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Dear Chump Lady, Are these red flags?

redflagHi Chump Lady,

I made some chumpy errors in my separation, but generally got it right; consistent with your philosophy. I found Chump Lady about 15 months into my separation and it really clicked with my experience. I still lapse into feeding the troll a bit but the ex has a knack for winding me up. She is still with the Other Man — fucktards.

My question is about my picker (haha that felt funny writing that) as I’m shit-scared about ending up with another narc. I really thought I’d picked reasonably well with my wife for 14 years…

But my question is about my current partner and my picker. Facts:

  • I’m 17 months into separation.
  • We’re both 42.
  • She has spent much time single but has had long term relationships. Never married.
    She has no kids.
  • She said she loved me 3 weeks into our relationship which I reciprocated. I’m not saying I didn’t, but I’m a softy, we were (and are) having so much fun. I read about love bombing but can there be genuine love and excitement in this regard? Should this be a red flag?
  • We drink quite a bit when we’re together. I really don’t need more encouragement on this front. Red flag?
  • We’ve spent nearly all available time together since we met.
  • She met my kids about 6 weeks into it — something I said I wouldn’t do for 6 month minimum. She is great with my kids.
  • 6 months into our relationship we’re talking about moving in together.
  • She is generous with her time and is giving in a thoughtful way. She volunteers with many charities.
  • We have different backgrounds but like the same stuff generally. She’s a farmer, I’m a city boy. Her parents divorced amicably when she was 12ish but co-parent amazingly. My folks are still together. We’re both outdoorsy, love the same music, are fairly similar professionally, both fairly confident socially but she is very social and has a very wide group of friends. I have a few close friends.
  • We laugh together big time.
  • I’m quite financially conservative and sorted, she sort of lives pay check to pay check. We haven’t really talked about this too much. Red Flag?
  • She’s been cheated on by a serial cheater. Her partner for 5 years when she was younger.
  • I don’t know if I ever want to get married again.
  • Is it still too soon for me? Aargh!

Shit it gets more confusing the more I write.

I’d appreciate your thoughts.



Dear AndyL,

My first question is why aren’t you divorced? I realize there are some wretched states that require a year of physical separation before you can file. But 17 months??? And while dating for 6 months of that 17-month separation, your divorce hasn’t gone through? WTF?

I’m not saying you have to put your life on hold, (I’m not against dating while separated per se) but do recognize that you are NOT emotionally available for a full, reciprocal relationship right now. You’ve got some very unfinished business with your ex. Like getting legally free of her. And unchumping yourself, which takes quite a bit of decolonizing the mind to achieve.

So, all to say, WHOAA Andy! You don’t know if you ever want to get married again? Dude, at 17 months out from a blistering separation, you should be taking baby steps like, “Maybe I’m too old for cargo shorts.” Or  “Gee, I guess that kayaking meet-up doesn’t like look too much of a commitment.”

This is the time for rediscovering yourself, adjusting to being a part-time parent or full-time single one (depending on your custody agreement), and maybe dipping your toe into the dating waters. By which I mean 50 mediocre coffee dates. Practicing meeting people with zero pressure, dumping those who don’t measure up, and being dumped by those who don’t totally adore you. (And not taking it too personally, because HEY it was a mediocre coffee date and you don’t have THAT much invested).

It’s not impossible to meet an incredible person whom you want to commit to in the early days after a divorce. It’s just unlikely. And KEY WORD here — DIVORCE. Incredible people you want to commit to don’t generally spawn letters to Chump Lady. So, let’s UBT your potential red flag list, shall we?

I’m 17 months into separation.

See my WTF above.

We’re both 42.

You’re young. What’s the rush? (Yeah, 42 is YOUNG. I’m telling you that from the wizened old age of 49.)

She has spent much time single but has had long-term relationships. Never married. She has no kids.

This should give you pause. You DO have kids. Kids are a major commitment, and while I have absolutely nothing against the single and childless, you have both traveled very different life paths. There are things that childless people do not get, like vomit in your hair, or sleepless nights with colicky babies, or spending all your disposable income on orthodontists, or 3 a.m. last-minute science projects (thank Jesus for 24-hour Walgreens!)

My point is — kids require sacrifice. You don’t have shared experience here. Your kids have already been thrown over by one parent for a fuckbuddy, make sure whoever you introduce them to (more bitchslapping on that in a moment) understands your priorities as a parent and doesn’t take offense.

Maybe she’s 42 and always wanted kids and loves the idea of yours. That’s nice. But in my experience, people do the things they want to do in life. If she really wanted kids, she would have had some already or adopted some by 42.

Some people can step into family life and some cannot. If you’re looking at the future, step-parenting is a HARD gig for anyone. I imagine it’s even harder if you have no real experience raising children.

She said she loved me 3 weeks into our relationship which I reciprocated. I’m not saying I didn’t, but I’m a softy, we were (and are) having so much fun. I read about love bombing but can there be genuine love and excitement in this regard? Should this be a red flag?

Ding ding ding!!!! THREE WEEKS? Dude, you don’t know anyone in three weeks.

I’m sorry, that strikes me as love bombing. I get that it all feels very heady and validating, especially after infidelity — but real adult love builds organically over time.

And I’m probably going to get crucified for saying this (but what the hell…) she’s doing the pursuing and while that’s flattering, it’s a bit outside the norm.

Hey! I didn’t make the rules here, folks, I’m just reporting on them. Generally, in straight relationships men do the pursuing. Don’t revoke my feminist card, but women?  Do not chase men. Absolutely show mutual interest, encourage, but DO NOT CHASE.

Courtship is where a guy needs to bring his A game. If you’re a woman doing all the work, what are you communicating? You’re saying you’ll do all the heavy lifting. That effort doesn’t matter that much to you. (It matters. I know it and you know it.)

So best case, her pursuit comes across as a bit needy. Worst case, it comes across as disordered.

The people who move quickly and love bomb to seal the deal are fucked up and want you to commit before you figure that out. A woman who says “I love you” three weeks in? I’m weighing my thumb on the scale of disordered.

For the record, yes, I believe in falling in love. I also believe in not rushing it. Because I believe in grown-ups. (And leprechauns! And gentleman picking up the check! And home-cooked dinners! And thank you notes! And anachronisms of all kinds!)

Yeah. I said gentleman picking up the check. (At least on the first date.) You don’t like that, guys? Get back to me when women have equal pay, reproductive freedoms, and universal child care.

We drink quite a bit when we’re together. I really don’t need more encouragement on this front. Red flag?

Yes, Andy. Red flag. This person is not bringing out the best in you.

Also, what does it say that she needs to get shit-faced when she’s with you? Healthy people do relationships sober.

We’ve spent nearly all available time together since we met.

How much time do you have? You’ve got kids. Do you impose any boundaries on your time?

Look, you don’t love someone any less if you can’t spend every available minute with them. I love my husband, but I’m really grateful when he flops on the sofa to watch 70s sitcoms and leaves me alone to listen to English boys choirs and cruise for pinecone elves on Ebay. I don’t love Bob Newhart. He doesn’t love pinecone elves or flutey boy sopranos. It’s OKAY.

Does this woman really like everything you like all the time?

She met my kids about 6 weeks into it — something I said I wouldn’t do for 6 month minimum. She is great with my kids.

This is WAY too soon to introduce your kids. At 6-weeks, you have NO IDEA where this relationship is going. I don’t like a) how she is trampling your boundaries and b) how you don’t have any boundaries.

Also, I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that you spend all your available time together and she’s very quickly met your kids. Gee, what’s that Venn diagram look like? Whose great idea was this?

6 months into our relationship we’re talking about moving in together.

GAH! A red flag so red it could be communist China!

NO!!!! NO!!!! You have CHILDREN. Your divorce isn’t final. This is a HORRIBLE idea.

She is generous with her time and is giving in a thoughtful way. She volunteers with many charities.

Well, there can be a thin line between “generous with her time” and “dominates your time.”

It’s nice that she volunteers for charities. I hate to be cynical here, but this doesn’t tell us much.

We have different backgrounds but like the same stuff generally. She’s a farmer, I’m a city boy. Her parents divorced amicably when she was 12ish but co-parent amazingly. My folks are still together. We’re both outdoorsy, love the same music, are fairly similar professionally, both fairly confident socially but she is very social and has a very wide group of friends. I have a few close friends.

Generally speaking, I don’t think opposites attract. I think people with similar values and backgrounds make better mates. By the time you’re 42, you should know yourself and what your deal breakers are. Introversion? Not a deal breaker. Likes to spend every holiday in a moldering tent? Deal breaker.

If you do that work to get to know yourself after a divorce, you have a better idea of your deal breakers.

We laugh together big time.

That’s great. You should laugh. You’re SIX MONTHS IN. It’s just dining out and fucking at this stage. Who doesn’t love that?

I’m quite financially conservative and sorted, she sort of lives pay check to pay check. We haven’t really talked about this too much. Red Flag?

Depends on your deal breakers. Men picking up the check (at least on the first date!) aside, I believe in mutuality in relationships. Forty-two-year-old grown ups need to be able to stand on their own feet financially. I have the utmost respect for farmers, but it’s not the most remunerative profession. Most farmers work at least two jobs to get insurance or do without.

(Which, now that I think about it, how do you date this woman at all? Maybe it’s winter where you are. Farmers have very, very little spare time. It’s a super intense lifestyle.)

I think healthy people want an equal. That doesn’t mean you earn the same, but it means you both bring a lot to the table, and you can live just fine on your own. A lot of us, after divorce, don’t have a lot to bring to the table, and need to spend time recouping our losses — financial and emotional.

If anyone should be hard-up financially, it’s you — a divorce and children. And you’re not. She is. What does that say about your values and priorities? It’s worth looking into. Certainly before you even entertain the notion of living with her!

She’s been cheated on by a serial cheater. Her partner for 5 years when she was younger.

Okay. Just because someone was once a chump doesn’t mean they’re a good person for you to date.

I don’t know if I ever want to get married again.

That’s totally understandable — YOU’RE NOT EVEN DIVORCED.

Is it still too soon for me? Aargh!

Yes, Andy, it’s WAY too soon. Slow the hell down. Don’t self-medicate with new and shiny relationships. I’m not saying you should dump this woman. I’m saying you should get to know yourself a lot better. And that takes TIME.

Which you don’t have if you’re spending “every available” hour with her. Fill out your life some more and slow down. How she reacts to less than total centrality will tell you a lot about her character. Good luck.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Hi Andy. If you even have so many questions right off the bat, then your intuition is trying very hard to tell you something. I totally understand where you’re coming from (I’ve never been so lonely in my life and this is with four kids in the house 90% of the time) but listen to your head and heart, but more your head at this point.

    The way I see it, I’m fifteen months out and all I’d like is the odd coffee date/movie buddy/fwb here and there. But my emotions are so jacked up and I am such a scared little rabbit due to what’s happened I’m no where near ready to make solid relationship judgements at this point. So I just won’t. I do a lot of cleaning, reading, tons of parenting stuff and the practical things like reordering my finances, making sure the kids get the help they need etc.

    And yes, I know when we have what we think is good or happy news we really want to share it with those most important to us, even the kids. But while I don’t know how yours are coping, mine are all over the place. My older daughter’s biggest want is for me to be happy again “So you need to find someone, Mama.” which is a scary train of thought in and of itself though I blame her peers, the media and her not so secret longing for things to be “normal” around the home again, my two boys are Autistic so don’t need any more change than what we’re already going through and my two-year-old… Well she loves everyone but doesn’t need to lose any more attachments.

    I think sticking to a deadline about introducing a SO is wise. I didn’t even seriously consider dating until around a year post D-Day. Kids are flexible and can go with the flow fairly well, but you may not know how they’re feeling on the inside and if yours are like mine, they’d give anything to see you happy again and won’t do or say anything to endanger that… At least at first. Especially when a marriage ends like ours ended… Even they get the depths of hurt and how unjust it is and they want to comfort and help however they can, which isn’t always with a good dose of reality.

    Give yourself time to heal, maybe spread out the time you spend with this lady and if she’s got it together, she’ll understand. If she truly cares about you, she’ll get what you’re feeling as much as she can having never been through your situation, why you feel that way and will be willing to give you time and space while still being there for you. Also, look up trauma bonding. I almost fell into a relationship that would have been just such a thing but thankfully both of us realized what was happening, took time to step back and are now wonderful friends without things having got weird, awkward or worse because we rushed into something.

    Good luck and please do take care of yourself.

      • Last I checked woman do get equal pay, can abort, and have the same entitlement to universal child care as men.

        • Actually, I had a coworker who was a single father and he had trouble getting the same economic assistance that a single mother would. So, he had less access to resources to help with childcare than a woman would. That being said, I’m not so sure all women have equal pay yet. I believe some women do and some women don’t.

      • Get a divorce first.
        Learn how to clean your toilet and do your own laundry.
        Don’t move in with anyone for a year or more.
        Get a credit check on her.
        Get a divorce FIRST.

  • AndyL, if this lady is genuine and good and worth keeping, she won’t mind that you keep things low-key and at arm’s length for a year, or two, or three, as you see how things go. It gives you both plenty of time to unfold, observe, and show each other who you really are as you face the day-to-day battles and challenges in your lives. You can see how the other person handles crises, how they handle money, how they handle family bullshit, how they handle the daily grind at work. If she finds the slowdown and the wait too inconvenient/boring/unsatisfying, then listen — she doesn’t love you. She just loves the idea of getting her feet under your dinner table and her slippers under your bed and, !alakazam! one day she says “whoops, look at me, all married again! Yay for me!” And you’ll be sitting there over your Swanson Hungry Man some Monday night wondering who this person on the other side of the table actually is.

    • Thanks Hope
      Initially I thought I was really sorted enough to be in a relationship again and all of a sudden I get these red flag thoughts and do stupid shit like introducing her to me kids way before I said I ever would. Shakes head.
      Cheers A

  • ***hammer-hammer-hammer***

    We prefer the term: “childfree.”

    ***resumes building feminist crucifix***

          • Without cargo shorts, where are we supposed to put our keys, phone, and wallet (that contains the money to pay for the meal)? It’s too warm to wear a jacket if I have shorts on, and I am not wearing a fanny pack.

              • Fedora + bull whip + man bag + fanny pack + cargo shorts (maybe black socks and crocs) = Female Kryptonite

            • I freakin’ LOVE cargo shorts on men, especially if they’re super ragged. That is a man who gets.things.DONE instead of just talking about them. And he’s secure enough in himself to know that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

              • If he’s wearing them to DO things? Unlimited! lol – I like usefulness… you could say it’s my love language. 😉

                The context in which *I* see cargo shorts as attractive – also, I seem to only notice the attractiveness of Men Being Productive – would be when there is paint, grease, blood stains (fishing), and those pockets are rattling with something awesome.

                Awesome things like:

                -Gauges and wires
                -Safety glass and earplugs
                -A mini-can of WD-40
                -Random stones/buttons/fossils/snake skins/a dehydrated worm/toad leg from someone’s children (oh *especially* when they keep a bucket of said items in their truck until a job is done, in case the kid asks where he put those given treasures)

                And cell phones and bulky men’s wallets need to go somewhere. I hate purses and either leave my phone in the car or stick it in my bra. If I was a guy with great, cargo-short pockets available, I’d wear ’em all the time.

                They’re everyday clothing.

              • Cargo pants! You struck a nerve! My ex who was 56 at the time bought 20 pairs during our divorce and during the time he was openly dating co worker tramp whore home wrecker! My ex strangely picked out camouflage patterned cargos to wear while he took Schmoopi hot air ballooning, to hotels and resorts during the 3 years of weekends he was contesting our divorce! Yeah Cargo Pants are a red flag for me!

            • DM, my ex is all that to a 37 year old daughter and a 33 year old son. But hey, he is screwing a 23 year old in a hot climate country, so I suppose we can make allowances for the old fool. But instead of sandals with socks he wears thongs (flip flops to you !) I suppose he still pulls his toe nails off and leaves them on the bedside table, that is if they have one. For some reason he was adverse to toenails scissors / clippers. He never wore thongs when married to me. 🙂

            • Such Sartorial Splendor, DM, who knew? Do women swoon when you stride by in this outfit?

              How do you feel about women who like nightshirts and big warm robes? I heard a comment one time when defending flannel gowns by saying there was a place for them — the comment was, “Yes, the fireplace.”

              I suppose one must decide between fashion and comfort, between practical use and providing eye candy. So many hearts to break, and so little time!!!

              Seriously though, I wish the fashion police were the only ones I ever needed to call. The crimes my former Cluster B’s committed were far worse than socks with sandals

            • Awesome. I’m sure you’ll be a great dad to a teenager. That’s a role that takes a lot of bravery from what I hear. 🙂

              Speaking of getting things done. I like screws, nails, bolts, etc. I was excited when I bought my first drill. Then, I drilled holes in my apartment so I could put up curtain rods and a roller shade. Then, I drilled more holes so I could put up a fluorescent light for my herb garden. I’m not really supposed to be doing that. But, I’m prepared to patch holes and paint if I ever move out. Having my very own drill is awesome. It’s great if a guy gets things done, but I think the feeling of having “girl power” and being able to do some things myself is even better.

          • Aw, cargo shorts remind me of my dad, deceased for 12 years now and sorely missed. He always wore cargo pants or shorts, but he was an HVAC and electrical contractor, and carried around all sorts of tools and necessities in those pockets.

            • I’m okay with cargo shorts. Also, I really like them for myself. Wonderful utilitarian clothing, but I’d not go on a date wearing them. 🙂

              • Google “cago shorts” and you’ll get some nice pictures of thin men wearing them. Now you imagine an obese American and it’s quite different.

              • I resent some of the comments here too. I never wanted children of my own. I did not want to go through the process of making babies and I don’t like babies. Why should I force myself ? People are not in short supply, quite the contrary, beautiful animal species on this planet are going extinct, and other species are raised in terrible conditions because of human overpopulation. We are schizophrenic, on the one hand mourning the destruction, and on the other valuing the production of new people so much, that the few of us who are not interested get insulted !
                Not being interested in babies does not prevent me from being a very responsible person. I am an engineer, I am an artist, I have travelled a lot and learnt several languages, I own a beautiful home, I take care of everything, I don’t hesitate to study a book instead of making a fool of myself by calling a male to help.
                I don’t like babies but I like teenagers, I get along fine with them, and have quite a good influence on them. I could totally see me marrying a man who has a teenager.

            • No, there might be plenty of us who like men in cargo pants/shorts! 🙂

              Heavens, if stuff like that was the ‘problem’ …sigh. I am one of those women who don’t really want to try this again. I am quite happy on my own with my 4 children. Also busy as one is autistic. But I think if I ever met a really good man again on this side of God’s green Earth, I think I would not mind if he wore a potato sack…..

              • I know, right? If fashion sense were my biggest problem with a man, I’d be down on my knees thanking God every night. Or I wouldn’t even notice that was a problem. 😉

                I’ve got no desire to try again anytime soon. I’m assuming someday I will. But really…being alone is nice.

            • Nope, you’re not. I have no problem with cargo shorts on a man. Skinny jeans at my age, however, IS less than desirable.Since I only wear Crocs around the house 24-7, don’t have an issue with them either.

            • Love ’em. But my Ex wore one so it’s too painful to go there right now. Some day a utilikilt will re-enter my life (bagpipes optional but welcome).

              • This whole discussion thread about cargo pants is HILARIOUS! You guys are so fun.. thanks. I do love DIY-handy people, too.

                Me? Cargo pants (and maybe even fisherman’s vests) are preferred over fanny packs any day — but what really matters is the quality of the guy (or person) wearing said utility garb. I would deem them socially aware to not wear them on the first date, though, unless the first meeting involves a repair project, hiking, fishing, etc.

              • Fifi wrote: Some day a utilikilt will re-enter my life (bagpipes optional but welcome).

                Today, March 10, is National Bagpipe Day in the US. Work those pipes and kilt, especially while wearing socks with sandals!

          • CL and ID, while I completely agree with 99.99% of what is written on this blog, I have to respectfully disagree on the prejudices expressed about middle age men in cargo shorts!… Cargo shorts and pants are simply too comfortable and utilitarian to be thrown on the ash heap of fashion!… Ok the angry shaking has stopped now… carry on!

        • You should pick up all checks from now on, Cl, both because you are now rich and famous, and to atone for not pursuing men enough.

      • Ha ha ha! One is never teenager-liberated. Wait until your student gets to college, and calls you on a Sunday morning to top up his bank account because he drunkenly ordered Taco Bell delivery from a town 20 miles away, and enjoyed $44 tacos. [true story]

        • I’m just cracking up over here! Cargo pants – the BEST ones are the ones the construction workers (all men) wear (they surround me all day around lately). Very utilitarian, zippers, room for hammers and tools, steel boots that make them all look 6′ tall, and yeah – they’re all under 50. (even better! ha) – nothing against us almost 60 yr olds.

          I like function but I need pockets – so, LuLuLemon pants with pockets. Same with their light jackets. Had cargo pants in the 90’s and loved them because they held all my stuff – keys wallet, as I don’t carry a purse. But, things fell out of them.

          And, hey – I still call em Thongs! Not flip-flops.
          Sticking to it. lol

  • Ha ! Very similar to a letter that I wrote to a friend this morning. It did not go as far as wondering about moving in together, but rather it was something like,”Is this person a decent prospect for a long-term relationship ? Or should I stop dating him ?”
    I have never been sure about having a partner I could invest in. Maybe that’s why I never married. Now with the traumatic breakup after several years of cheating, I am even less sure about what I want. Today I am afraid of everybody, and I am rarely attracted.
    In the past, I loved men with long hair, with books, with diplomas. I have a lot of books and diplomas too. My type were introverts who enjoyed being alone.
    Today, I think I value honesty, responsibility, wisdom with finances, maintenance skills and family more. This corresponds to the guy I met at a party very closely after the breakup. Shaved head (balding), no books, high school dropout, small stable salary, but a wonderful dad with his 15 year-old son, who cooks and cleans, and has many brothers and sisters-in-law I enjoy being with. He has a positive attitude all the time, and people who meet him love to chat with him.
    What I do is continue seeing him at least once a week. I go with the flow. We live 45mn apart.
    Maybe I should stop and set up dating profiles instead, to have these 50 mediocre cofees…

    • You’re doing pretty much what I’m doing. I talked this over yesterday with my therapist, talking about how this relationship feels “ordinary” in a good way. When I told her that the feeling I have about this person is “unfamiliar,” she laughed and asked me if I missed all the drama. What is true is that I am paying a lot more attention to what I want and what feels good to me. Enjoy your once a week or so with this man whose company you are enjoying. It doesn’t have to ever be more than that!

    • Haha long hair and books. So with you on that — and introverted as well. Or should I write ‘introverted’ because of the thousands of hours spent chatting on sex sites and IRC. Whatever social energy he had did not go to his wife or his kids. I went to fucking some woman in text chat late at night, resulting in a grumpy, resentful distant enigma in the morning who was behind on work and knew he just cheated on me and was hating me for how bad he felt that I had no idea about…

      “Today, I think I value honesty, responsibility, wisdom with finances, maintenance skills and family more.”

      Damn straight. And IF I AM NOT SEEING THEM I WILL NOT TOLERATE DOING ALL THE WORK. Did that for almost 20 years. No more spakle.

      I have no idea what it would be like to have a partner who is actually, wow, 100% in the relationship. I could totally see myself falling for someone who was just 15% into me instead of cheater ex-H 10%. But that’s not good enough and I would rather be lonely and alone than ever ever again be lonely and have a ‘husband’.

  • Slooowwwww down….. for your sake and sake of your children. My girls were 18 and 19 when my husband brought home his girlfriend to spend the weekend in our still home….it freaked them out. It’s weird…and then seeing PDA….their Dad shoving his tongue down the girlfriends throat and grabbing her ass….in front of his daughters….. Gross…..

    I dated 2 years into separation. it was super fun…all shiny and new…. but….as time went on….the shiny wore off and I saw what a mistake it was. I’ve learned you really can’t know a person in 6 months. I was married 20 years….I didn’t really know him….or me. I’m getting to know me….so I don’t make the same mistake again.

    Slow down. Get to know yourself again….spend time with your kids who have a changed life too….and need a parent.

    • Thanks Tracy

      It seems the big theme from everyone is slow down. I really haven’t taken a huge amount of time to feel comfortable with my own company so ‘message received’ It’s great to have CN to help with this shit. It is almost impossible for those who haven’t been through it to get how destabilising it is.


      • Hate to tell you this Andy, but when I was reading your post, your girlfriend reminded me of the super new narc that my ex cheater picked up in December. She is around the same age as your girlfriend, never had kids, has no job, hates city life, is a big drinker and smoker, and is VERY social. She decided that my cheater ex is her true love and moved in with him one month after they met at a party and before she had been divorced from her third husband! They have not spent any time apart since they met. Because my daughters are minors and spent half the month with him, I did some research on her and discovered that she has cheated on all her exhusbands, and lives off their money as much as she can. She is also the most charming, sexy, and funny woman my ex has probably ever met. But she is a liability waiting to happen. My daughters like her a lot, because she has seduced them by giving them all the stuff I don´t allow them to have in my home (everything from letting them wear make up and sexy clothes, to giving them coffee, and smoking in front of them). I am very disappointed in my ex (more than ever) because we were always careful about what our daughters saw us do, and now he doesn´t care about any of that!!! Its like he went crazy! My daughters are 10 and 13 so they are very influential with new role models, and the woman my ex husband decided to move in with is like my exact opposite. But I can´t do anything except be the good role model for them.

        So my advice to you is to first get to know this woman more and get to know her before moving in with her. Actually, don´t move in with her…live apart for as long as possible. This gives you the space to think things over, to watch her react during the bad times (like what would she do if she knows that you don´t have money to spend on her because you are saving up for kids college). Look, I understand it is lonely out there, and that maybe, you are unconsciously trying to get back at your ex (like “look: I am attractive and other women love me and appreciate me..your loss!”) but what really helps in this situation is if you think of your kids first and foremost. It will help you answer all your doubts. Besides, if you have so many questions on this woman already you should not introduce her to your kids at all, until you are completely sure about her (or whoever). Keep dating if it makes you happy, but when your kids are not around. Enjoy her company for now, but don´t get serious so quickly…really, you don´t need to. Investing in another long term relationship when you are not even divorced is the biggest red flag of all! And trust me, there are many narcs out there in all shapes and sizes…so give yourself time and protect your children…

          • Hey Andy, I always reread this letter because I composed a similar one to CL and didn’t need to send it because I knew what she would say. Thank you for being so open. How is your dating life now?

  • Way too soon for all. Listen to traci. Im almost three years out and still have no desire to date. I have to heal financially and emotionally and become happy with me again. Just me. My kids are grown ups and i would wait a long time before i introduced them to say a steady. They were hurt too. I want to be happy just for me. No one else can make you happy inside that comes from you. They can do things that make you happy but not a real happy person. Three weeks and an i love you. I would say love me you barely know me. Asswipe said him and the whore fell in love at first site. I call bullshit. Now asswipe is losing his sparkles and so has she. Because it takes time. Heal up yourself and breathe. Dont dive back in the pool so quick.

    • Thanks Kar marie
      great advice. The spooky thing from your comment is that she’s on holiday at the moment and I feel I can breathe.
      Cheers A

      • Oh Andy. That’s the only warning you’ll ever need to hear.

        TRUST YOUR GUT. It knows what it’s talking about.

        And I think CL is right – for crying out loud, please get divorced first. That’s a bare minimum!

  • You were with your wife for 14 years and understandably have taken enormous blows to your self-esteem. It would be a miracle for you to be over that relationship in such a short time, ever if your divorce was legally sealed. This woman is making you feel good about yourself, which is great, but you are still in the early days and therefore quite vulnerable. Even if she’s a great person, and something real has clicked between you, you really need to protect yourself from making a decision when you are not ready to… which is why you wrote to CL for advice. Best advice, listen to everything CL said and just please, give yourself time. If she’s really a great person and feels something real for you, it will wait till you are ready.

    • Thanks Muse
      That is one of the hardest things for me to admit is the damage to my self esteem. I’ve always been a sorted and confident person and since my separation I have been on a rollercoaster of fear, grief, elation, hurt and relief. Now this advice rings true and may be time for me to concentrate on me.

      • AndyL, Muse, I think this is so true. I was blindsided, had a new business (horse rescue and rehab, itsown soul sucking, but worthwhile thing), then crapweasel’s sister was murdered, and I took custody of her 13 year old. And then there was the house selling, moving, settling in with EVERYTHING.
        I had a brief flirtation with another farm owner to whom I was very attracted, however, not only was he married, he was very shitty in a business transaction. I then realized I was looking for a ‘replacement’ for what I was missing – male friendship, love, sex, etc. – but I was in no way ready to make this kind of leap.
        So I decided to try and live with myself for awhile. It was hard first, terribly hard. But one day I realized I did not need an intimate partner. And on another day, I realized my life was quite full and my soul too, without an SO.
        I think this means I found MEH, and in doing so, I found myself.
        I am not saying the single life is the greatest – but give yourself time. And it takes time to shake off the old stuff. ‘ and I shed my skin, this is the new stuff I dancing in’.
        And you will dance again. To the song of YOUR choosing.

        • Thanks CM
          I really don’t mind my own company but I’ve really had great fun in every relationship i’ve had, bar the end of my longest one… and love the companionship, love, sex et al. but like I said to CL my picker seems off. Everyone here seems to agree, so there needs a plan of action even if it is just slow down. My reptile brain would probably agree that some time to myself would not hurt though. I may have overestimated how well my kids are doing but they seem really good at the mo.



  • AndyL: Your children need some of your undivided attention. Now, and for a long time. You’re not the only victim of infidelity, they are, too.

    Slow things down with your GF–it will be a good test to see if the relationship is a keeper.

    • Definately hurts the kids no matter what age they are. Anyone i ever meet will never be a father figure to them but maybe a good friend with good advice compared to their own fathers standoffnish and do what i say not as i do attitude. Dad loves them but mostly cant be bothered with them. Only into real little kids who adore him and think hes god. Like whore juices grandbabies. Problem is they grow up. Hes an ass. Everyone is right if shes a good person she will understand.

    • Why hasn’t rebound theory come up yet? I’m only half way through the comments and it hasn’t been mentioned. Right after the big D (ivorce) i was out with a group and members kept saying after my first divorce…..after my second divorce………I know one thing—I don’t want to be that person who racks up a bunch of divorces, by golly!
      And I’m old fashioned too in that the woman is to be pursued. Once the relationship matures, I’m all about Dutch and initiating.

      I’m just a wee bit jealous of AndyL–I could use a little fun, laughter, and love right about now!

      • Hi hna
        It has occurred to me definitely. It is hard to see that the fun and excitement may be leading to poor decisions. I think that’s why the ‘slow down and see’ advice is spot on.


    • Thanks Tempest
      It feels like it would be a good test to see if she’s happy to accept it being slowed right down.

  • AndyL – you… Must… CHILL!! And FOR SURE ask tough questions about her financial situation (I learned that one the hard way). Take more time for you.

    CL – gentlemen picking up the check and ladies not pursuing? This is 2016, not 1916. If women are offering to pay for dinner and it’s reciprocal, and women are taking the lead in going after a guy and boundaries are respected, I see zero issue with any of that. Don’t forget that guy chumps might appreciate someone who takes a healthy lead if they’re coming out of lopsided relationships. Just saying. The important thing is the How in those cases, IMO.

    • I’m open to suggestions that aren’t 1916. And I am all about reciprocity. Yes, a woman can pay for dinner, of course. But dating is confusing and awkward, at least in the beginning. You want to demonstrate interest? Pick up the check. She wants to demonstrate that she likes you? She lets you. She’s not interested? She goes Dutch. (And then there is this whole offering even if you don’t mean it jujitsu weirdness.) She likes you? She insists that she pays the next time and invites YOU some where. Mutuality. Reciprocity. It’s all good.

      Honestly (and I’m not in the market, so what do I know?) I don’t like passivity in men. Bust a move. Find your balls and ask a woman out. If you can’t do this basic thing, what else are you passive about, I’m wondering?

      That’s not “love bombing.” I’ve been love bombed (I was a chump) — and that’s the relentless lighting up your phone constantly, too soon ILUs, bombardment of attention, that then later suddenly runs hot and cold. That’s not pursuit. That’s crazy.

      I’ve also been with the passive sort that you need a decoder ring to go out with. “What do you want to do?” I dunno.

      When I met my husband it was friendly back and forth, and I certainly never dropped the ball of my interest — but he pursued. Respectfully, politely, but the man set a goal and went for it. And he was persuasive — I got sweet talked 1500 miles to Texas. This level of SUSTAINED interest and caring (no hot and cold, no ambiguous wishy washy WTFs) made me feel very safe with him. Almost married 6 years now — I still feel safe with him and am very happy.

      That courtship stands in stark contrast to other ones.

      • CL – I agree, and I am ***NOT*** saying that AndyL’s girlfriend is demonstrating appropriate boundary respect and/or reciprocity. I’m speaking in generalities only, e.g., one shouldn’t read too much into how a check gets paid on one date (over several, definitely – that’s when the reciprocity ought to be naturally happening – but not over one). Also, you totally knew one of us was going to call you out on those statements, so… 😉

        Regarding AndyL’s situation, I see enough red flags that it would get bulls charging in Madrid.

      • I agree with everything you said Chump Lady but then, I’m old (almost 54) AND old fashioned. Every time I join a dating site (which I do now and then and then remember why I dropped my membership the last five times) they tell me that women who actively message men and pursue them are the ones with the greatest success but I just can’t do it so I guess i’m wasting my money and time. I did all the heavy lifting emotionally in my marriage. Now I want to know that a man is interested in getting to know me and is invested in pursuing a relationship. For me, that means he has to start the conversation. I’m willing to go dutch on the “getting to know you coffee dates” but if we get to the dinner stage, the first one is on him. I definitely want to be wooed. Just once. Before I die. #bucketlist

        Andy, she’s working too hard to try to reel you in. Slow down. Like all the other posters said, if there’s something real there it’s worth waiting for. What’s that old expression? Shack up in haste, repent in leisure.

        • “They tell me that women who actively message men and pursue them are the ones with the greatest success”

          Depends on what they mean by “success.” If they mean interest in hooking up? Sure. If they mean a long-term reciprocal relationship with a grown man? I doubt it. Passive men aren’t good material for that. If he can’t take the initiative to send a virtual “hi” (a VERY low threshold for action), he’s less likely to take the initiative to meet, listen, socialize, make conversation, express affection, make plans, or commit generally.

          If passive is good enough? Date a damn cat. Their indifference is at least occasionally betrayed by a purr.


          • You are so right Nomar! Maybe my problem is that I’m a crazy dog lady? I want a big dog, not a passive kitty. I mean “big dog” in a loyal, snuggly, protective, you’re-his-favorite-person way, not in any pejorative sense.

          • If the man is not at some level persistently pursuing during courting, I would worry about long term attraction issues. You want the guy to be motivated to take action, and you want the gal to have some girl game. If the girl is the pursuer and the guy sort of passively lukewarm, the girl better not complain four years down the road about a sexless marriage and lazy husband.

            My take anyhow.

          • Depending on what the guy looks like and_or his wealth and status, I expect a guy’s passivity may not be an issue for many women.

        • When I was doing dating sites, I sent my share of messages. All I managed to reel in were these languid guys who were perfectly happy to let me do all the emotional work. “Oh, give me a call sometime … etc.” Someone who can’t be arsed to ask me out on a real date isn’t worth it. I don’t think that’s a very high threshold to get over for a grown man.

            • I am totally on board with what you’ve said Beth! I kept getting the “he’s 15x more likely to respond if you email him!” messages on Match and couldn’t do it. I don’t want a passive man and I don’t want a love-bomber. Where’s Mr. In-Between? Sigh. I thought I’d never have to be “out there” again. Now I’m out there, at age 63. May the Ex’s balls rot and fall off.

        • Thanks Beth

          I’m really not wanting to ever repent in leisure! so the slow down approach is needed.


      • This might explain a lot about why I am so flawed 🙂 , but I prefer to go Dutch until I get to know a person. I feel like people sometimes use gifting as a way of gaining a subtle psychological advantage.

        Paying my own way at first keeps the… I guess, power dynamic… equal. Then, as I get to know a person and we bulid mutual trust, mutual gifting begins to feel more appropriate to the relationship.

        But, then, my whole attitude about dating is that building a friendship is goal #1 and all other goals are way down the road. Again, this explains why I never dated very much, I’m sure. Also, it is likely as regionally cultural as it is individual, I suppose.

        • ^^^^^THIS!. Amiisfree, this is exactly how I feel, especially what you said about the power dynamic.

        • I wouldn’t look it paying for the meal as a “gift.” I’d look at it as a statement. Specifically, a statement of interest. “Hey, I like you. I enjoyed spending time with you. Thanks for spending time with me.” It’s OKAY for someone to value you, and to let you know they value you. Chumps need to internalize that basic concept of healthy relationships. Baggage to the contrary is best left on the dock.

          I don’t think stiff-arming someone who likes you is necessarily the most productive way to start building a potential relationship. The guy has to make himself a little vulnerable by offering to pay. The gal can make herself a little vulnerable by letting him.

          • To my eye – the new metric on the paying thing would be more along the lines of does there seem to be a balance of generosity, appropriate restraint, and reciprocity. Like if we are meeting and have a meal, do we both slap down our credit cards and say “Please just divide it up the middle”, or does your date get out the calculator and say “You owe $33.12… plus tip.” If he picks up dinner and we decide to go get a drink, does my date let me give the bartender my card to start the tab or is he freaking out about letting a woman pay for something. In the presence of me picking up the tab, does my date show appropriate restraint (as I did at dinner) or does he say “Well shit.. .give me some of that 30 year scotch and keep them coming”. I think that is metric that I am looking at. Someone that doesn’t hit that right balance won’t probably last very long with me. Someone who is over the top flashing the cash and insisting on paying is not my style. Someone who is obviously overly sensitive to not paying a dime more than his “fair share” is not going to be my style either.

      • A wise woman told me a long time ago that anything you’re wondering if it’s a red flag, you can at least be sure it’s a yellow flag.

        She said red means run, yellow means stay conscious and see if it turns red, and green means green as long as it doesn’t feel “off”, at which point it turns yellow. And, they are always shifting, meaning there are very few green flags at any one time.

        (Yeah, it’s jaded, but I think my chump self needs to replace idealism with realism more often.)

      • This speaks to me a lot. I was definitely part of the pursuit, he was passive. Guess what, he never could make plans our whole marriage, never initiate anything and bitch and moan whenever I did.
        I’ve always felt uncomfortable being pursued so that’s definitely an issue I have to work on. Also really hate having things bought for me as I feel it means I owe something in return and of course I married a man who thinks in terms of favors owed. What a sick cycle.

        • FinallyAwake, for your comment, I am struggling with the same dynamics! You described my X to a T, and I too am working hard to break that mental cycle and be comfortable being at the receiving end of reciprocity!

          AndyL – CL nailed it again. While reading your description, the biggest red flag to me is living paycheck to paycheck at 42 without kids.

          I hope you will follow the advice from CL and CN. Have you sought IC to help you distance yourself from the trauma of being chumped? If not, I would encourage you to do so. Seeing a good therapist will also help you process your emotions as you ‘test-drive’ this relationship in terms of reciprocity and boundary respect.

          If your GF is a healthy chump, she will respect your boundaries and accept to slow things down for the sake of your recovery and your kid’s sake.

          • We chumps always have trouble accepting, and then give too much. That’s why we attracted fucktards who are sensitive to the relationship bottom line (always wanting it in their favor). We do need to learn to accept gifts, compliments, and dinners–both men & women.

          • Hi Chumptitude

            I did have therapy for about 6 sessions and he discharged me saying I was pretty well sorted. And I really don’t feel too fragile, all things considered. I do like it at CN though; others really don’t seem to get it.


      • I have to agree with you Chump Lady on the man picking up the check and women not chasing men. Men do liked to be chased if they are not real men. Mean there is something wrong with how they feel about themselves. Narcissist loved to be chased. When women chase a man they look needy and weak and the man knows that and will totally take advantage of that. Steve Harvey has a book Think like a man act like a lady. Yes this is 2016 but men really do like someone that will has respect for herself and find that much more attractive and someone who chases them.

        • The ex loved the fact that the married OW (promoted to OWife) chased him. In fact, it bothered him that I didn’t chase him in the beginning of our relationship. Probably should’ve been a ginormous red flag but let me tell you, when he told me that he appreciated that a married woman would chase him, any doubts I may have had about his character were no longer doubts!

          CL is right. We don’t make the rules, we just play by them and if the man needs to be chased….you should definitely run…in the opposite direction!

          • I think it’s a mistake to make too broad of an assumption when it comes to picking up a tab on an individual date, or reading too much into a guy or girl making the first move, or being the driving force in trying to set up a date or two.

            How people behave over time, and how they handle your reasonable boundaries, are, to me, way more important.

            Some of this could just be my experience; I like when a woman takes the initiative to talk to me, for example, for exactly the same reasons that many of the women who commented above like it when a guy takes that initiative. Again, I think it’s about the *how* in those early circumstances.

            For me, making too many assumptions is what got me embroiled in the Jerry-Springer-show-goat-rodeo that has been my marriage to a cheater, so I’m more focused on not going down those rabbit-holes, and being patient and letting dating play out naturally. If I have a concern during that process, I voice it. If the other person has a red-flag-inducing response to those concerns, then she won’t be going on another date with me.

            • Totally agree, sephage. And I love this: ” If I have a concern during that process, I voice it. If the other person has a red-flag-inducing response to those concerns, then she won’t be going on another date with me.”

              That’s exactly what I’m working on in friendship relationships right now. Setting boundaries. Speaking up. Figuring out what my concerns are and speaking them. Learning to recognize my red flags (and yellow ones).

              • sephage – this is all good stuff, from both sides.
                I’m generally a pretty happy gal when I go out to dinner.
                My g/f had to take the elevator up and I chose the stairs.
                A nice man was going up right beside me and I blurted out – Hi, are you single?
                (I couldn’t believe I asked that!)
                He said, why Yes! (a little quickly)

                Well, later as my g/f and I got seated and of course, I order my usual glass of very expensive wine ($9!) and her glass – well. HE bought them. I leaned around the curtain, and sure enough he was sitting alone, I waved and said thank you.

                That was a nice exchange and gentlemanly and I guess you could say, yanno – I was just starting up a short convo with him. Gee, I wonder if he IS single and lives around here. Never exchanged info.

        • Some men do; some do not.
          To me, a manly man( one who likes to do the manly thi ngs that men like to do, like wearing cargo pants), will always pay, as this shows his manliness.
          Same with shooting things( like trophy hunters) and blowing things up. These are, traditionally, manly pursuits and show a lack of passivity. And, provided that the man believes women should receive equal compensation for blowing things up, etc., he would fall into the category as a manly man feminist, the ideal partner.

    • Thanks sephage
      The financial thing is huge imo and would’ve always been addressed prior to moving in. But taking time to chill first seems the order of the day.


  • Socializing Farmer Chick seems like she’s the sort who can’t hold still. In the flurry of activity she creates everywhere she goes, you can’t see things for what they are. (And that is the whole point of being Flurry-full… to distract from all she does NOT have going for her: like responsibility in general or any kind of genuine understanding/sympathy for what you’ve been through.) This is her version of Sparkles.

    Every cheater I ever dated all said they were cheated on… all of them, without exception. This is the lie they told those close to them as well, so it “checked out.” (All very complicated, of course. And all exes were bad/crazy, etc.) They’d even fake offense that the other party accused THEM of cheating, with, “I don’t know how she DARES to say that; she’s the one who cheated on ME.” It really flipped the narrative, with the consistency of it.

    You owe nothing to this woman.

    Nothing. Not your money, time, or affection. You owe that solely to your own interests: the financial and emotional well-being of you and your children.

    It would be OKAY if you just stopped it and told her that things are going too quickly. That you need time to discover boundaries for your life and your children’s, moving forward, and that no commitment of any kind will be made until you’re certain of what they are and how to protect them. That is pure honesty, not “letting her down.” Again, you owe her absolutely *nothing.*

    You do not need to take care of her. You do not need her to take care of you. Your children don’t need her either. You need to be 100% okay with yourself and children – as a whole unit on your own – before making any kind of decision that will affect your stability.

    A responsible, kind adult who claims to LOVE you will respect that. Protecting your family is not something you should feel badly about… you owe stability and affection to THEM, not her.

    Socializing Farmer Chick sounds like she’s spread too thinly for even herself, much less to have enough to contribute any positive thing (other than a veneer of activity) to you or your family.

    • I’d like to add that maybe you appreciate her flurry… it fills in the quiet places in your life right now. BUT – you need to deal with that yourself, not sub her in for it. Those empty or quiet places need to be filled by you, not her busy-ness. She’s a distraction from you focusing on yourself. You need to get yourself to a place where you don’t need someone else to fill it up for you… and you should be able to do that unapologetically.

      • The whole thing about the flurry and how it fills the empty time and space. I recently realized one of the men I was dating was like that. I enjoyed the distraction because I should have been working on myself with that time but frankly that was painful. Admitting what happened and that I did not have my stuff together was difficult. He has some red flags too. Eventually I laid down the boundaries and told him I could not date him anymore. I see now that was the right thing to do.

    • [ send standing ovation to insistonhonesty ]

      This is EXACTLY on-point and so well-stated!

      You know what I find sexy these days? An adult woman who has her sh*t together and doesn’t seem to need any rescuing, “completion,” or hand-holding when it comes to things such as integrity, honesty, doing the right thing, and being able to support herself.

      • I have to agree with all of you here “insistonhonesty” as well. Following my divorce (married 20 +5) (almost a year now out) I meet a women she’s was a little different from AndyL’s.

        I was just a few months out from the divorce. She had her shit together big time. Yes she drank to much but we had fun time was filled. She never had children. I have one in university and one in high school. As time went on she began to show her displeasure with me spending time with my daughter on weekends.

        Push came to shove and she wanted me to move in…..I had been reading ChumpLady and thank goodness!!!

        I didn’t move in!

        Once, I had free time; I realized I hadn’t finished dealing with my healing, money or my relationship changes with my daughters.

        * I went on one of the best vacations with my daughter a few months later!!!

        I’ve dated a few times since…but you know…I’m okay right now having a great time figuring out my new path an journey.

        Good Luck AndyL,
        ChumpLady and CN is one of my favorite reliable resources. I read it daily! I figure I owe her $ 150 a day for the last year. Yes, that’s what my therapist was getting.

        • Well-done, Chris1731! Anyone who asks you to spend less time with your children, or insists that you prioritize them over your children, deserves an IMMEDIATE boot. That is a damn Champ Elysee of Red Flags.

          • Briefly read through a number of posts, I agree that Farmer gal sounds like she lives life in a flurry of the excitement of new relationships. Parenting especially at this early stage of separation from your spouse needs to be your priority. Your children’s world as they’ve known it has been shattered, they need as much stability as you can provide. Introducing Farm girl so soon only adds to their confusion. Farm girl likes your kids and your kids like her while everyone is on their best behavior. Moving in with Farm girl would be a ticking time bomb. Daily life can be difficult at times living with your own kids I can only imagine how difficult it would be never being a parent living with someone else’s.
            A shiny new person, eating out, drinking, and laughing sounds like fun, if you didn’t have responsibilities.
            Your children need their Dad to be their foundation and you need to adjust to your new normal before you consider moving in with Farm Lady. I can’t help but wonder if she isn’t a serial dater enjoying the attention and seeing how far she can push your limits before she gets bored and moves on. Just a thought.

            • **childfree here** by choice. I know what I’d be getting into in a relationship with a man who has children and divorced, or widowed. NO thanks.
              I KNOW the kids will always, always be the #1 priority, as they should be.

              So, that would be a deal-breaker for me.

              Gee – finally getting my deal-breakers together….NOT that I’ll EVER date again!

              • Please don’t get me wrong. I love kids, all ages and get along with them fine. Nieces and nephews and neighbor kids. The more the merrier. But….not being married to one of their fathers.

    • Hi insistonhonesty

      I can’t believe how uncomfortable your comment on the flurry being her version of sparkles made me. This just turned into a major red flag ouch!

      Thanks for the tough love. It feels spot on.


  • Among the red flags I see is one that is a blinking deep crimson: living paycheck to paycheck. My ex-husband was like that. It never gets better – and they’re not happy until you’re in the same boat.

    It sounds to me like she has next to no boundaries – and yours are damaged as well (maybe they weren’t that great in the first place?)

    CL is right – go work on YOU. Develop your inner strength and boundaries. Does it take time? Yes. But, you will be smarter for it, and you will “pick” better … or find that someone great comes along when you least expect it.

    I’d take a pass on this one if I were you…

  • “We’re both 42.
    Never married.
    She has no kids.”

    Never married at 42 is a big ol red flag. People repeat patterns in life. Some are healthy and some are not. If I had to guess, I would say most if not all of her relationships probably start out the same. The I love yous at a few weeks in, spending all her time with someone, etc. Fizzles as fast as it started. At 42, you would hope a person would be evolved enough to have some self awareness. I can’t imagine getting seriously involved with anyone who has never been married. They would have to have so much self awareness and a REALLY good reason as to why they were still single at 42. “I just never met the right one” or “I have really high standards” BS wouldn’t cut it.

    • My brother did not marry until his 40’s and he has an amazing marriage. Sometimes the right person doesn’t come along until you’re ready. The red flags I see aren’t from her, they are from him! She seems to be perfectly nice, except for the drinking, which is a major issue for me. He, on the other hand, isn’t yet divorced, seems to be very unsure about what he wants in life, and has jumped from one relationship to another without much self-reflection. Now, I am not saying he has one bit of responsibility for his X’s cheating, but it doesn’t seem that he has spent much time figuring out what he does want his future to look like. He is looking to someone else for his happiness and that is the last thing he needs to be doing.

      It has been my experience that some people just cannot be alone. They will be with anyone so long as they do not have to face the abyss of loneliness. From the sounds of it, the LW is one of those folks. He needs to slow way, way down and get to know this woman. He also needs to complete the unfinished work of the last relationship. As it is now, he seems to be avoiding the very difficult, very necessary work of figuring out who he is and where he is heading.

      And CL, a man who likes to watch old Bob Newhart shows? Now, that’s a man worth keeping! Even my kids groan when I pull out my DVDs…I think I own just about every episode. Throw in some MTM and my weekend is complete! Sure beats the trash that my X insisted on watching. Heaven truly is not having to share the remote.

      • Violet, it’s not just that she’s never been married… she’s never been in a long-term relationship, either.

        If you’re 42 and you can’t manage to be in a relationship for more than a year, then you have issues with commitment, bad judgement or perhaps both.

      • Violet – I 100% agree with your entire post. And most of my circle got married in their 40s and have very successful marriages. You never know when the right person may come along, we don’t control the timing. I agree with you that he’s the one with the issues, not her.

      • Hi Violet
        I’ve spent a bit of time alone since my separation. Can’t say I care for it much but neither does it frighten me, I certainly don’t see it as an abyss. I am relatively comfortable in my own skin. Upon reflection maybe I rushed into this relationship but maybe it just is not the right relationship.
        I provide a safe and stable home for my kids and would not have introduced her to them if I felt pressured into it; it was my doing.
        There really is nothing to finish from the last relationship apart from the legalities – which can’t be initiated until 2yrs from the date of separation. I understand what she did, that it was irredeemable and I made the decision to move on. I’m probably not at that Tuesday yet but I don’t hide from it either.
        You’re spot on; she is perfectly nice and I need to slow down.

        • You are trying and that’s what matters. I do think men process emotions differently than women. I know I tend to over think life events. My male friends seem to be able to “move on” more quickly. That being said, it is important to reflect on loss, to use it as an opportunity to learn about what is important to you. Moving on too quickly from your long term marriage may well rob you of a very important period of growth. Slow down, enjoy the ride. Good women are willing to wait for good men, and vice versa. I wish you the very best!

    • Hi KK
      The same thoughts pop into my head occasionally about having never been married (and kids to an extent)


    • KK, unmarried at 46 here. Three long-term relationships (each around 3 1/2 years; the last one around 4 1/2 years). All unwise choices.

      I guess you’re right in some ways, as I know I’m really damaged. It has taken me this long to admit to, and get to grips with, the amount of abuse I suffered in childhood and also in my first LTR in my early 20s (domestic violence; physical and sexual abuse; infidelity).

      The second LTR was a quiet space in my late 20s living with a very passive man, which in many ways helped me through a rough patch, but it didn’t have a future.

      Then I underwent some profound life changes, very serious illnesses, and a long spell of self-imposed non-dating because of this.

      Then at 38 I met the last LTR guy, who looked great on paper, but my picker was not fixed. Also I was suffering seriously from Last Chance Saloon hormones! He was 40 and had never had a girlfriend, and he is a living example of the problem you are talking about – closet gay, unresolved mummy issues, large daily doses of antidepressants, workaholic, lots of emotional texting affairs with married women.

      After that finally ended – after the love bombing-devaluing-dumping cycle had run about six or seven times – I found a blog called Baggage Reclaim that has really helped me get some wisdom at long last. And from there I found ChumpLady, and have continued to grow and thrive!

      I had really good counselling last year for my childhood sexual abuse, and this has really shrunk that awful burden down to manageable now. I also dealt with a lot of other emotional issues during the counselling, and I’m today in a much better place.

      I am completely fine with never marrying, and not dating. I acknowledge that I may be really too damaged to ever feel really safe or comfortable in a one to one romantic relationship. But time will tell.

      • Hi Lola,
        You sound like a lovely person and very self aware, to boot. Take heart. At 40+ , whether divorced or never married, we’re all somewhat damaged. I wish you the best and hope (if you want) that you end up with an amazing man that treats you wonderfully and makes you feel safe, loved, and adored.
        My comment to Andy regarding the never married aspect came from an opinion that most never married 40 somethings seem to be completely clueless as to why they’re still single. That does not apply to you. My friend and I were recently talking about this topic of would I date someone my age that had never married. My response was that it would be a yellow flag starting out and in time, I would eventually conclude red or green. Someone with a story like yours would be a green for me.

        • Awwww … shucks …! Thanks KK.

          But seriously, I wish I had known about red flags when I started dating all those years ago.

          I wish I’d known about them even just 8 years ago, when I started dating Mr Wrong AGAIN. I remember thinking I had finally met the perfect man, and that everything was going to go right for once.

          And it did. It just took me a ghastly relationship, a lot of counselling, and a long time, to emerge out the other side where everything actually IS going right, and I’m hugely happy!

    • One of my sisters got married for the first time at 42. 24 years later she and her husband seem very happy.

  • I have the same first question as chump lady. Why is your separation lasting 17 months? I know a year is mandatory in some states but I’ve never heard of more than that. My second question is why is she okay getting serious with someone that is still separated? No offense to you AndyL but that alone would send up a red flag for me.

    I do not think that separated people should be celibate by any stretch of the imagination but when I enter the dating world again, I can’t imagine getting serious with someone who is just separated. Separated for that long without a divorce? I would sincerely wonder if they were serious about divorcing. I’m sure that’s not your case but I have to wonder why it doesn’t give this woman pause.

    The proclamation of love three weeks into it while knowing you’re still separated would send me running to the hills screaming! Love bombing for sure!

    Your gut is telling you something AndyL or you wouldn’t be writing to CL. I think one of the cornerstones for respecting yourself and loving yourself is trusting your instincts and not letting anyone else talk you out of what you’re feeling. Sometimes that even includes our own logical brain. You see some red flags and you’re trying to talk yourself out of them by pointing out her good qualities. She may very well have them but the red flags bother you. Listen to your gut!

    • Regarding separation, some disordered cheaters get pissed when you file for D (even after they’ve been telling you that they want one), and drag out the process despite (and to spite) your best efforts to finalize it.

      Example: I’ve been 3/4-divorced (pending only finances/distribution) for a year. Cheating STBXW took eleven months to produce a laughably incomplete set of financial statements, and then decided to try to pin her secret debt onto me under the argument that I did not provide her enough of an allowance (despite not having any evidence to support those claims). Many of these things have to be legally fought and none of it is quick, even for good lawyers. If I heard that kind of reasoned explanation from someone during a date (mostly focusing on facts, and not editorializing about their crazy ex, etc.), it wouldn’t raise an immediate red flag for me.

      Also, sometimes a longer path to divorce has benefits that make someone potentially even better of a “catch;” in my case, I had extra time to find additional evidence to challenge some of my STBXW’s claims, and was able to make my own calculations of investment growth for which I can be credited in the divorce, potentially protecting something like an additional $200K from having to be split with my cheating STBXW. All potentially setting me up better for being whole financially when the D is finally signed and done.

      I agree to go with your gut; if the explanations that someone you’re dating has for the timetable of their divorce feels fishy, then it probably *is* fishy.

      • I know a lot of cheaters are miserable at the divorce thing. They want to be with their twu wuv schmoopie and then they drag their feet. All part of the mind fuck and I get it. That’s a lot of drama however and I would definitely hold back on getting serious with someone who is in the middle of that quagmire. The fact that it prompts her to proclaim love and discussions of moving in together sends up another red flag for me.

        • CS – yeah, I agree. Potential love interests who respect those boundaries, and respect a need to have some space to deal with those things are the ones for whom we should make an effort when the drama calms down.

    • Hi cheaterssuck
      in NZ there is a mandatory 2yr stand down after physical separation before you can file (funnily there are caveats for the time you can spend trying to reconcile and live together before the stand down starts again…jeeezus!)

      Dating separated people here is quite common and it’s obviously a sliding scale as to when people are ready to date; I felt ready.

      The 3 week love bomb did surprise me though


      • AndyL-

        NZ=New Zealand right? 2 years after physical separation? Yikes, that sounds like pure torture! Sorry to hear about that and I would imagine in those circumstances lots of people date during that time period.

        I hope you have a great divorce party when it finally comes through!

        • hey cheaterssuck

          Yes, New Zealand. There will be a monumental party. I should invite The CN I’m sure a few of you would love a jaunt down under…?


    • I was separated for 4 years in my first marriage. We had no children, no joint property & I had no desire to marry again. I waited for him to file and pay. Actually, I know quite a few people who never divorced, just lived separate lives.

  • Andy…. in my experience you only touch the burner on the stove once before you learn…and pretty quick might I add ….that it burns. You learned that. Now there is kid who as a game holds their hand over the burner to see how long they can keep it there before it burns. You are that kid.
    There is a huge difference between knowing what red flags are and taking heed and ignoring red flags because you like the game. Dont be surprise when u get burned again…

  • Totally agree with chump lady. One other observation I made. Don’t know if any of you experienced this or not. But when I was “separated” but not divorced, all I wanted to do was go on a date and sleep with somebody. Now that the divorce is final, that is the last thing I want to do. It is weird how it shifted for me. I think the reality of the divorce is a stinging blow and I realize how much healing I have to do. I can’t even think about another person right now. Focusing on love in other places. The love of a friend. The love of a sister. The love of a daughter son mother and father. Looking for love in all my other relationships right now and spending a lot of time at church. Heart goes out to you Andy. Listen to chump lady.

    • Oh lord yes. I was so desperate to date during my separation, trying to find new things and develop new friendships.I was terribly insecure and my self-esteem had been crushed by DDay and all the indifference my then-husband had towards me.

      Now that the divorce is final, I am more relaxed I think. I invested my time, energy and heart in two very wrong dudes with some mediocre dating from online in between. No dating right now. One guy that I knew from high school is calling and texting me. He’s made plans to take me to lunch. But he is taking things slow and being consistent. He knows that I’m not ready to grab onto the first guy that shows a little interest. It could just be spending time with someone interesting, nice and attractive. I look for red flags now. I can’t afford not to.

      AndyL, be careful. The red flags you see are real. Your intuition is trying to tell you something. Lots of somethings.

    • Yes, I noticed that also. At first I was interested in dating. I’d sacrificed romance, sex, and fun for my marriage, and suddenly when divorce was imminent I felt those losses keenly and wanted to make up for them. Also, my relatives were pushing me from behind — “Get out there! Find someone new!” I made a few small attempts, but then my feelings changed again. Now I don’t have any desire to rush out there and find someone. I have an eye out, but right now I’m content to work on getting the rest of my life in order first.

    • Thanks Pc
      I can’t divorce until November 14; there will be a party though
      A big part of me wanted to get straight back in the game as well and I had some great friends advise me to take it easy. I felt fine about dating when I started. I had never heard that before about peace after divorce though
      Take care

  • I think the paycheck to paycheck thing may be a red flag, all of its red flags. I dunno. Being fun, but also being a flippant teen in your relationships is weird! There seem to be different wins to a lot of the things he takes as intimacy which are actually her digging for gold and kibbles?

    Moving in – because that saves her money- she has more of her own money to pander.shes more secure
    All this charity work (which happens when? When they’re together all the time and a few drinks in? If she is taking him to volunteer with her then I buy it. If she says she does this work but isn’t giving him space because she’s busy feeding starving children…)

    That she has been chumped- if that’s the case she should be just as wary, especially if it’s set her back to not having many long term relationships. I think cheaters always claim to be the ones who got cheated.

    It worries me that he doesn’t talk about who she is- it’s about hobbies in a very general sense, but not a lot about who. Maybe that’s to keep tnings vague and ananymous, or maybe you really don’t have a sense for her.

    I wouldn’t run, I would just start keeping a schedule where you don’t commit your whole social calendar to her. And keep your kids out of it. Protect and respect yourself and see what bubbles to the surface. If she was cheated on and stayed for 5 years, she should be fine with dating a good one for a nice long time without all this crazy head first commitment. Get to know you and also her.

    • Hi creativerational
      I did keep it a bit vague on purpose.
      But slowing down and taking stock are great advice

  • This is a difficult issue for sure. I am dating too, a co-worker started asking me out at work. The divorce wasn’t final, only because the X was dragging it out. At first it was lunches, then we shopped together. He didn’t push and knew I wasn’t ready. I think it went slow enough, asked me to lunch in August, asked if he could hold my hand in November, first kiss in December and agreed that we wouldn’t sleep together, especially since my divorce wasn’t finalized. He did say he loved me in January. My divorce was settled last February. We had our first official date after that, he didn’t even no where I lived until then.

    I fell pretty hard for him, but we do have loads in common. I had him meet family and friends, I met his grown daughters and realized they had a great relationship with their Dad. He has met my sons, but not until months after the X was gone and divorce done.

    His friends and family love me, my friends and family have reservations (I think everyone is just worried about me since I went through such a difficult time with my X, cheating and abuse for 20 years.) My youngest graduated In May, went to live with the X when I sold my house and moved, and yes, I did move in with the guy, (November a year afterwards) we both were house hunting at the same time and we both liked all the same places. He took out the loan, I invested half in updates. We have an acre and are growing veggies and about to raise chickens too.

    We have been through a lot in the past year, fixing up my old house so I could sell it. Helped me clean out my X’s hoarding junk. Moving-traveling together, lots of stresses and visitors and holidays with no issues. We get along great and we both just like having fun and being happy. He is financially sound, clean and not a hoarder (which is opposite of my X)

    It has all gone very well and we have a great time together. Lots of laughter and not due to alcohol. In fact, when we first started dating, I quit drinking for 30 days just to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid while drunk.

    Problem is, I have trust issues big time and even though he says he wants to get married, I am just terrified. More of me then him, I just don’t trust myself to make the right decision anymore. I don’t know how to overcome that. It does seem fast in a way, but I am not sure living on my own would help speed up my healing any faster than living with someone that loves me. At some point we have to try again. But I am looking for red flags, even now. When does that stop?

    • Sounds like he has been ready a lot longer than you have. You need time. Marriage is a huge step. It entangles everything, your whole life, retirement, and everything well into the future. Even if you are never get married again, that has to be OK, especially if it’s what is best for your kids.

      I sometimes think (see my earlier comment) that the thing that made me a chump was that I didn’t look for flags at all, preferring instead to try to see everything in its best possible light. It has been a long time now, and I still struggle with my jaded attitudes, but it’s possible to see a red flag, then re-evaluate and decide it’s a watch-and-see thing. It doesn’t have to be red flag or perfection. There is a lot of gray in there, including determining whether or not similar things stack up together to turn the flag red or not, I think. But I am, like everyone, just feeling my way through it, too, and my old chump tendencies are a constant struggle.

      • Yes, he acknowledges he is far ahead of me, but also acknowledges what I have been through and respects my need for time. He isn’t pushing, which is nice, but it is weird, sometimes it’s like we are already married and it feels comfortable. Then I start thinking about combining bank accounts or switching phone plans and I start feeling trapped.

        • I empathize deeply. Loads of support to you! It is great that you are exploring and communicating these feelings. That is how trust building can take hold over time.

            • ChumpedToTheMax – Hi, I’m wondering why, that if you are both okay, independent and want to split expenses.
              Why would you need to get married?
              I’m not sure how old you are but at my age, it does not behoove me in anyway, unless I marry Warren Buffet’s son. Even then. NO thanks.

    • I hope looking for red flags never stops. I know I overlooked lots of things in different relationships because I had already committed in my mind. So while I though I was giving the person the benefit of the doubt, I was really not seeing what the person was all about. It’s a good thing to pay attention to everything in your environment.

    • To add to Gypsy’s point about character: How kind is she? Not “nice”–kind. How responsible, in terms of meeting obligations to others? How independent is she? What evidence is there that this person can sacrifice for others, if need be? On the other hand, what signs of self-care and respect are there? How does this person deal with disappointment, anger, frustration? These are the questions that matter most to me right now.

      And on the other side, I know I am not ready to go further than I’ve gone right now. I am still working on handling money, maintaining boundaries, and putting my own needs at the center. There’s still so much work on me to do.

      • My computer is still doing this weird jump thing–this reply is to Gypsy’s point about character, below. ARRGGGHHHH.

      • Yes, I agree that those are the most important questions. Kindness, empathy, responsiblity. Not so much financial, has kids, unmarried etc.

    • Hi CTTM
      You sound really sorted in the control you showed in easing into your relationship. We have fun and laugh both sober (we run and walk and sail and swim together) and on the sauce whcih just goes a bit overboard from time to time and a bit too regularly.
      Well done and good luck. I guess everyone is different in timing of trust again.

  • There is no need to go on 50 terrible coffee dates to discover yourself.

    However, I am a woman and from my experience men have a “plan” to guide their life/relationships and they stick to that plan regardless of who they might meet. Your letter tells me – your plan is to 1) replace your EX ASAP and/ or 2) show your EX and the OM that you won’t be defeated by them.

    I am not saying you can’t have fun — but just maybe — you need to be honest about what you are doing.

    I am sorry to say, but if I was a dating you Andy, I would see tons of red flags:
    1) is not self aware
    2) not divorced yet
    3) doesn’t have many close friends
    4) drinks alot
    5) doesn’t have good boundaries (eg. introduced me to his kids after 6 weeks)
    6) doesn’t want to be alone (e.g. wants me to move in after 6 months)
    7) doesn’t know what he wants

    A very wise person told me you don’t know someone until you have dated them for a year. I understand the need to have someone in your life, but my advice is to slow down and enjoy. If it doesn’t work out in a year or two is that so bad?

    CL – Your comments about dating are not really applicable, but funny. I have had to pick up the check many times and found that there are men want to be chased.

      • ME neither. I ain’t chasing. I did that before, in my twenties, and dudes didn’t like it then…unless they wanted a no-strings attached kind of thing. They thought I was easy. The ones they wanted, they chased.

        I know my worth and a man needs to step up to make me look twice. And if I like him, I will encourage him by reciprocating. Cook him dinner, share something with him that I like to do, etc.

      • Oh CL – we are the same age and have the same values. However, there seem to be many new rules regarding dating now including — that it is acceptable to ask someone out on date via text (even if you only met them once at a party) and then arrange the entire date via text without ever talking to them via phone. I found this approach extraordinarily offensive — but it turns out that I am in the minority.

        I don’t mind buying someone a coffee/drink but I am not chasing anyone, lol.

        • Hahahaha I cannot remember the last time I used the phone to call anyone if it’s not for work or my parents. Texting is rational to me- I don’t talk on my personal stuff during the day, but people I love /like take different lunches or schedules in general. A text whenever, gets to me.. When I am ready. then the message is right there. No calling and having to punch in a retrieval code for a message which is always longer than I want it to be if it’s detailed and usually cuts off or sounds robotic. Or they don’t leave a message but I see they called- so do I call back? What did they want? Are they dying? Was it a game show with a question and they’ll never talk to me again because I missed the phone a friend? Was it a butt dial? If they didn’t leave a message, I assume they don’t have anything to tell me. Or it can wait. But then you have to wait for the stars to align for you to both be available at the same time- which will be when? Nope! Text with friends and people I loveis like- hey- I’m thinking it would be nice to go to Olive Garden this weekend – me- I’m celiac, how about tandoori hut, I can do Sunday anytime- them- great! How about 7? That way we are really hungry and we can stuff our faces with aloo? Me: sounds awesome see you there! Them: great- BTW (which you definitely can’t send over a phone call) and you can’t instantly insert adorable emoticons and snugly bits in a phone call.

          But I get that other people are different and you like what you like, and I am not there yet hell I am still in cheater hell, so dating may be different for me, but there’s room for some romance in texts- don’t give up!

    • Hi mf
      If I am honest there is part of me that likes being seen to be moving on and not being defeated. Maybe that’s a guy thing??

      The only other thing I’d refute is not having many close friends; I have lots of friends just there are not many I’d classify as close. I keep them very close and value them highly. I don’t feel the need to spread myself round heaps of acquaintances.

      Your advice on being honest about what I want is spot on as well. Previous advice on setting strong boundaries works just the same.



      • Andy – I find your replies so respectful and nice.
        Thank you – and some letters that C/L posts are important with so many responding to them.
        And, the letter-writer never gives their input or anything back.
        Pox on them as Tracy says.

        Anyway, you are diligent and wanting answers now and I applaud you for taking the time to answer so many posts individually. I realize you are at about 2:30pm NZ time – jeez, works nice for us US NW Coast. We are 5:28pm. However, you are a day ahead. lol – loved New Zealand!

        • I am a bit of an extrovert and I have only 3-4 really good friends I trust.
          The rest are acquaintances only.
          They come and go – fly aways~~
          Had too many of those.
          I don’t consider many people good friends anymore, not the divorce, just life in general.

  • Several issues jump out at me here, and I think many of them reflect the different attitudes of different age groups. I’ve been a feminist for as long as I can remember, but one of the reasons I am a feminist is because I noticed the inequalities of opportunity and economics, and wondered why this was impacted by one sex having external genitals while the other did not?

    Introvert/Extrovert issues aside, I believe each individual should find a way to spend time alone without being lonely. I was the oldest of 5 children, married young, had 2 children of my own — I learned at an early age that privacy and time alone to do what I wanted to do, without having to care for or be responsible for others, was a great luxury. I learned how to be “alone” in a group of noisy people by zoning them out when I read a book. This focus on and recognition of my own needs has helped me to survive many tough situations throughout my life.

    I enjoyed many of the aspects of being in a relationship, but I didn’t pick good mates. There is nothing wrong with wanting to share your life with someone, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying your time alone, either. Socially I felt pressure to choose a mate at a young age, and I am sure that pressure hurried me along, and was part of the reason I did not make good choices. I am much happier now that I take the time to get to know people and find out a lot about them before they even become friends, much less an intimate partner. I also feel that we need to learn that just because we choose to have sex with someone, that the result of that interaction does not require us to do it again or build a life together because of it. I enjoy spending time with people who are interested in activities I am interested in. I also enjoy coming home to my space and spending time alone. I do not feel I have to have a mate to validate or justify myself to anyone. This does not make me anti-marriage, or even anti-relationship, it just means I am going to define my relationship with other people according to what is good for me — not what is socially expected.

    The biggest mistake I have seen newly separated/divorced folks make is to try to hurry into another relationship. I had a very discerning counselor one time that told me one of the many reasons people cheat is to make themselves feel good by simply replacing one sexual partner with another. No thought — just that quest for the illusion of sex without consequences. Having sex does not equate to having a real relationship, and we would all be better off if we accepted that. Real relationships take time and hard work, compromise and commitment.

    If a new “friend” encourages you to do something that is bad for you — like drink too much, or spend too much money, you need to stop seeing that person, or have a frank discussion about why you do not need to do something that is bad for you. A true friend will not encourage you to do something that will hurt you.

    With regard to the issue of females not pursuing males, and whether or not the male should be the first one to ask the female out — I am in my 60’s, and I have spent a lifetime watching this dynamic in action, and I have never seen it work out well for the female if she aggressively pursues the male. I also believe males want to decide whether or not they are interested, and if they ask you out, they should pick up the check. If there is doubt about the attraction, or if finances are tight, then choose a coffee date, or something equally inexpensive. It is not going to financially disable you, and if it does, you can probably not afford to be in a dating relationship anyway. Fix your finances, and while you are busy doing that, fix your picker, too.

    There is no shortcut to taking your time to heal. It takes as long as I takes, and until you know yourself and can function as an individual you should not expect for another person to “make you whole.” It may feel good to be with someone else, but initial attraction and proximity are not enough of a reason to make a commitment that is supposed to last a lifetime. No one is such a Special Snowflake that they do not have to follow these rules, and if you think rules are for other people, you have some serious growing up to do.

    • Hi Portia
      I became an existentialist at quite an early age which has its own challenges but has never had me feeling lonely, but I really know how to appreciate a beautiful sunset, all sailors do. The mix of my experiences that brought me here is complex and I appreciate all the fantastic people that contributed along the way, I am really a very lucky camper. I respect your stance as a feminist, thank you for your beautifully thought out response.

      Despite how my letter to CL came across, I do think I’m quite a self aware person, but self aware living in a bit of a tornado at present.

      Great point about having sex and the expectations that go with. From a blokes point of view I’d timidly opine that it’s almost worse for us as we’re generally seen as only wanting sex anyway so when we start the reverse-pressure/expectation is immense.

      Unfortunately I’m not hard to encourage to have fun. I think having more time to figure out my boundaries will help in this regard.

      Please don’t take this as too much sunshine up your a. but your writing stands out for its considered experience and respectfulness; thank you.



  • AndyL, I don’t think you would be writing to Chump Lady if you didn’t know already that something stinks in this relationship.

    A big part of fixing your People Pick, in my case especially, was learning to TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

    As for the red flags you listed, her never being in a long-term relationship by age 42 and saying “I love you” within the first 3 weeks were enough for me to say there’s something not right here.

    She might someone who burns hot in the beginning, but has no concept of how to sustain a relationship past the infatuation phase. She might like the idea of romance more than commitment. She might have very serious character flaws.

    But I’m sure she’s telling you she just hasn’t met anyone special… until you. Yeah right. While I’m sure you’re a wonderful person, what makes you such a special unique snowflake or special unique specialness that she knows you’re the love of her life after 3 weeks.

    If it stinks of bullshit, it’s probably bullshit.

    • Hi Lulu

      I love the tough love you get here, thanks. When you put it like that, (and I’m not bad by the way, for a 42yr old bloke with three kids) but when other people say it it sounds absurd.


  • Andy,

    Do you realize that of all of her “good qualities”, you didn’t mention a THING about any of her CHARACTER traits?

    One thing we learn here at ChumpNation is that cheaters (and other disordered folks) have a sense of ENTITLEMENT. This can manifest in many, many different ways. You’ll see it in how she treats others, how she talks TO others, how she talks ABOUT others.

    How HONEST is she? (and yes, calling in sick to work DOES matter!) How CONSISTENT is she? Do her actions match her words? Does what she say TODAY match with what she said 6 months ago? Does she tell the same story to YOU that she tells to OTHERS or does the story change? Does she exaggerate or pretty much stick to the facts? Does she complain and seem to have a negative spirit (which would be hard to tell if YOU have one too)? Does she gossip? What are her spending (and saving) habits like?

    I could go on and on, but I think you probably get the drift.

    And yes, telling someone you love them after only 3 WEEKS is waaaaaay too soon.

    • Hi Gypsy
      I know, it’s all the little things that need to align when you decide if someone is genuine. So far (without my rose tinted glasses on) she actually fits the bill. She has a lovely family that loves her, she follows through and is consistent; she makes more ‘kind’ effort with her circle of friends (and family) than anyone I’ve ever met and she is kind and giving to me. However there are all these flags which is where my letter to CL came in. That’s why slow down not dump makes more sense to me.


      • Gypsy’s questions seem right to me. So, since your girlfriend is kind etc., I would stick with her. My girlfriend is super kind and giving. This is very important to me.( And, she is a smoking hot human rights type. )

  • A year out from my parting ways with my Ex, I met someone that I was crazy about. It was intense and it went fast and hard. The saying I love you so early on, the one on one intense times, the talking about moving in by the 5 month mark etc… I don’t have children (48) and never married (with my ex 23-24 years) and he was 51 with an 8 year old boy. I agree with CL, I know nothing of the children thing and had a hard time with the idea of it. I am old enough to be grandma not a step mother. Fast forward…. I was in a BAD spot emotionally and not only was he a NARC, he was a full out Sociopath. When it is that fast in the beginning it is because you are both emotionally unavailable. And you will be in a rinse and repeat pattern until you heal.

    I had not healed, spent time with ME, grieved, and figured out what it was about ME that I would even end up with this new one let alone the old one. I did not do the work on me BUT it was a gift because he propelled me into doing it and he ended up being the best thing for me oddly. He broke that 23 year loyal clinging me to my ex and then showed me what my future would be if I did not clean up my mess.

    THE RED FLAG IS….. you are asking.


    When Is It Safe To Date After Narcissistic Abuse? Part 1 – See more at:

    When Is It Safe To Date After Narcissistic Abuse? Part 2 – See more at:

    • Jackie, this is what happened to me! I was in a fast/love bombed/red flags all over the place relationship just before my divorce from cheater was finalized. I just broke it off not too long ago, but he helped me disentangle myself emotionally from the now ex-husband. I’m very thankful for that and the lesson I learned from being with him so soon after my world blew up.

    • Thanks Jackie

      Just read the articles. Thanks for the links; bookmarked them!. Heaps of content there that I need to go back to. Makes a lot of sense though. A perspective I really hadn’t thought of. wow, thanks again


  • Andy, good for you for getting a second opinion. It takes time to trust your gut. That said don’t pollute it with poison so soon after your separation. It clouds your judgment.

    Separation is different from divorce. You think it’s over, your significant other moved on two years ago, and you need comfort and an outlet to distract you. (That’s all this is, a distraction.) Once your divorce is final you will experience another wave of grief that will leave you off balanced and vulnerable. It’s easy to fall prey because you’re still seeking to feel the void. Don’t hand your pearls over to the swine for a bit of ego stroking. Tough it out.

    CL, thank you for the proverbial bitch slap that was felt in this end of the World Wide Web. It went all the way across Andy’s face and through my soul- a much needed and timely message. I just met someone who triggered a sea of red flags that only Moses could part. Unfortunately I’m still shell shocked so I couldn’t differentiate between my intuition and PTSD. Reading this brought me back from. You are the big sister everyone needs!

  • Andy, give yourself time to find you again. Find out what you really want…it may not even be a relationship right now. Slow down and take a walk with yourself and your thoughts…learn who you are and what you like and don’t like. I know I am a whole different person than the person that was married to satan. I am over a year from divorce and over 3 years from the last DDay…at first I thought I couldn’t be whole without a SO in my life…now…notsamuch…now I want to be free to learn all about me and just breathe for a while. I’ve had a few dates…one was quite SCARY…ugh…won’t do that again! Sounds kinda like what you are going through with this new woman…just moved too fast and I felt steam rolled….had to look behind me to see what just happened! I don’t want that…I’m sure you don’t either. Nothing would be worse than wakin up a month or a year from now trapped in another relationship with a disordered narc…nothing. If this woman is truly the one for you she will respect your wishes and back off and WAIT for you. If she won’t, you are better off knowing that now not later. …think about what you have been through…wanna do that again? Really?

    • Hi Jeep

      You are soo right…wanna do it again? fuck no. That’s the reason for my letter to CL I’m so scared and it feels a bit off kilter so time to go slow.


      • Exactly Andy 😀 Fuck NO!

        But you know, just the fact that you are here asking these questions shows that you are healing and the fog is lifting and your picker is fine tuning 😀 You are well on your way to Meh!!! Good for you Andy!!! 😀 I am applauding your progress!!!!

    • Ian, thanks for saying what all of us were secretly thinking.

      I was just going to say, ‘Andy, I bet the sex is amazing, isn’t it?’

      Narkles sex always is. At first.

      • LG
        Without wanting to go into graphic details…omg yes

        I feel stupid writing that but it is true. shakes head. talk about undermine myself

        • Great Andy. Rub our collective nose in your tales of crazy monkey-sex. None of us are the least bit jealous.

          • Sex? I think I remember that…

            Nope, thinking of a prostate exam. And the last time I asked for one of those the doctor turned me down.

        • Shechump,

          No first date tell-alls. Good advice, and I’ll take it.

          As for being back in the dating pool. Oh no, no, no. I’m sitting on the side of the pool, fully clothed and deathly afraid of drowning. I am perfectly happy to be “alone.” But “alone” for me will look different as time goes on.

          Isn’t sex kinda like a bicycle? No, not dangerous and sweaty (but it is that). Once you learn, you never forget how to DO IT!

        • And just to be clear. What with the two-year stand-down period in NZ, I can’t fault you at all for dating (fucking) before your divorce is final.

          I assume you have been tested for STDs and gotten yourself fixed right?

  • Lots of similarities between Andy’s girl and my ex at the beginning.

    1. Said I love you 3 weeks in.
    2. Spends all of her time with Andy. Where are the wide group of friends mentioned?
    3. Really likes intoxication, especially for free.
    4. Did charity.
    5. Seems to like all the same stuff I did (mirroring)
    6. Lives paycheck to paycheck.
    7. Claims to have been in an abusive relationship (my ex went back to that relationship after she discarded me)
    8. Been in “long term relationships”. How long is that?

    It’s very possible she has had this pattern in all of her relationships. My ex was quick to introduce me to all her “friends” of which I never saw again and she didn’t hang out with for the 2 years we were together. Except for one, which she constantly talked crap about. She seemed to like everything I did, even took on my faith. But it was just a ride for her. When she got tired of it she got off. She had no talent, no hobbies, and everything she was interested in was in passing, even her boyfriends and husband. When I quit smoking so did she. Now that she’s back with her ex-boy-toy, who smokes, she smokes. See where I’m going with this? She doesn’t seem like a real person, more like a chameleon. A blank canvas with no substance of her own.

    I would say let the initial rush of dating die down and see what you got left. Chances are you’ll discover she’s not what you think.

    • You know now that I think about it, this was my STBX as well. He didn’t rush in with the love you’s and all that… but he didn’t really have any friends (he still doesn’t because… well he’s an asshole) or interests. At the time I thought it was great, I thought we SHARED all these interests, because if I wanted to go play beach volleyball, he went and played beach volleyball. If I wanted to go to a BBQ and socialize, he wanted to go to a BBQ and socialize… etc etc. But it turns out that it was just him going through the motions of putting on his “boyfriend” mask. In fact he’s lazy, he likes to work and watch TV. He hates people. He hates to socialize, he has no interest in physical activity or social interaction. He hates to travel, he hates to celebrate holidays. He’s just a miserable asshole who isn’t ever happy, and is always taking up a new hobby or best-thing-ever. We have nothing in common because he’s just nothing.

      • Cagal you are right. All cheaters are nothings. When I look at asswipe now I see and feel nothing just like he made me feel and walked away from almost thirty years like it was nothing.

        • km
          Weird but looking back at the ex she never liked anything. I tried countless times to get her interested in something. Constant complaints about the boredom of being a housewife with kids. Countless nightclasses and groups and she was always jealous of my sailing. took an interest in teh soccer coach to get her to the local gym…class act.

    • Thanks Michael
      Time will tell, you’re right. So I’ll keep you posted. I don’t think she’s a dumper but worth testing

      Cheers Bro

  • One more vote for slowing way down. You aren’t sure if she is right for you, but all of us are sure it is not right for your kids. You need to wait until you are VERY SURE before you merge households. Separation and divorce are hard on kids. You cannot control the fact that your STBX wife cheated and screwed up their home. You can, and must, be the sane parent who maintains a stable home for them moving forward–regardless of how much or little custody you have.

    Now, while you take another year or two to decide whether you should move in together, work on these things:

    Find out exactly what her financial situation is. What kinds of loans does she have? What kinds of retirement plans is she making? How does she budget? These kinds of conversations can be hard, but if she side-steps them or dismisses issues you think are crazy (“Sure, I carry $27,000 of credit card debt, but I pay the minimum every month”), then you’ll know you two are ill-suited.

    Where are her life-long friends and family members? Have you spent significant time with them? Have you heard stories about her crazy high school hijinks or the traditions she has with her three best girlfriends (going back twenty years)? What family traditions do she and her parents/aunts/cousins have? If she doesn’t have this kind of grounding, you should be backing away. And meeting “family” once or twice is not enough. Many families are happy to unload the nutcase onto a new partner–as you leave the picnic holding hands, they are all saying, “Good lord, it will be a relief to see less of Farmer Lisa now that she has a man again.”

    Make it a point to see each other only sober for a good long stretch of time. If you cannot do this, or it just doesn’t sound fun enough to be worth the effort, then you two are drinking buddies not life mates.

    What kind of charitable work does she do? Has she been the weekend manager for the food bank for two years? If so, great. You can meet all the people who work with her as you stock the shelves together. If she drops by with a few jars of peanut butter once a month or does other short-stint contributions, then that is a red flag. The short stint work is useful, but responsible adults commit to things–they do the tedious labor that the casual volunteers don’t want to do. If she just puts in two hours now and then when the charitable group is celebrating a milestone or having a big fundraising drive, then she’s there for the energy and the fist bumps and the narcissistic glamour. Be especially wary if she’s been bragging about her charitable work–either covertly or overtly.

    • Hey Eilonwy
      I know, the financial is really important. it shows a maturity that you just can’t fake, its in the numbers – sounds shallow but it’s true.
      I really know we need to do a stint really teetotling it would reveal a lot me thinks. I’ll try this one early on.
      Yes I’ve met mates of hers that go back over 20 yrs and they love her vice versa.
      She is really committed to her charity work . She has spent months in 3rd world countries digging toilets, cylcing hundreds of miles in away from home in shit conditions and by the way pays her own way and fundraises for it. she gives more than most and wants to do more. She is incorporating her own charity for kids in need of leadership experience and wants to make it a priority over her very well paying job so I can’t really fault her there. In this regard we should put her up high

      • the ex husband is a great guy. he loves to help anyone and everyone. he fixes cars for the old ladies, helps people move, takes his sister for groceries because she doesnt have a car. he will help stucco a house that is not even his, or fix a roof for a friend. he will crawl under someone’s house to fix a leak and all this with a smile. THEY all think he is so wonderful, such a giving, caring, helpful man… …. … and he is to EVERYONE except HIS WIFE AND KIDS.

        i am not saying that your girlfriend is like that. it truly is impressive to go to a 3rd world country to dig toilets and help out the needy. But for some people they love to be seen as good people. they will do anything just so everyone will see how great and wonderful they are. the ex would brag about helping that old person, or fixing that car or doing this thing and yet when his wife (me) would ask him to help repaint the 24 windows in our house, or set up the pool, or edge the sidewalk and fences, or stack the firewood he was less then willing, or just flat out ignored me. you see… i wasnt going to tell him how wonderful he was for doing those things over and over; each and every time like the other people do. in my opinion, working a full time job, paying bills, buying food and clothes, fixing the house, cleaning the yard, are all things that is expected in an adult man. you dont get brownie points because you changed the oil on the truck that your wife drives your kids to school in. oh dont get me wrong, i was always grateful and appreciative. i made doubly sure i told him Thank you and even made some noise about what a good husband/daddy he was knowing how he needed that… … but i did not over do it. if you get what i mean.

  • Soooo timely, thank you!

    I’m only separated and will be for 2.5 more years unless money falls out of the sky. I consider this time the universe’s moratorium on another relationship for me. I have recently met a guy I felt attracted to and want to get physical with, because god how I’ve missed that, but he’s already making noises that sound waaaay too much like relationship noises, and I just have to back away slowly.

    Time is our friend, in this situation most of all.

    Also, yes thank you, men should pursue.

  • Alright AndyL let’s look at this one overarching thing. You are not asking if one item is a red flag, you have a comprehensive list. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, do NOT move in together. Right now you need to work on you. I know its wonderful and you deserve someone and to be happy. I get that.

    Stop this insanity. First make sure you know your boundaries. What are they? Can you write them down? Do it. Really! Take some time and articulate what they are. I couldn’t do it at first. It took me some time to come up with them. Then it took me some time to realize when someone was violating them. Still it took me some more weeks to figure out how to enforce them. If you landed here in CN chances are you need help dealing with your boundaries. We all do.

    I’m only 10 months from D-Day, 6 months from his move out and 5 months from divorce and you know what? I can honestly say there have been a lot of changes, including a lot of changes in me. I’m dating, but I’m up front with everyone that I am dating, unable to have a committed relationship because of what I have been through. I never date when I am responsible for my kids, that time is completely off limits. When I am lucky enough to have time with them, they are my focus. If someone can’t handle that, the dating pool lifeguard whistles and out of the pool they go. It sounds like you are in a committed relationship already even if those aren’t the words you would use. Too soon to date? No. Too soon for the relationship you are having? In my opinion, Yes.

    • Hey AOK
      I will now make a list of my boundaries/non-negotiables ( it is good advice ). It will be interesting to see how it fits with my current situation and how things can be adjusted to fit and if not I think that is the point everyone is making…

      Thanks for your support


  • AndyL, you’re wondering if this woman has red flags?! Oh dear. How about all the red flags *you’re* displaying, I mean it’s tractor trailer full of red flags. You’re not even divorced, introduced your kids to this lady within 6 weeks, you talked about moving in with her and you’re not sure if you want to get married again. It sounds like you are real a mess (I’m saying this respectfully), and don’t have your act together. Please take a break from dating and get your life in order, and focus your energy on your children. Otherwise, you are going to break this lady’s heart.

    • Hi Kellia
      That’s actually part of my problem. Can she recognise if this is wrong as well? I really don’t want it to go to the living with each other level if it’s doomed to fail. She is a lovely woman but are the fundamentals not a fit at the moment ( I know this is mainly me) This is the great thing about CN. People who’ve been there are there to help.

      Thanks A

  • Andy, like the others, I say slow way down. This is a whirlwind romance in the midst of a divorce. You can’t possibly make good, objective decisions right now. She is a fun distraction from the hellish experience you’ve just been through. She makes you feel good, makes you feel loveable, and we all need that after having our self esteem shredded by infidelity. But this sounds like a rebound relationship at best and you don’t want to be too invested when the thrill wears off. At least limit it to an unpleasant breakup and not the packing of boxes, and moving out. You want to go through that again? And her saying I love you is a huge red flag because at 42, even if you fall had over heels for someone, you know better than to confuse those early feelings with love. And I know I never would have gotten seriously involved with someone fresh out of a marriage and not even divorced yet. She does not show good judgment here. And the money thing–I never had that issue with my husband as we were like-minded in that regard, but I know from several friends and family members that savers and spenders cannot coexist. And a good prospective partner would encourage you to curtail the drinking, not accommodate it. Don’t compound your problems Andy, slow it down.

    • Hi Carmella
      Why does so much practical advice make sense in retrospect? Where the fuck was my rear vision mirror in all of this? I know all of this but have cocked it up big time. Thanks for your advice. I needed the slap upside the head and really value it from you all. Now sorting it out starts

      Thanks again


  • Thanks, CL and fellow chumps, for all these responses. This is timely for me, as I’ve been beating myself up about not ready to date almost 3 years after DDay, six months after separation, and one month after divorce. It’s good to get a reminder that I need to get myself in order before trying to find a romantic interest. And introducing your kids to someone after SIX WEEKS? What on earth? I made sure that couldn’t happen on either side with a clause in the separation agreement. My cheater didn’t like it, but when push came to shove, money was more important to her.

    • Hi ANR
      I know. I thought it at the time but she is cool (I also know how this sounds) and my kids (seem to) really like her. I know, judge me how you will.
      I’ve really got to deal with this in the best way now. How to slow it down and make it look normal to my kids? It is really quite simple; just do more with them without her and enforce boundaries and if she doesn’t like it she can find another path

      Good advice from one parent to another, I get that. Thanks

  • I haven’t read all of the comments yet, so if my comment is duplicative, I apologize. If you’re still going through your divorce, depending on the state and the judge, dating and introducing someone new can potentially have huge ramifications on custody issues. Because I had done nothing like that, and my Cheater had (I had proof of his cheating in addition to proof he had introduced my very young sons to his AP even before the divorce started), the judge was thoroughly disgusted with him, and quickly shut down his bullshit that he wanted custody and/or more time with the kids. Judges do NOT like kids being introduced to other people, particularly if custody is in ANY way part of the equation.

    • Many judges are not all that bright. A good number of my classmates and friends are now on the bench, and many just have good hair or political connections. My kids met my girlfriend about 3 months in and would kill me if I ever broke up with her. She is a great mom to her own daughter and really a good influence on my daughters.

  • The divorce is your priority. Work on your settlement agreement with your lawyer (and hers) like TODAY. Dragging it out benefits those who dissipate assets and my lawyer was just sitting on her ass waiting for me to figure it all out. Making money hand over fist as well, while the ex was off spending the mortgage money on his new Schmoopie. Get a Financial Analyst to look at your life’s priorities, then get the hell on with your life. Fourteen years together requires some serious down time, grief, and introspection. You need to work on you. Scary, I know. As to the Sparkley new relationship, IMHO you may be repeating a pattern here. Pay attention to your gut. And CL I am all for equal too but the man picks up first and pursues. (There are even studies that point to what both men and women should not be doing to have a successful long term relationship, set the respect early I say!, and moving in together is a bad idea all around. Be a grown up right!?!?) I am six years out, still recovering more financially than emotionally but have got to say that one of my greatest blessings in all of this was getting myself back. Chumps, do the hard work!

    • Drew I think the thing that resonates with me the most is “Do the hard work”
      It’s always the hard stuff that pays the biggest dividends. It shits me but it is so true
      Thanks mate. fuck.

      • Healing from the whole mindfuck that is infidelity is hard work but I want to bring my best healthy self into my next relationship. Healing requires time, intentionality, and hard work but is well worth the journey; whole and happy and balanced attracts the same, right? ;D I have always enjoyed my own company but having been through this (and other life challenges, like so many others here have), I recognize I am a little more fragile. So I work on me and my priorities. Extreme self care is a great idea for all Chumps, it allows us to listen to ourselves and what we want. Go be great. Work out. Travel. Do new things. In the end I hope to one day meet my equal, someone who values me and enjoys the little things I do (but if it never happens I will be okay too). I wish us all well.

  • The thing I hate here is the introduction of kids to a “partner ” so bloody early on. Andy, in the rush of your own romance you’re disregarding what your kids need – you. Look, I know it’s all heady romance to start with and things can head up a whole lot faster than you thought they might but for goodness sake, protect your kids, just in case!
    My ex introduces our 8 year old to his girlfriends nearly the day after he meets them and she spends her every second weekend having sleepovers at their houses. She is frustrated and grumpy with being told every single time that dad is moving in with this one and spending time as the romantic couple search for a perfect home. Then it all falls apart again and in two weeks there’s another gf on the scene. This has happened now four times since December 2015. Its doing my head in and is making me wonder how this child will see relationships in the future.
    Slow your own relationship down Andy – you’re worried about red flags but you’ve gone ahead and introduced your kids? Be a parent and put your kids’ best interests to the front of your mind.

    • Justine thanks
      Kids are really the priority here. I guess the pain of it all had me a bit into myself. What a dick.
      It really becomes clear when you put it in those terms.


  • The biggest red flag to me is the “I love you” within three weeks. Does she know your middle name, your blood type or the name of your favourite high school teacher? Or really anything about you at all? Anyone can be “in lust” or “in limerence” but love takes time.

    And your children DO NOT NEED to be exposed to a revolving door of dating partners when your focus should be on them. Depending on custody arrangements, you may have them half of the time. Be with them – completely and attentively. They are your responsibility. You brought them into this world. I think the following blog post is useful. Though it speaks about unwed parents, not divorced parents, the concept is the same – children need stability and security for optimal development and secure attachment (not lather, rinse, repeat):

    • Hi Blessing
      Thank you for the article.
      I really didn’t/don’t (cant) imagine that the shampoo/rinse repeat cycle will be the case here. This would be my worst nightmare, but how do you know without going no contact with the other sex – things have a logical conclusion. This was the reason for my letter to CL. Gotta really sus what my current situation is and then possibly get the picker working

  • Andy, I just want to give you a high 5 for posting your question to CL. I’ll bet you swallowed a lot of your questions during your 14-year marriage. I hope the advice here is helpful and that it inspires you to continue asking questions and honoring your intuition.

    • Hi AR
      To be honest is was really hard. Reading and responding to all the comments has been just as hard. Probably because I’ve been a bit shit for my kids in favour of myself. but the great thing is that CN is there to keep us all on track
      thanks team

  • Hi team and CL
    Thanks heaps for the advice. I now feel like I did need a bit of a slap upside my head. It’s amazing the fog this shit can leave you in.
    CL, there is a 2yr mandatory separation here (NZ) before you can apply for divorce. I pushed and paid for my financial separation right after I got the grizzly news
    I have my kids 6 nights per fortnight and have been running a subtle operation to increase that to 7 without involving legal which happens next month. And it is that week (spare time) where we spend time together. But now it is more and more with (3) kids as well.
    Juggling work with kid care is crazy and I’m really luckY to have my own business and an amazing business partner who has been really understanding with my situation.

    I’ll get through all the comments ASAP

    Got to get to work

    Thanks again CN


    • Andy I hope it works out with your kids spending more time with your and that you feel more confident about where your relationship is headed.
      From a fellow kiwi.

  • This is a great topic – dating. 2.5 years after D-day and 1.5 years after divorce, I’m just now starting to consider crawling out from under my rock. There have been a few men who have expressed interest in me and so far, it has only caused me to scurry back under my rock. I have so much fear – fear of getting in it with a narcissist, fear that my picker doesn’t work (never has, since I started dating when I was 15). I know that I’ll work through this over time. This discussion helps a lot and ChumpLady’s post is awesome. I need to focus on healing, getting to know myself, being ok alone (which I do actually enjoy). And boundaries. It’s really all about boundaries. Thanks, CL and Chumpnation for these excellent insights!

  • In my county, it’s not unusual for divorces to run well past 17 months, even three to five years, especially if one of the spouses is personality-disordered and has a criminal mindset.

    This couple might do all right or even well if certain things happen. Drinking as a primary social activity concerns me a bit. If they limit drinking to a modest amount and share other activities, then I don’t see it as a problem.

    My middle aged friends who do not have kids, by choice or not, have a hard time enjoying my complicated life. My childless ex-boyfriend, although I think he like my kids, felt somewhat hampered by a woman who came encumbered with two elementary aged children, as nice as they were. These types of relationships can work, but I don’t think that a large majority of them do, especially if the childless partner is the man, as it is easier for him to find a younger, richer, unencumbered woman than the middle-aged (encumbered) partner he has. I realize that your case is a bit different.

    My main concern for everyone involved in this story stems from your uncertainty about what you want in life on the brink of your girlfriend’s move into your home. Out of kindness to all, I recommend postponing the move until you have determined your major goals and direction. I don’t see a problem with continuing to date her if you both like each other.

    I am going to swim upstream a bit here:,

    • By saying I may be swimming upstream a bit, I meant that I might not be as opposed to the relationship as others on this forum.

    • Hey RSW
      That was the most sensitive post of all. Thanks. I reckon every situation is hard it’s just shades of grey. Mine is evolving and the posts here have been amazing and heartfelt and positive and generous and tough and honest and want me to be better, This shit is valuable.
      Thank you again

  • So where does that leave a (healed-up, well-adjusted, any and all caveats necessary) Chump once (if ever) we are ready to date?

    I imagine a scene where I am getting to know a woman. My divorce comes up in conversation. I keep it appropriately vague until the time is right. (A big information-dump right up-front is also a big no-no.) But eventually I’ll have to spill it.

    “My then-wife (stole that from you Tempest) cheated on me so we got divorced.” Then what? She gets up and runs away….

    I am going for a fault divorce (not everyone has this option) so I guess I can bring my divorce decree to show her my credentials. (That won’t be weird at all.) But I’m still echoing the “I got cheated on” narrative that throws up red flags for everyone here. Is it just another litmus test to see how a future lover might react?

    Anyone else worry about this?

    • Ian, I could be and probably am wrong, but, if I am asked I simply reply, ‘I divorced satan after 36 years of being narc abused.’ …pretty much sums it up and no explanation needed usually. 😀

      I tell my truth.

      But, yeah…my daughter-in-law told me that after she was divorced and started going out and meeting guys they all had the same line – ‘My wife cheated on me.’…she said some of them weren’t divorced at all and had no intention of divorcing, they just wanted to ‘date’, ugh. So it probably is different for men.

      Regardless, it is your truth, Speak your truth. 😀 Honesty is a turn on and oh so refreshing after what I have been through…sayin.

        • Amen Kar marie!!! I feel pretty out numbered by narcs!!! I don’t know what to believe most of the time…and I’m gettin real good at pretending I don’t get the sometimes pointed remarks some people make…like its just ok to talk like that to others? Oh well…I just smile and skip away. 😀 Skipping tends to keep em from following one. LOL!!!! Screw em…let em find one of their own kind to mess with! I’m off limits!

          You gotta see this awesome kite guy Kar marie!!!! I can’t paste the link…don’t think…let me see…cool!!! There it is! Check him out!!!

          You are gonna love it! 😀

          • Crap…it didn’t post.

            See if you can get it like this…google

            His name is Ray Bethel and he is 80 years old. Awesome huh!!!!

          • I have two male friends for 45 years like brothers to me asswipe chased them off had to speak with them on the sly. Out of the blue both called me two days after d day saying they had a feeling something was wrong with me. Hows that for close huh. Both guys long time married and im like their sister. Trust both of them. Ive had trust issues all my life only man I ever trusted completely? Yes asswipe. Im 60 now I sincerely doubt I will ever be able to trust a man again. Better to be without the devil you know and single than suffer futher abuse at least for me. I have my friends my kids and my dogs. When I fully or mostly heal I will be just fine. Liars and dishonesty and entitled bastards/bitcges abound out there. Wish there was a sign for the good ones. So hard to tell whos lting and whos not. I will be fine just being me!

            • Ian Diablo – I cannot imagine not bringing up my past, and yes, the entire ugly way I found out. That’s how me and the then-husband met, 35 yrs ago. He had just caught his finance cheating with a man in a car…and I had just caught my then-first-husband for 1 week, cheating on me on our honeymoon (with a guy). Sure, we were both 22 and everybody was worried it was a re-bound. It wasn’t and we lasted a long long time.

              If I were ever to meet somebody, your advice is good.
              Make sure your past is buried enough before you bring it all up and spout ugly things on the first date!

              Lol – noted!

              • But, no worries for me. I date my dogs and quite happy with that.
                Never want to share my life with another man again.

              • I admire you all for being back in the dating-pool.
                I guess I’m so far behind you all in development on transitioning that it just seems like the last thing in the world I want or need.

                Been there, done that – didn’t take enough advantage when I was young, career-oriented and single, to check out the dating pool. I had my chance. Too bad for me.

                I’m not looking for anybody.
                I have my few friends and happy with that.

                Besides, I kind of went without sex for 35 yrs – I wouldn’t have a clue how to do it! anymore!
                (that’s the real truth)

      • Jeep,

        I think you’re right; this might be one of the “different for men” situations. But, honesty wins out in the end I hope.

      • AllOutofKibble,

        Your response is bang on. If there is a story regarding adultery or infidelity, I’ll be able to use my Chump Lady lingo to suss out the Cheaters. Do they know about: 1. the infidelity diet 2. gaslighting 3. D-Day 4. No-Contact 5. are they still friends with the “Cheater?” In relaying my story I’ll be able to find out if I’m dealing with a covert Cheater, a Chump, or just your run-of-the-mill broken heart.

      • I’m curious if they were all lying about their wife’s affair? Maybe some wives really did cheat and some of the men were trying to get revenge instead of attempting to react in ways that are more emotionally healthy. Either way, it’s still a great reason to avoid them.

    • Ian, I completely get what you are saying. I date, no serious relationships, and I am up front about being unable to have a committed relationship and why. I also hear from men about how they were cheated on. When this happens I open up the can of worms every so slightly by asking them questions about their situation. If they share stories similar to the ones here about the infidelity diet, gas lighting, the horrors of D-day, how they handled no contact, etc. then I am apt to believe them. if they tell me how they were cheated on and they are friends with their ex it tells me either they are lying or they have no boundaries or that fidelity is just not that important to them and the dating lifeguard comes and blows the whistle kicking them out of my dating pool. If someone runs from me because I was cheated on then I’m pretty sure I don’t want them around anyway. That’s not someone who is compassionate or empathetic.

    • Ian–why would the truth make someone of substance get up and walk away? Heck, we chumps are chomping at the bit to find other chumps to date.

      Now, how to phrase that truth is an exercise in finesse. May I suggest, “She was wishy washy about the ‘forsaking all others’ part of the vows”? A humorous or abstract twist softens the blow at first until you get to know the potential date better. Other possibilities (depending on one’s circumstances): “I wasn’t ready for a sister-wife/brother-husband.” or “I didn’t care for his Ashley Madison profile.”

      • Tempest,

        I know you’re right. A person of substance won’t dart-off at the first sign of trouble. But I’ll unfortunately have a “yellow-flag” to overcome.

        My finesse-r might be a bit broken. I was thinking something like: “My wife is dead – to me.” Or: “She just went out for a ‘girls’ night,’ and that was the last anyone heard from her.”

        Maybe I’ll check back with the Chump-brain and run them by y’all when (and if) the need arises.

      • Lola Granola,

        I’ve mentioned it before, but I did go on Tinder and OkC in the first month after D-Day when Match Girl and I parted ways. I met a couple of women only via text and phone calls, but they both admitted they had cheated in the past. I was a bit of a pushover because I wasn’t fully Chump-trained. Now I think I have a much better set of questions to determine who’s a Cheater and who’s a Chump. But who knows. I know never getting married or cohabitating again will solve a lot of problems.

    • I think we only need to be worried about our own histories if we aren’t working on ourselves and choosing to break our own dysfunctional patterns that led to picking the wrong people. So long as we do the work, and learn how to live and love our own lives first, we will attract people who respect our journey and our commitment to loving and respecting ourselves as well others. Best not to be in a hurry about that, though.

    • Ian, if she gets up and runs away upon hearing that you were a faithful husband and innocent party who was wronged by a cheating female partner, but who stood up for himself and didn’t accept that kind of dodgy behaviour, then you should be glad she’s running away.

      It’s probably a good weeding process to eliminate any woman who might be thinking you are a pushover.

    • I agree that with a new person, give them the dirty details, brief – quickly then shut up about your X. Basically, I say “My xh did not only have a mid life crisis, he had a mid life face plant.” I say he cheated and left. So far thats as much that has been needed… but I’m just starting to date.

      I like the abbreviated truth. Don’t push me into the kitty litter box then tell me it’s a day at the beach…

  • Thanks, AndyL, for replying.

    I have to say that I agree with CL that a 2-year mandatory separation prior to divorce is cruel. That’s a long time to put your life on hold–especially when you know that your Cheater is still carrying on with his/her Schmoopie.

    That said, I agree that there are multiple red flags going up. I think you’re right; you need to take time out for yourself to work on your picker. Right now, you very likely have a rebound relationship. This is not a bad thing, but it’s important to recognize it for what it is. Your STBXW cheated on you. Most of us feel like second-class goods, so the feeling of being wanted is an excellent confidence-booster.

    But don’t confuse lust for love.

    I’m very concerned that you feel that the two of you spend time together drinking. It sounds as if you have a drinking buddy with benefits. Again, this is not a bad thing, but you don’t have to feel that you have to make it into something more. Additionally, you need to see if you can connect while you’re not drinking. You say you’re both outdoorsy. Go do something outdoorsy, and see if you can go without a drink. If she suggests it, try to deflect. If you go someplace, order a non-alcoholic drink. If she orders beer or wine or spirits, take note. Also take note of how many she has. If the two of you are drinking together, you might not notice.

    I’m also concerned that she has a different attitude toward money than you do. If you find that you end up covering her expenses–even if she repays you with her next paycheck–that is a HUGE red flag. It means she can’t manage her money. If the two of you are about the same level with your jobs, then you’re pulling about the same salary, yet you can pay your bills even with children.

    Again, it’s reaffirming to find out, especially after you have been so devalued by your Cheater, that you are indeed desirable! But make sure that you are confident enough in your own skin that you don’t NEED to be involved with anyone. It’s the difference between internal v. external validation. When you feel that you NEED to be in a relationship, you’re seeking the external validation of your worth. As a result, you’ll try to please them even if it means that you put up with a couple of shit sandwiches. If you operate out of an internal validation, you know that you are worthy, and you’ll be more aware of when someone crosses a boundary or slips you a shit sandwich.

    So back off a bit, work with your therapist, and if your current relationship is healthy, it’ll be fine putting it on hold for a bit.

    • Thanks again KB
      This process has been a bit harrowing but really helpful because of people like you that really think and care. I’m gonna have to suss this thing out a lot more carefully whilst keeping my kids at arms length from it.
      It is amazing to think that there is a community out here for us I feel fortunate to find you guys

  • I’m going to disagree with you, CL, about people who don’t have children. I actually really wanted to have children. Started trying aged 33 with my husband. Then diagnosed with cancer, huge amount of medical treatment, possible infertility as a side effect, husband cheating on me, was dumped, now 39 and facing reality of never having kids. Not through choice. It’s actually really, really hard to come to terms with. I certainly do understand that being a parent involves sacrifice and I find it rather insulting that you are saying I wouldn’t get that because I’ve not been fortunate enough to have had children of my own!! It feels like just another kick in the teeth on top of everything else.

    • I’m sorry M. I didn’t mean to give offense. I don’t want to imply that people who are child-less don’t *like* children, but that they do not HAVE children or the same shared experiences as those who do.

      You are NOT washed up at 39. If you want children, I hope you can make that happen with adoption or IVF. Or even step-parenting.

      Not everyone wants to walk into the step-parent role. And I do think it maybe harder for a person who has been on the fence about having kids, or never wanted them. (Which is certainly NOT your experience.)

      • Thanks CL. I appreciate the reply. I guess it’s just a sensitive issue for me, especially at the moment. It’s nice of you to say I might still be in with a chance. I guess I might be. But I think with the cancer crap and being single it’s a long shot now. Some things are better to be faced.

        The thing is, as we all know on here, some people who have got their own kids are the most terrible, terrible parents. They cheat, they abandon and all the rest. Just because a person has got kids doesn’t mean they understand about sacrifice and parenting! On the other hand, I’m sure that there are lots of people who never got the chance to have kids who would make great parents or step-parents. Some people may not have had their own children but may have cared for younger siblings in much the same way, if their parents were really sick themselves for example. Or other people take extraordinarily loving care of elderly relatives with dementia, which is a really tough job. Sacrificial love is not exclusive to parenting.

        • Hi M, 39? Really? You’re a *spring chicken*!!!! I had Jr. at the ripe old age of 42 and he has a cousin six months younger whose mom was (wait for it) 47 when she gave birth. She had some help with hormones and watching dates and all, but she got the baby for which she absolutely longed.

          FWIW, I had Jr. at the behest of Cheater #1 who like to tell his skanks that we “never had sex” and I was “gone all the time and frigid when I was home”. Direct quotes. Yeah, I cop to the being gone: I worked out of town 5 days a week supporting his lazy ass while he spent his entire paycheck on whores and drinks. Amazing that it only took me four months, at age 41, to get pregnant. And to think, we never had sex!!! How do you think that happened? Last time I recall a similar situation, Angel Gabriel appeared and it was an immaculate, divine conception and all that. I don’t remember having cozy chats with any angels, nor do I think I’m on that good of terms with God. Furthermore, after 13 years as a mom, I *know* that Jr. is most definitely not divine nor cut out for starting new religions/walking on water/turning men into disciples or even water into wine. /end sarcasm

          Bottom line, don’t let anyone, in the medical establishment or outside of it, tell you that you are too old to have a child. If you want it, like my cousin did, you will find a way to make it happen. Good luck to you.

          • M and Her Blondness,

            I underwent several rounds of high-tech fertility treatment in my late 30s and early 40s. After a couple of miscarriages, I got lucky and got my wish and bore children of my own genetic material. However, some people (30s and 40s) I knew through infertility groups, who took care of themselves and tried mightily, could not and remained childless. My sister at nearly 46 had a natural conception and bore a healthy baby at 46. I consider her an Olympian. Just because someone (easily) wins the Olympics or the super-lotto doesn’t mean that all of us will win if we just try hard enough. I wish M the best.

        • I firmly believe all women are mothers and all men are fathers wether they have children or not. Its the nurturing inside of us that always comes out somehow some way.

        • M–you want a child, go make it happen. Some of us need children, and you sound like that is true for you. Do it. It’s not easy to single parent, but when you want something badly enough, you make it work. And there is not just one way to have that child–explore your options, and take the leap if your heart dictates.

        • Thank you for your replies! I missed them because I went to bed – I think there’s a time difference. I appreciate all the good wishes and positive stories. 🙂 What I tend to think is that God has some sort of plan for me, even if it’s not exactly what I would have planned for myself. I’m only just now off cancer meds for the first time in three years and had very severe fatigue over the past 4 months, so for now I think my focus needs to be building my strength up. It wouldn’t really be fair to a kid to embark on parenting just now. But maybe as I get stronger, that will happen for me. I hope so.

      • Cl ‘ . I was ready to run off your sight for good . I had two eptopic pregnancy and my soon be exh didn’t want to adopt . So dday was a shock too find not only is this women married cheater but two kids to boot But i feel fortunate to have been a nanny to my great niece btw we would vacation with our nieces n nephews . I love children btw . Here it is 7 months since day he ask for divorce before i found out he is Mr. Cheaterpants funny how he is trying so hard be a friend . But i can’t do it still raw emotion anger . I truly hate he turned out to be a lying cheating sob . Now divorce moving slow going take another year and getting house ready to sell packing up . I’ll be moving to Florida just so he can’t pop in whenever he feels like it . I need space even though after dday it took a month get him out here . But i’m not ready to date let alone think about sex with a stranger . Lol ‘ at this moment just taking in and enjoy my neighbors n few real friends . Writing in my journal helps talking about it hurts deeply . He lives with his sister and her family funny she is not welcomed there but same time free go see this married ow ‘ . I feel like 28yrs discarded like trash hurts like hell . I have given thought to it and think they deserve eachother after all its a lie fake fantasy wondering who will be lying and cheating on eachother oh yeah . Its a bitch to realize karma will hit him and her in face one day . My best revenge will be to live well without him . Btw his family hasn’t even called see if i’m okay hurts as well again i realize blood thicker than water . Thank you.Cl helped me out often to see straight . Thank you cn i read here everyday just don’t post everyday . Best wishes too all us chumps big hugs to you all ._

    • M, I always wanted kids as well, but I wanted to have them with a stable partner, preferably a husband.

      As it turns out I have endometriosis and have had it for years, and have had repeat surgery for it, so I am not sure if I could ever have had children, even with a partner. And now I’m 46, I am looking forward to an eventual end to the pain and difficulties here.

      I have a lot of nieces and nephews, though, and I am helping to raise one of them especially. I also worked as a carer for several years for people with dementia, so I’ve also had the broken nights, nappy changing, feeding, tantrums, exhaustion, and – thank goodness – occasional sense of reward at a job well done! Of course, my clients would never ‘grow up’, but I knew that and understood that.

      • Thanks Lola. I’m really sorry that you’ve had to deal with endometriosis – these things just seem so unfair.

        I also worked as a carer a lot for elderly people so I know what you mean about that! I’m determined to make sure that my mum has a good old age. Having been a carer I know how it all works. I know more about looking after older people than babies really!

    • Hi M check out we support women who are childless by circumstance (cheating being a big part of the story for many of us). You are not the only one by a long way hun. I also posted comments on this below. The women in our community would totally get your story. Best Wishes

  • Andy, Andy, Andy. *sigh*
    Bless your heart. It hurts to watch the ex or stbx sail off into the sunset with someone new, while you’re left holding the bag. It’s humiliating. I know…I’ve been there and the truth is my pride has taken a beating. I’m pretty good looking, she looks like she fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on her way down. I’m smart…she’s a mouth-breather. She looks like a man, dresses like a man and chugs swill, like a man.

    My point is, that we chumps feel pretty horrible about ourselves…at first. I used to look in the mirror and say, ‘you weren’t chosen’…you’re the one who was DUMPED..What is wrong with ME?? Wouldn’t it feel awesome if we could just throw it back in their faces…SEE…there’s nothing wrong with ME…I’m still attractive and love-able…You (the cheater) don’t want me…BUT SOMEONE DOES!

    I’m sorry to tell you, but I have an inkling that you already know this is a rebound, nothing more. And I’m going to go one step further and tell you, this, is going to be a disaster.

    Everyone else has already made excellent points and you’ve responded…so we know you’re listening. I’m basically going to stand on everyone else’s comments for no other reason than to hopefully drive the point home.

    Her financial situation should absolutely scare you shit-less…even if none of the ‘other red flags’ bother you. She’s 42, she lives paycheck to paycheck…that screams “HOLY SHIT…I”M IN DEBT…but I don’t caaare! If you can’t talk money with her…then you can’t talk to her. You should KNOW…has she invested in her retirement? Does she own a home? How much does she owe on her car? What does her savings account look like? What about her career? How far off is she from retirement? What ARE her plans for retirement?? I’ll bet you a coffee that you don’t know any of this. And you’re considering moving in with this woman? Have you considered what you will do if things don’t work out? Will she move in with you…and your kids? Will you move you and your kids in with her? If she’s a freak, then what? Move your kids again…put them through hell while you try to move her out?

    I have to say one more thing regarding her finances. She’s single, never married and ‘childfree’. She has some money issues…why isn’t she working a second part-time job to pull herself out of debt? She obviously has enough time to be a social butterfly…so she’s got time for a second job imo.

    Finances, finances, finances….that sure sucks the lust and sparkle out of your love life doesn’t it? But it’s damned important because when we divorce our financial health takes a beating along with our self-esteem.

    You asked CL…’Are these red flags?”…Are they Andy? Have you sat down and breathed long enough to determine what your ‘deal breakers’ are when looking for another relationship? It’s important. And from what you’ve said…you’ve moved your boundaries. Do you know what moved boundaries are? Hint: they’re not boundaries.

    Oh yeah, I’m a hard ass. If she won’t be honest with you about her money, then you need to DUMP and run. Be nice…tell her it’s not a good match then buh bye. You’ve got kids and no matter what, they come first. Never, ever, ever put anyone before your kids. People come and go but your kids are forever.

    I wish you the best. I do. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have taken the time to write a response. Neither would anyone else. You’ve got some good advice and input from everyone. You’ve got something to chew on for awhile.

    • Noelle,

      As a former financial professional, I appreciate people who are frugal and careful with money. However, I know quite a few people, including me, who in middle age are poor. (I am highly educated and was never a spendthrift, but my STBX during marriage and separation financially wiped me out. Some people have to pay exorbitant medical bills for their own or relatives’ conditions that the sufferer did not cause. Some people, in spite of their best efforts, earn minimum wage, which does not go far at all. We do not know what caused this woman to get into debt or why she lives paycheck to paycheck. I suggest we not so quickly jump to conclusions about this woman, this man, or their relationship.

      Where I live (California coastal area), unless two white-collar adults in a long-term partnership (e.g, marriage) constantly over years work to exhaustion, they often cannot buy even an old, modest-sized house even in an unsafe neighborhood. As a single or divorced person, it is almost impossible to buy on one’s own. I don’t have a house and am nearly positive that I will never be able to buy one in the place where I must live (unless I give up physical custody of my young children). Does that mean, according to your criteria, that i am an ‘undatable’ loser who should never find a desirable spouse?

      Some of the respondents to this post seem to equate never married, never had kids to ‘irresponsible.’ Some of my friends and I did not get married until nearly 40 and did not not have kids until slightly after 40. Some of my friends never got to have kids. Unlike me, they didn’t enter a disastrous marriage. They instead ran companies, traveled around the world (not merely for their own entertainment), helped many people, animals, etc., earned doctorates. They are way more responsible than many of the married people I know and hear about. Further, some of the people I knew who live paycheck to paycheck are not spendthrifts. Instead, they earn low salaries in fields that pay little (e.g., education, various non-profit fields) and give much of their money to poor relatives (especially those in poor countries. Urging caution in entering a live-in relationship, in general, is wise, However, making sweeping statements (e.g,’She thinks that…,’ “You must do this,’ ‘You must not do that.’ If you do this, then that will happen.’) based on what little we see in a letter to CL or anyone else on the Internet does not seem wise. None of us has a crystal ball, and none of us knows exactly what goes inside a stranger’s home or head (or even, oftentimes, our own homes and our spouse’s head). If we had that power, we wouldn’t be members of Chump Nation.

      • This post is pure awesome. You said everything I wanted to say, but without coming across as emotional and vindictive like I would have.

        I spent much of yesterday stewing over some of the things said in this post, because some of them apply to me. I’m 37, never married, with no children. I loved financially and emotionally supporting my partner and her son, but we never married for various reasons, including the financial aid she got for school as a single mother. I don’t want biological children due to FOO issues as well as a fancy genetic disorder I inherited. But according to some of the folks here, I’d appear healthier if I’d already married and divorced twice and had 5 kids.

        I try to remind myself that we’re all posting out of pain, some of us with the misguided notion that we can protect ourselves from ever being hurt again. I think by that standard we all have a major red flag: we’re human. Some of the people out there are disordered, true, but I don’t think any of us is going to be perfectly unscarred from life. And if I accept the idea that because no one else has wanted me forever no one else should take a chance on me, I’m not sure why I’d want to stay alive.

        • I agree with you. I’m childless by choice as well and I’m well into my 30s. This doesn’t necessarily make a person irresponsible anymore than being married or a parent necessarily makes a person responsible. I mean, just look at our exes. Most of them were married and some were even parents. How responsible are they? However, the point about making sure that she is certain she really wants to become a step-mother is a valid one. It is a big step and one that should not be taken lightly.

          There have been some good points about the financial considerations as well. While, I am doing okay financially now, I had to live with family for years after my divorce. The economy had went south. I was laid off several times. When I did work, I kept getting my hours cut and I was quite underpaid for my degree and experience. I kept trying to get new jobs, but it took me a long time to find one that was stable. RockStarWife has a good point. Areas like California have very expensive housing. Where I live, houses are a lot more affordable. As a single person, if I choose to, I could definitely buy a house someday. However, from the math I’ve done, the rent on my tiny efficiency apartment is actually cheaper than the cost of property taxes, electric, gas, water, homeowner’s insurance and home maintenance on a small house. And the neighborhood is fine. Being the financially conservative person that I am, I choose to stay in the apartment and save my pennies. Sometimes, it makes financial sense to rent. Of course, if the cost of rent becomes higher than the cost of property taxes, utilities and insurance, it would change my mind.

      • I exhausted my 401k helping my son stay alive. I am poor but happy. My girlfriend and I plan to work during retirement.

    • Noelle this is not a tough love competition
      Fuck. I actually know you’re right
      I thought answering all this shit wouldn’t be this hard. Maybe that’s why many dont.

    • excellent point Noelle. not only could she get a second job so that she isnt living pay check to pay check, but being that she has never been married, and has no children….. just what the hell does she spend her money on? to the point that she has to live pay check to pay check!?!?!! i hadnt thought of that.

      does she have a fancy, expensive car? does she have a huge wardrobe? millions of shoes? since she is not investing her paychecks, does she travel alot?

      i am 48 and living pay check to barely paycheck. but then i had 5 kids, i have a house payment, and utilities. besides my student loan, i have no other payments but i am barely making ends met now that i am divorced and do not have a second income. he is also not paying child support and for some reason these boys need to eat every day. haha…i am doing ok, not as good as i had hoped by this age. but my truck is paid off, and i have a bunch of toys (4 wheelers, jet skis, boat) that i bought years before i divorced. even thou i have been divorced for 2 years, i will probably struggle for a long time before i get financially stable again.

      but this chick is completely different, she wasnt recently divorced and she has no kids. so just what is going on with her finances that she is living pay check to pay check… … ANOTHER BIG RED FLAG…

      like Noelle said that is a very important issue. you are 42 not 24, you can not take this stuff for granted. Good catch Noelle

  • sounds like to me she is rushing it and seems more then just a little desperate. i sort of understand her rush thou. i am 48 years old, i live in a small town, all the good guys are married. all the guys my age that are left over have A LOT to be desired, they are losers, drug dealers, riding a bike because they dont have a license, not working, or bar guys. no thanks. been there done that. i really think i will be ~forever alone… and that is something i am trying to comes to terms with.

    so this woman is 42, maybe single for a while. definitely been treated badly at least once in her life. so she mets you, who sounds like you are a half way decent sort of guy. and she latches on like a hungry baby to a bottle. she might just be lonely Andy… and not that being lonely is a bad thing (i have my days with it) but it can make you come off a little desperate.

    in my opinion, she is coming off WAY DESPERATE. and yes, all those are RED FLAGS…

    i think you need to slow down, back off. get some space away from this lady so you can think. and reevaluate your boundaries and what you want out of life. i am 2 years divorced and i still am cleaning up messes and trying to get my head together….

    • Love your tag MrsVain
      I can see what you’re saying. she is cool and has had a bunch of less then inspiring relationships (I on the other hand am obviously inspiring…Cheated on with 3 kids…ya want that shit?)
      But you’re right the neediness is hard to ignore

      Thanks MrsVain


      • i have had my tag name since i was in my early 20’s. when i was full of piss and vinegar and thought my shit did not stink… …. … i keep it now because i am a sentimental old fool. hahaha

        i seem like a cool guy yourself. Let me tell you most woman can tell the difference between a man who is not responsible and too careless and a man who is responsible and careful. YOU already said you are good with your money and believe me she can see that. that you are more conservative, she can see that. i bet you clean and dress well and have pride in what you look like, she can see that. you dont run around and keep mostly to yourself, you have a few tried and trusted friends that you socialize with but you are not into the party scene, not using drugs, not switching partners every week, not hitting the club until all hours, you are taking care of business and your life is mostly peaceful. and SHE CAN SEE ALL THAT..

        someone said that you will have your pick of woman and that is true. ALL woman want a good man and you seem to met those credentials. this lady is just rushing it way too much, too soon. saying “i love you” only knowing you 3 weeks? that is too much too soon, i dont even know if i love my new shoes after 3 weeks. much less a human who has a whole range of emotions and problems and temperaments. She said it first, so of course being the nice guy that you are, you had to say it back. who wants to leave someone you like hanging on the “i love you” thing, but honestly, it is a HUGE RED FLAG. Nobody really loves someone at 3 weeks so why is she even saying it? personally people who say a premature “i love you” scare the daylights out of me.

        this woman has already manipulated you into doing something you thought you would not. she has already manipulated a few of your boundaries and so sneakily you didnt even notice until after it was said and done. plus she encourages you to drink more then you need too. she doesnt give you space so you can stop and think (this is what the sewer rat the ex husband did right away from the get go, she never gave him a chance to stop and think about what he was doing)

        although she might have some good qualities and heck she might be a good woman just desperate. i think you would be better off just slowing it down. YOu still have to get to know her. ok, so you laugh together. that is a good start. but you still do not know very much about her. slow it down, give it space, take it slow. see what happens when you dont see her everyday. sounds like she has to be entertained and admired daily in order to love you. so what happens when you dont or cant?

        i total am right with you when you say you thought you picked reasonable well with your wife for 14 years. that is what i thought with my husband of 12 years. i was with him for 14 years altogether. i thought i did all the right things. before we were married, i sat him down and told him everything i wanted out of life, out of my marriage, for my children, out of a husband, and all my goals i had set for myself. he seemed right on board, he brought up things that he wasnt sure about, had questions. i was willing to compromise on some things like we should when we are in a relationship. i told him what was an absolute no go for me, made sure it was clear the shit that i would not stand for, like alcoholism and cheating. and yet somehow he sneakily manipulated those into the last 6 years of marriage. i didnt even notice until it was too late. his drinking was so bad, and he was cheating again (i forgave him the first time), i finally just let him go.

        so be careful. every single one of us have “issues” or “baggage” or “hang ups” that we need to work thru. But this chick sounds more then just a little off. i personally believe time and space is the answer of how off is she. but even that is not crystal clear, you might weed out the more crazy ones but some of these people are just waAAAaaayy more covert, sneaky, then we can ever know.

        good luck to you….

  • Of all the things, Andy, you said the one that made me go BOING!!!! is that she is out of town and you feel like you can breathe. HELLO! Tiptoe, vewy vewy carefully out of there. That is your gut telling you everything you need to know. A new, healthy relationship should never feel stifling. Good luck.

  • “Generally speaking, I don’t think opposites attract. I think people with similar values and backgrounds make better mates”……… WOW! I just learned this a couple years ago and I’m almost 55!!! I totally agree CL!!

  • Hi Andy;
    CL did a good job as usual picking out the nuances of those that might prey on the Chumps of the world.
    The problem with us Chumps is that we were Chumps BEFORE we were cheated on, and are even more vulnerable AFTER this discovery. Our life choices, perspectives, values, self image, boundaries, hopes, dreams and what we thought we knew are poured into a blender that is already turned on, and without a top, splatters all over the counter top and walls. We have to stop and clean up the mess that was created by the painful & blatant disregard for our soul by the one who should have had our back. This can take a little/lot of time. (Seems to vary how much time based on all things variable)
    Andy it is clear you are a very good and thoughtful person, and someone who is responsible with your resources. Although you may not feel this way now, could have a wide choice of women in your future.
    IMO, you need to protect yourself from any quick and rash decisions.
    Being alone and doing this work to put ourselves back together is scary & a huge challenge. We feel so alone.
    I agree that you are filling time, soothing your ego, having some fun, etc. The problem is, this woman seems to want to “land” you from the way I read it. Try to imagine what you would think of her if you were not involved, or if you were married and she was an acquaintance. It sounds like from her background of not being married, no kids, living paycheck to paycheck sound like immaturity to me. Not that you would have to be immature not to experience these things, but certainly by 42, most of us have had more responsibility than just ourselves.
    Just please look out for yourself, you are worth it!
    We Chumps project our goodness, honesty and integrity on others, and then look back and wonder how we missed the signs. Not everyone is like us and we need to have our own back.
    Good luck with your decisions.

  • I usually offer to go Dutch on the first date. If we get to a second date, he can pay and we’ll begin alternation.

    But, most of the guys I have dated have insisted on paying for the first date.

  • Also, my XH and his idiot mistress were saying “I love you” less than three weeks after their relationship started. When she dumped him four months later, she wrote an idiot blog post called “When Love Isn’t Enough” talking about how she really did love my husband, she just loved herself more. At one point, I wound up firing off an e-mail to them saying, “You ass-clowns were saying ‘I love you’ less than three weeks after your relationship started. Saying ‘I love you’ too soon in a relationship is a classic hallmark of emotional immaturity. You are quite literally the only ones even a little bit surprised that this selfish bullshit you call ‘love’ wasn’t enough!”

    • Saying ‘I love you’ too soon in a relationship is a classic hallmark of emotional immaturity. You are quite literally the only ones even a little bit surprised that this selfish bullshit you call ‘love’ wasn’t enough!”

      Amen! Has anyone here ever known a cheater to have a mature definition of love? Love to me is action. It’s compromise. It’s looking out not only for yourself but also for the person you claim to love. It’s going to the hospital and visiting your spouse/significant other during illness or after surgery. It’s giving someone a hug and asking about their day. It’s taking another’s feelings and needs into consideration. Love is a give and take that goes beyond emotional highs and lust. Some of the truest “true love” I’ve ever seen is from friends and family, because it’s more common for people to understand that love is more than heady short term bliss in those relationships.

  • As a child of a divorced mom who spent my entire childhood dating…let me say it was difficult. There was always new guys and most of them tried hard to win my affections. The truth is my mom should have spent that time with me. Or at least quality time with me. By the time i was a teen and my mom was dating an alcoholic jerk i was getting into trouble and seeking out male attention. Dating is fine but please put your children into considrration.

  • i met someone a few months after my divorce, after going on a handful of dates with different women. i’d been separated about fifteen months prior to my divorce being final. “i love you” came out after about 2 months. kids met maybe 6 months in. we saw eachother about twice a week, spoke on the phone every couple of nights. i don’t feel like she pursued me. we respected eachother’s space. i’ve maintained all my interests, activities and friends.

    we moved in together after seeing eachother for a bit over a year. we’ve been living together for about 18 months. it’s going well. we aren’t married and have no plans to be.

    ” If you’re looking at the future, step-parenting is a HARD gig for anyone.”

    this is so true. be very careful. i would say that being a step-parent is harder than parenting your own kids.

    you can always step back a bit without actually ending it. for what my advice is worth, maybe shelve the “moving in together” discussion for another six months – see how she reacts. also, maybe limit contact with the kids. could be a good idea to find out how she feels about living with kids. talk about some of the difficulties you’ve had as a parent.

    one of my criteria for dating was that the person i was dating had to have at least one kid, but not more than two. no babies or toddlers (i.e. kids had to be at least 5 years old). if things got serious i didn’t want to take on more than i thought i could handle.

    the period between meeting the kids and moving in together was really important because we both got to see eachother’s parenting styles. we have the same core values in this respect. we discussed this pretty extensively and agreed that highly mis-matched parenting styles would be a deal breaker.

    i think that if you can project your mind forwards in time to a view of your relationship that is realistic (i.e. not all fun, being able to negotiate through difficulties, being accepting of the fact that there will be disagreements around kids and parenting), and you feel ok with this, then maybe it’s too soon.

    lots of people are going to jump on you for letting this happen too fast. there are some things that seem to be going too fast. the main issues that stand out for me are:

    – she is pursuing you
    – she doesn’t have kids but seems pretty easy-going about taking yours on.
    – you’re talking about moving in together after six months.

    i think it’s normal to have a few drinks together in a new relationship – it’s fun. i think it’s a problem if you’re not doing anything together when you’re sober.

  • sorry, a couple more things:

    – don’t beat yourself up too much
    – get your divorce finalised asap. there’s some emotional stuff you’ll need to deal with that perhaps you haven’t foreseen. this is something that’s best dealt with on your own, with a therapist and/or with a close friend (not someone you’re dating).

  • sorry again…there’s a typo in my first post:


    “i think that if you can project your mind forwards in time to a view of your relationship that is realistic (i.e. not all fun, being able to negotiate through difficulties, being accepting of the fact that there will be disagreements around kids and parenting), and you feel ok with this, then maybe it’s too soon.”

    should be:

    “i think that if you can project your mind forwards in time to a view of your relationship that is realistic (i.e. not all fun, being able to negotiate through difficulties, being accepting of the fact that there will be disagreements around kids and parenting), and you DON’T feel ok with this, then maybe it’s too soon.”

  • Chump lady. I love the work you do but have to call you out a bit on this blooper: “This should give you pause. You DO have kids. Kids are a major commitment, and while I have absolutely nothing against the single and childless, you have both traveled very different life paths. There are things that childless people do not get, like vomit in your hair, or sleepless nights with colicky babies, or spending all your disposable income on orthodontists, or 3 a.m. last-minute science projects (thank Jesus for 24-hour Walgreens!)

    My point is — kids require sacrifice. You don’t have shared experience here. Your kids have already been thrown over by one parent for a fuckbuddy, make sure whoever you introduce them to (more bitchslapping on that in a moment) understands your priorities as a parent and doesn’t take offense.

    Maybe she’s 42 and always wanted kids and loves the idea of yours. That’s nice. But in my experience, people do the things they want to do in life. If she really wanted kids, she would have had some already or adopted some by 42.”

    I’m a major chump where ‘the biggest’ and most utterly devastating and life-long impact of my chumpitude is not having had kids. I found out at 38 my partner was having an affair with a stripper just after my son was stillborn and spirallied into such devastating tail spin of greif that I ended up being that 42 year old woman who you glibly assume ‘couldn’t have or didn’t want kids”. Pretty cruel assumption – and so very, very, very wrong. I know another women who was trying for a baby for 6 years before finding out her partner was a cheater who had a vasectomy – 7 years before. Yay! And I could give you a dozen other examples. More information via This kind of prejudice against child-less/child-free is everywhere in society so you won’t be the first or last to make these kind of assumptions. But I hope to raise awareness in you as you as generally so awesome and this is just a bit of a slip. Thanks

    • Oh and I didn’t have the money for IVF either as Mr Cheaterpants also took all my money. Then I got turned down for adoption – same reason. So purlease…y’know. Compassion!

  • Delta, the reason these Chumps are cautious is because children need to be a parent’s priority. In a new relationship the sweetheart is often going to take a back seat to the needs of the children. A person without them might not get that. Also, those are not the gf/bf children so a breakup down the road would have a negative impact on everybody. The kids have already been through the hell of a divorce. Asking them to make room for another adult is tricky. On another blog a women is mourning the loss of her step-children as her ex moves on to another woman. The children miss her as well.
    My brother and his children were abandoned. He remarried happily but combining families took work.

  • Dear Let go. I have 20 years experience working in front line child protection. I have fought and protected the rights of children unflinchingly and unfailingly. I have helped hundreds of men like your brother. Am i less worthy of compassion?

  • What I mean is………….I put children first. Every time. Always. Even at great personal cost. So don’t tell me a human being is more caring and worthy just because they are a parent.Parenthood is not a reliable marker of being a good person in my experience.

  • I never meant that. What I meant was that the dynamics in a family change completely when a new person or family move in. How this man and his girlfriend deal with this should be slow. She might get just attached to the children as they to her. If something should happen to the relationship it will break her heart as well. If this is meant to be then taking it slow won’t wreck anything.

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