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Dear Chump Lady, How do I make it through the holidays?

holly_petraeusIt’s that season again and it’s time to rerun this column. I was reminded of it by a new blogger Being A Divorced Dad (check him out, chumps!) who recently tagged it. If you’re in a bit of a holiday slump, this goes one out to you. — Tracy

Dear Chump Lady,

I am six months out from separation. Facing holidays alone with three grade school age boys. Friends all happily married (for the most part). Family all happily married.

I need any and all survival tips. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more easily I cry. I can’t stand to open Christmas cards from friends because their beautiful intact families reminds me of my broken family thanks to my cheating husband.

Offers of help and generous gifts from neighbors and congregation members just make me feel inadequate as a mom. I don’t want to be known as “the single mom” of the neighborhood, but I will be.

Divorce is amicable so far, which is a huge blessing; but about 45 days away from being able to be finalized.

All of it is still surreal. When I calculated today that I had asked him to move out exactly six months ago, I couldn’t believe that much time has past. It feels like I have been treading water without help for only a month or two.

It is a relief to not have the tension and day to day interactions with STBX. However, I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. All of you who have been single parents know that this is one tough gig! And relief every other weekend isn’t even close to enough time to catch up on everything that falls by the wayside when you are doing it alone.

I don’t know if everything is compounded because of Christmas. Or if my new reality is just settling in and I am scared to death to raise my sons without a full-time support system.

I figured this was the best place to go for ideas on how to make it through the next three weeks and make it as good a holiday season as possible!

Next year has to be better, right?!


Dear LimboLand,

Some holidays suck. When things suck — let them suck. You’ve been separated for 6 months. Your divorce isn’t finalized. You’re trying to get used to your new reality during a season of oppressive bonhomie. Who can blame you for occasional fits of weepiness? Even the sturdiest of us reel at the disconnect between our drab, ordinary lives and the manic imperative to be fabulous at the holidays. What? You don’t have your presents wrapped in artisan, wood-block print paper made by free-range lepers in India? You didn’t translate those Christmas cookie recipes from the original German? Didn’t you get invited to that party? You know, the one with the live nativity outside and the imported camels? No? Oh. Sorry.

I guess only the Intact, Happy, Married people were invited.

Please stop comparing yourself. Not every intact family is beautiful. Many of them are flaming cauldrons of dysfunction. And yes, some are happy. Be happy for them. The world needs all the sane, happy people it can get. Your problem is you need to expand your notion of “beautiful” and “intact.” You have custody of three boys. You’re at the helm. That’s an intact family. You’re just missing a fucktard, which is not missing much.

Yes, single parenting is hard work. But single parenting is not LESS THAN. It doesn’t mean you’re defective. Frankly, I found single parenting much, much easier than parenting in a bad marriage. In my first marriage, I paid the mortgage, all my own bills, my car, my son’s childcare, pre-school. I had a surly husband who didn’t much want to hang out with me, and the full weight of his untreated mental illness. I realized I was already a single parent. I didn’t have a fully invested partner. Having him out of the house was liberating and, hey, at least it was honest.

You were married to a cheater. No matter how many soccer games he attended, or bills he paid, that man was not a fully invested partner, in your marriage or in your family life. He directed his resources at fucking around on you. You’re mourning what you thought you had, how you enjoyed being perceived, not who he really was.

You don’t want to be known as the single mom? You ARE a single mom. Wear it as a badge of honor. You’re freaking HEROIC. You’re raising three boys on your own. This is your chance to raise good men with YOUR values. Did you really want to stay “intact” with that man and model to your sons that husbands and fathers cheat? And women must eat that shit sandwich and let the man enjoy his side-dish fuck entitlement?

Or do you want them to know that women are strong and life has deal breakers — and if you fuck with someone’s dignity and betray them, you will find your ass divorced?

Divorce is not failure. Cheating is failure. The shame of infidelity is not your shame to wear. I realize this is not how you expected your life to turn out, but it’s the rare person whose life turns out how they expected. And those people are dull and risk adverse. Intact can be enviable, it can also be boring as hell. And smug.

LimboLand, trust that in time you will find your sea legs on this parenting thing and you will have better days ahead, and yes, even happy holidays. But right now, you’re in crisis. Your world just got turned on its head. You are blessed that you are surrounded by kind people who want to help you. Accept the help. You know how you keep good people in your life? You let them help you. Don’t shoo them away. Be gracious, accept their kindness, and do a good turn for them later, when you’re able.

Reciprocity is what makes a relationship healthy. That means you don’t always get to be the giver. It means you also have to accept taking — graciously. That can be humbling for the more control freaky of us chumps. Makes us feel vulnerable. If you’ve been with a narcissist, you’re expecting that score card. Shit, I’m going to owe you and this is not going to be pretty. 

No. Some people are actually nice. Take the fucking casserole. Say yes to the babysitting. ENCOURAGE these people. Keep them close and do not reject them because you fear being pitied. That’s about you and you internalizing Single Mother is Less Than. They don’t see you that way. They see you as a lovely person who is in crisis and alone for the holidays, who could use some bolstering.

I could not have done single parenting without a lot of help. I had a dear friend who had my son for sleepovers every time I had to travel for work, or even sometimes when I had a date. And every chance I got, I reciprocated. I took her sons. Nearly every weekend I had a motley assortment of boys at my house. I looked for opportunities to do for my friends because I KNEW I was going to need their help too.

Being a single parent can open up your world in new ways, and deepen friendships. “Intact” families can be very isolating. As you build this new life, build a tribe. Lots of people are cribbing it together, doing this parenting stuff by the seat of their pants, even the married ones. Make some more friends.

But for now, just get through the holidays. Focus on your kids, making their Christmas bright. Create some new traditions (cookies for breakfast!) Relax. Please don’t spend those precious kid-free weekends doing chores. Enjoy some self-care. Watch a movie. Have coffee with a friend. Blob in your pajamas. You deserve it.

This new stage of life isn’t a punishment, it’s a gift. I know it doesn’t feel that way now — but you’ll get there. I promise.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Agreed – and this gem too: “No matter how many soccer games he attended, or bills he paid, that man was not a fully invested partner, in your marriage or in your family life. He directed his resources at fucking around on you.”

    • This is my first holiday season officially divorced. I was separated last year and it was hell. Just move through if step at a time with your head up. A year makes such a difference! I am so looking forward to things and enjoy spending holidays with who I choose – not being guilted into spending time with crappy ex inlaws!

        • Same here, second year without that bunch of misfits and I don’t miss that at all!! Dysfunction Junction.

          I miss the kids terribly though (from his previous marriage) and it sucks for my little guy, he misses Christmas morning with his siblings 🙁

  • “When things suck, let them suck” good advise…Im all about honoring your pain.

    I’ve spent holidays away from my kids because people being sick dont take Christmas off, holidays as a spouse of deployed military member (nurses cant travel at Christmas…they still have shifts to work throughout) who was thousands of miles from family, holidays with a detached cheaterpants under our roof and holidays as a widow…plenty of suck to go around.

    I vote that we pitch the whole Norman Rockwell image thing and just be kind to one another regardless of our circumstances that year.

    For the 2 years I was alone while he was deployed, I didn’t have kids yet so I couldn’t occupy myself with them. I went to Church one of those times and I wept openly and not a single person approached me…I saw people point and make comments but nary a person came towards me and gave me a hug. We all know the midst of ours, lets keep our eyes open for others who are suffering/lonely and be the kindness that we all need.

    Lets also remember the chumps who are on round 2 of holidays where the cheater (and schmoopie) have the kids for the day…lets bolster them up and tell them they aren’t forgotten…they still really super duper matter.

    This Thanksgiving, all 3 of my now adult children will be working jobs in 3 different cities and newhusband has visitation with his daughter, so I will not see my kids at all. Im not sad as much as Im reflective in the fact that life has evolved and changed. After my previous experiences, I realize that Im blessed to have anyone to spend the holiday with.

    Hugs and love to all the chumps working to reinvent lives that the person you most trusted took a chainsaw to. Please don’t let momentary sadness or nostalgia thwart your mighty progress. Im proud to know you !

    • Wow! I so needed this unicorn more, May we all have strength, courage, power, love and , and the vision to see a brighter tomorrow. This holiday season and throughout the new year. And for all the years to come.

      • It’s my 2nd Holiday Season without Gaslighter STBXH of 37 years messing with my head and heart. Youngest son, 19 (in College an hour away) and my best friend will enjoy our California Thanksgiving together in our beautiful home. Feeling soooo grateful he has chosen to spend it with me again this year instead of with his Girlfriend’s family. I’m going Rogue and attempting a Beef Wellington instead of the traditional Turkey. Changing it up again, just not feeling traditional quite yet. Oldest son who lives in New York, his betrothed, & another couple they love from NY plus youngest son will all be together in our home for the delightful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Festivities we have shared with beloved neighbors and their extended family for over a decade. I’m sure they will see their Cheater Dad and Schmoopie during that time, but if it’s anything like last year (when oldest refused to meet her, bless him) their time together will be minimal. I’m feeling completely, bone numbingly exhausted this year. Been learning how to run and do repairs and maintenance on a 30 acre ranch by myself, preparing the property for a wet El Nino winter, plus trying to focus on building my art business and improving the rentals so I can afford to keep the property. The shock of the abuse, betrayal and reality of it all is taking a toll. In the last 2 years my often complemented thick long red hair has gone 100% grey, and alarmingly thinned. Thank god for my hairdresser… Salon Color is one of my few remaining indulgences. But I’m doing it! Just repaired and completely remodeled a rental property’s bathroom on the ranch plus an extensive reroofing, acting as General Contractor. Wasted no time legally Evicting the tenants who lived there when the father became verbally abusive and threatening to me (Real Boundaries!). Though I greatly miss having a partner who was “Mr. Fix It”, I’m relieved to be free of the partner who was a serial “Mr. Fuck It”. This year I’m realizing that others in the community have little or no respect for Gaslighter, primarily for his lack of business ethics, and the resulting lawsuits. His exposed serial cheating just adds the sprinkles on top of his shit. At least I’m untangling from his dirty, sticky web of lies. I’m very Thankful for all of you at Chump Nation and you Tracy. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

    • “We all know the midst of ours, lets keep our eyes open for others who are suffering/lonely and be the kindness that we all need.”

      Awesome post unicornomore, all of it was fantastic, but this ^^^ was my favorite line.

      I constantly remind myself, that while I am in emotional agony at times I am so much better off than many others. My problems are small compared to many.

      You are SO right….good point…..”be the kindness that we all need.”


    • My sister once claimed that Norman Rockwell is an asshole for creating such unattainable moments of family bliss.

      I came to hate holidays married to a dick. It’s much better now.

      • Poor Norman Rockwell! First he’s criticized for lack of art talent, and now for creating unrealistic expectations!

        I give him a pass because he did see the good in people and in everyday situations (though I won’t put his pictures up in my house).

        • My STBX’s father had a heart attack last week. His wife said they could not afford a heart cath. In my field, I have dealt with heart issues/cardiologists. I showed up at the hospital (alone), and insisted that my FIL have a heart cath by the best cardiologist (IMHO) in my city. Sure enough, four of his arteries were 90% blocked and he had a quad bypass the next day (performed by the cardiologist I recommended). My STBX filed the day FIL had the heart attack. I showed up at the hospital immediately postop and was there alone for four hours (STBX also has two sisters). WTF? AFTER he filed. Served me with papers on my bathroom counter. Classy.

          I guess my point is, if you care about people, despite grief and going through hell (which I am), show kindness, respect, compassion. Doing things for others has helped me tremendously, as has CL and CN. Random acts of kindness to strangers. It has helped me to begin, at least, to restore my faith in humanity.

          Tomorrow would be our 15th anniversary. Sigh.

          I wouldn’t be here without all of you. I’m terrified about the upcoming holidays as well….

    • Thanks Unicornomore. I needed this today. This IS my second round of holidays and my first without my son. It does make me weepy and sad. And I honor my pain by sitting with it and knowing that how i feel is normal.

      I have felt the shame of divorce creeping in to my life lately and I am thankful for the reminder that it is not my shame to carry. But I must say, being rejected, no matter if it is from the disordered, is hard to take and over time I forget that it was HIM and not me. Today I remember: I have boundaries and there are deal-breakers. I have honored myself by not staying.

      So Thanksgiving morning, after I drop off my son, I plan to run…like I used to do. Then I will go to my parents house and help cook. I’ll be the 5th wheel but I will know I am blessed. Even when I am sad.

      • Running, has been so helpful…I run for Miles, and am actually able to forget about cheater/unicorn husband, for a while!

    • Dear unicornnomore,

      ‘ I went to Church one of those times and I wept openly and not a single person approached me…I saw people point and make comments but nary a person came towards me and gave me a hug’.

      I’m so sorry that happened to you. It is difficult to know what the right thing to do is in some social situations, and I can imagine there were many of those ‘pointers’ who felt deep empathy for you, but just didn’t know if approaching you would have been welcome while you were obviously in pain. I rarely see strangers in tears but you’ve made me resolve to make sure I at least go offer a warm hug or a kindly touch to anyone I ever see in tears – regardless of whether I know them or not. You are right, as humans, we’ve all known pain and we’ve all needed confirmation that this is part and parcel of the human condition. It saddens me greatly that the love of our fellow man wasn’t shown to you in Church. Wish I’d have been there. Lets pretend we have a time machine and please accept my warmest hug, my heart chime for your sadness [ x ]

    • unicornomore, big hugs retrospectively in the church and today.

      And (as you so accurately captured the issue) after my ‘most trusted took a chainsaw to’ my life, I have vowed to respond to bleeding when I see it. If my offering is rejected, no hard feelings. BTW, it never has been! I’ve been greeted by pleasant astonishment most often.

      You are a great contributor here and for your help I say “Thanks!”

  • Great advice Unicornnomore! I’ll be seeing both my boys and their wives for T’giving for the first time in a couple of years, but I doubt either one will be around for Christmas. It was really hard the first couple of years but I’m getting to the point where I just feel blessed to have anyone to spend the holiday with too. It does help me to try to do kind things for others during the season. Last year I gave Christmas cards to the McDonald’s drive through workers thanking them for their cheerful and speedy service all year. It seemed to surprise them and they were even friendlier next time I came through. LOL. There’s always something we can do to cheer others.

  • This reminded me of a conversation I had with some friends earlier this week. I was over at their house for dinner and they offered to give me money for Christmas presents for the girls. I was floored at the offer, I am managing to pay the bills on time and keep food in the freezer but don’t have alot extra. I have gotten the girls one big gift a peice and will get them a few smaller ones from Santa. I still maybe have too much pride to just straight up accept the money. I told my friends that first off I loved them and was so thankful that I have wonderful people for friends, but I could not accept their money. If they want to buy some gifts for the girls I would not stop them and I would be eternally grateful. I guess maybe I should work on that whole pride thing, but I am going to give back to them what I can, whether that be helping with their kids or manual labor of whatever. I would say help them with their Christmas lights but I already designed and built a custom set for them a few years ago soaybe I can just help put them up. But you are right CL and I need to learn to accept the help that I would offer them without any thought of reciprocity.

      • I had to stop myself from doing so when I was talking with them. As unenlightened as it may be it still makes me uncomfortable to cry in front of others. Even one of my best friend for the past 17 years. I was truly floored by their offer and am so grateful I have friends like that in my life. As well as CN!

        • The crying thing is tough, although your friends sound like they’d be compassionate and understanding. I have gotten flack over it. “Are you crying AGAIN?” I try my best to do it when I’m alone or with my therapist now.

          • Lina, I say you take one of your kickass sandals and wing it at the next person who says something so callous.

            I cry a lot, just not in front of people, usually. Asshat started telling everyone I was mean and cold because I don’t even cry at sad movies. What’s galling is, his family seems to buy it. That’s how you measure how compassionate someone is? By how much they blubber over drowning kittens on TV? Because I doubt the sensitive cheaters were crying while they were whooping it up with their APs.

            And now, Lina, I have Lesley Gore stuck in my head. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you get to spend plenty of time with your dad.

            • Good idea CE. Though this time of year I might use one of the kick ass boots that I wore to court.

              I’m still fighting to get my Dad home with me. I have a tentative discharge date of next Thurs. Please send positive vibes my way. Thank you CE. X

        • Acubonded, you sound like such a nice man. What happened with your ex, what is your story? How did you find out she was two timing,? just curious because, other people,s stories inspire me and make me feel less alone in this plight!

          • I’ll do the short and dirty (put intended) version. Ex and I had a fight this summer after she had been acting strangely for months, and during that fight she said she wanted a divorce she had been having an affair (wouldn’t say with whom, I found that out myself it was her boss) and she was pregnant with his kid. Long story short the divorce was finalized early this month and we are on 50/50 custody. It sucks ass and I hate every second I’m away from my kids. Lots of lying and blameshifting in the conversations I have had with her. But now only have contact related to the kids. Fuck her. I don’t know if you could call me a nice man, a good dad yes, a loyal man yes, but I may be a touch to angry to be called a good man.

            • accubonded, good men get angry. It propels them to do what is necessary. Think Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mandela, Gandhi. You are a good man.

              • Just make sure you don’t get yourself shot :-O like some of Virago’s list. You explained who you were in the posts the day you were the subject of the daily story (most people will remember it).

            • Hang in there buddy! I’m in a very similar situation. Wife told me about affair when she was telling me she wanted a divorce. You are not alone. It’s really hard for us guys to accept help. We where brought up to be self-sufficient. And taking from others truly is a pride thing. If this whole mess taught me anything, it’s to ask for and accept help. Others do really care about us. I also have 50/50 custody of my girls and those weeks alone suck. I have started using the time to do stuff I want to do but don’t when they are around. Like watching Spartacus! I feel fortunate to have 50/50 time with them. A lot of guys don’t get that. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your girls!

              • Guys aren’t the only ones who have trouble accepting help. I can honestly say I did not know how many wonderful true friends I had until this crisis. It’s very hard for me to a accept help as I was raised to take care of myself, and I do. Frankly it has made the divorce easier than I thought it would be. I can take care of the house just fine by myself. The money, that’s what sucks. So does the time without my kids. It’s the worst part. I spend as much of my free time as I can with friends, and I have vowed to accept help putting up the holiday lights this year if anyone offers. Gifts will be sparse but we will cut down our own tree like we always do and hey that cookies for breakfast thing doesn’t sound so bad. Many tidings of joy to all the guys out there in CN. I have your back, thanks for having mine.

            • Acubonded that is quite the story!! Not only a betrayal but getting pregnant??? It’s better to get rid of the trash in ur life. But I feel for u about having to share the kids with such a person. At least she told u, I was gaslighted for 5 years he could never admit to anything it goes against his code of conduct: he believes men ought to have secrets, it’s manly of him to be a womanizer. He was old school Portuguese and bpd, great combo!

            • I wouldn’t call it “angry” accubonded, I call it being righteously pissed off , it’s appropriate and it’s deserved. And being pissed or not being “nice” doesn’t mean you aren’t a good man. I had a very nice woman tell me that even Jesus got angry, made me feel better 😉

  • Thanks for the shout out Tracy. I love this post, because it tells us that we have the power to make things right in our children’s and our own lives at the holidays and beyond through our attitudes. I could be upset that my XW and her married boyfriend are leaving for FL on Thanksgiving day to have a romantic long weekend at his dad’s, but I am happy. I will have my kids for a very extended time and do not have to share them. We are going to put up decorations, go check out the last Hunger Games, and pig out on leftovers, and I do not have to worry about their mom checking in (because she checks out when she doesn’t have the kids). Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  • “This new stage of life isn’t a punishment, it’s a gift. I know it doesn’t feel that way now — but you’ll get there. I promise.”

    “You’re just missing a fucktard, which is not missing much.”

    Yes and yes…..and great timing on the re-post. The disordered continue to remind you of how MUCH they suck, like the gift that keeps on giving. Their suckiness just keeps manifesting itself time and time again.

    X-hole calls yesterday to try to make arrangements for Thanksgiving day, they are eating at the same time we are so he’s not bothering to try to get son at all (guess he has something better to do) and then announces that he wants to “switch” weekends again (this is his weekend) Such a dick.

    I feel sorry for my son, his father is a selfish ass. He will continue to disappoint.

    • Ain’t that the truth? Narkles the Clown just keeps reminding my how much he sucks. And it’s a lot!!!!! And I just keep kicking myself for staying in this relationship as long as I did.

      • Me TOO AOoK, me too. I only wish I’d left sooner, before my son was old enough to get hurt so badly. Too young to tell him the REAL truth unfortunately.

  • As hard as post-D-day holidays can be (especially for those of us who have to sometimes spend them without our kids), the worst holidays I ever endured were with my “intact” family, meaning, with my soulless, serial-cheating, gas-lighting ex-wife and her family of hillbilly grifters. Day after day of grainy bootlegged action movies blasting at high volume from a wall-sized TV, un-ironic versions of every dish in the White Trash Cookbook, kids zombie-fied by endless video games, conspiracy theories from my unemployed BIL (Fluoridated drinking water causes Alzheimer’s! Cats are aliens from another solar system!), and a spouse who treated me every waking minute like I was a burden and a bother.

    I miss those days like I miss toothaches and hemorrhoids.

    • Nomar,

      You hit the nail on the head, and I was just thinking how wonderful the holidays were without the dysfunction of my XW’s family. No one knew exactly when my XFIL would be wasted and who he would become angry with (it was usually my dad, who he was extremely jealous of). My XW was always upset, because her mother always excluded her from the celebration of the actual holidays – her husband and my XW did not get along. Then, I never knew when my XW would get pissed at me over something or diss me in front of family.

      I love the silence in my home, because it reminds me that the abusive cheater and her loser family are not there.

      Take care

      • I hear you, BDD. Underlying all that noise was drama, drama, drama. Quiet allows us to appreciate the absence of our exes.

        I got the eye-roll or worse if I ever expressed a desire for a little quiet or asked whether there somewhere in the house there might be a chair with a lamp next to it so I could read for half an hour. Because apparently I’m a bore, a dork, and an insufferable a-hole.

        BTW, who has a 4 bedroom house and not ONE chair with a lamp next to it? Besides my ex inlaws, I mean.

      • Actually, that was the silver lining for me – I realized I would never, ever have to deal with his family ever again. I realized how happy that made me and saw it as flag I should pay attention to. It helped get me through the worst of it.

        • DING!!!!! When I realized I no longer had to interact with angry, selfish MIL my face lit up with joy. Looking forward to Christmas morning for the first time in years! My kids will wake up here and we will make breakfast (maybe cookies) together and spend time being happy and silly before they have to go to Narkles the Clown’s house. I’m rally looking forward to it!

    • I keep a list on my computer of things I won’t miss once I’m divorced. I just added awkward, tension-filled holidays with my dysfunctional in-laws.

    • LOL. I don’t miss the holidays with my in-laws, either. Dragging the kids thousands of miles during the worst traveling time of the year, getting stuck in airports and hotels all over this great country, losing luggage for days. Then, having to watch the kids alone while ex was at his family’s beck and call, playing the piano for hours of caroling at their house and their neighbors’ parties. Trying to sleep in their barely heated house, curled in the fetal position under sticky electric blankets dating from approximately the Eisenhower administration. Eating horrible German food that sat in my stomach like rocks. Breathing in FIL’s BO and having to smile and entertain his unpleasant ideas about poor people, women and minorities. I was so glad to jettison all that along with ex.

      • Linden, I so relate! Add in the 40 year old mattress in the spare room in the basement, the one with the purple shag carpet that ballooned dust when you walked on it, the SIL who would lock herself in her bedroom for hours at a time in a dramatic tear soaked pique, and never having a chance to sit down and relax for a minute because the men godforbid couldn’t be expected to cook, do dishes, clean…….and this was my Christmas “holiday” too!

        (What is it with the badly made ethnic food, anyway? It was horrible German food at his mom’s place, and X’s father insisted on having the family over on Ukrainian Christmas for a traditional dinner of brown, heavy, carby food that all looked the same and that our kids wouldn’t eat. “Make them eat!” he would say, insulted, as they sat in the all-white dining room, pickled beets near at hand. Goddess, I do not miss those days!)

        • That made me reminisce about the day my X mother-in-law told me the mattresses we slept on in her home were hers when she was a girl. I had thrown her 65th birthday party just days before.

          • I will not miss the one dish my mother would contribute. Terrible South American “Russian” salad that she would spend literally hours preparing to the point of delaying the kids gifts and everyone’s lunch and then demand credit and applause…..despite no one ever wanting to eat the mountain of canned fruit and boiled vegetables smothered in mayonnaise.
            It’s truly a silver lining. Suddenly you can pick your own family or make new family – not be lumbered with theirs. Plenty of lovely people are alone over the holidays and plenty of awful people are knee deep in “family”. I reckon find all the other lovely aloners and really have a lovely time rather than choose the image.

          • Eeww..whats it with not wanting to replace old mattresses??!!!…Its also what I won`t be missing from my in laws! We had to stay in a room with everything so old that my daughter and I always came back sick from the mattress, the very old blankets, and millions of dust collecting trinkets from the 70s. My X FIL is King of the Narcs…his first wife died of cancer (I am sure caused by his anger and controlling manners) and his live-in girlfriend moved in thirty years ago and still sleeps in the same bed and mattress that he had with his first wife…all the furniture in the house is the same, and he doesn`t “allow” her to change or buy anything new because it would be a waste. So stingy and angry this man. I soooo will not miss the uncomfortable holidays that always rotated around him. His son (my cheater X) always is trying to figure out a way for him to be proud of him AND not get angry! So will not miss those times…

        • Oh, you all are cracking me up!!
          My In-Laws meant well, but they only saw our sons once a year, and then they spent the whole time telling them to “Be quiet in here, and don’t run in the house!” Three boys, are you kidding me? LOL, what a lost cause!

        • In my case, it was kimchi and other Korean horror-food made by a nest of borderlines. One year, the only present I got was the dog they were keeping on the balcony. I still have the dog, but not the borderlines! Or the soggy kimchi, thank God.

    • So true, Nomar. I won’t miss making the kids tiptoe around on Christmas morning (despite their excitement) because fucktard wanted to sleep in until 9. And then having his sour disapproving face as they opened presents and he looked at the discarded wrapping paper filling up the room. He also hated Christmas decorations because they “cluttered” the house. X always reminded me of the yuppie couple in “Christmas Vacation,” who found everything festive distasteful.

      This year, I am going full-tilt. Poinsettias, lights, garlands everywhere. A lawn full of lights (stopping just shy of the Griswalds), two trees–one up, one downstairs. Then I’m going to blast my Muppets Christmas CD and celebrate.

      • Tempest – I’m shocked! How could Hannibal Lecter NOT want to be up at the crack of dawn with the kids!?! My dad used to dress up as santa (cotton ball beard, mum’s dressing gown – hohoho-ing and telling the reindeer to pipe down) and WAKE US UP if we hadn’t stirred 10 minutes after he’d delivered our sacks to the foot of our beds! He’s a great grandfather now – and getting all giddy – probably got a more professional costume worked out – but still, happy days!

        Hannibal is a complete arse and his Grinch impressions only confirm it!

        Happy kitsche -ing it up for the holidays, friend 😀

        • Your dad sounds like a gem, Jayne! Why couldn’t I find someone like that instead of a narc who looked like he’d sucked on too many lemons? (And yes, Hannibal did have a heart nine sizes too small.)

          Sending sparkly lights your way!

    • Tempest and Nomar you both crack me up…the white trash hilly billies eating fatty delicacies and the delicate genius who found Christmas decorations tacky…maybe you should have used tones of beige and greys as to shield him from brashy xmas

  • “If you’ve been with a narcissist, you’re expecting that score card. Shit, I’m going to owe you and this is not going to be pretty.”

    Oh, how true. At the end I realized he thought I “owed” him for every single thing he’d ever done for me. Still making it hard for me to take help or trust anyone.

    • That was what struck me too! We have a hard time accepting that people can be kind and willing to help us, when we’ve been conditioned for so long to think that such ‘offers’ come with terrible strings attached.

    • agreed. After cheater was gone and I was packing to move, my neighbor kept saying to me “I’m happy to help you”. I kept responding with “thanks, I’m fine”. So one day he said instead “maybe I’ll just walk over, load those boxes in my truck and not offer anymore”. That’s when I realized it might be ok to let someone help me. And I’m glad I did. The next time a different friend offered to help me I said sure. There’s a lot of new things going on in my life and letting others help me without feeling guilty is a part of that. I certainly make sure I don’t take advantage of anyone and that I somehow repay them – like, dinner or help them with something.

    • ugh, the scorecard. I got so tired of X telling me everything he had done for me one day (bitch cookie?) that I then started doing the same: “I ironed your shirt; I put the dishes in the dishwasher, I put the stamp on your envelope,….” He didn’t like it much; upsets the natural order of them always being on top.

      • Ha! This is one of Asshat’s daily habits. “Did you see? I put my plate in the dishwasher.” Oh, yay. What does he want me to do? Bark like a seal and clap? ‘Cause meanwhile, he has ignored the shit smears in the toilet and the fact that he left three sticky peanut butter knives in his bathroom sink (because he was being considerate, dammit, and not making noise in the kitchen). I think for his birthday, I am going to give him a teacher’s supply bag of gold stars.

        • LOL – oh the marvellous ‘I did the dishes for you’ shit! Uh huh? Cos, you know, it’s only me who cares that we don’t have to eat dinner directly off the table top and hey, even if we did have to (cos we’d run out of clean plates) you’d make sure I’d know you’d ‘cleaned the table top’ for me 😀 God bless them, one and all. If it weren’t for fools like us they’d surely be ‘free range’ and eating directly out of dumpsters – bless ’em. Mommy raised them well!

      • THIS! I never would have thought that my stbx asshat was keeping score in his head for every mundane thing that normal people do simply because they are responsible humans! Picked up his socks and put them in the hamper? Hero! Changed our baby’s diaper? Hero!

        Interestingly, it was this mental scorecard of his–of which he never informed me–that allowed him to justify his cheating. “But I worked forty hours a week!” Well, yep, that “husband and father of the year” MUST deserve to get some twat on the side. So what if he has to lie about all of it, breaking virtually every vow he took, while putting his wife at risk for STDs? He DESERVED it. What an asshat. Seriously.

    • So agree withe the “mental scorecard” habit, I’m having a really hard time moving past that!

      Great idea Tempest to state what you did when your X demanded his “bitch cookies.” I should have done this when I was with my STBX, but now we both have done something better, we cut off the kibble supply all together! I can’t wait to see your Xmas decoration, and I’m buying the Muppet Christmas CD today :)!

      • warning–my favorite Muppet Christmas CD is with John Denver ( even if you don’t like John Denver, Miss Piggy’s contributions to The Twelve Days of Christmas and We Wish You a Merry Christmas are priceless!)

        • Oh Tempest! Much as I love many John Denver tracks, I once heard Richard Bach reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull and it so sounded like John Denver that it entirely ruined the book for me 🙁 Dammit – used to be one of my faves too!

  • “Frankly, I found single parenting much, much easier than parenting in a bad marriage. In my first marriage, I paid the mortgage, all my own bills, my car, my son’s childcare, pre-school. I had a surly husband who didn’t much want to hang out with me, and the full weight of his untreated mental illness. I realized I was already a single parent”

    YES – to all of this YES! I’ve been a single parent for a very large portion of my sons lives – I’ve also been married to cheaters – twice – and I might as well have been single parenting. The only bonus was the arguments, betrayal, and deflection of their issues off onto my kids.

    I’ll take being a single parent over that garbage any day.

  • Whether we realize it or not, we all create our own reality. The hard part is to filter out all the nonsense information you receive from the media and Fakebook culture freaks who present a false picture of how life is, and unsuspecting chumps believe THAT is the truth. Even when my children were small and I had an intact and extended family, it was not a Hallmark Holiday Season. Were there some great moments I will always remember? Sure. Were there some moments where I considered carving up a pain In the butt relative instead of a ham or turkey? Sure. The truth of the matter is that you need to figure out what is important to you and your family and friends, and those traditions are what make you thankful.

    My sister in Atlanta used to host a Thanksgiving Orphan Party for all her single, and a few married friends. Many had to work, those who are in the hospitality industry usually do, and those in the medical field or law enforcement usually do. They would all bring something (she assigned things like bread and something to drink, or napkins, etc, for her cooking-challenged guests) and they would all eat whatever was there and whenever they were there during her “open for guests” hours. This usually meant non-traditional food for the get together, but THE GUESTS DID NOT CARE. They appreciated each other.

    I am down to a few family members now, and usually we cannot all be in the same place at the same time, so we have mini-celebrations, and more intimate visits — and I have found I have more time to enjoy them and visit with them and less stress. WHATEVER WORKS FOLKS! Don’t accept being pitiful and any of the BS about being a single parent. Like Chumplady, I was a single mother even when I was married. It does have some advantages, actually, so enjoy those. If people want to look down their nose instead of saying “there but for the grace of God” — that is their problem. Be thankful you survived a terrible relationship, and make new memories. Your holidays will be happy if you decide to be happy. So what if this won’t be the year that Better Homes and Gardens contacts you for a photo opportunity, and so what if you are happy because you can stay in your PJ’s all day and binge watch movies. Whatever makes YOU happy — no one else has to understand or approve.

    • Well-said, Portia. I have found creating alternative-holidays much more fulfilling than the expected 4 course meal, perfect house, bland conversation (to avoid arguments breaking out). This Thanksgiving only 1 daughter is home, and she has recently turned vegetarian. She’s also behind on her volunteer hours at the shelter, so we’ll spend the morning there before settling down to some facsimile of a Thanksgiving meal (mac & cheese, perhaps?).

      • Cornish Game Hen for you Tempest, stuff it with Uncle Ben’s wild rice and put a nice rub on the little hen. It’s freaking easy to make and delish. Then of course daughter has to come up with her TDay entree 😉

  • this one helped me out a lot when the SHTF two years ago….especially during my first solo holidays…

    I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.

    Robin Williams

    • Although I consider myself an extrovert (in the strictest sense of the word, not super-gregarious but prefer to be around people than be alone), some of my best holidays have been alone. Two of those holidays have occurred within one year after STBX moved out and without my children, who I miss dearly when absent.

      The first one was my birthday, which was bittersweet as my kids weren’t with me. I was able to read and exercise, and realize that the greatest birthday gift I ever received was my children. I was ‘zen’ enough, although my STBX did many horrible things to me, to call my STBX for giving me the gift of (our) children.

      The second one was Valentine’s Day, again without my children. Instead of crying alone at home into a pint of something (alcohol or fat or sugar-filled), I threw a Valentine’s Day brunch for friends I knew were single. Very unexpectedly, one of the guests became my loving boyfriend.

      My next holiday without my children will be Christmas. As a very underemployed nearly divorced mother, I plan to apply for jobs. When I first was faced with the realities of becoming a single (divorced) parent, I was quite angry. I am still often angry about my professional, academic, and financial situations, but now sometimes, I view the job search as something positive–an opportunity to develop my ‘super-woman’ skills and become the leader (official or unofficial) I was meant to be. (The world needs more heroes. Why not me? Why not us chumps?) Although I don’t consider myself anywhere close to the greatest job applicant ever in an interview, I’ve found my conversations with prospective employers a million times more enjoyable than the vast majority of interactions with my STBX.

      • You’re mighty, RockStarWife!!

        I can’t believe your divorce decree didn’t give you birthdays with your kids! And what a jackass their father is for not allowing them to spend your birthday with you. Good for you turning lemons into lemonade.

        “I’ve found my conversations with prospective employers a million times more enjoyable than the vast majority of interactions with my STBX.” From the sound of it, wrestling alligators or taunting pythons would be more enjoyable than interactions with your X.

    • Patrick, that’s it in a nutshell. Eight years of dating, indecision, and love bombing. Then marriage, babies, and home ownership. Nothing is good though when you are with someone who makes you feel alone.

  • I dreaded the first Christmas. Admittedly I put on the the big fake smile Christmas Eve and took my daughter on a tour of the Christmas lights in the city. Little by little the fake smile morphed into a real genuine smile… We found a new tradition to do together. Married i was forced to spend time at my inlaws and while it was ‘ pleasant’ there was always an arguement, someone always drank too much and the food sucked.
    In the morning I had to pack her up to go to her dads. We had enough time to put on our matching Christmas socks, a hot chocolateand open presents. my daughter so happy to play Santa. I sat back and watched her. Big bright eyes so pleased with her hot chocolate and her whipped cream mustache. Nothing else mattered.
    Sending her off to her Dads was hard. I sucked it up until the car door slammed shut and then broke out into heaving sobs. Went home and sat on the couch for awhile. The dog beg to be walked and I threw on my boots and walk her I did. She ( his dog) had been left behind too. She and I had never bonded. Typical to her breed she preferred one person. I think that was the day she and I became friends. She will never look to me as her’ master’ but instead we have a deep respect for one another. We walk and we talk still. When Idiot attempted to reclaim her later in the year she ran from him.
    When my daughter returned two days later she unloaded a tub full of tears. She had asked her father for a certain gift and he brought her to several stores looking and pricing this item. My daughter was so looking forward to that gift. I never thought I could kill someone… But on that day I saw red. Idiot bought Tweeny that gift!! My daughter watched as the girlfriend jumped up and down with joy. My daughter was certain that therewas one for her too. Not the case. She received the same thing she got two christmas before. Mother fucker.
    Did I mention he gave my daughter his christmas list!!!
    My daughter sobbed and sobbed. She held it together at her dads and put on the fake smile( where did she learn that?) and got home and unloaded. I cant explain to my child why or when she became second or third in her dads life. He of course is number one.
    This year as expected he gave our daughter his Christmas list… To give her some ideas. My daughter laughed and threw it in the trash. She has come a long way and so have I. And it comes down to spending those moments… Not days.. Moments listening… Laughing… Holding hands that matter. Her childhood is whizzing by at record speed and I aint gonna waste time. Moments really listening to your children. Thats all the really need. Just moments of your time.

    • Your story is touching and heartbreaking at the same time. I was fuming reading about your asshole xh! Go Clip, for holding it together. You’re daughter is fortunate to have you as a role model.

    • Clip – the way he treated his lovely daughter is utterly horrendous. I’m so sorry she had to experience that, I’m so glad she’s got his number now. It’s mindboggling that these narcs are so STUPID (or is it clever? did the phrase ‘treat em mean to keep em keen’ become their lifelong motto)? So glad you and your daughter are removed both physically and mentally from that aberration in the human gene pool. I wish you both all the joy and love you both deserve in spades x

    • Thanks Clip! I have a feeling my first holiday season is going to be very similar and it helps to know I am not and will not be alone.

      • My first Christmas alone was peaceful in comparison to the last holiday we had as an intact family!!!

        X had already told me the marriage was over and he was done. He took all the money out of our joint account and would not let me do any Christmas shopping. I usually had that finished before December. So, him leaving it til the 24th killed me!

        He ran around with a grinchy face telling everyone, even the kids that this would be our last family Christmas -so we had better enjoy it ( I kid you not ).

        At my Sister’s ( a few hours away ) he got to the house, chickened out and said he was going to go visit people in the city. We were in the county, in a major blizzard and since it was Christmas – nothing was open.
        He made it clear he would not join us for dinner ( then why did you come ?!?! ).
        We had fun ( and wine ) and set a place at the table for him just in case.

        I called his cell phone just before our meal to plead with him to join us and he was sleeping in the car at the mall parking lot.

        Some how the disordered just create their own crazy over the holiday season. It’s exhausting.

        My Christmas is going to be small and drama free this year!

  • This is my 2nd holiday season since D-Day. (And yes, I am in a MUCH better place)

    But last year, I when I was still in shock, alone (no kids, btw), and pretty much still a zombie from the discovery and the resulting fallout, I did something that helped a bit…

    I bought myself a big, pretty, live xmas tree. Then I MADE my own ornaments for it. I went to the crafts store and bought plain wood ornaments and some paint and glitter. Then I took about a week painting them however I wanted. Some had words like “strength” and “honesty”, some had uplifting song lyrics, the names of my dogs, etc…. whatever I wanted.

    It gave me something creative and sorta fun to do on those alone nights, and it also resulted in a beautifully decorated tree that had NOTHING to do with him and EVERYTHING to do with me. I put only blue lights, to match my own blue eyes. This tree was MINE. From now on my life was MINE.

    I found it a helpful exercise. Feel free to try it if you think it might help you.

    For what it’s worth, this year, I’ll be decorating a tree with my new boyfriend. Who, unlike, my whore-fucking ex husband, loves the fun of the holiday season. A lot has changed in the last year, and it started with me taking control.

    Hugs to all.

    • Thanks for the ornament idea. I plan to go out with my daughters and buy a live tree this year. We did it for a few years when they were young. Then stbxw decided it was a lot of trouble because she was the only one that could put the lights and ornaments on it. So this year, a live tree that the daughters will get to decorate the way they want to for the 1st time in their lives. They’re 16 and 18 btw.

      • Every year, my kid and I buy a new ornament each to put on the tree, we both love reminiscing about when we bought each ornament while we put the tree up.

    • Last year was like that for me too. I certainly didn’t feel like getting a tree. It was all I could do to not cry and stay upright. One day, I fell asleep on the couch (sitting, as I sometimes do when I’m depressed). I was in a pretty good nap when commotion woke me up. I found my best friend and my daughter carrying a tree in the house to surprise me. Still brings me to tears. I decided to decorate it in revolt. Husband always put the lights on the tree. I always did the rest. He meticulously would slide each and every light wire onto the branches. It drove me crazy. AND, because he was so detailed about it, he didn’t want to put on any more lights than he had to. I never felt there were enough lights. We always did things his way, and I never spoke up. I would hint that I felt the tree could use more lights. He disagreed and so it was. But last year, I had a grand time putting on tons of lights and just throwing them into the tree haphazardly. And guess what? They stayed on the entire season and they were easier to take off! Oh, and we DID NOT listen to Harry Connick, Jr.’s christmas CD. While I like the music, it was the ONLY CD he ever, ever wanted to listen to. So I know what you’re saying. That tree was MINE, done the way I would do it, right down to the music I wanted to listen to.

  • I’m wondering how LimboLand is doing this holiday season. Hopefully she has successfully adjusted and found her meh.

  • Regarding the family photo holiday cards, that as hard for me as well. To see all the intact nuclear smiling families on the holiday cards was just salt in the wound. But I hung those photos up on my fridge and left them there all year long. I am going to send out my own cards this year with my own professional family photos. It’s only me and my daughter, but we are a family too, and a happy one at that. The photos were taken by my photographer friend and I bought new outfits for both of us and they turned out incredibly lovely. I’m very pleased and proud to send out the cards.

    • Narkles never wanted to do cards, or waited until three days before Christmas to do them. Not this year. We’re taking pix all over the place right now, just waiting for that prefect, goofy, funny photo.

  • I needed this today. I have been divorced for almost a year. This holiday season just seems as bad as last year’s, if not worse. My children are growing up and seem to only want to do things with their friends on their time off from school. I will not have them for the four day weekend of Thanksgiving. I will not have them on the four day weekend of Christmas. My best friend who we always did Christmas dinner with our families for the last twelve years has changed our tradition to do something else this year. I just cry everytime I think of my situation. I know it could be worse and I should look at all of what I do have but it is so hard.

    • Awww TP – big hugs to you [ x ] Please try to look at this year as not the taste of years to come but as a one off experience. I’m so sorry you Bff decided to change her arrangements this year, just when you needed, more than ever, for something traditional to help you through. If you can’t join her (or don’t want to) try a ‘one off’ thing just for you. Something you can look back on as a life experience – you know like… ‘the year I went to Florida’ for xmas or ‘the year I volunteered xmas to the homeless’ or ‘the year I totally ignored the bugger’. Plan for the xmas you want next year (if it’s too late now). Tell your kids you want em with you, if that’s what you want. Figure out if you’d like do the Norman Rockwell thing or instead go scuba diving in the Caribbean – whatever. Don’t let it settle in your mind as the ghost of future to come. Worse case scenario is a one off experience, one to talk about at your next festive gathering. Love x

    • TP, I know it’s so hard. Be sure to reach out and let some trusted friends know what you’re going through. Do what you can to provide support and love towards yourself. One of the best things I’ve done to cope is to completely change what I would normally do. I’ve traveled to see a friend, or done something I’ve always wanted to do that my ex wouldn’t have liked. Be good to yourself and hang in there, it does get better!

    • Sorry TP, maybe getting out and volunteering would help. Having someplace to be sometimes makes it easier to pass the time. I used to work in a 24/7 industry and every year I think how hard it is for those that have to do that. I might just spend Christmas afternoon dropping by fire houses, hospitals and anywhere else people have to work without being thought of for the sacrifice them and their families make.

  • Thank you CL for this post today, it was much needed and appreciated. Like Limboland, I’ve also been separated for 6 months and the divorce is not yet finalized. All of these “firsts” are extremely hard. I’ve gone through my birthday and anniversary alone and now Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Thankfully all of my children are now adults with families of their own. I can’t even imagine going through this with small children, and I give super big hugs to those that do.

    With all of my family being so far away and all of his are here it makes this harder. There’s been one friend here that has been a blessing throughout this whole ordeal and she’s invited me to join their family for Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll be bringing a couple of dishes and I’m also going to bring her some flowers just as a small way of saying just how much I’ve come to love and appreciate her even more. They are just good and honest people. She was the one who came over and just held me the night he walked out after DDay. She’s the one who checked on me often, just to ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. None of his family or other friends did that. And I’ll never forget the day during that first week when I just couldn’t eat or barely get out of bed when her husband showed up at my door in the pouring, cold rain with a tray of homemade chicken and dumplings, cornbread and cookies. Not only was it amazingly good, it reminded me of the amazingly goodness of people.

    Unfortunately, I just wasn’t married to one. All of us here are having to deal with that same realization, with different situations, but with the same reason that links of us all together. I know there will be the posts on FB with him showing how much fun he’s having as he’s done since the day he walked out. But because of this site filled with so many wonderful people, the advice given and the books suggested, it’s shown me that no matter what the pictures may appear to show, it isn’t real. My home won’t be filled with the family and friends for the holidays as it once was, but I’ll be sharing it with the few that are real and genuine, and I’ll take that any day, any time. The one thing that I’ve taken away from this experience is to love ourselves more, to heal our broken souls, and then go out and be that one friend to someone who may be alone, hurting and just in need of a hug, a phone call….or maybe even a plate of homemade chicken and dumplings.

    • We are rich when we have friends like yours. I think owning your holiday, embracing and creating new traditions, and spending it with those you love (and who love you back) is way better than spending it with a disengaged cheating spouse.

  • This year the only turkey in the house will be on the table.

    I will be thanking God on my knees for my release date of April 17th, 2014.

  • Well, hopefully, the best part of your holidays (and a true blessing in my case,) will be freedom from the freak show known as the Loon in Laws (ie, in-laws).

    Too bad ex and his whore didn’t stay attached long enough for her to experience that treat. I was married before and thought those in-laws were insane but they weren’t even in the same ball park as Cheater’s family. No wonder he turned out to be such a turd. Crazee.

    • Jedi hugs, DavidB. It does get better (this is my 3rd holiday season post divorce). If you cannot be with family (or even with family) try to keep yourself busy. Volunteering at a people or animal shelter, taking food to the firehouse, etc.

    • Sorry DavidB. This will be my first holiday and I don’t know what to expect. I can’t imagine if it was also my D-day anniversary. Mine was on my birthday so I can kind of feel ya but I’m sure it is different. Much love to you this season of your first anniversary.

    • Mine DDay was in September but he walked out on November 16th, a week or so before Thanksgiving. Asshole couldn’t even put his son first and tough it out and let him enjoy a last Thanksgiving and Christmas. OW’s woman left a week before Christmas last year also, poor guy, he hsd to have just been pushed to his limit to leave a week before Christmas. Cheaters are such awful and selfish people.

      • Afterthought…. I actually remember reading somewhere recently that many of them choose the holidays to make their exit so that tge pain they inflict is magnified. Wouldn’t surprise me ONE bit.

        • David – and the others. I’m just shocked by this. SHOCKED!. How could anybody DO this on Xmas day? Yiiiii…was it because you discovered it that day? Or the cheater announced it that day? When I read NCStevie, it sounded so evil that they would exit so their pain inflicted is magnified. Whoa – that IS evil. I mean, can’t you wait until…um, the day before xmas? I dunno. Nothing like always thinking of Xmas as the d-day. So sorry for you.

          Yes NCStevie – I have heard a lot of cheaters do it during the holidays, for some reason.
          Yours’ sound like the best one I’ve heard yet.

          • Shechump…he is THE most selfish, callous and disordered asshole ever. Not sure how much of my story you know but I was diagnosed with breast cancer last November 10th and he left on the 16th, a week and a half before Thanksgiving. It was brutal.

            He could have had all of his kids (5 altogether, we only share one, the youngest) last Thanksgiving, he would have gotten them all at 3-4 in the afternoon and could have kept them for the night….Instead he ditched them. They did brunch for Thanksgiving with his parents, his oldest son (26) and our son (7) were the only ones able to make it, the other three (20, 17, 10) he did not see at all. He made a mad dash out of town and drove 4 hours to go bang OWhore instead…..but, according to him… his kids are his first priority. He actually believes his own bullshit.

            For Christmas last year, one month after walking out, he only had our son for a few hours. He bought him clothes that were too small so I gave them back to him so he could exchange them for the right size….what did he do? Returned them and kept the cash.

            My son, as well as his other kids, deserve better. I pray for karma, really I do. Such a miserable prick.

            • Well, that’s awful NCStevie. They have a way of trying to avoid the responsibilities (pain?) associated with leaving everybody high and dry and run away. Go get a fuck instead. Yeah – that makes em feel better. Stevie will make it all better with the kids – she always does. And, besides, yanno – my life is so much more exciting and busy with the whore than with the kids. He doesn’t realize these are young people that don’t miss a thing and watch his every move and they are not dumb kids. I don’t think these kids will ever forget that they deserved better too.

              I find a very strange thread at the core of some of these stories. I was also ‘replaced’ with a younger piece shortly after I finished breast cancer treatments. I’ve read it in too many stories here. What? They think we’re flawed as wives suddenly?

              My bit of karma – if you call it that – came on divorce day when HE found out he had prostate cancer and that gland had to come out. Too bad I wasn’t around to show him the nursing he didn’t do for me when I was so tired from radiation.

              You WILL have a better holiday this year, even if it means it’s not traditional but at least this fucker is out of your life. Good grief! Leaving you 6 days after your diagnosis. Oh, so rich of him. I’m so sorry. 🙁

              • Thank you Shechump, I learned a lot about him at that point, more than I did the 8 years I was with him. I must give credit where credit is due…..he offered to stay by my side through whatever treatment I would need. He had just returned from flying to Miami to meet up with OW for 5 days. Ummmm….no thanks dickhead, don’t need your fake ass pretending to care.

                I refused to allow him to go to my surgical oncologist appointment (his affair had been discovered and ongoing for 2+ months) and made the decision to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction without him, when it became apparent during the week this was all going down that he wasn’t going to STOP communicating with her I verbally assaulted him with a bunch of truths he didn’t like. They don’t like having their massive amounts of flaws and inadequacies pointed out.

                The woman he was cheating with was a complete stranger, he met her in passing, they lived 4 hours apart (she was married with 3 boys) and started communicating via messenger and phone and decided in ONE week that they were madly in love and had to meet up. He blew up our lives for the opportunity to fuck a complete stranger.

                I didn’t really want our family to be destroyed, I didn’t want to be a single Mom again (round 2 for me, my daughter is 26 and I left her dad before she turned 3), I had lot of time invested and I am not a young lady. I gave him options, counseling/therapy for his fuckedupness, the truth….ALL of it, no more cheating and in return my forgiveness. Told him I would stand by him, through the trenches with him if he could stop lying and cheating. His response?? “Everything you’re doing is just making it worse!” Well then….ummmm…fuck you asshole, that’s all I’ve got….I was done. He didn’t want to live a life of transparency, our ordinary lives didn’t make him feel special enough, and I couldn’t live another day with someone who didn’t give one shit about anyone but himself.

                I navigated the destruction of our lives simultaneously with my surgeries…DURING the holidays last year (my dbl mastectomy was on 12/16/14), and…..without medication or a nervous breakdown. All while X-hole was having a grand old time smiling in my face and banging the troll. I survived all of that, without becoming a raving loon or hurting either of them, I consider that quite a feat lol.

                There is no way this year won’t be better ha ha. 😉

                I only WISH that fucker was out of my life, I keep hoping he will move 4 hours away with OWhore. They deserve each other.

              • NCStevie–you are indeed mighty! Not many people could simultaneously navigate the stress of betrayal and the stress of surgery and keep a clear head. I hope you had some support during that time so you didn’t have to bear the burden all by yourself?

                Big hugs to you!

              • Thank you Tempest, honestly most of my sanity and support came from right here. I wouldn’t have made it through without CL and Chump Nation. The similarities kept me grounded. I have family, with good intentions but not much follow through, I was on my own pretty much.

                We are strong, sometimes pissed off, sometimes funny and always supportive. I love it here.

                Shechump, I hope all is well with you and your health also, I noticed you said your turd left after your breast cancer treatments. They are such assholes, truly boggles the mind.

                Big hugs back!! Xoxo

          • Well my DDay occurred post visit to family. We brought some of them with us out to our new house we were buying. Just happened to pick up her phone as I was driving, she had left it in the car, noticed a text app on her phone….. opened the app…. and was slapped in the face with some of the most disgusting communication one could ever see from their spouse and boy toy. Turns out not only had this been ongoing for 4 years, but she had just been with him 3 days before Christmas. No she did not intend for me to find just had a careless moment!

            • I am so sorry, had to be painful. You can’t unsee that shit either. The only upside is that they can’t try to mind fuck you and lie more when you find that shit. They are despicable. GOOD Riddance!!

              • Thanks NCSteve – yep, the big C diagnosis is certainly scary but I didn’t have to go through anything like you did. That is so mighty to have such invasive surgery done without much support. Hope you are now cancer free. I have been free for 6 yrs now. However, when I was doing 8 wks of radiation treatment (daily for 10 mins a day for 8 wks) I had to do it out of town as it was too far to drive home after every treatment and they made me so tired. X was quite happy to stay home and let me do those on my own. We had a motorhome I was living in and he could have lived there with me, with my dogs and worked from there since he did it all the time when we were on the road. He was probably just hooking up with Cheaterslunt while I was gone.

              • Yes, they just don’t GET it, some things are just not forgivable. Idiot tells me “you’re the one who doesn’t want to get along.” No shit Sherlock, WE.ARE.NOT.FRIENDS. How the fuck they expect you to be “friends” with them after the atrocious shit they do is beyond me. Fucking delusional is what they are.

                Yay for you Shechump, 6 years cancer free!! I’ll be one year on December 16th, I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation so my fight pales in comparison.

                Lots of love and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Xoxo

  • One of my revelations was not missing the ex. At first I thought it was weird.

    Then I realized. He never participated much. He would go get the tree and then put lights on. That was it. Everything else was on me. Now, its so much more about not working my ass off but having time with family and friends. No, I don’t miss him at all.

    I have a fireplace i use and some nights its just me and the Aussies hanging out with a fire going and reading a book with a cup of tea or wine.

    Life is good.

    • Truth here, Starbucks gal, there was always something missing. Ex never embraced Christmas (birthdays, vacations, special outings) and truth is he was disengaged for most of our later holidays together. I was not on his list of priorities and all those special celebrations just made me more aware of that. Sure he would “show up” but guess who did all the work? He never even chose gifts for our children, let alone his family. I bought my own gifts. Last Christmas he was off to Vegas with the new wife. He chooses not to spend time with our kids, same old guy for sure. The holidays always blow up with a Narc, they can’t do “real.” Now my family has a real shot at living Happily Ever After so we challenge ourselves to have a good one. Went to NY for our first Christmas, ate Chinese, and snow fell. A good holiday just requires a little planning. Pick up a small live tree. Go shopping and aim for thoughtful. Ornaments are great gifts, especially those you can place a photo into. One year my daughter purchased a small book for me by Sarah Kay. Point B. (TED talk too.) Another year my children bought me an iPod, we all love music, I love that. Another year we all pitched in and bought my son a phone. Chumps, don’t hold back. For twenty years I waited for ex to realize how blessed he was. I waited for him to engage. Life is better without a Cheater.

      • These posts have brought back memories, things I had forgotten about holidays with X. My X never embraced Christmas, birthdays or holidays. He would be physically present but I can’t remember ever seeing a smile on his face. My X never participated in choosing gifts for our son for Christmas or his Birthday but would take credit if it were something particularly special.
        Other memories are similar with the in-laws, although I was fortunate not to have to spend holidays with them. Spring and summer vacations we would fly back to the east coast and spend our vacation time with X’s miserable family. The beds and blankets from the Eisenhower era, the mattress’s would be so old they sank down to the floor. Dust an inch thick on the blankets and furniture, I would be choking and gagging all night long. I could go on, nutty SIL’s, MIL, all hypochondriacs.
        Reading these similar stories is a reminder of what I’m not missing and what freaks they all are.
        I will be alone but I too will enjoy the quiet and think of what it could be and be thankful I’m not a there or looking at the miserable face of X.

      • another common thread- Mine never participated either. Nor was he big on any other holiday unless it was his birthday. he drove us to pick out a tree, carried it in the house and set it up. that was all. the kids and I did all the decorating. and last year my dear daughter had to do it all alone as I was a complete shambles after discovery and more discovery of secrets and lies and more. I still can’t believe how disgustingly stupid I was. arrgh! Days like today I fantasize about nailing his precious to the wall.

    • Same here, I always knew there was something not quite right, something missing. They are so good at pretending and manipulating that you don’t figure it out until it’s too late. They are never really invested because they get the majority of their gratification outside of the relationship/family. Everything and everyone else was always the priority, never us.

      I sucked it up last year and did my best to make the holidays as enjoyable as I possibly could for my little guy and we (son & I) decorated our tree, just the two of us. This year I will do the same. It’s still painful this year….but nothing like last year, so it does get easier.

      They are just such awful individuals, being away from them is an improvement no matter how difficult it is in the beginning. They will show you over and over why you are better off.

  • Another gem: “You’re mourning what you thought you had, how you enjoyed being perceived, not who he really was.”

    This encapsulates my entire relationship!

    • Thanks for focusing on that interesting part of this chump experience about mourning your assumption and perception of your marriage more than what it actually was. This does not make it easier, but for me realizing this mind trick started the end of my periodic anxiety attacks and ushered healing into the scene.

      I think realizing I had already been abandoned years before made me know that I could already deal with the situation and I was tougher than I thought. Also, so much less pretense means happiness.

  • I also found myself separated with 2 young kids a couple of years ago and would look at happy, intact families with young kids with envy (they seem to be all over my neighborhood), but a few weeks ago I suddenly realized that I don’t look at them with envy the way I used to. Not sure why, even though I’m not dating or anything. I’m glad to be here, alive, with my kids, and, for me, there were so many pluses in getting rid of X.

  • This is my third year alone for holidays. I simply ignore them now. Once I can move into my own new home instead of existing in this marital house I can breathe and enjoy the future to come. Asswipe moved us so far in the back country to protect his business. He moved me far away from friends and family. My former job warranted no friends and the neighborhood I live in is all large properties and crazy neighbors so unless I went to the bank or grocery store and begged someone to be my friend I was shit out of luck. The whole time we were together he kinda pushed my friends away and never ever encouraged me to go out with any of them ever. Didn’t want to spend the money. But was OK for him to go out with his friends. Then wham!!!! He meets whore and starts yelling you have no friends you had no life of your own you should have had a life independent of our marriage! Yada yada yada! Perfectly fine I never went anywhere, we never went anywhere, he pretty much ruled the roost, affair comes and I am so imperfect compared to the whore. Wow! And claims he encouraged me to have a life of my own. He never fucking did!! Well I will now. Divorce next month. He has six months to buy this marital tomb or it gets sold. But he wants us to stay good close friends. Now you would think my good friend would come on thanksgiving even for awhile knowing I am completely and totally alone. Nope! Whore wants him back so bad she’s grabbed him to go be with her and her family, she’s playing the everybody loves you cards, everybody misses you cards, the granbabies are so sad, my father dying and we are so perfect together cards!! Everyone said so!! Barf, puke, gag. She has tons of family and friends close, I don’t. But she has loads of compassion for me poor thing all alone, tsk tsk, but see bitch wife me and your ex may be broken up but I’m still sticking in that knife deeper! Good times!! So my soon to be ex my friend leaves me alone again. Yeah, that relationship is over. Right. Just have to live through this shit another six months according to court orders and im leaving like a thief in the night. Hours from here. His good close friend. I don’t think so.

    • As a matter of fact I think I will go through all the Xmas stuff on thanksgiving and get rid of all the shit that reminds me of him. Keep the kids stuff and toss the rest or donate it most likely. Burning shit in the burn pit for me is cleanly out my head. Won’t be one thing I take with me to the new place with his taint on it. He’s asked me for family photos with me in them and a complete copy if our wedding album and video. Seriously! I gave him a few photos (copies) of the kids but that’s it. After he gets back with whore she’s already told him she will destroy all his shit if he cheats in her and he will he already has cause that’s what he does and I will be damned if things that cannot be replaced gets destroyed cause both of them are cheating stupid assholes. Who in their right mind wants a known self admitted cheating bastard who says he most likely will cheat on her. Another ego asshole that’s who. Make his life so perfect he will never look at another. Ha! She tried that already. He cheated. I’m enjoying this drama that doesn’t involve me immensely.

      • kar marie – We don’t have kids (huge blessing) but I gave him ALL the photos but took out every one of me (and tore in half the very few of us both together). I need no reminders of the 15 years he abused me – and he doesn’t get to look at the stupid chump who believed his lies.

        Yep, your ex-arsehole will cheat, as his feckless wonderwhore will find out – but there you go – that’s what she signed up for – the silly bint!

        • kar marie – ‘Then wham!!!! He meets whore and starts yelling you have no friends you had no life of your own you should have had a life independent of our marriage! Yada yada yada! ‘

          This was SO what happened to me. He wanted me to do everything with him, no time for g/f’s, (yanno, He was the besties of the besties kind) and he made me leave my career for his so I could ‘wait’ on him. I kept busy and suddenly, I was NO GOOD? Got the chatter…you have no interests? You always want to do what I’m doing… And, wow – did that take the rug out of my feet. I thought we had a good balance.

          Silly Bint! – love it, Jayne.

          (I traded my wedding album with him for the wedding china – then he told me he threw it away)

  • For all the newly minted Chumps out there, it does get better.
    My first Tgiving post separation, big fake family gathering with his family. It was tortuous for me, SIL kept asking STBX about his travel (which included visiting OW; SIL was simply clueless, we are friends still). The first xmas, kids went to ex for xmas eve, and to me Xmas day.
    Most of the holidays since then the kids have been with me for the bulk of the time; ex has his new family with OWife (baby #2 just arrived!) and he moved overseas, so time with their father is limited. It was his choice, which I find to be the saddest part of the situation. He chose to quit his job and take a new one overseas. and he wonders why his daughter will not talk to him….)

    I used to be a super Chump, accommodating his schedule so he could see the kids, but I finally got over that, too. He is the one who left. I should not change my schedule for him. He took me to court to try to change the visitation (wanted all summers, every spring break, and to split the winter holidays). I stuck to my guns, and got what my CHILDREN wanted (ex never asked them what they wanted). kids are with me three weeks in the summer, and ex and I will trade off the winter break and Tgiving. This way I can take the kids to see my family over the holidays as well.

    My advice to the newbies: try to start some new traditions, help out someone in need, binge watch TV, do whatever you want!
    It does take time. I am three years out, and this year is the first one I am truly looking forward to

  • Great advice CL.

    YES – “Your problem is you need to expand your notion of “beautiful” and “intact.” You have custody of three boys. You’re at the helm. That’s an intact family. You’re just missing a fucktard, which is not missing much.”

    I won’t lie, the first year was tough. But a funny thing happened…it was stress-free. My EX was always miserable around the holidays and he was never pleased with any gift I gave him.

    There is no easy way to escape with TV playing movies and stores blasting Christmas tunes before Halloween. I did a few things: 1) I gave myself the space and time to be alone to grieve, 2) I did non Christmasy-things like taking a nature walk, 3) I avoided any 24/7 Christmas environments but enjoyed a few hours a week. You might need to do these things anyway to help 3 young boys deal with the Christmas hype.

    Some additional advice, politely say ‘no’ to events/gatherings that will be extra stressful for your kids or yourself. You don’t have to attend everything just to keep up appearances.

    Also, do things that will help your kids adjust to the new normal. You can start a goofy tradition that you all participate in. This is your tradition that you have at Mom’s house. Also, let your boys have a new tradition when they go to Dad’s house.

    You are mighty!

    • Amen, Sisters!!!! Amen!!!! “This new stage of life isn’t a punishment. It is a gift”

      For two years I couldn’t even look at that “gift”, But I have begun to open it, tear the paper off each day just a little bit, to reveal the wonderful gift inside. Four years now since my Ex “went to the grocery store”….and FINALLY, I look at that “gift” each day and realize that it may not have been the gift that I would have chosen for myself, or for my family, but it is up to me to make it into what I WANT it to be….a happy, whole life.

      A happy, whole life that is not what I pictured after almost 40 years of marriage, but it is MY happy and whole life…..”Though nothing can bring back the splendor in the grass, the glory in the flower; we will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind”.

      Be strong today, even if it is only for a minute….each day you will practice and your strength will grow. You will get there…..WE ALL PROMISE YOU!!!!!!

  • “The shame of infidelity is not your shame to wear. I realize this is not how you expected your life to turn out, but it’s the rare person whose life turns out how they expected. And those people are dull and risk adverse. Intact can be enviable, it can also be boring as hell. And smug.”

    We were just having a conversation in the forum’s about how this is not how we planned our life to turn out. I get ready for my first holidays in a long time without my EX, but I also won’t have to deal with all the nightmare around his Birthday (the 31st) and how fucking unfair it was that he wasn’t just being showered in attention. This year he gets to go on a holiday with his AP, so yay for him, he will get “showered” with attention and I don’t have to deal with his bullshit! Yay for me! I’m going to be surrounded by all the love of my parent’s and sister and have an epic time with love and reciprocity.

  • Givetimetime loved your idea as I did pretty much the first yr of Xmas out. That was Dec 2011, but not the baking.
    I put up a tree that was for me. Xmas was so non eventful, but so nice just me and my 21 yr old son.

    This will be my 4th Thanksgiving/Xmas out. While things mellowed, we are still in limbo separation, & we still share the holidays.
    I really didn’t have an asshole of a hubby as to be honest my marriage was good for 30 yrs, until hubby found himself in “his mistake” for 1.5 w another women.

    It broke our marriage, he can’t understand, & I bear the guilt brunt, and pressure of being unforgivable after all we had together.

    The Holidays make it worst as its so hard to revent yourself later in years.

    Take cl advise… Reach out, I did not, I was so ashamed I shut all few friends left aways. See it looked like to the world & me I had it all. 2 yrs I stayed inside my house, cried, bellowed, and almost took my life.
    I had no real support anyway as son was away, mother just died, father 90+ sibs dead.
    Hadn’t worked in over 35 yrs.

    I know my story may not be as others and can move on sooner, and if you can make yourself do so… Help yourself and take the time you need.

  • Yes! All the stages are hard. I am in the “fake it until you make it stage”. I am with my cheaters pants & I am not holding for pleasure just convenience. Since my is a psycho I can not blow cover. I have to buy the xmas tree for my son and I do not feel like it.I feel sad too, since I have to pretend evrything is fine and dandy. At least I am feeling the sadness now! It will go away but unfortunately my son’s pain will start. Just like CL states think about the nice moments with your kids & think that you had a hollogram for a husband. The sadness will go away I know it! GO out and have fun !

    • Wishing you strength and clarity Ficochump. Hope you manage to keep cheater pants in perspective – he’s checked out, disloyal, lying, betraying, uninvested. You and your son – that’s the real family. Cheater pants, he’s like a gatecrasher second cousin twice removed – a grin and bear it festive interloper – doesn’t deserve the bells and whistles but got his feet under the coffee table nevertheless. You and your son and your family festive plans can stay intact, cheaterpants is less than secondary to the party – honoured to be allowed to be part of it! x

  • This is “LimboLand” I just want to thank you again for your advice!!! I am so glad this popped up on Facebook today. It reminded me how many hard things I have done the last two years. And I wouldn’t go back and be married to him for anything! No matter how many soccer games we’d go to together! Thank you so much Chump Lady

    • Glad you popped in with an update, LimboLand. With time we all get a little stronger everyday. Wishing you, Chumplady, and all of Chump nation a peaceful holiday season, and a prosperous 2016.

  • Here’s the deal gals. I say, if you can’t beat ’em join em. My husband cheated and after finding out all the wonderful things he did for and with the OW, I decided to start cheating myself. Well, Mr. Cheaterpants thinks we are reconciled. But hey…..think again.

    After reading numerous forums I learned how to cheat without getting caught. I only target really wealthy married men and I only continuing seeing them is they spend a lot of money on me. My first married man was the husband of the OW. I met with him to inform him of his wife’s duplicity and we became friends and oh well…………oops, we all know how that goes. He was really far wealthier than my husband.

    I love it, I have great sex and I have never looked back. If my dolt of a husband had not cheated I would never have found out what I am missing.

    Go for it Gals. Get a honey of your own. It’s great having a side piece. All the men do it, eventually. So why miss out. My husband does not suspect a thing. I have made sure of that.

    I don’t even care now that he cheated. The sad thing is I think he is being faithful now. But oh well, he had his fun and now it’s my turn. I love having married men spend money on me, just like my cheaterpants did with the OW.

    Oh and my husbands former OW, still does not know her husband and I had a six month affair. I love it.

    • well just great. one of the chumps turned OW. wonder if you banged My WH? and what did you gain from him (and my pain)? Or perhaps you are just a troll stirring up drama. That aside, I get to spend Thanksgiving with my kids. I am so looking forward to them coming home but the lead up is incredibly lonely. I have been mildly depressed (crying , sleepless) but I am determined – no, I WILL have a great time with them. eat drink and be merry. forget the rest for a few hours. I’ll take the fleeting moments of happiness and joy and be grateful for the gift. that is what helps me survive.

    • LOL, this has to be the most transparent piece of troll bait I’ve ever seen. I’m laughing so hard I have tears, is that you Fiona? heh

  • I’m really glad to read this today. I was reminded a lot of how many ways my husband really wasn’t there for the kids and me, and how there won’t really be much of a difference this year during the holidays, after all. I’ve mostly been feeling angry at him, and sad, too, that he was too stupid to appreciate the family he had. I haven’t filed yet, since I’m waiting on the bankruptcy to go through and make our divorce asset/debt division easier. The hard part is actually trying to keep from falling into the trap of feeling sorry for him, and giving him more time with the kids, since he has vacation time this week, and no other woman to spend it with (as far as I know). But then I force myself to remember how many times he gave up family time to friends and relatives, or just spent his time watching soccer on TV and ignoring us. I’d feel terrible if I was alone during the holidays, and I’m a compassionate person, but recently I’ve noticed that trying to save someone from the consequences of their actions because of the compassion you feel just keeps them from self-reflection, and learning, assuming they are capable of it. I think he’s probably just trying to make me feel sorry for him, as usual, because he knows what a chump I’ve been for 20 years. But cheating and lying and wasting your last chance to fix your marriage instead of repenting and apologizing just doesn’t bring out that same chumpiness in me that mere arguments did. I guess every time I feel myself start to weaken I should remember him calling the police to report me for domestic violence, when he was actually trying to keep me from leaving the house. Or I guess I could remember all the disgusting things he was doing while I was pregnant and sick with our last son. Or even how he treated my oldest son (something he hid for a long time to protect me), if all else fails. Yeah, why was I feeling sad for him, again? ?

  • Ah, this has been great fun to read!

    (And I’m officially at “meh!” and it’s Tuesday, and I’m exhausted after a romantic night with my non-cheater new *ahem!* friend…)

    Our last Christmas as an “intact” family, I will never forget the disgust roiling up from the pit of my stomach, watching xH lying on the floor, criticizing me for not using the ornaments that his mother hand-made when I and our son decorated our tree. Well, there was also the part about he didn’t lift a goddamned finger to get the tree, to tie the tree to the car, to cut the tree out of the ties, to pull the tree off the roof of the car, to drag it into the house and into the stand, to fill the stand with water. That was on me. What a gent! No, instead, he just splayed himself on the floor in front of his laptop, playing video games, and criticizing me.

    Years later it strikes me that he was actually probably IM’ing the twat troll on that laptop, right in front of me, feeling emboldened as he sent me a virtual “fuck you,” from the floor.

    And you know what? Good riddance. Can you imagine how repulsive it is to be married to a petulant 50-year old who is addicted to on-line gaming? And, yes, a lot of people were SHOCKED that he cheated–for WE were the perfect, nuclear family who, I guess, made the single women tear up. I’ve written before that I was a little smug about my status as a married woman–albeit not very happily. Karma bit me on the ass a little bit. No, I didn’t deserve the cheating, but I also didn’t deserve to be married to a jackass, and the cheating was my belated Christmas present, as it turns out. I’d thank him and the skank, were it not for the fact that they hurt my kids.

    CL has given you VERY good advice in this letter. I knew to be happy for the happy families out there, for if it weren’t for happy families, then what did my values mean? If it weren’t for happy families, then wasn’t loser xH right all along to cheat with some opportunistic loser twat–I mean, what difference would it have made? Happy families are proof that I was right about my values. I made it my mission to keep up Christmas traditions, to revel in the holidays, to remind my kids that we ARE a family, minus one loser. No, I never pointed that last part out–didn’t have to. Like a few here, I work in healthcare and have chosen to work a few of the holidays that xH gets the kids (I’m lucky that way, as the mood at work on Christmas is rather festive….)

    Hang in there! It’s all going to be ok.

  • Today I needed to read this post. I may not post a lot, but I always read. I gain so much knowledge. I dread Christmas but as I always say if I landed up in a cave on a deserted island I will find things to do to keep busy. I will enjoy the PEACE. I hope all of you find peace this Christmas. Hugs to all. We are mighty and we will go through all the pain and yet survive.
    Today as I landed up in my doctors office with a dreadful nosebleed, he showed me a clip of a man in a race! He had no arms or legs! My problems are small compared to many.

  • When I first read this, it made sense. And it makes sense now.

    I’m now 2 years out from my first post-marriage holiday season, and I can say, without a doubt, I’m happy that I endured that awkwardness. I felt alone. I felt silly. I felt like I was SO far from ever finding another person to be with. I felt like people were judging me for choosing a poor mate. And probably a few were.

    But I did it. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how bad you feel on the inside. It’s what you do on the outside. I did those holidays, which helped me to re-orient myself to my status as single again. Yes, parts sucked, and were awkward, and my family struggled not to bring up the STBX. And our holiday memories of her will be forever tainted. But we did it.

    And now? I’m bringing my girlfriend home for Xmas in 4 weeks to spend time with the family (and extended family.) I’ve been healed enough for a few months to talk with her about a future together. And I foresee the life that I can have, even if it’s not the life I planned on.

    Very few of us get the life we planned on. The survivors — the ones with character, and salt, and stamina — are the ones who can make it work with the life we ended up with, regardless of the plans. I believe there’s many such people in Chump Nation. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

  • JC – very well said – ‘Very few of us get the life we planned on. ”

    As the saying goes, the most constant thing in life is constant change.
    Enjoy the memories you have now because they will never be repeated.

    Me?<—-being single and a little outgoing…I found myself with nowhere to go for a bit of turkey, except the Senior Center yesterday. (I’m not that old) So, snagged an invite from the neighbors (yay, don’t have to drive) and it’ll just be the 3 of us. They were happy to have me come cuz he likes Football and her and I like to sit around drinking wine and talking.

    I wish you all to try and make it fun, even if you have to beg, steal, borrow, or whatever the saying is.
    This IS your new life and something to build off of.

    (I recently shared a full Honey Baked Ham with these folks, so, they were happy to treat me back)

    Yes! People want to invite you if they know you want the invitation! Just go for it.

  • This is an awesome post, Tracy, thank you so much!!!!

    This my first Thanksgiving that I am truly single in 24 years. I am enjoying my holiday with my kids, The Evil One will get her next year for Thanksgiving, so I’ll deal with that then…

    Yesterday, he texted me asking me about some ugly-ass, LSU co!ors (purple and gold) ornaments he bought years ago for some reason. I’m an Alabama fan, so I always hated putting them on the tree…I couldn’t figure out why he would text me asking me about damn Christmas ornaments, until today. I realized this morning that it would have been 12 years married, but to me?!? It is November 26th, and Thanksgiving Day to boot, yeH— total MEH-versary, LOL…the point is that even though he is already engaged to Schmoopie, he still finds it necessary to get attention from me. Why did he text yesterday and not today, you ask? That’s because the idiot could never remember our anniversary— somehow he always though it was the 25th. Idiot.

    For me, like Tracy said in her post, I was pretty much a single mom while being married —- I carried the financial burdens of the household, practically have raised our daughter on my own, I have maintained my job quite well for the last 18 years, so the only thing I lost when TEO left was 300+++ pounds of annoyance, burden, resentment, anger…

    If not for my friends, my sons, even my first ex-husband, Chump Lady and the MIGHY Chum Nation this past year, I would be really messd up, honest to God. I have so much to be Thankful for today (and every day) and won’t waste one minute thinking I’ve lost something “good” —- I call him The Evil One for good reasons and thank God every day that I am free…

    All this being said, am I sad today??? No, I’m not sad, not angry as much even…just MEH…having a peaceful, quiet day enjoying the fact that I can cook when. I want, HOW I want (TEO always tried to “improve” my cooking, as if he could!!!!), and what I kids want, instead of worrying about his stupid diabetic ass bitching about he can’t have this, that, or the other, but scarfing down twice as much of the “bad” food than the rest of us.

    Embrace the title, hell add to it. I consider myself a bad-ass, mighty, awesome, single mom domestic goddess!!!!!

    Love you all, except the trolls, the trolls can fuck off.

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