Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Happy Birthday Chump Lady

50fuckingyearsoldHi Chump Nation! Yesterday was my 50th birthday, although I’m here in Quebec, so if it happens across borders, I’m not sure it counts. Every year on my birthday, I rerun my birthday column. Okay, so it was yesterday. Forgive the three-day weekend. I’m busy filling out my AARP membership forms. 

I gotta say 50 is MUCH better than the 40th birthday (as you’ll read below, I was shoveling shit on my 40th). That smiling person in the picture there is me. Thanks for the day off and I’ll get my aged, saggy butt back in gear tomorrow. — Tracy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a difference six years makes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
    • You’re so pretty! Happy Birthday!!

      I’ve come to find that it’s not the gift at all, it’s the gifter and the intention behind the giving. A pen from the right person is way more than just a nice writing implement, (and I love a good pen! I journal a lot, on paper rather than on a computer, and smooth, properly inky, non-skipping, dark enough pens with the right heft and feel are crucial.) A pen from a narc is just what it says on the tin.

      Enjoy your day. Friends and coworkers made my fiftieth so wonderful; my husband was okay that day, too. We all had a nice Chinese dinner out; my in-laws produced a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, and there were adult beverages aplenty back at the house, although I don’t partake. My BFF brought me flowers and balloons into work earlier that day. It was lovely.

    • Happy Birthday beautiful! Thank you for always telling it like it is and sharing hope with so many people! We can either put up with their crap, or get rid of the crap! You are the walking, breathing example that you can obtain better! And there are many more like you! Hey, there’s ample supply of cheaters out there…..let them have each other!

      You ROCK! Happy Birthday!

  • If that’s aged and saggy I see in the pic above, I’ll take it. You’re glowing, boss. Also, I can confirm the bit about “good people will make the effort” – my guy is the same way.

  • Happy Birthday, Chumplady!!

    A moth before my 40th birthday, a good friend of mine’s husband planned a super elaborate party for her. It was a huge, all weekend party with all her friends, a scavenger hunt, dinner, EVERYTHING in great detail from a Friday to a Sunday.

    I remember wishing my then husband would do anything decent.

    Forward to six days before my fortieth birthday and my early gift was D-Day.

    I remember my 40th being a blur and haze of misery and disbelief. My kids were young and I really felt like I arrived at rock bottom.

    My 40th birthday was memorable in the worst way possible.

    But guess what?

    We share the same birthday, Chumplady! – (Although I am 51). But I too am in a much better place. So much better… D-Days never come at a great time but I’d never want to go back to how I spent my 40th.

  • Happy 50th Birthday, Tracy! I hope you are having a wonderful time in charming Quebec!

    I’m 50 too as of this year. My 40th birthday sucked, too. It was the first time I realized my ex really didn’t give a shit about me. No cake. No presents. He ran up to Target that same day and got me a “funny” birthday card. And this after years and years of making his feel special on this birthday. Homemade cake. Invited his family over for a nice dinner to celebrate him. Cards and presents from me and the kids. And of course all those years he made it a point to go out to lunch with a female “friend” from college — they share the same birthdate. Did he ever take me out for lunch or dinner for my birthday? Hell no!

    I have no idea what it feels like to be in a relationship with a man who makes me feel special. My ex started to make my birthday special AFTER I told him how sad I was that my birthday was never celebrated. Then he started doing stuff. I shouldn’t have had to tell him to celebrate my birthday! A wife should not have to ask for this, especially when she sees her husband celebrate female college “friends” birthday and ho-workers birthdays. I can’t tell you how many cakes I made for that man to take to work for someone’s birthday! At the job he got fired from (probably due to the fact he was hooking up with a ho-worker), he actually asked me to buy Skittles for a ho-worker for her birthday as she “liked them so much!” And what did chump me do? I bought Skittles for his ho-worker. This man made me hate my birthday. I hated that I had to ask to be celebrated just one day of the year. To be made to feel special just one day out of 365 days. Was that too much to ask?

    Thank you for your post, Tracy. I will never settle for a shit sandwich again. I’m happy for you that you found such an awesome gentleman. 🙂

    • Martha, my 40th birthday was a bad one, also. My then husband put no thought or effort into anything. I remember him calling a bakery for a cake for me. It was the night before my birthday, about 6 pm, and he was trying to order a cake. No one could accommodate his request. Could that be because you can’t order a cake for the very next day as most places were already closed or about to close? My birthday is also the same day as a significant, good time holiday (think leprechauns), so I am sure that made my birthday very very hard to remember.
      I used to have parties for him and I would cook and prepare for hours.
      You know what he once said about the parties I had for him? He said that I was only “showing off”.
      They are all assholes.

      • Yep. I threw a huge suprise party for the fucktard with friends and family for his 40th.
        When mine rolled around I got “Uh, I didn’t think you wanted a party because I didn’t think you wanted anyone to know how old you are.”

        • I also threw my then-husband a huge surprise party for his 40th, with lots of friends and family. My 40th? A last-minute gift bought the day before. No party, no forethought. They don’t deserve us and that’s the damn truth.

          • EyesOpen – ‘They don’t deserve us and that’s the damn truth.’

            I’ve been thinking about that all day since I read this thread, on my way to meh, and that’s the damn truth!
            I was meant to feel worthless so much of the time, rejected during funs days of the year, and I put up with it w/o complaint for 35 yrs.
            Damn it – I DESERVE better! I give back every bit and more, if I get a genuine special moment planned just for me.
            Homemade casserole! I’m a happy camper.

      • Super Chump, I’m sorry your 40th birthday sucked too. 🙁 And what’s up with that remark from him that you were “just showing off” when you were trying to do something nice and loving for him. What a jerk!

    • Martha, please know that the way your ex acted on birthdays had nothing to do work how “special” the whore-workers or college hurl-friends were or how “special” you were not. It all had to do with what a sick ass mother fucker he is. It’s all for show, and how much adoration he can get for being such a Nice, Thoughtful Guy. There was nothing in it for him to treat you well on your birthday, you were already doing special stuff for him. It’s an added bonus to these psychonarcs to treat you bad, they ENJOY it.

      • I know that you are right, Anita, about there was nothing in it for him by doing something nice for me for my birthday. But it still hurt so much year after year. I never told my family or anyone anything about how I was being treated. They were shocked to find out about all the emotional abuse. Once I did tell him that I was sad that he never did anything for my birthday, he went overboard. He started taking the day off from work on my birthday. Now mind you, never once did he ask me to take the day off with him. I have no clue why he needed to take the entire day off. He just worked from home. Every year I would say, “Enjoy your day off work on my birthday.” I knew it was all for attention from him ho-workers. “Oh! Jeffrey Dahmer is such a wonderful husband!! Look! He takes the day off work for his wife’s birthday!!!” And Jeffrey just soaked up all that attention he got. And he also started making me a birthday cake or pie each year. He’d get recipes from his ho-workers. Even more attention for him!! God forbid he’d be normal in his response when I told him I was sad that he never did anything for my birthday. A normal husband would have gotten a cake from the grocery store. No! He had to make a big production at work about how he was making me a homemade cake! I did appreciate it, but my gut told me something was “off” in what he was doing. It all makes sense now.

        • Martha, I too never told anyone and then I finally said, no need to protect him, time to protect myself and take a close look at what’s really happening in my life and share, no matter how embarrassed I felt for allowing it to happen to me. The person that is supposed to be my rock and support me and love me was hurting me every day. Such a sad revelation, but one that I eventually came to terms with.

          • Yeah, Peakyblinders. I totally get what you saying. And yes in a way it was embarrassing to tell what was going on all those years. I always felt so insecure about myself. I always felt “not good enough.” I didn’t feel that way when I entered into a relationship with him, but after the first devalue, I was never the same again. And he slowly made me feel “less than”. I never would have imagined it was him that was making me feel like shit about myself, but I can see it clearly now. And I loved him so much and now I wonder why I would love someone who treated me so poorly. I’m working on myself and my picker. ((((HUGS)))) to you Peakyblinders. We’ll come terms with it some day and we will be stronger and more fabulous than before!

          • This made me cry. Stated exactly right for how I am feeling. I always thought I was a strong, independent woman. How did I let this happen? Why did I put up with it for so long? And why did I hide how I was being treated and protect him for so long? It was NOT normal. I thought that this is what you do…overlook your spouse’s flaws and love them anyways.

            I’m done with all that. It is just hard having people know I stayed through the first DDay which I hid from the world (and my kids). And it is hard not to question myself over letting the kids see their dad for who he is without trying to fix it for them and him. I have been protecting them from it and being the bridge between them for so long that it isn’t easy not to step in to set up things for them to do together. However, it is very telling that since I stopped, he has only taken them to do 2 things in the last 10 months. First half was all him not even asking them. The second half has been the kids not wanting to go anywhere with him.

            How do you know when you should stay out of things and when you should help move things along for them? What is best for the kids? This is the hardest part for me…

            • depends the kids age but in general don’t interfere. If that means that when the kids are of age that they don’t want to spend time with him anymore, then that’s on him! Let the chips fall where they may.

              • Martha, Hugs to you too!!!
                GetMeFree, I always saw myself as strong and independent, no BS type gal, until I realized that there are people out there that will do you harm no matter if you have the best intentions or not. How one could be so cruel is beyond my comprehension and could never fathom treating another human being that way. It’s funny, like CN says, they treat everyone around you so wonderfully and then you get the evil eye and condescending/degrading remarks. Blows my mind, but as we all say, too much untangling. Just have to know who we are and what we offer others and avoid blood-sucking vampires.

                As Lovedandlost says, Tuesday and let the chips fall where they may with the kids! I’ve finally let go of trying to warn cheaters of their choices and the consequences. You eff up, then you eff up. (Of course, we deal with aftermath, but it was so freeing to finally get to that point of “It is what it is”.) Not my circus, not my monkeys… Something about that saying becomes reality when we get to Tuesday!

    • C’mon, Martha. You forgot the NPD theme regarding holidays / celebrations where they are not the focus.

      Remember your Mother’s Day celebrations with your clown? Where he told you or proclaimed in front of the children you made with the clown, “you’re not MY mother”.

      I think the same goes for our birthdays, ” it’s not MY (NPD’s) birthday”.

      • Why, how right you are ANC!
        That Narc behavior totally escaped me trying to figure that one out.

        Focus wasn’t on him, therefore . . .

        • Now I’m trying to figure out that every.single.time. we went on a date for dinner, he picked a fight and ruined the nice evening before it even started. Talk about a romantic killer.

      • No, I didn’t forget about that Mother’s Day, ANC! That Mother’s Day was actually within a week of my 40th birthday (my birthday is early May and Mother’s Day comes very soon afterwards.)

        It was by coming here at Chump Lady that the lightbulbs started going off with all the birthdays and Mother’s Days not being celebrated and I made the connection with his NPD. It always felt so bad that he didn’t celebrate my special days, but it all made sense when I made the connection with the help of CL and CN that that’s what narcs do. They need to be the center of attention. My ex doesn’t come across this way at all, but he undermined my special days so that I wouldn’t get any attention at all, because like you said, it wasn’t his birthday! God, if I would have done to him what he did to me all those years with my birthday or Mother’s Day, his mommy would think I was the worse wife in the world (I’m sure she does now as she’s got her baby back and he’s rewriting history, saying I “never took good care of him.”) I’m sure his mommy is eating that crap sandwich up and believing the pathological liars lies. Her “perfect and special” son couldn’t possibly be an evil monster. No way! It’s the wife who was horrible. Good riddance to that crappy, fake “Christian” family.

        • Martha “Her “perfect and special” son couldn’t possibly be an evil monster.” Man… if I had a dollar for how enabling family can be, I’d be a millionaire… Exaggerating, a bit, but the way narcs re-write history is incredible and you do become the evil partner. I shook my head every time his mom felt the need to defend him and tell me or even SHOW me how to be better for her son and treat him like how she did. OMG eyeroll. I bit my tongue so many times for the sake of respecting my elders…

      • OMG. Everything from history now has a new view…

        The mother of my STBX died suddenly a couple of years before our first was born. On my first Mother’s Day, he came home from work and told me how people kept asking him what he had planned for Mother’s Day. His response was “What do I have to celebrate? My mom is gone.” I wrote it off as grief, but the truth is he worked EVERY Mother’s Day. He never sat down and helped the kids plan something special for me. He would just go to the store buy a couple of gifts and cards, have the kids sign them, and then take me to dinner. I finally reduced my expectations for the day down to “it’s just like every other day”. It always bothered me. I would help the kids plan something special every year for Father’s Day yet I couldn’t expect the same from my spouse. And I was made to feel guilty for expecting it.

    • This is so true. Chump Lady, you are truly doing an amazing thing. You gave me hope. You inspire me to choose happiness every day. You changed my life.

  • I don’t know what I’d do without my dad. He set the best possible example about how to conduct myself in the most extreme of situations; showed me what it means to have integrity and a genuine sense of “always do the right thing”; taught me not to take any shit from anybody (especially those who are supremely shitty themselves); and made me understand that life consists of owning up to the mistakes we inevitably make, learning from them, and knowing that tomorrow is another chance for life to get better.

    My dad’s birthday is September 25 (yesterday).

    And now I’ve got somebody else to celebrate on this day, someone who’s help me re-learn each of those lessons in a completely new way.

    Hope you had a great day, Tracy. My sincerest best wishes to you and yours.

  • I never enjoyed my birthday as a child. I am the child of a chump and we never got to celebrate or enjoy things the way my friends did… SO I’m so much of a chump that we picked my birthday to get married (well it was a Saturday in the summer after all…) anyway this year I turned 29 and it was our 4th wedding anniversary all in one. And he’s been cheating on me and leaving our three little kids and I the entire time. So I told myself that for my 30th birthday, next summer, I’m giving myself the gift of freedom from this abuser. 8 years of this has nearly destroyed me. No more!

    Happy birthday, Chumplady and thanks for the reminder!

    (Ps: husband told me this weekend the kids will be living with him and his newest mistress (of 3 Months) on the weekends. This is the man who has never cared for the kids overnight and sees them all of 15 hours per month. I give him the chance to see them every Saturday and Sunday as he travels for work during the week. Does he really think a judge will allow this? Shaking my head and calling my attorney during nap time today! 😉 )

    • I should add that this would be at the home of the mistress not my husband. And she has a minor child. Who lets a man you meet on the internet move into your home with you and your child immediately after your first contact on POF?! She sounds like the dream supply for his crazy needs. Feel bad for her child though!

        • Oh I am. I have an organized binder with daily notes, financial ruin that he left us with, calendar with dates and times of his visits, a section for each mistress (for the divorce), text messages in with the daily notes etc…. he’s going to crap his pants. He forgets that he married way up in regards to intelligence. You would be proud Chumplady!

          • I love your point that he married up (way up) in regard to intelligence.

            I think this is an error lots of cheaters make. Our patience in putting up with cheater-crap makes us persistent when we finally do decide to leave. Our practice cleaning up after them means we know where they leave their dirty laundry. Our organization skills, that have saved their rear-ends many times in the pas,t are now great for kicking them in the can.

            With the dangerous ones, though, this can lead to a lot of time in the “rage” stage of Chumplady’s 3-channel cheater cycle.

      • I feel what you are saying Aloha….getting married on your birthday.

        I didn’t get married on my birthday but I met me now ex-wife on my birthday at a Cubs game. My parents, siblings and friends were having a birthday party for me after the game and I remember calling my Mom that I was not going to attend my birthday party because – “I met a really nice girl”. My Mom was very happy for me and still had the party because my older sis also has the same birthday as me (we are not twins, just a coincidence) but anyway, that was the start of my chumpdom!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!

    The only reason that my 40th birthday didn’t suck is because DDay occurred shortly before my 37th birthday, and because of this site and the support I had in IRL, my divorce was final a few months before my 39th birthday.

    So thank you, CL and CN, for reinforcing that I needed to leave the cheater. Only a couple of my birthdays in my late 30s sucked, but at least during those times, I was on the road to leaving.

  • When a chump finds the right person to be chumpy with…I thought the damage and betrayal my cheating ex inflicted on me was going to somehow ruin me but it didn’t. I stumbled for about 10 months. It seemed like a lifetime and I’m a little ashamed it went on for so long with the pick me dance, pick our kids dance, and pick our life dance. None of this meant anything to him once the mask was off. But I got through the next 4 months of pregnancy alone with our 6 year old and 1 year old. I moved back to our family home he abandoned with 3 kids and faced the bitter New England cold. I took my job back (with the ho worker and him), and took my life back. And when I was ready my 2 best friends set me up with the kindest, most loving person I have ever known. And everyday I remind myself “i deserve this”. And I am so good to him and he is so good to me. I feel like I have a partner. There are no games. Just truth and patience. He has let me work through the effects of the ex’s affair and over the past year we have developed what I believe to be a healthy and normal relationship. This is what I want to model to my children. He will never be their father and my intact family is gone. But they are witnessing first hand what love and respect look like and what they should give and demand in relationships when they are grown. And maybe it works out for the rest of our lives or maybe it will run it’s course and we will part someday. But I will never ever accept less than what he has shown me. I’m still trying to unchump myself. it’s day by day. But NEW CHUMPS LISTEN UP!! There are good people out there. People who would never hurt you like your ex did. Be the good person you are and fix that picker! Just go slow and if it doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut! Don’t spackle!

    • Thank you for this post. Some days it feels like healing will never come…

      I, too, was abandoned when I was pregnant with a 12 and 14 year old and after 20 years of marriage. I refuse to even let myself think about another relationship right now. I know I need to get through this divorce (and hopefully a successful annulment) as well as give myself time to heal. But is good to know that maybe someday I will get the chance to experience love the way it is supposed to be.

      • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady.

        Finding this site was the beginning of my starting to heal. After a couple of months lurking, I went no contact with my STBX except for making arrangements to see the kids. Best. Thing. Ever. Thank you for all you do!

  • Happy 50th Birthday, Ms. Tracy! Your beautiful heart makes this world a better place. May you be showered in terrific people and experiences and surprises, always!

  • “Bonne fete” as they would say in Quebec! Thank you for being born. You are a beacon of hope to all in Chump Nation.

    • The birthday song is different in Quebec too.
      “Ma chère Tracey, c’est à ton tour
      De te laisser parler d’amour ”

      Loosely translated it goes:
      My dear “Tracey”, it’s your turn of letting you speak of love.
      It’s very beautiful esp when sung by a group in loving tribute. So it really is your turn at love. Felicitations!

      • 🙂 We’re discovering in Quebec City they love to sing songs full of pathos and emotion. It’s karaoke on every corner. They do Big Emotion here! I love the Quebec birthday song — thank you!

  • Yes, folks…add me to the “40th Birthday Sucked Wildly but 50th Was Great” club.

    Husband 1.0 did ZERO for my birthday…friends, neighbors (who sometimes pulled funny birthday stunts on each other) did zero, my family (who acted like my SILs 40th was the Second Coming) did zero. I waited all day for my surprise…guess what the surprise was? Yes…that there was no surprise.

    My daughter (then only 9) realized I was su hurt that she tried to throw a part herself the next year…a sweet 9 year olds version…just precious…considering all the adults in my world totally let me down.

    I later learned that H1’s affair started in earnest a few months later…what I saw at birthday was the discount and early discard. The few first years of my 40s just SUUUUUUUUUUCKED.

    H1 died when I was 47 and I started dating H2 when I was 48. (His 40th coincided with his wife leaving to find greener grass that didnt exist, so it sucked too) Just before my 50th, he took me to Turkey, proposed in Ephesus, took me on a yacht cruise of the Aegean Sea (with a few couples and a chef) then to Istanbul to shop the Grand Bazaar and see the Hagia Sophia.

    Results may vary, but fear not Chumps, better days are ahead

    Happy Birthday Chump Lady !!

    • Your story makes my heart happy UnicornNoMore!

      Happy Birthday Chumplady!!!! You bring light and hope to so many!

      For my 43rd B-day XH had me served with divorce papers the day before as I was leaving for a trip to Australia. I thought the server was the airport driver. At the time, I was devastated but have come to realize what a gift he had truly given me. Fast forward three years, I have a wonderful MAN in my life. He’s a brilliant and compassionate physician. I remember the article CL wrote about when she and her husband were dating and he ordered expensive room service tea because she was sick. When we first started dating, I was so happy when my new guy showed up with a glucose meter for me because I was worried about my dog’s Diabetes. I didn’t ask him to do that, he did it because he is kind and caring. I’m hoping on the right track with this one! Thanks Chumplady for providing a roadmap to a better life.

    • unicornomore, I never tire of hearing the story of H2. It is a beacon of hope, like Tracy’s story.

      Maybe you could just include it once a week to keep us alert to the possibility that, in this colossal pile of shit, there is a pony. (apologies for the ‘shit’ theme, but I’m from the farm and this experience has resurfaced my past memories of it!)

      • aww that is sweet. It sounds like Nokibbles 4U got a good one too .

        Today I came home and he looked distressed. We had been working on restoring a really old steamer trunk and I had glued it while he was away. The glueing I did was not as he had wished, in fact it caused him great angst. When I came home, he calmly said something like :

        “I love you I love you I love you and I really need to tell you that there was too much glue, maybe I was unclear but I love you so much but there was glue in each corner and I had to sand for like 2 hours and I know you we trying your best and I love you but please be careful how much glue you use on really old things. I really love you can I have a kiss? If I dont tell you then Im not being true to my feelings, so I had to tell you since there was so much glue”

        so as distressed as he was, he managed to tell me without getting mean. I almost asked him to not preface gripes with “I love you” but I decided against it. I want him to know that it is safe to come to me with a concern i listened without getting defensive and arguing. I accepted the critique graciously. and I gave him a kiss

        • Sweet story, unicornomore. Maybe he could get a nice name, beyond H2.

          As it stand, he is almost H2O ~~ massive, powerful, essential, fluid, waves a lot, buoys everything up, worldly/universal (rather than common), has a high boiling point, is dipolar rather than bipolar, is a real gas at times, can be dense but not always, can be fresh, always odourless. I could go on. I won’t.

          (I loved all the ‘I love you’s)!!!!

          • He is also “Colonel Greatguy” …he was Colonel Goodguy until the book release party in DC and I promised if he came with me he would be promoted to Great, so that is what I put on his nametag.

            At the party, there were a bunch of folks I didnt get a chance to talk to (I was struck that so many people there were young, attractive and vibrant) but I did get to talk to Tempest and Chumptitude both of whom are amazing, beautiful women. Twin dad was just lovely too. There was a very new chump who laughed for the first time in a month and I announced it to everyone and we all cheered.

      • NOT for the ‘expensiveness’ (if that is a word).

        For the thoughtfulness (noticing what one likes/prefers).

        I love A&W, DQ (Dairy Queen) and movie theatres. SO those would work for me.

    • Happy Birthday, Chump Lady!!! Thanks for helping me get stronger ever day.

      Unicornomore, sounds great!!! Gives me hope.

  • A very Happy Birthday to you, Tracy! You look stylish!! beautiful and so happy! It’s wonderful to be on a site with like-minded, genuine, caring people. These are the people you attract, so looks like you fixed your picker all the way around! 🙂 I can’t tell you how much you and everyone here has made a difference in my life and outlook. So thanks and I hope you enjoy your special day!

  • First, CL, let me say You look wonderful!

    Second, the post made m me a little sad, because it reminded me of the NonEffort the ex put into his relationship with me, while simultaneously pouring all his time and attention on a worthless whore. But then I remember this is only Love Bombing from a fraud. It didn’t last on me, it didn’t last on her, and it will never last on anyone because it really is all about HIM and how wonderful he can appear to onlookers.

    • Yes, how he appears. I remember other people knowing and involved in what gift I would get, how it was wrapped, etc. so my surprise was always about what he was doing for me, to impress others. I remember before he left me, he bought himself something expensive and gave me a $4.00 trinket Keychain. I gave that gift back when his stuff was all packed up for him to come get and get the hell out!

    • I’m sorry it made you sad. Cherish the people in your life who make effort. And if you don’t have any, cultivate some. Be kind to yourself. If I was alone on my 50th, I would still do something special. I did myself a great unkindness in my earlier life staying with the No-Effort jerks. (Oh, it’s fine. I’m fine. I’ll just make my needs smaller. Who me? I’m good…) I accepted lopsidedness as natural. I had to *earn* every kibble. I’ve over that shit. I hope you are too. ((Hugs))

  • Oops, forgot to say Happy 50th Birthday! My 50th birthday present was being married to a cheating whore monger, although I didn’t know it at the time.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! So are you and Jenny (Happy Hausfrau) sisters from another mother?! I’m pretty sure today is her 50th birthday too. What’re the odds that my two favorite bloggers (and people in general) share the same birthday??

  • Happy birthday, CL! “You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.” <– Enough said.

    Your ringlets are on point as always, and I truly hope I look half as good as you on my 50th birthday.

    I have to join the chorus of others and say that the shock of being with someone who exhibits reciprocity is the best shock in the world, even though it makes you feel silly for going around on this planet for so long and *not* expecting basic common decency from people. Oh well, at least I've got it now!

  • Huge warmth and massive blessings on you this birthday, and on all your days, Tracy! You and your site have been giant blessings in my life since I found you in 2014. I have cried out loud, and laughed out loud because of Chump Nation and at the stories of the beautiful, broken, mighty Chumps. But it’s your compass that has made the difference for all of us, and many times given us bearings when we couldn’t see or find them among all the pain and confusion.

    A very happy birthday to you and many, many more in this wonderful life that you have rebuilt. Xox!

    • Happy 50th Birthday! You have been such a gift to so many people. A true blessing in my life. My 40th was last week and I’m 4 1/2 months past d-day. Some days barely hanging on…. My stronger days I credit to you and CN. I pray my 50th finds me as happy as you.
      Thank you.

  • Today is my birthday and I’ve been celebrating me all weekend. Fall is a wonder time of year. It’s great to be in the company of good people. Happy birthday Tracy!

  • Happy Birthday! Please know that you have helped hundreds, thousands, maybe MILLIONS of people!
    You are a beacon of light. You have taken your emotional pain to help others.

    Kudos, to you my friend! May this be your best year yet!

  • Happy Birthday! I echo the sentiments of everyone on what a lifesaver you have been. For my 50th I brought a little red convertible which arrived on my birthday. Threw myself a party with all my friends and had a great time. All paid for by me. I was married at the time and it didn’t occur to me to wonder, until I was divorced, why X didn’t think to do that for me. His contribution was to criticize my car, he didn’t know I was buying it, and not even offer to pick up the check on my party. That was the best birthday I ever had, my gift to me. Thank you for opening my eyes that he sucks!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!! You’ve been a gift to all of us!

    The STBX never remembered my birthday, yet he knew everyone else’s. My DIL told me after I filed that he would text her every year and ask her what the date was. I never knew that. Fourteen years, and he didn’t even know his wife’s BD.

    I’m reminded of that each time I go pick up my prescription when the pharmacist asks, “What’s your birth date”. He has it listed wrong on the insurance forms. Now I say, “Well my ex has it listed as the 27th, but it’s the 26th”. Once she looked at me and said, “on purpose perhaps”?

    I think now that is was his way of showing me just how little I meant to him.

    This past summer was my 60th, and I drove the 14 hrs to celebrate it with my family. I spent the day on the beach with my kids and grand kids…. it was wonderful, and it smelled like freedom.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!! I am having a hard time deciding whether I am more jealous of your new husband or your beautiful hair!! 🙂 I hope you enjoy beautiful Quebec!


    Two years ago, I had one of those horrible chump birthdays at 49 … I had just learned that my STBX was sending love notes to a woman he met at the workplace gym lord knows how many years prior. So when I let him know that I knew about her, I specifically asked him NOT to do his usual “checklist” birthday celebration for me because it obviously didn’t mean anything. (Bottle of wine, check. Hallmark card, check. Box of candy, check. Bouquet of cheap flowers, check. … sounds lovely except this exact same assortment showed up each and every time … no thought at all. Just a checklist.) He ignored my request and left the usual on the counter along with a present … wait for it … of size 2 gym clothes that would certainly fit his gym skank, but certainly not size 10 me. And I hate the gym. Icing on my birthday cake? After many promises that he would prove to me just how important to him I was, he left for a ski vacation with his gay lover for Valentine’s Day weekend, which falls one week after my birthday. I of course did not know the significance of that until 2 years later when the REAL D-day happened. Total fucking asshole … quite literally in his case.

  • What is it with this birthday thing and narcs? F**kwit set about ruining my birthdays from the very first year I met him. He very often found a reason to pick a fight either the day before my birthday which carried on through, picked a fight on the day of, or just passively aggressively did absolutely nothing on my birthday. I always made excuses “he was tired” etc. He (high income earner) gave me a key chain on my 30th birthday (before we were married) and did not speak to me for three days because I threw it into a river in anger (at least I had that much gumption). Why oh why did I not see what was yet to come in a married life of ruined birthdays and run away? My last birthday with him was my 50th. I woke up alone, made my own coffee and breakfast while F**kwit slumbered away in the guest room, undoubtedly after a long night of looking at porn on line. The massage therapist I had pre-booked arrived and I had a massage in my bedroom (like a true chump, I had booked and paid for a massage for F**kwit to follow mine). By then everyone was up and I could hear the children in the kitchen below asking for breakfast. I heard F**kwit telling them that Mommy would get it for them while he was having his massage – he was too busy reading the paper to prepare their breakfast. I knew in my heart then that he did not care one bit for me. It was not a revelation. He let me know in so many ways every day that I was not at all important to him (see CL’s observations above about “effort”). I just refused to act – emotional paralysis. D Day occurred months later and five months after separation, on my 51st birthday, he sent me an email rescinding the offer of spousal and child support that he had had his own lawyer prepare. “It was going to cost him too much money”. Very special that he saved that important communication for my birthday. I was glad that he did it because it underscored his fuckupedness and reinforced my decision to leave and be free of his hatefulness. Last year I came to realize that the long time friend who always took me for a birthday lunch was from Switzerland and I gave her the heave ho too. This past birthday was lovely and spent with people who genuinely care about me. My girls made me a very special cake and we celebrated a wonderful day.

    Happy birthday Chump Lady. You are a wonderful inspiration to me. Many happy returns of the day.

    • Cheap gifts from a wealthy man do mean something. I know that gifts are extremely unimportant compared with genuine love and affection … really guys, I DO know this for a fact. But my STBX earned a high 6 figure salary and sent me out into the world wearing a $20 10K gold band purchased from Walmart. He spent more than that on his special shoelaces for his tennis shoes. Kudos for tossing that key chain into the drink … it was a premonition of your future mightiness.

    • What a colossal fuckwit. Who care what he *wants* to give you in a divorce settlement? You get a kickass lawyer and DEMAND a decent settlement.

      If you haven’t served him yet, serve those papers and include a cheap keyring.

      • I have a kickass lawyer but he is a sick, angry f**k who is enraged that he was dumped and that his lovely family beard for the double life with young hookers and sugar babies was blown. He is in his early 60s, could work but has “retired” citing a non-compete in his employment contract. He refuses to draw his pension and lives off his savings which are substantial. Thus, no income, tiny support cheque for me and the children. He has been served and I’m not done with him yet. Watch this space. So grateful for support here and from my local Chumps.

  • Happy Birthday, CL… and welcome to the 50th club! I just joined a few weeks ago myself!

    Thank you for re-posting this. I’ve been in a bit of a funk because my STBX had my son for visitation on my birthday (as part of his summer vacation visit). And, when we brought him home, Mr. Sparkles didn’t have so much as a card for my son to give me. NOTHING. NADA.

    And, I remembered – Mr. Sparkles ALWAYS SUCKED at birthdays and anniversaries and Xmas. Zero effort. Why should I think anything would change now that we are apart.

    And, I’m sad – because it made my son sad. So now I’m trying to figure out how to help my son remember these special dates so he can contribute as he would like to do… and not have to rely on his loser Dad to be a stand-up guy.

    (For the record, I did make sure my son had a gift for Mr. Sparkles on his b-day. They were celebrating it with the OW and her kids and I didn’t want my son standing there with empty hands.)

    Small bumps in the road, I know… I guess the best gift of all is his absence from my life. Too bad my son doesn’t understand that quite yet.

    Rock on Tracy – have a great day! And Rock on Chump Nation.

    • ICanSeeTheMehComing – If your son is young, you could encourage him to make a gift and card before he leaves for holidays and tell him that you will put it aside for when the birthday comes around. Then phone him on your birthday and tell him how much you loved his card and gift. Don’t expect your ex to man up, it’s not going to happen. You are a SUPER mom to give that child the guilt-free opportunity to make his father a card. That’s called “parenting”. When your son is a bit older, you can tell him you love your birthday and pick another day when he is home when you can celebrate together – make a cake together, blow out the candles together etc. After I got rid of F**kwit, my 9 year old girls kept me out of the kitchen and made me a beautiful cake which they brought to my bedside with a coffee the next morning, my birthday. Later we went tobogganing and watched a family movie together. They were so proud of themselves to be able to make it a special day.

      • Great feedback Indomitable! I’ve made Mother’s Day a day where my son and I do something together (amusement park; NYC to see a show)… could make Birthday another day.

        Guess on some twisted level I had hoped Mr. Sparkles would man-up. Nice part of him NOT doing so reinforces that he is a sociopathic narc only out for himself 🙂

        • FWIW, I never expected my ex to encourage my son to do anything for me. And if he did, frankly, it would creep me out. I do let him know about significant dates and he’s good about following through on his own.

          Also I never encouraged my son to do anything for his father. That relationship is his responsibility. And he mirrors what his dad puts in — which is virtually nothing.

    • ICanSeeTheMehComing!, An idea might be to tell your son that the best birthday gift you could ever have will always be him. 🙂 I bet I’m right there! Quality time is always more memorable than a tangible gift… that’s the real lesson behind gift giving is love and intent. Just as an aside, when people who didn’t care for me (usually co-workers going through the motions) gave me a gift, I would always give it away… Why? Because the intent/sentiment attached to the gift was not a positive one. What I’m trying to say is that anything you receive from your F**wit is tainted and thoughtless anyway. Hope it helps you to not feel so bad… He’s the one that should feel bad in the first place!

      • PB – totally agree… I’m cherishing every day with my kid… they go by so fast.

        It will be sad when he is old enough to truly understand how disordered and selfish his Dad is… but he’s got one sane parent – and CL reminds us, that is all our kids need.

    • ICSTMC – one of the things I’ve done for the past three Mother’s Days and birthdays since the douchebag abandoned me and my daughter is explain to her (then 14 year-old) that a small, handwritten note, letter, or even a small piece of art (like when she was little) is so much more valuable and precious to me than any ‘ol card that she could buy. It’s really worked.

      She goes back to her room when SHE wants to, and works away at something for me, having me in her heart while she does it. When she gives me these things now for Mother’s Day and my birthday, she sees how they make my cry with love and true appreciation for her effort and honesty, and I set them out or have them right next to my bedside for months. Her sweet little drawings, and writing to me how much she loves me and is glad we’re together. That’s GOLD! Plus, I get more kid projects that I thought were LONG gone!

      I also don’t ever want her to feel that if she doesn’t blow money on me or anyone else, that it doesn’t mean anything. If she gives of herself through a small, personalized project, and the person receiving doesn’t recognize and appreciate her for it – dump ’em, girl! Plus, this type of gift-giving teaches them how to really think about the person they’re writing to, or for whom they’re working on a project. Putting thought, love and attention into a gift is SOOOO much more precious. Good luck!

      • KFMM – Thanks for the ideas! I’m going to suggest the same to my son (and that he can consider those options for his Dad too!)

        I remember a post you put up in my early days… about the sinister spouse who expresses ZERO NEEDS but insteads festers and does nothing to help… but can easily cast about blame. BOY – did that strike home with me about Mr. Sparkles.

        I guess I want to be sure I’m raising my son to be a man who is engaged and thoughtful. Heaven knows I don’t need “presents”, but I’m sure his future partner wouldn’t mind unexpected moments of delight and thoughtfulness… that is what I’m aiming for 🙂

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! Also, happy celebrating in Quebec 🙂 I am from nearby, so it’s nice to see you are visiting in Canada. Wishing you all the very best, and thank you for what you do. Hugs

  • Happy birthday Tracy! I echo all the remarks of how meaningful this site and your hard fought wisdom has been. Please keep it going for all the future chumps.

    X would remember my birthday with the obligatory red roses, feeling-less “bump on the lips”<— his version of a kiss, and week happy birthday. Repeat for the 35 anniversaries. On the 35th I had to put a beloved cat to sleep. He never remembered to take me out for that anniversary but did remember to bang his 25 yr old trash-ho the next week while I was out of town. Sweet memories

  • Happy birthday! Thank you for all that you do to bring respect and sanity back to the wonderful world of relationships.

    And dare I ask whereabouts in Quebec? I’m nearby and would be delighted to show some Canadian hospitality and buy you a drink – or a sweet roll, or a Beaver Tail – a truly Canadian treat.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Glad you celebrated your day with a very happy, and might I add, a very contagious smile!

    Gosh, I am right behind you as I will be 47 this Wednesday. Well off to court – Downtown Chicago – Judge will make his determination at 1:30 if I will receive temporary full custody of my 3 little birds. My fingers are in a permanent knot!

  • Happy Birthday Chumplady!
    My birthday was my D-day and the day I found you and Chump Nation.
    Looking back that was the best birthday gift I ever got, the chance to live again. I wish I could give you a gift as amazing as the one you gave me.
    That you, thank you, thank you! I love you all!

    That was over a year ago. Since then I had my first post cheater birthday. I woke up happy, alone. I looked forward to my day for the first time in years and I got a gift from PTSD Guy that I wear it everyday to remind myself that things get better. And if for some reason it doesn’t work out with PTSD Guy then at least I have seen that I deserve and am worthy of so much better, just like everyone else here.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!! The day you were born you were destined to save lives. You saved mine. I hope your life is beyond blessed in return for all you do to help good people maneuver through the hell of infidelity and mental abuse. i just feel I can never thank you enough for giving me SOMETHING to work with when I had nothing left. You gave me strength and comfort through words through this blog. Have a blessed birthday?

  • A very happy birthday to you Tracy. I am so glad you were able to kick the cheater to the curb to make way for your loving hubby today. You deserve every good thing to come your way.

    Your hard work at Chump Lady has touched so many lives including mine. Thank-you for giving me the tools to finally connect the dots that allowed me to heal important parts of my life. I will always be grateful to you and Chump Nation!.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady, thank you for all your inspiration!

    My 50th is in 6 months, and I can’t help but feel sad that I’ve got no-one to plan a fantastic celebration with. My cheater left me with herpes (he didn’t think it necessary to tell me about it until 3 years in and, being a chump, I remained in the relationship). On my birthday last year he decided to email his ‘convenient vessel’ (his description of her, not mine), as he had one month before, on our anniversary (I discovered both of these incidents later on, not really sure why he picked our special days to reach out to the woman who he said meant nothing to him). I’m still struggling with NC and the pick me dance – I let him back in my life after D-Day last year, when I ejected him from my home on discovery of his new membership of a herpes dating site, as well as contact with a woman who he had previously cheated with. He took some of his stuff and said he was going to his mom’s, but within 2 hours of leaving, he booked into a hotel with his convenient vessel (who lives in a different country, but just happened to be in town). He’d never taken me ANYWHERE in 5 years, not a gig, not a meal, and certainly never a hotel! Still I took him back and tried to make it work, causing me an additional year of pain and further opportunity for him to crush me with his constant lies. So now my big birthday is looming, I’ve gained three stone and am so broken, pretty much crying every day, hoping he’ll come back and be kind to me. How much more chumpy could I be?! I’m trying to stay positive, I suppose a lot can happen in 6 months, but I never expected to feel such a mess at this point in my life and I seem unable to stop puffing on the hopium pipe. Maybe I should write off my 50th, and focus on my 51st – I’ve never been especially traditional, and if I’m not up to full strength by next April, I need to believe I can be MIGHTY by 2018!

    • Betty, we chumps tolerate so much and the lessons are hard ones for sure. The one mistake we make is thinking that these asshats determine our lives. WE make our lives great! They are just fortunate to be in them! They will never realize what they lost, but it’s not up to us to help man-children with adult choices.

      That’s the one thing I gave up this year. Trying to fix stupid! I’m only responsible for my choices and if my partner chooses to mess up on his end, then so be it… Once a cheater told me… I listen to both guys on my shoulder and I said, “well then… you win some, you lose some! Let’s just say that I like to win..”. as in that’s why I make safe adult choices in my life. Why? Because I believe your choices do come back to haunt you… I don’t think the choice to leave this loser in the dust is a bad choice for you, it’s just difficult to navigate through your hopium right now. At any rate, The best consequence you gave your cheater is to leave him in the dust with all of his monkeys. Don’t look back now…

      I know it’s hard, but you owe it to yourself to stay busy doing things you love doing and enjoying your life cheater-free. Unfortunately, you can’t fix this loser, but you can start to heal yourself. Best of luck and hugs to you…

    • Betty – Herpes is not death sentence, girlfriend… so don’t think your dating pool only consists of your X.

      Plan something for your b-day. I took a trip to an island (metaphor!?!)… and believe me, you’ll find plenty of strangers on tour buses and cruises and the like who would LOVE to wish you and sing to you a Happy Birthday.

      50 is a milestone… don’t make it one you look back on with regret… you’ve got enough of those from the Vessel Seeking Loser you’re going NC with starting now.

      You’ve got this.

    • Don’t write off 50. Why not give yourself the gift of dumping the fuckwit? Seriously, it’s a gift that will keep on giving. You don’t need him to wake up and do something nice for you — he’s not going to. Abusers do the “come here closer… so I can slap you” thing. It’s a bad cycle. GET OFF IT.

      You do something nice for yourself. Take care of yourself. Treat yourself with the respect and care that you wished someone else would. You deserve it.

      Herpes sucks, but it’s not a death sentence or a reason to stay with a cheater who’s just going to expose you to God knows what else.

    • Herpes is not a death sentence. I have it. My ex gave it to me, he knew he had it, and said nothing. Then he blamed me for getting it. (?!) The doctor who gave me the news told me his friend would say I had chosen poorly. Without thinking I said, “Your friend sounds like a bitch.” I used to feel mortified, but now I’m all, “Rly? She wants to judge and shame someone who loved and trusted their partner?”
      There was one man who said he could get herpes from me by shaking my hand, and that he didn’t want to see me. I told him, “I don’t want to see you. I want to see someone who realizes I am so much more than herpes.” He came back, for some reason, I let him. I dumped him later for not respecting my boundaries. Think of your herpes infection as a jerk detector. If a guy gets hung up on that, then he is not the guy you want. My new husband didn’t care that I had herpes. He loves me for who I am. And we have had two little babies since we got married (neither of the babies have herpes, we took precautions during delivery). Looking back, I can seriously say getting herpes probably helped me more than it harmed me. It kept me from sleeping around and being a target for bad people, because I wasn’t going to sleep with someone without telling them, and I wasn’t going to tell someone I didn’t trust. It felt like an instant picker-fixer, for sure. 🙂

  • Warmest birthday wishes to you Tracy! Thank you for picking me up on some of my darkest days and making me believe that a happy future is possible.

  • Happy 50th, Tracy. I am very grateful to both you and the “nation” that you created. I may not post often anymore (trying to work on that “gain a life” thing…). Nonetheless, I still start every weekday by reading your daily posts. Your wisdom, humor, and wittiness have helped me immensely. I honestly do not know how I would have gotten through the past (almost) 8 months without you and this community. Wishing you all the best…

  • Even though it took 8 years, the end of my marriage started on my 40th birthday. We were in Italy on a student trip. We also had our two “tweenage” daughters with us…

    What a set up for a fantastic gesture, even a tiny gesture would have been wonderful.

    Day of my 40th birthday? – nothing. Not even a card. Apparently, being in Italy (A trip I completely organized, fundraised for my students for and did all the work for ) was my “gift”.
    He did not understand why I was so angry. He said that I could “pick up” something while we were there-

    >wink, wink, that was his PLAN all along – except the kids ratted him out.<<

    He did not care. He did not care enough to think ahead. By the trip home he had it ALL TRUNED around that I WAS THE ABUSIVE one, – abusive to HIM, and he could "never do anything right for me." – blah, blah blah.

    It started going downhill from there….
    What a total asshole.

    • Oh Mag, we could write a book on the “turning it around and now the chump is abusive” crap. Sigh, it gets old, doesn’t it? Talk to that brick wall much? I did. Glad you got out of that hell on earth.

      • Yes, my cheater had a PhD in turning his abuse into someone else’s fault, usually mine or the kids’, or those jerks at work who didn’t understand his brilliance. Someone posted here last week about DARVO, and a giant light bulb went on over my head. I had no idea his technique was actually a “thing.”

        • When looking up DARVO I found some interesting notes that I can sadly relate to: Minimization was in the form of telling me that everything said was in jest/ just joking!

          Abusers typically employ different types of denial. Perhaps you’re familiar with some of the following ones:
          ◾Outright denial or gaslighting. “That never happened.”
          ◾Minimization. “It wasn’t that bad.”
          ◾Amnesia. “I don’t remember doing that.”
          ◾Redefinition. “I have a bad temper, so you shouldn’t upset me.”
          ◾Projection. “You’re abusive and controlling. You hurt me.”
          ◾Conversion. “I did wrong, but I’m a changed person and won’t do it again.”

          • My abuser/cheater deceloped the technique where he would say something in a way that was IMPOSSIBLE to discern if he was serious or kidding. After the situation played out, he would claim whichever angle benefitted him to my detriment. If I argued, he claimed that I should have known what he meant.

            I told him that he was unreadable (thinking that he would try to be clearer with me to facilitate good communication) but of course it reinforced to him that his actions were right on target to create zero-accountability for him.

            He also claimed the amnesia defense and projected more than anyone I ever met.

            • When you give them the answers, they just lie and cover up some more. But I always say, you can’t lie and pretend forever….

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!
    My last birthday in the marital home, I can not remember what happened. I was so sick I thought I was going to die, so probably little or nothing was done for me.
    Fast forward six months, I was left for dead. Wasband told me he would have honored his marital vows but I did not die soon enough. He tried to take the new mattress and box spring for his new fuck toy, but I needed the bed because I was so sick and the visiting nurse came every other day.
    My first aha moment came weeks later upon discovering withdrawals from the marital checking account about the time of my birthday and Valentines day. Wasband was supposedly at work, why were there cash withdrawals at a club that was holding widow and widower dances?
    I was a very chump slow learner, but thanks to you Tracy and Chump Nation, I know any birthday, even if spent alone is better than a birthday spent married to a sociopath.
    There is no way I would be here today to say happy birthday to you Tracy without all of the support that is offered here at this website.
    Rock on Everyone
    Oh, Sunday is also my dear mom’s birthday!

  • If only we had crystal balls that could tell us in our time of terror and loneliness–Look! It’s going to be ok! You’re going to be ok!

    That’s where you come in. It really does get better.

    Thanks for helping us to see, for helping us to find our courage, for being a safe place.

    Happy Birthday!

  • I truly hope you have a very Happy Birthday Tracy. CL and CN literally saved my life and I am now a very contented lady and that is all thanks to you and this fantastic site and the great contributors. You have started a movement that will not be stopped. Sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart, when I was often told I didn’t have a heart at all !!

      • Yes I have FW and I hope you are well and truly on your way also . I suppose all we can hope for is to find peace through all of the crap we have gone through. Bless you as well FW. Just think, none of us would have met had we not suffered so badly and stumbled on Tracy’s site. Thank God for CL and CN. Tracy’s blood is worth bottling and I mean that in the nicest way Tracy !! :).

  • Happy birthday, Tracy. 50 is just the beginning for strong women, the time when we fully come into our own. You’ve been ahead of that curve, so I look forward to the awesome Tracy-force that will be released in years to come.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. I’m glad your days of shoveling shit for a POS on your birthday are over, and that you’ve found someone who loves and appreciates you in all the ways you deserve. I do think you should reconsider your position on French Toast – just sayin’ . . .

  • Congratulations on your 50th birthday, Tracy! You look great and your happiness shows through and through. Thank you for the dedication and effort you’ve put into this blog. I’ve learned so much here. The wisdom from you and members of CN are my main inspiration towards my new life of unchumping myself and finding reciprocal relationships in ALL areas. Happy belated birthday to you, with much love and respect.

  • Indeed. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Tracy. Lucky you can’t hear the singing!

    I remain profoundly grateful to you EVERY day for your guidance through this foul sewer called infidelity. So much shit must be great fertilizer for new growth!! (cow manure really got me thinking)

    I’ll share an old blessing tossed amongst some friends of mine: Each morning, as your feet hit the floor, may Satan shudder and think, “Awww shit. She’s awake.”

    My 50th is a remote memory! Those of my ‘vintage’ have been noticing our remarkably increasing patience, but Maxine (who sometimes borrows our blessing, I think!!) clarified that process rather well:

    Have a great day, Tracy. And all the best to CN every day.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. Today, on your birthday, I will not burden you with my tale of woe. Suffice it to say that my recently ex husband found every excuse possible to make my birthdays miserable. My birthday is in six weeks and if it is not filled with the love and joy yours (so deservedly) is, well at least he can’t ruin another birthday for me.

    What I want to say is, you have done so much for me (and all the others on this site). On very bad nights, when I ached with pain and loneliness and wanted to talk to him, I got comfort from reading your book and your blog and all those wonderful comments from my sisters (and brothers) on this site. When I did reach out and he ignored me (yet again), I read your book and blog and was reassured that his behavior didn’t mean that I was invisible or unloveable. My friends are wonderful, but they have not walked my walked. Everyone here has. Also, you have given me hope that there are true, kind and loving men out there and that if I want a second chance, I have to give it to myself. Have a wonderful birthday and eat some fondue (the best fondue ever is in Quebec).


  • Happy Birthday to the fabulous ChumpLady!
    You look happy and beautiful, with your curls and big smile! Like the poster child for Gain A Life. I am adding to the chorus of people who are so grateful for what you’ve done here, it’s been a miracle for me. You showed me the way out, and I thank you. Enjoy your getaway with your wonderful man!

  • I am so grateful that I found your web site in 2012. Even though my d-day had been in 2007 and I finally got rid of my serial cheating husband in 2011 (extremely chumpy, pick me dancing went on), I needed validation of my experience. Your posts were like a light bulb going on for me! Finally someone was saying what I had experienced and understood the abusive nature of infidelity. Have a happy birthday and know that I applaud you every day!

    My 45th birthday is the one I will always remember as the most bizarre and telling. My ex, Dr. Strangelove called me out of the blue and said that for my birthday he would meet me at the local jewelry store and that I could pick out anything I wanted. I very nearly asked him, “who are you and what have you done with my husband?” Being a raging narcissist, he had never been a good gift giver or thoughtful in any way. He usually gave me gifts that had to do with him or his interests. Like the Christmas I got motorcycle accessories because he had decided “we” should ride. Anyway, I showed up at the jewelry store and we looked in all the cases. He announced loudly to the staff his intention no doubt to look like a generous, wonderful husband. Being the practical chump that I am, instead of diamonds, I opt for a nice watch. Three months later on d-day I look back and think he intended this to be my “lovely parting gift”. Should have gone for the diamond necklace.

    Ironically in the divorce hearing his lawyer asked me if my husband had ever given me expensive gifts. I said no. She was trying to prove that I was low maintenance so I didn’t need much alimony. The strategy backfired. I think the judge thought my surgeon husband was a jerk blowing money on other women and gambling and not spending much on his wife. I received very generous alimony for 15 years.

    Last year I gave up the alimony to marry my sweet husband who treats me like a real partner. Reciprocity is so wonderful. I can’t believe I settled for so little for so long.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Thank you for being you!

    My timeline is so close to yours and today is my birthday! My 40th sucked as well. My X told me 3 weeks prior that he “needed space” but wouldn’t move out until after my birthday (the end of the month) because it just wouldn’t be fair to me. (He moved in with the 25 year old OW#2/aka Unibrow but didn’t tell me anything. He did tell his friends and colleagues, go figure.) God knows why but I agreed to celebrate my birthday as an intact couple over dinner with close friends and family. Inside I was dying a slow death. I wanted to be invisible. Fast forward a year – through a bunch of wreckoncilation, gaslighting and lots of weird sh*t – to DD#2 and I plugged the plug. I vowed never ever to have a birthday that terrible again. I vowed never ever to pretend to make someone else look good at my expense.

    I look back at that time and remember the pain, anxiety, confusion and anger. I’m surprised at the inner strength I had/have. I grown leaps and bounds since then. I am a better, healthier and stronger person! Sure, there have been some set backs and CN has really helped!

    If you are new to CN, you really can do it. There is help here. Thank you CL!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy. Thank you for giving all of us at CN hope for a better future. With your strong guidance and wisdom, we look forward to a new life. Sending you a big hug on your special day.

  • Chumplady, I too share your birthday. I turned 48 yesterday.
    What I remember about pre d day birthdays when I was with my ex is that he used to hand me $100 and tell me to go buy myself something, and that he would put ZERO effort into it. He would even act inconvenienced to go to a dinner that my sister would put on.
    My awesome new life includes the best guy who made dinner for me along side my daughter and my sister. Who MADE me a beautiful handcrafted piece of art for my wall from reclaimed Georgia barn wood to hang pictures of my new life on.
    I am so happy, lucky, and blessed.
    My ex’s affair partner can enjoy buying her own gift. Karma.

  • Happy birthday Tracy!! I hope your day is full and wonderful! Thank you for all the support you have given to people. I hope you have many more wonderful birthdays!!!!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy and thank you for everything you are doing for us chumps!
    Happiness makes you look so young, you look barely 30 on that photo. You paid it forward starting this blog and look at your life now, full of your husband and your family’s love and the gratitude of a few million chumps.

  • Thank you God for making Tracy. She writes the truth in a bizarre world where most people do not want to hear it, see it, or believe it.
    Happy Birthday Tracy!

  • Hope you enjoyed Quebec. Were you in Quebec City? Its beautiful there this time of year. You would be so welcome in The Maritimes also – just like New England but not as expensive. You look great at 50. My birthday is September also – it was my 53rd. 2 1/2 years unchumped but no “meh” in sight as I have a 10 yr old to coparent. Just wish he and his Mormon AP would go live in Fla. I think the Karma bus goes that way.

    • I am indeed in Quebec City. It’s gorgeous here. I’ll have to check out the Maritimes too. Just get me in the cool weather and feed me French food. I love Canada! Happy birthday! May your ex move to Florida.

      • Happy Birthday Chump Lady
        Yes Quebec is wonderful your in my neck of the woods, I’m just outside of Montreal..
        Hope you are having a wonderful time.

  • happy birthday to the Saint of us Chumps. Tracy, all the happiness and love in the world to you. 50 is the new 30…or may be its just fifty but its pretty good.

  • Happiest of happy birthdays, and may the coming year be filled with health, joy and success! Thanks for all you do for Chump Nation.

  • Just want to add my Happy Birthday wishes for you. You were a gift from heaven for me. You saved my life. I am so happy you found your gift from heaven. You give me hope.

  • Happy Birthday! Mine was the day before yours – September rocks.

    I have to admit, I get all angsty when people start talking about how great/awful their new/old guy is/was, at gift giving. When she walked out on me, my stbxw told me she knew she had to when her 50th birthday didn’t go as planned. We had been out to a very fancy restaurant and hung the birthday banner in the kitchen. Of course, that didn’t count, because it was our son’s birthday the day before. We were broke, and she knew it, and told me she would wait and get a present later. But I didn’t do enough, and so she had to schedule a flight to Florida and spend a weekend with an old lover. Oh yes, and then burn our marriage to the ground. Gift-giving – the most important thing.

    • I hear you, oaktree.

      I’ll bet [insert wealthy famous guy’s name here] bought [insert equally wealthy famous woman’s name here] the best gift ever, and she still cheated on him.

      Oaktree, you could have bought your wife a chartered-jet flight to Milan accompanied by Marc Jacobs and Anna Wintour along with a full compliment of hair, makeup, and massage therapists, and that bitch still would have cheated on you.

      But yeah, I hear you, man. The gift giving is a thing for some women. I doubt any of us chumps here would measure up to each other’s future-mate measurement at this point. All so raw. So many indignities endured.

      Can’t wait until you are away from her, oaktree. Keep the faith, dude.

      • This makes me sad that guys think that women are all about expensive gifts and fancy stuff. Most of us are not like this at all. All I wanted was some effort. To think for one day that I was worth the effort it took to go out and buy me something that I’d love or cherish or need. I went through 20 Valentine’s Days and never once got flowers, candy or asked out for dinner. 12 birthdays with barely a nod. Ten Mother’s Days with no card, no presents from either him or the kids. In the almost 25 years we were together, I got flowers twice and both times they were delivered. I can’t tell you how many times I saw men at the grocery store and they had flowers in the hands to take to their someone special. My heart always sank, because I wondered what I was doing wrong that my husband didn’t think I was worthy of flowers once in awhile. He knew I loved them, but chose not to ever give me any. But his mommy and auntie got flowers for Easter every year. Did he ever consider giving me flowers for Easter? No. Never not once. The bar is not set high. It’s not about the gift. It’s about someone you love taking the time out of their busy life to spend a few hours thinking about you. My most cherished gift from my kids is a picture collage they made for me. They were so small when they made it, but they made it on their own and to this day, it sits in my living room. It will always be in my living room. I used to cherish my diamond earrings my ex gave to me. I’m not a jewelry person, but he gave me diamond earrings the Mother’s Day before my son was born. I’m guessing some guy from work told him he should do that as he got me a wrap for my engagement ring for our 20th and according to him, he wasn’t “happy.” I used to cherish my earrings because they reminded me of the happy time before our son was born and my first almost Mother’s Day. Now I look back and recall that he didn’t even go to the jeweler to go get them. The transaction was all done over the phone and the earrings were mailed to my exes place of business. I guess I was worth a ten minute phone call? I’m not big on gifts, but it’s nice to feel like we are worth more than ten minutes of someone’s time.

    • because your STBX wife is a slut. Real women don’t require expensive gifts, or a limousine to a fancy restaurant on their birthday.

    • Happy birthday Oaktree. On the gift-giving, it’s not the gift, it’s the effort. It’s being considered. With disordered whackadoodles, you can never please them. There aren’t enough kibbles.

      The point is, you were being giving. Did she give back? No, she acted like an entitled brat.

      Someone upthread said getting a pen is nice — and it is nice. If you like pens. The disappointment in that pen wasn’t that it was cheap, (it was a nice pen, as pens go) — it was that HE liked fancy pens. I never in my life had said, boy, what I would REALLY like for my birthday is a pen. The pen was an extension of him.

      People who love you, love YOU. Not the material stuff you bring to the relationship, but your effort. Your willingness to connect.

      Don’t internalize her rejection. It’s one dumb cheater’s opinion. Lots of women would love a loving partner and a nice dinner out.

    • Oak tree, I would have loved for my STBXH to have done ANYTHING for my birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. He finally bought me a Christmas gift right before he moved out…an Elsa figurine from Frozen. This after I watched him race to 4 different stores to buy a damned stuffed frog for his whore. ( he had me with him at 3 of the stores). So, he put effort into her gift and spent 10 seconds on the Internet for mine.

      It wasn’t the gift, it was idea of the thought, care and effort that someone who really loves you brings to the table that make events special. I went 25 years without anything from him. All while hosting all the holidays for both sides of the family, making a huge deal out of his birthday, trying to make our kids birthdays special -which his family inevitably ruined. And NOTHING in the way of reciprocity from him.

      Don’t be jaded by your ex…..we all know how selfish they are. Real women are happiest with the little gestures that show you see us, connect with us and want us to be happy. We don’t need fancy this or big that. Just love us and show us that we mean something. It’s more than enough.

      • Special Snowflake – ‘Real women are happiest with the little gestures that show you see us, connect with us and want us to be happy. We don’t need fancy this or big that. Just love us and show us that we mean something. It’s more than enough.”

        Miss Snowflake – truer words were never more spoken.
        On your b’day, if you dress up like a queen and go for dinner, you feel pretty special and hope to be treated like a bit of a queen for one evening.
        This is what my X did not do well.
        (again, must be that Narc thing that the focus wasn’t on him and I really didn’t deserve it and him picking fights before we went)
        But, I damn sure wanted a fuck when I got home. HA.
        Which never ever happened. I wanted to do it with my heels on and sexy lingerie underneath.
        Ha – never happened.
        I guess that would have been the greatest gift of all.
        Even a back-rub would have been nice.
        But, I’m one of those queer ones with an asexual X, or I’m a beard, or whatever.
        My Bane for far too long.

  • Happy 50th Birthday, Tracy, and thanks for everything you do. You have touched more lives and helped more people than you will ever know!

    My 50th birthday party was, unfortunately, a look into the future, but I didn’t understand that yet. First of all, I planned and executed my own party, because I had learned my lesson from my 40th, where my husband’s idea of a “surprise” was to plan a weekend visit to his parents’ house (both non-drinkers) to play golf (I rarely play). So about half way though my 50th party (it was at our house), he decides to leave to go to another party in the neighborhood because he wasn’t getting enough attention, because it wasn’t about him. It was difficult to explain to the party guests. Then he returned later drunk and with an attitude when I asked him why he’d left. *sigh* The affair started two months later…

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! I am so happy you had an awesome 50th! I am absolutely certain I would not have made it without your wisdom! What a gift you given to oh so many…have an absolutely awesome 50 more!! Blown Away

  • Wishing you a birthday SO happy, it surpasses the impact you’ve made in our lives, and in the world. Oh wait, that’s impossible, you’d die of pleasure. May you NEARLY die of pleasure!!
    And as for me, think of me like those cute little creatures in Toy Story: “You have saved our lives, we are eternally grateful”!!

  • Happy birthday Tracey. My 60th [last week] was so different to my 50th. Thank the Lord. I’m another one who tried hard to make husband’s birthdays special but mine were an inconvenience to him, he would say I suppose you’ll want me to get you a present. I had a quiet 60th but my family, children and friends made it special. On my 50th we visited friends, husband went out with the husband all day to do their activity and his wife felt so sorry for me that she took me out for a meal. That counted to him as a meal out for my birthday. This was after a big party for his 50th. Didn’t really want a party but it would have been nice to have had something specil

  • Bon anniversaire, Tracy! Hope you have a marvelous time in Quebec.

    What’s it with turning the big 40? My X never did anything for my b’day except a card. (apparently I already had everything I needed) and, of course, his falls on Halloween and he never grew up. I threw him a huge bash every single year and a homemade 4 layer German Choc cake, like his mama used to make him.

    We were on the road during my 40th and he planned exactly zero for my b’day. Didn’t even take me to dinner so cooked burgers in the motorhome. I had never been given a cake and I really wanted something to celebrate my big day – so went to the convenience store and bought myself a Twinkie and put a match on top for a candle. Of course, he had to have 1/2 of it. I wonder if it’s the cheater handbook to ignore your wife on special occasions, anniversaries and xmas included.

    • Yeah, not my 40th, but a previous birthday where there was no cake or presents — I actually baked brownies in the evening for myself and the kids (ex was always too snooty to enjoy an ice cream sundae with a brownie in it with the kids and I. However, I’d come down into the kitchen and he’d be hanging over the sink, ice cream carton in one hand and spoon in the other, with a big mouthful of ice cream) and the kids and I had sundaes for my birthday. 20 wedding anniversaries and we only went out for dinner twice. Both times I planned the whole thing. The first time he was a mean, evil bastard the whole night. He was cold and distant the whole night. This was when I was pregnant with our second child and he was having some type of affair with a ho-worker. The second time we went out for our anniversary, was for our 20th. This time he already had his sights on Tim Whore-ton Coffee Snatch and was distant and “tired” even though I planned a romantic evening for us. He’s an asshole and I hope the karma bus drives through his neighborhood someday. My ex ruined countless family times, because he was “tired” or “sick.” So many memories of him being “sick and tired” when we went back to WI to visit family. Good riddance to people like this!

      • Martha – that’s awful. By the time I turned 41, I decided to throw my own parties!
        I figure, if you can’t beat em, over-do them!
        He hated I spent money on a bunch of friends over for dinner. #winning
        I pulled out all the good wine he was hoarding – hey, it was MY day.
        I did that for the next 20 yrs.
        Just turned 60 and I still throw a celebration for myself (post divorce), inviting friends over or buying them dinner….and I never argue with myself!
        Goodness, my friends have me over so much, it’s one way to pay them back and it really is fun to be the center of attention and everybody listens to every word you say! #bonus #OrderAnythingYouWantForDessert

      • Martha – ‘ So many memories of him being “sick and tired” when we went back to WI to visit family. Good riddance to people like this!’

        We were very close with both our mums and dads. Both couples’ solidly married for many years.
        When my mom died when I was 24 of a terrible cancer and I was staying with her for 3 wks before she died….he couldn’t fly in for the funeral because of work. I so needed him! Work? Fuck that. I was hurting really bad and missed him.

        Then, not 15 yrs later and my Dad died, whom he was extremely close to and, again, he couldn’t make the funeral because he had a bad toe. It was a great funeral for a great man.

        On the other hand, I went all across the states with him when various of his uncles died, even sat in the hospital with one who just had the machines turned off….travelled in the winter to the midwest for another uncle, and well, I wanted to support his family.
        (you know, the one that has never contacted me)
        I’m not sure what that says about him, but I sure supported him through all his family’s deaths.

        I will not go to his funeral.

        • Wow, SheChump. I bet when you wrote that all out, you were like, “Why did I put up with this horrible behavior?” That’s how I feel when I write something down. The sad part is that we were so conditioned to tolerate this type of behavior. I’d never want one of my kids to be treated like this, but we allowed ourselves to be treated so horribly neglectful.

  • Happy Birthday!

    What a story!

    Thank goodness you had the wherewithal to turn that horrendous experience into the life-changing site you’re created here. What an inspiring way to deal with adversity.

    Thank you for everything. I wish you smooth sailing for the next fifty years.

  • Happy Birthday Tracey! Thank you for starting this community called CN, and sharing your journey through infidelity hell, so that we could all learn and possibly not make the same mistakes, or at least know that we aren’t alone in being a chump. You are beautiful, smart, snarky, and really funny. I start and end most days reading here, you and CN are life savers!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!! Hope you’re having a wonderful time in Quebec- I bet it’s amazing this time of year! I’ve only been at the end of winter and despite hating that season I still found Quebec to be beautiful.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy-
    You look amazing, beautiful, and happy! Thank you for starting this website and sharing yourself with us. Thank you for inspiring all of us that there is life after a cheating fuckwit! You & CN have truly saved my life and I have learned so much from you (all of you)
    Just like everyone else, birthdays with stbx were awful. No gifts, sometimes cards & flowers-but he would always go last minute or the day of and it was always obvious. I think I actually got to the point where I said don’t bother.
    Now for this year, my birthday is next month & I am going to take a trip with my son to celebrate starting life over.
    I will be spending my birthday with someone I love who also loves me… little boy!
    And I couldn’t be happier!!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!

    Ah yes, birthdays with CheaterX.

    I would take afternoons off of work so that I could make him a special meal–often lasagna, as he really loves the combination of pasta and tomato sauce. He likes pies better than cake, so I’d bake him whatever pie he wanted, generally either apple or pumpkin. I’d have a wrapped present for him, usually something that cost a bit more than I could afford because he is a big ticket kind of guy.

    For my birthday? Hah! That was a different story altogether. When I was first married and still in grad school, he had the bright idea of having people over for a barbecue. I told him that while I loved having a party, I didn’t want to have to go to the work of fixing my own dinner and then having to clean up after our guests, so maybe we could go out? Oh no. He swore he’d do it all.

    Yeah, right. He was madder than a wet hen. He had problems lighting the grill (a charcoal chimney–how hard is that?) and then he resented having to babysit the chicken so that he’d not burn it. Oh, and there was the clean-up. Wow, it turns out that having a party involves work!

    But it turned out he wanted to celebrate my birthday only when it was convenient, which meant it had to fall on a Friday or a Saturday. He’d go to the grocery store and buy the cheapest damn cake they had because it was fast and expedient. For a couple of years, he’d buy expensive, bakery cakes that used real butter (and yes, I can tell the difference. Folks, I learned to bake a cake from my grandmother!), but mostly he’d run to the store.

    I thought that maybe he just didn’t know what to get me. He was often clueless about my hobbies. I started giving him an abbreviated gift list. He wouldn’t have to spend a lot on me. I actually like pens, though good pens are quite expensive!

    And sometimes there wasn’t anything, because my birthday fell on a week night and he had to work.

    One day, I realized that my office mates made a bigger deal of my birthday than my husband did. The next year, I took a week’s vacation and visited my family, where I got a real home-made birthday cake and people who sang me “Happy birthday.” I could care less about presents. Really. All I wanted was to be around people who gave a damn.

    I’ve made it a point to take that week off every year since.

    Happy birthday!

    • kb, so many hugs to you. I just hate reading about how us chumps got chumped for our special days. It was a big trigger reading CL’s birthday post, but that’s okay. I can handle it. Good for you for taking the week of your birthday off now. 🙂

      • Martha – you can say that again. This post is a big trigger and I’ve been going through my head all day about all the times he never bothered to make anything special for me.

        Flowers? ‘I’m not going to buy into the consumerism of Valentines Day, or your b’day or any other plain old day by surprising you with flowers! You’d be expecting it so it just doesn’t make sense.”

        I must say, he did write a short note on a sticky pad saying he loved me – and, of course, that was special. But, I know it’s because he didn’t want to pay for a card. Which is mean of me!

    • If I ever meet you someday, I will give you the biggest hug and I’ll probably cry. Thank you and God bless you. I tried to make the Washington DC book launch, but things weren’t aligning well with the kids that weekend. Hopefully they’ll be another time! You and CN have been such a blessing to me! You and CN give me faith in humanity.

  • Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to yoooooooou……I have never met you but you have changed my life so much for the better!So much more helpful than therapy- and free! have a lovely time in Quebec.Have you considered a slightly longer trip to lovely Adelaide, South Australia?Low humidity, good for curls ( I am told).

    • I have always loved Adelaide second to Melbourne. Melbourne is a cross between a quiet Adelaide and a very busy Sydney. I have always stated that Melbourne is an elegant old lady !!

    • Yes please do come to Adelaide, happy to host you and one hell of a Chump party. Happy Birthday Tracy, what a wonderful human you are. I credit finding your blog a few months after you started it for stopping me wasting my life untangling the skein and well down the road to Meh. My 40th like yours was in hindsight a premonition, thank goodness Voldemort found his twu wuv and racked off. He is now 5 years engaged to Pigface, she is living with her ex bringing up their kids as consciously uncoupled modernistas. Yawn meh, Rock on all you Chumps, hope you have a great day xo

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!!!!! Thank you for all that you do. Praying for continued success in your personal life and in your professional life. You rock!!!!!

  • Happy Birthday!

    My 40th was like a re-birth. I had baby 2 one month earlier. And three months later I was officially divorced! Lots of changes for the better! We’ll see what adventures arise before 50!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! ??
    I didn’t realize how unhappy I was in those last years of my long term marriage with Cheater until I recently looked at all our old family pictures. I looked and felt awful with him. He was so completely Sparkley but disengaged at times and textbook with the phases a Cheater cycles through. Still, I was blindsided by my husband’s infidelity then abandonment, like, “Who does this!?!” but for a long time I had overlooked/excused little red flags, crap behavior, his many absences, and believed things would be better if I just worked hard enough. I spackled like a pro. Until Dday. When I realized it takes two to make a marriage work. The disordered don’t do recipricosity, period. And I don’t believe they can ever really love someone….
    Discovering CL and her witty, kick ass, righteous blog has been a great blessing. CN, icing on the cake!

  • Happy happy birthday, Tracy!!!!

    I appreciate so much your humor, your devotion, your snark!!!!

    Keep on rockin’!!!!



  • Happy Birthday Tracy!

    There are few guarantees in life. However, leaving a cheater and gaining a life comes with a lifetime guarentee of mightiness. Thank-you.

  • Happy birthday, Chump Lady.

    9/25 isn’t my birthday, but it is the anniversary of leaving the snake for good – a rebirth of sorts. I left within days of discovery of undeniable evidence, googling infidelity, and finding CL and CN. Hallelujah for Google!

    A year later, I am divorced, moved, happier, and hopeful.

    Thank you for the work you do, it helped me make the right decision.

  • Happy Birthday ChumpLady!! You are a beacon of light amidst all the dysfunction and the character disordered individuals. You help us fight the good fight and you have such a beautiful gift that you shared with us and changed our lives forever! I am so grateful to have found these boards, because you have empowered me to become a better person. You are making a difference!

    Before I found these boards, I didn’t know how to interpret cheating and dysfunction. You taught me what a healthy relationship is supposed to be like, it is supposed to be reciprocal! I learned so much from you and you are like a GPS adjusting my path towards the right door. I am and always will be forever grateful to you! You are DA BOMB and you rock. Btw, you don’t look past 25 in that photo you youngin!!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy. Thank you so much for all that you have created here. It is a godsend to all of us! Enjoy your wonderful trip!

  • I spent my 40th birthday doing the Pick Me Dance versus, in this order:

    a) his job
    b) his mother
    c) his sister
    d) the OW 20 years his junior with whom he was having an emotional affair, and who everyone at his work knew about, which explains why they were more awkward than usual whenever I turned up at his office.

    Every birthday I have had away from this one has been better by virtue of the fact that they have been MINE, and have been celebrated with actual DIGNITY and SELF-RESPECT.

    I am looking forward to my 50th in three years’ time, at around this time of year as well! (Just had my 47th last week).

    Happy Birthday Chump Lady. Rock on.

  • Chump Lady. As I’ve mentioned, sometime it takes me awhile to get a joke.

    You said you just turned 50 and then this –

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

    Does that mean the photo is of you at 46 or are your 46? lol – hope that’s not a silly Q.

    • SheChump, I was confused by CL saying she was 50 and then 46. She was 46 when she wrote first wrote this post. She reposts it every year on her birthday. So, she is 50. I’m guessing the picture she posted was her in Quebec. 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!

    Thank you for reminding us all that we deserve the respect that you speak of and can learn to set the boundaries you talk about. You demonstrate that we all can achieve this, although it isn’t easy – it’s an imperfect path, especially with kids. You help us see the humor in this deck of cards we’ve been handed and allow us to wade through the moments of rage. You show us the path out of hopelessness and teach us our forgotten potential.

    You are amazing – and a reminder that we all can be a little bit amazing each day as well. Thank you!

    • Very well said, hop skip chump! – ‘You are amazing – and a reminder that we all can be a little bit amazing each day as well. Thank you!’

      I’m not sure Tracy really understands how many people she’s affected. She probably doesn’t even know herself.
      And, I don’t know if she ever meant to become an ‘Ann Landers’ for cheaters, for lack of a better term.
      But, there she is, whether she chose this or not.

      This site is a Portal into the nightmare of infidelity and how it affects so many people in devastating ways across the globe.

      Tracy – this IS big time, and finally a movement that can get started in every community. To get adultery back to the shame and crime that it is. I want to see that pendulum move back from ‘free love’, ‘swingers’, and people winging their life around without consciousness, hurting so many. I want to see the divorce laws changed for victims of adultery who have to pay spousal support to the cheater. SOME kind of consequence for the damage of STD’s, pregnancies, and untold damage to the children who form our next generation.

      I see a vision~~wooo~~~that some groups based on ChumpLady’s philosophy will sprout up around the community. I’m not the only one who lives in a tiny town and not one divorce group here! Let alone a ‘cheaters’ group to put cheaters in the box they deserve. The longer ppl stay with them, the more damage seems to be done.

      I would definitely like to hold a mantle to this mission and start a C/L based message in my town, although, I am not a public speaker. But, if I had some materials to read from, I’d be happy to start a conversation with other chumps in this town.

      OK, there’s my goal. Chump Lady, believe us – you have saved lives.
      I’m sorry this may be your mission in life.

      We love you for saving us that are at meh and so much better off.

      Happy Happy Birthday!

  • My 40th was eighteen months after he moved me suddenly and with little consultation from the home he convinced me was ‘forever’ – the farm I loved, that had also been his parents’ and grandparents’ farm. Where our children were born. He actually made an enormous effort. We had a huge themed party on a terribly stormy night. It was pretty magic. He was the fun, sweet guy he always had been. We danced and laughed and had a ball. He spent weeks planning and decorating. My ‘friend’ – his ex GF, flew back into the country just for the night. For me! (Of course! NOT!) I decorated our farm cottage with fresh flowers, bought gorgeous new linen and gourmet goodies for her to stay there with a couple of other (real) friends. He had been fucking her for about six months by then. I didn’t ever work it out. It was almost another year before he ended it and she told me via text. Fun times. My 40s have been absolutely the shittest. Bring on 50 I say! Happy birthday to all of you fab chumps celebrating.

    • Horsesrcumin – ‘My 40s have been absolutely the shittest. Bring on 50 I say! Happy birthday to all of you fab chumps celebrating.’

      Woot! You definitely deserve the rest of your life to be fabulous.
      Good thing you got out if it at the young age of 40’s.

      For me, it happened close to my 60th and my late 50’s were the worst years of my life.
      And, the last worst years, I hope.
      Sixty and Single – yup, that’s me! And, it’s a Tuesday and I am very happy and it’s not even my birthday!
      (it’s actually the first d-day anniversary 3 yrs ago not that I’m THINKING of that – at all!!

      And, if it doesn’t happen to you by 60, I guess some folks need to realize it could still happen at 70 or 80!

  • Happy late Birthday, wishes Tracy
    Hope Canada treats you well. Enjoy your time here and thank you for your amazing pep talks 🙂

  • Happy Birthday Tracy, and thank you for keeping this amazing community going even after you reached Meh! For my latest birthday, I created a peaceful celebration with my kiddo and then re-read your book, it reminded me of how much better off I am than when I was married to a lying parasite! Forge on CN, it gets better!!!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!!! You are beaming with beauty!! Quebec seems like such an amazing place to celebrate you. I’m so happy for you that you found an amazing man. What I really appreciate is that you haven’t forgotten what you survived and where you came from. There’s a country song that says something like, “when you get where you’re going don’t forget to turn back around”. You’ve done that and helped us all immensely!

    I’m turning 50 this December! Talking about 40th birthdays, mine is a shining example of the confusion I felt with my cheater ex. He was neck deep in his “addiction”, although I had no idea it existed. He was masterful at keeping me looking the other way. For my 40th, he rented out the back room of a high end restaurant, and surprised me with about 40 of my favorite people in the world waiting to celebrate me. My grandparents were there, a few friends from high school, my kids, my parents and siblings, nieces and nephews, and lots of friends. I felt so loved and cherished and special. He treated the whole group to appetizers, dinner, drinks, and of course had a cake. Total front for his bullshit and more mindfuckery to heal from. I thought he was the best and he was the worst.

    50 is looking promising. I’m no longer wealthy (ex disappeared out of the country owing $1.5m to me and doesn’t pay a dime). I sold my house, bought a little one, and enrolled in graduate school to be a counselor. I want to turn back around like you did! Your book will be required reading for all of my clients!!!!

  • Happy Birthday! I am right behind you on the #50…ugh. I am glad to hear that 50 is better than 40. You look great and do not look 50 at all!!!

    • AllaLie – have you not heard that 50 is the new 40! and 60 is the 50!

      Our generations feel and look younger than our grandparents who all died about 60-70.
      We are working out, eating well, eliminated cigarettes, picked up pot for pain, and I think we all just get better at this living healthy thing.
      NOW, with C/L and C/N, we can now easily (or at least quickly) dump all the bullshit pain in our lives by a cheating spouse, which will all help us have porcelain skin and beautiful red hair like Tracy (aw shuck) – and look as awesome, even better, than those shittier years, which – yes, showed on my face. Everybody tells me now that I look great. (well, I bleached my teeth – maybe that helped. lol)

  • Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are sooooooooo pretty!
    It is your birthday, but we are the ones getting the gift, on your birthday and every day.. The gift of your blog. A gift that keep on giving.
    Thank you.
    Happy Birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CL,
    Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

    Alot of us here needed to hear that…………..18 months out of 5th Dday and still questioning what the purpose is of all this, and ‘will i ever feel happy again?’.

    Thank you for this site and your inspiration.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful woman. You’ve helped so many people with all of your hard work and dedication to this site, your books, and I imagine in your daily life as well. You’re awesome! Wishing you another great year of life!

  • I separated from my husband in May 2016. I always felt like crap around him and he was verbally abusive. I feel happier now but at the same time I alone. I’m 46 and have three kids 8,11,14, and I’m just average looking. I feel like I will probably never find someone who is is willing to date an average mother of 3 kids. I’m not looking for someone for their looks, I just want to meet someone who is willing to treat me right and has a sense of humor.

    • Christina, when you get our age, we all have’ baggage’ – terrible word for children.
      You said – ‘I feel happier now but at the same time I alone. I’m 46 and have three kids 8,11,14’.

      I think you are one of the luckiest woman in the world (altho how hard!) to raise 3 kids that age as a single mom, all entering teenage years!, or even a split-mom schedule.
      It would be of my humble opinion that, you have the greatest 3 loves of your life right there that cherish you as this strong mother who is sane and will raise them properly. Introducing a guy might throw a big wrench in their lives right as they hit puberty strikes me as bad timing, but I’m not to judge. I don’t have children or an ex I have to be tied to because of kids.

      Those kids will be out of the house in no time, and you’ll have given them your utmost attention.
      As hard as those years will be.
      I was a horrible teenager!!!

      Hang in there – you are anything but alone, dear.

    • Calamity Jane- I SO agree. I hear these 40 yrs olds talking….so young and so much future, as do 50 yr olds and hey, I was JUST 40 myself!
      20 yrs went by >that< fast, and then flung out in the world on my own.
      Yeah – what I know now about how I shouldn't have ever quit my lucrative career for him!

      (I still feel 40 and can lift 500#'s of dog food in an afternoon!)

  • This is a perfect timing! Dimension reciprocity in the article… I just got into an argument with my cheating lumpdick and told him that he has yet to earn reciprocity. He expects me to abide by my value so that he can benefit, and when it’s my turn he just hightails it. Fuck him.

  • >