think of you and your blog I know deep down that Chumplady has been and still is the light that guides me when all seems so lost and I am so broken I cannot breathe and do not want to exist in this world. You are like a beacon I always come back to. I emailed you when I was really low and still over a year later visit your blog every day often multiple times a day. Each time in my head I thank you daily for being a blinding light that has helped me see so clearly in the darkest of times. 22 months of divorce hell and still a long way to go…BUT because of you and some of the wonderful kind people I have ‘met’ on here (Tempest in particular), and because of the strength and size of this enveloping community, I think I’m going to make it over the hill to a pretty awesome life someday.
    Much love

  • Hope it was the best birthday ever!!!!
    In honor of your birthday I had the locks changed after Narkles the Clown was successfully removed from my home.
    Thanks for giving the gift of mighty, not just on your birthday but everyday.

    • AllOutofKibble, Glad to hear you finally got that asshat out of your house! Good heavens, these guys make it so clear that WE aren’t good enough for them, but they will hang on to all the perks like a life line! They are unbelievable idiots! I so hope your clown is living in his car!!!

  • Sorry I am a little late. Hope you had a wonderful birthday. Thank you so much for this amazing site. Please continue to post this on your birthday every year. It helps so much to see where others are on this crazy journey. I have written my story before: last year on my 60th birthday, my STBX sent me an email that he was not coming home. I was destroyed (or so I thought). This year, I read your birthday post over and over. It helped so much. I am a long way from meh but with your help and all of the amazing people in CN, I am moving towards it every day.

  • busy week…late post for me too.

    Tracy, you are a life saver, Blessing, and BFF!

    celebrating YOU!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy. Thanks for all your good work and amazing support to so many people. I was lost before finding your blog.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. You and all the contributors are life savers, for sure.

    My first instinct was to Google how-to-save-your-marriage sites because I was still thinking of my partner. (It really burns my butt that my capacity for compassion gets so abused.) I worked on the suggestions on how to save my marriage, and nothing worked. I finally got angry and thought, “Hey! What about me?” and Googled something a little more assertive like “I give up. Is he a narc or what?”, and up came Chump Lady!!! Yay!!!!

    There’s got to be a quicker route to this site.

    This site got me thinking straight, and gave me the ability to distance myself and view the situation for what it is, not what I want it to be. The best advice for me, for sure, is how to distinguish between true remorse and Naugahyde … honestly, I was so naïve that I didn’t think it was possible to be so nice to me and not really mean it. I’ve always said what I mean (with the necessary filters in place, as society dictates!). Never heard of love bombing before I found this site.

    So thank you! I’m less crazy-makeable than I was!!!!

  • Super late to the party – Happy Birthday Chump Lady! Oh, to be 49 again! Hope you are getting your funkadelic on and celebrating to the max! -The Commodores classic is ringing in my brain – and mighty mighty is taking on a whole new meaning! All the best to you and chump nation.

    “She’s a brick house, she’s mighty mighty
    And just lettin’ it all hang out and she’s a brick house…”

    …And, to the super sweet CN guys, this is for you too! He is Mighty, Mighty!

  • Wishing you a wonderful Birthday CL!!! Thank you for this blog it has been a window for me seeing and understanding a narc cheater and the disorder that comes with it. Tuesday will come for me at some point and that will be my ‘birth’ day. Believe me, this marriage vagina is one I am dying to exit! 🙂

  • I love CL❗️I pray every day for her too. wHen I feel week I remember her story of saving money and moving in a few months. I read all her stories in order. I went to the doctor and followed her instruction to the “T” you CN are the only one that knows my story not even my mom or relatives. I am just waiting to “scape” like Houdini …. I just want to walk out on my feet and not wait for $$ from the f&/@ing bastard. NO MC just CN & CL keep me going week by week!

  • Happy birthday, CL! Thanks for all the hard work you have poured into this site and this community!

  • Happy birthday Tracy! I am so grateful for your sharing your experiences and insights so publicly. Your site has been a godsend to me the past 8 months since my STBXH left me and our three young children. Everything described here is what I went through. Before finding your site, I felt so alone in the surreal experiences I went through on multiple DDays and fake reconciliation. I also turned 40 this year like many of the writers. For my 39th birthday, my STBXH went shopping for my present with the woman who was his AP. I didn’t know she was AP at the time (she was a married friend of mine) but something made me very uncomfortable about it. He always made me feel like I was crazy for being suspicious – your comment about feeling relief when you find out it is true that your partner is cheating spoke to me – I finally knew I wasn’t crazy. My divorce lawyer had me hire a private investigator and I learned about the AP and that he was cheating on the AP with a 20 year old (he is 41). Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for helping me put into perspective what I’ve bren through and give me hope for a better future. Wishing you all the best!

  • There are very few sayings that have stuck with me over the years. Someone quoting “Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things” is what first drew me to check out your site. I still believe it’s quite brilliant and quite true. Happy belated Birthday CL. Thank you so much for doing what you do and telling it like it is.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. I always felt September babies were after thoughts of passion during New Years celebrations.

    Hope it was a delightful one this year!

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