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Tis the Season for New Traditions

ElfHappy holidays, Chump Nation!

Okay, maybe they aren’t happy this year. Maybe you just had a D-Day. Maybe you just blew your whole holiday budget on a divorce retainer. Maybe you’re facing your first Christmas doing the hostage drop-off known as the 50/50 split.

If things suck this year, not to worry — plan ahead. Remember the Pain Is Finite. (Unlike Christmas cookie consumption, which lives on as eternal thigh fat.) Dump the old traditions for some new traditions.

Old tradition: Long drives to dreaded in-laws, checked-out cheater not-so-furtively texting Schmoopie(s), passive-aggressive gift exchanges. (A rectal thermometer? You shouldn’t have…)

New tradition: New pajamas and marzipan for breakfast! Christmas movie marathons with the kids. Volunteering to get out of the house and out of your own head. Dinner parties with friends. Accepting invitations — any invitations — to do things. Paying it forward for new chumps with a kind word online, a phone call, a gift card, or best of all — showing up.

How are you taking the holidays back? What’s your plan?

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.
  • Last year was the first xmas in 15 years that I did’t get to spend xmas day with my kids. My STBXW showed no empathy what so ever, she took my kids away from me, their family and friends to be with her BF of 6 months, this is what led me to google “Cheater, Empathy” and I got my answers.

    This year my kids are with me, my new fellow chumpy lady is with me, we are travelling 300 miles to spend xmas with my family, something we never did because my STBXW never liked the journey, could deal with my mothers anxiety over cooking for more than 4 people, and many other stupid reasons.

    So for me I’m spending it with the people I love the most, as for ex I don’t care what she’s doing, she could be spending the day alone for all I care.

    For those of you that have it rough this year, it’s a hard time of year and especially so as it’s a time to reflect on everything but it does get better, hopefully next year everyone will have a nice big present under the tree called…


    Merry Xmas everybody.


    • that is so shit that she left you and dictated the kids christmas arrangements. I had my cheater try and pull that trick; left at the beginning of December out of the BLUE, had an apartment all set up magically and was upset I was disrupting his ‘long standing plans’ to have the kids to his place at christmas eve/day then magnanimously bring them home sometime afternoon… yeah…no. i dont think so. kids were adults/nearly adults anyway and voted with their feet so his retaliation was to kick me off the health insurance (as the call centre girl told me on the phone a few days before christmas). That told me… since last year the script is the same…. not cooperating with his master plan of divorce and selling the house? – ok see how you like this…constant drip of withdrawing paying for child related expenses – basically financial terrorism. until 1 year later exactly he pulls the mortgage payments and pays ‘minimum – bearing in mind I’m paying for 3 kids living with me full time and he has a high wage… Hope shes worth it next year when the honeymoon period is over…nothing like seeing someones true colours to wake you the fuck up…

      • Ugh, Whodoesthat, I’m sorry he’s put you in that horrible financial situation. Please tell me you have a kick-ass lawyer who will get you a temporary financial order and good support after the divorce?

        • tried lawyers – he just kept a constant stream of irrelevant issues filling up her inbox and $2500 later in a matter of a few weeks I called her quits and representing myself now. I’m so glad I found out through this site and others that NPD’s have this hallmark of decimating you financially – never mind the kids get caught in the cross fire… otherwise I would be climbing the walls in disbelief after 25 years of a ‘stable’ financially ‘normal’ husband and life. Even though HE left me – and boy was it a discard and a half – I felt immediately I was the enemy. I could have cut up his belongings, posted on his facebook, trashed his car…. but no, just the fact that I told our friends the circumstances he left me in (ie. no money whatsoever) was enough for him to get revenge on me in so many ways it made my head spin. Swearing on the kids lives there was no-one else… of course there was . It comes down to that 6 year old logic – if you can’t see the evidence then its not really happening and I can get away with it. The endless projection is another mind fuck. I am the one lying, acting childishly and he apparently can’t understand why I think things are ‘so unfair’ Like I said – the validation that is on this site is INVALUABLE because they do the SAME thing say the same thing and now I can predict what is going to happen next with certainty – ie he will fight me to the death and wreck all our finances just to spite me.

          • WhoDoesthat – ‘he will fight me to the death and wreck all our finances just to spite me.’

            Wow – what a FOOL!
            Pay the lawyers at all costs just for spite.

            I was lucky.
            The X hated lawyers and didn’t want to spend a dime on them.
            What does he do? Hires the most expensive attorney from a big city after I bluffed him and told him I had hired the best attorney in our state. haha. She was local in our small town; charged $150/hr compared to his attorney who was $550/hr. Every dime he spent on his attorney, I received an equal amount unbeknownst to him for quite awhile. When he found out that was the deal, he wanted the divorce over asap and rolled over mid-way.

            Thus a good settlement.

          • Whodoesthst- I’m right there with ya. It’s been awhile since I posted on here but I read every day for the validation it brings. Currently, my exh I suing me for a modification also. We have one daughter in 7th grade so I guess I have 5 more years to look forward up this. What is it with these sick fucks that they can’t just walk away and move on? My exh was generous in our settlement (ie he gave me generous child support). But his entire plan was to get me to come back to him. That was 3 years ago. I quickly got a restraining order (it has since been dropped bc he WAS acting right when it was in effect). He realized that I wasn’t going to take him back. Fast forward to 2016- he’s filed a modification for half custody of our daughter. It’s a baseless request given that nothing has changed. He lives 45 minutes away! He only filed this to hurt me financially, and he doesn’t care what it’s doing to our daughter. The whole thing has me so depressed. I literally bent over backwards to get along with him and accommodate his frequent requests for extra time/schedule changes. These narcs don’t appreciate accommodation. They consider it their right- not a gift. I’ve stopped giving in to every request he makes now. It irritates the heck out of him but he lacks the insight to see that it’s a result of his own actions.

          • Whodoesthat – get a great lawyer. My x sounds like yours. I am 4 years post dday. I hired a lawyer 2 weeks after he ran off – he moved out and directly in with OW and told me initially she was just a person he hardly knew. Yeah right. I initially tried collaborative law but he ended that pretty quickly because he “wanted his day in court”. The happier my daughter and I appeared to be without him the more obsessed he became with ruining me financially. He cost me financially everything except my pension but I had a great lawyer and the judge awarded me a settlement for much more than the collaborative law would have ever done. He married OW right after divorce came through. The best thing was he was so obsessed with destroying me financially that he didn’t give a hoot about our daughter and gave up all custody so I never had to co-parent. It was worth every penny I had. My daughter and I have been so much happier since he left. While I am still not entirely at Meh – I do have many days of it.

            Please get a lawyer!

          • Yep he will so you better put away the higher road mentality and start thinking how you can fuck him and royally because he will do it to you…been on the high road and it was lined with IED’s
            Lawyers dont help honestly save yourself and get vindictive and vicious.
            Grow fangs and claws
            Trust me

  • Old Christmas tradition was me baking a double batch of four different types of cookies to hand-out, make a huge platter for XH to take to work and for home parties. Yeah, I’m the horrible wife who “never took good care” of my lying,, cheating husband! I can’t tell you how many birthday cakes I made for his co-workers. One year for Christmas I made an Italian beef crock-pot recipe for his co-workers, including all the fixin’s that go with it. Yeah, I’m so terrible. But they believe the cheaters narrative instead of remembering all the nice things I did for them. Yeah, I’m the chumpiest chump! This year I made zero cookies. There would have been no joy in doing it, so I didn’t make any and I don’t feel guilty or bad at all. Maybe next year I might change my mind. But even if I don’t, it will all be good.

    Old Christmas tradition was me doing 99.95% of all the work related to Christmas. Ex just showed up at the last minute and ironed the tablecloth for me. And then I got to sit back and watch him take credit for my work. Case in point — one Christmas we got the kids the Wii. After it was opened and played with, my FIL said to my ex, “Where did you get the idea for the Wii?” In front of me, my ex made up a story on how he got the idea for the Wii.” Did I mention that it was my idea? Pathological liars will lie about anything to make themselves look good. I didn’t call him out on his lie, because he would have twisted it around somehow or would have said, “I can’t do anything right!” New Christmas tradition is to having a Christmas free of lying. My ex-MIL was always pushy and guilted me(us) into whatever she wanted which was her not having to do any work for Christmas. So I always did the family dinner/party, which of course I did most of the work for. This Christmas is free of feeling manipulated and guilted into doing stuff I don’t want to do. I’m keeping some of the holiday tradition with the kids as they were one’s I started anyway. When the kids are with the dad on Christmas Day, I invited a guy friend over for dinner. He was going to be alone, too, so I figured what the heck. Why be alone if I don’t need to be.

    Last Christmas I was still in a deep depression. I barely got anything done. I’m someone who cooks things from scratch, but I bought a frozen lasagna for dinner as I didn’t have the energy to actually make one. This Christmas I’m feeling a lot better, so for the newly chumped, it does get better. Self care is so important, especially this time of the year. I’m being gentle with myself and eliminating anything that no longer brings me joy or happiness. So happy I no longer have to be narc supply to his family. Get-togethers was all about them and me always being the listener and the asker of questions of them. They never would think to ask me questions about myself or my family. Here’s to a narc free Christmas! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Chump Nation!

    • “I’m being gentle with myself and eliminating anything that no longer brings me joy or happiness.”

      This, Martha!!!! EXACTLY!!!!

      Sometimes what we put on our NOTtoDoList is just as important as what’s on our ToDoList.

      I was in the same boat as you. Doing all the work (decorating/shopping/cooking/wrapping/entertaining) while Cheater was dicking around with Slunty. Then he would swoop in at the last minute and boast about how all the gifts were bought with HIS money. What a fucktard!

      My kids are with him for Christmas, so we had it early. It gave me great satisfaction to see them open gifts that were really meaningful — things they had mentioned long ago but forgotten about, and then the realization that Mom heard it and took note and made sacrifices to put it under the tree. Makes me okay with them being at his house on Christmas, because the dichotomy between How Mom Loves Me and How Dad Treats Me is so glaring it actually works in my benefit.

      Last year my oldest got one gift from her dad. It was a candle. She’s a tweenager. No joke.

      Hang in there, newbies. IT GETS BETTER. Be gentle with yourself like Martha said.

      Love to all, and Happy Holidays! And for my fellow Christian Chumpies, enjoy celebrating the birth of our Redeemer. HE is our ultimate Hope!!!!

      • Thanks. Dday was 8 months ago. Still not divorced. Not living in home with him. Yes. I did it ALL for Christmas but I was ok with that. I thought we had the perfect family. He worked. I took care of everything else.

        So this year is weird. The kids are adults. They want to be with me.

        I guess he will be with schmoopie secretary girlfriend. Whatever.

        He’s a remorseless no empathy lying scary control freak.

        I will be OK!!!

        Hugs to chump nation

        • (((HUGS))) LiveForToday,

          It’s so good your kids decided to be with you instead of the cheater.

          I was the same way. I did everything as my XH was the one with the full-time/demanding job and I worked 30 hours a week. I thought we had the perfect family, too. It sure sucks to realize the person that you are married to are not the person who you thought they were. “He’s a remorseless no empathy lying scary control freak.” Sounds like my ex.

          Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! I hope your children surround you with love. 🙂

        • And remember – he may be with her – but he is essentially with himself with a new shiny mirror that doesn’t reflect back all those annoying domestic/financial/family failures he doesn’t want to see anymore. So she is irrelevant he gets to play with the new toy until it starts playing up/disagreeing/not going along with his plans etc. Maybe it will dawn one day that he is the common denominator in the trail of destruction. Doubt it though – if he’s got a mother like my MIL she will make the excuses for him so he can carry on being perfect and seeing everyone /everything else as the problem….good luck this year if its your first!

      • Amen, MehGloriousMeh!

        Your ex sounds like a real winner. Who gives a tweenager a candle and only a candle for Christmas?! And you doing all the work for Christmas; sounds sooooo familiar. Every year I did everything except for the tablecloth. But he took full credit for all my hard work. He’d show-up and help with washing the dishes and I’m sure to everyone it looked like he helped me all along with all the work in order to make Christmas and the dinners/desserts happen. It’s like they turn into a different person when other people are present. Every week we’d go to church and I’d get into the car without him opening the door for me. But at church, he’d hold the door open for me so everyone could see what a nice husband he was! What a fake and phony!

    • Martha, I feel like I wrote this. This was EXACTLY my life. Except they would then insult me by saying I was being “unpleasant” because I would be annoyed that my ex DID NOTHING to help me. My STBEMIL would say I should be “grateful” that my ex was a successful attorney (as if that matters when he’s an alcoholic, narc cheater). Meanwhile I managed to do it all AND WORK and be a GREAT Mom. My ex managed to work, go out and cheat and drink. He hasn’t even read a book to his own son in years (and my son asks all the time… he doesn’t even ask as he knows the answer will be no.)

      But again, my STB Ex’s family would say he was a great dad. A dad that literally attended 6 “family events” (pumpkin patch, birthday parties for the son, zoo). He NEVER did anything with us but now is playing dad of the year with his whore (one of a few he cheated on me with).

      This year, on Thanksgiving, he sent me an email to tell me he’s going to introduce his whore to my son on Christmas (it was in our court order he give me at least 30 day notice). He sent it purposefully on Thanksgiving to ruin my day. It worked. Since then, I have cried every day thinking about whore girl (one who fucked my husband in my house while I was out of town….our wedding photo hung on the walls of the bedroom). This will also be my first Christmas without my son. I was the one that bought ever gift, cooked every meal, I made Christmas and any and all special occasions and holidays special for my son. He would just show up (and then leave to go out w/ the “boys” which then turned out to be whore girl).

      I’m trying to be optimistic and think about how relieved I am that I no longer have to buy his family gifts, slave over the stove for them only to be told how lucky he is that his wife is such a good cook, then immediately followed by some insult that i was unpleasant or I didn’t show enough gratitude because I didn’t jump up and down when they would give me a gift. (yes, my ex mother in law actually was pissed and called my husband to tell him how ungrateful I seemed because I only thanked her twice….).

      I’m glad to hear it gets better. This is my 2nd Christmas since I left him. Divorce is still not final because he’s being unreasonable. I entered 2016 with so much hope because I thought it was going to be over but it was actually the worst year of my life and the thought of his whore (could care less if it was any other girl) who broke up the family playing mom to my son is heartbreaking.

      • Bye Felicia,,

        I know this is not what you want to hear, because it seems we all wanted the dream of a happy family. But you certainly will be better off without these people in your life. Family who insult you in your own home are not good people. And that you should have thanked you MIL more than once for a present (you did twice and that wasn’t enough!) Don’t forget that you are still the same caring person who did all this work for such horrible people. This is my second Christmas, too, without an intact family. Third Christmas after D-day. I think you’ve probably read this on CL and CN, but it’s hard to start healing when you are still married. The stress of the divorce and all the work and thinking that goes with the whole process keeps the Cheater in your mind every single day. And as for the whore — what did she get? She has what you had and probably right now they are still in their honeymoon stage, but eventually he’ll go back to being who he truly is. And hopefully you’ll be telling your son the truth someday about why the marriage broke-up. I think kids need to know that and it shouldn’t be spackled over. And YOU will always be mom!! Not the whore. And you sound like an awesome mom and it sounds like you were an awesome wife! You are still you! Next year will get better. And the year after even better. And then one day you’ll get to meh! I’m looking forward to that day myself. Holiday ((((HUGS)))) to you. You’ll get through Christmas. It’s just 24 hours. Be good to yourself. 🙂

        • Thank you Martha. I appreciate it. I know whore girl didn’t get a prize. I know eventually the facade will fall and she too will end up sitting at home every night wondering what he’s doing and how drunk he will be. She will spend every bday and holiday waiting for him to ruin it by going out and getting drunk. But for now, they will act like the “won”. She had the balls to threaten to file a restraining order cuz I called her once and cussed her out. This is an attorney who knowing fucked a man and then threatened his wife. She has sent me messages saying “you are just jealous of me” etc. I block her and don’t even look at my ex or his mom when we do the exchange. I’m just waiting for whore girl to start coming to the exchanges cuz I know she will so she can rub it in my face. I know he’s no prize but it still hurts. I’m so hurt I plan to never date ever again and I’m in my thirties. I read all the comments and see that a lot of ex chumps get remarried or date again. I wonder if I’m weird cuz I really can’t imagine ever wanting to date again. I don’t have dreams of some great marriage or relationship. I feel like I’m alone in this or people make me feel weird cuz I say I never intend to try again

          • Byefelicia,

            You are not weird. I feel exactly the same way. I have no desire to date and it’s been over two years since D-day and six month since the divorce was final. I have no desire to get married again either. My picker is seriously broken. Your life can be wonderful and complete without a man. And I’m not against men at all. I see on CN that there are truly nice guys out there. I know of a local chump guy and he got snatched up quick after his divorce. I didn’t like that people that I know (mostly friends) were all about finding another guy right away. No! Finding a guy was always my problem. I need to be me first without a guy. I’ve been wrapped up with guys for over 30 years. Time for Martha! Time to spend the time and energy that I spent on a guy on myself!

            If you’ve been reading CL and CN for awhile, you know that they file restraining orders to shut you up. My ex did the same to me. I’m sure his whore would do the same. They don’t want you speaking the truth, so they get a restraining order to shut you up so they don’t have to hear or see the truth about themselves. You know the truth and that’s all that matters.

            For sure everything looks wonderful with them now. But you know the truth. You know who he is. I know it hurts. It takes a long time to break the emotional and physical bonds of being married to someone. For some reason cheaters don’t wrestle with this. To me, I think they are incapable of truly being bonded to their spouse. I don’t know how much of my story you know, but this crap with EH has been going on before we got married. He’s a narc who needs constant female adoration. Lots of lies. Lots and lots of women. There’s something wrong with a person who’s like this. For our entire relationship I thought it was me. I thought I was lacking in some way. So my “fixer” button went into action. Not sexy enough. Lose 10 pounds. Highlights in hair. Sexy negligees. Sexy Mrs. Claus negligees. Not hot enough in bed. Candles. Sex toys. Being hot. Not smart enough. Read. The news. The blogs. The books. Not a good enough cook. Try new recipes. Presentation. Healthy! Not enough of hard worker. Do everything! Take care of everything. Do all the housework for 20 years. Do all the laundry and dry cleaning for 20 years. Take care of the kids. Be a single mom even though you are married. Hold down a 30 hrs a week job while you are doing everything. Maybe then you’ll be good enough. Maybe then he’ll pay attention to me. Fuck that shit. Not doing it again.

            ByeFelicia, yes you are young. You do what you need to do. It’s 100% normal that you don’t want to date. I too see on CN that people move on, date and get remarried. That’s totally wonderful and okay. I celebrate people who find a great boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse! But you be you. Your story reeks of emotional abuse. I get that. You need time to heal. That takes a lot of time. I’m still healing myself. I don’t want some guy in my life right now. I enjoy my time alone. I enjoy the freedom of reading Chump Lady and having the time to be a part of Chump Nation!

            You be the sane parent. Go gray rock with everyone including the whore. Don’t respond to her or him. I know it’s tough, but you can do it. You are a good person. You STBX, his whore and his mom is not. Big, big hugs to you this holiday season. I know it’s hard, but you can do it. You did it all your marriage and you can do it now. God bless you.

      • ByeFelicia–Fuck your STB former in-laws. And fuck your X for ruining your Thanksgiving.

        That said–introducing your son to OWhore is something you cannot control. What can you control? What you do with your day. What do you love most about the holiday? What small self-pampering events do you enjoy most? hikes? a quiet cup of tea while reading? dancing to show tunes? Find two, okay 3, things to do while your son is out that cater to YOU. The day won’t be easy, but there are minor salves that will help.

      • It always hurts much much more when they settle down with the whore that they cheated on you with. I’ve always wonder why that is and been dealing with the injustice for years. Any thoughts?

        • Hi West Coast. I see it as justice served for the cheaters. The Limited gets an ugly sleazy whore to look at each and every day. She’s a bar whore who talks like a man who smokes two packs a day. Crass and classless gives him not an inch of time on his own. She knows about his double life, drug use, alcoholism, and lies. She has no friends and an arrest record a mile long. I suspect by her behavior that she is an untreated borderline. Add to that her addiction to pain killers, and wild unprovoked outbursts. She climbed into her last boyfriends house through a window, stole drugs, punched him in the neck, and threw coffee in his face. Her son broke into her house and punched her in the face. Hmmmm, and that’s just her issues.

          The prize she won smokes weed and gets drunk daily. He has led a double life since we met. He goes through dating cycles each spring and randomly dates three women at a time and fucks them in his home. He has yet to change his address to the whores dumpy second floor apartment which family describes as ‘odd’ looking inside, whatever that means. He is nearly deaf, has a useless small dick and constantly looks at young girls. He’s addicted to porn and was also accessing child porn although he denied this. He picks up women at the gym, answers want ads, and is still spotted with a married woman according to my sources. He future fakes a glorious retirement sitting at the beach with no savings. He abandoned his three children and granddaughter and is now attempting to use them for supply for his next.

          Two disordered assholes. May they stay together always.

        • Hey west coast, my fucktard seems to be very settled with slunt and it really hurts as they have the appearance of being a really happy family. If it lasts forever, will I ever feel better about it or less murdeous towards them? Who knows? All I know (and I’m going to sound like a child here) it’s just not fair!!!

      • ByeFelicia, it will get better. There is something to be said for not cooking or washing dishes for Christmas. And for knowing that you are not the one introducing a new person into your kids’ life at a time that is emotionally charged as it is. My guess, based on my own experience and the experience of a few other friends, is that it will blow up in his face. It’s not a bad thing altogether, since it may force him to start seeing things from the kids’ perspective, as well. There is a karma bus, even though it runs on an irregular schedule.

    • OMG @Martha, @byefelicia, @MehGloriousMeh and @LiveForToday your comments (and @Tempest’s replies) are so spot on!

      This is my third holiday season post-DDay and my second since my divorce was finalized. Like you, I used to take care of everything family-related as my X was the busy elite professional that was in such a hard field to succeed in he needed all possible time available (and freedom to travel to conferences and other visits). I was putting together the tree with my kiddo, buy all the gifts, and travel to see his family, so proud that I could juggle it all as an educated profession, and caring mom, and supportive spouse… Until I stumbled upon email evidence of his affair…

      The first Holiday Season was rough, no family around, my kiddo all confused and me barely able to function as I was starting to realize his true empathy-challenged and callous nature. My kiddo was in major confusion, and it was only going to get worse… 2015 turned out to be a truly shitty year.

      That 2015 Holiday Season, I had just gotten confirmation that my divorce was final, and went abroad to see family, helpful to stabilize my emotions and manage the cPTSD symptoms my hell of a divorce process left me with.

      This year, I am staying put, and I feel at peace. My kiddo is going to her paternal family, and I feel good that she gets to do things there that she likes to do.

      I can attest to the fact that the pain is still there, but it is way more manageable than it was the previous last two Holiday Seasons.

      As Martha mentioned, “I’m being gentle with myself and eliminating anything that no longer brings me joy or happiness.” I am getting much better at it during the Holiday Season and throughout the year :)…

      One old Holiday tradition I had was to do more for others. I was always the one to offer to cook more, buy more for others, and take on more to make everyone’s life easier during that stressful time.

      My new post-cheater and post-divorce tradition is to no longer extend myself so much. Also, one big part of my recovery was a pact I made with myself. Every time I hurt, I take time to direct my attention to the hurt, and to send restoring energy to “hug the hurt” mentally, like I would soothe a colicky baby. When I do that, the hurt subsides and I feel better. It does not cost a thing but a few minutes of my time and energy. That and therapy have gone a long way to help me move on and endure parallel parenting with a high conflict X…

      New chumps, it is true, it hurts a lot for a long time to be betrayed, to have to push a divorce forward with a high conflict cluster B lying cheating coward, and to build the next chapter. It hurts so much that at some point you might feel it will never stop.

      But it does.

      Big hugs CN, you guys are the best, reading through all your comments and experiences provides breathes hope into my life, I am honored to be part of this incredible circle of resilient and mighty people.

      • Chumptitudes message was lovely…I cant write messages like that anymore because I genuinely cant remember what that degree of pain feels like. (which is a really good thing!!)

        To me it is like childbirth, it hurts SO MUCH but your brain has no need or capacity to remember that pain in detail so it allows you to forget. I was slowly submersed in boiling water by late H but the hell year was 2005 and it has become a blur to me. It will not always hurt as bad as it does today.

      • Great message, Chumptitude. 🙂 I love your advice about “hugging the hurt.” I’m going to try that next time I’m hurting. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you! 🙂

  • Old tradition: Xmas Eve at my parent’s house. We arrive right around 5pm. KK makes very lame attempts at small talk while everyone sips wine and nibbles snacks and preps for present distribution for the nieces and nephews — it’s clear she’s straining. Presents are opened and thank yous exchanged. KK is always the first in line when the dinner buffet is ready, but she doesn’t eat very much because she’s a converted vegetarian and nobody was thoughtful enough to prepare anything she can eat, so she fills up on non-meat appetizers. KK sits at the big table through dinner and waits for the conversation to come around to her, or for me to interject on a point and reference KK’s opinion so that she has SOMETHING to say. After an hour or so of this, she gets up from the table and goes into the living room to cruise the web on her phone while I continue to engage in conversation with my family. 30 minutes later I check on her in the living room, and she gives the first of what will be several not-so-subtle hints that she’s bored and wants to go home. I put her off for another 30-45 minutes, then announce to entire family (still at the table, talking like civilized human beings) that we’re heading out. We’re home by 8:30.

    New tradition: The girls and I will arrive at 5pm. We will let everyone’s mood and the natural flow of the evening dictate how everything unfolds, and we will leave when everyione decides the evening is over. I will enjoy the company of my family without policing some spoiled, self-absorbed fuckwit’s mood, and I won’t have to make any lame excuses to those who have loved and supported me my entire life.

    Happy Holidays everybody — being part of Chump Nation is the gift that keeps giving every day.

    • “I will enjoy the company of my family without policing some spoiled, self-absorbed fuckwit’s mood, and I won’t have to make any lame excuses to those who have loved and supported me my entire life.”

      Yes yes yes yes YES!!!!

    • Yes! The Coward was like my most petulant teenager always, but especially around my family. He would disappear as soon as we arrived, to go take a nap, then rebuff all my father’s attempts to engage him, even going so far as to be downright surly. I hated it! Dude has zero grace, no flexibility, no maturity, can’t be laid back. No more! I don’t miss that.

    • Wow, this hits home for me. I have never seen/heard it put so succinctly and eloquently. When i think of how many years I put up with this same behavior from my X, it makes me so sad – such a waste of time and memories that could have been. Thank-you for your insight.

  • First Christmas post D-Day was odd, not least because ex decided that Christmas morning was a good time to drop off some of my stuff that had ended up mixed in with his during the split. Merry Christmas, here’s your divorce crap wrapped with a bow! This year, however, rocks. We’re cooking Christmas Eve dinner for friends with the kids and great new boyfriend. A lot of friends. A lot of cooking. Then we have a Christmas Day afternoon party with the kids at another friend. A lot of eggnog. Spiked. Then ex wants kids back, apparently they are not welcome to his Christmas festivities with new Schmoopie, a fact which hasn’t escaped the kids — mostly because they are relieved not to have to do it. And then I am off for a tropical vacation with great new boyfriend. This last part is a new tradition, which, dammit, I intend to keep. Hohoho.

    • Forgot to mention: last Christmas before D-Day was simply surreal. Ex spent it in recline on the couch, didn’t buy any presents for the kids, and declared that it was all because he was depressed about money. Unbeknownst to me, the immediate money trouble had been caused by him spending our last money for the month on a two-country week-long affair with a sex worker. He was still texting her as he boarded the plane to come home on Christmas Eve. Yeah, that’s one Christmas tradition I’m very happy to be rid of.

      It could only get better. And it does. Meh is great. But I can now finally see even past that: it can get even better than Meh.

      • There has got to be a special place in Hell for anyone who spends their kids Christmas money on prostitutes (likely victimized, trafficked ones)

        • You would think so, Unicorn. I certainly did. But when I pointed that fact out to him post D-Day, he countered by saying that he had not payed for her services as such — a freebie!— and that she had a day job, too, so she wasn’t a sex worker — only a freelancer! And that he would have taken the time off by himself anyway — he needed the freedom! So, you see —pouf! — that doesn’t count as spending “the kids’ Christmas money on prostitute”s at all! With this sleight of hand I release myself from any guilt! It’s all about freedom!

            • Oh, Santa already did that, Tracy! Santa truly knows who is naughty or nice, so he put down an advance gift under the tree that got me infected, and which contributed significantly to my figuring out that something was amiss and forcing a D-Day. Thank you, Santa!

      • I can relate to this. My STBX was using kids’ funds for sex.
        Onward and upward without these ‘human’ pieces of baggage!

        • what is it about the entitlement? – including kids money ; mine spent my 3 kids life savings shoring up school fees, holidays etc telling me after the fact and excusing it by declaring they were benefiting so ir made it ok??. He told them this himself!! So leaving me with $nothing was not enough – he had to fuck the kids over too!!I think the explanation that they see everyone as an extension as themselves and whats mine is mine – whats yours is mine is the way they justify it in their heads. He has no shame AT ALL to him it is perfectly reasonable?! if this is not disordered behaviour i dont know what is.

    • I love your version of Christmas this year, Theother! I’m facing my first Christmas post-separation, and although I’m spending it with my family and will have the kids for part of christmas day, this whole thing just sucks. I’m looking forward to what my new life without cheater can be, and thinking of a tropical vacation with a great new partner sounds perfect!

      • But in the meanwhile, EyesOpen, alcohol can do wonders! Also, please loudly declare to your family that, this being your first post-separation Christmas, you intend to do something novel and not wash a single dish or take care of a single soul other than yourself. And allow yourself to be surprised at how happy some of them will be to bring you hot chocolate in bed.

  • I didn’t think I would get to this day and actually feel happy and festive. Last month the thought of Christmas sent me into a panic as I plugged away at my three jobs: single mother, University manager, and divorce. But all the shopping is done with some kickass gifts, including black suede knee boots for Santa. The food is in my fridge for a simple yet nice sit down dinner for a small group of family. I remembered how to entertain and bought some beautiful vintage glass at a thrift shop. All the cheesy decorations the kids picked years ago are out. We got the tree up and the lights outside. We made plans for a short water park and ski getaway. My daughter started therapy yesterday. I managed a prayer for Dr. Crazy.

    My family and friends pitch in whenever I ask, which I never used to do. I return the good will to them where I can and by helping a new friend from abuse support group through her first Christmas as a single mother.

    None of us can remember the horrible Christmas of 2015. Two grainy photos of my teens opening presents doesn’t help. It’s like we’ve all erased it from our memories to free up space for this year’s joyful celebration of the last Christmas before my son goes off to college. And the first Christmas of this new life I’m slowly creating.

    Thank you ChumpLady and Chump Nation. We wouldn’t be this far on the road to meh without your empowering messages and support. Warm hugs of hope to the many who are just starting the journey. You’re not alone. You can do this. If not this Christmas then next. You are mighty. You have us.

    • My experience is so similar. Last Christmas was terrible; I barely remember it. My kids were 4 and 2 at the time and their father had moved out the month prior (having immediately moved in with his AP while still pretending to work it out with me, lol). I had no energy to make the holiday special and cried a lot after the kiddos went to sleep at night. This year, we decorated the tree together while my father was with us and we listened to all of the Christmas music my mom used to play when she was still alive. They got the multi-colored lights they had always wanted and my oldest got to put the star on top of the tree. I recently made peace with the ex’s AP, now wife, and there was no tension at the kids’ Christmas Pageant at the school while the 3 of us took turns taking photos and videos. I’ve got a great group of new friends coming over for dinner on Christmas, a house full of gifts I have to finish wrapping before the kids get home this evening, and I offered to let my ex take the kids for part of the day on Christmas even though in our decree I get them every Christmas from the 23rd until his next regular visitation. My kids are happy, thriving even. Nothing will ever take away the complete devastation of my ex’s affair and total annihilation of our marriage, home and family. But, the pain and tears subside with time and I wouldn’t take my old life back for anything knowing now who/what I was married to for all those years. (I also wouldn’t trade my awesome new boyfriend for the ex!) Chump Lady’s book has been super helpful for me, as has this website. So, to anyone having a shit holiday–hang in there, it can and will get better with time. Happy Holidays to all of us chumps!

      • helps to read about all these moms who found awesome new boyfriends! i am happy to be alone with my toddler right now, but who knows some day 🙂

  • I never had a holiday line up with Rhys or Mac, but things have been good with my guy now because he’s a good sport and so we’ve been trying several different things in the idea of deciding our own traditions for the future.

  • This year my goal is to keep my head above water and enjoy it when I can. I feel that although it’s painful and harder than I thought right now I am not doing too bad considering.
    Next year I am planning a trip away with my three boys. I’m tired lately of all the physical and emotional work I always seem to be doing. Lots of it to do with a lopsided relationship to be sure, some to do with the inevitable demands of work and raising kids but a lot because I can’t seem to give myself a break.
    My New Years resolution this year is to keep trying to bulldozer through this and to give myself as many breaks as possible. To be kind to myself. Part of this will be going away for Christmas so that I can let other people do all the heavy lifting for once while I enjoy.
    I am also struggling with wanting to be on my own a lot lately. I was pretty much a single parent anyway but now I am for sure a single parent it feels much tougher. The boys are lovely but I feel the need to withdraw and get my head together without the constant demands going on.
    So I’m going to try and carve out alone time for myself next year to figure out what I need and what I want.
    Thanks mighty chump nation and Chump Lady.
    I could not do this without you all.
    Happy holidays whatever your faith and wherever you are. Peace.

    • Cap,

      Last year was my second Christmas alone and it was certainly better than the previous, but still pretty grey hued in my memory. The weight of “truly” being a single parent is tremendous and I was like you, basically a single parent before all hell hit. It’s tough. Real tough. Your plan to withdraw for some self needed care is great. Just wanted to send you a virtual hug.

    • Happy Holidays, Capricorn —

      I was thinking of you the other day, how much I enjoy reading your insightful posts. As a good friend of mine likes to say by way of compliment, “I appreciate you.” And I do.

      My first post Dday Xmas was excruciating. I kept looking at the clock and wishing the time to go by faster. I just wanted it to be OVER. And, y’know, after twenty four hours? It was.

      FWIW, I think trying to find “me” time for yourself is a great idea. I have a friend who refuses to get a sitter for her kids but is really burnt out. Just an hour to go to a yoga class or to sit on a park bench and feed some pigeons. Or read a book. Or treat yourself to a Starbucks. — Whatever. Just time to be you, even if just for a short time. Laundry & dishes & floors? Those will (unfortunately) all still be there when you get back.

      Peace to you, Capricorn, as we commence this new calendar year and all continue our journeys into the future.

    • Capricorn, I am totally with you. Besides the fact that I am on the enemy territory and in no mood for anything, I also look for more time alone. I like your resolution to bulldoze through this and be kind to yourself this coming year. I have been one week with the traitor, two more to go trying to keep it civilized for the sake of our son who thinks we are vacationing together- his usual christmas vacation with dad. Two more weeks to go and I will get back to Canada and see a lawyer. He graciously agreed to a divorce but is asking for a joint custody. I need to do a lot of homework by the time he comes over andcwe file. Hopefully in March. Meanwhile he invited me out tonight…behaves as if nothing happened.

      • Thinking of you LongTimeChump and how you are having to watch your every move while you are there with your son. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    • Sounds like you are in “survival mode.”
      I spent a long time there and it is brutal and exhausting. I hope you have help and support locally. Just knowing I had a safety net was a big help.
      My wish for you is that you not only survive the holiday, but have a few moments of joy.

  • My D-Day was Nov. 22, after a devaluation and discard that lasted 6 months. So the first Christmas I was still in the uncontrollable weeping stage. I hadn’t even discover CL yet. The motivation for a lot of what I did was to show myself I was just as good as the MOW. Creative! Classy! So I went on a Pinterest project jag, fired up the oven, and did a lot of things that have become my new and cherished traditions.
    1. Made front porch decorations that turned out great and that I still use today.
    2. Put a lighted live tree on the back screen porch and planted it after Christmas.
    3. Looked up the old recipe for holiday hearth loaves (Sunmaid raisin recipe) and baked for the 1st time in years.
    4. Bought some needed new clothes for myself (I was losing weight, of course) and put them in gift bags under the tree. I give lots of gifts to others, from the secretaries at work to the trainer at my gym–why wouldn’t I be good to myself? My mother was really good at Christmas gifts and every year she bought me an expensive and amazingly tasteful outfit for work. We used to Christmas shop together (although my gift was always a surprise. It was far and away my best experience with her, so I take her with me in memory, add to my work wardrobe, make the area under the “tree” look more festive. And for the years when I was not in a relationship, I got up, made hot chocolate and opened my gifts from Santa/Mom. I’m still doing it–it’s fun to shop with an eye for what she would have liked on me. Even when we think we are “alone,” we don’t have to be.
    5. Bought an actual plastic “Charlie Brown tree” at the drugstore for $9 and still put that up on a table, with a new nativity scene. That cartoon is the best reminder of both the loneliness people experience at the holiday and its antidote–remembering that Christmas is about moving the world toward love and peace, one person at a time.
    6. Made the absolute commitment to have dinner with what’s left of my extended family every year, which my XH the drinker always complained about because every single holiday through the year was to be scheduled around his kid and his grandchildren. I have one horrific story about that but suffice it to say that putting a turkey on the table for those people was more important than my dying parent. Never again.
    7. Committed to do more to help the less fortunate.

    I believe we should “begin as we mean to go on.” There’s no time like the moments we are weeping into the mashed potato, or our yoga mat, or all through Midnight Mass for practicing courage and resilience, for finding ways to keep the spirit of our old traditions, for loving the people and animals in front of us, and for loving ourselves as well. Life is the great gift. We ought not to squander it pining for people who are incapable of giving.

  • On my street, I noticed that the couples who seemed to have good marriages did outdoor decorating and the ones in the wake of deaths and divorces didnt, so I decided to celebrate my contented status by digging out all the outside decorations that deadhusband used to put up. Normally Im just too lazy but I pushed through and the display is really lovely.

    My old tree was a fake one that H bought on a shopping trip where he got mad and left me at the store and acted like a meanassbastard and I cant disconnect that memory. Me & newhub bought a lovely real tree and I water it each day and it too is just lovely.

    Last night we look our daughters (17 & 20 and both victims of fragmentation of their families and both thriving) to the Kennedy Center to see Wicked. They get along so well I cant believe it.

    Everyone please have the best day you can and know you matter and are loved and are valuable.

  • My d-day was in early December a couple of years ago. That Christmas was horrible, I barely remember it. The one last year was a little better, but we were still in limbo, so it still felt forced. Now we’re almost officially divorced and this is our last Christmas together as a family. I feel terrible for our kids, I know they sense the end is coming. Now for every Christmas from here on out, they’ll be bounced back and forth like tennis balls. What a way to have to spend your holidays as a child.

    But I’m at least optimistic for our future. At some point this coming year, we’ll go our separate ways and I’ll no longer have to worry about what she’s doing, who she’s with, how and why she blows all of her money, why her workouts at the gym always take 3+ hours, what can I do to try to make her happy (for whatever reason, I am still sympathetic to her), and I’ll no longer have to be together with her in public feeling embarrassed that I’m with a wife who’s actively seeing other men (and everybody else knows this).

    Hopefully I’ll be able to check in with a more positive outlook next year. God I hate this.

    • Blindside,

      Truly a tough Christmas. Distance will help. NC will help. Hold on tight. Chump Lady is such a life saver. You deserve better and it will be yours soon.

    • I can feel the pain coming through your post, Blindside, and I’m sorry. It’s a sucky thing, this situation they put us in. And I understand the sympathy and care you still have for your STBX — we all spent years loving these people; it can be hard to turn that off. Kids are resilient and will adapt to Christmas at Mom’s and Christmas at Dad’s, sometimes more easily that we adults do, I think. I did. It just became part of Christmas: see Mom, see Dad. It wasn’t a Frank Capra movie, but it wasn’t unbearable, either.

      In the meantime, take care of yourself. Maybe find one small thing YOU want to do — not involving STBX or anyone except you — and do that. Each year, I watch “Bishop’s Wife” with Cary Grant & Loretta Young. XH … well, he had his own ideas about Christmas.

      Good luck this holiday season. It can especially tough on some folks, but, as my sister says, if you’re really not feeling it, then it’s just another day you have to get through. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. You can do it.

    • Ping pong Christmas? Well, that is one way to look at it. My kids, however (and some of their divorced kid friends) look at it as multiple christmasses with more presents. Between my house, his house, my family, his family and his new wife’s family they are up to five celebrations to open gifts in two days. I was pretty surprised to hear my d talking about it. Kids adapt much better when the dysfunction is removed. Chin up, being apart is so much better than the hell you are in and next year, I think you will be more positive.


    • Blindside–I can’t imagine having to spend Christmas day with my X (even when he was my STBX). Is there some way the festivities can be limited, and then you can disappear for a hike after gifts & a meal?

      It is hard on the kids, but they will take their cues in part from you—don’t hide that you’re sad, but it is also a new beginning for a life with more integrity.

  • Some of you may remember my stbxh coming “home” for Christmas day from AP”s place where he was living. It was horrible–him pretending it was a normal Christmas trying to hoover me and our grown kids just shell shocked over the whole thing and me ending up in tears and then him walking out before dessert……this year something very different. My sister and I my son and his girlfriend are meeting at my daughter’s tiny city apartment for the day. It will be “cozy” but that is my family and they mean everything to me. He is no longer a member of this special group, he rescinded his membership. .self care is the lovely birthstone ring I bought myself to replace the one that disappeared along with other pieces of jewellry (humfft). Merry Christmas everyone!

  • In past years, I’ve cooked giant dinners for the in-laws. Most of which I didn’t like, except the brussels sprouts. (I know, I’m strange) But it was what they wanted, so I cooked it. This year, it’s just the kids and myself. as my family is in Europe. We’re having pizza pot pies for Christmas dinner. And decorating cookies. And they can go in to a cookie/food coma for all I care. 😉 I might get a movie to watch together while we eat the cookies we decorated. I’ll have to see. I have the kids for the week of the new year, and I plan to take them to see a show. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for them for years now, rather than pile on the toys. And, now I can.

    Being from Northern Europe, I celebrate Christmas on the 24th. So, ex has the kids on the 25th. Which, to me, is just a day off. I might go visit a co-worker, who invited me over. Or, I might just tackle the house.

    • My mother was from Polish stock, so we celebrate on the 24th, too (I love Christmas by candlelight).
      Oldest daughter is still in touch with the X, so she will have to dash off Christmas morning to spend the day with him and his slutress, while youngest daughter and I perhaps bake the cookies I haven’t had time to make before the holiday ; ).

      But, CrazyDogLady, I think brussel sprouts with garlic and olive oil would complement your pizza pot pies nicely!

  • Old Tradition: Christmas Eve party at our house. Ex getting anxious in the planning. Christmas day Id cook a special breakfast in the morning and then over to my parent’s house for gift exchange and dinner. He always seems to dread it and we didn’t stay long.

    New Tradition: When my son returns home from visiting his Dad during the day on Christmas Eve, my son and I are still hosting a Christmas Eve party with Bingo and prizes! We invite my family, his friends and their families which are our neighbors and any other special friends we invite. We will celebrate Christmas morning with Dunkin’ Doughnuts… and coffee for me. My 9 yo has offered to learn to make coffee (finally! haha) It will be me and him in our new home on Christmas morning. Creating our own special time together. He feels relief about it. We will go over to my parent’s house and open presents. We are looking forward to all of it. The stability of home and family and continued tradition in spite of all the chaos that happened before.

    Last year, we lived with my sister and brother-in-law and it was hard at times to not have our own place. The year before that was our first after Dday. Cheater ex came over to watch our son open gifts (never again). He arrived later than he said and left abruptly. It was awkward to say the least.

    New Chumps, it does get easier and life does get better. I am happily single. My life is full. Motherhood is completely rewarding. I have found a hobby that I am so passionate about. My son will be able to do it with me. That’s even better. I find myself at times thanking that Cheater Ex for giving me this blessed life. I am free. I am the captain of my own ship!

  • Old Christmas:
    Ex-wife’s divorced Parents, who both cheated on each other arrive, they play the amicable new age divorce spiritual dance up until the third glass of wine and then the barbs and passive aggressive insults begin to flow. My ex-mil refers to my ex-fil as the Wasband in a cloying honey dripped voice and they’re both drunk before dinner.

    The meal is Vegan, my ex-wife insists on us eating like rabbits and eventually when my in-laws are passed out in the living room and my cheater-ex wife claims a migraine and retires to our bedroom and unbeknownst to me she sexts and texts the flavor of the year other loser dude.

    With ex-in laws snoring on my couches and ex-wife supposedly taking a migraine rest I’d sneak out with the kids for pizza or burgers and be back in time for some concoction of bird seed and kale honey tufo yogurt cake. Our crazy Christmas would be facebooked by my ex-in laws and ex-wife as if we were the poster family of happy happy family….yeah right.

    New Christmas:
    Real food….turkey and stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots and Apple Pie.
    No drunk new age divorced ex-laws passed out in the living room and a “migraine” sexting groin selfie ex-wife.

    Happy kids who get to experience a normal Christmas!!!

    • Oh my goodness, PF!

      No drunk new age divorced ex-laws passed out in the living room and a “migraine” sexting groin selfie ex-wife.

      BAHAHA that sounds absolutely horrid. (You laugh or you cry. I choose laugh.)

      Cheers to better traditions!!!!

    • “concoction of bird seed and kale honey tufo yogurt cake” hahahaha! at least you can laugh about it, sounds horrible, but it’s too funny!

    • Oh, PF, your descriptions are so clear, I’m laughing and wincing at the same time! Ouch!

      I’m digging your new menu a whole lot more. Cheater free and drama free and yummy traditional holiday food. I’m so happy for you.

      I love how you and the kids snuck out for real sustenance. I’ll bet they love having. Christmas with Dad.

      Enjoy your new traditions and freedom

    • ” bird seed and kale honey tufo yogurt cake”

      Thanks for the laugh, PF. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 🙂

  • This is my first post divorce Christmas. My adult sons have already made for a tense day since they had Christmas with Prince Charming and Cinderella. Declaring it wasn’t as painful as they thought it would be and brought home everything to open on Christmas Day. OH BOY OH JOY! Every year for the past 5 years I have had to do clean up duty and produce fairy dust to smooth over hurt feelings caused by PC. I specifically told them not to bring anything home to open on Christmas Day from their father. I am so hurt by the lack of respect for my wishes.

    So this year, they will get their presents, they will get the ingredients to make dinner, but I am sitting back and doing absolutely nothing. I thought about running away to Ohio and spending it with my sisters, but I figure me doing nothing will be lesson enough.

    • I feel your pain, lldodd60. Hang in there! Since D-Day (3 years ago), my adult son spends the holidays with his father and new wife to go off on wonderfully expensive winter vacations. These were the vacations I was going to do with my ex once we both retired (we were married for 28 years). I’m saddened that my son can be so easily bought. This Christmas I’m feeling better. I plan to take my dogs out for a walk, cook us a nice dinner, and watch “The Secret Lives of Pets”. And before you know it, the day is over. (((Hugs)))

  • Old Tradition: Running around buying all the presents making sure everyone had something special they enjoyed. Buying him clothes and spending all the money on the presents while he contributed nothing. Setting up a tree as he complained about having to spend his money on something he didn’t believe was necessary. Getting a fifteen dollar bunch of flowers for my December birthday and a sappy card professing his forever love. Opening a gift on Christmas day each year and wondering how he had no idea what I liked or needed. Complaints about visiting relatives and offering no conversation while visiting my family. Going home and watching him drink beer and saying he should have bought me wine yet forgot to pick up a bottle.

    New Tradition: Laughter and joy sending group texts with my children as we plan Christmas together. Picking out a secret Santa to buy one family member a gift to exchange with a dollar limit. Buying a gift for a Yankee Swap and laughing for hours as we open the gifts and exchange them. Deciding what each one will contribute to a potluck dinner celebration. Going out with my son to pick out a Christmas tree and decorating it with my granddaughter, reminiscing about the ornaments from their childhood. Conversations about current events: new home, jobs, dreams, new business adventures, and joking with each other. Playing music, laughing, dancing, and enjoying every single minute with my amazing children and granddaughter. Getting invited to a Christmas Eve party at my sister’s home. Overall, having an authentic love filled day with my loving amazing family.

  • While I am feeling like shit and my financial situation sucks and I have a lot of stress about starting over from not much, I did for the first time in my life I put up a tree! Since my daughter is almost 2 I figure she has a right to know Christmas stuff, I never bothered about hristmas but this year I have been soooooo excited because my daughter is amazed by all the lights and Chrismas trees over all over town. We look at Santa videos and sing jingle bells, I got her actual jingle bells!! I cant wait for her to wake up on Sunday and see the big pile of presents I got her which I know she will love and I will tell her they are from Santa hehe, she is a fan. So all in all, first year I am excited about this, last year was DDay year, the year before that was when I was pregnant and wondered whyhe had stopped happily Skyping me… so those were not good years for Christmas…

    As for annoying stuff with the STBXH considering Christmas… well he never botherred… I never bothered… we would be at his family business with lots of guests wether we liked it or not, he would try to go to a party to drink (even if I would ask him to stay with me most likely) and I would go to sleep early. Something like that, god I dont even remember.

    What sucks is that I discoverd the Wham song Last Christmas is a cheater song after I just watched the video, bleh!!!!

    • Yay for the tree and buying your daughter gifts Jungle. I saw a picture of my last December (2013) birthday together with our family at a restaurant. The look of sadness and guilt on his face was telling. As time passes those ghosts of Christmas past are replaced with our ‘might’ in surviving despite the financial hit and the stress it brings into our lives. When I look back at all the simple things I brought to the table that went unnoticed and unappreciated by the Limited, I know I focused on the important moments I shared with my children. Its the small stuff like taking in the beauty of the lights with your daughter that matters.

      Letting go of the unpleasable, unappreciative, and downright abusive was the gift I gave myself. Mourning the loss of that feels like insanity as I look back with the clarity of knowing I gave to the selfish, propped up the image, tolerated the lack of respect, and forgave the never ending affairs. I let go of the darkness he brought to my life and the lights shine much brighter.

      • Doingme, it’s interesting that you mentioned looking back at an old photo before DDay. Dec 2013 was our last Christmas together as a family. As I replayed a video I took of him opening a present Christmas morning that year, I could actually see how much he didn’t want to be there…as if he despised me and we were bothering him.

        Dday for me was Thanksgiving 2014. Son’s last HS Football game. Nice. Holidays were a blur for me that year. I traditionally host Christmas Eve and despite all the pain and trauma, managed to pull it off thanks to a new tradition of chinese food that night. 🙂 Every year prior to that I was on edge, completely stressed and tired, wondering if he would help out at all and act welcoming to our families and socialize.

        Fast forward to Christmas 2015…made it through the year, paid him off and divorce final. Big celebration open house at my house. Continued the chinese food tradition along with a theme…that year holiday pj’s. The kids and I had a wonderful holiday with no stress and just truly enjoyed each other’s company. The secret family bet of’ ‘which version of XH would we get’ game I found out about that my brothers started was no longer relevant after he left.

        This year, continuing it on with a new theme. My whole family looks forward to our big Christmas Eve Open House party and everyone is happy for us that we no longer have to deal with him, his mood swings and all the unhappiness he brings with it. Meh is closer than ever with just a few setbacks/triggers now and then. Merry Christmas Chump Nation!

  • This year he is at work. So no explanations needed – kids your father is at work on his regular shift, you will see him next year.
    Im glad. He was around last Xmas, well he was passed out drunk Xmas eve, then hungover and horrible on Xmas day itself…. my oldest asked me what was even the point of Dad being here?
    Im so not at MEH yet.

  • My divorce was a long time ago. He took everything, and I was grieving a loss in my family, so I had no energy to fight back. So, I was financially ruined and living in a little bare-boned studio apartment with two cats and barely enough money to fill the tank to see my family. Time off meant no money for two days from the crappy job I had at the time working for a terrible exploiter. I had not yet learned mighty, so I just let that company bulldoze right over me, too, and struggled to deal with losing two days’ work.

    My family of origin is not exactly functional. All the traditions we had built over the years were beginning to crumble there, anyway.

    So, my first Christmas/holiday after my divorce was sad and small and lonely. I didn’t decorate. I didn’t care. All the traditions I had ever cared about were gone. My family was a sorry excuse for a support system and my Switzerland friends had nothing to offer. I felt desolate, bereft. I pushed the holidays away for several more years.

    What I know now is that this painful process turned out to be a huge reset button. I stopped worrying about what anyone else thought I should do about the holidays. I stopped trying to lean on others’ traditions and decided what *I* want to do to break bread with, and support, others in the dark of winter. I became interested in breaking the dark of winter up with pretty lights (that I could afford to plug in after ending my work at the Narcissism Factory and getting a much better job).

    I learned how to let go of strict adherence to traditions and embrace opportunities for better things. That is one of the many things that has allowed me to finally build a life where nobody owns me. I don’t want to be owned. I want to make mutually agreed upon choices with the people in my world. I want to participate in deciding how I am going to spend my time and energy. And, I want to ultimately define what I will and won’t do based on my own willingness to do things.

    The painful grief of the end of all the hopes and dreams I had for my first marriage turned out to be an incredible source of empowerment. My husband and I now choose things together based on whatever is true. It’s different every year. I see a couple of family members I am close to for meals before the 25th and exchange modest gifts with them and I don’t go to the larger dysfunctional party anymore. My holidays are quiet. That’s how I like ’em. I want to spend them in Hawaii someday and we are working on that plan (save, save, save).

  • My STBX left only 2 months ago to move in with his OW who is 14 years younger than him. Old traditions would have been putting up the tree as a family with my 3 year old- he’s just starting to understand Christmas this year- what a shame he won’t remember any of the old traditions we had as a family. We went out and bought all new tree and decorations and some of my lovely friends send me some new ones for the new tree too. My big sister and my mum and have packed everything and everyone up to come to mine for the day. He will be spending a couple of hours with our son in the morning then he is going back to hers for the rest of the day. (Ironically his 28 year old Girlfriend had already booked a 2 week holiday with her friends- so he will actually be alone after that for the rest of the day!) while I will be surrounded my my friends and family! It will be hard but with their support I am getting through it.

      • Thanks Tempest for your comment/ it was horrible when he was at the house spending time with his son and I lost it completely in front of him. Once he left I picked myself up and had a lovely time with my son and sister and her family. First Christmas Day done- onwards and upwards.

  • I will tell you what I won’t be doing…
    -walking on eggshells in wait for his bipolar jags when he turns into the exorcist; leaving us all scratching our heads trying to figure out what just happened.
    – All scurrying about anticipating how we can avoid the next exorcist moment.
    – Feeling guilty for wanting to relax and just be in pajamas for the morning because that would “Lazy”
    -Having him take credit for all the thoughtful gifts that he didn’t participate in buying or wrapping
    -listening to him tell us how everything we do is “the wrong way”
    – cringing at the chaos of trying to work around his retired parents “busy schedules” and having to be “flexible”, changing our plans at the last minute to accommodate them, because of course they are the most important people on earth!
    – listening to him complain about how he does everything, no one helps… but then won’t let us help, because we do it “wrong”
    – washing and drying EVERY dish in the house 20 times in 1 day, because god forbid he actually wash anything in-between his mad science “I am the master chief” meals (rinse off a cutting board and reuse it, rinse a spoon, wipe up a spill, throw trash in the garbage, put away any of the 5000 spices taking up half the counter)
    – complain we are in his way when trying to help, and then throw a fit because we aren’t helping enough.

    Basically I will not be jumping through the proverbial hoop this Christmas and chasing my own tail, trying to figure out what it is he wants to be content. Not my problem anymore!

    The kids and I are all going to participate in making a family brunch. We’ve all chosen a dish to make (the way we want to make it) and there will be no lectures on nutrition, yelling, cabinet slamming, dish throwing, guilt, bipolar outburst, or walking on eggshells.

    It will be a good Christmas indeed!

    • Good for you, Gotabrain! You got rid of a real loser. I’m so glad you are free of his mood swings, control, and over all mindfuck.

      Sweet freedom and also the smell of a meal cooked with love. Drama free and cruelty free!

      Have a great Christmas!

    • Oh my God that’s my ex too. Also bi-polar and a violent alkie. The MESS he would make in the kitchen and all we would end up would be salt flavoured with something. And his God-given right to order everyone about (ex Marine of course) and then get stroppy when youngest son would get hurt (the oldest seemed to ignore it) and I would give the Nazi salute and yell sieg heil (yeah, I know, I provoked him but sometimes you just have to fight back)! Don’t miss that at all. Total peace here for the holidays and I have no idea what he and shmoopie are doing cos he’s in the States and I’m in Europe – you see there is a God! Merry Christmas to you all.

  • Old Tradition: XH, each holiday season, thinking of some new inventive way to spend Christmas, usually involving a cabin in the woods, so we would spend the days and nights hauling water, foraging for firewood, and sleeping on hard wooden cabin bunks. At home beforehand, I would insist on us going out to cut down a tree and decorate, but the “traditional” was against his rebellious grain.

    New Tradition: Mostly? I work. I’m an Emergency veterinarian, and by working on Christmas Day, I’m freeing up the day for other people who have family and partners, while also providing emergent medical care for pets in need. — Around the rest of the season, I have a few of my own traditions: watching “Bishop’s Wife” w/Cary Grant & Loretta Young, baking cookies, playing Christmas music as I dance around my kitchen.

    I will say this: I had an early lesson in how variable Christmas can be, because my dad was a depressed alcoholic who hated Christmas. So, as a young child, I would eagerly awaken and sit by the brightly lit tree that my mother prepared each year, waiting to open my presents …. as my father shuffled down the hallway to the basement door. He would spend the entire day in the basement, listening to his old records — we could hear them (he wasn’t quiet about it) coming through the living room floor. We kids knew not to go into the basement, especially not to wish him a Merry Christmas which would just earn us an hourlong lecture on the hypocrisy of people being nice one day out of the year while being shitty the rest of the time (he was a social worker, so I get where he was coming from, but maybe a six year old kid isn’t the best audience for that sort of talk, Dad). If we gave him gifts, he refused to open them until Russian Christmas (our heritage, though he was born in the US) on January 7.

    The point is: We are all resilient. And not every “perfect Christmas” is as it appears from the outside.

    Hang in there, chumps. Find your own joy in these days — if that means blasting Sex Pistols at top volume, then that’s your freedom, your choice.

    Happy holidays to you all, and may we all find peace in these challenging days.

    • Merry Christmas, NWB!! I love the image of you dancing around the kitchen as you bake–a far cry from where we both were 2 years ago, eh?

      And for chumps looking for Christmas music to cheer you up, the BEST is the Muppet Christmas CD with John Denver. Don’t mock me–even if you don’t like John Denver, I dare anyone to stay sad through Mahna Mahna, or Miss Piggy’s rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

      • Merry Christmas, Tempest! Yes, we’re a couple of tough nuts to crack, it seems. Cheers to you — I’ll raise you a glass on Christmas & New Years!!

  • This is my first Christmas after the final decision that I can’t save this marriage by myself. Although I haven’t filed yet, and we’re still sharing a house (but separate bedrooms) I’ve been told that I am no longer invited to any holiday functions with my in-laws, whom I love very much. Apparently, having me there would potentially be too stressful, although I can’t think it would be worse than the Christmas he spent the day texting his girlfriend. I think once I’ve gotten past New Year’s things will be better, and then I’ll have a whole year to get used to the new status quo after almost 20 years of family holidays. So now I’ll spend the day with myself and the dog while they’re gone, and spend the evening with my son while his father goes out and about tomorrow night with his new friends.

    I have faith it will get better.

    • ItsNotJustMe–Yes, it does get better but that won’t help you this year. Do something completely different with you and your dog to distract yourself from the usual holiday traditions that you may be missing. Rearrange your bedroom. Put up a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in your room, and string lights from your ceiling. Take a candlelight bubble bath while fuckwit is out of the house. Self-care, self-care, self-care. Hugs to you.

  • This is my second Christmas in a new house, new tree, new ornaments, new traditions with a new guy.
    I was recently thinking about how I don’t have the same drama, the fights, the chaos, the scrambling to make a perfect Christmas, with perfect food and the cleanest house for people like his narc Dad or my narc Mom, or the king of narcs, my Xhole. This year is just me, a very nice man that loves me just like I am, helps me get things ready and cooks with me or he thinks I am tired, will take over on his own. Just him and our kids. There is laughter in the house and lots of talking as we all get to know each other better. No one is complaining and I am not stressed out trying to please people that refuse to be happy.

    Not only am I having the best Christmas ever, my anxiety attacks and depression have not visited me once this week. I am praying the PTSD and other symptoms I have left over from 20 years of abuse are finally healing…I am very blessed indeed.

    For all those still in the midst of the mess, it does get better, but only you can take control and get your life back. It’s not easy and it takes time, but it is so very worth it!

  • Christmas for the most part is still painful. Dday was the day after Christmas 2009 (can it be that long ago???) when I came across signs of the Owhore. The day before, like every every year for the previous 26 Christmases, he gave me a beautiful card professing his love. I spent the next Christmas day alone with an overnight trip to NYC. I remember walking back to the hotel after watching ice skaters in Central Park crying uncontrollably with the feelings of utter despair. I made the Christmas NYC trip for the next few Christmases. I had a nice Christmas with all new decorations for 2 Christmases with a boyfriend who looked so good on paper but was always emotionally distant (a divorced chump). This year it’s back to the city for Christmas. The city is alive with people walking about & lots of restaurant open later in the day. The day after Christmas sales are a wonderful treat!

    Old tradition on Christmas was always exciting visiting friends,my parents (before they passed away) & the in-laws. We lived about 75 miles away so we would head out early in the morning & got home very late but I loved it. For many years we flew out the next day for a European vacation with my bestest girlfriend tagging along before she remarried – ex had tons of frequent flier miles from his job.

    Side remark: I know one day his Christmas day will suck (karma?) since he dumped the Owhore to marry a 30 year old unattractive woman probably to stoke is 54 year old ego. We all know how this will turn out.

    Happy Holidays to Chump Lady & her nation for continued support throughout the year for reminding to trust that they suck.

  • Old tradition: NoKibble4U would take the week off before Christmas to ensure XH had his requisite 3 types of cookies. He’d get very upset if I packed up any for others as gifts. I mean, we’re talking over 100 cookies. Why should he share??

    If we traveled to his disgusting parents filthy house, we’d have to stop at McDonald’s to ensure that we had something in our stomachs for the next 3 days. Arrival at XILs meant a welcome of cheddar cheese that had been left our for hours. So much so, that it had become greasy in the middle and hard around the edges. There would be some cracker to go with that and some microwaved chicken wings also at room temperature. They live in Oregon, but somehow managed to have a year round INDOOR fly problem. XFIL would take the vacuum out and start sucking the flies out of the air. Christmas day meant that XMIL would take the turkey that had been “roasting” all night in at a temp of 150 degrees out of the oven. I don’t think she actually defrosted it as it was in about 3 inches of purge and white as a ghost. Then came the Diabetic Salad. This salad must have been meant to cause Diabetes because it had a can of fruit cocktail, bananas, cool whip, and pudding in it. Then there was the kind with white rice, cool whip and red Jello. BTW, there were no Diabetics in attendance. XH, XBIL and XSIL would live on the cookies I baked while we were there. The gifts were also great. The obviously plus sized Christmas shirts I received were always a favorite (I’m a healthy weight). One shirt looked like a white circus tent and had big mittens that went across my chest. I affectionally named it “Mitts on Tits”. Classy. Then XMIL would insist we all go to church – since “He’s the reason for the season.” Neither XH or myself were really into church.

    New Tradition: I’m going to my family’s house. I’m cooking a horse-radish crusted beef tenderloin roast, Lyonnaise potatoes, green beans with bacon and onions and all the trimmings. I will spend a fly-free Christmas with my dad, and my siblings and their families. I have 2 lovely nieces that are spectacular. We are all going to see “O” on the Vegas strip during the holiday.

    XH married his OW. I think she’s Jewish. I’m not sure she would appreciate XMIL’s “Reason for the season” mantra or midnight mass. I, do however, hope that she enjoys the salmonella turkey and greasy, fly-shit, peppered cheddar.

    • NoKibble4U, I laughed uncontrollably and lost all of my mascara.
      Thank you for that! Your story gets the Mark Twain Prize!! ?

      For you (and this is for real ~~ I did not make this up!! ~~ comes with attachments and instruction manual, I believe):

      • Hahaha! I missed the perfect present for XFIL! Drats!

        Thanks for the kudos! I had to laugh myself. Several years back CL had written about how the newly chumped could sometimes reminisce about cheater and their families. We imagined them eating exquisitely prepared marzipan and wearing beautifully hand-knitted Christmas sweaters. This year, I am over 3 years out and remember it like it was. AWFUL!

    • NoKibble4U,

      Your story was great. To quote Alan Alda’s character in “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Comedy equals tragedy + time.” I can now laugh at ex’s post-dday words & actions. Some of the stories are priceless.

      For years ex & I never went to his sister & brother-in lasw’s house for Thanksgiving. The place was disgusting especially the bathroom. We secretly brought our own soap & hand towels as we never knew if there would be any there. The last year we went I packed along toilet paper because the year before they ran out. The kitchen needed a deep cleaning & the dinner plates were greasy from previous meals. I don’t even want to think about the animal fur we had to lint-brush off before getting in the car to go home.

      They had tanks of snakes throughout the house & one year one “escaped” & we left early. They had a rat breeding industry in the basement to feed the snakes. I never looked but ex said it gave him nightmares. At one point (not on Thanksgiving) they had a small alligator living in the bathtub.

      On dday, ex stated that I had prevented him from going to his sister’s house for Thanksgiving. When I reminded him why we didn’t go he quickly found another reason & many more why he was leaving our marriage to be with Owhore. Sucks to be him having to go there now.

      • OMG! That sounds absolutely horrid! I can’t imagine. No soap or toilet paper??? Mmmm…E. Coli! UGH.

        Rat breeding?! Good grief! Sounds like the perfect environment for your X and OW.

      • Hurt1, I just have to say that is a classic! Snakes, rats, an alligator!

        We could probably write a dark comedy combining all the crazy bits and pieces of life with the Cheater and the Outlaws.

    • Your traditional Christmas remembrances had me in tears, NoKibble4U!! Oh my goodness I don’t know how you endured that. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?

      Your new Christmas sounds delish as well as joyful. Merry Cheater-free Christmas!!

      • Merry Cheater-free Christmas to you too FindingBliss. And you are correct, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree at all!

        My joy today is remembering that shit and thinking how the Wifetress will have to be subjected to that. OW is 10 years younger than me. XH and I didn’t have children, but XMIL thought she could entice us at Christmas. She sent these cheapie $7.oo baby-dolls to me and XSIL to entice us to be mothers. The one I received was dirty (they’re the really cheap ones that don’t even come in a box). She told me she got it for me because it reminded her of me. LOL! Crazy bitch!!!

    • NoKibble4U–Jeez, I can see why you’d miss all that! (and now I can’t get the greenish turkey or the oversized Mitts on Tits t-shirt out of my imagery!)

      • Tempest, it was horrid…and that’s just scraping the service. There was the time when they came to visit us. I prepared a beautiful brunch for them. XMIL said that my food was too rich and gave her diarrhea. She put on her nightie and sat on my sofa. XBIL and XSIL said that they could see she had no undies on! 2 hours after the alleged attack of the runs, the rest of us went our to let MIL recoup. She called us asking if we’d bring her a cheeseburger. I told the X, no f’ing way, but he stopped for his mommy and got her the cheeseburger. I guess a greasy burger helps upset stomachs. Personally, I think she was jealous because I’m an excellent cook.

        • NoKibble4U–stop whatever you are doing and write a screenplay! Seriously, your Christmas tales are better than “Christmas Vacation.”

          • Hehehe…Tempest..thank you so much. I’d love to write a screenplay! Some of the crap I’ve been through is true comedy! Three years out, and it’s more comedy and less tragic! Thank you for all you do on this site. Happy Holidays!

    • NoKibble4U, That is hilarious. Your delivery is spot on. Do you know why they had flies?
      Because they let trash pile up in the house before you got there or this was their lifestyle-filth.
      The bitch slap gift is fun, yes?
      I have found that people who are cheap in spirit are cheap in everything.

      • Carmela, You are so right. They are cheap in spirit!

        As for the flies, I think the garbage might be a factor. They burned their garbage. Plus, they are pack rats. When X was in high school, one of his friends used to through out old food from their fridge when X’s parents were at work. Also, they have a septic tank that I don’t think they treat. On occasion, it would back up into the shower and into the bathroom(their bathroom was carpeted). I really don’t know how people live that way. Oh well, not my problem anymore.

        I’m sorry this Christmas will be a tough one for you. It’s so hard and we’ve all been there. It gets better with time. Hugs to you.

  • If you are depressed, flattened by the grotesque betrayal and your new traditions are nothing spectacular, perhaps being alone with a peanut butter sandwich, I would not read these posts.
    It is akin to Fakebook Light. (typo intentional) You will compare your reality to others that people post (real or not) and feel depleted or worse than you did.
    There is a new study out how avoiding social media at Christmas greatly improves your mood.

    I know people do not mean anything malicious, but if you are still in active mourning, taking a shower might be an accomplishment on Christmas day. Reading about parties, tropical vacations and egg nog soaked family bashes IS NOT HELPFUL.

    Know you are doing the best you can, where you are. Just being upright and sniffing the air might be the most you can manage right now.

    • Carmela, I am so sorry if you are still in a dark place. It will get better. You can trust that, just like you trust that cheaters suck. Yes, you need to breathe before you can sing. But your soul will sing again. And it will sing whatever song makes you happy. Enormous hugs to you.

    • This is wonderful advice. Christmas is just another day on the calendar. If you are not ready to make it more than that, then just skip it. A quiet, restful day with coffee and a good book and a nap can be nice. Be kind to yourself and relieve any pressure to *feel* some particular way. Many hugs to those who are still in the midst of the initial grieving. It will get better.

    • You are right, Carmela, that you need to honor yourself and what you need, not just during the holidays but during your entire recovery. For me, in early days, it meant just surviving the day. Breathe in, breathe out, repeat. … Can I go to bed yet?

      None of these columns are intended to rub anyone’s nose in anything but instead to inspire. For me, when I was super down & barely surviving, reading the success of other chumps helped encourage me not to give up because it DOES get better. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but down the line somewhere. And some of her columns are exercises, at least they are for me, to look at not what is lacking and what is wrong (I am still without a partner but am now [two years later] quite okay with that — do I still sometimes want to throw things at the TV when I see happy couples dashing through the snow? Yes. I do), but what is right, even if it’s a little thing, like watching my favorite movie (even if it’s “Kill Bill”) unmolested by XH’s snarky remarks. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.

      But maybe that’s not where you are, and that’s cool. I agree that social media sometimes makes it seem like everyone is having an awesome time except you. We all know that’s almost certainly not true. (Yesterday, I saw a FB pic of a former coworker doing some sort of exercise thing and I hated her flat belly, even though I like her a lot and wish nothing but good things for her.) But for some of us, at certain times, it reminds us to keep going because there’s some good shit out there.

      So, as a reality check, I am learning to focus on the fact that I may be helping some dogs and cats by being at the ER clinic (I’m a vet) this holiday weekend, instead of thinking about all the dogs and cats I’m going to end up euthanizing because that’s just what happens around the holidays. It’s a true phenomenon, and nothing goes to heaven that doesn’t need to, but it’s still a shitty thing to have to do on Christmas Day. — Still, reading these posts helps me focus my attention elsewhere and give me hope (and also joy for the chumps who are doing it — yay for them!). If you aren’t there, that’s cool. Just survive the day. Peace to you, friend.

      • I agree with NWBiblio, none of the posts here are meant to add pain or envy to someone’s life. If you are in the thick of the pain and darkness, then staying off social media is a great idea.

        For me, when I was still slogging through the deep days of grief and loss, I longed for a story or anecdote or testimony from someone, anyone who had survived the pain. Someone who didn’t end up homeless, destitute, institutionalized, incarcerated, or heavily medicated. I was so afraid of the future. I was terrified I would be left permanently depressed and/or angry. I searched the archives over and over for evidence that there was HOPE. Because I didn’t want to go on if there wasn’t hope for a better future.

        While many posts made me laugh, and others made me feel normal and sane (all good), it was the stories from thriving chumps that gave me strength to keep going forward.

        So, in the spirit of Christmas and in the event that another Chump somewhere in the world needs to hear my story, here it is in a nutshell:

        Married to a disordered, cowardly lying cheater for almost 30 years–always felt something was off–he lied about so many things. Two Ddays, one 3-year wreckonciliaton, final Dday April 2015, divorce final July 2015. I was homeless until February 2016. Stayed at friends’ houses or in short-term rentals or housesat. Christmas last year was unsettled, did get an invite to the home of some relatives of some relatives. Felt like a spare part. Felt very sad.

        Christmas this year is a tropical vacation. I’m spending the day with new friends from around the world. Barbecue on the beach. Fireworks. Good food, wine, lots of laughter. When I am good and ready I will return to my lovely little rented home in a cold climate. My adult children will be joining me here for family vacation time next week.

        I assume ex is spending the day with Mommy Dearest, unmarried alcoholic brother, and temper tantrum bully brother. None of them like to cook, so deli takeout food from the gas station? I am so glad I’m not cooking or cleaning for that crowd. I’m even more happy that I don’t have to listen to the passive aggressive conversations just waiting for one of the two brothers to erupt in anger and start the drama.

        CL and CN saved me. I am truly enjoying my cheater free life. And while this life is not what I imagined my later years would look like, I am at peace and full of joy.

  • I decided that I will no longer allow him to verbally assault my character and question my motives in every response to required informational emails. Yesterday, I sent his latest annual Christmas season diatribe to my attorney and will pay for them to send a cease and desist letter. If he doesn’t comply, I’m taking him to court for civility non-compliance.

    Still, it’s going to be hard to top the new tradition I started four years ago when he finally left the house and I no longer had to endure another holiday with an emotionally abusive spouse. Divorce was indeed, the end of a huge error.

    Happy Christmas, everyone!

  • Awww, Christmas. I will have my beloved child returned to me at approximately 2 pm (which is much better in my opinion than having him leave at that time.) We will have a nice afternoon of opening presents and just spending time together before we sit down to a lovely meal with all our holiday favorites. The evening will be relaxed time where two companionable introverts can just “be” without endlessly trying to entertain a bored extrovert who would rather be somewhere else with more exciting people. No one will be secretly drinking and texting. An evening walk with the dog to see the neighbors’ light displays is an annual tradition that will be upheld. So all the same traditions with none of the stress and mismatched expectations. Merry Christmas to CL and all my dear CN friends.

  • Old timer here. I instantly chucked the grand old tradition of doing all of the decorating, shopping, wrapping, shipping, cleaning, cooking, baking, etc. while Fucktard did little or nothing, took all the credit, and paid for nada. I don’t miss receiving his thoughtful gifts (usually bare root roses and coasters, once a ThighMaster). I don’t miss his stinging remarks about what I could have done better.

    In the pleasant absence of Fucktard the Vegetarian God, I gave up the crazy marathon effort to do it all. I began to cook delicious carnivorous meals. Turkey, horseradish-crusted beef tenderloin, live lobsters, something different every year. This year we will enjoy a Christmas seafood and chorizo paella. No more stress. No more frantic holiday shopping or breaking the budget. Current husband (also a former chump) and I choose a household gift and one for each of us each year, and a small gift for close friends and neighbors. Whatever cash is left over goes into the vacation fund. We enjoy the holidays with friends, drink eggnog, and smile a lot. Sometimes different is so much better.

    Happy Holidays to Chump Nation! Peace and joy to each of you.

  • I’m waiting for the holidays to be over. First found out about husband’s cheating last June 2015. I had hope last year that we could work everything out – we were both going to counseling but he later quite. This year is very depressing – no hope left. He said it was over with sweetie but I doubt that – just another lie. I would rather be home by myself instead of around others. Don’t feel like putting on a happy face. Not only have to survive the holidays, but also our 39th wedding anniversary on Dec 30th. I will be glad when all the hurt and anger disappears and I reach the point of “I could care less”. At least I don’t have young kids to worry about. Daughter is grown and I try not to talk about it around her.

    Merry Christmas to everyone and Happy New year.

    • CrazyLady–I’m sorry. The first round of holidays is the worst. Try to stay distracted on your anniversary; it will still hurt, but you’ll at least have a reprieve if you schedule another activity. My vote? The biggest adventure or scariest horror flick you can find, plus some kind of social support that day. Hugs!

      • What Tempest said. — The year of Dday, I tried to distract myself by going to Hawaii with a friend and her husband. As it so happens, another of their couple friends decided to join us all, too. Two couples…and me. I cried SO much on that trip, barely remember any of it. I did separate from the group to go scuba with a local shop one day and that was MUCH better, less “couple-y” but when that wore off and I had to go “home,” it was awful.

        It DOES get better. What day is it? the 23rd. OK. So, in only 8 or 9 more days, the holidays will be over, everyone will be grumpy because of credit card bills and New Years resolutions and kids not wanting to go back to school … and we’ll fit right in! — Not funny? OK, sorry. Just trying to say that it’s okay to feel the very real pain you’re suffering — lost hope, grief, triggers everywhere with an anniversary looming, … that shit is REAL and not to be easily undone by a simple date on a calendar telling you to be happy, dammit!!

        This year, survive. I think the first year I worked, and if I didn’t, then I turned off everything that reminded me of Christmas and pretended like it was just another day. I rented a bunch of NOT-Xmas holiday movies, did not turn on the TV or radio, and only had to suffer through my sister’s well-meaning phone conversation. But even she reminded me it’s just another day. Our mother died on a December 24, so we both know calendar dates don’t mean shit.

        Hang in there. Honor your grief. It’s just another day. — I’m not a hugger, but… Hugs to you.

      • For my 25th wedding unniversary, I bought the attic ceiling fan that I always wanted and he thought was a stupid idea. Still makes me smile when I turn it on.

    • Hello Crazy Lady, I am Crazy, too.
      Do you know what your Christmas gift is? You do not have to pretend anymore. Pretending is exhausting. It is like carrying bags of rocks around your neck.
      Fuck it all. Tell the truth. Don’t buy anyone a gift unless they love you, don’t cook a damn thing, and lay in the bed if you wish. I vote for the adventure/horror movie or something really light.
      Try “Shaun of the Dead”. It is hilarious and light and fast paced, and smart.

    • Crazy lady, I’m with you, I don’t want to put on a fake smile, pretending to be ok when I am not. I have a teenage boy who will be at fucktards and I hate it. How come I have to miss out on Christmas morning with my son, oh yes that’s right, because us chumps get punished for everything

  • I’m so happy to have the old Me back, along with my family, that I could not care less about him or our old traditions. They sucked, just as he does.
    Everyone knows that he sucks, but he hasn’t gotten the memo. I’m sure he’ll be messaging me shortly to wish me Merry Christmas, Happy New Year or something. I guess Smoochie (what the rest of us derisively call her) doesn’t give him enough attention.
    As for me, I finally have what I need. I am so thankful for this blog, also, where we have each other for support. As the anniversary of my separation and filing for divorce approaches, I will be leaning heavily on the support. I’m pretty much at Meh…But sometimes the stray feelings come back.

    • And…. I was correct: within three hours, he messaged me “Merry Christmas”, along with “I love you” – the same bullshit he seasons every message with. No matter what. I just ignored him. Merry Meh to ME!!

  • Yesterday was D-day 1 second anniversary. (Best anniversary btw) after realizing on second d-day, (New Years Eve) that he was the Fucktard that he is, after being a unicorn for two years and doing all that Chump Nation teaches us chumps NOT to do, I knew my first Christmas wasn’t going to happen like the old days, not even a Christmas tree. My daughter, whom hates her father immensely and wants 0 contact, and I traveled north to my sisters homes (in the same city fortunately) and share the holidays with their families and parents.
    This year Fucktard tried to persuade dd with promises of gifts and dinner, and she told him no!! (So proud of her) and we’re still up north (California) celebrating with family. But I did set up a tree and celebrated on Wednesday with my daughters brothers, STBXH boys, and had a really nice dinner party for the bothers and their girl friends. (Word has it, X is unemployed again for the 5th time this year!)

  • I have been officially divorced for a month now. Since the fuckwit didn’t want any custody at all of our kids they are spending it with me. I enjoy every second with them. I am grateful for that and also for not having to see his entire narcissistic lunatic control freaking shit for brains family this year. EVERY single brother of his and his sister and parents are all divorced now. Of course they blame their ex-spouses. Not that every single one of his family is a bunch of cheating narcisstic do-no-wrong asshats. ehhhhh.
    I still keep in touch with my 2 sil who got divorced before me. We are great friends. We are all enjoying our Holidays away from the Hell that was my ex-husbands family.
    24 years of putting up with all that BS makes me appreciate and love my time now so much more. I used to dread the Holidays. Now I enjoy them. What a blessing!!

  • One thing several have mentioned, and it is valid. When I was newly chumped, I just wanted to hibernate and nurse my wounds. I didn’t want company, even from those who loved me and wanted to comfort me. I wanted to sort out my head first. This is normal. It is common. It’s okay. A lot of us were isolated and gaslighted by disordered and abusive spouses and partners, and need time to hear ourselves think without being told what to think. That’s important work. So anyone who wants or needs to take a pass on the holiday season this year, know you are entitled to do so. The new year will bring better things.

    • I like that. When I am trying to sleep, I burrow down in all my covers like a cave with my cats and dogs. Like an animal, nursing her wounds. I imagine we are in a forest, and no one can hurt us. (Yes, maybe I sound like the Stuart Smily from SNL) but it works!

      • Survivor – there’s not a thing wrong with doing the hermit thing after d-day. I made the mistake of going to a holiday party last year and it was far too soon to be around people, many were strangers. And, I couldn’t last. I found myself at table surrounded by people and just burst out crying saying what a cheating scum my husband was. Ooops – wrong place and inappropriate for the event on my part. Give yourself time so you don’t do what I did.

        • It’s okay. Avoidance and denial is in a chump’s blood. BUT, when you are ready to spread your wings, they will help you fly. If not now, then soon. Get yourself ready first and soar.

    • Newly chummed 5 weeks.
      I feel like hiding from the world.
      I went to a Christmas party and could barely move from the chair, felt like a leper failure around recently honeymooned couples and felt the don’t look at my husband vibes,,, like I’m not hurting enough. Some people are supportive and others act like it contagious, it’s like an elephant in the room. I feel judged and keep going over what I could have done better. Add in that he wants to come back.
      My parents would disown me if we did try again.
      Got to push on and make 2017 my year and kick some goals.
      Just feel so alone at the moment but I am strong and independent and need to go through withdrawal of 13 years with him.
      Just sucks now, no energy, shedding weight, stress rash but then he caused me constant stress in 3 – 6 months cycles of self obsessed drama about his needs not being meet, bla bla while I did pretty much everything, kids house, work.

      • Lady Batshit, you are mighty pushing through this so quickly. It is just a few more days to get through now. One day at a time. Big hug.

      • Lady Batshit, I felt very much like what you are describing three years ago. It is so difficult to detox from over a decade of mindfuckery…

        If you haven’t read CL’s book, that would be a great present to yourself. Also, “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft, and listening to Sandra Brown’s radio show from the relationship harm reduction institute. I fed my mind with knowledge so it could catch up with what my heart found the hard way: The person I thought I was married to never existed but in my head. I spackled and made it work for over a decade, until I got proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that my X was very different than the image he projects.

        It is a very long and arduous path, but the pain lessens as you define new rules for how you will deal with your STBX and build better boundaries in all areas of your life.

        Hang in there Lady Batshit, it feels excruciating most days to put one foot in front of the other, but with time and going NC, it will get better.

        (((((Lady Batshit)))))

      • Lady Batshit–When I was that fresh out of the gate, I could only tolerate talking to someone about normal things for 20 minutes, and then the panic attack would start. It’s not always possible (or good) to stay isolated right after D-day, but know what your limit is and make plans for an exit. And feel free to give a Cliff Note version of what happened to you to anyone you want; most people will be very sympathetic and understanding of your desire for limited contact. Hugs!

      • Lady Batshit. I’m guessing you had a happier name before. Look back and find that person and what you called her. You are not contageous. Not a leper. You were mistreated, that’s all. And we don’t like anyone to be mistreated.

        Don’t let anyone who would embarrass you, humiliate you or harm you back. Trust that he sucks. I walked your path for 16 years before I got free. Some here have walked a lot longer, and have longer tales to tell. Step in here and get out of Hell. Get enough hugs to move you forward in your mind, and get free. Please, take care of yourself. Everyone here will help you.

        • Great call Survivor. I ache for the day I see Lady Batshit drop the last word and just go by Lady.

          Lady- I know you deserve a better name and have been through a lot.
          I’m sure we all have names to compare how we first started out – felt BATSHIT FUCKING CRAZY.
          Possibly, the forum needs an updated thread on how BatShit we all went when we found out.
          I’ve read all the posts here since the site started but don’t recall if there’s one on that subject – but memory eludes you at first.

          There is one on the cheater going Bat Shit.

          Now thinking back, I went fucking batshit medieval on his ass when I kicked him out and I’m sure all the neighbors heard it…and there’s a story behind that!

          Happy Boxing Day! Keep up the Dukes.

  • The traditions were all mine–keeping them. The tree & house decorations were all my purchases–kept them. I always did all the work (except for cleanup), will do that again, including cleanup (with help from daughters).

    So what’s changed?
    Prior to divorce: Fuckwit at the dinner table.
    Now: No more fuckwit at the dinner table! Pop the champagne!

    • Tempest– sounds just like mine! I did it all (traditions, decorating, etc). It is still mine… and it is great not having the passive, emotionless lump around!

  • Most of the holiday traditions came from me, so much of the Old holidays and New holidays are the same.

    Old Traditions: almost every xmas eve was spent with in-laws, as they observed the 24th. Spending 8-10 hours with MIL who hates to eat, much less cook, with the racist uncle on his 3rd wife, and all the messed up cousins having kids without having the ability to support the kids… it was often not very fun.

    Since ex moved away, I have taken the kids to spend xmas eve with the grandparents and family, though I no longer have the pressure to stay all day. This year I am less Chumpy and I told MIL we cannot come– my family is visiting and I do not want to drag them over to the former in-laws for hours, after a 1.5 hour drive one way.

    New traditions: deciding what we as a family wants to do, not caving in to familial pressure.
    It is is not raining, we go hiking on the 25th. IF it is rainy, we make chili and watch some movies.

    Hugs to CN! For the newbies, I know first hand how tough it can be to not have time with your kids. As others have said, in the end it is simply a day on the calendar, and you can celebrate on other days.

  • I’m over 3 years out from divorce, and can testify that no contact is amazing after years of verbal abuse.

    I told him I was divorcing him a couple weeks before Thanksgiving. Somehow I let myself be talking into attending a gift exchange with our long time friends, scheduled a few hours before i was leaving town for my sister’s house. The female spouse is alone with me and talks of how the huge house they bought has been great for their marriage because they don’t see each other except for meals and bed. Later there’s sharing of a video they are all laughing over and it’s porn, which I found offensive. So I got up and said time to go. Haven’t seen the Swiss friends since then, and don’t miss them.

    Now, I’m in my little house I bought this year, with my little fresh table top tree and after a few weeks of holiday activities I am looking forward to a quiet holiday on my own with my pets. Might snow a little tomorrow even …

    • That absolutely does sound lovely. I like that you are “validated” by your own quiet strength and confidence. That helped me.

      I have been, also, at a house party and a weirdo breaks out the porn. I was not sure what they were getting at….did they want to swing? Uh…no. My ex partner said, I needed to lighten up.
      He was right. I need to lose about 160 lbs of entitled cheating STD infested pathological lying human waste.

  • Old Traditions: Me doing EVERYTHING from us to my family and his family: shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping, shipping packages, christmas cards, schlepping homemade food and presents to various places on Christmas Eve and Day celebrations, being exhausted and mostly hating it.
    New Traditions: 3.5 years after D-day, I am having my family over to my cute new house on Christmas Day for lasagna and singing and games.
    To the fresh chumps out there – hang in there. This will pass. Keep moving forward and all of this pain and ugliness will become things in your past.

  • Fellow Chumps, Merry Christmas! I have been reading this forum for several months. I’m a two time Chump. Both times were exit affairs. Both APs by objective standards are complete losers, which made me feel completely horrible. (My picker needs some serious work, but that is for another post). I have eaten most of the shit sandwiches many of you have had to eat. (AP’s adjoining apartment paid for out of joint checking account, children introduced to AP right away, quickly arranged marriage with AP, etc.). Just finished my second divorce at the end of the summer. X informed me in the spring that she was ending the marriage because after contacting her HS boyfriend via her newly created FB account she decided she needed something easy and he is easy.
    Anyway-new traditions: 1. Took the grandkids shopping and they got to pick out their own gifts while I got the pleasure of watching them. 2. Have taken my sons out for one on one time with just me. Movies, sports, etc. 3. Am envisioning next year being very low key, with just a couple of gifts for the kids, and more one on one activities which each child even if it isn’t on the exact day i.e. Christmas or Christmas Eve.
    I am thankful for this site. CL is very funny, and I find comfort in reading CN experiences knowing that I am not alone. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

    • Icantbelieve

      Well I have to say that you just made me cry but in a good way.

      “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

      I am a newbie chump after 21 years married. My family or origin were unfortunately extraordinarily dysfunctional, self interested and cold. But there was something about Christmas that soothed my soul. Something about ‘proper’ families, tradition, the lights, the tree, the gifts, the food, the love. Just there to enjoy every year. I gobbled up TV movies and plays and books all to do with Christmas. It goes deep with me.
      This year I have been struggling to cope for the boys and put in a brace face but couldn’t quite get that Christmas feeling.

      UNTIL NOW. That line from the poem is my favourite. I read it. I love it, I read it to the boys, they love it. I watch animated movies of it.
      I had forgotten it!!

      The night before Christmas and it almost is. Thank you so much. By remembering this poem I’m back in the Christmas zone. Unbelievable.
      My own little miracle.
      So. Bless you for this post. You have just saved a fellow chumps Christmas. ❤

      • Capricorn
        Thank you for your kind words. I was content just reading, but for some reason I decided to sign up and post today. I’m glad I helped. I also love Christmas and that poem. I hope you and your boys can still find some joy even with the difficult circumstances.

  • Needed this today. 9 months since D-Day, 6 months since I filed, this is first Christmas apart for 15 years and after months of feeling strong and on way to MEH, felt in last few weeks have gone backwards because loss of sense of “family” seems more acute at this time of year. Then remember the sense of family was just that, a sense. For the narcissistic fucktard Christmas (well everyday but especially Christmas) was always about him and what he wanted. Showing off to everyone about being the “perfect family man” – constant reminders to everyone of the expensive but thoughtless gifts he’d bought or performance cooking so everyone would fawn over him. And all the while off sexting his Ho-worker once food had been eaten and ignoring me and my family while they were here or belittling them as soon as they had left.

    And now I know this year, though hard to adjust for me and my son, will still be so much better as not living a lie anymore, or having to pander to the selfish demands of a manipulative man-child. No stress, no worry about him dictating our whole holiday around his wants and needs, and no wasted time playing the marriage police. Get to spend it joyfully and peacefully with those I love and who truly love me with no conditions or agenda.

    • And be grateful he isn’t boosting a Christmas tree over a fence at a closed lot at midnight on Christmas Eve and saying that is okay.

  • I work in an industry that doesn’t shut down ever. And holidays are actually pretty nice at work. People are in great moods and the pace is usually gentler. So back in the early days after Dday, in my depths of despair, I have actually gone to work when The Coward took my kids away from me on “his” Christmas or Thanksgiving. And by the time I got home from work my kids were usually home shortly thereafter. That actually worked out really well for me. (I bet he does the same thing when it’s my holiday.)

    Then I found out about “Jewish Christmas” which is our newest tradition. My parents and I and whomever else is around go to a movie and out to eat (Chinese food is the general “rule” for Jewish Christmas, but my dad likes Denny’s….) And we’re not even Jewish. But it’s a fun way to spend the day, and it removes a bit of the sting of not having my kids with me on opposite years.

    Volunteering might be nice on your day without the kids–or even with them?

    I’ve actually mellowed into a more philosophical mood when it’s not my day with the kids. I no longer feel excluded nor sad, nor hurt that the kids are with their dad. To be cliched, it is what it is, and I actually appreciate my alone time quite a bit, like so many of my chumpy brothers and sisters here. For sure I do not miss celebrating with the ex, who, as noted above, was typically withdrawn and moody, and who really did very little to help with cleaning, cooking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc. In fact, I remember one year that I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get our little apartment ready for visitors. I put Comet cleanser in the shower for a quick scrubbing, and, after sleeping in and doing NOTHING (NOTHING!) to help with anything, he rinsed that shit down the drain instead of spending 3 minutes with a sponge to help me. (Help me? Hell, to act like an adult–see what a chump I am? As if it’s only MY responsibility to clean.) He defiantly proclaimed that it was a holiday, and “I don’t do chores on holidays.” (Ohhhhh, hahahah! He NEVER did chores!) And, you know, the not-that-dirty tub really wasn’t a problem, now that I look back, but I will never get over what a self-centered, entitled, fucking asshole I was married to.

    Happy Holidays to my on-line besties!!

    • I second the volunteering idea, Stephanie–helping serve food at a food bank may be the perfect combination of surrounding one’s self with people, but being too busy to focus exclusively on one’s pain.

      Shelters are also usually understaffed on holidays, and some may permit people to volunteer to walk dogs or play with cats. Want to see grateful? A dog who gets a 20-minute reprieve from his cage in a shelter.

      • I no longer do assholes on Christmas!

        Just had yet another great holiday without that one! Woooooooooot! Had my parents, my kids, and some international visitors–friends of my kids! <3

        Tomorrow watching the Warriors/Cavs game with my parents and friends, then dine out, maybe a late movie, wait for my kids to get HOME (HOMMMMMMMME) from their father's place (NOT HOME) where he resides with the twat. My ex MIL will be there, too. There was a time where I was sad I'd "miss out" on that. No longer. *shudder*

        • Hey Stephanie – great Xmas movie recommendation.
          Not for kids.
          Actually, it’s not about xmas either.
          It’s a horror flick and I don’t do horror flicks but it’s pretty freaking scary and just came out.
          Streaming on Amazon.
          “Don’t Breathe”

          I think this will be my new tradition on Xmas eve.
          A horror flick!

          Merry Christmas!

  • So much positive in this thread! Thank you all for sharing.

    I think this holiday is much harder on couples sharing custody and I sure wouldn’t want that for anything.
    I wish you all the best of luck!
    We didn’t have kids.

    This is my 2nd Christmas without the X.
    I’m happy, single and own my own house, plus I have lots of fur-babies.

    We had the BEST Christmases while married!
    We put on many dinners for friends and family and he did a great job helping out with the meal and even shopping.
    (never any dish-washing for him, though)

    My XMIL was a Rockwell MIL and did everything just perfectly.
    Didn’t allow tv and my XFIL created great conversations at the table long after dinner was served.
    The next day we’d go to the mountains and snowmobile for a whole week – MIL cooking us all a hot-piping meal when we returned.
    It was truly magical. (my now deceased FIL absolutely loved me to death – more than my own father and was a great listener)

    My family is really large and in another country so we didn’t see them as often.
    But, when we celebrated with them, it was complete chaos.
    None of those fancy, nice candles on the table and just cheap decorations. I think our tree was actually fake and a bright blue.
    So many new babies, nieces and nephews and my mom being a shopaholic, bought so many gifts that you could hardly get into the living room.
    My job was coming home and wrapping hundreds of kids’ gifts until 2am Xmas eve. Her and I had a riot.
    Also, very Rockwellish and an awesome time.
    Everybody loved the X! (my dad seemed to love him more than he did me)

    Last year was pretty tough since it was only me, so, very last minute I drove 1000 miles to visit my family in and my nieces babies, in winter weather, went snowshoeing in the mountains and cross country skiing and it was great. But, the triggers getting there where the X and I travelled so many times, was tough.

    THIS year – much has changed towards the meh department in my head.
    I decorated my new old little cottage inside and out with lights everywhere. (X wouldn’t do lights)
    I’ve accepted every invitation.
    I’ve gotten together a group of various women friends (7 of us) to go to the free community Christmas meal on C. Day at our Elks lodge – all free!

    And, the best thing of all, I woke up this morning and, for the first time in all this bullshit, he didn’t enter my head.
    Even though, he just bought a mansion with his schmoopie and it will be their first Xmas in their new house.
    (she’s estranged from her entire family so it’s just the cozy two of them….how fun)
    Not even a thought there wondering about them.

    If it weren’t for C/L and C/N I never would have made it.
    These holiday posts are so important for all of us to read the stories.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to some of my best Besties in the world!

  • For all the newly chumped, know that the first Christmas can be hard. Doing Christmas Eve the first year alone (after 25 years of marriage), I felt like my arm was missing & my heart might literally break. Four years later, I don’t miss him at all! We have new traditions, both adult kids will be with me, I have lots of extended family plans, and not one tear!!! I even put the Christmas village up for the first time post divorce this year. The healing is slow, but it does happen!

  • I thought of another one while I was shoveling the driveway — I’d been thinking Christmas instead of New Years. But New Years was always such a big day for him, as part owner of a trendy wine bistro downtown — honestly, even before that, when he was just dinner manager at another restaurant. Regardless of which restaurant it was, he couldn’t bear to be away from the spotlight and all the hoopla. So if I wanted to spend NYEve with him, I had to go down to the restaurant and belly up to the bar while he “worked.” Sure, I could’ve brought someone, but HE was my NYEve date…. right????

    My most searing memories are two: 1) One year he agreed to not go to the restaurant so we could spend the evening together. We went out to dinner somewhere then went home. — He was the poutiest most miserable little shit all night, CLEARLY wanting to be ELSEWHERE… Duh!!! and 2) The year I sat at the bar as he stood on it and counted down the clock, popping the champagne cork at midnight, shaking hands with everyone and wishing them a happy new year… except me. He did not give me a hug or a kiss or even look at me until after he’d shared all his jubilation with every other person in that bar. Then he was mad at me because I was (clearly) hurt, though I didn’t say a word about it.

    Now I mostly stay home on NY Eve because my dogs hate the fireworks, and every new year I get to spend with them is ten times better than any I spent with XH.

    • Your X sounds like a nightmare, Biblio – drinking kibbles dancing ON the bar?
      ha. I had an X that would gather attention like that.
      Love to swing all the ladies on the dance floor…and somehow, often missed me.

      New Years or 4th of July is NEVER a good time to leave scared dogs.
      You made the best decision for all for your faithful, committed, Best of the Best, Beasties. ;p (pun? alliteration?) But I wouldn’t sacrifice my animals for any event.

      #hugs #thundershirts #leashingadoginthehouse #security

  • Last year, PreyingMantis absolutely ruined Xmas. Texting Schmoopie(s?), picking fights with me to try to derail all our planned holiday outings… you could have cut the tension with a knife and served it on crackers. When the final shoe dropped, it hurt for a bit, but the sense of relief I eventually felt… knowing that PM would never be able to ruin another holiday ever again… was so worth it. This year, I hired a friend’s college age son to help me haul out and put up all the decorations – both inside and out. I found that over 25% of my Xmas stuff is missing, but I can’t do anything about that now. I just have to go forward from here. And onward I go! I have several fun new groups of friends to go party and do holiday things with. I’ve accepted nearly every invitation I can. I went to The Nutcracker this year, because every year PreyingMantis and I were married, I wanted to go and for one reason after another, we never could. I asked friends if they wanted to go and none of them could either, so I went all by myself. Sure, some people at the theater looked at me with pity, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a date. And I had a really good time! This holiday season, I’ve gotten to see movies that I wanted, gone places that I hadn’t been able to in years, and even reconnected with lots of old friends that the ex never liked. I’ve stayed no contact all year even when it was extremely difficult. Most of all, I don’t miss my vicious and sociopathic ex-MIL and all the dysfunctional relatives on the ex’s side of the family. They were always unpleasant to deal with under the best of circumstances; now that they’re gone it’s such a relief I want to do the happy dance. For Xmas I’ll go out with friends for Japanese or Chinese food; my days of producing a huge, tension-soaked, unappreciated holiday feast are OVER. What a difference a year makes. I feel like I can breathe again.

    • Good post, Sunny. I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief for you too! So glad you don’t have to deal with those ungrateful dysfunctional people any more. Here’s to the freedom and the joy!

      Happy cheater-free Christmas!

  • Brings back memories. Reading about all the delightful dysfunction. My x’s birthday was Christmas day. It was always frought with stress. Brunch and his parents with his dad drinking vodka out of a red solo cup and popping Vicodin at 11 am. Opening presents was always dicey. On our last Christmas together x left the house at 3 to “work out” because “I deserve time for me on my birthday”. He met up with his whore. He was three hours late to dinner and yelled at me for my technique cooking the tenderloin (which I have cooked for years and is always good) I ended up yelling at him to “fuck off” in front of his mother. It was fantastic.

    Two Christmas’s later, we are a relaxed family of three, traveling west to see my family and be surrounded by love.

    I’m given hope by all the chumps who have found new love. All in good time. Happy Holidays to all members of Chump Nation!

  • New tradition – Buying gifts my kid actually wants instead of piles useless, unwanted crap Ex would pick up on deep clearance at his retail job.

    New tradition – Visiting family and friends Ex used to refuse to see.

  • Old tradition – Me cooking for two days, to put on a spread for just my family, plus my Mom. No help from X as he’s busy visiting friends, or home drinking and criticizing. Have a pretty good time with all, but there’s usually tension, X is bored! The 3 Stooges playing on the TV all through the meal and gathering is not even enough to keep him from the pain of family time. Then, finally, he makes a plate of food, and off he vanishes, to see his OW across the street (he tells her he helped cook all that food).
    New tradition – I’ll cook, and my BF will cook with me! We’re making ham, and tons of veggies, and a pie. He will tell me what a good cook, and cool person I am, because he loves to make me feel good about myself. He thinks my self-esteem has gone way up lately, and he’s happy he had a part in that. We will enjoy some wine, and open a couple of presents, and hopefully go for a hike in the redwoods nearby. It’s a simple life, and that’s just fine. No fighting, no eyerolls, and no Stooges! Just love and peace and respect. I never knew my life would change so, and hopefully it will stay great like this. My sons are all grown, and doing well, and now their Mom is, too!
    Happy Holidays, all you lovely Chumps! If you’re still in the storm, just hold on, and one day you’ll get to the land of Meh, don’t you worry.

  • Movie day on Christmas Eve with son. Christmas dinner with both kids and grand baby. No cheater in sight.

    New different. We will be ok

    • Suggestion for ‘movie night’ that isn’t a xmas story.

      ‘Don’t Breathe’ on Amazon.
      I don’t do horror stories but this one grabs you and it’s not all about the fantasy of Xmas ‘love’.

      Not recommended for kids but it’s sure fun.

      Happy holidays!


  • I’m an old timer chump here at CL and my d-day was over three years ago. This morning I awoke in my own small house that I was able to buy w/ no help from anyone. Things are still in disarray and I didn’t bother trying to decorate, but I feel peaceful and hopeful. It’s a small red house, so perhaps next year I’ll just decorate it with a huge bow 😉

    Of all the weird things, I bumped into the ex at my local grocery store last week. I can’t believe he’s somehow managed to move closer to me when he’s been saying for three years what a shit hole this place is and how he will be gone as soon as he can. It set me back for a night, but then I quickly realized that it just didn’t matter. He’s an utter stranger to me now.

    Happy holidays, Chump Nation. It gets better.


    • Hi Moving Liquid- such great news about the house. I remember it was one of your ‘getting a life’ goals. Hears to a very peaceful holidays and 2017.

    • Moving Liquid – so good to see you pop in again. It’s been a long time and congratulations on buying your house. I believe you were living with your folks prior to that?

      Have a great Christmas!

      • Congrats Moving Liquid! Your own little Red House! Love the bow idea too. Bet you could totally do that too. Sounds super cozy and wonderful. Merry Christmas!

      • SheChump, yes, I lived with my elderly parents for just over three years. By the time I left the three of us were crying — we had learned to co-habitate pretty well, and my dad is very ill so I don’t know if this will be our last Christmas together.

        BUT, I purposely bought a house only three minutes (tops) away from them and I’ve been there every day since I left. And they are so supportive and proud of me.

        Moving out on my own and being fully independent is just another step in this long process of leaving a cheater and gaining a life. And, as many other chumps have mentioned in various posts recently, this is a great time of year to really honor and appreciate those family members who have always been there for us — even as we made bad decisions.

        I hope you have a great Christmas as well.


  • Christmas #3 post Gaslighter. It gets soooo much better. This morning is day 2 of our 2 week International Holiday Travel Adventures. Woop!!!! My 2 young adult sons and the eldest’s fiancé and I are in Mexico City. We already want to come back! Yesterday we enjoyed a walking foodie tour of the city, the Museum Anthropology, a gourmet dinner, and a crazy Wrestling event the boys just had to see that was so hilariously staged we laughed and cheered until we cried! Today we go to another old town to take a ride on festively decorated boats through canals, and see the Frieda Kalo Museum. We are cooking Christmas Dinner in our AirBnB apartment after shopping the wonderful food markets we discovered from yesterday’s foodie tour. Pyramids on Monday, then we head to Cuba for a week to meet friends for New Years Eve and my (gulp…60th) birthday. We are having the time of our lives! The best part is when I’m mistaken for a friend of my sons. No one believes I’m their Mom! Who cares what Gaslighter and Schmoopie are doing. He doesn’t get to have his trophy boys again this year either. Of course Gaslighter just had to text me right before I left for the airport because he needed to pick up stuff from the barn. I ignored him and off I went. Merry Christmas Chump Nation!

  • I’m 5 yrs out and counting my blessings I don’t have to ever deal with my inlaws again. My X-mother-in-law would dump a box of cookie making crap at your door with the expectation you’d make 20 different kinds of cookies and fudge. I worked at a prison and was on-call most days. Then my XMIL would take credit for all the cookies she never baked. She never cooked with any spices. Not even salt and pepper. Her meals were so bland. One time she put something in the micro-wave and forgot about it. There was a large explosion and she blew the door right off it. She also had a habit of keeping baby farm animals in her kitchen. Nothing like the smell of 3 baby goats to get your taste buds moving. Throw some newspaper on the floor and everything was good.

    She’d put out suet for the birds. I mean she hung half a cow off her deck. This always collected a group of bears.. Just what you need with the little ones running around. She also had a checklist of which grandchild kissed her butt all year. If you didn’t you got one gift which was a science project. This always led to many hard feelings between the grandkids. Lots of crying and pout fests going on.

    My X who didn’t get along with his mother took this opportunity to get really wasted the whole 3 days we were there. His mother referred to him as “spawn of Satan”. I guess at the time she knew something I didn’t. Then X-husband would get his father drinking which led to a lot of car accidents in the driveway. My X would get caught drunk pissing in a closet or some other local. One time on his nieces winter coat. I always looked at the Holiday with dread.

    This X-mas my boyfriend and I are going to my daughter’s. She is cooking a prime rib roast. I taught her how to use spices and she’s an excellent little cook. I made an apple and pumpkin pie. My daughter and her husband have given me my currently only grandchild. My granddaughter and I are close. We’ll laugh and open gifts. There will not be baby goats or slabs of beef hanging. My X will do like he’s done the last 5-6 yrs. He’ll send no gifts or cards. He will not pick up a phone either. 5 yrs ago my granddaughter would question why her grandfather did not love her any longer. Through the yrs she lost interest in him and no longer asks about him. My XMIL will send a card to my granddaughter saying she donated money in her name to buy camels, fishing nets or trees to those in foreign countries. One year I called the donation organization with the number listed on the back of her gift card she got. I asked how much had been donated in her name and what was purchased. They informed me there was no record kept of these donations. You could donate as little as 5 bucks and they sent you 5-10 cards to give out saying you donated in their name.

    On Dec 23rd we had a dinner with my boyfriends 4 sons, their wives and grandkids. No baby goats and slabs of beef hanging at those homes either. We all gathered, ate a good meal , talked and laughed. We opened gifts and laughed at the grandkids. No pouting and crying and bears hanging around the front door. This is how NORMAL people celebrate the holidays. I am so glad I stepped out of Abnormal into the realm of Normal. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in the realm of Normal. If you haven’t hit the realm of Normal yet I hope you make the best of the holidays till the time you free yourself and hit MEH.

    • Yooper – ‘Nothing like the smell of 3 baby goats to get your taste buds moving.’

      OMG – I just fell over laughing at your post. THIS one needs to be a screenplay too.
      It’s so sad it’s just hilarious.

      Once you get to meh, as SureChumpedAlot said – it gets funny looking back on it.
      At the time, not so much.

      Thank you for the deep belly laugh tonight on this Christmas Eve.

    • Holy cow! Who hangs half a cow for the birds?! Who are theses people?! Thanks for the Christmas morning laugh. Congrats for getting away from these people. Merry Christmas!

  • Yooper, you win the prize, as far as I’m concerned. That is the single most bizarre Christmas I have ever read about on this blog.

    The dancing yeti and the sleeping bag hopper should look to their laurels.

  • Reading everyone’s comments is helping me get through the day. This is the first year that I won’t be seeing my kids on Christmas morning. They are with my ex and the OW. I don’t; however, miss spending Christmas with my ex and his awful family! I am only missing my kids.

    • Big Christmas hugs to you, Cricket1114. I truly sucks being without our children on the holidays when they were always with us in the past. Another reason why the cheater sucks. This not only hurts the faithful spouse, but it hurts the kids who were used to being with us and all the traditions of the holidays.

  • This my first Christmas in ten years without the serial cheater, miserable with himself ex BF. Shed tears a few times today. Missing him. The trauma bonds still have their hold.

    However I don’t miss him going into his office until the wee hours of the morning, during the weeks leading up to Christmas, playing his computer game….over and over again. Some sort of weird addictive depression ritual he’d fall into several times a year, but always around Christmas.

    The holidays will be over soon and I’m looking forward to spring coming. I suspect next Christmas will feel much different.

    • Sam, I guarantee you, the 2nd Christmas will be so much better than you can imagine.
      I’m on my second year, 3rd year since I kicked him out, and wow – I didn’t even think of what he might be doing now that he’s moved in with the slut.

      Full closure – I could give a shit what he does now.
      My life has changed so much!
      One more dog and…..well, perfect. But nev-va mind. 😉

  • Well, hell. So I goofed BIG!!! With just my son and I to cook for I was very focused on the size of the smoked ham I selected. So focused, in fact, that I accidentally selected a lovely sized smoked pork shoulder instead and just noticed this morning! Merry Fourth of July Christmas!! Ha Ha! All my side dishes are cooked and ready and inappropriate for BBQ! So I stuffed that sucker with garlic spears and it is slow roasting and the house smells FANTASTIC! Virginia Ham is for the Virginian I used to be and Smoked Alabama BBQ for Christmas may be a new tradition! Still laughing!

    My son has asked his dad to bring him HOME early today because he is tired of visiting NOT-HOME. And that is my Christmas present. Hang in there chumps … you are all beautiful loving people so very worthy of a cheater-free life. Now off to decide if my apple pie needs to be swapped for chilled watermelon … argh!!

  • Old tradition: See STBX’s relatives, some of whom probably didn’t care whether we visited.

    New tradition: While STBX is overseas with his current love/sex interest, I am home taking care of our kids, including an ill one. Also, on Christmas Eve, I am snuggling with a man who really knows how to love. It’s a new, challenging, exciting life.

  • It’s a new beginning, Christmas, I’m trying to survive the day. I know there will be no fighting with the ex. Saved $600 this year not purchasing gifts for he and his family. I made candy, my adult daughter is having dinner at her house tonight and I am going with candy and gifts for those I love and that love be me. Realizing how much has happened and how I get to start 2017 with a fresh start. During all the mind fuckery with the ex I quit the job I had worked at for 20 years. I spent last week interviewing for 4 different jobs. I was offered all 4 of the jobs. A Christmas miracle? Maybe, or perhaps I am not as horrible as my ex led me to believe. Maybe I am a capable, strong, and hard working woman who can be make it. Rebuilding is hard work, but I feel optimistic that my life is only just beginning.

  • Ok, first of all, I’m totally guilty of not reading all these posts, but I wanted to share anyway because I had a wonderful (mostly cheater free) Christmas.

    1. I got the kids whatever I wanted. I didn’t ask for approval, did it way in advance, and seriously wrapped all kinds of stuff they actually needed instead of the cheesy holiday gift crap.

    2. I got presents! That’s right me, Santa remembered me this year, it’s been at least 5 years since I’ve gotten anything. It was awesome. I wrapped normal stuff I needed too, even razors and shaving cream, ha!

    3. Gift cards, yes gift cards, my kids are older, they don’t want most of what I would pick anyway. Yes, go buy that character for that one game, buy him a new sword too. If it makes you happy, why not?

    4. Do nothing Christmas day………ah yes nothing. Maybe a couple hours volunteering and then nothing.

    5. Wear comfy fuzzy holiday jammies until they can walk themselves to the washer.

    I’m not sure which will stand the test of time, but I had a great couple of days with and without my kids. Merry Christmas all you wonderful chumps, time to eat chocolate oranges and cherries.

  • Christmas was much better than I thought. I had my adult children and granddaughter. Cheater had schmoopie? Not too much sadness and definitely no drama. I see a life for me.

  • This was my first year without my kids. I had them Christmas eve, but then had to drop them with the ex. Waking up alone on Christmas day for the first time in 51 years is not the most excruciating pain I have ever been in, but it was pretty close. So much so that I found myself actually considering Ex’s pleas for reconciliation so I never have to do this again! Good god…

    I’ve saved this post so that in 2 years I will have some better ideas. Thanks once again, CN, for posting directional signs on the road to Meh.

  • Ok CN I need your help. I think my friends and family are getting frustrated by my emotional roller coaster and I need people who understand my pain to give me support. I honestly don’t blame them – the back and forth of my feelings is driving me crazy too. And I’m the one feeling this way.
    I was separated from my H for 6 weeks 4 years ago with D-Day number one which he swore was only a lengthy emotional affair (which didn’t quite add up to everything that I found). We reconciled but there were several D-days between then and now including a condom I found in his pocket and multiple conversations between him and coworker’s discussing going out to pick up chicks. 6 months ago when I found a text convo of him trying to convince a female coworker to join him in Vegas at a bachelor party he was attending I threw him out. An awful month of soul searching later I decided to give him another chance. The day I told him I came home to an empty house – he chose to go to a concert with his friend “Eric”. I later found out that “Eric” didn’t exist and it was a very attractive girl he had gone with. A few days after I found a Facebook page portraying himself as single with lots of pictures of him with different girls and pictures of major life events we had attended together with me omitted and lies about who he had been with instead of me. He admitted that none of his coworkers know that he is married and he hides that I exist. I kicked him out again because I was so disgusted by his actions and because I’ve been trying to hard to keep us together and just make him happy but no matter what he just hurts me.
    He is initially very sorry then tries to shift blame to me and now says he is not sure what he wants. He projects and says I must have someone else on the side and I must be just after his money. Every time I talk to him I end up feeling awful.
    But… I still want to call him. I still miss him. I still get confused about what happened and can’t believe it has come to this. I’m miserable most of the time.
    In addition I just lost a family member very unexpectedly and since it has now been 6 months since we were separated im moving back home to save money.
    I am just wondering how do I ever feel 100% about the decision to divorce? I go back and forth with what to do and I feel just confused and sad. He minimizes everything and it makes me wonder if I had more evidence of PA if I would maybe be more angry and less sad?
    I’m 33 and I want to have kids one day. I want to move forward but how do I know I’m doing the right thing? It terrifys me to think about having kids with him and just facing more lies and D-days down the line and having to think about children as well as myself.
    Please help. It feels like either decision is just going to hurt and suck and I don’t know how to feel better.

    • Oh honey I feel your pain, you have put up with more than enough shit, you have the evidence you need and they are expert liars.
      Dont waste your years.
      Read this site from top to bottom it will make you strong.
      My first D day I didnt know about the support here and did the pick me dance, now Im back after 3 years after I asked him not to contact a certain woman.
      Love yourself and your future he is a waste of your energy.
      NC is the only way or he will just fuck with you head like mine currently is.

      • Lady Badshit – ‘Love yourself and your future he is a waste of your energy.
        NC is the only way or he will just fuck with you head like mine currently is.’

        Well said, Lady.
        It should be a mantra on this site.

        Reconciling is a total waste of your time once they’ve cheated.

        Move on ~~ and try to carry on with your life as soon as you can.

  • Umm well fucked it up this evening.
    Thought I had got through Xmas relatively drama free. Was having a quiet day and asshat turned up to get drum kit and the rest of his stuff, he didn’t get the OK to come around, had sent an email but I hadn’t read it as was doing other things.
    Anyways feeling bad and in a rage as he told me he had been at hoes house.
    I frigging lost my shit and grabbed him by the neck and pushed him against the wall, he did nothing, he has been forceful but not overly in the past.
    He knew if he did anything back I would call the police.I’m not the type of girl to cry in a corner, 8 years martial arts probably helped this.
    Was not the right thing to do, he is way stronger than me so could easily have got me.
    Spent the new few hours in phone tag completely assassinating each other.
    Total two steps back and feel dragged into his crap world.
    He think there is a future in his older women overseas Skype affair, just laughable.
    Solidified my complete disdain for him as he squirmed and dodged questions, crazy making, liars gonna lie.
    Need better NC so in a knot about this shit.

    • I know how you feel Lady Batshit. Mine can drag me down and get me in a rage with all the crazy making he does. I don’t understand why he has to lie and make up all the crazy crap. He’s been caught, just haven’t caught them in bed together. Thank goodness “sweetie” lives in another state. Why can’t he just be honest about it and quit trying to make me crazy and why do I keep letting him antagonize me till I reach the point of rage. He gets such a kick out of it when it happens.

      So I know how you feel and wonder when the rage, hurt, and anger ends.

      • I want this rage! All I feel is sad and lonely and hurt and depressed. Anger sounds much better to me. At least it would keep me from missing him so much even though he sucks.

        • Beth even with all the anger I still have the sadness and can’t believe he would cheat on me. I have a lot of emotional ups and downs. I can’t make a decision on what I need to do.

          All we can do is pray and hope it gets better.

  • Last year I was with my cheater at this time, and I LOVE the holidays. I decorated like mad, whipped up pies and dinner, treats for his family and co-workers, and I realized…I was overcompensating for something, though I didn’t know what it was. Is it any wonder I spent most of last Christmas and New Year sick in bed with a lung infection that wouldn’t go away? This year I scaled down my operation: I got a tiny table top tree and decorated it my way. Strung lights on my bed. Bought myself an Advent calendar. Made traditional Italian food and one dessert. Rested, relaxed, and Netflixed. Spent time with a nice guy I’m dating and really enjoying getting to know. This year, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I sang Christmas songs loudly and with zeal. CL was right–my walls sang with joy. There’s nothing like it. That IS something to celebrate.

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