Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Where Did Chump Lady Come From?

MEHI was not always a bad ass.

People say the nicest things to me on this blog, and I feel compelled to remind them that I was once a blithering chump. The chumpiest. I chased the unicorn at a full gallop. Had four D-Days. Wrote the goopiest, most mortifying entreaties to my cheater to not cheat on me. Did the marriage counseling, the therapy, read the books. Championed my “reconciliation” to baffled friends and family members, and even my divorce lawyer. I tangled with the skein so deeply, that’s why my hair looks like this.

So where did Chump Lady come from?

She was there all the time. She was the bitch inside me fighting back. Getting angry and occasionally winning the arm wrestling contest against chumpy me. Chumpy me had the strength of ten, thanks to hopium (a powerful hallucinogen and reconciliation-enhancing performance drug), but Chump Lady — my bad ass persona — was tenacious. She was the creeping doubt. The nag that woke me up at night saying, “This doesn’t add up.” The protector who yelled back. Who questioned. Who insisted.

Once she got completely off the leash, and boxed his ears. YOU WILL NOT THREATEN HER! YOU WILL NOT SAY THOSE THINGS! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

Chumpy me tried to put her back in her box, but she wouldn’t stay down. She fomented revolution. She would not shut the hell up.

Always the questioning. And the late night homework. She read infidelity boards (so many chumps, so few Chump Ladies and Men). She schooled herself about personality disorders and narcissism. She saw patterns. Things fit together, so that when chumpy me bought the lies, she said, “This is manipulation.” Chumpy me wanted to go down the rabbit hole, had elaborate theories about why he did the things he did. Chump Lady said, “No, he likes it like this. It’s that simple.”

Chumpy me got very upset with Chump Lady. How could two such different people live inside one woman? Chumpy me implored Chump Lady to shut up. Don’t you know what this means? It means we’re going to be ALONE. Fucked over! Broke! Humiliated! Chump Lady said — hey, we’ll figure it out. Chumpy me was too tired to make the journey. Remained unconvinced of the outcome. Where the heck are we going?

Chump Lady said “to a better place. Any place is better than this place.”

Sometimes chumpy me and Chump Lady were not on speaking terms. If chumpy me gave it another try, had sex with the loser, Chump Lady grew silent and just expressed herself as disgust. “It’s hard to have respect for you, Chumpy.” Sometimes when Chump Lady grew quiet, chumpy me would try to summon her back, imagining what she looked like. (Chump Lady was several parts Aretha Franklin.) Chumpy me had to admit defeat — I can’t do this without you. Chump Lady said, “Okay, I’m driving. Get in the backseat.” Chumpy me tried to backseat drive and offer directions. “Um, maybe we should pull over for that apology?” Chump Lady said, “Shut up. I’ve got this.”

Chump Lady left the cheater. Chumpy me got used to the idea. They’re reconciled now. Chump Lady said, “Don’t you dare feel sorry for him.” Chumpy me doesn’t. Chumpy me feels a bit sorry for herself now and then. God, what a waste of time that was. Chump Lady says, “Nonsense. Look at how much we’ve learned. If it weren’t for that cheater, we never would’ve met.” Then the two sides of me embrace and have a good laugh.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Those of us who turn here for validation are grateful to both chumpy and chump lady for sharing their difficult journey and rebirth. It offers us all the certainty that we will all come out the other side and be happy that we are OUT!

    • ChumpB here: I don’t think there’s a better post that I have ever read (but I say that about all of them). This was so helpful and so awesome!

  • Oh how much I love you Chump Lady! When I found this site it made me want to understand about these Cluster B things. Finding this site helped me in so many ways that I still don’t fully understand to this day. Just like you I started to study more about Cluster B things. Now I fully aware of them and I can see them 500 miles away. Now I just laugh when I see one coming and now I know what the ex did had nothing to do with me and my life. I blamed myself for years then when I started to study about them the pieces came together. There is loads of great resources out there. I was wondering Tracey which books and sites you went to? I would love to gain more information especially when it comes to making us “chumps” more aware what these people do to us and everyone else around us. Hugs! Thank you so much for everything you do for us. Oh I love your book btw!

    • Check out the Resources section on the home page nav bar. An amazon box will load with the books I think are super helpful. And some links to other sites too. πŸ™‚

  • Wow. This is just what I needed to hear today, after finding out that the ex has been chasing new, younger and shinier women all over town, while I sit alone, surrounded by cats, eating A LOT of ice cream, still too raw and emotional to even think about dating anyone. The idea of one day being able to reconcile Chumpy me with no-bs me sounds just lovely…sigh…those two have been doing battle for a while.

    Thanks, CL, for the reminder that self-knowledge and self-love (the healthy, non-narc variety!) are pretty awesome rewards for leaving a cheater.

  • Thanks Tracey. I trust my gut now. I often stifled that urge in the past. I was being gaslit (even by the man who first exposed me to this expression!) daily in the final stages… I’m such a different whole person, now that I’ve been through my separation and divorce and my daily check in to this wonderful site. Hip hip hooray for CL and CN!

  • I’m in the God that was a waste of time phase and I can’t believe how Chumpy I’ve been..,
    Thank you Tracy for helping me open my eyes to the BS, and erase any doubt I had in my mind that his abusive behavior was my fault.. yes, I have learned a lot . Thank you

  • I have been reading your blog for some time now. I’m currently still a Chump. Working on it. … I promise. Just curious: Are you in a new relationship now ? How is it ? Do you/did you find yourself attracted to the same type of man, and how did you avoid the same pitfalls ?

    • I’ve been married for going on 6 years. My husband is also a former chump, once married 22 years to a serial cheater. (He didn’t know, when he did, he divorced her asap.) If you look in the archives under dating or google CL fix your picker, I talk about it.

      Essentially, date for character. Find someone like yourself — a giver. Someone who does reciprocity.

      Really, the chump journey is not that hard. We just have to value ourselves. And learn to enforce boundaries.

      The cheater journey is much, much harder. They have to give up entitlement. Live without cake and a disproportionate share of kibbles. Very few do the hard work (ergo… unicorns), and I think the truly disordered ones, Cluster B sorts are just incapable of it.

      I believe the majority of people are decent and cheaters are outliers. Have courage. πŸ™‚

      • Chump Lady says, ‘My husband is also a former chump, once married 22 years to a serial cheater…
        Essentially, date for character. Find someone like yourself β€” a giver. Someone who does reciprocity.’

        I thought that I was following the path of Chump Lady from the time I started dating a fellow chump, my friend of three decades. Although my middle-aged boyfriend was, like all of us, not quite perfect, I thought that he was an extraordinary human being (smart, successful in his profession, dedicated, resilient, honest, reliable, nurturing, funny, and attractive to me) and our romantic relationship was blossoming beautifully and naturally. My boyfriend and I spoke warmly, with terms of endearment, to each other a few times/day for a year. He told me he loved me, nurtured me (and my children) in many ways, and almost always included me in social events involving relatives, colleagues, and friends (who were many as he is considered a ‘nice guy’). We never argued (there didn’t seem to be anything to argue about even though I almost always told him whatever was on my mind and I thought that he told me what was on his mind, too). We seemed to have many interests in common and were open to trying each other’s hobbies. Then on our anniversary last weekend, my boyfriend dropped the bomb on me, telling me that he saw no future for us and wanted no expectations from me (but wanted a ‘no-strings-attached’ ‘relationship). He is suddenly and quickly distancing himself from me, telling me that he needs time to himself to ‘figure things out’ and ‘you deserve someone who knows what he wants.’ He told me that he is not dating anyone else nor interested in anyone else. He seems ambivalent about having kids in his late 40s or later, and at the beginning of our relationship told me that my inability to create children was not a dealbreaker. He mentioned that he wanted to travel overseas, retire in the next ten years, and pay off his house but not rent out part of his house to sooner reach the goal of paying off his house. (He likes his solitude in his home although he is a very social guy outside of it.) I am not sure what all of this has to do with our relationship. I never tried to prevent him from doing any of these things; I even encouraged him to do these things, with or without me (as I am a trusting person).

        I don’t know how much of his recent behavior is caused by sadness over his wife abusing and cheating on him and her separation from him two and half years ago. (They have no children and virtually no contact with each other.) I have never tried to pressure my boyfriend for commitment as he told me that the woman who is now his ex-wife demanded engagement from him a few months after they started dating. I always thought that I was the emotionally weak one (in relationships), but even with the drama of my marriage, a very dramatic and expensive still unfinished divorce from a criminal, the need to see said criminal STBX because we have minor children in common, underemployment and financial strife, chronic injury, dying relatives, and about six years less of psychotherapy than my (now ex-boyfriend?) has had, I felt much readier to embark on a new long-term relationship than my boyfriend was. I do not consider this relationship a rebound for me. I had rebound relationships after my first boyfriend/fiance left me. This relationship feels different. I love this man enough to very much want to marry him. I wonder whether, if offered a ‘no-strings-attached,’ friends with benefits, or companionate relationship, I should accept it. Should I give him time to ‘figure things out?’ If so, how much? Or should I just immediately pronounce the relationship dead and walk away with a bit of self-respect? I don’t know of many women like me, 50+, very underemployed, poor, divorced, mother of young children, one with special needs, who cannot move more than 40 miles away without relinquishing her children, who have a chance of getting into a healthy, happy long-term relationship. Men my age seem to have much better odds as there are many more available women than men in middle and older age groups and most middle-aged and older men will choose women much younger than them. Some people love being single (not dating anyone). In contrast, I really dislike being a single person, especially a single mother. As a mother and a teacher, not surprisingly, I enjoy being around and helping children, but I long for adult companionship and romantic love within a respectful, healthy long-term (permanent?) relationship. I don’t meet available men in my line of work and hobbies (what’s left of them) and have never had positive results from internet dating, even when I was significantly younger. How can I avoid feeling like a pathetic doormat? Should I just ‘bite the bullet’ and accept a life of ‘spinsterhood’ surrounded by a bevy of cats and dogs (to whom I am allergic)?

        • RockStar my heart hurts for you. …I can’t figure your guy out…??? I think, like PTBarnum said below, ‘Be Honest’! …I think your guy needs to be honest with you…the way he is treating you is not right…especially after the way you have been treated by your ex.

          …geeze…why can’t people just tell it like it is?

          Hugs to you RockStar

            • Welcome RockStar!

              I was just on the phone with a young woman in Florida (the adult daughter of a friend of a friend) who had to flee her marital home for a battered woman’s shelter to save herself. Thank goodness she is safe for now.

              We all need to get the message about these dangerous disordered people out there. The public needs to be educated and aware of them.

              We are okay alone πŸ™‚ And I know we are better off without our x’s – no matter what!

        • Rockstar, I am so sorry. You have suffered through so much, and you don’t deserve to deal with this. I say let him go, there’s either someone else, or else he is simply too immature or too selfish to handle a grownup relationship. Hugs to you, my sister chump.

        • RSW-dump him, dump his ass NOW. Stop making excuses for him because his ex cheated, treated him like crap, blah, blah, blah. You are falling into the cycle of taking crumbs because you feel that you have baggage and may not have a lot to offer, if that is the case you need to work on that issue. Plus, the fact is when a guy or woman is interested they would never “no strings attachment” That is downright insulting.

          • Thanks, KB22. Although it was hard to leave, after I picked my jaw up off the floor last weekend, I told my boyfriend that we were not on the same page and left his house. I figured that leaving his house that weekend was the only way to salvage any self-respect, and sometimes self-respect might be the only thing you have left at the end of the day. I figure if boyfriend does ‘come around’ to the idea of treating me like a ‘going concern,’ then he may respect me more not less for walking out last weekend. And if he doesn’t, which he most likely won’t, then sticking around would just make me feel bad, not comforted. I am trying not to settle for crumbs. Sometimes I think that, although my boyfriend seems quite ‘evolved’ and is very thoughtful to many people in many ways, he is emotionally quite underdeveloped (for a middle-aged person), particularly in the area of romantic relationships.

            • I’ve heard that some guys get to the choke point in relationships, and they realize they are going to have to commit or leave, so they decide to begin the detachment process, but don’t break up completely, because they’re afraid they might be making a mistake, and want to keep the door open. I wonder what his reaction would have been if you’d said, “You know, I completely understand. I have been through a lot, and I don’t want to rush or try to force a relationship with anyone. I really enjoy my time with you, and I’d like to continue seeing you when I can find the time, but you’re right. I respect you for being honest with me, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to explore relationships with other men.” (All of this said calmly, seriously, sincerely.)

              If he’s fine with that situation, then he would easily agree and you could continue seeing him at your convenience (minus sex because, uh, sharing a partner is so BTDT). If he’s not fine with the reality of you seeing other guys, too, (and what YOU might be doing with them?) and was really only thinking of not being in a committed relationship so soon, then he would change his mind, and decide he could commit. Either way, you have to remember that you’re a high-quality woman and deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you–and there are plenty of guys in the world, one of whom might be even better for you than he is. So if it’s not him, so what? You get to break up with zero drama and more honesty than cheaters ever show.

              (This is the advice I plan to follow once I get divorced and feel ready to date again. I already know what it’s like to waste 20 years of my life with someone who made me feel like anyone was more fun, interesting and worthy than me. From now on, no more begging and pleading and feeling sorry for myself because someone doesn’t appreciate me. I’m not just a servant, taking care of home and children while holding down a job, who should be grateful for the crumbs of someone’s time and affection. I want someone who wants me as much as I want him. Otherwise, why bother? I felt lonely for almost the entire twenty years. I don’t want to waste any more on someone who’s really unsure about having a relationship with me. I’m not going to allow myself to dwell on the number of men I could statistically expect to be with. You shouldn’t fall into that trap, either. Just value yourself, and keep out those lying thoughts of ending up alone if it’s not him.)

              • Thanks for writing such a supportive response. I am quite sure that I will never find a suitable ‘permanent’ partner, but I’m trying to get comfortable with that idea. Although I hate being partnerless and feel bereft about the loss of the boyfriend (that I now realize I never emotionally had), I think that I would feel better completely alone than emotionally alone in a ‘relationship.’

            • I’m glad you left his place last weekend. Right now it appears you have nothing to lose so I would tell him not to call or stop by, no discussion, no contact. Feel free to tell him why if he insists on an explanation. You have been seeing him for some time and he could have been honest right from the start, he wasn’t. No strings or friends with benefits my ass, he’s a jerk. Put yourself on a pedestal, do not depend on anyone else to do that for you. Also, do not dwell on the age thing. All the best.

        • Rockstar.

          You just spent several paragraphs psychoanalyzing him and then another bunch of paragraphs detailing all the ways in which you don’t feel worthy, may never find someone better and don’t want to be alone. Are you sure you are ready to be dating/in a relationship or do you really want/need to be in a relationship and are willing to bend some rules to achieve that goal.
          A relationship should not be an end in and of itself, you have to actually like the person, like being around them and like the way you feel around them. He made you feel really bad about yourself. It doesn’t matter whether he ticks a bunch of boxes, doesn’t matter whether he follows the rules and doesn’t matter that he seems like a catch. If you have to make excuses for why he makes you feel bad you probably shouldn’t be around him. The why isn’t important, just that fact that it is. The fact that you describe him as a man-child fits the mold of a lot of cheaters. You don’t need immaturity when you have young kids, you need support and nurturing.

          • Finally Awake,

            Thank you for giving me a lot to think about (very concisely and effectively put. I think that I’m starting to realize that my boyfriend possesses many good qualities but is emotionally unavailable to me and emotionally stunted, especially in the relationship department. At this stage of my life in my situation, a ‘relationship’ with someone like this just won’t do.

        • RSW–I feel so badly; you didn’t deserve this. My gut reaction says this BF doesn’t value you the way he should (or how you deserve to be valued). “No-strings” means what? You can both date other people? blech. That you lurch along for years monogamously, but he gets to point out that he doesn’t owe you any commitment whenever it suits him? “Never make someone a priority who makes you an option,” comes to mind. And I should think it will be very hard for your heart to go from a romance to FWB.

          • Thanks, Tempest. You’re right. In being honest with myself and others, I don’t think that I could ever feel good about a casual sexual relationship, including a Friends with Benefits relationship. Time to build a good relationship with myself. That relationship would entail fully honoring myself, something I now realize I have not done for decades.

        • RockStar, you’re still not finished with your marriage. You are struggling financially and raising young children. You haven’t come to peace with single motherhood, and that might mean you are holding on to the IDEA of this man too tight. He’s taking himself out of the running, not up to the task of being a partner for you, which for you is a serious thing. From your description, I fear he might be a bit “sparkly”–and I have a terrible dread of looking to old friends as romantic partners after Jackass.

          Consider this: This man you’ve been dating may have put the brakes on the relationship for any number of reasons, including not wanting young stepchildren and/or not wanting to be committed long term. In the end, it doesn’t matter. He wants to be in a “no strings relationship”; you want to marry him. Those are fundamentally incompatible life plans. You are very lucky that you’ve only invested a year in this situation. I’m so sorry that on top of a vicious betrayal you got your heart broken again. But until you come to some peace on your own, you may not meet a truly compatible man. There is a world of difference between preferring marriage and partnership and needing it. I know–I was over 60 when I finally figured out that I could live happily alone. It wasn’t easy getting to this fine address in the State of Meh. And I am still sometimes tired and scared about living alone. But more and more I cherish all the other things in my life and see them as equal in value to a romantic relationship.

          I do have 2 cats. And I am 64. They are great company. But I am not “settling” for a Cat Lady life. On the other hand, I would never consider compromising my new, strong sense of self-worth and value in order to be part of a couple. Last summer I met a man who is kind, quirky, thoughtful, and a good companion. If he pressed ME for marriage, I would say no because (among other things) I am still healing from a lot of things I didn’t take the time to mourn. At this point in my life, I value my time alone as much as the time I spend with others, including me. RockStar, take your time.

          Here is what I told myself two years ago: That voice in your head that keeps asking when the Prince is coming is not doing you any favors. Work on your own great big life. Take a full calendar year to finish your divorce, to get on your feel, to start figuring out who you are without a man. Don’t date anyone but yourself. Get to know yourself. And in that process the right people will come and the wrong ones will go.

          From everything you’ve written, you have a lot to offer, not just to a romantic partner, but to yourself. Big hugs. So sorry you are hurting.

        • He’s telling you who he is and what he doesn’t want.

          Believe him. He’s not the right one for you; he’s told you so. There’s no convincing to be done, here… he made the decision.

          • I agree, Insistonhonesty. The question I need to answer is, ‘Why did I ignore the warning signs that told me my boyfriend would never commit to me. Was I, without realizing it, so desperate, confused, something else that I couldn’t comprehend these warning signs that told me not to get into this relationship? I didn’t really want to get involved with someone so early after my separation from my husband, but I didn’t want my old friend to be ‘snapped up,’ so I forged ahead–too quickly I now realize. I really need to work on (1) making wiser choices in avoiding relationships that don’t have a chance of succeeding or (2) learning how to cope better with break ups.

        • Oh, this sounds so familiar! I’ve BTDT, to the tune of 10 years of no commitment until he “fell in love” with someone else who was considerably younger. Yowitch! It was a terribly hard lesson for this super-chump me.

          Meanwhile, all those years, I was not available to meet anyone else. Now I am really free, and anything is possible, RockStarWife. You’ll find stories of women who were able to meet someone wonderful even at age 75 on. Don’t think of spinsterhood with a houseful of dander-sneeze-inducing cats .. because you really, truly cannot know the rest of your life story.

          I don’t know when and if I will meet that sweet and compatible partner .. but, for now, all I can do is take good care of myself and leave that door of possibility open. Life is mysterious, full of unexpected twists and turns (good ones included)!

          You cannot go wrong if you make decisions based on self-respect and considering your own wishes. You did the right thing to move out of BF’s house .. it just takes time for your heart to catch up, is all. Be gentle and nurturing to yourself.

          On the money front, have you tapped into resources to fine-tune your resume and brainstorm strategies to find better-paying work, including online income? Be bold and keep asking for help. Don’t give up!

          • Rock Star Wife, that situation sucks. But, you can never really know another person. He just revealed his true self sooner than later. Thank your lucky stars. You are no free, and not passing time with a person who is not right for you. Any person with different relationship goals is not for you.

            One of my favorite pieces of advice is the Second Agreement, from The Four Agreements book. “Never take anything personally.”. This one thought has helped me immensely when dealing with others. A person’s behavior is always a reflection of them, NOT of you. Hugs to you.

            • Hi Anita. Thanks for writing. My boyfriend told me that I had done nothing wrong. Not blaming me, the opposite of what my STBX regularly did, makes me feel even worse about the break up. I’ve got to pick myself up from this devastation, though, for the sake of my children.

          • Thanks, KeepAwayNarcs. Your response brought me some comfort. I will try to focus on my duty to support my children and try to forget about my relationships gone wrong.

        • Holy crap! As I read your comment it made me wonder if we were seeing the same man. Mine sounds exactly the same. He has even used the same terms of needing space and such. We have been together for 8 years and off and on over those years I had the feeling that he was seeing someone else.

          And like chumplady my two sides argued with one another about what to do.

          Anytime I have asked him about my suspicions he denied it. Recently I found proof of 2 lies and so we talked, actually i yelled at him when he got defensive. It turned out that he calmed down once i became passionate about needing the truth. He still denied any wrong doing, but we are now freshly broken up as of yesterday and I’m moving out.

          The good news is that I’m ot sad.

          So to you rockstarwife, I say your man most likely is lying to you, don’t buy into his bullshit. I’ll bet you $100 there is something else going on. Remember though, the problem lies with him, he’s an ass. You deserve to be loved, respected, cherished and wanted.

          Don’t worry about his feelings and do what’s right for you.

  • Chumpy Me and Chump Lady – I am so very grateful to both of you, as well as to CN.

    The information, validation, and incredible support I have received here not only helped me get divorced while preserving my dignity and self-respect, but keeps helping me every day as I forge on to Meh despite the continued shit sandwich buffet of having bred with a Cluster B.

    Thank you for all you do, I can’t wait to read your new book this spring and hope you have a book tour planned with a stop close to my neck of the woods!

  • Because you became Chump Lady, I was able to skip the infidelity and reconciliation boards and go straight to digging up his shit!

    I put my power, my anger and my energy into becoming a Google sleuth.

    Boy did that pay off!

    He was so busy spinning lies to what he thought was still chumpy me that I was able to find enough info to use against him and get me an amazing settlement.

    Thanks for walking the road before us and giving us the benefit of your experience!

  • “She saw patterns. Things fit together …”

    Martha’s letter (yesterday’s article) used the word PATTERN three times in the first paragraph. That was the key for me as well. Identify patterns + trust gut = a better place.

      • Seeing the pattern was when I began to realize who my ex-cheater really was. And now that I see her that way, that is all I see of her.

        • Another useful word is “trajectory.” My therapist asked me to consider the trajectory of my Ex’s life. That certainly puts things in perspective, when you take a step back and examine, who was this person when I met him? how did it serve him to be with me? where is he headed in his life? And I realized what my gut had been telling me all along: he’s a Loser. I had a lot of faith in him, but that is irrelevant. He cheated on his prior women, then he cheated on me, and he used me for food and shelter for sixteen years. When I figured out he was a cheater, as well as his other deficits, the jig was up and he attached his parasitic self to OW which is where he still is now 2.5 years after my DDay. A Loser.

  • Part of what kept me trying to be that perfect wife so ex wouldn’t leave (for her) was my firm belief he had an internal conflict happening, like the REAL him (husband I knew and loved) was eventually going to win the battle for control. It was the booze, I think, that silenced “good” ex. I also think now Schmoopie is stuck w/ “bad” ex.

    More’s the pity.

  • I credit Chump Lady and Chump Nation with saving me from myself and from cheater. When I found this site, I was separated from cheater but struggling with chumpy me over how I was going to survive. There are times I wish I had found it earlier but I do believe we have to follow the path ourselves and we will find what we need to move forward along the way. I have learned so much from you Tracy and from CN and it has helped me through some dark times and into what I hope will be the best times of my life. Thank you for sharing what you have learned with all of us.

    • Same here, ByeByeCheater. I wish I had started my Google research before my D-Day, I would have have been so much wiser and prepared for the aftermath.

      I thank God for you, both Chumpy-Me and Chump Lady!!! You and all of Chump Nation have helped me cope, cry, cherish, confront, cheer, and challenge myself more than I ever have. If not for this site, I would have been in such a bad place at times.
      I am at MEH for sure, but some of your posts still wake me up and re-visit some things I thought were long-resolved, and also have kept me from going bat-shit crazy on The Evil One and Mrs. Dumbass.
      This site has encouraged and educated me in so many ways.
      I hope to meet you at a book signing and can’t wait to read the new book!!!

      Thank you, Tracy! Your journey to MEH has helped me in so many ways, and I will always be grateful!!!

    • Everything you just wrote BBC-
      Finding CL & CN saved me. I felt like somebody hit me with a much needed 2 x 4 and the fog suddenly cleared. My time with the therapist was shortened too. I was able to see that my cheater wasn’t special, they all operate from the same handbook, that it is about his shitty choices and character, AND that I am mighty!

      I’m sorry for anyone who has had to endure the pain we have from being cheated on but ending up here will be your saving grace. I’m thankful every day that I found my way here and that I am on the path to Tuesday in the Land of Meh. I know I will be there someday soon.

      • Oh no tempest. Im not leaving here ever. As long as you guys are here so will i. Ive learned alot about myself and a tremendous amount from you guys. I wish to continue to heal myself and help the newbies if i can. I meant leaving here from where i live and moving to a new place up in floridas panhandle leave you guys never! After i do move i want to start up a local groups for us chumps to hang out cry heal support each other.

  • Thank you for being here so that I didn’t spend years in Chumpy hell. My family and friends IRL helped me get up, dust myself off, and start to find a sense of respect for myself again, but your blog helped fan the fires of my indignation so that I never second-guessed myself and returned to that Chumpy state again. I’m sure you’ve saved a lot of us from months and years of self-degradation and loathing.

  • I searched for answers in the beginning to once again figure out how to fix things. I found Chumplady and it was like a lighthouse in a terrible storm. I read and read, until I realized everything you were saying was the truth. From that moment on I knew I never wanted to “fix” anyone again. Set on a path to fix myself. I can’t begin to tell you how much happier I am and my children are since the marriage ended. I don’t think that I would have gotten to this point so quickly if it hadn’t been for Chumplady and ChumpNation. You have all been a constant support. Thank you so much for my new life!

  • Okay, maybe it is just one of those “emotional” days, but this post made me cry. With gratitude, actually. It gives me so much hope and strength to know that you were not born the world’s most righteous bad-ass chump-buster!!!! You fought hard and overcame much before evolving to the CL we all love! I can do this. Step by step, I CAN DO THIS!!! (And I LOVE your hair!!!)

  • Tracy (chumpy and CL), as always, you are an inspiration to us all.

    Thank you for your insights and ongoing support to CN.

  • I had a badass in me as well. She’s awesome, she knows when she is being bullshitted. She knows that I won’t be alone and broke even though I’m pretty sure that is what will happen. I trust her because she was right about all that other stuff.

  • Jesus, CL, you look 21 in that photo. This journey has done wonders for you obviously. I hope to get there too one day. (I know I look at least 10 years older right now thanks to the STBX). Thanks for all you words of wisdom. The last 9 months since D-day have been a living hell but your blog and the folks on here give me alot of clarity.

    • That photo was taken 7 years ago, when I worked at Lancaster Farming.

      You know Tennessee Williams (the playwright) subtracted four years from his age for the four years he worked in a shoe factory. I think chumps should subtract all the years they spent with a cheater from their ages.

      Leave a cheater! You’ll look younger — and feel younger too! πŸ˜‰

      • Oh man, I was with cheaterdouche for 12 years so I’d only be 20. I don’t think I want to go back to being 20 again.

      • Lol, I adjusted the length of time I told people I was married to the cheater to the exact date he first contacted the whore. The second he put his whoring plan into action he was no longer my husband. Pissed him off, big time.

  • My badass still sometimes wants to beat up chumpy me for staying as long as I did, but they are working on their relationship (unlike cheaters).

  • I love the visualization of my inner Chump Lady telling my inner Chumpy: “Shut up, I’ve got this.” It is the most LOVING and SELF-CARING statement we can tell ourselves every day.

  • “Chump Lady said ‘to a better place. Any place is better than this place.'”

    Yup, you’ve got this Tracy. And you brought me (and the rest of us) along with you. You got me to reconcile with the only person worth reconciling with…..myself. THANKS.

  • I think my chump self began to disappear when I realized there was no going back to the life I dreamed I would have for me and my kids. When you marry a narc, there never was or will be a white picket fence. Your life is a never ending cycle of abuse. Chumpiness does in fact end when you decide you cannot live with a cheater and need to move on β€œto a better place. Any place is better than this place.”

    Your site is fantastic and a life-saver for sure. Thanks for all you do.

  • Chump Lady – what you do here has shortened, for me, what would have otherwise been years of recovery. I am not completely at meh but since finding your blog I have quickly gone from completely broken to seeing parts of my own inner chump lady. I am in my early 50’s and part of my regret was that I had allowed myself to be treated so badly for so long. I felt like I wasted my life and that there wasn’t much left. I was worried about how long it would take me to find “me” again. I’m not worried any more. I’m almost there. Thank you soooo much.

  • Thanks for the solid CL.
    I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t find CN the night of D-Day.
    I wish there were better, more heart felt words than THANK YOU for building this community of love and support.

  • “Where the heck are we going?”. THIS is me. I’m just trudging through this divorce process. I’m not sure if I want it, but I know I need it. Just now, 9 months after d-day, I can feel my life really starting falling apart. It’s devastating. It’s just all coming down around me and I can see it now. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me or my little girls. And being 38 weeks pregnant really adds to the feeling of helplessness. I’m holding onto the hope that I can walk out of the rubble and rebuild after all this.

    • My heart goes out to you. 38 weeks pregnant? You are all kinds of MIGHTY. You can DO THIS. And afterwards, you will look back and know that you were the baddest of badasses.

      I hope you have a good lawyer and support system.

    • I am so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m sitting here in my office this morning reading CL, as I do every morning. It has been almost two years since D-day, and 11 months since my divorce was final. I was where you are not so long ago, feeling the same way.

      After discovering my wife had been a serial cheater for most of our 20-year marriage, I was devastated, as you are. My heart was breaking, for me and our children. She begged me on her knees not to divorce her, and my heart wanted to give in – but I made myself do what I knew was necessary, even though I did not want to do it at the time.

      I’m so greatful I did. In time, the rational me returned and I was able to see the real person I was married to and that there was really no other healthy decision I could have made. (By the way, I later found out that she drastically misrepresented the length of her affairs).

      I hope you listen to that voice that is trying to save you. It is the healthy you you’re hearing. It is the you that is trying to remove you from danger and take you to a safe place where you have the opportunity to be truly loved and respected in all the ways you should be.

      • JK, this is so true: “I made myself do what I knew was necessary, even though I did not want to do it at the time.” On the very night of DDay when I had absolutely no fucking clue that my Ex was capable of cheating, after he lied to my face and denied the affair and then blameshifted it all to me, when I asked him a few simple questions, mainly would he give OW up, and he answered the way he did (finally being truthful) did I summon my badass and told him he had to leave our home that night. Even though I didn’t want to do that at the time. And even though it broke my heart every day for the next two and a half years. But ones survival instinct does kick in, in egregious circumstances, I guess. I know it was right to kick that loser out.

      • “She begged me on her knees not to divorce her, and my heart wanted to give in.”

        Anyone else here think of the movie Miller’s Crossing when they read this? John Turturro to Gabriel Byrne, ‘Look into your heart’.

        And look what happened to Gabriel Byrne because he gave him a second chance!?

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Happened to me, too. Just focus on your baby. I hope your ex isn’t also a narcissist. It’sa whole other nightmare when kids are involved. Narcs don’t like it when their “supply” has been interrupted, and they try to use the kids to get back at you. It’s great that you found this forum. Do whatever you need to do to stay healthy right now. Support really helps. Good luck.

  • CL, I have said it before but I am not sure you are actually aware of what you have created and achieved for the broken hearted and devastated Chumps who visit your site daily even if they don’t post but read everything they can. This site and the wonderful Chumps who support each other here have certainly saved my sanity and life, of that I kid you not. I have come so far and I know now that my future is going to be so much better than my past even though I am an old girl now. I am at peace now and a friend I spoke with only a week ago commented that he had never seen me so calm and I am a calm person by nature but I am now settled. To all of the Chumps who will come and go from this wonderful club, my love to all of you and I am truly sorry you found yourself here but you could not be in better company because we all get it. πŸ™‚

    • Maree, in my book you are a special kind of mighty!

      I have drawn so much strength from reading about your journey, and wanted to say thank you… You inspire me to keep going as you forge on to Meh with determination despite your X’s and kids’ disgusting and disrespectful treatment of you.

    • Maree, we aren’t old. We’re experienced. And wiser, now, for being chumped and living through it, thanks to CL and our Chump Nation.

    • Dear Maree, please don’t call yourself an old girl, 64 is not old! If I remember you recently turned 64, I’ll be 64 in August, I feel like I’m in my late forties and I swear some of my wrinkles have disappeared because I’m no longer stressed. I carried around a picnic hamper of double shit sandwiches for 18 months before the cheater moved out and in with “the love of his life”.

      One thing that I realised after 25 years is that my ex has absolutely no respect for women, any woman. He once told me if it wasn’t for what’s between our legs, men wouldn’t talk to us and our nether bits look like we’ve been hit with a meat axe! I found that disgusting but like a real chump just spackled. I knew he looked at porn for most of our relationship, but it got much worse to the point where we rarely had sex and when we did he couldn’t climax unless he masturbated. Apologies for being so graphic but it’s all about sex for cheaters, they may tell you otherwise but we know better. The bottom line is they don’t respect women.

      I doubt things have changed with his newbie, he was using Viagra when he first met her, and I’m sure he still is. When you are trying to impress someone 25 years younger you have to keep at it, keep up the lies.

      I see my ex once a week, I feel nothing for him but we are in the process of selling our home. Once that happens I will go no contact. He is unhappy he’s still lying and still trying to push my buttons. I just smile which really annoys him. He wants to see I’m devastated but hey, I’m not. I’m thankful that loser found someone else to torment and he will given time.

      Maree, all the best, things will be great for us but not for them and yes thank God for Chump Lady and chump nation, we are all friends, we understand the hurt each one of us has been through, we’re all supportive. If it wasn’t for finding Chump Lady I’d still be the freaking mess I was 12 months ago.

  • This post is so me. SO me. The big conflict feels so distant now, but this is exactly what I went through at the time. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of “Chump Lady, you’ve done so much for us!” Thank you for having the courage to voice sometimes unpopular opinions for the sake of truth and justice. You’re a great example to all of us.

  • I came here to CL a little over a year ago, and discovered I was a Chump. I’ve made many mistakes during the process (now divorced) and learned quickly about other potential future mistakes from reading here.

    In the beginning I thought I could make it better; make her see her wrongs. Really, why would my wife jeopardize 20 years of marriage, risk her relationship with her daughters, and her retirement- the embarrassment? She did, she’s the cheater everybody writes about (man or woman) it’s really amazing and scary at the same time how similar stories are!

    Thank You CL/CN

  • Tracy – Chumplady.com changed me from a whining, pathetic doormat into a badass that is her own best friend! It has effected every facet of my life in such a positive way. I’m not a turbo bitch (well, maybe I am) but I’m more real with myself than I ever hoped to be.

    I was one of those fools who needed everyone to like me and I put me last in line behind everyone. Even strangers sometimes. I thought my rose-colored glasses were stapled to my face but since you helped me pry them off, my vision has been crystal clear. I see people for who they are now – not how I wish they were or how they would be if I could just figure out who they want me to be. What you see is what you get now. And it is so freeing!

    I am truly grateful to you for ChumpLady and Chump Nation for waking me up. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Thank you for providing a place where we can all reach out to one another – a place where some of the funniest, wisest, most empathic people on this earth can congregate and help each other. You’ve changed so many lives, it’s just incredible. You are a star, Tracy!

  • Thanks for writing this! So needed it today. My ex-cheater had our child this weekend and he locked eyes with me for a moment and I thought he seemed sad. I actually felt sorry for the jerk! This was followed up by a ranting email by him (and the now pregnant OW) several days later arguing about money, thus reminding me what a shitty parent and soulless ass he is now. I shouldn’t let him/them get to me, but I get so pissed at these two clowns trying to manipulate our kid. Thanks for the reminder that there is a fighting Chump in us all!

  • CL, thank you for all you do!!! Revolution, indeed. Seeing the patterns and putting language to them is freeing, and I am SO glad you let CL out!!! It has been a real blessing being part of this community.

  • Thank you Tracy for saving me the night before my contempt hearing! Without your – and your lawyer husband’s – advice I would have surely fallen apart and the result might have been very different. The charges got thrown out of court πŸ™‚ …satan had charged me with contempt for filing my taxes single (WHA?! – we were separated 2 YEARS), wanted me to pay his lawyer and the mortgage… The charges were all dropped and the magistrate all but laughed out loud at him. I remained composed as per your instructions, while satan and his lawyer looked like a sit down comedy routine. My sister almost wet her pants tryin not to laugh out loud πŸ™‚

    I am so grateful for all your and chump nation’s knowledge and support! Without this site I know I wouldn’t be as mighty as I am right now…I would probably still be in some useless counselor’s office being spoon fed crap. I saw 3, all with the same result. This site saved me. Thank you Tracy and Chump Nation πŸ˜€ I am proud to be a part of this community!

  • Tracy, I didn’t have the benefit of your fabulous insight during my chumpiness as my first d-day (serial cheater) was in 2007 and my divorce was in 2011. But even after the divorce I searched the internet for understanding of what I had gone through. I saw an article you wrote for the Huffington Post in 2012 and that got me to Chump Lady and the lightbulb went on! Thank you for all that you do to help fellow chumps and to bring infidelity to it’s rightful place as abuse. Looking forward to reading your new book and recommending it to friends and clients.

  • I think of the transformation in the wake of infidelity as my “Orual moment.”

    One of my favorite books is Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. It’s a Christian re-telling of the Greek Psyche-Cupid myth from the perspective of one of the “evil,” jealous sisters. The sister, Orual, is unbearably ugly and (because of this) spends the first part of the book being physically and verbally abused by her father, the king.

    After the blowup between herself and Cupid and Psyche, she comes down the mountain a changed woman. Having come face-to-face with a god, she no longer fears her raging, abusive father. She begins veiling her face at all times so that people will stop giving her a hard time about how she looks. Her father tells her to take off the veil and says something like, “What, do you think you’re going to blind us with your beauty?” She stands up to him for the first time ever and points out that it’s kind of ridiculous that he makes fun of her both for showing her face and for hiding it. He at first appears deathly angry and says, “Do you begin to set your will against mine?” She replies, “Yes.” He laughs it off, leaves her alone, and never hits her or mentions the veil again.

    She spends the rest of the book being bad-ass. Flawed, but bad-ass. She takes up fencing, becomes queen after her father’s death, fends off a neighboring army by beating their king in a one-on-one contest, and is a wise and beloved ruler who revitalizes the economy and ushers in a golden age to the kingdom. The veil turns out to be a strength to her as people forget what really lies beneath, it brings out the beautiful voice she never knew she had, and no one can read her face to tell what she’s thinking. She talks about how she has killed the blubbering, abused girl that she used to be and become a queen.

    Surviving infidelity was a lot like Orual’s transformation for me. I stopped being abused and became all bad-ass queen. When I realized I was dating someone last year who also had abusive tendencies, I put him away. When my XH tries to encroach on my visitation needs, I reassert my boundaries. I’m rebuilding my kingdom and checking several boxes off the dream list this year, and I love it.

  • I can’t thank CL (and the posters here) enough for helping me understand and heal. I’ve found this site one of the most helpful places in my recovery from infidelity.

    I sometimes lurk on other infidelity sites and the discussion usually says, “Do the 180, read from the “healing library”, ask her why she/he did this, is she/he wanting to change?” and blah, blah, blah. Unfortunately about a month later I see that the chump has realized their cheater didn’t really want to change, was blaming them for the cheating and they (the chump) felt even worse.

    You won’t find that here. You will get straight, no nonsense advice on how to get yourself out of that shit show. It’s never easy but if I can do it, so can anyone. The part that helped me was to realize cheaters are not special – they follow the same script and front that they are all that and a bag of chips. They aren’t. They are common cowards with limited coping skills and an astonishing need for entitlement and approval. Once you can wrap your head around that, it gets so much easier.

    I’m 3 years out now. I have a much better life now and above all, it’s peaceful. At the start I didn’t think my cheater was a “common cheater” (don’t we all?) but as time has gone by I’ve seen he really is boringly common. Chaos, drama, need for attention has followed him around and he’s still a pain in the ass to his new “source.” I’ve become a better mother, friend and calmer person since he’s been gone. My mental health has improved and physically, I’m much healthier.

    Trust that you can find that badass in you. It’s there, but that cheater in your life has likely kicked you and brought you down to the point where you don’t trust it. Trust that cheaters are not your friend. I discovered that once I ditched my cheater, good people replaced shitty types, calm has replaced chaos and freedom has replaced being chained to his dictates and preferences. There is no way I’d go back. It’s good to find yourself again…she/he is there.

    You’ve got this.

    • I never realized that asswipe was the typical boring cheater same plays same excuses they all use. Yawn. But until this current other women whore i never realized how badly he was character flawed. This site set me straight. Now when i have to listen to his dribble house not settled yet i go to my happy places and zone out. Every day im thankful i dont have to deal with his boring disordered self. He will never be the man or father he should be for anyone. His sparkles drop off daily whore juice is in for a huge surprize down the road. She wants him to marry her and hes cheating on her.

  • CL, your journey sounds much like my own. It is very healing to realize you are not the only one when going through such trials. I found your site after I had filed for divorce, it gave and still gives me encouragement.

    For me, it all came down to the day when I decided it was better to live in a box on the street then to spend one more day with an abusive cheater.

    I read a Proverb that fits well “Better a dry crust with quiet than a house full of feasting with quarrels.” Proverbs 17:1

    • I told satan that ChumpedToTheMax πŸ™‚

      I’d rather live in a box and eat rocks than this!!!!

      Hehehehehe!!!!! You betcha!

  • Thanks Chump Lady for providing the validation of my sanity while stuck in the muck of mindfuckery. Working hard to change the chump that is me from early childhood, since being parented by an alcoholic, and a narcissistic philanderer. Finding my agency, and identifying and repelling the gaslighting, and lies of the cheaters and Clusters Bs in my life is ongoing. I have spent too much of my life using placation and avoidance tactics to not tangle with the beasts, when knowing my self-worth, establishing firm boundaries, and a simple “no” could have saved me a world of hurt. Still on this lifelong journey, but that is OK with CL & CN as my mentors.

  • Word. Word. WORD!

    It will be six months for me this Friday since the ex moved out. It’s been so fucking hard to let go of the shame and the blame. To get to the realization that I deserve so much more in life.

    Found out the other day he’s in Europe visiting his married girlfriend and her husband. (Her husband is still in the dark about their relationship.) I think that’s what pushed me over completely to the healing side. Because eww/ick/gross and now the thought of him, instead of making me sad, makes me glad his hands will never, ever, be touching this amazing woman again.

    So thankful I found this community of badass goodness. *smile*

  • CL, until I found your blog and you answered my question about what “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” http://www.chumplady.com/2013/11/i-love-you-but-im-not-in-love-with-you/ I was overcome with shame and failure. That’s why I still come here almost daily to encourage other chumps. Thanks for changing the culture around infidelity and helping Chumps realize we don’t need to accept the blame and shame projected on us by the cheater. Reading here has probably been as important to my recovery as counseling was. Maybe even more so because the people here truly understand what it’s like.

    • Lyn: The bat cheaters wield is shame. Those of us with consciences are susceptible to being told that it’s our fault, that we could have done better, etc., etc. Cheaters, being the deceptive, manipulative low-lifes that they are, discover our soft underbelly (whatever faults we know we have) and use it against us. It’s an effective technique, much as the bureaucrats in 1984 use Winston’s greatest fear against him.

    • I’m still working on the shame and failure but so happy to be on the divorced side. I was eternally grateful to find CL amidst the sea of Christian Forgiveness sites. Finally! Now when you plug in “lying/cheating/porn addicted husband” you find someone who knows what they’re talking about!

    • “The shame and failure”. I once wished that a hole would open up in the ground and swallow me. I find it interesting how our cheaters never feel ashamed or like a failure? No, instead they make us feel inadequate and we need counselling and they skip off into the sunset without a care in the world. Cheaters be gone!!

      • Maree, I remember the day I wanted to go crawl in an open grave I saw and ask them to cover me up, I was so tired of living. That was the lowest point. So glad I’ve come a long way since then!

      • I have a STBX that’s part unicorn. Because he WANTS to be better but just can’t get himself to do it. He’s said it would be better if he just died and that he also wished a hole could open up and swallow him. And that he’s a failure and so guilty he feels sick and that he wishes he could disappear for a year and fix himself and try again. But he just can’t. So he’s like unicorn in the front and a big donkey’s ass in the back. He’s going to the whoremat anyway but he seems to know that OW is NOT better than I am! He just can’t eat the shit sandwich of reconciliation so there we are.

    • My favorite books about fighting shame and living an authentic, courageous life are by Brene Brown. In the moments where she talks about infidelity, I don’t always agree with her…but she understand the interplay of shame, vulnerability, and courage. Here is a trailer for her newest book that is like a pump-up video for people who have been knocked down but are still fighting. It’s one of the things I go to when I’m “down.”

  • This blog has really changed my life. Prior to knowing the words “chump” as it applied to me-I used to have an inward battle with what I called my “inner bitch”. She would yell and scream and then outright ignore me when chumpy me (aka the Doormat) would do something stupid-sleep with the ex, negotiate with the ex, hell even talk to him. I used to imagine her pulling out her hair and banging her head against the wall at the Doormat’s idiocy. Now she has a name…my own Chump Lady….and she reigns now. Some still would call her the “inner bitch” but hey-she doesn’t care. She doesn’t take any shit from anyone and this blog is the reason why. Thank you Tracy! I am almost 2 years past D-Day and I still read your stuff every single day! =)

  • After I threw out the creep, I thought I was alone in my fight to keep him out. While trying to untangle his skein, by the grace of God I found Chump Lady.

    That’s when I turned around, picked of the tangled skein and threw it out, too.

    Thank heavens chumpy and Chump Lady got back together. Great story.

  • I feel like I need a bathtub full of icewater for my chumpy side. She’s a dumbass. My CL side is super strong, but I have to keep chump self drunk or in a hyperbaric chamber or something because she loves her hopium. She loves the dream. And Ho-hub is so under the radar, chumpy self swallows it all up. I need to deck her and tie her up in a closet.

    • CR–you’re still in the same house with the cheater, no? Your bad ass side can’t fully triumph because proximity to cheaters has the same effect on badass that kryptonite has on Superman, or that cutting his hair has on Samson. Hope you can kick him to the curb soon!

      • Yep. Still in hell. Last week I was told by work that they were creating a new position for me… Far far away. And Ho Hub can’t leave here for awhile, since he has to work in this jurisdiction. so I will be able to get away from him. I was able to lay out the – I’m going, you’re staying, without saying “it’s because you’re a piece of crap and its permanent”. That happens once he gets a job In his field, which he’s finally working on.

        Fingers f-Ing crossed I could be out of this house in a month or two, and by then he will have a job and I can pull the plug on this giant sham. He was a pallbearer in my grandmas funeral yesterday. This whole time is such a mind fuck.

  • Love this, every word resonates with the chump in me and my warrior self.

    The sad truth is…it ends when you just can’t take it anymore. The lies, the cheating, the gaslighting, the mindfuckery….all of it.

    Once you realize there is absolutely NO going back is when you finally start to move forward.

    Thank God for technology and the access to Chump Lady and every other site about the disordered. If I couldn’t have educated myself I think I’d still be struggling.

    Hugs and happiness to CL and all of chump nation πŸ™‚

  • I have bookmarked this site… It has helped me so much on my own journey in getting rid of the cheater in my life..

  • Tracy, wishing you all the best with your book. Simple concept “Be Honest”! Your blog and all the mighty members of Chump Nation have provided, insight, strength and courage! Narc Abuse, never knew what it was but I sure do now! Your blog is a must read for daily inspiration. Seeing that the standard MO of these juveniles living in their parellel universe is uncanny. Thank you for all you do!

  • Isn’t it amazing how we buy into the cheater’s downplay of us for as long as we stay with them? I stayed married for years to a freakhole because I was absolutely convinced that without him, I would be nothing. The truth was, I was nothing for as long as I stayed with him. Once I got up the courage to actually divorce him (I was so terrified, I literally thought I might not survive), my life actually began. Not that things have been easy since then, and not that things are perfect now, oh no. I still have lots of problems, but A LYING, SOCIOPATHIC CHEATER ISN’T ONE OF THEM.

    • Thank you RockStar πŸ™‚ I hope you are too.

      …I’m thinkin that guy sucks and doesn’t deserve the awesomeness that is you… When they start makin excuses seems to me they have an AGENDA that’s probably gonna hurt.

      I know am better than just okay – I just have a hard time realizing it most of the time. It is hard some days to just be alone all the time but I will get there πŸ™‚ I am grateful for what I have now πŸ™‚

      I am thankful and grateful to be out of the hellish marriage to satan and appreciating more and more the peaceful single life I now have.

      Hugs to you and your children! We got your back!

  • Chump Lady really helped me understand the patterns behind my FOO and choosing Voldemort as my lover and partner. One day, I sat down and listed my relationship history, it was stunning to understand that even if all my partners were not Cluster B’s, they were selfish and often narcissistic. I played roles that I am embarrassed to say were repeats of my parents’ marriage. Soft echoes perhaps, but echoes the same.

    ChefBella, who is in many ways a flawed badass, was not always a badass when it came to relationships. My achilles heel has always come from feeling like I was a very worthy partner (character, smarts, values, true boot-knockin’ acumen, the “guts” of a relationship), but not the most “sexy” partner. I don’t do surface well. I don’t wax, I don’t dye, I hate high heels, and when I do sexy, I generally end up looking like a 19th century courtesan. I don’t do half measures. Sorry. But you’ll like it in the bedroom, I promise!

    Being a intellectual and a jock growing up, it gave me smarts and a great sense of my body as agent, rather than an object. These are not traits that create a “sexy” pleasing partner. It created a very sexual and confident woman, but not a very “sexy” woman chased after by men. And obviously, a woman who does not fit well into old proscripted roles (mother, lover, wife) has questionable social value.

    I think that value system is total bullshit (see my early and mid 20s running around as a radical feminist), but being at constant loggerheads with social institutions is wearing (see my late 20s saying, I want to have kids and a partner). The journey of the last few years is “how do I interact with some very traditional roles without losing my integrity” (see my 30s with baby clock ticking). The other journey is “is my value system possible in relationships during this time and circumstances in human history?” (see mid 30s, no partner, baby clock going berserk).

    For a period of time, I finally felt like I flowered as a “sexy” woman with Voldemort. Finally, finally, someone loved me for the strong, beautiful woman that I became. Finally, someone valued my journey to authenticity! (Cue Etta James) However, there is nothing sexy about feeling disrespected, neglected, taken for granted, and cheated on. If anything made my passion wilt, it was being Mommy/Maid/Mentor to annoying 10 year old in a 30 year old body. I remember the day in August 2011 when I realized the dream was dead and Voldemort was an alcoholic turd. I spent an entire week wearing black dresses and taking long walks. My suburban neighbors thought Goth Lady was weird, and I did not give a shit. I was mourning.

    The next six months disentangling myself from the manipulation and bullshit, trying to find a job in the Great Recession (fail), being totally broke on the edge of bankruptcy (fail), and trying to start a catering business (fail), are a long bleak blur in my mind. I finally broke free, and I thank the support of the women’s community center that I volunteered for during that time for helping that happen.

    Chump Lady has helped me understand that my decisions to completely cut off my ex, demand no contact, and to leave his abuse in the dust were viable, healthy decisions (I did this before I ever read CL). Even if I live my life without a children and a partner, I am still better off than with Voldemort.

    I have worked on honing my picker, just like I put the edge on my knife every day at work. Chump Lady has helped me tie together many, many pieces about what it means to be in a relationship. She has offered something truly cool, which is to say, relationships are not bad. Just choose healthy relationships. This is what healthy relationships look like. This is what healthy relationships act, say, and do. And you are always entitled to walk away from any relationship when it ceases to be acceptable to you.

    Chump Lady is awesome. Its hard to take advice from people who have never been there, never failed, never loved with all their hearts, and watched someone smash it into smithereens. Chump Lady is the person who has been there, done that, and earned her street cred.

    In the industry, all the chefs who have won my heart are people who get down and dirty with you, who work with you on the line, and pull your ass out of the weeds. They bust their asses right there with you. You can’t argue with them, they are doing it, and doing it better than you. If they yell at you, you say, “Yes Chef, I fucked up” and things move on. The French have a term, the “amadouer”, which can mean as a noun “the cajoler, the persuader”, It is also a beloved leader you follow into battle. Any chef that I love is my “amadouer”. I think Chump Lady is our “Amadouer”.

    • ChefBella–BadassBella can handle being a mother all by herself. You want kids, you should have kids. As hard as single parenting can be (especially while holding down a full-time job and trying to lead a fulfilling life), it’s even harder to parent with someone who undermines you or causes so much angst that you cannot attend to the fine-tuning of parenting. I have been very clear since my 20s that I preferred children to a life-partner. For awhile, I thought I had both, but mating with the disordered has a way of dragging one into the vortex. There are few activities I’ve found harder than parenting, but few I’ve found more rewarding either. I don’t regret a single sacrifice (even when threatening to sell my 14 year old on ebay for Oscar-worthy teenage drama).

      Having children is one of decisions to which you can’t apply reason; it has to come from a very deep place in the heart. There is a “must” that creeps into your daily thoughts, the “isn’t that baby cute?!” becomes tears that you don’t have one yourself. If you hear that siren’s song, give in to the allure of a child. Don’t overthink it.

      • Thank you, Tempest. πŸ™‚ I think its probably time for a baby. I feel ready. I’d make a good mom. I think I am more comfortable with being a mother than being married.

  • Avid lurker (hi, everybody! You’re awesome!) wants to know:

    How,exactly, does one box somebody’s ears?

    I’ve seen it in books my whole life and still have no idea what it looks like.

    • Seripanther – Welcome!! Glad you said hi to everyone today! Boxing Ears consists of smacking someone’s ears with the palms of your hands – HARD! Supposedly it hurts like hell and can cause hearing damage. Nice visual, huh?

      • If you do both ears at the same time, and hard enough with no ‘outlet’ with your palms for the air to escape, you can actually kill someone this way.

  • The day that my inner bad ass showed up was in d-day. When Pig Vomit left his phone that he had been guarding like Fort Knox for a month on the bathroom counter with an open explicit text message from the AP me to read. That’s right, he did that on purpose. Then he smiled me and said proudly that he was having an affair, after which he turned around and climbed into our bed where our 2 year old was asleep. Inner bad ass came out with a rage that was like a freakin hurricane. I ripped the sheets off and started clawing at his legs. He jumped up and I threw a backpack at him and told him to get all his shit and get the fuck out of my life. As he scrambled to get his toothbrush and work clothes, I calmly picked up his acoustic guitar that he had been playing before he took his shower and I stepped outside and threw it off our porch. Then I walked back inside and realized that wasnt enough, so I went back outside, grabbed the guitar and walked over to the middle of the road where I smashed it into a thousand pieces. He left pretty quick after that. She has been in charge ever since, and she has gotten us out of the mess our life was

      • Yeah, the AP bought him a brand shinny new one a week later that he proudly displayed on “their” apartment wall. It’s still hanging there I bet, even though she kicked his ass out last August, tee hee

    • Wow Becky!!!! You are fearless! Way to GO GIRL!!!! I’m in awe and lovin the visual!

      Get thee hence cheaterpants Pig Vomit!!!! HEHEHEHEHE!!! Love it!

      • I am not a person that shows anger at all, I’m the classic doormat personality, but when he did that, the completely extreme show of ultimate disrespect and the way he smiled and rubbed in in my face made me have what I dubbed “murder rage”. I had fucking HAD.IT. He’s 225 6’3″ I’m 140, 5’2″ and I saw the fear of God in his eyes when I lost my shit. It brings a smile to my face thinking about the shock and disbelief when I physically kicked him out

  • I just revisited the comments this afternoon but not before I looked at CL’s cartoon above. Holy smokes! It was the dream I had when my STBX told me he wanted a divorce and it’s probably the only dream I’ve ever had that has haunted me. (and long before I found CL…)

    In my dream I was following a car down a long winding hill with green grass on either side. (note: I’m afraid of heights and this hill was so steep it felt like you could fall off at anytime.) In my dream there was no one but that car in front of me and then I can’t see the car. Finally I reach the valley and now I have a choice — to go back the way I came or go forward and take one of the many uphill paths in front of me. I started forward and at that point I woke up.

    I always come back to this dream and I remember telling our MC about it. It was shortly thereafter that he said I didn’t need MC anymore!

    CL and CN have made a huge difference in my life and I will be forever grateful!

    WOW … to see that cartoon brought it rushing all back.

  • D-Day was less than 6 months ago. Fortunately, I came across CL and CN within a day or two, and have handled this shit like a boss thanks to that. There was no way I was going to be able to kick him out of the house, so I left, along with a significant sum of money, and filed for divorce as soon as I legally could.

    I’ve been NC to the extent possible (just a handful of unemotional texts/e-mails since I left, strictly business), and that has done wonders to clear my head. Thanks to CL, I knew how futile it would be to confront him, once I could identify his gaslighting in the past with regard to other women I’d been suspicious about.

    Snake has been a dickhead delaying the divorce, but the gig is about up for him. Things will move forward whether he likes it or not.

    I am fully awake now with regard to the abusive nature of his tactics, and he simply isn’t going to get to me anymore.

    Without CN and the support of a select few special people IRL, I don’t know where I’d be. Certainly not here.

    Finding CL made me a survivor, not a victim anymore.

  • The great thing about this sight is that it puts the responsibility where it belongs. At the cheaters doorstep! Sooooo many blogs and books put the blame on the faithful spouse trying to tell them what they can do better to keep there spouse from cheating. Most people would say it’s because something is missing in the relationship and maybe the faithful spouse is crazy or cheater is just not happy and life’s too short not too be happy and maybe the timing was just off, blah, blah, blah. It is absolutely horrific all the ways society justifies cheating so this website is desperately needed to support victims of this life altering betrayal!

    I was cheated on two years ago and my partner left me for the other woman. They ended up moving out of state together and I believe are still together. My life was forever altered. I don’t see relationships the same and I have deep rooted trust issues.

  • This site has helped to understand all cluster B’s I have had the “pleasure” to encounter in my life even down to my immediate family. Thank you CL , anytime you are in NY state and need help let me know

  • While reading through the comments, I was struck by the words post-D-day chumps are using to describe themselves:

    Value. Strength. Appreciation. Decent. Courage. Validation. Anger. Dignity. Self-respect. Power. Saved. Gift. Fire. Happier. Gratitude. Righteous. Bad-ass. Inspiration. Rational. Wisdom. Loving. A better place. Healthy. Respected. At peace. Justice. Calm. Revolution. Journey. Blessing. Mighty. Beauty. Trust. Freedom. Recovered. Awake. Educated. Warrior. Special.

    Thank you Tracy!

  • It never ceases to amaze me how CL can put into words exactly how I have felt at times. After DD I couldn’t understand why Ex’s -“I love you, I need you” – would make me feel better for a short time but then that little voice in my head would keep repeating, “He doesn’t respect you.” That voice just got so loud it could not be ignored any longer.

    • Ha ! Well put. Same here. He wrote a letter and a Valentine card of the love-bombing type, they did nothing to me except a short relief. The therapist I showed them to believed every word and tried to convince me, but that inner voice telling me he was just securing cake was stronger.

  • I still feel chumpy. But I come here to find comfort in knowing there’s so many others that have walked this treacherous path and are better and stronger now. So my journey to MIGHTY is still ahead but I now see hope where I didn’t before. I sometimes feel like if my kids weren’t so young it may be a little easier for me but then again, at no time would I ever wish this type of heartache and mindfuckery on anyone. EVER.

    Thank you Chump Lady for being brave and being thr voice for so many of us when we don’t know how to articulate our pain or understand the shit sandwich we are being forced fed. You have saved me so many times. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • I came across this quote while I was still doing the pick me dance, feeding my XH cake, and ignoring my gut:

    We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    Joseph Campbell

    The profoundness of this simple statement drove me outta chumpville. I was living on Hopium, hallucinating unicorns til this moment. Bang. Over. I took myself out of the race with the OW for my husband. Shortly after this, I found CL.

    And the rest is meh.

  • I was a chump when it came to my cheating husband but I let all my family members take advantage of me too. I was the peacekeeper who would comply with all my sister’s, father’s, mother’s, cheating best friend’s disrespectful behavior towards me. I one by one, stood up to them all. Put their fucked up, using behavior back in their lap, and had to redefine all of my relationships.

    For some reason, it was easiest with my husband.

    Although my husband was kicked to the curb and I never looked back or felt guilty, coming here answered the question of love-bombing me before marriage and treating me so awful for so many years. I never was able to see this was a common disorder that these shitbags use, until I came hear and read similar.

    I still have a hard time deciding whether a boundary I try to set is necessary as so I can make new friends, it’s much easier to weed out the users and the crap dealers.

    I am forever grateful as this is better therapy and reassurance than money can buy.

  • What was your User Name or Forum Member Name when you were posting on the Infidelity Boards or Marriage Or Affair Forums?

    It would be interesting to take a peak through the Wayback Machine to see the evolution into the Chump Lady and when the metamorphosis occurred.

  • Thanks, Chump Lady. You are a beacon to all of us. I don’t believe in idolizing people, but you are the closest thing to a “hero” I’ve experienced in 62 years of life. I met you a year ago. Wish I’d met you 33 years ago. Life would’ve been different . By “different” I mean “on my terms”. Life is on my terms now, but only after much pain. Be there for the rest of the up and coming chumps. There are LOTS of them. Love you.
    PS Therapy helps, but you’re better. And Esther Perel has lost her mind trying to validate cheating. My shrink is NOT on that page, thank god.

  • >