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Making a Vow to Yourself

tomorrow-i-start-a-new-life-add03Introducing another guest post by UXWorld. Today ends UXWorld’s 10 months of living-together-while-separated hell. He writes:

December 1, represents a milestone. This decree marks today as the end of 10 months of stressful and unwelcomed co-existence, of witnessing constant and tangible reminders of betrayal, of enduring verbally and emotionally abusive language, and of harnessing all of my inner strength to avoid scarring my daughters with the sights and sounds of parents at war.

Today is also his 16th wedding anniversary.

In honor of the occasion — and looking forward — he’s created a new set of vows for himself.

****

A promise is a test of personal strength, of intestinal fortitude. One cannot make a promise to someone else without by necessity making a promise to one’s self, that of living up to these attributes. Cheaters do not keep promises — by nature (and sometimes aided by a perverted type of nurture) they are weak, they are selfish, they are deceitful. They cannot be expected to keep any promises made to others because they fail the most basic tests of principle and sincerity. For chumps, making and keeping promises is rather easy. Doing so merely means that we are being true to the ethical and moral standards we set for ourselves. We cannot live any other way.

And so, on this date, December 1, 2016, I call on the members of Chump Nation to be my witnesses as I publicly commit to a revision of those original vows, as a reiteration of the person I continue to strive to be. I ask that you consider a similar type of recommitment. Remember, the most important promise you make is the one you make to yourself.

I am forever grateful for every choice I’ve made — each triumph and disappointment, each joy and sorrow — for every twist and turn, hill and valley in life’s journey has, in some way, reinforced the standards and ethics by which I choose to live my life.

As I continue forward, I promise to learn from any mistakes I make, but to continue to always hold true to what I know to be right, decent, proper and respectful.

I promise to keep honesty and truthfulness as the foundations of my existence on earth, and to always strive for thoughtful and sensitive communication in all of the relationships I choose to nurture.

I promise to hold my children as the centers of my life and the cores of my being, and to be the most loving father I can possibly be.

I promise never to forget that, from this day forward, the trust that I place in others must never be greater than the trust I have in myself.

— UXWorld

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So Chump Nation, what do you vow to yourself in this new life?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Thank you! I needed this today. After living in one large century-old home for 15 years I had to walk away. My husband wanted out of the marriage but he refused to leave our home. And the reality was I couldn’t have afforded the upkeep on it if I had been the one to stay. But now I am facing the holidays and this year for Christmas all of our grown children will be under one roof for Christmas, in the home that I made with them. And I can’t be there. So sometimes it’s hard to remember the wisdom of leaving an awful situation where I wasn’t loved.

    • Michelle: To be sure, that is a very painful situation. Where are you living now? Could your children spend a significant part of the holiday with you, even if your arrangements are not big enough for them to stay there overnight? And do your children know the situation? If there was infidelity, it is best to state that matter-of-factly to them before the cheater gets control of the narrative.

      There is NOTHING more soul-sucking than living with someone who doesn’t love you or treats you with contempt. The 2 years since my D-day have been filled with many days of pain, grief, rage, horror, incredulity as new information rolled out (X was a serial cheater). But I wake up every morning with relief that I do not have to tolerate X’s cold-shoulder contempt, his criticism, his disdain, ever again. Someone on this post put it well the other day, we deserve to be loved, not tolerated.

      I won’t kid you that divorce is a huge adjustment, and there may be days when you’re not sure you can make it through. One step at a time is the best you can do (and sometimes one step takes a whole week). Post in the forums (top Right on this page)–Private: General will get you the most extensive advice and support as you navigate this morass. Hugs!

    • I just want to hug you. That’s a shitty deal.
      Please, muster the strength to make new traditions for yourself. See good friends or just plan a special something for you.
      I don’t know what the circumstances are or the distance between homes but are your kids seeing you as well that day?
      Last Christmas was my first without the ex. The kids ( 19. & 25) were with me, but it was still strange to have that holiday. Then I thought about how he always was on his phone, picking a fight so he could storm out, or not helping (those naps weren’t going to take themselves). I then realized that however unfamiliar it was, it was better.
      Wishing you the most amazing holidays in your cheater free home.

    • The home that you made for your family is not one of wood and walls. The home is you!
      When you left the structure, you took the ‘home’ with you.
      Many of us are no longer in the house where we worked to make a home for our immediate family, cheater included, extended family and friends. But WE are the same no matter where we are. WE are the ones who made those walls ring with love, laughter, security and traditions. WE carry that ability with us even if it is to a studio apartment or the couch of a friend.
      Never forget that!
      I agree with Tempest about telling your grown children the whole truth about infidelity. Each of us has our own definition of grown; if yours are living on their own, then that is old enough.
      You are not lying. You are telling the truth and being a role model for a true and honest life. Demonstrating how to know your worth and show self-respect.
      If you’re within 100 miles of NY, come spend Christmas with me (OK, I’m Jewish but I have open arms and make a mean egg nog).
      I don’t know why your children are choosing to spend the day with the cheater (unless they don’t know or, being a chump, you told them it would be OK for you to be alone). Tell them YOU need them and want to be with them on Christmas.
      If not, don’t stay home alone. Volunteer to cook and serve for a charity, invite someone else who will be alone to your home, invite yourself over to a friend’s house. Remember the people who said “let me know what I can do to help”? This is what they can do and asking isn’t as hard as you think. Make a list of every comedy or thriller movie you ever wanted to see and go out to the theaters. Make whatever plan you can think of and do it – no matter how bad the day is, it only lasts 24 hours!
      Remember that you matter, that you have value and respect yourself. The rest will follow.
      Sending you a huge hug of support!

      FYI: my birthday (very big one) and the first night of Hanukkah fall on Christmas Eve. Due to some valid reasons, I will not be with my children and I have no close family. I made a plan to try a new restaurant with someone who is also alone and we will add a movie to the day. By making a plan, I’m looking forward to the day rather than thinking about how I will be alone. It’s all in the mindset.

      • Michelle
        I am in a similar boat – only in my case, the OW is presiding over Xmas dinner at the head of the table in my former family home, on a lovely lake, and yes, using my wedding china and my maternal grandmother’s beautiful,antique firnishings. Why? Because I too just walked away from years of belittlement, of,control, and lack of decent marital company. My sons will be there because I live too far away for them to be with me at Christmas. I left the country with all that two suitcases would hold, and let the rest go. Ex promised to,sell the antiques and send me the proceeds bu somehow that was all forgotten when OW moved in.

        I visited my sons last month and we ate together in a restaurant, with their girlfriends who seemed to know the OW as my sons’ stepmother…but I was a passing stranger. One of the GFs even remarked how it was “too bad OW couldn’t have joined us…why can’t everyone just be friends?” Until my son gave her a look and she stopped talking. I actually took her aside later and let her know in no uncertain terms that OW broke up our family after being in the shadows for years. I will never relinquish my place as grandmother and she needed to know that in case she becomes a DIL.

        Then I boarded the plane for a seven hour flight home, and Christmas not alone, but without the family my cheater stole away. I hate it when people ask me if I miss my sons.

          • Marci, I want to slap your son’s girlfriend’s face for saying that! Glad your son picked up on the insensitivity, and good on you for talking to her afterwards. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, OW being in your home, after no doubt pining after that for years. Hope this year is a little easier.

        • Marci, I really feel for you. I know what it’s like to have even your grown children stolen away from you. It must have taken so much courage to pack up, leave most of your things behind, and move to another country to get away from all that abuse.

        • Oh Marci, you are stellar. You know in your heart you are number ONE, always will be.
          Let a freak try to fill your shoes, doubt it.
          Made me think of a bad movie, or theathre show, act two exit stage right! We will never be ERASED.
          Ever my dear.
          Image shit, good luck.
          You rock, we rock.
          And the girl with your son, mmhhmm! Good on him. You rule.
          We rule. Screw them.

      • Rebecca, thank you for your post. It was exactly what I needed to hear today. This spoke to me so much that I actually took a screenshot of it,”Many of us are no longer in the house where we worked to make a home for our immediate family, cheater included, extended family and friends. “But WE are the same no matter where we are. WE are the ones who made those walls ring with love, laughter, security and traditions. WE carry that ability with us even if it is to a studio apartment or the couch of a friend.” Amen!!!

    • Michelle,

      I am so sorry that you are experiencing such a thing–and also sorry that your kids are willing to be there without you. Here’s a thought: First, make sure your kids know, in a matter-of-fact way why you left, how painful that was, and that your XH was not willing to allow you to be the one to stay in the home. Frankly, he could have given you enough financial support to allow you to figure that out, had he not been so selfish.

      Then, second, if they chose to celebrate at “home” instead of sharing time between parents, I’d think doing one of two things. Go on a trip to somewhere wonderful, even if it is inexpensive and local Two nights at a bed and breakfast in the country or in a nearby city. A cruise, if you can afford it. A trip to Paris. Don’t be afraid to go alone. You are going in order to find yourself, to celebrate yourself. The alternative would be to use this year to decide how you will celebrate Christmas going forward. There are always people who are alone. Gather them under your roof and make dinner for them. Find out where your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter is doing Christmas dinner. If you are an animal lover. volunteer at the animal shelter. Collect old blankets and towels from friends and neighbors. Buy shelter appropriate toys. (The website will tell you what works.) Do a Christmas photo safari and post it on FB. Find a friend who is also alone (widow, widower, someone who works away from their FOO) and go to get Chinese food and see a movie. Theaters are PACKED on Christmas. Travel to the most beautiful church in your area, one you always wanted to see, and visit their Christmas eve service.

      Make this Christmas about YOU and your relation to the Divine, to the great mystery of life, to peace on earth, to the miracle of rebirth. My favorite Christmas observation is that in the Christian tradition, Christmas matters because of Easter. Christmas is the precursor to the great sacrifice and resurrection. Those are powerful Chump themes.

      We make much of keeping “traditions,” but at 65 I can tell you that while I loved family Christmases while my parents were alive, we’ve had to be much smarter and more nimble because from year to year we often have no idea what DAY dinner will be on, as the “grandkids” generation in our extended family is now in HS and college and some of them have divorced parents, so it gets complicated. Our goal is to make sure we get together and eat at some point, some day. Maybe you can claim Christmas eve and make a new tradition of church with your kids and then dessert and present opening. Or maybe it’s time for the kids to start hosting events. You’ll figure it out as you go. Sending hugs and blessings.

    • Michelle,

      Hugs! The first of all Holidays are difficult. I echo the sentiments above. For my first Christmas I asked my x to vacate for Christmas Eve and I cobbled together a very humble evening with my children (we were still co-habitating). On Christmas Day at 9am I left my kids and went to pick up my best friend who was also in the process of divorcing (our x husbands are best friends and we found ourselves in the same rotten situation of infidelity at the same time, go figure that shit) and we went to Mexico. We booked about two weeks in advance, the cheapest, all inclusive 5 day trip. We both wept the entire trip down. We quickly learned that the free drinks were awful and switched to free champagne. We inadvertantly stayed in a honeymoon suite and the gentle citizens of Mexico thought we were lesbians…a funny story now. My point, it was worth getting away even as sad and devastated as we were. This will be my third xmas solo with kids and we are establishing some traditions. It gets better. Truly, Tracy is right, the pain is finite. Lots of love. If you are in Michigan, contact me, I’ll meet you for whatever.

      • Thank you all! I am fortunate that I will be celebrating with my parents, hosting, really, in the same small town. And my kids will be with me on Christmas Day. I have been pretty frank with them about honoring time with me. And they have been very responsive. As for OW, I hadn’t told any of them. But last month, he brought her to middle son’s engagement party. When it was clear to them that I already knew her (I greeted her very graciously) I think they all realized exactly what was going on. They have not said anything, but they have all displayed a new level of compassion and understanding since then.
        I am really in a great place now…new town, new boyfriend, healthy bank account…but sometimes, things still eat at you. Christmas is a reminder of the plans and dreams that died with my marriage.

  • What I vow to myself is to never get into nor stay in a relationship again that has so many visible red flags.

    So many red flags to list but the one specific is the lack of communication. My exw was horrible at this from the very.first.day.I.met.her.

    I can see now that her lack of communication wasn’t an introvert thing but it was a covert thing.

    • yes, yes, yes, SureChumpedAlot! This is what I planned to say but you wrote it much better than I could.

      I will not spackle, I will not spackle, I will not spackle.

      I will not allow someone to ignore me, my feelings, and our issues. ever. again.

      I will walk away because I deserve better.

    • I’ll take that vow and you worded it much more eloquently than I would have. My version- I’m not taking shit off shitty people anymore! Time to quit being a chump with everyone!

    • I took it a step further and said no more relationships. After being with a cluster B for 13 years I took a year and a half to be single then immediately got involved with a cluster C. Obviously I am the problem here.

      • That’s about fixing the picker. You can do that (sez the woman who has officially ended a long string of drunks and narcissists, according to my therapist).

    • SureChumpedaLot

      True that. Ive been out of crazy for almost two years. The one guy are dated and really had chemistry with turned out to be more of the same. I have gotten good at seeing red flags. Maybe I’m the problem. Like many here, my faith in honesty has been shaken but my ability to learn and hope for healthy keeps me sane. Here’s to red flag identification!

      • OutWest,

        I highly doubt you are the problem.

        We can be really good at seeing the red flags now, but the chemistry thing is what keeps one hooked. The chemistry sometimes is what keeps one from leaving when the red flags are prevalent.

        What I do is I just slowwww down.

        Too much chemistry all at once will keep you from seeing the person for who they really are. It’s a conscience and developed balancing act.

        Chemistry is simple, you either have it for someone or you don’t – but you don’t want to overdose on it neither. 🙂

    • Great point SureChumpedaLot, I thought it was introversion, but it was deception.

      No more spackle and once my kiddo is grown there will be no more putting others’ needs before mine!

    • I just listened to a seminar on red flags and how they are perceived in our bodies and numbed over time with PTSD. One of the most interesting statements was that the first red flag you remember in the relationship will most likely be the same flag or variation of it that ends the relationship. It was spot on for me. The point was to listen to those initial feelings and address them immediately rather than minimizing or renaming the feeling and behavior.

      • Informal, those are brilliant words.

        Spot on for me also. The demise of my marriage wasnt “if” but it was “when” we divorce.

        This is how I do it now. This is what I learned. I am grateful for that. 🙂

  • Nice job Ux! Cutting those vows out and putting them on my mirror.

    I vow to remember I really don’t need anyone but I can choose to add people to my life that bring value to it.

  • I vow to never again try to explain to a person why they should stay in a relationship with me…if they say they want out, they can go…the door is right over there.

    I urge Chumps old and new to remember that staying with someone who has contempt for you is worse than them leaving, even for a disgusting Schmoopie.

  • Can I add a vow? Chumplady, adding to the vows may be an interesting Friday exercise.
    My vow is to not take the peace and joy of my new life for granted. It takes us chumps a loooong time to get to meh. It will never be lost on me how special it is to just pour a glass of wine and sit in a bath or make a fire and just ponder my new life. No more walking on egg shells or wondering when the rug will get ripped out from underneath me. I control my life, nobody else.
    I will never forget what got me here, and I’ll never stop being grateful he’s gone, proud of me for living again, and beyond words thankful I found chump nation. Wouldn’t be here without you guys.

  • Fantastic post UXWorld.

    I vow to know my worth and to continue on in my life as a honest and loyal person.

    I vow to one day let the anger go and to not hold it in my heart for to long and that I know that this feeling is just one more step closer to where I need to be.

    I vow to be a fierce protector of my child and that I will do everything in my power to ensure that he does not grow up to think that the way is father treated me is acceptable and that real men don’t do the things his father did.

    I vow to listen to my gut and when something isn’t right I vow to take a stand and stick up for myself and those I love.

    I vow to never again to put someone else’s needs before mine (unless it’s my child’s).

    I vow to have a happy life that I know I deserve. I will no longer be ashamed of what he did to our family and will hold my head high.

  • I vow to take the time to see and feel what is beautiful or important in each moment of my life and to teach my child to do the same. I also vow that I will never again let anyone treat me as being ridiculous or childish for living my life in that way. That was probably the biggest red flag that I ignored … the inability or unwillingness to see and appreciate anything that didn’t directly and tangibly benefit him.

    UX, your vows are such a reflection of your honorable and decent self. I wish you nothing but peace and happiness from this day forward. And for all of us, for that matter.

    Tracy, I wish your cartoon said Today instead of Tomorrow … because why wait for a day that is always in the future, just out of one’s grasp?

    • Thanks Dixie.

      This is an abbreviated version of what I sent to Tracy. I can be really wordy and need to be reined in sometimes. 🙂

      What is missing from this published version are the original vows that I spoke to KK 16 years ago today. I chose my words very carefully then, because I wanted her to know how serious I was about honesty, transparency and commitment. (I see now how they were used against me.)

      These new vows are almost exactly the same, only instead making these promises to someone else, I’ve made them to myself. I made the mistake of believing that they were more important as a promise to another. I won’t make that mistake again.

      • Congratulations, UXWorld, on your new-found peace & freedom today. Not many of us would have lasted through your 10 months of KK’s abuse with our sanity intact.

      • Yes, congratulations. You’ve earned your freedom, your peace, and your new life with your daughters. We appreciate your strength and perseverance and continue to be encouraged by your posts as you have held your head high and kept your integrity in the midst of one of the deepest shitstorms we’ve seen in this forum. Well done, UXWorld. Welcome to your new, beautiful life. May your holidays be the most peaceful and meaningful ever.

      • Thanks for letting her publish it. You have made good vows and they are very much in line with mine. Honesty and truth would make our world a lot better place. Like you my kids are my top priority now. My kids, like yours, need to know that not all people are good and will use them. Even their own flesh and blood. A huge contrats on keeping your calm in dealing with KK. I would have spent time in jail after a couple of the incidents you endured!

      • Go UXWorld, I remember your first few posts in the forum, you have endured horrendous shittiness from your STBX since your DDay, I am so glad your daughters and you will now be able to build a new chapter without her toxic presence under the same roof!

    • I felt the same way. When I decided to get on the fitness train I did it TODAY. Not tomorrow, or after the holidays, or when I lose some weight, get a new exercise outfit…..etc.

    • THIS >>>>“I vow to take the time to see and feel what is beautiful or important in each moment of my life….” – Just beautiful Dixie, beautiful.

      IMO, this is the secret ingredient to getting to Meh. I know this through my experience. THIS is what got me to Meh.

      The caveat is THIS only comes after spending time reflecting and processing the betrayal. Then you must accept that your life has now changed forever. And of course, no contact (physical *and* in your mind). You mustn’t bring Satan back into your corporeal existence.

  • Wow. UXWorld! I love those vows. I have spent the past 2 years conscious of truth and honesty..with myself, with my son, with others. I give it and I expect it. It is the center of my being, who I am.

    Like you, I vow to be the best parent for my son and make him the central focus of my life.

    Also, I vow to be myself without apology. I am a redheaded, conservative Aquarius Christian who likes to shoot my rifle, read books, drink wine, spend time with my friends and girlfriends and my son. I am unpredictable and I like to try new things. So like it, love it or leave it. All of that is me living honestly.

    I vow not to date any man who will not allow my light to shine. Period.

    I vow to be content and happy in my singleness.

  • Thank you UX! This is just what I needed to read minutes before I head into my second deposition in a ridiculously long divorce for such a sadly short marriage to a sick man. I’ve always lived with strong principals. This experience won’t change that. It’ll only change the way I view others with healthy skepticism instead of immediate acceptance and never ignore those red flags.

  • UX World – this is fantastic and CONGRATULATIONS… you made it through the fire intact. She couldn’t break you. She never stood a chance against someone with their roots firmly planted in a moral code. Our choices as Chumps are easy – do no harm.

    As CL added about our fuckwits: “They cannot be expected to keep any promises made to others because they fail the most basic tests of principle and sincerity.”

    Here is what I will add to my vows for today:

    I vow to no longer be envious of the OW or those who come after her. It would be like being envious of the women getting into a car with Ted Bundy.

    I vow to remain the sane and stable parent. I will enforce boundaries and teach moral character by example.

    I vow to stay close to God. I will trust that though I may be going through rough waters, it is only because He knows my enemies can’t swim.

    I vow to keep coming back to CN and CL for my daily sustenance. We are normal. And we can live rich and fulfilling lives if we are brave.

    I vow to NEVER settle again.

    Rock on Chump Nation… and UX World… you and your kids are beginning an amazing new journey today! Travel light 🙂

    • Just a note of correction — “They cannot be expected to keep any promises made to others because they fail the most basic tests of principle and sincerity.” This is UXWorld’s prose. Not mine. 🙂

    • I’ve made myself read the whole story about Ted Bundy in the last few days. I’ve always avoided reading about it, and not being from the US only knew the overarching facts. Well, wow, just wow. The similarities between his sociopathic manipulations and the average garden variety narc, sociopath, cheater, are frightening. It’s sad to say, but even though they don’t all go around actually physically murdering people, that it’s becoming more and more clear to me that they all are in the business of murdering souls. All the same tactics and behaviours are there, I guess it just a sliding scale on how it is acted out.

      Someone else mentioned Ted Bundy in another comment on another post, and it actually has helped me reading about what he was like, because it puts it into perspective how dangerous these types of people are (when your can see similarities between your spouse and Ted Bundy in terms of how he manipulated all the girlfriends and groupies he had hanging on, then it makes you sit up and take notice.)

      They steal, kill and destroy, just like their father the devil.

  • I vow to always be humble and kind, always be willing to say I’m sorry, or I was wrong. I vow to stay away from anyone who can’t say and PROVIDE HONEST ACTION that says “I’m sorry and I was wrong.”

    Great post Ux

  • I want to make this a vow, but I’m not sure I can keep it, so I will refer to it as a goal.
    I will try to forgive myself for allowing myself to be treated so horribly. I freely allowed the horrific abuse of a sociopath because I refused to give up. I had every excuse for that piece of shit, and endless hopium. Why, why why????
    I KNOW I have the intelligence and capability to have done something about it, so why didn’t I do it??
    That is a self inflicted mindfuck I have to figure out someday. Or perhaps there is no answer….
    What I do know is who I was then is not who I truly am. I see and feel the real me more everyday in this journey to meh and beyond.
    Perhaps I can blame it on the sociopath, but in reality shouldn’t we be controlling ourselves instead of trying to control them from hurting us?
    Why is it we choose to disregard the obvious destruction of the abuse while in the midst of it?? We know we are not treated right. We know we are not cared about. We see the contempt. We feel the disrespect. Our bodies react to the constant anxiety and stress. The abuse beats the logic out of us. How does that happen??
    Chumps have character and principles. Endless forgiveness…..endless hopium….love…blah blah blah.
    I absolutely do not forgive The ClusterFuck B Sociopath for his abuse. I do not care how or why he became/is a sociopath. I find it extremely hard to believe that the evilness he possesses is born from an emotional injury he suffered as a child. Pffft. I believe he is Satan’s demon, just as I believe God sends angels to earth, so does Satan send his demons.
    Regardless of my beliefs of how a sociopath is born, I see the same exact abuse in many other stories on this site. I see, and am triggered by the anguish of newbies and the inhumane treatment they are suffering. I see me in them, totally fucking helpless. I just want them to run away from the abuse so they can begin the long journey back to who they really are.
    I doubt I can forgive myself. I just can’t wrap my head around how I let myself become so brainwashed.
    One vow I will make and fiercely protect: I will put myself first, I will make decisions based upon what is best for me, and I will never suffer the pain, abuse, and subsequent emotional tsunami of a brutal discard and betrayal EVER AGAIN FROM ANYBODY. Maybe that is how I will show forgiveness to myself??? By making amends by fiercely protecting myself in the future?
    I’m aware this is all kinds of fucked up, but I know there are other chumps out there who will understand my fucked up theories.
    I did not have children. For those chumps who subjected not only themselves but their children as well to the abuse of a ClusterFuck, I am sorry. I’m sure you beat yourself up everyday about it.
    It’s a mindfuck for sure.

    • The EX … I can read the passion in your heart. For what it is worth, here is what I am learning about “forgiveness” and my sociopath.

      The past is behind me. It no longer has power over it me. I cannot undo it. So, I daily seek to let go of it.

      I don’t need to forgive myself. In CL’s book, she talks about knowing who you were in the relationship. That resonates for me and relieves me from needing to forgive myself for staying. I was REAL. My love was REAL. I gave my ALL. I needn’t forgive myself for that… and I willingly ACCEPT those parts that are me. Did I accept abuse – yes, but you could argue that I did it for the right reasons – Love and Family. Regardless, it is in the past now and I’m not giving more energy to it.

      And, as for untangling the skein or forgiving Mr. Sparkles. I don’t need to do that at all. That is between him and God. I work daily on acceptance – it is what it is (or was)… and it is NOT my future.

      As for me and my son – I wouldn’t change a thing about having to have lived through a marriage with a Narc to get to have my son. Our bond was forged in fire and his Dad is a daily poster-child for “how not to behave” as a human being.

      I hope you do something kind and wonderful for yourself today – you deserve it.

      Peace.

      • I post on this site for different perspectives, and I appreciate the kindness and thoughts of my fellow chumps. I have a tendency to focus on untangling the skein of MY fuckupedness. I have a lot of work to do still. And maybe I should let myself off the hook here, but the shame is overwhelming screaming in my head “how could you let this happen???”
        18 years and I did nothing about it??
        If not for Cock Slobber “stealing” him away, I would still be with him. I just cannot fathom such self destruction. Oh well…..

      • Can I ask you a question ICanSee? Do you think forgiving your X is necessary? I feel like everyone is telling me that I need to forgive that Asshole for what he did to me, to my daughter, to my family–but I just can’t. Maybe with time that will change, I don’t know…but forgiveness just isn’t in the cards for me in any future I can see. It would really help me to hear from someone who has gone through this, someone who knows this pain, for someone to tell me it’s okay not to forgive. He wasn’t abusive, not until the end anyway–our relationship was wonderful, until it wasn’t. He shattered my life in a 72 hour span and never apologized. How do I forgive that?

        • You do not have to forgive!! I have no intention of forgiving my X, who has shown no remorse, and continues to lie. Healing does NOT require forgiveness; it requires detaching–from your X, from his memories, from the incredulity of what happened to you–and moving on.

          Some people may have religious or personal reasons for trying to forgive, but Divorce Minister has some wonderful blogs on this issue (if you want a religious perspective): http://www.divorceminister.com/en/

          There are also some psychologists & ethicists who have advocated that there are reasons not to forgive (two most prominent are Jeffrey Murphy and Sharon Lamb, who edited a wonderful book on the topic, though it’s hard to get: https://www.amazon.com/Before-Forgiving-Cautionary-Forgiveness-Psychotherapy/dp/0195145208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480620654&sr=8-1&keywords=before+forgiving).

          As CL says, “I didn’t kill you, consider yourself forgiven.”

        • P.S. And all those people telling you that you have to “forgive” (with none of them having lived through it): tell them to STFU. Seriously, what a load of sanctimonious asses to tell someone else what they “have” to do after a major trauma.

          Where are all the people telling Bernie Madoff’s victims to forgive him? And he stole their money, not their hearts nor years of their lives.

          • Thank you Tempest. Thank you. I’m going to look into the blog and the book. I’m moving on, and my life really is wonderful–amazing really, but the anger and the hurt are still there. Knowing that it’s okay to move on, to live, to put the anger and the hatred away helps more than you know. Or–maybe you do know.

            • FWIW, I definitely don’t believe that we have to forgive; particularly cheaters since they don’t show remorse or even ask for our forgiveness. I believe in acceptance. Accept that what happened is in your past and you can’t change it. “It is what it was” and that’s that. With acceptance you let go of the anger and the hatred and that is only so you can heal.

              You don’t have to be friends with your ex; actually it’s not recommended on this site. No contact or contact limited only to things regarding your children is what’s recommended here.

              I have had people tell me that I “need to forgive my ex” which is usually met with an eye roll that tells the world I think otherwise. Don’t pay any attention to people who have no idea what they’re talking about!!

          • Im a (sometimes) proper Catholic Grandma and Im nowhere near forgiveness…He was inappropriately angry at me for 26 years…I have 24 more years on account by my calculations. I dont hate him because it would require too much energy. I trust God to handle his trip through Purgatory with justice, accountability and mercy.

        • SureChumpedaLot

          True that. Ive been out of crazy for almost two years. The one guy are dated and really had chemistry with turned out to be more of the same. I have gotten good at seeing red flags. Maybe I’m the problem. Like many here, my faith in honesty has been shaken but my ability to learn and hope for healthy keeps me sane. Here’s to red flag identification!

        • NewLife, you are under no obligation to forgive…

          To the people that want you to forgive, I would ask: “Do you know that forgiveness post-adultery is the best thing from experience?” That generally shuts them up.

          I accepted the fact that I unknowingly married and had a kid with a cheating lying coward.

          I owe him nothing after what he put me through. As I love our daughter more than I despise him, I keep my cool at exchanges…

          But in truth, the likelihood of my forgiving him is as high as the probability of him unfucking his whore.

          • Luckily no kids–just dogs–and I have them. He walked in with a kid and so did I. Mine will not speak to him, never wants to again, his–she and I chat and are trying to figure things out. It isn’t easy starting life all over again in my 40’s–but fuck–anything is better than what that crappy marriage was at the end.

        • I could NEVER forgive in the sense that “It’s okay. I forgive you.” But I read about forgiveness as an acceptance that IT happened. It is in the past and that you accept that it happened. Once I read that it was a LOT easier to let go. Now the fact that he wants to be with that twisted up train wreck broken piece of shit whore is another story. I just have to tell myself I was the best wife I could be with what I was provided. The OW is NOT better than me in any way (even the STBX says she isn’t) and that they will have this shit show blow the fuck up in their stupid faces soon enough.

    • The Ex–understand completely! You realize we are all fluent in Hopium and Spackle, don’t you? We get it, we get you, we too work on forgiving ourselves. It comes. Be patient with yourself and kind. Learning the new language of self-worth and boundaries is difficult at first–sort of like learning Hungarian or Finnish. But it will come. Have a great day!

    • I hope you succeed wildly in meeting your goal. When you were little, you fell many times learning to walk. You never looked backwards and thought less of yourself for those falls. Emotional falls are the same … they can and should be forgiven because you are now stronger and wiser. I could provide you many reasons why you tolerated the abuse … many of those reasons would illuminate good things about your capacity to love, forgive, and be selfless. Even if all the reasons were less desirable traits (my own traits of stubborn, refuse to be wrong, naive all come to mind!), they are still forgivable.

    • EX-orcist: I struggled with the same thing. How could I forgive myself for being treated poorly for so many years? The abuse ramps up; we start out tolerating small incivilities, then those incivilities become the new “normal” and greater abuses ensue. It is psychologically very tough to discern a ‘just noticeable difference’ when two events are very similar.

      In addition, much of our legal system and our contemporary moral code is based on Intent. Chumps all had good intentions–to help our sad-sausage disordered spouses become better people, to hold a family together, to maintain our marriage vows which explicitly state ‘for better or for worse.” There is honor in that. And we know that ALL successful endeavors require self-sacrifice; we are trained for self-sacrifice. In most cases, being giving is a huge boon to a relationship or marriage. We *should* forgive ourselves for compassion and perseverance in our marriage; those traits are not the problem, the target of our compassion and perseverance was the problem.

      • Tempest-how come when I acknowledge all of this, the wonderful chump that I am, and all I did, all I can see in my mind is a snarling, shit spewing, raging, alcoholic demon posing as a human being? I saw this fucker everyday. Had I known he was not a redeemable sociopath, I could have corrected my behavior!! I mean, type in a couple words in the Internet and I may have found something. No, I chose to be a chump, believing he was a sad sausage, even though no one can cause turmoil like that fuck face. DAMN!!! It’s frustrating to reconcile the obvious catastrophic events going on around me, the brainwashing, the mindfuckery abuse, gaslights get, blah, blah, blah. I look back at it like it was some kind of movie, and there I am, calmly absorbing one clusterfuck after another instead of running for my life. I agree entirely that it is a process, it all creeps up on you. I find it hard to believe these fuckers have the brainpower to accomplish destroying another human. They are not that sophisticated. I have no reasonable answer other that they are evil to the core, not of this world, but placed here to wreak havoc. I’m sorry I keep rambling on. It’s easy to say “oh yea, they are a narc or sociopath. But what in the actual fuck? I assign no humanity to them. Tessie had her own son murdered by HIS FATHER. God Bless all of us who managed to get out relatively unscathed. (in comparison)
        I don’t want to be boo-hooing here for my benefit. I want vacillating newbie chumps in the throes of agony to understand they have most likely suffered through years of abuse, but like me, just accepted it. Few, if any of these whorefuckers are good husbands and fathers. They are whorefuckers and abusers. Assholes.

        Thank you Tempest, I love you too???

        • As a Christian narcs, sociopaths, psycopath adulterers etc are just what the bible calls the ‘wicked’ and the ‘reprobates’. The bible talks about how there is a point when someone is so deep in sin for so long, that their conscience becomes seared, and they cross that line with God. There is no hope for redemption for them and they are eternally damned and will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity once they die.

          One of the most healing things to do is read the book of Psalms. You see what God thinks of the wicked and what He is going to do to them. Also the book of Revelation talks about what will happen to these evil people on judgment day.

          I do also very strongly believe that these wicked people are possessed by demons. I have no doubt.

        • I totally get it. Their abuse is so subtle and covert. I now realize that mine treated me so beautifully in front of others so extravagantly and was so proud of me…. but behind closed doors I was very slowly starved of touch and affection, lied to, cheated on and Gaslighghted. But oh so subtly, I felt a low-grade ache inside and dread sometimes but always thought we were just going through a rough patch and we could fix this, and often things would get better for a while. I didn’t understand that this was a slow cycle of Abuse: a big show of love, a wonderful trip a beautiful gift, then the slow subtle devalue, then rinse repeat. Over and over Since 1976! I didn’t even realize I had been seriously manipulated and emotionally abused until I was two years out and started to understand Cluster B’s. and trauma bonds. He made sure I never got exactly what I needed. I would express my deepest needs to him so openly and vulnerably, and he would promise to be better but what a joke. I really resent that I was slowly starved of physical intimacy and he actually had me believing that he wasn’t that sexual of a person and especially when under financial stress. Which was pretty much constant as we were living way beyond our means and that was another lie too. In hindsight, I should have run very very very early in our marriage. I will be 60 in January. Nice age to rebuild your life.

          • Slowly starved of physical intimacy…..yes….that happened. I assumed it was his lack of libido.

    • The EX-orcist, I really get what you are saying about not understanding how we could let ourselves be abused over and over.

      For me, I think once I was in the web, it’s very, very hard to get out. You have so much invested, and if you are a determined and giving person it is so very hard to give up. Also for me, my complete inability to come to terms with the fact that there really are people who have black souls and do not want to do what is right, keeps me stuck. Because I actually have a soul this isn’t black, a part of me was always saying inside “but he can’t be that soulless? I just have to explain things in a different way and THEN he will get it!”

      Something I’ve also started to read about is ‘traumatic bonding’. I can’t say much for it yet as I have only just started looking into it, but I think it might have some weight to it. I don’t know if you have heard about it? I’ve had my head in the sand the last few years so I never have. But basically it’s the theory that when a victim suffers prolonged abuse over a period of time, a traumatic bonding occurs to the abuser, and this makes it very hard to leave. Google it. (I’m sure all you chumps know all this kind of stuff, I’m new here so I’m just saying what’s helping me so far).

      • THIS! I have often said that I am still stuck in his sticky poisonous spider web, and it’s so hard to untangle. And yes yes yes trauma bonds are real. I have learned through therapy that I was trauma bonded him to him from the very beginning, as he “saved me” from a dangerous situation the first day we met. As I look back over time “little things” that were in actuality “huge big things” that were very Traumatic – that HE caused and somehow normalized and minimized. They just soul rape you.

  • “I promise never to forget that, from this day forward, the trust that I place in others must never be greater than the trust I have in myself.”

    This shall be my vow. I’m still learning to trust my own gut instincts and my new year’s resolution is to fine tune it.

  • I vow to believe in myself and trust my gut when my partner is cheating.

    I vow NEVER to settle for crumbs, second best or cut rate affection. I vow never to allow someone to emotionally abuse me, or manage down my expectations.

    I vow to be the best single mother I can be to my two beautiful children until GOd chooses an appropriate mate for me.

    I vow to thrive, not just survive…travel, accomplish all of the things I always wanted to do but couldn’t because I put them aside to concentrate on my marriage.

  • I don’t know that I am ready to write my vows yet, but today is a big day for me as well. After 9 months of allowing STBX to visit with the kids at my house (all 3 are on the autism spectrum and change is very difficult for them), I am done with that arrangement. A shitstorm of verbal and emotional abuse and sending my house into crisis on Tuesday was my breaking point. Wednesday, with the help of Home Depot, I changed all of my locks. (It was surprisingly easy, and cost about $110, much cheaper than a locksmith!) Today, he waits at the curb and the kids go out to him, or they don’t (I am encouraging them to go, not forcing it).
    I don’t know how this will go, but I guess I can make this vow: I will never again be abused in my own home or allow my kids to witness their father abusing me. It is a start, right?

    • congratulations on a huge step! You are doing the right thing by forcing him out after abusing you. It’s an important lesson in my opinion for your kids. You don’t have to put up with it and you’ve started to truly disconnect now. If the kids don’t want to see him, that’s his problem not yours. Way to go on changing the locks on your own! It’s cool to try something new and succeed at it. You are mighty

    • It sure is a start LF – Great initiative! You are being assertive. I am proud of you.

      Btw…the slime belongs at the curb – next to the sewer.

      • Louisville – best thing I ever did was not allow the x back inside our house. My son and I did a cleanse with burning sage and bells. The air is fresher in here – it smells like peace! Enjoy your new awesome boundary. Best thing I ever did!

    • Thank you all. The man at Home Depot who helped me was so kind and I was so emotional that I started crying in the store. ?
      I thanked him and told him that the locks would help keep me and my kids safe. He said “you gotta do what you gotta do.”
      Chump Lady is my daily shot of courage. Chump Nation is my refuge.

  • UXWorld wins Gray Rock. In fact, UX. I make a motion that you change your user name to some variation of “Gray Rock.” I aspire to be like you someday. Newcomers, for a master class on gray rock, check the forums to see the level of mindfuckery that UXWorld had to navigate just waiting for his cheating whore of a not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife to get the fuck out of his home and head.

    UXWorld, I always enjoy your stories and writing. Bravissimo, good sir.

    As for myself, I vow:

    I WON’T GET CHUMPED AGAIN!

    • I suggest UXWorld, in honor of his Award for Grey Rock, change his moniker to El Capitan, with the accompanying avatar:
      El Capitan

      • Rock that gray with your bad self, UXWorld. (Or “grey” for the anglophile grammar pedant’s in the group. ?)

        (an aside to the admins; i forgot the gentlechump’s name who secretly runs this place. i want to refresh my profile for the new year; are we locked down because of vicious chumps?or did the SSL cert. upgrade cause an error with the gravitar/wordpress integration?

        When I try to edit my profile in the top right, I open the URL:

        https://www.chumplady.com/wp-admin/profile.php

        It throws up this error message:

        Forbidden

        You don’t have permission to access /wp-admin/profile.php on this server.

        /geek-out)

        Nothing to see here; move along.

        • Tempest … I am all for free speech and sharing of views. But this post is nothing but a nasty attack on three valuable members of our community. I vote it be taken down and the ISP address blocked.

          • Dixie: My IP Address as changed as I’m in a car dealership, so I can’t gain access to delete it. Working on it….

        • Sabine/Sylvia/Bojangles/etc.:
          The only reason I am not deleting you is because my access is forbidden since I’m not in my office or home.

          Please seek help. Despite your warmth and support to a few members of CL, you have a vicious streak that comes out in spades, and which is totally unnecessary.

          Why do you feel the need to keep returning here? If you believe that CL is running a cult, why not save yourself from having drunk the Koolaid?

          If you are so healed from your infidelity, what makes you return DAILY under new monikers to be a malevolent force?

          Please just do in peace and leave those of us in the ‘cult’ to assist each other as we see fit.

          I do hope you heal, Tempest

        • Please, CN–NOBODY respond to Sabine/Sylvia/Bardot’s Smile/Devil on a Chain/Vicious Chump. It’s just kibbles to her. I’m working on deleting her, but at this point it’s like whack-a-troll. Thanks!

      • I think of the hearing loss brought on by cranking this song using headphones on my brother’s ridiculously powerful stereo!! I think it was worth it!

        • Oh hell yeah. The louder the better. I saw these guys in concert a lot. One of the best shows is when they played with a 100 piece symphony orchestra. It was surreal.

  • UXWorld,

    Just love your writing, you sum up these infidelity pains so concisely. You obviously are headed for good things.

  • I vow to never again abandon myself when life gets really dark and will instead ask for support from family and friends.

    D-Day #2 occurred during the midst of me already barely holding my shit together. My dad was dying and despondent in the hospital from the last stages of cancer and my sister was just released from the hospital after a life-threatening scare. D-Day #1 occurred 10 years into our relationship and was with my best friend at the time. This time 20 years in, the other guy was 22 years younger than my ex and me (both of us in our mid 40s) and someone we befriended because he was just a kid dealing with coming out for the first time. I’ve always wanted to shine the way for someone just coming out because I know how lonely and scared I felt when I was navigating that alone. I wanted to be a role model so he could see that it’s possible to put together a life and relationship that is robust and flies against the idea that gay people can’t do monogamy and relationships. Hah! The irony, right?

    Chump Nation, this time the D-Day broke me. My defenses were down. All of my energy was going into grief and numbness about losing my dad and the terror of my sister’s health scare. One night when my now ex said that I needed to not sleep in the same bed with him because he thought I would hurt him (well, gee, I was enraged, but I’m not violent), I started down the stairs to the guest bedroom and almost fell. Then I thought if I fell just so, very precisely with just the right finesse and ease (yeah, like I could manage that), I could injure myself such that I wouldn’t be too horrible mangled but enough where the cheater would need to come to my aide. He would have to show that he cared. Fuck. I still can’t believe I got to that place. Fuck!

    I knew I needed help; so the next morning I took myself to the ER. This was the absolute lowest low ever of my life. I was fighting for my sanity and my life. I see that now–I didn’t want to go forward–it was all too much at once. BUT. There I was in the ER alone. I didn’t tell anyone what was going on. I didn’t ask for help. By not telling family and friends what was going on, I isolated and abandoned myself in a way that in retrospect is really sad. Hooray for my getting myself there and not hurting myself! My little light was shining. But if I ever get to that place again (blessings be I’m now far away from that place), I will raise the flags, ring the bells, call in the troops. I never ever ever want to feel that lonely and scared again. To have had someone there who knew and loved me would have made all of the difference. Maybe I would have heard, “you need to leave him.” I’m not sure that would have made me do it (trauma bonding), but I would have known that I was being seen–that my suffering was made “real” by someone showing care. Someone who could cry with me and for me. It was so awful.

    My story ends with my now ex two weeks later and a week after my dad died leaving me for the kid. When he disclosed his choice, I didn’t want him in the house anymore and kicked him out. He now tells everyone I ended the relationship because I kicked him out. Crazy much?

    • ChumpDude–I am sorry you ended up that low without help or support. You’re right–we need to rally the troops during crisis, not retreat to our lair & lick our wounds. And what a kick in the teeth for the OM to be someone you tried to help out of the goodness of your heart.

      As for your X claiming you kicked him out (probably “for no reason”)–don’t try to make sense of the entitled. Their need to protect their tarnished image is SO great, they will devour small children to do it. First step toward real healing is to give up the illusion that you will get sense or empathy from a cheater.

      • Tempest,

        Thanks for the kind words and perspective. I’ve learned so much since all of this happened and am in a much better place. Not quite meh (clearly) but well on my way. It’s still crazy to think I ended up holding on by my fingernails. But I held on. We can get through these dark times but easier if it can be with family and friends for support.

        It’s been two years now and I can clearly see my ex for the covert narc he is. Having educated myself about all of that has done me wonders. Of course he turned the tables and blamed me for the end of the relationship. I’ve been 99% NC for the past year. We are still wrangling through a messy financial separation, so I have to have some contact, but once we’re done I never want to have contact with him again. It’s strange and sad to think about regarding someone I spent 20 years of my life with, and there were some great times, but there it is.

      • Thanks Ian dude! I see that now. It was a dark time but I’m not there anymore. Yay! I can see how some people just lose it, though, when there’s too much at once and not enough support.

    • I’m glad you worked your way back from the abyss, I too had to get Xanax and some other antidepressant after spilling my guts to my doctor how my cheating wife unraveled my life..it really helped.
      And as far as saying you kicked him out, Jesus do they all have the same playbook?? My ex wife told everyone that would listen I booted her ass but left out the part she told me she was finished with me and left every weekend coming home drunk on Sunday’s to me and our daughter, after doing god knows what all weekend. 3 weeks of that after she dumped me damn right I told her to leave..

      • Kbchump–yes, it would seem they all are entitled assholes. Good on you for kicking her out! Do they really think they can say I’m done and then move on to another relationship right in our faces? Zero empathy. Who the hell could handle that and not go batshit crazy? And good for you for getting yourself some meds from your doc.

    • ChumpDude,

      I know how you feel. It’s absolutely crazy making.

      But I will say this, I am years and years divorced and because of that, I see my betrayed past with so much clarity. Clarity as in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      There is no future in my betrayed past. My future is now about truth, authenticity, honesty, love, peace and being a full time loving Dad to my 3 little birds. Ahh, life is good.

    • Chumpdude,

      You DID kick him out and end the relationship!!! Wear that badge with honor!!! Most adults will understand that you likely did so for a damn good reason and they will look at the younger OM and comprehend the truth all by themselves. I am always so struck by the pain in your posts … I wish you much peace now and going forward. ((Hugs))

  • I have learned so much in the 5 and a half years that I have been on my own and now 1 year divorced. After being with a covert narcissist and overt at times, I look back and realize that I totally ignored my needs during 33 years of marriage. Then when I was first on my own and so devastated, I allowed into my life two separate people who started out being supportive and then quite quickly tried to run my life and to further devastate my sense of self. As I realized what was happening and did go non contact with them and with my XH, I learned a lot about myself and so now vow:

    1. I will really listen to what people say. They show who they are and what they believe about the world, themselves and other people (me included). I don’t think I ever really listened and put things together until they had gone too far. Now, I listen and evaluate and create boundaries so that no-one has the right to take over my life and tell me how to live.

    2. I will appreciate fully all the “true” friends I have and my wonderful children. None of them have put me down or made me feel less. All have listened in the early days when I had to rant, rave and cry and now we have drama free friendships where we do fun things together, share our hopes and just enjoy being together.

    3. I will pause and meditate and pray before I make any big decisions about my life – whether in terms of who I let in, or activities I try, or even things I purchase. When I stop and think, God (spirit) really does direct me into healthy directions.

    4. I will no longer see myself as a victim, but as someone who is navigating a journey with ups and downs and I can choose how I go forward.

    Thanks to this great website. I have learned a lot from others’ journeys. It has made me much stronger.

    • I just want to add, that I have just printed my response and posted it on the bulletin board over my desk so that I am reminded that I have come a long way and I can sit back and read this whenever I have a moment of discouragement. I am a new person and things are only getting better and better.

  • What I vow is to never lose sight of my “one wild and precious life.” I vow to love myself so I can love others more fully. I vow to pay attention to my own needs and my boundaries. I vow to hold others to the same standard to which I hold myself. I vow to combat perfectionism and procrastination, both of which kill creativity and authentic life. I vow to pay attention to my inner voice, my intuition, my emotional warning system, whether it’s giving me information about myself, the people in my life, or the world around me.

    And UX–congratulations. This is a great post. I think, once the dust settles, you should write a book about single dads.

  • I’d agree with UX that the biggest lesson I learned from my 31-year marriage implosion was:

    “I promise never to forget that, from this day forward, the trust that I place in others must never be greater than the trust I have in myself.”

    Tough way to learn the lesson, but better late than never.

  • Judas didn’t like it when I got my nails done or started an exercise regimen. I was ‘looking’ ya know. He couldn’t handle compliments about me from other people – I would cringe if anyone told him he had a pretty wife cuz I knew I would somehow be punished. I took a quick trip down to Dallas a few years ago to visit my cousin. I actually went to whore myself out – don’t ya know.
    SO – MY vow is to get my nails done anytime I want. I will continue to exercise and keep myself in shape. I will accept those whistles and cat calls with a smile (Even when they are in the middle of a grocery store parking lot when kids are around…..) And I will take my skinny ass in my skinny size 7 jeans and whore myself out to any single man I want. Fuck you Judas – shove this up your ass. Thank you very much.

  • As a writer, I also tend to be “wordy,” but I’ve finally managed to boil down my personal vow to myself to just one word: Honor.

    D-Day was last March, and to say the least, I was devastated. …blindly naïve and devastated. Once I got through the initial paralyzing pain, I tried solidifying the message I kept telling myself over and over and over again. I even had it put on a bracelet to remind myself to “be the better person.”

    “God loves me.
    I did nothing wrong.
    I am not an asshole.”

    …had to go with the knowledge that God loves me rather than trying the whole “love yourself” route ‘cause my self-esteem was way beyond the toilet and all the way to the festering sludge of the septic tank.

    I did, however, lift my head high enough to clearly state that I did nothing wrong. I know a lot of folks want to claim that the destruction of a marriage takes two sides, but I KNEW. I KNEW I’d been a devoted wife who would/could NEVER cheat on my spouse. Am I perfect? No. Of course not. But I KNEW I did nothing wrong. I was just blindly loyal and devoted to a man who couldn’t/wouldn’t do the same.

    And despite ALL the phases of grief (including anger), I held tight to MY values. He and schmoopie may not have values, but I do, and right at the top is honor. No matter how much I might have day dreamed about the karma bus visiting them, I personally, would/could NOT be as horrible and cruel as they’d been. Simply, I am NOT an asshole, and I refused to let “the ugliness” (as I now call the whole painful nightmare) turn me into something I’m not. I refused to compromise MY honor and values.

    I didn’t lie. I didn’t cheat, and I didn’t become an asshole. It’s just not who I am. Too bad for him. He (and schmoopie) destroyed the one relationship he could always trust.

    On the bright side, since I’m still obviously trustworthy, it wasn’t too difficult to come to an agreement and sign a comprehensive post nup (covering every single detail while we remain married, but estranged and/or under conditions of a divorce). He knew I was honorable and trustworthy, so the post nup was amicable. …gut-wrenching and painful for me, but relatively amicable.

    Shortly before signing the post nup (and with the help of a truly awesome counselor), I found the strength to stop wearing the bracelet. I didn’t need the daily reminder anymore, but my counselor did ask me when I planned to take off my wedding band. Oddly enough, I immediately replied “I don’t. We’re still married.” I didn’t even need a second to consider it.

    Again, I didn’t break my vows, and we’re still married, though estranged and living separately. There will be NO reconciliation, but I still value my vows – which include my devotion to my family. (Nope. Schmoopie may have gotten the cheater, and she even worms her way into the lives of some of his relatives, but they’re still MY family of 18+ years.) …and I don’t turn my back on family. …nor have they turned their backs on me. It’s a bit awkward sometimes (blood thicker than water and all that), but many have reassured me that I’m still family and that they love me just as I’ve assured them that I will ALWAYS be there for them regardless of “the ugliness.” …not that I needed to tell them that. They know who I am. They know MY values. They’ve SEEN my values for 18+ years.

    So, as long as we remain estranged/living separately rather than divorced, I will continue to wear a wedding band to honor my vows. BUT, a few weeks after the post nup and letting everyone know (as diplomatically as possible) what had happened, I’d been thinking about my counselor’s question. I didn’t want to send any weird mixed messages by removing my wedding band. I am, technically, still married, but estranged. (Can you tell I really like that word? It just FEELS like the perfect description. LOL) So, I decided on a compromise and ordered a new band with one simple word on it. HONOR.

    I maintained my honor throughout our marriage and even through “the ugliness.” …and with this ring, I now honor myself. 😉

    • cdclocks, your story is inspiring. I’m with you…trying to remember that in the midst of the dark ugliness our honor is a hopeful light. And wearing a ring even if the other party doesn’t deserve it. My STBX has been taking his ring on and off for months depending on whether he was in the mood to reconcile one week, or started texting his schmoopie the next. His is now off for good, but I will keep mine on for the foreseeable future because I continue to honor my vows until the papers are done. I love what you did with your ring…that is amazing and inspiring.

      • Aww, thanks! This has unquestionably been the most painful year of my life, and though I couldn’t control much, I REFUSED to lose my honor.

        …and I was incredibly lucky. Within a couple of days, I found an amazing counselor, one of Tracy’s Huffington Post articles – which led me to chumplady.com, her awesome book, and a bunch of other books that all helped me sort through the madness. Add a few close and really supportive and positive friends and family, and I ended up managing to keep my honor intact while moving forward. …albeit, a bit unorthodox with the post nup, but moving forward and focusing on regaining MY life. 😉

        I still have a long way to go, but I’m inching forward…with self-determination. 😉

  • I vow to never feel ashamed for the months I spent trying to save our marriage. Even though it was ultimately futile and a very dark time in my life, it was a reflection of my commitment to our marriage and my love for my kids and the man I hoped my husband still was. I will not feel bad about it. It is who I am.

    I also vow to love my new stage of life!

    • Thank you for this! i’ve been feeling ashamed about how I acted in the pic me dance I did after I found out. Those months were actually worse for me than DDay 1.

  • I vow to love myself unconditionally. Even the rolls and the parts “i’ve let go”. If i want to lose weight, I’ll do so because i want to and not to accept myself more.

  • Ok, rather deep here and close to 12/7…Pearl Harbour……my grandfather survived….taught us dignity and respect….HONOR! When I met skankboy I projected those qualities, my bad. Long story short, tossed him out, recovering and beginning to enjoy life. Every time I think I am drowning, I think of my grandfather in WW II fighting under the command of General Patton, then if they can make it so can I!” I come from a very long line of military….I was the first generation to break the tradition. When I feel I can’t do another day, I think of them and think…this is a pip! I am HONORED to be a military “brat.” I would not be here without them, CL, CN…xoxoxoxox!

  • I was taught to process, act or not act, be active not reactive…….never show your hand. I used to think that was paranoid,….now I am thinking differently! Thank you, Grandpa.

  • I vow to trust my instincts from this point forward. They are pretty strong and have never led me down the wrong path. The only time my instincts weren’t useful was when I talked myself out of listening to them.

    I vow to appreciate all that I have because because our lives can change with every breath we take.

    I vow to continue to be a stabilizing force in my sons’ lives and even if their family is no longer in tact, they will know that I will always have their back.

    I vow to continue to appreciate my self worth and never give anyone else permission to make me feel inferior.

    Thank you UX! What a great post!

  • Great promises, UXWorld. I am so glad you can now heal in peace.

    Here are mine:
    I promise never to drown what my gut is telling me.
    I promise to be always true to myself and to trust myself.
    I promise that I will never forget who I am and know that I have worth. A boatload of worth.
    I promise that I will never abandon myself in the hopes that someone undeserving will love me.
    I promise that I will never, ever be unkind to myself by being with someone who doesn’t value me.
    I promise that I will be who I am, and if who I am is not enough to others, then they don’t deserve to occupy any space in my life.
    I promise to be a good friend to myself and others.
    I promise to always explore what loving myself looks like, since that will be the best gift I give to myself and others.

  • I vow to be happy no matter how many times my STBX takes me to court–I just found out today that he scheduled three additional hearings (for what reason I am not sure) on the top of the two that were already scheduled for 2017, leading our total number of hearings to approximately 20–BEFORE trial has even started. And he said that he wanted to settle out of court. BWAHAHA!!! Maybe we’ll get into the Guinness Book of World Records for most court appearances, assuming that the money doesn’t run out first! Considering how often we go to the courthouse, we should have reserved spots.

  • Today I stood by my values, and every decision made up to this point. I am going to trial for breaking a restraining order, aka I stepped on the driveway past the curb, opened his truck door, and took pictures of the shotgun that rides in the backseat footwell. You see, I was blindsided by a restraining order from my abusive husband when I found out about the OW and threatened to move back into our house. I’d been living in hotels and my office to spare the kids from our shit-show fight-fest. The only times I was allowed home to be with the kids were so I could babysit while he went out with his hairdresser whore. I should add he was actively trying to get me fired for an imaginary “emotional affair” I was having, lying to my parents about me being on meth, and contacting friends and family to smear me with lies. Being home wasn’t an option. I was really stressed to the max and felt like I was dying inside. Once D-day came, I knew I had to save my kids and needed to be there for them. But the cake eater already had the OW and me being in the house wouldn’t work for him. His slimewad attorney advised him to pull the RO so he did. In my county they are handed out like candy. Sensing that something horrible was about to happen, I spent two days at the house, while he was at work, packing a trailer with “my” dresser, futon, chair, and a few odds and ends. On day two, he drove up while I was helping my friend hook the trailer up. We were five minutes away from being done and getting me out. He said, “Don’t leave, you’re about to get served, and I don’t mean divorce papers.” The next thing I know, a deputy rolls up, serves me papers and is a total asshole, all while the dickhead husband acts like he’s now helpful to my friend to get the trailer hooked up, since I was told to leave immediately. Over the next week he worked to bait me into breaking the order by texting me constantly, told the kids that mommy was going to jail, had the OW and her kids up for a play date (knowing there was no way for me to show up), and took them to her house. Somehow the court granted the order but allowed the kids to go back to me six days later. During the pickup, I lost my mind, dissociated, and broke the order to prove my kids had access to the gun. He called the cops and that was it. Seven months later, here I am, with criminal charges still hanging over me. The DA hasn’t dropped the charges even though he voluntarily dropped the RO, which was indefensible in court. He’s using the kids and custody as collateral to “do what he can” for the charges to be dropped. I said no. I’m going to court. I could have lied seven months ago to the officer that contacted me but I told the truth. The truth got me arrested. I have no idea how this will shake out, but I refuse to back down. I can only live my truth.

  • Literally moments after I found out my ex had been cheating on me for over two years, as I was blindly driving through snow over to a friend’s house, I repeated (in a crazy, rage-induced moment of clarity?) that, “I will take the high road. I will act with integrity. That fucker will not turn me into a crazy bitch.”.

    TWO VOWS:
    I vow to continue making the integrity-filled decisions that have given me less to feel shitty about…I didn’t need my own yucky actions to add tot he ‘shitstorm’ of turmoil (my ex made enough to last a lifetime)…I needed to act with grace in the midst of the grief/rage/disbelief.

    I vow to keep practicing what I call, “fucking gratitude”. I call it that because I was never a believer in “daily gratitude” B.S. because it sounded like middle-class yoga feel good new age crap…but fucking A….gratitude is a thing because its a THING. I practice being grateful for the smaller, simplest and sometimes crudest of things…like having regular poops.

    Stay strong men and women out there!!!

  • I vow to remember that there really are good, honest, moral, smart, worthy, REAL men like UXWorld out there. UXWorld, your XW is a damn fool, and one day soon she will be painfully aware of that.

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