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Biggest Empowerment Jolt after D-Day?

awesomeThe early days after discovery are traumatic. Very few chumps do mightiness upon discovering their partner’s treachery. More likely, chumps are draped over furniture weeping, or puking their guts out, or doing 3 a.m. Amazon searches for the magic reconciliation resource. (I hear powdered unicorn horn is one of the ingredients…) There’s also shrieking, demanding explanations, and cross-referencing cell phone records… just to break up the monotony.

At some point, however, you get some of your mojo back. You remember who you are. You get a glimpse of yourself without the fuckwit and their drama. Today’s Friday challenge is to tell me what that moment was — and what sparked it.

Did you get a new haircut? See a lawyer? Receive a gift from an old friend? Change the bed linens? Learn a trade? Walk Hadrian’s wall? Turn on your heel and walk away?

At what moment did you get yourself back? And how’s that new life thing going for you?

 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I haven’t gotten the old me back, but I did get a stronger, destroyer-of-bullshit warrior type of me. I sometimes miss the innocent old me but this new one is rather fun at times. The new life is going great! I have a wonderful job doing what I do best and with great co-workers. I have my first home, gotten all by myself. My son, now 14, is an awesome young man who loves school, adjusted amazingly to moving countries when our lives were blown up and has so many plans for his future – I can’t wait to see him take on the world. Now if I could get him to take on his chores willingly . . . that might be the next battle for my warrior princess self. lol

    • You are a warrior princess for getting your first home, raising an awesome son! (but a 14 yo’s willingness to do chores–that will tax your superpowers!).

  • An old friend of mind had been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.We met at university and he and I had had a brief fling back then,a lifetime ago.We remained friends over the years.After his diagnosis he seemed to go through a period when he was turning back the pages of his life and though neither of us had ever referred to that teenage fling in college ,one day he brought it up during a phone conversation,just to say he remembered,that it was a lovely memory and other kind words that touched my heart.
    It suddenly struck me that this sweet man,facing his own demise,showed me more respect,had more to say about a very brief teenage fling,than the man I had given my heart and soul to.He acknowledged my worth more than the man who discarded me like trash.
    It was a small epiphany for me,a moment of empowerment that propelled me forward.It made me remember who I used to be before I was run over by the pathology train.

    • Wow, had similar experience but never really had your insight…now I do..
      Thank you for sharing…it was a timely share that encourages me.

    • Thank you for sharing such a lovely and poignant story–you brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat.
      Beautifully written!

      • Beautiful story. Appreciation from old flames is a balm on our battered hearts after the discard.
        Parting words from my ex before the traitor came back to me after 12 years to remind me that I am nothing like what the traitor says I am.

  • I bought a beautiful new and expensive bed! I literally cried as I got in it. Then as it was near Christmas I bought myself some expensive lingerie ?

  • After dday numero 2, and starting a new job literally a week later, I picked up my boys and moved an hour away to a little apartment away from everything I knew. Mind you they were 3 and 5 months at the time. There were so many eye opening moments. The first day, being terrified I would give up and go back. Watching these kids scream and cry at their new daycare was heart wrenching. I remember just thinking – keep swimming, fake it till you make it. The drives back from their dads where they would cry for an hour in the car screaming I want dada. The day I filed and served my ex with papers, semi expecting tears and apologies and begging, only to be met with all the ways I was terrible and how there better never be another man around his boys? Haha true story.

    Then last December, I randomly said fuck it and took both boys with me to target to buy Christmas decorations. I had never taken them both out anywhere before, because I really thought it would be a nightmare and I would lose my sanity. Surprise, just like everything else – it wasn’t that bad. They did great. Here I am walking around target with a baby in the cart and a toddler hanging on the side singing Christmas carols at literally the worst time of the year to be attempting these first time shenanigans. It was at that moment that I was like – I can do this. Wait, I AM doing this.

    Additionally, for shits and gigs… the baby is teething right now so I’ve been getting very minimal sleep. Maybe 3 hours a night. But you know, coffee and will power go a long way the next day at work. So this has been going on for about 3 weeks. Every wknd they were with their dad during this time, he would text me at like 3am complaining how he wasn’t getting any sleep and could I come get them so he could catch up on sleep. Hahahhahah awwwwww must be hard having to actually parent. I didn’t respond and the messages that followed shall forever live in infamy. Message 1: So you’re just going to ignore me? Message 2: I know you don’t care about me and just want me to be miserable but I’m seriously so tired. Message 3: why won’t you come off your high horse and help me? Message 4: Merry Christmas, bitch.

    I just sat there and watched the channels flip between self pity, manipulation and rage/disrespect. And for the first time I could see it for exactly what it was. He didn’t get a response.

    Needless to say, I believe I have finally arrived at the island of Meh and let me tell you – the view is beautiful.

    I’ve said it a million times, but this website and your book have been life savers. The strength this community provides is unmatched. I will never be able to say thank you enough.

    • He would text you at 3 am to say he couldn’t sleep?!? The entitlement of these nitwits knows no bounds. I am so impressed by your ability to ignore his idiocy!

      I am wishing you many solid nights of sleep without teething woes (and worse, stupid cheater woes) this year!

    • That is amazing. I am in awe. You did what my heart told me to do 11 years ago – pick up my small kids and go. I find your story inspiring and a special gift to all chumps with young kids.

    • Mighty mama
      Your description of going to the store with two little ones was amazing. Your whole post almost moved me to tears.
      Well done you.

      • I remember going to the grocery store with mine when they were 3 and 6months. While I was getting my two kids out, a single man came into the parking lot; parked; went into the grocery store and then came back out with a bag before we were even inside!! Your story moved me to tears also! You doing something so special. Thank you for this sweet post.

    • I love everything about your story! The series of texts are hysterical. And you ignoring him. Absolutely amazing. Completely mighty. Welcome to parenting, asshole. Most of us do it every single day – and night.

      • too right. welcome to parenting fuckwit. what an arsehole. also, am super impressed about the non responses. i can easily do that now (8 months later) but when it was fresh i was replying like a mofo. just making things worse for myself by engaging in his bullshit.

    • There’s a special place in heaven for the single parents who get through this with young children. You are such an inspiration. God bless you!

    • Baby teething: Icy little teething toys help to sooth the gums and when they chew them it stops the pain. So they chew more, and the tooth cuts through, and voila: baby tooth!!! Baby aspirin helps, too.

      Good luck and I hope you get some sleep soon.

      • I truly honor all who have kids are going through the divorce miseries. I don’t have kids and it’s been a serious struggle.
        My first Mothers Day after my dear mom passed and I had been dumped, was truly heart wrenching. I went to lunch by myself, near tears the entire time. I had lost my anchors in life. I must have looked as bad as I felt because I discovered the family next to me had paid for my meal. It was comforting knowing that there are still caring people. The act of kindness did bring tears and although very broken at that time, I knew I’d be ok someday.

        • Oh my God Marybeth your post touched me. You are mighty. Keep on keeping on. I wish you and me the best on this journey. That was a sweet thing that family did. And it is nice to hear that there are decent people still out there who are caring. Even if the person we most trusted in the world turned out to not be. Blessings to you and positive energy also.

    • Isn’t it SO rich that these Assholes cheat and bring another OW in the picture, but they’re the first ones to scream, “you better never bring another man around my kids”, when they probably introduced the OW even before any separation or divorce happened. The double standard is just mind boggling.

      • I second that CW! My ex said he didn’t want “me bringing some asshole around our kids” …. I said “No problem, wouldn’t want someone like their own father for sure…”

    • Inspiring story MightyMamaof2. The discovery of my wife’s boyfriend hit when my kids were both over age 16.

      Cheating (as we all know) sucks, but I have a more special place in hell for cheaters ( men in this circumstance) who cheat with a pregnant wife or with toddlers and babies. Seriously, fuck that guy and all those guys.

      • My asshat began cheating when my daughter was 18mths (22yrs ago) and I definitely know also when I had my youngest two throughout their ENTIRE lives. I’m sure there’s a lot of other stuff thrown in that I will never know. Never using protection on his part and still using me as a recepticle throughout the marriage.

        What IS it with these twats who do this? My gut really screamed during the last pregnancy that I was being trapped, set up and schackled to an asshole. I spackled over that feeling. I would never wish my kids away. They are great. I do wish I had never had children with the fucker. But then again I would have never had the terrific kids I do have now. What I have assured my kids over and over is that just because their dad is a mental mess, it does not mean they are also a mess. Nature vs Nurture. I am very very thankful that for all of my kids, their key developmental years did not include a lot of ‘dad time’. He was too busy leading his double life.

        • I can’t write! Basically, the asshole I married was always cheating. Didn’t matter if I was in a state of gestation or early child care. The fucker simply lead a double life, all the while complaining I wasn’t meeting his needs. During that period of my life it was hard to even meet my own basic needs like showering, sleeping and eating on top of sexy times with a selfish mofo. I was a married single person.

          • Ditto! I still can’t friggin believe that he had a child with me AFTER he was cheating! I want to say “who does that?” but after a couple of years on this site I realize a lot of men do… (and some women too, I suppose.)

            I remember being struck with a “huh?” response when he said that having a child would mean that we would be in each other’s lives forever. Duh! He qualified by saying that if we should ever divorce… I guess I missed the red flag there! I wrote it off to the fears associated with being a child of divorce…

            We split after DD#2. As I pieced things together and realized he had a double life for most of our marriage, I asked him why he had a child with me when he was already cheating. His response? “I was afraid you’d leave me.”

            Huh? Oh yeah, I was making more than 2x what he was and he didn’t want to give up the lifestyle.

            I hate that the abuse was so manipulative that I didn’t recognize it as abuse. I felt lonely in my marriage, but didn’t realize I was being emotionally abused. I gave up 28 years to this man — strike that — boy. I realize now that his ego wanted to project himself as a successful man — it was much more satisfying that accepting love from the woman who believed in him, supported him, and encouraged him since he was straight out of college. Sigh…

            • Oh yeah, the moment of mightyness? It’s been 2.5 years and I haven’t had it yet.

              I’m in the midst of a late mid-life crisis, trying to decide what I want for the last third of my life…

  • Mine came while cooking for friends a couple of months after D-Day. A couple of friends invited themselves over. I turned the music and the stove on. And then my youngest asked if he could teach me to waltz. We failed, I guess, at that, but that little moment reminded me how much I had: friendship, kids, and an intact ability to enjoy life. It was the first time I felt that I would recover — and started to suspect that I could and perhaps would be happier than before.

    • You *will* be happier than before TOWMB. Cluster B’s homes are rarely a place of love, ease, and warmth. That is what I love best about my freedom, too–my daughters’ friends know they are welcome here, some extra pets were acquired after I filed, and my house is chaotic but filled with warmth.

      • So good to hear that, Tempest. It’s true that coming out of the heavy fog of relationships like we have feels doubly happy — like feeling finally healthy and whole after a long illness.

        • Good analogy–we did suffer a long illness. May take awhile to get full strength back, but now we are healthy.

      • Same here. I was talked into a dog by my then eleven year old. X never wanted one, and I was perfectly content with our cat. But I jumped off the cliff and we adopted our dog, who has been more therapeutic to all of us than I ever could have dreamed. I adore him.

        When X texted that he would be fine with the dog coming on visits with our son, I realized that like everything else, he only wanted things on his schedule. And only as long as he wanted to deal.

        I told him that was never going to happen, and he called me bitter.

  • I am still early in this process, but can say my mightiest moment so far was when my focus changed from, “how can we make this work and get our marriage back” to “prove to me why I should even be willing to keep you around”.

    The first few months after d-day I was the person on Amazon buying every book, trying to figure out how we could save our marriage. I finally said – wait one darn minute. I am a great wife. I have been faithful, supportive, kind, and I didn’t once punch him in the face after d-day – even though everything in me wanted to karate chop him in the throat. If we simply ‘fix’ this marriage – he gets the faithful, loving, supportive, always by my side whenever I f*ck up wife and I get the guy that finally decided to stop jacking off to porn for a few hours every week. Nope, not at all an even exchange.

    I have since flipped the script – both in my head and out loud. I deserve a whole lot better and I would rather have what I deserve or nothing at all. It was like we were both going to put time and energy into saving something, but he would end up with a mansion and I was getting a shack that was infested with terminates, had fire damage, and the roof leaked. All kinds of “nopes” followed.

    That change in my mentality has been so amazingly gratifying.

    • I love this, Coolbreeze. Way to flip the script! You definitely would have gotten a rotten deal. I’m so glad you are seeing your worth!

    • My stbxh asked me for an open marriage. I said, “and what do I get out of it?” He couldn’t think of anything. I asked him what he gets out of an open marriage. He laughed and said “All the things” with his arms stretched out wide. I declined that fetching offer.

  • I went halfway around the world to New York. By myself. I got the old me back. I felt young and strong and independent… all those things I had going for me before I met him, back when I was 18. I didn’t feel myself slipping away from that in the 17 years we were together. It was so gradual. By the time I had kids and was in the throws of motherhood, barely keeping my head above the washing piles and the massive expectations I had put on myself, I was well and truly lost.

    But New York. That was brave. Now this bravery has led me to a new career (as a counselor) and mightiness.

    I’m proud of who I am now. Five years post d-day. Thanks NYC.

  • I can’t pin down a specific thing. It was more a gradual buiding. My counsellor took 4 months to get me to the point where I could say I was abused. It took 14 months and. $30000 to get him to finally sign a separation agreement. It was actually very early on that I told him right to his face that I didn’t want him back(this after affair #2 with 4 years of pick me dancing after affair #1–that I found out about ). It’s a realization that it is likely he was unfaithful before that..he didn’t just decide to be unfaithful 30 years in..Mightiness really ensued once my business turned around and I knew I could support myself financially followed by getting the mortgage I was seeking(due to him blowing hakf of our life savings so thus needing a mortgage). The house is now officially mine. This is now 14 months since the discard. Meh–and the divorce, are around the corner …? And thanks to CL and CN in helping me on this journey.

      • Cause they can!! Mine just had me sign for a $500000 line of credit on our house which he proceeded to blow on his failing business(every time I asked he had stock to cover the debt–NOT!!) my biggest regret is letting him stay long enough to do that to me…

        • Now xh kept trying that last year to get me to sign for a home equity loan too, I kept saying nope through the channels he tried to work every few weeks. Finally I said let’s sell the house and split the equity and you can do whatever you want with your share of it. Oh, and get divorced too.

          • But New Lady, if I hadn’t already seen a sister go through her now xh draining the family assets through the home equity loan, I may not have withstood the pushing either. That’s what I meant to write, not to crow over anyone.

          • That is EXACTLY what X tried to do to me also Validated…to the tee. I also offered to sell the house and spit equity and go our separate ways, but he then said that the boys would lose their home if we did that. So I offered him $25K cash at the end of each year for a total of eight years (because he destroyed our credit with Bankruptcy several years ago). His business was doing poorly…the ca$h was sooo appealing, so he agreed. He will piss it away each year…rinse, repeat. Not my problem.

        • Ugh. Cheaters are such assholes. So sorry. Mine pushed and pushed for a HELOC (home equity line of credit) too. You know I made him pay that whole thing off as part of the MSA (marital settlement agreement). No way that debt was going to be part of the equation. No.

        • Yep mine too ! Plus the kids savings spent . springs to mind : what’s yours is mine and whats mine is my own …. Total entitlement.

      • Being disordered and irresponsible with money seems to be one of the major hallmarks of narcissism and PDs in general.

      • Because they really, truly believe it is just theirs to blow. You just rent from them. They are in charge. Of everything.

    • Hmmm! Sounds familiar! I took out a huge 401k Loan which I spent 5 years after the divorce paying back. NEVER AGAIN. So we learn… Don’t even ASK me about my retirement. OFF LIMITS…

      • Likewise Peaky. Will never touch my 401k again unless it is for me. They are so convincing. Durt convinced me to put an offer on a house so he could have a project to work on “for us.” I found out he picked out the house with the slut puppet (note to cheaters, don’t tour your hoped for fuckpad with the slut before your wife sees it. The realtor may indicate you viewed the property with a much younger “girl”).

        Chumpy me did as I was told anyway (I was crazy, they weren’t together) but came to my senses within the 4 week contingency that I had to accept an offer on a different rental I owned that was “too far away” for the lying serial cheater. In the mean time, I had borrowed significantly from my 401k in prep to buy this place out right. Instead, I used it to pay credit cards, but was very much impacted by all this at settlement time. Never again.

        • mine was relentless in lobbying me to buy real estate and to leverage it to the max. i finally wore down and bought “us” an expensive house I didn’t like thinking it would stop his real estate frenzy. Didn’t work. I think now it was all a campaign to convert my separate property to community. And to make him feel like a big shot mogul. And then there was the cute realtor who seemed to have nothing but time to show him hundreds of houses he was never gonna buy.

  • I changed the locks….with a butter knife! The only screwdrivers I had were of the vodka variety. It took about 2 hours, but I did it!

    • i changed the locks by myself too, i did a lousy job, but they worked and i felt great. the x was so mad, he accused me of having someone come over and change them for me, he was trying to tell everyone that i had a lover because i couldn’t possible do it myself, ha!

    • Ha! Changing locks with a butter knife is being mighty! I took my wedding ring off with lube I had lying around for my vibrator. Nothing else seemed to work, and the lube, like your butter knife, did the job just fine, thank you.

        • When I changed the locks, it was 11pm and I paid a premium for a 24 hour locksmith to come over.

          When I apologisd for calling him out at such an hour, he said, no problem, this is pretty common in breakups. He had some other useful suggestions like ‘make sure you you also change your key hiding place’ and ‘take him off the voting register for this address so he can’t scam another locksmith into letting him in”. Turns out he did try to scam his way back in, because I got a call from the police asking if a certain ‘Mr. cheater’ lived with me. It seems the second locksmith acted decently and turned him in when he tried it.

          Cheaters not only steal time and love but they are also often prone to deception of all kinds. The answer is zero contact and zero trust.

    • That’s awesome! It’s not often anymore that you find people attempt something that they have no idea how to do. You did it and that’s impressive!

    • Best mighty moment yet! You didn’t wait around like some damsel in distress. You just went for it!! I’ve done lots of home repairs with a butter knife, LOL. There are always like nine of them in the drawer when your one flathead screwdriver goes missing.

    • Love this @Kelli
      I did lots of home repair with impromptu tools as well, have to use what you have on hand.

  • It hit me one morning at breakfast with my grandkids. They love to sing and so do I. When I’m happy there is always a song in my heart. As a kid my dad would sing on Sunday morning. I remember the comforting melodies that would fill our home as he prepared for church. Well not long ago I was singing with my grandkids the song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” when I was overtaken with emotion. Tears were streaming down my face, I could barely finish chumps. The emotions, the memories all came back and I felt joy! It was at that momement I didn’t feel alone in this struggle and I knew everything would be ok, including me.

  • When I starting talking about what had happened.

    To my parents, to my sisters, to my cousins . . . To anyone who’d always had my back and who genuinely cared about my health and well-being.

    As tough as it was in the beginning to admit to what was happening, I started seeing the situation through their eyes. And that helped me see the truth and reality of it, as opposed to the “how can I save this” narrative that I’d been focused on for so long. (Very much along the line of what @coolbreeze says above.)

    • For me, it was when I could finally stop obsessing about what happened. For a very long time, X’s infidelity was the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing I thought about when I went to bed. It defined me for far too long. With the help of many people, CL included, and the passage of time, it is now just one chapter in my book; it’s no longer the book. Last night, I was at a dinner, seated next to the wife of one of the reporters who wrote a front page article about X’s shenanigans (I was one of the “lucky” people who was in a so-called high profile marriage). She was so apologetic about what he had written and kept telling me how much he hated having his name on the byline of the story. I could truly tell her that I knew he was just doing his job. There was a time I would never have said that, because I was so angry about having my private life on display. Six years later, I really do not care. I no longer give a damn about what complete strangers think of me and I no longer feel any responsibility for X’s bad decisions.

      • I was MUCH slower in the “not obsessing” dept because of trickle truth…no sooner had I FINALLY gotten to a place of equilibrium over what I learned I then learned more and started all over again…I was REALLY bad at first…for the entire first year I quite literally thought of nothing else.

        You are very mighty to have gotten to a place where you could sit next to that lady and no longer hold animosity towards her/him/the publicity. While it must have been horrifying to not have any control over your story getting out, were there any benefits (like maybe him not being able to deny things like they all try to do) to his feet being held to the proverbial fire?

        Im glad you are doing so well and are mighty!

        • The biggest benefit was knowing the truth. He couldn’t hide behind some BS story, not that he didn’t try. The truth was there for all to see, me included. “Everybody knows,” as Leonard Cohen so eloquently wrote. I had no choice but to accept the fact that my X had betrayed me in the most fundamental way. The rest of it was total nightmare. I always tried to protect my kids from that side of our lives, perhaps naively so.When you are even remotely “prominent”, there is no such thing as a private life and I believe that is, for the most part, a good thing. It was tough on the kids, though, and some of them have not fully recovered.

      • Violet, thank you for sharing! I can’t imagine to have the BS publicized. It’s hard enough to deal with it without the public crap being involved. I know exactly how you felt and your story gives me hope! I am still thinking about the marriage and past all the time. I really want it behind me and not thinking about it. It’s work and I force myself to think about other stuff. I so look forward to the day it isn’t even a thought. Just this week I’ve had 2 dreams about it. First ones in months. At least they were me being pissed and telling her exactly what I thought about her and what she was. I look forward to the day i’m at your point. I’m almost 2 years in and know not to rush things. Amen not caring about what others think as well. I’m there finally and it’s not just words anymore. If you like me that’s good and if not that’s all good as well. Really! Hope your life free of the ass continues to become awesome!

        • Lost,

          One of the things that really help me to stop cycling onthe past was the book, “the power of now” by Eckhart tolle. Check it out if you want a new way to approach things. it’s life-changing. I got the audio version because I spend a lot of time in the car but I have given the paperback version to others and it really helped them.

    • Yes, when I stopped covering for him and hiding “our” terrible secret bearing the burden alone and isolated. Telling everyone helped me to heal. I am not good at hiding things. So many people were so supportive.

    • It does help to see our situation through other people’s eyes. Although I moved into the guest bedroom immediately after D-day, and considered myself separated, there was a lot of pressure on me to forgive an affair from 8 years earlier (the only affair I knew about at the time). My college daughter said, “Mom, he lied to you for 8 years,” and that made me realize the dynamics of the relationship were pathological and not worth saving.

      • “He lied to you for 8 years”. Excellent! So true. I’m in a similar boat, Tempest, and so I feel like I’m in the minority of CN. I didn’t catch my ex in the middle of it. I learned about it long after it ended. I too felt the pressure because “well. he ended it himself”. “You need to learn forgiveness”. “It was a mistake and so you need to move forward”. Blah blah blah…and those gems weren’t from the ex either. Seriously, what is going on with society? Are WE the freaks? smh

        • OnwardChump–if you know about an affair from years ago that he ended, I suspect you only know a fraction of what he has done. After I divorced my cheater, people & other evidence came out of the woodwork to indicate that the (a) “eensy weensy” affair he’d had 8 years prior was MUCH worse than he had told me (e.g., he let the bitch stay in the room to hear the phone call asking me for a divorce before he changed his mind), and (b) a tale of serial cheating that would was so tawdry, it would shock even Jerry Springer.

          If, and that is a big if, your cheater only had that one affair, he violated trust and loyalty. A one-month affair requires so many lies to you, and about you, that he could never be trusted again. That was my reasoning; I don’t want to be married to someone who could do something that breaks me. Tales from other CN members about forgiving their spouses after betrayal only to have the spouse cheat again 5, 10, 20, 30 years later solidified my resolve. Was I going to reconcile only to go through this again a decade later? Hell, no.

          Lastly, I suspect you (like me) had been tolerating a whole lot of subtle (or not so subtle) emotional abuse from the cheater prior to D-day. Infidelity + poor treatment = perfect justification for saying buh bye, loser. Hugs to you!

        • Bottom line is he gave himself permission to CHEAT! abuse, lie to you, etc. It’s not ok, no matter when it happened! I learned about an affair that happened 2 years before. It’s crazy when you look back to that time and try to figure out what was happening in life then. For me, I was having fun on a trip to see his brother in Atlanta, completely oblivious to the assholery. Silly me let it go and got married only to find out he’s texting a different girl at 1am in the morning. My final empowerment jolt came after he completely embarrassed me in front of my next door neighbor. My next door neighbor’s brother had just broken up with this girl who was at our neighbors house. My XH went with me to the house and started commenting on her huge breasts, etc. I apologized profusely and XH is lucky he didn’t get an a– whooping. Long story short, I told him we were through. 7 years of a sham. So glad it’s over, but too bad ChumpLady wasn’t around then. I still had some lessons to learn… Glad I’m here now in Chump Nation… Saved me.

          • My stbx had a 10 month affair, confessed, I stayed and did the pick me dance, and all that entailed, to find out that a year after that he had ‘one more time’ encounter, a kiss and that was it, then lied to me for 2 years saying he was faithful and thought we were reconciling. There is much much more to my story, but that I just could not wrap my mind around…that I was supposed to get over that after all that was done and promised…ugh.

        • Onward, I felt the same way, living in the world of Zombies.
          I didn’t know definitely if X was cheating, discovered later he had ben. X left and filed leaving me on Mother’s day feeling stunned. I heard some of the most callous remarks such as, “you had to have known, ” or “he wanted someone he had more in common with,” 25 years in a relationship and 20 married, a child, a home, all that life entails in all those years.
          Are you telling me our 25 years together is insignificant compared to a woman he recently met in a hotel bar? “more in common” they both enjoy watching South Park and like to run marathons. Two months after X moved out I was standing on the front porch with my brother as the meter reader guy walks past, we say hello, as he walks away my brother turns to me and asked “is he single,” I didn’t know and wasn’t interested. Then lectures me on getting on with my life.., wtf..,

    • Seeing everything through someone else’s eyes was a huge step in recovery for me.
      Another was to imagine myself as an outsider watching a friend or stranger being the subject of what I was experiencing. I asked myself, if that were someone I cared about how would I feel? what thoughts would I have?
      They weren’t the same thoughts I was having for myself.
      With that I then adjusted my thinking.
      Abuse is unacceptable, I deserve better.
      No more excuses for his abuse, blaming myself, pretending he didn’t mean it or it didn’t happen.
      Again I thought, if I were an outsider witnessing his arrogance and brutal lack of respect for me
      what would I be thinking?
      His behavior is a reflection of who he really is, which is nothing like the John Boy, charming, fun, empathetic gentleman, all around great guy he portrays to outsiders.

    • When I stopped tryin to save the marriage, told him one of us had to leave. He did. Then I told my siblings and other who were important to me. Fortunately, I never experienced the financial issues. His household contribution continued on time throughout the mess.

  • I think in addition to all the “little things” to get myself back, the pivotal point for me was when I truly….

    -Accepted what has happened.

    -Accepted that it wasn’t my fault that she cheated.

    -Accepted that I did everything possible to keep my marriage together. I turned every stone!

    -Accepted that continual ruminating would kill me.

    -Accepted that I can have a great life being divorced.

    -Accepted that starting NO CONTACT was doing wonders for me.

    -Accepted that my life has been so much better without her.

    -Accepted that I am loved.

    • it is exactly how I feel. and I did’nt know!! thanks..this is the moment….im smiling right know after 5 months of the d-day…

    • For me it was “Accepted I could have a great life being divorced”
      That happened less than a month after D-Day when a friend asked about my health. (25 pound loss in about a month on the infidelity diet) I told her what happened and she sat me down and told me she had been through the same thing just a year before we met. I never knew. I looked at her life now, full of joy and happiness and I knew I could do that too.

  • For me it all changed when I found this site for the second time. I had passed it briefly on week one or two after ddays (I still cannot remember so much of those days, just random memories of horror and shock). I went and asked Suzy a lot but she seemed quite forgiving. When I hit CL for the first time I couldn’t square my experience with the site. Who are these people who sound so terrible? My cheat has made a mistake, in a fog, after hitting middle age, drowning in dopamine, being all exuberantly defiant.
    I can’t remember the second time I came back.
    I just remember I had come from days of reconciliation websites and reading books I had ordered and was just so exhausted. I was fine with the general picture they gave of the trauma of discovery but was hitting a huge brick wall when it came to taking any step towards moving forwards.
    Then I read CL and it was like someone switched on all the lights inside my head. This person was on my side, she sees this pain, she understands the shock and terror and just hopeless confusion. And she hates him as much as I do. She gets how much I hate him but need him and love him.
    And she swears. Brilliant. So I read and read and read here and clung on to this site for dear life as I waded through the shitstorm. Ordered the book and all became a bit clearer. Went on infidelity Help Group and loved them too but the lack of swearing made it less useful. Less cathartic. I was reading actual lived experience on CL that matched what I was feeling inside. It fitted like a glove and I was home. I felt empowered.
    And forewarned. And protected. And understood. And also the humour gave me such a jolt of sheer joy every day. I was as traumatised as I have ever been but this site made me laugh.
    I knew then I would probably make it. My good days now outnumber the bad by quite a few. My bad days are no longer the black holes of pain that they once were. I just know to keep going, ride the waves and keep my chin up.
    This site keeps me steady like a new foal trying to walk. I re-read stuff when I need it, post when I feel I can contribute or need help and learn, learn, learn from everything here.
    This site was my jolt on the road to mighty. The most powerful gut feeling of ‘rightness’ I have ever had.

    I’m going to stop there as I might just dissolve into a mass of soapy sentimentality here. Suffice to say most here know how much this site can mean to a person.

    • Our Dear Chump Lady is a champion of an advocate for our well being, and our fellow chumps are just as mighty. I, too, am so grateful for the huge community of good humans here, and for our undaunted champion who gives an immense amount of her time and energy to creating and holding this space.

    • Completely agree with you Capricorn. When I found CL after googling “infidelity emotional abuse” the emotional earthquake stopped and I was on steady ground again.

      This statement of yours also resonated, “My good days now outnumber the bad by quite a few.”

      Before I had found CL, I was reading “Shattered by My Husband’s Affair,” an articulate blog about the emotions of a woman who reconciled with her cheater. Eleven months out, she was still on antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and then related that for the first time since D-day, her week had had more good days than bad. ” WHAAAATTT?????” I thought, “I have to wait 11 months to have more good days than bad?” Hell no. That was step 1, CL was step 2.

      • Yeah, it took me a year after dday to recover from the affair while in the process of reconciling. 3 years later it happened all over again. This time I found CL, though. Luckily, I had been badass enough to demand a post nup, then spent the last 3 years getting my own financial life in order. Now that I kicked him out of the house, he is failing financially, and living off his parents, in their basement, while I’m taking the kids on fabulous vacations to help us bond and heal.

    • Beautifully said Capricorn! Yes, it was the same for me – “someone switched on all the lights in my head.”
      The peace I find here on CL has helped me daily. And it’s funny to find peace in the anger, but that’s how it is. The peace comes from the empowerment of not feeling alone and feeling completely understood by many many people. I also feel empowered by the clarity that CL has given me – I can speak to people in ways that they can understand. I use her turn of phrase and her logic to advocate for myself and to communicate with people much much more clearly.

    • Ditto! I could never say it so eloquently though. This is a life-saving community — brilliant, wise, genuine loving and supportive. Thank you so much to CL and the people who share their souls and wisdom here.

    • “And she swears. Brilliant!” Haha, you wrote that post so well, Capricorn, it could be the blurb for CL blog/book. My jolty moment was finding CL, too. I was lucky to have found her on the first night of internet searching – somehow, someway (I like to think of it as fate/divine intervention) from click to click to click, I happened upon the pot at the end of the rainbow that is the CL blog and forum. The swearing, THANK YOU!! I thought “damn, this shit just got real”. And I instantly had a warrior/big sista/bad bitch to look up to. I emailed CL that night. She emailed back!! I didn’t get it until the next day (because I’m on the other side of the world, night/day) when I was in the bank setting up a new account – I checked emails on my phone while I was lining up and there was a REPLY from this kick-ass woman! I could hardly believe it. From that point on I, like Capricorn, clung to CL and CN for dear life. I had a warrior and a cheer squad behind me. No shit – CL saved my life. I cannot IMAGINE what it would look like right now if I hadn’t found CL, and I don’t want to. I too have read and re-read posts when I need to. Reminded myself of certain things, just to keep in check (“don’t wait for an apology” is the post I go back to most often). Words will never express how grateful I am for CL and CN. I don’t know why this group/movement isn’t bigger. My dream would be to see CL become THE number 1 site that displays whenever somebody searches for anything to do with cheating. Because, like I said, I just happened upon the blog. Somehow I was lead to it through random and various clicks from site to site. Would be great if it was the number 1 option that displays when searching anything to do with cheating/infidelity. Hmmm, we need a Google insider to action this! Hahahahaha….. anybody here work for Google? ?

      • “And she swears. Brilliant” When I found CL I finally felt like the pieces of a puzzle that I had not had before. I had felt so bereft, so alone. I looked on the ric sites and all they had for me was to eat the shit sandwich, turn myself around and f*ing hope for the best (that cheater would see my awesome effort and come back). Did I want him back? Not in it’s (his) present shape, he is a pod person, a shark in human clothing. My common sense was screaming at me, he is no good for you, he disrespected you and the vows he made to you, on purpose and with purpose. How in the hell was I supposed to “fight” for him or want him to want to come back to me, if all I was going to get back was damaged goods? I was getting the usual thing from other women friends, you must forgive, if you don’t forgive you can’t have a “good life with your husband” crap. I already forgave his “first” EA, lol, he promised me, promised that he would not do “this” to me again, ever again. And what the hell does he do, the same damn thing again. I already went down that road, common sense would tell you that if they did it once and didn’t have any “real” consequences what was going to stop him from doing it again, his great character, and I still gave him a chance. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice (with no consequences), shame on me.

  • My spouse, after our 25 year relationship, introduced his GF to our children a month after moving out. She was with them every minute all summer and I was seething with fury, jealousy, embarasment, sorrow and more.

    In early August I was walking my dog and I got a text from him saying “Can I come over to talk” I asked about what and he said “us”. This was code for “things aren’t going well with my GF and I need to pull you back in”. I can’t count the number of times this happened during our marriage, and I always went along with it, grateful to have him back.

    On this night though I replied “there is no us”. A few minutes went by and he texted “never mind’. It wasn’t the final text, it was the minutes in between that freed me. During those minutes he was thinking about how to get me back, how to make it all up and resume our relationship. When he finally texted “never mind” I knew I was done. I knew I was strong enough not to go back and now he knew it. The next day I bought a new (used) phone and got a new number which he does not have. I also changed my email address. I haven’t spoken to him since, and it is thoroughly empowering.

    • Good for you! That is my next move: new phone and number. He still texts that he loves me, weekly. I just ignore it, but eventually I’ll have that new number.

    • Aww the baby got his wittle feeling hurt, “never mind”. x left me a voice mail, where he almost ends it with “I know you don’t care”, of course, I didn’t care, his whole message was about how his schmoopie left him for her husband. Karma bitch, that is what you deserved and that is what you get, Karma.

      • Seriously, do these cheaters view marriage as musical chairs? Sit in one chair one day, change the tune and sit in another chair, then back to the first chair?

        • People are just objects to them. Think about it==most of the time, we only sit in one chair or another either because of habit or availability.

  • My biggest empowerment jolt was when the lLimited implanted himself into my granddaughters family therapy session while she was getting support from multiple therapists earlier this fall.

    I found out the night before and had a panic attack. I was told I didn’t have to go by her mother after taking off multiple days to attend. I have been co parenting her since birth. The Limited abandoned her for 2 1/2 years previously.

    I challenged myself and decided to be there for moral support. Mind you this was not initiated by the therapist.

    He was red faced and sat there wringing his hands repeatedly. She said NOthing. He squeaked out a I miss you and a vague utterance about how he DIDN’T know what happened to their relationship.

    After the session my grandaughter said she coukd give a fuck about seeing him. Her mom later stated that I had the POWER to bridge them back together and I should do this. I refused stating the fact that I had no such power. I knew it was about triangukation as well as spackling his image. Those days are over.

    I saw how pathetic he was and knew at that moment he was far in the rear view mirror demasked and out of my head.

  • I told the asshat to Get.Out.

    Hey! That’s like the Amityville Horror except the horror was my marriage to a serial cheating naropath.

    After the exorcism, people wanted to know what my secret was for renewed vitality. No joke. Those that are close to me knew. Those that suspected and wanted drama gossip received a missive on self-care 🙂 .

  • Everyone here is amazing. The replies to this post so far show how mighty you are.

    My jolt came from something as simple as talking to people. After DDay and the fallout that comes from that….. I was trying to figure out why was it so easy to just talk to people…friends, strangers, etc. Why now? Conversation came naturally and it was fun.

    With him, I used to be gripped by this fear of what I would say, what were they thinking about me, I was always so unsettled especially around “our” friends. He always let me know that everyone hated me, they only tolerated me because I was with him….after all he would tell me “he was wonderful and everyone loved him” and it was hard to disagree because wherever we went people would call out his name and come over to talk.

    But without him ….I at first couldn’t understand why was it so easy to just talk to anyone, and the insecurities were gone, and I didn’t even worry about what to say, we would just talk. So I know it sounds really simple but it was a jolt and a very welcome one. Now and every day since I look forward to meeting people and love to talk to them because gaslighting is no longer a part of my life.

  • I visited my family. My sisters had scheduled a family week-long beach vacation in the Outer Banks.

    Cheating wife and I hadn’t planned on attending. But after I’d already tried “scaring” my wife into fidelity by temporarily leaving her, I figured seeing family…solo…would give me some perspective. So I bought a plane ticket and flew out for a half-week visit.

    Family and I didn’t much discuss my wife’s cheating. Some, yes. But really it was just a chance to get away. To think in a different atmosphere, surrounded by love (as opposed to manipulation, which was what my wife was offering at the time.)

    Over the course of those few days, I accepted that my wife was likely fucking the OM while I was away (confirmed by my arriving back a few hours early to see her changing the sheets on our bed…five days after I’d last changed them.)

    But I also accepted that I couldn’t change my wife. I couldn’t make her into someone else. Over the course of those few days with family, I first accepted that I could get divorced.

    It took me another month to pull the trigger and actually leave my wife for good, file the papers, etc. And at the time, those few days with family did not feel “empowering” at all. I was treading water, frantically looking for any sign of the shore.

    But looking back, I see that they were. They brought me through to new possibilities. Before then, I could only think of pain and anger, mixed with a toxic faith that we would somehow stay married. Afterwards, I began to consider the emotional, financial, and physical upheaval of being alone. It scared me, but facing that fear was the next necessary step, and I was taking it.

    • Awesome. And inspiring. Refreshing to see what a jolt of sanity one can get from being around good people who love you.

  • I’m not sure this one fits, but about 2 months after dday I went with my cousin and her family to see the Lego Movie. I almost wet myself laughing so hard. And I realized them that I hadn’t really laughed for a long time, and I knew I was back to being alive. Only an ember, but the fire to live again was kindled. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

  • Mine was also slow, firstly it was the unconditional acceptance of a group of ladies who are much much older than me, have got to a stage in their lives where they understand baggage happens but it doesn’t define you, and know how to enjoy life.

    The second thing was to truly understand that I am liked by people. I am not a bad person.

    It was a slow process of acceptance and that this does NOT define me. At all. I trained for a job, went back to College, and really hope this is the year my business takes off as I market myself more.

  • I did’t handle the 3rd DDAy well. With his trickle truth, I didn’t get the whole story until months later and by that time I was sucked back in, but I wasn’t totally on board this time and I was telling friends and family, who supported me.

    My big moment came when I went to a high school band reunion in my old hometown, alone. Everyone remembered the person I used to be, the musician and writer. No one knew this new weak, wobbly person that didn’t follow her dreams. They all still thought I was the same person I was 20 years ago.

    That is when I saw the old me too. If thought if they are still playing music, why aren’t I? I picked my horn up and joined a local band. I started writing for wellness blogs. I found the person who I used to be and that person was confident and strong.

    It still took time before I said the word “divorce” and I shook the whole time I was talking to a lawyer, but after 20 years of abuse, who wouldn’t be a basket case? I learned to be compassionate and patient with myself and slowly but surely, I got free of the abuse and cheating.

    We all do things at our own time and pace. I went through the grieving process while the X was still in the house, living in another room, but it gave me time to get myself back together and be stronger to get through the divorce process, which he fought and dragged out of course.

    • I had a similar thing happen in a totally different realm. Tore my ACL in my mid thirties. Did the rehab, was basically healthy, but I was walking and running differently. Then I got my cleats on and started playing pickup soccer, and suddenly I was running the way I did when I was younger, and everything started to feel better. In my case, it’s likely muscle memory, but for you, I suppose, personality memory.
      Play on! (For both of us, ….)

  • Yup…I tried to save our marriage, two young kids and she convinced me that saving our family was her # 1 priority and that the move to another State was a fresh start for us all.

    She wore the Queen of Remorse Crown, and the Infidelity Industry that supports cheaters was the cherry on top.

    Turned out that she found new kibbles in a new State and she got away from a spouse of her other married guy loser that our children were classmates in school with.

    My last D-day I showed her proof of continued cheating and my serious intention and that I was divorcing her. She went into hysterics and jumped from couch to couch gnawing and chewing on throw pillows while in fit that was surreal.

    Update…. She recently married for the third time, her second marriage ended last year after less than two years. Shocker…hahaha….

    Her third marriage of only a couple of months ago was officiated on the unkept lawn in the backyard and our kids were guilted in attending. Let’s say it was a Star Trek meets Games of Thrones theme wedding with a vegan taco buffet reception dinner and hand rolled joints and shots of whiskey for dessert.

    The picture she posted on her fakebook of the official wedding photo in her in a spooky white lace dress and the groom in a black cape with fox fur lapel under a slapped together canopy of two by fours and dollars store plastic flowers is hilarious. My poor kids in the pic have forced smiles on their faces with frantic eyes toward the backyard exit. The funniest part is seeming my ex-in laws in mandatory slash Star Trek meets Games of Thrones polyester in curious blue colored robes in the Official Pic thinly smiling and eyes directed to the whiskey bottles at the edge of the buffet table.

    I did not send a gift to her third marriage but was tempted to send a set of throw pillows but I am sincerely against cruelty to throw pillows.

    Namaste Y’all

    Have a feeling there’s a fourth marriage for my ex in the near future. I won’t even guess what that theme will be but I’m sure it will hilarious too.

  • After a 1 year separation I finally stopped hyperfocusing on his extracurricular activities. It was not easy and took me months to dig myself out of the emotional pit of pain I was in. I started practicing self care. I workout everyday, eat clean, engage in hobbies and have reconnected with family. I’m in better shape than I was in my 30’s and I’m 55. I found myself again and my defining moment came when I realized I’m not responsible for his happiness anymore. It feels like a huge weight is lifted. I’m free!

    • Donna
      That’s a huge thing isn’t it, to realise you are no longer responsible for their happiness which never seems to appear.
      Enjoy your freedom!

      • Ah, the classic you no longer MAKE me happy. OP MAKES me happy … until they don’t. Then comes the next, the other next and the tertiary next. OW5 is still hanging in there, 8+ years later, MAKING xhole happy. Except when she doesn’t. 😉

      • I have to add that in addition to their happiness, we allow ourselves to not be responsible for their choices either. I always hoped that by talking sense into my cheaters, they would see that what they were doing was costing them someone truly loving, supporting them, being loyal to them, etc. Then there comes a point in time where you stop trying to protect them from themselves and let the chips fall where they may and apply the consequences that should have happened long ago. There is where the regrets come in. Not applying consequences sooner. Oh how we learn…

    • Donna, Your post inspired me. I’m 51. He doesn’t know it yet but I plan on leaving and to continue with the divorce after our house sells. (Our divorce is still pending. We put it on hold to see if we can fix our marriage.) Kids are grown and on their own. He cheated, I went back (still am) but things feel as though they are going back to how they were right before I found out about him cheating. I cannot seem to get past the affair(s). He says we need to move forward. In other words, forget they happened. He never has wanted to discuss why he “strayed”. I feel he just wants me to sweep in under the rug but I’m having a tough time and I’ve been back with him for 2 years!! I don’t think I want to live my life living with someone I can’t totally trust and maybe have this happen to me again! We just had our 30th anniversary. It was nothing special. I thought he would have made it more special considering what we went through. I consider him to be a narcissist which is probably how he “Romeo’d” me back. I fell for it but my eyes are more open now and I just feel exhausted and over it.

      • Kris, I so feel where you are! I, too, wreckonciled, only to see that my partner continued to take me for granted, want his transgressions swept under the rug, and not reciprocate the love and care I gave him. I made tons of efforts to forgive and to improve our relationship. He loved that, but never made any efforts of his own.

        I stayed because we had young kids, and I did love him, but DDay #2, 6 years later, freed me.

        It’s very sad to be in a relationship that you know will never feel loving and mutual, no matter what you do.

  • For me, others confirmed my mightiness at just the right moment. When I badly needed encouragement just to continue, people would commend my strength out of the blue.

    My lawyer made an off-hand comment about how gracefully I handled myself, an older person at work (who knew all the details) remarked that I handled myself with dignity, and a mom at church who had the same thing happen to her just wanted to let me know that my strength was impressive.

    Such perfect timing. Exactly what I needed when I needed it. Healing is a personal journey, but others along the way help me move towards meh and continue to be mighty. What a blessing.

  • 1st incident – she admitted the affair several years after I suspected it. within minutes i told her to find somewhere else to live.
    2nd – I finally cut off the pick me dance. she lied to my face when i questioned a hotel charge on the credit card. said she needed to get out of mom’s house for a few days. guess what the hotel receipt i requested from the credit card showed? A/P’s name on room but my credit card number. I found my inner badass that day. went nc and separated all the financial assets. took her off my credit card with a huge credit limit and canceled all the joint accounts. She still tries to this day to get me to help her out. A year and a half later. Shoots me texts with various questions which always mean can I help her. Haven’t responded to one in the year and a half.

  • Well, I’ll tell you: there really was no moment for me. It was just a long, brutally slow, years-long slog back to myself. Recovery came in subtle increments: Hey, I actually slept through the night for the first time in months! Hey, it’s been weeks since I burst into tears for no reason! I can enjoy a comedy again! I can be attracted to another woman again and not feel guilt! I think I’ve got this single dad thing down!

    And so on. So, no real epiphanies other than occasional quiet realizations about how badly I was abused and vague pride that I made the decision to divorce. Five years later I don’t feel particularly mighty, but all the evidence indicates that I am 🙂

  • When HE told ME that MY behavior (knowing the truth) was making him question whether he was our daughter’s father.

    Ya like that? Maybe *I* was cheating on *HIM*. Lolz.

    (He was later diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so the projection totally makes sense.)

  • So many.
    1. The day I retained a great lawyer and got the house along with all the other shit I was entitled to in the divorce. He thought my weepy hand would just blindly sign his shitty deal….he was wrong.
    2. The day I took my wedding bands off (weeks….hell, years) after him. I was at a red light leaving the grocery store alone in my car and just tossed them in my purse.no fanfare.
    3. The day I sold that engagement ring and bought the dog he wouldn’t let me have. That dog in the last 7 months has brought me more love and laughter than him in 2 decades.
    4. The first time I saw he was calling me and didn’t feel nervous…..just annoyed.
    5. All the times my kids tell me they are proud of how I’ve handled myself.
    I could do this all day…..the hardest and best journey I have ever taken.

  • My moment came when I realized I would have to sue the ex for child support and custody of our child. I wish someone would have hit me over the head with a 2 x 4 sooner. We had been separated for about 2 years and I slow played him for the information I needed (financials, what he wanted in the parenting plan etc.) for about two months acting like we would just be able to resolve things – it was painful to smile fuck him for that long until the very moment I had all required info and he was trying to bully me into meeting him at the court house for a stupid DRO (dispute resolution) that would only cover the child support aspect and was non-binding (I had already been talking with my lawyer the two months as I was gathering info) and I told him that the DRO would only cover the child support issues and I needed child custody figured out to and he promptly told me that “we would need to file with the courts” if I wanted custody addressed (he’d only been threatening me for 2 years to drag me to court every time he got pissed at me – which was often). It was a like the cat finally caught the canary moment – and I promptly emailed back and told him I had already filed for child support and child custody and had provided my lawyer with his address to have the documents served on him and “to seek legal advice in the regard”.

    I wish I could have seen his face in that moment. This was the moment I knew I was going to get my life back and there was no looking back for me – I no longer feared him or felt he could manipulate me anymore. No contact is a blessing!

  • Mine seems so small, not mighty at all really. After I kicked him out the first time, I bought a pair of lampshades at Target. On clearance. $5 each. They were beautiful and colorful and floral and the first thing I purchased for my house without asking his opinion/ fearing his reaction/wanting his approval. I loved them and that was enough. I put them on the bedside lamps in my room. They look perfect. Fast forward through almost 3 years of wreckconciliations, continued affairs, disastrous marriage counseling and the lampshades are still with me. STBX is not.

    • I can relate to this. I used to worry that cheater would not like something I purchased for the house. In fact, slowly over time all the pretty things I liked in the home were put aside for his ugly art and uncomfortable furniture. When I got rid of him I started to put colour back into the home. I love it.

    • LouisvilleFlower
      Actually I think this is huge. Those two lampshades represent something much larger. It’s funny but I have started to buy things for the house and for myself that just feel different. It’s not like I couldn’t buy them before. He lived abroad mostly and never minded how I did the house anyway. But for some reason he was a huge block on my choices. I felt oppressed by him even though he wasn’t even physically there. It’s as if I deferred to him automatically even though he can rightly claim he never imposed any opinion on stuff I bought. I’m still not sure what this means other than the reasons why I felt unable to express myself before have now gone with him.
      It’s odd for me. I have such a renewed pleasure in thinking of this as ‘my house’ (he will still be paying for it) and have started to find my style.
      Just weird because it’s not as if he ever showed any interest and was generally approving. Maybe that’s it. Unconsciously I wanted his approval. Now I can just buy stuff I like.
      And that, like the lampshades, speaks volumes.

    • I can totally relate! X has had a very successful career in the arts, which made him feel entitled to mock my “aesthetic sensibilities” and find reasons to veto any decisions I tried to make about furnishing or decorating our home.

      I gave up after a few years, so it was empowering indeed to decorate my own home with colorful, vibrant rugs, wall hangings, and sentimental family knick-knacks that I’d kept hidden away. It took me a long time to stop listening to his voice in my head telling me all the reasons why something I wanted to buy for my home was an aesthetic “disaster.”

      Early on in the separation he had to make his disdain known by asking me, “Exactly what aesthetic are you going for here?” I said, “Eclectic” and walked away, ending the conversation. That was the moment I realized that, for the first time since I deferred to his decision to pick out our china pattern during our engagement, I no longer cared to justify or defend my “aesthetic sensibilities” to him and cared even less what he thought about them.

      • I have a very abstract Kandinsky print that my husband claimed portrayed female anatomy. I didn’t see it and hoped he wouldn’t spoil it for me. We took it down because he had a porn problem and still ogles women on the street. Thanks for letting me enjoy a piece of art, Deacon. Can wait to hang it again someday.

        • I just went and looked at the Kandinsky prints under Google Images. I saw: houses, roads, boats, spaceships, horses, abstract people (they looked fully clothed to me), cities and strange psychedelic suns. I saw something which may or may not be breast-shaped, but made more sense as a hill in a landscape. Maybe hang it upside down, today? To symbolize new perspectives. 🙂

    • I don’t think the lampshades are small, either ?
      I think they were your sense of self peeking out, and wondering ‘is it ok to come out, yet?’
      I relished every small thing I brought home that made me feel like an individual! I was not his appendage! I had had to rediscover my style, and it could now show in my home, and how I dressed, even the car I drove! No more man-cave house for me. I’m sure it’s fine for some people, but they’re usually single guys. It’s very empowering to express yourself again, after many years of being scolded for it! I love your lampshades. Mine was a white pottery and teakwood lamp I found at a thrift store, that goes to each place I move, and it’s special to me!

        • Mine were two things. One was a metal sign that read “Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.” The other was a foot high statue if a baby triceratops sitting in egg fragments with the biggest joyful smile. They both still make me grin many years later.

  • The moment I’m thinking of this morning, where I started getting myself back, was a couple months after I decided to divorce and was preparing the house to list for sale (lots of deferred maintenance). x left for work, I took the day off. A couple friends came over to help me tackle the family room where so much of his raging tantrums happened, scene of piles of x’s fiercely protected hoardings. They joked as they delved into them, we were laughing at x! It was so freeing for me. We found things he had accused me of discarding (“stealing”) years before. I felt ashamed of the filth and my fear, kibbles for x, but my friends didn’t care about any of that. They both thanked me afterwards for the satisfying chore and fun we had doing it.I still smile to remember how the energy in that room was turned around.

  • For me, it was the day the Fucktard grabbed the dry cleaning out of my hands, intending to lock it away in his office to punish me. Instead, he cut open my hand with a wire clothes hanger. I drove over to the police station and walked in the door dripping blood to report the domestic violence. The Fucktard scored a night in the pokey. I scored a restraining order, changed the locks and lawyered up. Buh bye, loser.

    • Awesome story, Survivor. I know your tale well enough to consider you very mighty for enduring all that you did from that fucktard.

      • Thanks, all. It was a day I just snapped, knew enough was enough, and had had it with bullshit. The disordered will escalate if they don’t get what they want, and I’d already covered for that shithead kicking me black and blue in the middle of the night once before. He said it was a nightmare. I thought it was a beating. An old friend said I’d “taken the cat bird seat” by handing him over to the authorities. I didn’t know what that was, but it felt better than letting someone ride roughshod over me another minute. The Fucktard called the next day to whine that he’d had to go to a secondhand store to buy clothes after being released from jail because he’d left barefoot in a pair of shorts. But I saw him drive by with a couple I also knew, and when he came to the door in the clothes of one of those people, I did not let him in. I just said to let Pete know I always liked that shirt, and I knew that secondhand stores are not open at 8 a.m. on Sundays.

        Getting harsh is sometimes necessary.

  • My biggest empowerment jolt was the day I moved into my new home…April 24, 2015.

    I left the closing, drove to my home of 30 years for the last time, boxed up the last things to be packed – the curtains – and followed the moving van to my new home.

    I was free…I left the bag of rocks I’d been dragging around for all the years after DDay.

    My BFF lives in my old neighborhood and she came over the next morning to help me start unpacking. She told me that she saw satan sitting in his truck, in the street in front of our old house, just staring at the house. …I’m sure his head was exploding just trying to process what he was seeing…an obviously empty house.

    • Something about selling the home…mine was like a bag of rocks too with little time bombs, from all the repairs he said he did but didn’t do correctly, just waiting to go off. Plus my garage was filled with all the junk he couldn’t let go of, but he couldn’t clean out and move to his new place either.

      The ultimate freedom was selling and moving away. I still have nightmares about that house.

      • Same here ChumpedToTheMax 🙂

        The day AFTER I was completely moved out and on, I called my sons and told them to please let satan know that he was now free to clear ‘his’ stuff (that I was KIND ENOUGH to leave for him, as the court had awarded me the house and everything in it). I left him those tools and materials that I didn’t think I would need. My BFF reported that he and his flying monkeys showed up with many trucks and a very long trailer to help him…I wish I could’ve seen his face when the garage door rolled up to…um…hey, we only need a couple o’ these trucks boys!

        HEHEHEHEHEHEHE!!! SLAM DUNK Lying Cheating Coward satan!!!! 😀

  • I actually did file pretty much immediately after D Day because I wanted to protect myself financially. But my heart was still in love with him and not caught up with my head. My heart finally caught up when:
    1) I received a kick ass performance review at work and a pay raise. My boss’s words ” Not many could do what you did and not break down nor drop the ball during hard times. ”

    2) One day I was running around town trying to get an apartment lease signed and my daughter registered for school all on the same day. It was the craziest most hectic period of my life trying to look for an apartment and figuring out the school system. (My period actually came twice that month! Sorry TMI) But it was at that point that I realized that hey I can do this all on my own and that I’m mighty! I was stressed out physically but I had an inner peace that comes from knowing I was finally in control of the situation and not being gaslighted like an idiot anymore.

    • Not TMI at all! Getting your period twice in one month shows the incredible stress you were under. Seriously.

  • The moment I was approved for a mortgage to buy him out of the house!! He NEVER thought I could do it on my own (even said it for years). Fuck you!!! I did it!!

    • Exact same story for me. He was asking what agent we would use to list(I had the option to buy or list in our agreement). He also said he wanted thevhouse and me being the adult had to point out you kind of need an income to apply for a mortgage(??). He stopped asking after that…couldn’t admit to schmoopie he actually isn’t a wealthy businessman.. I did get the mortgage. The day before I left for Florida.. radio silence from him but I’m sure he raged in private…

  • My moment came shopping in Kohls with my daughters (13 and 6 months old). The baby was starting to fuss and so I started dancing in front of her stroller to the music coming over the speakers. She started laughing and then I looked up and saw my older daughter laughing and with a smile that told me that she was catching a glimpse of her mom (not the emotional mess she had for the previous 9 months).

    It was in that moment that I felt a touch of real joy and I thought “here I am”. Truth be told I hadn’t felt that in years. I may still be a ways from Meh, but I know that at least I am on my way there.

  • Me too NoMoreEggShells (love the name by the way). At age 53 I got a mortgage to keep my home and a roof over my kids’ heads! Frankly if it hadn’t gone through I swear I would have swung for him as he was not going to make me and my kids move away from my lovely friends and neighbours. Anyway it worked and he can go take a long walk off a short pier. Then one time I was at the hairdressers and she asked if she could talk to me outside??? So I said sure, and she introduced me to a male friend of hers. Apparently this guy knew my ex because he would call in for a drink at the ex’ preferred slimey slut bar (I call it the OK Corral). Apparently ex had been pulling the poor sad sausage thing and telling everyone that I attacked him most nights when he came home from work! I don’t look anything like a husband beater and have to be pretty presentable for my work. When I heard that I just burst out laughing, got a fit of the giggles, and the three of us stood outside the hairdressers convulsed. It was great. Another time, I stopped at my friend’s café for a coffee and was introduced to another guy who drank at the OK Corral. There was a loud clunk as this guy’s jaw hit the table when I was introduced as the “husband beater”. That’s when I knew I was winning and his web of lies was unraveling.

  • After DDAY, I completely fell apart. When his mistress stalked me, I left my professional job. For months, I cried nonstop and could barely get out of bed. I disconnected from my 4 children (all teens at the time). It took me almost 2 years to even begin to snap out of it. I went back to work full-time and was recently promoted to Partner at my firm. Last year, a team that I coached, advanced all the way to the state competition. I am not “back” 100%, and maybe never will be. But I will be just fine.

    • Topshelf
      That sounds like you have been to hell and back. Your story must be full of mighty to get through all that. I think you will be all the way back and more the way you are going!!

      • Topshelf,
        I too was stalked by the mistress/OW at my workplace. Other than trying to destroy me, I had no idea at the time why someone would hate me so fiercely. She had been trying for a year to get him to leave me for her, unknown to me.

        Turns out she wrote anonymous letters to several of my colleagues (I worked at a company where our profiles were on the website) accusing me of all sorts of weirdness. While most of the content was outrageous, some of it was half-believable.

        It was only after I took leave from my job after d-day that colleagues began coming forward and volunteering the information, and we pieced together her treachery. I asked the Dean of my college whether he had ever had poison letters about me, and he admitted about three years later that he had, but had chosen to ignore them. I think there were likely several more who just never came forward. I had to get her twitter account suspended because of awful things she wrote…insinuations that I possibly had a criminal record in my country of origin, etc. I was trying to succeed in a professional post in a new country at the time.

        This stalking was never pinned on her, because the police here couldn’t be bothered to pursue a ‘domestic’ situation, ie. what seemed to be a dispute between two women. She walked free, but I almost had a breakdown. It certainly affected my job.

  • I think I had a series of moments, that jolted me. All new things that I had not done before.
    – Once a month, I catered to 20 Executive women, in a day conference ran by a friend – which was all about empowering women.
    -Got a new Job with famous person – as a person assistant.
    -Prepared my marital home for sale – painted, organized, and decluttered all with EX’s help (house sold in 3 days)
    -Packed, moved to an apartment without much help from people, other than moving company moving the Big items.
    -Went on Vacation by myself to visit family and few days on my own!! Imagine that!!!

    But the one moment that stands out – I went to London with my new Job, and I was doing a project, which needed me to go a local Stationary store on my own, in a city I did not know, and I think I even said to myself – “Look at me surviving this shit”!

    I have surrounded myself with only positive people, I have found a group of 3 other divorced friends (3 out of 4 – were chumps), who have become dear close friends. I have to say having these women has helped my healing so much, especially during holidays.

    Today, I’m in the process of buying my own little place, all by myself.
    Tears of joy come every time I think how far I have come.

  • I have discovered my h’s “activities” at the time I was finishing law school and was deciding whether or not to sit for the bar exam right away. When 14 years of my life blew out right in my face, I did not think that it was a good idea to even try, given my emotional state, and also being in the category of people who usually don’t pass on the first try (foreigner, full time job, 2 kids, and the serious marriage issues). But as a person of faith, I prayed about it and decided that I will trust God to carry me through the whole thing. It was very difficult – working while preparing for the biggest exam of my life while simultaneously dealing with post dday issues and many more new discoveries of my h’s deceit. It was like living two different lives at the same time.
    When the results came 3 months later and I found out that I passed the bar exam, it was such an empowering and positive experience for me – at that moment I knew that there is nothing that could stop me anymore from going after a good life I deserve, from living in truth and working on making myself to be the best I can be in these circumstances.

    • That is mighty! As someone who passed a certification for my field, it’s hard to do without all the stress you had. You have the grit to be very successful in whatever area of life you use it!

      • Thank you so much, lostntx, for your comment. I truly appreciate it. Good luck to you with whatever stage of this you are dealing with!

    • Awesome! I too took my financial future back into my hands, started studying for the CA bar the week I filed because another chump, my boss in that state, wanted to help me build a new niche there. I hadn’t taken a bar exam since I graduated from law school back in early 90s. I literally studied my brains out and took the multiple day exam between divorce proceedings. Found out I passed the week of Thanksgiving! All while solo parenting 24/7. That definitely empowered me! It was always “our” dream to move one day to CA and practice law together and wrote too. He’s busy supporting his young gold-digger and went backwards 25 years (acts and lives like a 22-year old). I’m following my dreams without him dragging me down.

      • Wow, cogratulations, that is truly awesome….Good luck in your law career and in life….I am sure you will do great in both!!!!

  • I literally ripped apart the first floor on my house with my bare hands crying the entire time. The old pergo floor, dark 90’s cabinets, a two-tier dated island, countertops with blood, sweat and tears everywhere. Habitat for Humanity asked how on earth I did it and I replied, “pure grit.” I worked by tush off to pay for putting it back piece by piece (with a contractor). Slowing assembling new cabinets, matching hardwoods throughout and a gorgeous stone countertop (which I sold my engagement diamond to buy.) Our (our being me and my three young children) home is 20,000 x more beautiful now than when I was married. He just asked if I would consider reducing support.
    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…..No.

    • This is awesome.
      After DDay 2 I pulled out 20+ year old landscaping in front of my house. Huge bushes that took saws and shovels and pick axes to remove. My neighbors kept watch to make sure I didn’t get heat stroke. Destruction can be so satisfying.

  • After dipshit told me that he was having a “midlife crisis” and he wanted to be “single” (though, he neglected to mention the part about his beloved, disordered whore), he told me to cancel a trip we had planned for 8 weeks later to Australia. I earned the miles for that trip and, in true chump fashion, made all of the arrangements. Instead of canceling, I took a good friend with me. He served me with divorce papers as I was leaving for the trip. He was there to watch it too as he was picking up our dog – sadistic fucker. Though devastated, my friend and I still had a great time and pee-in-our-pants kinds of laughs.

    When another friend was dealing with a dying parent, she learned her husband was cheating on her. I took her on a vacation to Asia. I used my miles and we did it up first class-style. It gave her something to look forward to during those dark days that we all know so well.

    It gave me great pleasure to help a friend out. I learned to invest in people that are there for me – like friends and family. I wasted so many years investing in a worthless piece of shit. Those days are done.

      • Thanks losntx. She was very supportive of me during my darkest days. (I had lost my mom to a heartache 10 months before my xh left for his whore).

        I have to say, the biggest gift that has come of the mess was gratitude. I have so many good people that care about me. Losing one cheater is actually a blessing – though my heart took a long time to realize that!

    • I know there’s no way to prepare for this, but if one’s STBX hangs around to watch one getting served, the best possible response is a fist pump to the heavens, a big “Yes”, and then point directly at the STBX and mouth (don’t say, just use the lips), “Thank you.” And then get back to whatever you were doing.

      • Aeronaut – You’re probably right – but he already knew I would be devastated (it was also the day before my 43rd birthday). I think his tramp had arranged the entire scene (XH wouldn’t have willingly paid $125 for emergency process service – nor would he have had the creativity to dream that up). Up until that moment in my life, I had never experienced rage. It was an out-of-body experience. Horrific.

  • I’m like so many, I’ve had slow improvements, new bed, home maintenance, etc. The first big step was during our legal separation and my best friend who was also divorcing at the same time (our ex’s are best friends from HS, another story) she and I talked about vacations our ex’s would never do and hatched a plan to trek and camp in the Grand Canyon with our four children. Neither of us were in the emotional or physical shape to do it at the time. I trained and went with my children to REI about ten times buying gear.
    The morning the trek started I stood at the edge of the canyon, looking at it’s vastness and thought that this was my chance.

    We made it to the bottom after 7 hours of walking. All four kids were happy and engaged. We saw snakes, condors, mule trains and some of the most beautiful scenery ever. Two days at the bottom and then we walked out (my gf had an upper respiratory infection). We still talk about it. Following, my kids and I did a guided backpacking tour of the back country in Yosemite, we’ve camped in Wyoming and this spring the kids and I are headed to Machu Picchu. Yes, each time I’m nervous and each time I get up and go.

    Havasu Falls GC.jpg

    • OutWest
      That is truly inspirational. Because you wrote that and you did all that I’m going to plan and do something with my boys!
      That is such a gift. Thank you!!

      • Capricorn

        Do it! I think I read part of your story and you are also a therapist? That victories can inspire you makes my day! Travel with my kids has been the silver lining….

        • I am a therapist and now I want to be a therapist that travels!!! I’ve actually just been looking through places I have always wanted to go. Funny as we moved every couple of years with his job and as I did most of the organising and packing including for overseas and coast to coast but I didn’t want to travel more. He went abroad when I had to stay in place as all three kids were in good schools they liked. He was always disappointed I didn’t want to travel more. For me though it was all the work packing and arranging plus keeping the boys entertained and safe on trips.
          Now it’s just me and the boys are a bit older I’m thinking it will be fun! You have really lit a fire under me!

  • So many brave people here. I’m inspired by these stories.

    It took me a long time for my heart to catch up to my head and what I was seeing. Working helped me, surrounding myself with positive people who supported me, working out, redecorating my home, travelling, and seeing a good therapist all helped me. Also my ex cheater has had a visit from Child Welfare Services due to domestic violence in his home by his “loving amazing” schmoopie, and that helped set my sails straight. He’s a wreck, a boozer and with an unfortunate woman who likes his cash.

    I think time and seeing what a clusterfuck my ex is has helped me navigate away from him. I would never go back to that life where I was sad, anxious and wondering what I’d done to make him so angry. I get shit done now. I am happier and have good friends. My daughter is doing well. I’m lucky, I’m grateful to be away from him and all the darkness that he brought to my life.

  • I started getting glimpses of myself when I started reading this blog about 8 months ago, but really set my feet on the path back to me when I finally filed on Sept 1 last year. I’d told STBX I was going to file, he asked me to wait a week because he really thought he wanted to reconcile, so I gave him a week. The moment when he said “no, I’m not breaking up with her” was the final one for me. It’s seared in my brain, and after months of letting him gas-light and shift blame on me, I knew at that moment that I was done trying to fit into his version of me. I was set free and the last 4 months since I filed, thanks to reading here daily and minimal contact with STBX, I’ve felt myself coming back! I started back to school this week after 18 years as a stay-at-home mom, and it’s been awesome! Pursuing a paralegal certificate after working in higher education before. It’s so interesting, and challenging my brain again feels great!

  • My turning point was about nine months after D-Day. There’s a trade show I go to each January for work, and two dear friends always come with me to help. It’s a bit of a reunion for us each year, and we usually exchange small Christmas gifts since we don’t generally meet up over the holidays.

    Both of these friends are wonderfully creative; I always look forward to our time together and appreciate the handmade gifts we exchange.

    That first meeting after D-Day we sat on our beds at the hotel the first night of the show and exchanged gifts. While I don’t recall what I made for them, I will never-ever- forget what they made for me: a voodoo doll of my husband.

    This was not rags and sticks primitive doll; It was a small stuffed effigy that looked exactly like dickhead; same hair, same glasses, same Hitler mustache. Best of all, it was accented with a jolly number of custom afflictions written into the appropriate body part: migraine on the back of the head, chronic priapism in the crotch, and cheatin’ heart right across that little stuffed chest. The final touch was a lovely jeweled hat pin to stick into whatever ailment I wished to send him.

    It was such a great rendition of the man, and the ailments were so weird and funny, I sat in that bed and laughed until I cried and almost wet my pants as my friends did the same.

    And I realized I hadn’t laughed in 9 months, and I realized I was going to live through this horror with the help of my friends and laughter.

    I still have that voodoo doll, six years of ridiculous litigation and delays later, and I take it to court every time we go… and I laugh.

  • I spent the first year in total anxiety fearing every threat he made. I gave him way to much power in my head. I was also being mind fucked by my two oldest kids. I honestly couldn’t make a decision on anything. I had taken a week off for my birthday but to afraid of finances to go anywhere. Talking to my brother the day my vacation started he mentioned he was also on vacation and I should come see him. Got off the phone rented a car and drove to Colorado. Went gambling with my brother and just hung out doing silly things. Driving home I realized I was smiling… Ear to ear! And it hit me that I couldn’t remember the last time I smiled and laughed like I had with my brother. That day I stopped giving X power in my head, snd stopped worrying about EVERYTHING. I looked at all I had accomplished in the past year and realized I’m going to be ok. And I have been.

  • My biggest empowerment jolt was walking into a Lexus dealership in my town and buying a new (to me) SUV with my own money, but more importantly WITHOUT douche-wad’s “approval”. (He used to taunt me by saying I would never survive without him). After buying my new car (it was 2 years old with 19K miles, it was just about new), I drove back to MY job (he still has none, nor does he have a car or a license for that matter), and of course showed off my new car to all the idiot guys I work with. Dropping off my son to visit the AssBag with my NEW care was, as you can imagine, also AWESOME.

    Then the next day drove up to see my father for his birthday and had a nice time with him. Which I didn’t get to do in 27 years unless because AssBag always monopolized the conversation everywhere he went. My son puked in my new car 1/2 way up the 4 hour drive… STILL OK!

    Less than a week after I got back from my Dad’s house, I met New Guy on line. And I’ve been happy as a clam ever since. This weekend its 6 month with New Guy.

    My job still sucks (i’m about to get laid off of job #3 in 1 year…. yeah for being a contractor in IT), I’m still broke and this will my last year in my 40’s.

    But my new car is still awesome, my New Guy is still an awesome hot fuck (and a total sweetheart) and I am CHEATER-FREE.

  • I was a Unicorn for a LONG time, but the mightiness that eventually led me to eventual success was my refusal to move after Dday.

    I had been a very submissive military wife and I had historically moved where ever and whenever I was told to and he likely expected me to continue that. Without knowing of the affair, he gave me the “were going to divorce, I never loved you” speech then later told me he wanted me to move here and there (one of them was Seattle so he could get his wife and OW in the same city and hell no OW wasnt going to move, so he would make me and 3 kids give up our established lives so he could have cake).

    At the time he started this “you should move” crap, I had no wild idea of the extent of his treachery, but I knew I would be putting myself in a very precarious position if I moved, so I refused…I almost waffled off my position once but regained my strength and fortified my refusal.

    You should have seen him, he tried every channel of narc to get me to move and I was having none of it. He finally overplayed his hand…he had threatened to divorce me so many times it was finally losing its power…he said “I will divorce you if you don’t move” and I said “If you don’t love me enough to be married in Virginia, I cant see that moving to California would change that, so ..no”.

    In the end, a move would have spelled disaster on SO many fronts; my refusal was the best thing I did in the whole mess.

    • “If you don’t love me enough to be married in Virginia, I cant see that moving to California would change that, so ..no”.

      Well said!!

  • I got a new haircut about a month and a half after D-Day – I took in a picture of Claire Underwood and told my stylist – “this is the new me.” She thought I was crazy, but I figured my hair was falling out from stress and a Vitamin D deficiency, so might as well start over in more ways than one! I fixed my own toilet – a couple of days after I broke my ankle the upstairs toilet stopped working. With a broken ankle, it wasn’t feasible to hobble down to the basement to use the other one. STBX watched our daughter and brought her back to the house because I had an after-hours work function and instead of fixing it, or calling in a plumber to help a lady out, he left behind a wire hanger to help me flush it manually. I hobbled my ass to Lowe’s, bought the part the was broken and fixed the damn toilet myself. Never knew fixing a toilet could make me feel mighty – but with this new haircut I feel like I’m ready to take on the world!

    • That’s awesome! (both the haircut and the toilet) Some of those little Home Depot moments also made me realize what a whiny little baby he was sometimes. Like, seriously, it took me twenty minutes to fix this and I’d been nagging you about it for months!

  • I think mine came when I joined an online dating site several months after the divorce he wanted was final and the asshole viewed me as he was also a member of the site.

    I laughed hysterically at his profile. It said:

    I am a hard working guy, and I like to play just as hard. I love passion and I would hate to think that the world can exist without it. I believe in romance and I love to spoil the special lady in my life. I am in no way the clingy type and honesty and trust are more important to me then looks…

    WTF? Passion? Romance? Spoil the special lady in his life? Not the clingy type and honesty and
    trust are more important to him than looks?

    The man has no passion, does not believe in romance, couldn’t figure out how to spoil anyone other than himself if he tried, now the not the clingy type, I agree with. You never knew where he was or what he was doing… LOL But the kicker? Honesty and trust are more important to him than looks? He was never honest with all the cheating on me he did prior to the divorce and looks aren’t important? Since when? He is the most vain man I know…

    After I quit laughing hysterically, I knew I was on the way to Meh.

    Oh yeah.

    About a week later, I saw him. He asked me if I had any luck on that dating site because all he had been contacted by was women wanting a ‘Sugar Daddy’ … I just laughed and walked away. What a loser!

  • My Dday happened through the night and into the next morning. He was trickling out confessions as I kept asking questions. He said things like “I did it because it was fun, and I was getting away with it” and “I told myself ‘this only works as long as she trusts you'”. I had spent the night in and out of the bathroom with diarrhea due to emotional trauma. In the morning, right after he had just confessed to having sex with massage parlour whores, the guy he works with showed up so they could go to work together. I stayed in the bedroom while my now ex left to go with him to work. I heard him, all chipper and normal, like the world didn’t just fall apart, talking with the co-worker as they left. I had to call out sick from my job. It was then that I knew I was dealing with a sociopath. That was the moment I knew he was a fake and I couldn’t stay married to a fake. As soon as I heard them leave, I picked up the phone and called my friend who happens to be an awesome divorce attorney. The divorce was filed a week later.

    • Phoenix
      Your post reminded me so much of that feeling of disbelief when you feel your whole world imploding, your mind reeling,your body just reacting in awful ways and you are too shocked and numb to cry and there they are just going about their day as normal. Just stunning.

      I’m about six months out waiting for the divorce to be finalised and I was so low for a few days but then thought well why are you feeling so bad when he sure as hell isn’t!?! I do feel sad and angry etc sometimes but that’s because I am normal but I try to snap out of it sooner when I realise I’m the only one suffering.

      • It’s because they knew all along and we are only just finding out. They are relieved, we are devastated.

        Throughout the whole post Dday thing, I slept maybe an hour each night and XH slept like a baby, every night.

        • One of the weirdest aspects of this I saw play out in him…I think he told SO many lies and had SO MANY secrets, after D day when we had discussions where he coughed up actual admissions and real details, I was reeling with horror and he seemed SO RELIEVED, like he was finally getting his shit together.

          Yes, I was SO UPSET and he was as cool as a cucumber. Bad sign.

      • Also, take my advice and don’t ever ask how he’s doing, because the answer will kill you. — When we were dividing up the house stuff (he had moved out), I had a moment of thinking “I should be bigger than this. This guy until, like, last week, was my best friend in the world. Here I am, not eating or sleeping, a nervous wreck. I should check in with him and see if he’s okay.”

        His reply? A pause, and then “I’m GREAT, actually….” — And he was. And I’m sure if you asked him, he would say: a) he was only being honest, and b) he didn’t want me to worry.

        But, seriously? Twist the knife, buddy. Twist the knife.

        • ^^^This^^^^
          It is a twist of the knife. My X is doing GREAT! He is ready to start his single life and doesn’t see the point in dwelling in the past. The kids and I? We are still suffering a bit because we are fully functioning human beings who value family and feel things deeply. He is a sociopath.

        • That’s funny. I just asked this TODAY for exactly the same reason. I am a good person. I’m really low. He is now all alone, had to do xmas alone, always needed support with work stuff. So I ask, how are you doing, really? Answer whips right back. Not bad actually. Going to meet ups again, did a great presentation at work. You?
          I said well I’m not feeling so great really. Answer ‘will take time’.
          Good job we had this mighty thread today lol.

          KathleenK. Yes exactly. A million times.

  • After years of DDays, pick-me dancing and eating shit sandwiches for the sake of the kids and a 20 year marriage, I found the words and tools I needed to survive here, at ChumpLady.

    The day I finally got him to leave, he stood at the front door with the sadz. “I’m leaving now” he announced. For what reason? cake? kibbles? the kids and I to throw ourselves at this feet, grasping his pant legs crying “Please don’t go!” ?

    I looked serial cheating abuser in the eye and said “see ya!” while locking the door behind him. 200 lbs lighter (lol), I blasted the music and started to dance :D! I remind myself of that moment every time I have to deal with him while I work patiently through the divorce process.

  • I was offered a coveted internship through my university, shortly following my discovery of his indiscretions. It was great to have something all mine, that nobody could take away; it was all on me to succeed. I then became insanely busy, and he felt slighted by my lack of attention towards him. He then ramped it up. I’m ashamed to say that I tried again (and again and again) with him, because of our daughter, but having some academic and professional success under my belt helped me to be stronger, and it was only a year or so before I dumped him. (And he still kept trying…)

  • The kids…. everyone will think they’re kids are awesome… because they are. Nothing else matters (to quote Shinead).

    Second best… getting a “like” from my now ex-sister in law in response to a FB post. No big deal and totally routine… but just showed a little bit of kindness from the person you least expect it from who knows what happpend… the Disorder X’s family. After being abused for years and then finding out what a fuck your cheating X is… sometimes it takes even a small thing to realise there are decent people out there.

  • My 40th bd was about a month after I left him. I was at the house picking up the last of my things. Xhole was trying to goad me into dancing (OW5 had been dancing hard for at least 6 months, that I knew of). Told him point blank I wanted a D for my bd. He looked crushed. Over the course of the next month, he went from self-pity to unbridled rage. BD was a holiday weekend. Xhole had me served, at my job, that Friday, no advance warning and after close to a year of foot dragging. I’m sure if he could have done it on my actual BD he would have. Despite wanting to kill him for trying to ruin my BD, continued NC. Worked my bd party (bartender), actually had a great time, and walked out of work w/$700. He contacted me later that week, I didn’t even acknowledge his failed attempt to destroy my day. FTG.

    • Waffles – mine served me the day before my birthday as well. It was while I was leaving for my trip to Australia (he was supposed to go with me initially before the divorce crap). I’m glad you were able to still have a good day!

    • Oh, the channel changes…. I got the Pity Party (and fake sorrow) right up until I filed. Then I got the rage and grossly inflated sense of entitlement in which she claimed 180% of our assets (I had to borrow 80% to pay to her, along with life time financial support for someone who makes over 10 times the national average income).

      NC forever !!

    • I love “FTG” and have used it myself. Have even thought about making it my license plate except that it’s about him and not me, so FTG, right?

  • The Truth. That is what finally changed everything in a single moment. The cheating with women, the lying, the sneaking around, the sexual discard, the drinking, the drugs … I knew all of those things but I had learned them slowly over a 30 year period and had grudgingly accepted and learned to deal with each little piece a bit at a time. CL and CN had helped me get to the point of telling him I wanted a divorce, but even then I gave him 19 months warning. I imagine he viewed that as plenty of time to continue enjoying cake and possibly wear me down one more time.

    Seeing the email that revealed he was actually having a 30 year gay affair was a complete out-of-the-blue piece of information. It was a TRUTH that whacked me upside the head so completely, I was knocked into my senses. And that was just it. I spun into action.

    Y’all are tired of the rest of the story but I like telling it! Ha Ha! I ordered him to move himself and every last thing he owned out of our house in 5 days. I packed everything for him in about 24 hours. I helped him load the cars, drove one state over, and carried at least half his shit up the stairs in blazing Florida midday sun. I unpacked his kitchen with all the stuff I bought for him the day before. The next week I sat down and wrote a settlement that kicked him in the balls and told him to sign it. He did. He never made a squeak … he was terrified and I think he was right to be so. He never even hired his own lawyer … I think he never had enough time to consider whether he should or not. He was too busy dodging the Dixie Flyer!!!

    I was a totally unmighty, worn-down, depressed person for 2.5 years as I watched him go about his cheating day in and day out. Demoralizing is too weak a word. But standing up and kicking his butt gave me back all my power, control, and love of life. It is there in all of us just waiting to be energized!! Kick some butt, fellow chumps!!

    • Dixie, this sat with me… “I was a totally unmighty, worn-down, depressed person for 2.5 years as I watched him go about his cheating day in and day out. Demoralizing is too weak a word.” Glad you found your inner badass!

    • Ohhh Dixie!! You gave me a big laugh!! This is so funny:

      The next week I sat down and wrote a settlement that kicked him in the balls and told him to sign it. He did. He never made a squeak … he was terrified and I think he was right to be so.

      I just now read it again and laughed out loud.

  • Small thing, but the living room Apple TV was linked to my ex’s accounts, so everytime I logged in, I couldn’t access my own stuff in my own iTunes. I figured out I could reset the gizmo to its factory settings and set up again with my account information. My ex was always the one who did the tech stuff around the house, even though I’m no slouch in this area, so this small thing made me feel like I could take care of business.

    • I also had an Apple TV moment! At work, when a computer goes down, I just write “Broken” on a post-it note and stick it on the screen, and move to another work station. So I was terrified I had to set up Apple TV all on my own, not once but twice. I took photos of the cable connections and all the cords before I disconnected, and then just reconnected at the new houses. Easy! I was (and remain, honestly) very proud of myself (for doing something any modern four year old can probably do). 🙂

    • Hahahah I did the dance of joy when I figured out the Netflix stuff and got his profile off the page! That took me 3 hours…. so I am completely impressed with your Apple TV story. Cables and cords? You SHOULD be proud!!!!

    • I have a similar story. Ex ‘kindly” gave me all the old internet router and roku stuff as he wanted to upgrade in his new place. Setting up the internet account in my new home was so intimidating, I had many miscommunications with tech support, missed calls (going to ex’s cell, not my new #) missed appts. because they were calling ex, miscommunications for weeks. I thought I was completely incompetent and never thought to complain, I was so trained to believe that it was all my fault. Once I realized that the communication error was on their end, I asked to escalate to a manager. I got put through to a most wonderful AT&T rep who walked me step by step through everything. I still have his old network name and password on the system (a challenge for another day), but at least I got it all set up and running.

  • On my birthday…The ex broke into my bedroom where I was sleeping after working nightshift the previous evening.

    He told me that he and his AP were planning to have a baby together.

    Something clicked inside me and I knew I would never love him again.

  • I love this topic…such a positive way to end the week w. how we found ourselves again :). There were so many empowerment moments for me as I slowly recovered from my heartbreak…the big reveal to my family & friends after pretending all was well for so long, the beautiful new bedroom I recreated, finishing my MBA and traveling to new places, but my favorite of all was creating what I call my ‘Empowerment Ring’.

    My wedding rings meant so much to me…a promise of love and loyalty to someone I thought was on the same page. My 24 years of marriage were not easy as my XH brought addictions and mental illness to the table but I persevered and held to my promise of standing by him as much as it gradually over the years tore me apart. When Dday came and he destroyed the one last thread I thought he would never do to me, he basically vanished from my life, I thought I would be forever broken…and was so angry at myself for letting it happen. Removing my rings just added to my pain. Then one day the idea of an ‘Empowerment Ring’ came to me while sitting at work. I spent the next few days creating what I wanted, a strong solid ring that represented all that made me happy. I bought two big stones that represented my children’s birthstones and centered with a big (recycled 🙂 diamond for me. When the call came from the jeweler that it was ready, I ran straight over. The moment I put that ring on I felt I truly found myself again.

    That day was 10 months out from my Dday…and each time I look down at that ring, I feel a strength I didn’t know I had flow through me. Happy Friday CN!

  • There have been gradual moments over the time period from the 1 millionth possible D-day to this moment of “miss me with your bullshit” life I am currently living. Some I crawled through, some I walked through and some I ran through. There are three that stand out which were what I recognized as major turning points.

    1. I received information that the Ex had filed for divorce and discovered CL’s blog almost simultaneously – maybe a day or two apart with me finding and reading everything that was then on this blog first. The day I got the information that he had filed for divorce was the day the first little “click” occurred and I turned off the major waterworks (crying).

    2. Several months before the divorce became final, there had been a discussion between Satan’s Asshole and myself regarding disposition of the then marital property. During that discussion, I mentioned amicably and equitably dividing up some property which he felt should be his exclusively as I patiently explained that, no, it was considered marital property. He hung up on me during the conversation. I didn’t call him back to attempt to reason with him as I would have done in the past. I let it go as I knew he was preparing to abandon the marital home and shack up with OW in a different state until the court hearing for the divorce. When I knew he was gone, I, with three female friends of mine, went to the marital home and we loaded up their cars with the ALL of the disputed property (which he had placed by the front door in anticipation of his return to take it), in addition to the other things I wanted from the marital home and transported it to my apartment. I love those friends. They were going around picking up anything they felt I needed and kept saying, “this looks like something you should have” and packing it up.

    3. Approximately 2 months after the divorce was final, I went to the marital property to give my oldest daughter, who was moving to another state into a rented house, some things that she knew I would not be taking that she could use. There was one lamp in particular that Satan’s Asshole had refused to allow me to take when I originally moved out that she asked if she could have. The lamp had been removed from the house. At this point, I had a signed marital settlement agreement that stated that all of the marital property inside of the marital home belonged to me so I texted him to find out where was the lamp and to tell him he needed to return it. His reply was that he didn’t know where it was. Back in the day, this would have resulted in a series of angry texts from me and a series of more baiting, condescending texts from him. Instead, in my head I said, “I’m not doing this stupid shit with you stupid motherfucker,” and proceeded to text him and tell him that was fine, he need not tell me anything. However, he should be advised, as I had a signed marital settlement agreement stating that the property belonged exclusively to me, and that I had witnesses who would testify that the property had been in place when the agreement was signed, I would be filing a report for theft with the local police department, so he and the Past(wh)or(e) could expect a visit from THEIR local police department and he could provide THEM with the information as to the whereabouts of the stolen item. He responded with a text citing the lamp’s location (he had unilaterally decided to give it to a relative of his – because he knew I wanted it, of course). I recognized the REAL me in that response and I was actually amazed.

    It surprised me at that point how over him and his shit I had actually become and how much of the old “me” had returned. I think he is still working on figuring it out. No one cares. No contact is a life-saving universal force.

    Thank you CL and CN for helping show me the way. There are no words to convey how much gratitude I will always have to Tracy and all the people who come here to share and lift up so many others.

      • LOLOL! I’m actually a pretty chill, kind person. There was a loooooonnnnnggggg road and almost 30 years from being his adoring doormat to Erykah Badu (“You better call Tyrone”). That long road lead me back to myself and self-respect and boundaries. Hey, I don’t care if you’re a fucked up piece of shit from Satan’s Ass. I understand how you got to be that way. You have my sympathy. Just be that over there away from me. 🙂

    • It’s great to have great friends, isn’t it? I can just picture your friends walking through your house, “Yep, this. And this….. Aaannnnndddd this.” — I have one friend, in particular, who still hates him. HATES him. And I love her for it. It’s been over two years, and when I recently found out he’s marrying AP and told her I was surprised at how I do not seem to give a shit (like those old movies where you hear a gun fired, and the hero checks himself for holes, surprised to find none), and she replied, “I still hope he dies in a fiery car crash.” LOVE her.

      • That was exactly what my friends were doing! Even things I thought I didn’t want, they would say, “Girl! You might need that. Didn’t you help pay for this stuff? If he and that bitch want it, they need to get their own. Take it!” Friends who genuinely love, support you and have your back are more valuable than gold.

      • As long as we’re referencing movie cliches . . .

        You know the “shoulder angels” (angel on one, devil on the other) used to represent inner conflict? I have two sisters who fit those roles to an almost scary degree.

        “Sister Ariel” (13 years younger) keeps me steady and sees through the surface bullshit to uncover the practical steps and plans for action that lie underneath.

        “Sister Lucifer” (2.5 years younger) channels my anger and multiplies it tenfold, then tells me that she frequently stays awake at night trying to come up with creative and entertaining ways to fuck with KK and everyone in her world.

        I love them both more than I can express, and I’ve told them that more in the last year than I did in the 20 years prior.

    • You rock Chump Princess! I love #3….it reminded me of another empowering moment when my XH tried to trick me into letting him get back into the home to get construction tools he wanted by pulling the ‘it’s for my parents, they need some help on their house’ reason. Lo and behold, I already knew he had planned to sell them to some dirtbag for his steroids/coke.
      Shut that down right away. I told him I would give them away for free or sell and all funds made would go straight into my son’s college fund before he ever stepped foot in my home again. Then blocked my phone for good. Love No Contact.

  • I strung the line on the weed whacker. It was annoying as hell an took me 3 tries with the help of you tube, but I did it and weed whacked the shit out of my 3 acres of land with a huge grin on my face.

    • Oh God! The weedwhacker! I’d forgotten how intimidated I was by that! And in the end, it was entirely manageable. Annoying and frustrating, but do-able.

  • The day after my ex announced he was leaving me, he emailed to tell me he wanted us to get together so he could “tell me how this can all go.” I told him to leave me the hell alone. I blocked him from all social media, I refused to see him. I told him what time I’d be in our house and that I didn’t want to see him when I was there.

    He wanted us to “stay friends” but I got up and shut that door after he left, and I didn’t open it for him again. I was devastated, but a part of me was just so tired of dealing with his bullshit…that’s when I looked up from the bottom of the pit I was in, and started putting one foot in front of the other in order to climb my way out.

    • Lyn–don’t you love how they tell us the narrative, even post-divorce? Mine was all full of “the story should be that we grew apart,” and he eventually wanted to stay friends and perhaps even give me financial advice.

      Finding out he had lied about the affair’s duration & seriousness (e.g., that he had taken gradwhore to a conference in Mexico with him) brought out the Gorgon in me so that I told everyone the truth thereafter (going out of my way to do so). And I’m sure he thinks staying on CL ruined me and turned me into a bitter bunny as one attempt after another of his to initiate contact failed. No enemy could have done worse things to me than him; why would I stay friends?

      • Tempest,

        Getting rid of a cheater is like weeding the garden of your life; you have to protect the beautiful things – your values, your goals, your family, the love you share with the people you care the most about, your integrity, your honesty – from the the stuff that will try to destroy it (often, insidiously, under the surface and out of public view).

        So those things – those people – are the weeds that have to be yanked out by the roots. From the perspective of the garden, this is life-saving, essential work. From the perspective of the weeds, it’s intolerable cruelty.

        So, it’s understandable, in a way, that those “weeds” would respond with their screwed-up narratives after we have discarded them.

        But you know what?

        FUCK those weeds. Let them fend for themselves, and if they wither and die due to their own lack of being able to sustain themselves without siphoning off the efforts of others, that’s their problem now. 🙂

  • Somewhere in the wake of 2 or 3 or 4 ‘discoveries’, I realized I deserved better. And that better started off without her. Here I was, an attractive, capable man. Good job, actually present and helping with the kids. (In hindsight I was doing most of the parenting.) But I still had this block in my head that it was the mom who raised the kids. The dad just made that possible. However, that wasn’t the reality. She stayed in bed till noon then left when the kids got home from school. I made dinner, I took them to after school functions and I was the one they came to when they had a problem. She was off ‘finding herself’ and I was the chump at home making that possible for her.

    I was afraid of how difficult it would be do maintain the house and take care of the kids on my own. But then it hit me. It was going to be easier. And I have to say, it was. I’m happier, the kids are happier. But that first big moment for me was realizing, I could take better care of myself, my kids and my home if she wasn’t in it.

  • After two significant DDays, I agreed to marriage C. Two things occurred there. One full disclosure and request for a polygraph. Now the C was solid and agreed with both. Spouse was told that from the point of her disclosure, any lies from that point would be highly destructive. Spouse gave disclosure. Upon more investigation, I found many a lie. Then she refused the poly. At that point, it was like the light bulb was just turned off. All concern for her or us was gone. I guess I should thank her for taking any an all feelings and care for her off the table.

  • I remember the biggest moment quite well, although there were others too.

    I was walking down the street with the cheater wife and we were discussing our marriage, and her AP who is a family member of mine.

    I was being very logical and thoughtful in my comments about our marriage, what had happened, and what I thought could be done going forward.

    The things she was saying were so literally demented that my brain actually hurt to hear these things.

    At that moment I realized, wait a minute, I don’t need her or any of this in my life anymore. I have the ability to choose that!

    From that moment on it was ” fuck that bitch ” and from then on it was all about my strategies to divorce her without getting fucked over in the process.

    Because I was free of the need for her I was able to get through the divorce process without any financial or legal damage!

    And I healed emotionally and became the strongest version of myself I have ever been.

    Bitchbegone spray really does work!

    • Powerful memory trigger here, Rickb89,

      “The things she was saying were so literally demented that my brain actually hurt to hear these things.”

      I remember ex’s final comments/excuses/mindfucks were so insane that I finally saw that there was no longer any point in engaging with him. I’m happy for you that you got free of the lying cheater and were able to navigate your way through the hell of divorce to your new cheater-free life. Here’s to your strength and power being back!

  • I’ve had many moments of surprised realization, “Oh, yeah, hey — I can do this!” but the first was the morning after Dday when XH asked if I wanted to hear his side of the story about OW, and I said, calmly, “Yes, I think I’d like to hear what you have to say.” And he pulled a Sad Sausage and said he didn’t think she was just anyone, but that she was [voice cracking under the strain of emotion] “important.”

    I paused about thirty seconds before saying, “Okay, well, then I think you need to be moved out of this house by dinner time tonight” and got up and left the table.

    It was reassuring to know there was some little part of me buried under all that hurt and pain that stood up and said, “You will not stand for him sitting down at our dinner table and telling you he loves someone else! After everything you’ve done for him? You deserve better!”

    I’ve since realized that is my true self, and so much of the rest (the spineless, mewling, inadequate, neglected me) was just a side effect of years of living with his personality disorder.

    • NWBiblio,

      “It was reassuring to know there was some little part of me buried under all that hurt and pain that stood up and said, “You will not stand for him sitting down at our dinner table and telling you he loves someone else! After everything you’ve done for him? You deserve better!”

      That part is always in there, screaming and scratching to get out. But we don’t hear it or listen to it until our minds begin to disconnect from cheaters and cheaterspeak.

    • NWBiblio, I love it! I also heard my “true” voice during the worst moment say, “What about ME and MY life?” It was so weak, but it was still there, buried under all that crap. That’s awesome that you told yourself you’d not sit at that table and listen to him tell you he loves someone else. Good for you!

      • I think my true voice was saying FUCK YOU the moment the first dday started. It just keeps getting louder. No wonder I stopped at CL and stayed.

  • It took me 6 months to stop blaming myself and get angry at my cheater. At 7 months, I turned a corner at a Women’s Center seminar on divorce. Sitting in a room full of women just like me, with a kick-ass female lawyer giving us pointers interspersed with pep talks, that was the fist time I thought to myself, “Yes, I really can do this.” A month later, I hired that same kick-ass lawyer to mediate a separation agreement. It was my first glimpse of mightiness.

  • I turned the corner by helping a friend with breast cancer and fostering six dogs. We mediated two days ago and I am content with the results. I will receive a lump cash sum and a descent retirement. I am getting ready to pack up and move. I have four months to be out which allows me time to pack, get a cabin that I have been interested inon three acres for my dogs that is backed up to a national forest. I am st peace after 19 months of crying, depression, isolation and finding happiness in being alone. I found me. I am fixing to be out of here and go live my dream.

    • Sab, I am so glad you got what you needed! Your cabin and dogs sound amazing, and the peace in your life, even better.

  • After 4 years of separation, I decided to file for divorce. I was still not back to being “strong” me, but had come a long way. Once I filed, I began to receive daily emails that were very aggressive and threatening. In the past this would have been very upsetting. But this time it made me laugh. I really for the first time saw him as pathetic and me as mighty. His threats went on for almost a year and I ignored them all. I instructed my lawyer to not respond to the nonsense that came via his lawyer. Eventually he gave up and agreed to the divorce. My lawyer told me she had never had a client like me. I stayed above the pettiness and it all worked out. (We had a legal separation agreement and the divorce is usually just the next step and should be straightforward). So, this whole process was the step that led me to seeing my mightiness.

  • I’ve mentioned this before, but will reshare because it was such a pivotal moment for me:

    Shortly after he left our downstairs, walkout “mancave” in complete shambles and I was able to haul a major portion to the dump, I took a personal day from work. My friend showed up with a sledgehammer and we destroyed his stupid, homemade bar that he loved more than anything in that house. Ever.

    It was the most gratifying moment when my buddy and I kicked the last piece over with our work boots. Then we cracked a beer and toasted my freedom from a tyrant.

    A good friend will show up with tissues. A great friend will show up with a sledgehammer.f

  • I’ve mentioned this before, but will reshare because it was such a pivotal moment for me:

    Shortly after he left our downstairs, walkout “mancave” in complete shambles and I was able to haul a major portion to the dump, I took a personal day from work. My friend showed up with a sledgehammer and we destroyed his stupid, homemade bar that he loved more than anything in that house. Ever.

    It was the most gratifying moment when my buddy and I kicked the last piece over with our work boots. Then we cracked a beer and toasted my freedom from a tyrant.

    A good friend will show up with tissues. A great friend will show up with a sledgehammer.

  • The first time I arrived home from work and saw that the realtor had put up the “For Sale” sign in front of our home I wept with abandon. Sweating in my car in 85 degree heat because I didn’t trust myself to walk to the door, hands shaking uncontrollably, giant wracking sobs, unable to catch my breath, and too many snotty tissues to count. For weeks afterward every time I left the house I imagined the happy families sheltered behind the neighbors’ double-paned front doors with fathers who loved and protected them and checked for monsters under the bed. That gradually turned sour…sure, they LOOK happy, but that’s probably all a false front. The dad is probably hiding in the bathroom surfing Craigslist on his phone right now while the mom medicates herself with anti-depressants. Bitterness had snuggled right up to fear in my heart and settled in for the long haul. My biggest jolt? It was the day I was driving home with my daughter to our new apartment and we saw a cute little house for sale that we both loved. We had a happy conversation about me buying a house like that someday. One where she could bring her future kids to play and her brothers, who would make the best smartass uncles, could grill and play Frisbee…You get the picture. There was infinite possibility in that thought, and I think we both realized right then that the best is truly before us, not behind!

  • I think the catalyst for me was when his employer of 15 years finally had enough and let him go in a restructuring because he really just wasn’t doing his job. He was doing one of his subordinates, but they didn’t know that. I think watching him sit around all day spending a RIDICULOUS amount of time on his phone game (ironically including making complex spreadsheets to rank his team’s progress, a task he never did on time at work) that I just lost any of the respect I once had for him.

    After about the fifth big argument cycle where he would say, “I guess we should just part ways,” I finally called him out for always saying that but then coming back a couple days later, acting like nothing happened. He said he wouldn’t do that “this time.” Yeah, right! I guess I just decided to take him at his word instead of smoking hopium for two days, and I just turned off the needy spigot. Boy, did he turn his on! More than ever before. He was whining that he needed help carrying the groceries (he’s 6′, 250 lbs) and trying to cuddle etc when he’d withheld affection for the entire first year of our marriage.

    I just started treating him exactly like he’d treated me. I played on my phone, holding it up above his head as he tried to lay on my lap. I laughed at and ignored his advances, or told him he’s clearly not getting that we’re in two different places. That he’d ended it and I was leaving. My feelings went from despair to disgust really quickly, and while it wasn’t easy to tell everyone once I got back home, I felt much more mighty knowing I was leaving a lying, sad sausage than a damaged, sensitive man.

    I’ve never looked back!

  • Long time lurker – first time poster. THANK YOU CL and Chump Nation for sharing your experiences! It helps to remind me that I’m the sane!!!

    I relocated my mightiness recently. After having my husband tell me he “wanted us to be swingers” after 10 years of marriage – WTF???? (I gave him credit for his honesty instead of immediately kicking his ass to the curb ). And after I said NO that my values and morals wouldn’t allow me to have that in my life he decided he was going to “sell me on the idea”. So from then on everything in our lives had this as a backdrop of his thinking. And that lead me down some dark paths which I never would’ve traveled had it not been for him and his changing wants!

    In his normal fashion he left me to do all of the heavy lifting – ask for the divorce, take care of our daughter with chronic disease and mental health issues – while he lives his new fun life and acts like he’s Father of the Year because he gives some money.

    So I’ve had this slow boil anger going on the last few months until… I opened our families ‘AAA Account online (auto service club) and found an unknown woman listed. At first I’d assumed they’d made a mistake – until I googled her. Sure enough the Rat Bastard had put – his Hooker – on our family account! When I called him on it he gave me the “it’s MY account, I opened it for ME, and I pay for it.” So after the steam stopped coming out of ears I found my MIGHTINESS again and he’s very sad now. I’m no longer keeping his secrets and making him look like the Good Guy he so thinks he is! No longer my job!! My daughters and I are living an awesome life and enjoying everyday now. So glad to be rid of the Pod.

    • Welcome, StillTrying. I”m sorry you have to be here, but you won’t find a better support system. Your X/STBX is an entitled AAA ass.

  • Match Girl hadn’t called me for a straight year as of this month. She called me last Saturday, but she left no message. I haven’t called her back, and I don’t plan to. No-contact is the path to the truth and the light.

  • When X decided he wanted to leave (after trying, but failing to pull $140K equity our of our home w/o my knowledge), he then accused me of “wanting to hurt his newborn grandson”! OMG he was projecting and pulled this vile thought right out of his ass. HE is the one who never held or paid any attention to his own grandson each time the family came to visit. I told him that this was THE worst thing he had ever said to me…and he has said a lot of terrible things over the years. I told him that if he were wanting to leave, just pack up and go rather than manufacture and demonize me with something so vile…so he did.

    What he said to me bothered me off and on for a year after he left because I knew he was using this to slander me behind my back as his reasoning for leaving (rather than getting caught in Porn and an affair). Then one morning while having coffee in the quiet of the morning, I remembered a Scripture from the book of Proverbs:

    “The wicked flee when no one pursues”.

    That was the last of my ruminating about the whole entire cheater ordeal. I got my answer, which was that he believed his own lie and used it to take his exit. I no longer care if anyone believes (let along him) his narrative. Those people who do are nothing to me…ditto for him.

    I have had several other Scriptures that set my mind/heart straight concerning him over the years…but this was the last one that set me free from trying to untangle his skein.

  • A couple things stand out for me. The first was both finding this website, and having friends of mine (and my therapist) tell me I was in danger and to get away. Everything in my life was pointing me in this direction. I took CL’s advice and acted before my feelings caught up with me. I wrote the scumbag a long, awesome letter that I am still so proud of, detailing why what he did hurt me so badly and what I thought of him. And that I never wanted to see him again. Every time I faltered, I read that letter for strength. Sometimes I read it over and over in a single day, because it wasn’t for him, it was for me. I needed a laundry list of all his hurtful actions toward me, to remind me of why I needed to be done with it. And eventually, my feelings DID catch up, and I now believe every word I wrote with absolute conviction. I also came on to this website every morning before work; it became my daily ritual. It helped re-program my thinking.

    The other thing that helped was regular work outs once I left. Even though I did NOT want to, I forced myself to go to the gym. I listened to lots of riot girl music; there’s something about blasting Hole songs while lifting weights that helped release some of the poison from my system. I had to get that dark stuff out of me, and an empowering determination started to over take me in those workouts. I was running, lifting, squatting, etc for my life. I was determined to get myself back. And little by little, I did. I literally made myself stronger, and eventually, I started feeling vibrant and alive again. I started to enjoy myself. I even began to smile. You just keep doing the right thing, one step at a time.

    • K, Wow. Love this, that you turned to exercise and music to heal. I did too and it’s so helpful that I encourage all Chumps to just do it. I was fortunate in that I lived in the country, so lots of hills to walk up and down, that and many lakes to swim in. ? I was so angry that for those first two (yup, two) years I walked and swam every day. So about two hours total. Sometimes more. Got me into shape, helped me to sleep, and balanced out my anger..a little…. I was angry about the whole fucked up deal but more than the infidelity (he is after all married to crazy now) was the fact that Fucktard intentionally screwed me over financially (two years leading up to Dday and then after, with the court’s blessing). Fun stuff.

  • Mine was the day I finally filed, after months of fruitless attempts at negotiating a placement agreement for our teenage son, who still lived in the family home with X (which is owned by his business) and was being subject to various attempts at alienation.

    Moving out with no agreement in place was a huge step in itself, but still-chumpy me thought it would force X’s hand, especially given the recommendations of the mediator I’d dragged him to. Clearly, though, he thought he was sitting in the cat-bird’s seat and had no reason to agree to 50/50 placement, a realization that finally hit me one afternoon when I brought the subject up for the millionth time and he replied with his usual “the schedule has to evolve organically” bullshit.

    I made an appointment with my attorney for first thing the next morning and told X he could join me and we could do it together, or I could do it on my own, but either way it was time for me to pursue legal action. He practically laughed in my face and said that he had an important meeting in the morning and could not join me. It was obvious he thought there was no way I would actually pull the trigger–thankfully I’d had the good sense not to tell him that I’d retained an attorney.

    As fate would have it, while I was driving to the attorney’s office the next morning, X passed me by, going in the opposite direction. My phone rang instantly. “Where are you going?” he asked me, with just a tinge of panic in his voice. “To the attorney’s office.” He practically demanded that I reschedule, and when I said no he asked me to delay the meeting so he could rearrange his schedule to meet me there. I told him the meeting was at 9:00 am sharp and hung up.

    Once I arrived at the attorney’s office I got straight to work filling out the divorce paperwork and going over our strategy. By the time X came rushing in, a half hour late, we were ready. Of course he tried to talk me into mediation and asked if he could meet with me privately. I told my attorney and his paralegal that it was Ok, and they left us alone for five minutes while X frantically tried to talk me out of a “litigated divorce.”

    Even though I was shaking, I stood my ground and braced for the rage I knew would be coming. When my attorney and his paralegal came back, X tried to make his case to them, which did not end well for him. My attorney sat back in his chair in his best alpha-male power pose and let X have it, all in a calm, collected, “You are on notice that I have been retained by Other Kat and will be representing her best interests,” pit-bull kind of way. X was rendered mute with confusion and rage.

    He’s a big muckety-muck at work, surrounded by sycophants, and was used to chumpy old me not standing up to him, so he could not believe what was happening. My attorney got up to show him the door and went to shake X’s hand. Like a petulant little child he just turned his back and got up to leave, offering me his best “Blue Steel” look on his way out the door. My attorney smiled and said, “I hope you’re not thinking about mediating with that man.” Thankfully I had found CL by then and told him no, even though part of me was terrified and tempted to take the path of least resistance. He said, “Good. Now let’s get him served.”

    The best moment came when X called me in a panic after he received the paperwork. His first question was, “What did you put down as the reason for the divorce?” I let the question hang in the air for a bit, giving him time to imagine all of the possibilities from, “Husband is gay” to “Husband ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in credit card debt.” We live in a no-fault state but I figured I’d let him learn that on his own and just said, “Irreconcilable differences.” I could hear the sigh of relief, and it was the first time I began to feel like I might be mighty enough to fight for what I deserved and actually get it.

    The divorce was the usual shit-show, but I did come out of it with 50/50 placement that has evolved to 60/40, sometimes 70/30, and a fair settlement peppered with some straight-up wins on my part. I am so grateful for the collective support and wisdom of CN, which was critical in helping me stay mighty enough to get there.

  • It still hasn’t happened totally for me, but the other day I made a list of all the things I’ve done that I used to look to cheater ex for:

    Repainted a bathroom (he picked the color and I HATED it the moment he painted it) now I love that bathroom.
    I installed new garage door keyless entry.
    I set up a new smart tv!
    Managed thru a hurricane all by myself!

    I also realized as doing these things that they went much easier. Cheater ex always made things sooooo much harder than they needed to be, would curse and pout all the way thru and God forbid something went wrong. There was always a “price” to his contributions. I’m slowly getting my kick ass self back and when I do have a moment of pure joy I appreciate it and savor it!!!

  • Like many of you, I had multiple empowerment moments (the new bed is another great one) but one of the ones I’m most fond of is when my ex was lecturing me for the umpteenth time about some failing of my parenting skills. I don’t remember what it was. They all ran together into “you suck as a parent because… ” moments. This was after we had separated and at that point he wasn’t really parenting our kids at all (they were young adults but still, they need parents) just finding things to criticize me for. I looked him dead in the eye and said “You don’t get to ever say another word about my parenting again because I’m the one who is there for the kids every day. Where are you?” It felt great then. It still does over four years later. Turns out he wasn’t capable of having a relationship with our kids without me to bolster him and show him how it’s done. Both of them have cut him out of their lives. And we’re all better off without him.

    • Beth, I feel this way too. I look back on twenty years of raising three kids and recognize I was already the only sane parent. Ex was disengaged, and lived a life separately from us.

      • Isn’t ironic that so many of us stay for the kids and then find out how much better off the kids are without that toxic influence in their lives? Sometimes I want to SMH but I try to give myself a pass; I did the best I could with what I knew (or thought I knew) at the time.

  • You all inspire me! Thank you for sharing your mightiness.

    For me, it’s been a series of moments this past year (1 year ago this weekend I kicked STBXH out and was diagnosed with aggressive cancer the same week).

    Each surgery (8 this year) and every Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy treatment was a near weekly reminder of my strength and will to live cheater free and re-gain my true north life lost along the path of “trying to make him happy”.

    My will to live and strength needed to survive deep physical, mental and spiritual pain, surpassed my need to please him and try yet another approach to make him happy or save our 34 year marriage.

    In the end, I was discarded cruelly during the fight for my life for AP du jour; a shady married masseuse he’d met a couple months prior that makes him happy (for now until she doesn’t).

    I found the strength to kick him out, go no contact and file for divorce from within (he never broke my spirit), the love and support from my sister, some family members and friends. Excellent counseling and Chump Nation were also sources of strength, wake up-and smell-the-coffee reality education with a side serving of clue-by-fours to the head as needed.

    I would not be where I am today without my reignited love of self, setting healthy boundaries, no contact with STBXH, being vulnerable enough to stop spackling and tell the truth of my 34 year story in all its messiness, trauma bonds, abuse and drama. I also looked for 10 reasons to be grateful each day (even if one of the 10 was I didn’t choke my STBX in highly contentious divorce process as he really didn’t like his mask lifted, true image exposed and my taking away his narcissistic kibble stream). No matter my circumstances, I could find something or someone to be grateful for. It helped me get through my darkest hours.

    Being free a year now (divorce terms settled but not finalized), while still having cancer (next surgery and Chemotherapy, hopefully the last, is February 1st) has shown me the truth of character in those I choose to surround myself with. Most have stood with me, neck deep, and never flinched. A few were bid farewell and asked to leave my life journey (when the going got tough, they bailed).

    I now have an awesome tribe surrounding me! I am completely independent, happy, feel joy again, and hope to be cancer free literally and figuratively in 2017!

    I am not a super human, if I can do this anyone can. It’s believing you are worthy of living and living your best life while you are still sipping sweet air. Love to each of you this Martin Luther King weekend. Stay mighty and grateful!

    • I hear you! I was fighting for my life, too, when this all came to a head, and it was one year ago this weekend for me as well. God bless you for picking up and moving on; it’s difficult enough without all of the other pain, fear, chemical treatment, etc.

    • FreeNow–that is an amazing tale, and I hope the February treatment can be your last one ever. (and beg to differ–you are Superwoman)

    • Mightiness FTW. Conquering a cheater and cancer–basically, TWO KINDS OF CANCER–at the same time! You rock, woman.

    • I join the others in complete awe of your mighty strength, Free Now. Martin Luther would be proud of your resilient nature against adversity. Cheers to your future.

    • Love you tons, Sis. You are an inspiration! Got an extra pair of big girl panties in my size that I can borrow? (I promise to pay you back).

  • 26 years mired in toxicity. About 15 years in, I began antidepressants. A few years later, more and different antidepressants, Xanax, ADHD meds, all to cope with the gigantic mindfuck. And the drinking on top of that, to try to numb myself from the pain every day brought me…. And all of this was before D-Day – at least, before a D-Day that I couldn’t deny any more. Years of suspicions before that, I was gaslighted out of, told I was crazy, irrational, and jealous…

    Yes, I was a fucking hot mess for a long time. Decades of emotional abuse can do that.

    Less than a year and a half later… I got the divorce. I am off all of the psych meds. I drink rarely and lightly now. I have stumbled in dating, picked myself up, dusted myself off, and jumped the fuck back in because I know I have worth and there IS someone out there who will value it, and I deserve to be loved after giving half my life to a fuckwit. So the search continues, but I know I am better off alone than with another fuckwit, so I am careful, and ruthless when it comes to cutting loose fakes and cheaters and liars.

    Life is just better these days. The snake is in the rearview, where he belongs. I have a home of my own in which I feel comfortable and at peace.

    Finding my bliss without any chemical assistance…this is now my life.

  • My cheater, who lived with me for 5 years, broke up with me over the phone, then blocked me from calling. He left everything he owned behind and told a friend he doesn’t want anything. After 2 weeks, I went through some of his things and found his tablet. I charged it and found that it syncs to his phone. There it was. Although I knew he was cheating, I didn’t know the exact timeline or the depth of it all. There was every text message between them, pictures (eww), and hotel confirmations. That was Thanksgiving morning. I found an anger and a strength that I knew was there, but hadn’t been able to pull up. I was able to go to my Thanksgiving family dinner without falling apart. I knew then that I was better off without him. I’m still picking up the pieces of my heart, but I’m ok. My future is beginning to look bright again.

  • Here was my Mighty Moment: the consistent, God-given realization that all I was really losing…was him – and he sucks! Every time he’s tried to reel me back in, God and this awesome CN has shown me that it’s not the right path. In fact, for everything I thought I was losing in him (friend, lover, mechanic, family member, etc) God has given me at least three or four other people to help me, encourage me, love me. No lover yet, but it all takes time. After 2016, I need major healing before I even TRY another relationship. Otherwise, the next man suffers for what he’s done. Let the Mightiness continue!!

    • MM, I agree after 2016, taking at least a year to heal sounds wise. I’m doing the same. A year from now we will be healed more and gain perspective. May the pain and hurt in your healing heart and mind lessen.

      • FreeNow: I completely agree and wish you the best, also. There is no worse time for dealing with a Cheater than when you are fighting for your life. Healing will come in time, and I know God has better for me, for all of us. Blessings to you, my fellow chump and Survivor!!

  • Coming back from a trip to see family because Cheater won’t leave marital home, I’m a nomad basically.
    Arrive at airport 1:30am – get to car at 2:00am and car has about two feet of snow on it. Takes forever to warm up and scrape off but I did it. I know that sounds minor, but my STBX used to to all that nice stuff. Until he cheated and his narc personality was revealed in full force. Now he is offing crazy!

  • About 6 weeks after D-Day, and nearly 5 months after the discard started, I signed up for a fitness challenge in my gym. Participants had to put up a big entry fee but could win 10 times that amount. I needed the money, or so I thought. What I really needed was to bet on myself, to literally put money on my ability to focus on my own life and my health. The challenge lasted 13 weeks and involved me in a lot of intense work. It was a life changer; many other good things came from it, including my commitment to a yoga practice, my participation in a sports league, a championship season in the league, and a host of new friends and acquaintances. Not to mention getting to my goal weight and buying new clothes with my winnings (3rd place!)

  • I have had a lot of great empowering moments on my journey since d-day 1.5 years ago.

    1. Firing my first lawyer who did not do her job
    2. Divorcing the cheater with the help of one of the best family law attorneys in our city and getting everything I wanted. I felt euphoria, relief, pure joy for weeks after! Then it switched to quiet contentment. So great.
    3. New haircut and color
    4. Badass leather jacket purchase that makes me feel powerful
    5. Becoming a runner
    6. Moving all our stuff out of our shitty old apartment into a much nicer condo in a great neighborhood. Daughter and I are so happy here!!
    7. Finally going NC.
    8. Going on dates and finding out that yes I could still enjoy sex without my sparkly ex.
    10. Buying new furniture that I love!

  • Nearly forgot- I bought myself a $200 vibrator right after d-day. I had no problem telling myself I absolutely deserved it. highly recommended ?

  • My moment came 10 years after he left our 30 year marriage to marry his affair and after an apology told me how horrible the marriage to the new woman was and is. Horrible to say maybe but the fact that the new marriage is unhappy makes me very happy. Told you it would be…dumbass.

  • For me, it was the process of going from wishing he would knock on the door (though I changed the locks), to praying he wouldn’t (paralyzed by the fear that he would), to being so f-ing glad that I had my own space and he wasn’t part of it. It’s taken 5 long years to get to uber meh. It’s awesome to tell the story and be certain who the adversary is (I no longer live in the tangle of cognitive dissonance). I started college just four months after D-Day, I was 58 years old. I graduated with my AA Magna cum laude and I’m just now finishing my third year. Last week I received a letter informing me I had made honors. I lived through hell, broke and broken, lost my home and landed on my feet. Forgive me for all of the I.I.I’s, but there is finally a me that I recognize and I love her for who she is.

  • My moment happened a week after Dday. The ex came over to talk about what happened. While the ex was rationalizing to me all the reasons he cheated, why his ow was so wonderful, and what I had to do if he was going to stay in the relationship. While he was doing all of this explaining I began to zone out. His voice became fuzzy, more distant.

    Suddenly, I heard this small voice that just kept repeating Let him go, don’t hold on, Let him go. It was the first time I could really hear myself clearly and what I needed to do.

    • Oh Genstar. I know your story. He was a horrible person and good riddance. So glad to hear about your day of empowerment.
      I hope you are doing well.

  • Hi CN,

    Just a reminder — if you are a FIRST TIME poster, your comment will get held for moderation. Once approved, you should be able to comment without a delay.

    The new system seems to be working. Sorry for any inconvenience to those in comment purgatory.

  • Major mightiness milestones –
    Tossing my wedding dress, unceremoniously in the trash can.
    Going to the Lancôme counter and buying the perfect lipstick
    Explaining to him that if he didn’t agree to my terms all the money would be gone, into the pockets of lawyers.
    The first time child support got withheld from his paycheck
    Doing things around the house myself, realizing I didn’t need him for anything
    Making a list of all the crap I wouldn’t have to deal with anymore
    Just getting him out of the house made all the difference

  • It’s inspiring to read so many stories of mightiness! I picked my screen name not cuz I always feel that way but because it’s aspirational–I want to feel mighty. my son says gamers aquire the qualities of their avatars, so…
    I spent 6 years in limbo hell after dday trying to hold on to my family and I was just barely functional for months and months with the mindfuck, word salad, blameshifting, RIC trauma…you all know the list. I set many boundaries along the way that I kept, but I was exposed to him daily and continued to feel controlled and financially burdened and fearful of what shitstorm he might create next. Somehow he was still getting way more resources for way less contribution.
    I started my journey back when
    1) a few members of a RIC partner group I was in felt utterly betrayed and abandoned when our counselor abruptly ended the group. We interviewed counselors and created our own group. It was powerful.
    2) I sat in divorce coach’s office after months of him dicking around with various last ditch attempts to keep me hanging on (paying his bills). I had just learned that he was not going to make any contributions to the family account for the year and then he proceeded to itemize his expenses, which included by his own description- expensive liquor and cheeses, gifts, dinners out, and “entertaining”. Wtf!! Needless to say, I was not the beneficiary. I just got the bills. When I said you’ve been “dating”? He said “yes. What are you so afraid of?” That flipped a switch. I said out loud “I am completely done with you.” And I knew I meant it.
    3) lawyering up and getting financial settlement without court. I know the exact penny and date when I can stop paying for his ass. I thought I would feel loss and anger when I had to write him a big check. I was fucking elated! There’s an end and it’s worth the money.

  • Everyone here is amazing. I find myself cheering this morning, to all the mightiness here today. It may take a while to connect with our inner badass, but boy, does Chump Nation have it in spades.

    I guess, my 1st foray into my inner badass was the evening that cheater ex decided to sit me down and inform me that he had a girlfriend that he was madly in love with. I was clueless up to then. I can remember sitting there listening to him say how much he was in love with schmoopie, how he was such a hero for saving her from all her problems and how great she made him feel because I didn’t. Then, he wanted to try to pick my brain to solve some of the problems she was having. Say WHAT! OH, HELL, NO!

    When I’m confronted with something that is really hard, I have a tendency to go very quiet and still inside. I think it’s a holdover from being raised by two narcss and the times when I would have really gotten hurt if I hadn’t kept control over myself and kept quiet. That is why I have a tendency to close down emotionally and just listen. At that point the only thing I felt was incredulity. And I can remember sitting there thinking this is it, this is where I’m done. I had told him that when we first got together if he decided that he needed to go out and sow some wild oats, that he’d better do it. I told him that the deal-breaker was cheating. And here he was gleefully sitting there telling me that he was cheating. And expecting absolutely no consequences. And in my head I’m sitting there thinking f*** you f*** you f*** you, you rat bastard. The one thing I told you that was non negotiable, and you had to go there!

    I was in the last 6 months of nursing school, working full-time nights, parenting two teenage boys, and doing all the housework and grocery shopping. I was getting by on 3 hours of sleep a day. I think he decided to spring this on me, to sabotage my education and to sabotage myvindependence from him. I went on to graduate school second in my class. I aced my state boards. Came out of it with a nursing license and a new job. One that I could support my boys with. That was the last time that cheater ex and I ever sat down and had a conversation. I moved out of the bedroom. I never slept with him again and he couldn’t believe it. That was when he lost me emotionally. Any feeling I had for him Just evaporated that night.

    I went on to take my kids and move out, then to take possession of the family home when he filed a quit claim deed on the property not realizing that I would have had to buy out his equity. Everything else was split 50/50 in the divorce.

    Of course the rest of the story is not so good, but then I didn’t realize what he was ….a highly disordered narcissistic sociopath…..which is why I’m often preaching about the importance of staying safe when kicking their pathetic asses to the curb.

    • Tessie, I don’t want to be intrusive, but would you mind telling a little of your later story? Only as much as you feel safe doing, or comfortable doing so. I’ve seen so many of my friends suffer through so much abuse (mental as well as physical) and I think it could be helpful to others to know how you dealt with it.

      You are mighty, and you deserve to tell your story.

      • Soldiering On, most everyone has heard it here but I will give you the sort of short version.

        Cheater ex told me that when he was depressed, he felt like killing me and my boys, and then killing himself. This was not long before D Day and not too long after he used rape to settle an argument. He had been diagnosed as bipolar and was refusing to take his meds, so it was easy to believe him, especially after the rape. I thought, if he could rape me, he was capable of killing all of us. I started to get my ducks in a row the very next day. I worked extra shifts and told him the money was for Xmas. I took his gun apart and hid the pieces all over the house, took his ammo and poured water over it and put it in the basement. When I had enough money saved to get a small apartment for my boys and I, we moved, all in one afternoon. Cheater ex came home to an empty house. I went to a domestic abuse agency and they assigned me a woman’s advocate who helped me get a order for protection. Back then they made you give your address in court. I saw him drive by later that day. He had his parents give him money for an attorney. I hired one at a reduced rate through the women’s center. She was awesome, but she couldn’t get supervised visitation for my boys despite the order for protection. The judge refused. I kept the house, got legal custody of my kids, and cheater ex had to pay a little bit of child support along with half his pension. He was pissed.

        Six months after the divorce was final, cheater ex kidnapped my youngest son and killed him. He dumped my son’s body in a lake about 75 miles away. My child was 14. My eldest son was out of the state or he would have been murdered too. Cheater ex then drove to another state along with a buddy where they both killed themselves. It was almost two weeks before I knew what had happened to my boy. Cheater ex’s body was found before my boy’s was.

        Of course his psycho narc family blamed me. They talked to the local police first. The local police believed cheater ex’s psycho family’s smear campaign. They not only treated me like something stuck to the bottom of their shoe, but investigated me too. Luckily the other three Police departments involved believed me and were kind to me.

        The final crappy thing was when someone broke into my house when I was at work, eighteen months later. They started a fire that killed all my pets, burned up everything I owned and reduced my house to a burnt out shell. I’m pretty sure that it was a member of the psycho family thought there was no way to prove it. The only person the local police investigated for arson was me. I rebuilt that damn house right where it had been, bought a .357 magnum, got a big dog and lived there for another nine years. Sold that sucker for a tidy profit. I no longer live in that city.

        I am too stubborn to give up, but it has been a tough journey. I joined Parents Of Murdered Children, got involved in victim advocacy, wrote a book for homicide survivors, went to therapy and worked my butt off to recover.

        Today, I give thanks for the good things in my life on a daily basis, because it is impossible to be grateful and feel sorry for myself at the same time and self pity is a rotten place to live. I do my best to give back to the universe. I treat myself much better these days, than I was raised to. I say what I think, tactfully. I live my convictions to the best of my ability, but take no shit either. I let my remaining kid know that I love him with all my heart. I let the people who matter in my life know that they are important to me. I try not to sweat the small stuff. I live in today because yesterday is over and gone, and tomorrow isn’t here yet although I do believe it is a good idea to think ahead and do my best to lay a foundation for the best tomorrow that I can. I found Chump Lady and figured out that cheater ex was a narcissist and a sociopath and that all the shit that went down was not my fault. A big leap in healing there which has been such a blessing. I am grateful for Chump Lady and Chump Nation.

        • Tessie, there are no words to fully express my admiration of your strength and overcoming attitude. I cannot imagine surviving all that you have. Thank you for giving back in such a powerful way.

          • Tessie keep telling your story because new chumps need to read about how dangerous the psychos can be and old chumps can learn gratitude for all we have now and for the strength you have shown in how you honour your son’s memory by living a mighty life..((((tessie)))

        • Dear Tessie, thank you so much for telling that story. I’ve seen Cheaters who have done almost as badly as that (leaving years of disordered behavior in their children) but your ordeal is horrible. I don’t know if I could have lived through even a part of it.

          I’m so glad your later life and that of your son is so much better.

          Bless you.

  • My biggest empowerment jolt after DD…finding CL to confirm I did the right thing throwing the mother fucker out. I have been out of the hole three years this spring.

    No where have I found such a force of nature to back a chump like the people on this site.

    I love this community! I can stop in and pick up where I left off. Just like a close friend.

  • Well, I am almost not wanting to admit how I got empowered as it was by breaking the grey rock rule. But in my defense. I never got to do the crying and talking phase because of my personal story and how it went down. So, much later I did talk on the phone with stbxh a couple of nights in a row. Just to see what he said and to see if after all I’d learned of narcissists if I thought he really fit the mold? I know, you may be thinking, ” You don’t break the grey rock rule! ” However, in my case it helped. And I won’t repeat it, I know now, and don’t need to ever doubt again. In my case it was when I saw that my stbxh was white-man-speaks-with-forked-tongue. In his case there are the two sides or personas he presents. One is the arrogant second teenage years, you’re not going to tell me what to do guy. And the other is what he always seemed, like Mr. nice, Andy Griffith, caring, I hope we can be friends, I still love you guy. The thing is they are the same guy no matter how different he acts, they are the two sides to the same coin that is his disordered ass. I believe neither of them now. I think of him like a politician. You know he’s lying ’cause his lips are moving.

    Another thing is, I think they lie to themselves just as much as to us, and have no idea from one day to the next who the hell they are. When you know they’re ill. When you know there’s no trust. It frees you and you let go and are empowered by that. Because you know something they don’t know. They’ll never know what you now know…which is the road to health and happiness and being mighty. They are stuck forever at about 8 years old, childishly immature and not responsible and a mess. No matter who they’re with. It’s a good feeling to realize this. It’s a true empowerment jolt and it’s freed me from feeling so bad and longing and sad. And thankfully it’s been a permanent change to my way of looking at this breakup. I’m still a long way to meh. But, I am now on my way and unstuck from the constant whys and how could they. I now know and trust that they suck.

  • I can apply for my divorce as of January 17th. It makes me feel so good that I will no longer be legally tied to him.

    I just accepted a full time job at the place I used to work at before becoming a stay at home mom.

    I have good friends and family that love and support me.

    My ex is the same miserable loser.

    I would say it’s a win win for me!

  • Literally when I found out who his AP was, I knew her, and she was generally reviled amoung all our associates and collegues, I lost all feeling for him. It as if, he disappeared. I could not believe anyone would risk our family, our history together, our commitment on such a person.

    Saying she was a downgrade was an understatement. She was the antipathy of all our values as a family unit. I look back on that moment and thank God for it. Loss of feeling for him avoided alot of pain for me.

    I could go forward knowing I wasn’t losing anything in him. He was a total fraud and I would never chose to spend another moment of my precious life with him.

    • She was a piece of meat on his menu, nothing more. He thought he’s smart for fooling you.
      Good for you that you dropped this fake human being.
      I got the same happening to me.
      In my case, OW wanted my life. Well, guess what? 1 year later he still keeps her in the shadow. She is just not showy material. She has exactly her life!

  • After a series of injuries, accidents and general bad luck post-divorce, I realized that, as a result of gaslighting and abuse, I was tuning out my gut feelings. While I still had strong gut feelings, I was disregarding them and getting hurt as a result. I realize it is mandatory to always be in tune with your gut feelings. It is also crucial to always be mindful of self-care, to always be a step ahead of yourself to ensure the best care of yourself. For years, I outsourced all the thinking to XH, but I am now the one who has to self-advocate, and it is out of my comfort zone, but I am aware and determined to rise to the challenge.

    • You are spot on! That gut feeling is our compass. Psychos don’t have it.
      It’s a true gift and we should pay attention to it.
      If I may add (please don’t think it’s crazy) it’s good to keep a journal with our dreams. Write down a few words as soon as we wake up. The re-read it after a while. I lived enough to know that there is wisdom in there.
      Life is a journey, it’s not always turning as we planned, but it’s always turning as it should. Make the best of it!

  • Getting “me” back was more of a process than a moment. Important moments in that process:

    — Then-husband telling stay-at-home 5-months-pregnant-me that putting food on the table and a roof over our head was my problem, not his (he wanted to screw around at his non-paying-job with ho-worker)
    — Then-husband telling still-pregnant me that he had prayed about his relationship with ho-worker and God had given him permission to continue it, so I didn’t get a say in the matter
    — Then-husband stealing money from my bank account when I was one week from my due date and developing preeclampsia and the only one supporting us
    — Discovering via checking his cell phone that he had gotten back together with his mistress (different woman) and was lying about it
    — Several months after the divorce was final, I almost slept with him. Did not go all the way, but fooled around. Afterward he announced that he had a date with another woman set for Friday. I was livid. I don’t even believe in non-committal making out, let alone hook-ups, and he knows it. He said that he “wasn’t ready for commitment” (hey idiot, we have two kids together, kind of already committed!) and that he just wanted me to be one of the women he’s dating. I told him to f*** off.

    I’m pretty sure that was the last time I touched him. From there on out, I have focused on me and building up my relationships. Last year I finished my master’s degree, a professional certificate, did an all-expenses-paid theology seminar with other scholars, fixed my giant, crooked nose, and began writing a bi-weekly political column for an online magazine. I have been seeing someone since last March and in a relationship with him since September. I had three job interviews for better positions in the last 9 days, one of them a second interview, and even if I strike out on all three, I’m sure I’ll get something within the next year. Whatever the case, I am a completely different person from the frazzled 5-months-pregnant woman who had it suddenly dumped on her that she needed to go back to work almost 4 years ago.

    I hardly ever think about my XH or what he did. I never ask about what’s going on in his life, and I don’t care who he’s dating. I just don’t care anymore. As the song goes, “now you’re just somebody that I used to know.”

    • You rock!
      I hope that looser is paying his dues to his children! Please don’t let him forget that he has commitments for his own flesh and blood!

  • All mighty, Chump Nation. So many stories…so much wisdom and heart. We deserve good, to be celebrated, loved, respected, cherished. Baby steps.

  • Oh, my first mighty act was cutting down a big scary pine tree on our property–it was growing too quickly and in a few years would need to be cut down as it was too close to the house. Ex had argued against it in the past, offering few solutions, as he was so often contrary whenever I voiced my opinion. So when ex moved out, I cut that fucking tree down. With a hacksaw. All by myself. 🙂

  • When I filled his shitty compact car from floor to ceiling, with all his personal belongs. Everything from lettermans jacket to records to his personal papers and clothes. All of it. Stuffed.

    At 2am on a work night. I think he may have been late the next day.?

    • I wish my story could read like that.
      I lent him my car to move. He wanted the car more often “for baby’s comfort”. My ass. The OW got used being in my seat, bitch!
      I still don’t know how I got the bitchy attitude and refuse his demands. I was still clueless at that time.

  • I find it fascinating, please tell me your chumpy impressions about this:
    once you find out the truth, you figure out the details, it’s fascinating to just sit back and watch the cheater try to gaslight, lie some more, justify, etc. It’s …. a different world. The world of crazy. That’s when I realised there’s nothing to be sorry for. Divorce, divorce, divorce!

    • I think it’s like they say about alcoholism…addicts think drinking is the solution, not the problem. These people think that lying and gaslighting and all the rest is the solution– it gets them cake so it will fix any problem too. And most want to keep you among their vast harem for kibbles. All the shit they do to damage our lives is not the failure–when we quit pick me dancing and go NC–that’s what feels like failure to them. So they try to stop it, cuz they gotta WIN.

      • “These people think that lying and gaslighting and all the rest is the solution– it gets them cake so it will fix any problem too.” THIS is a brilliantly accurate statement, MightMe. I’ve met people who pretty much admitted this is how they operate – in relationships, on the job, and in business. I only need to remember and pay attention, so I can avoid abusive users and liars.

  • I’m way late to this party, but appreciated reading the amazing comments and basking in the mightiness on display.

    I recall reading emails between my cheating STBXW and her family and friends, in which they were basically blaming me for everything wrong in the universe, and trying to justify her cheating and enormous financial infidelities (total secret debts/taxes/penalties/etc. were about $100K). I think that I got seriously mighty at that moment. I was done, and I mean DONE. I stopped waiting around for my cheating STBXW to take any action, and started planning for divorce, prepping a legal team, taking pictures off the walls and replacing them, asking her when she was moving the hell out, and demonstrating that I was moving on without her and that I had no intention of whatsoever of leaving the house that my daughter calls home.

    I knew at that moment that she really just sucked. I realized at that moment that she was never going to change, she was always going to be a liar, and she was always going to be looking for someone to blame, and that the latter would never lead her to a mirror to face her own shitty life choices as a responsible adult. I realized with clarity then that for every last action of suckitude with which she accused me, she had at least one of her own, and most of hers were exponentially more destructive than anything that I ever got wrong in our “relationship.” I never had a partner, I never had someone who had my back; this really was the true “her,” someone who, at 44, just was never going to fully get what it meant to be a functional, values-driven adult.

    I decided then to cut off her family and friends from my life, by the roots; anyone who did or could have helped her with her secret life was gone. I was getting out of the mess.

    I’m still working on it, as she has been dragging the divorce process out for about two years. But life without her has been incredibly liberating and the stress reduction (aside from the divorce) has been incredible. And my daughter and I are closer than ever.

    A HUGE thank you and mad props to CL and CN, like many of you have already stated, when I found this site I finally knew that I was not alone, that the cheater playbook was incredible small and laughably predictable, and the relief that comes form the humor and solidarity has been an incredible emotional and psychological boon. You all RAWK IT!

  • Yesterday I arrived home after spending a week in a refugee camp in Greece, where people are literally freezing. Danced with small kids, talked in bodylanguage and a few English / Koerdish words with adults, and felt I could change the whole world of 1 person by treating them as fabulous humans.

    Funny detail, the city I was in, is the exact location I was with XH a month before DD1. We made love, drank wine and did all the things grown ups do without kids. So, I helped out 250 refugees, the city in Greece will never be about XH and me again, but about helping people getting their lives back. I got a lot more love than I imagined.

  • It took me so long, and I wasted so much time on the useless things like trying to look attractive all the time to get attention from men or buying better bras to feel sexier, things I thought would make me feel worthwhile. But these are window dressings, not homes. So I decided to go to law school. 2 years and a full scholarship later…I’m back! And the very smallest thing in my mind is how I’m viewed by him or men in general, but how am I gonna change the world for my daughter is what I am thinking of, everyday. If I can survive law school, everything else will be gravy. I’ll never be a doormat again. My world’s in color again and my optimistic ideas are back. I’m so happy to see them, it’s been along time.

  • I was devastated when I found out my husband cheated and lied and hurt me, then defended her. My description to him was a helpless puppy (me) being chained to a truck driven by two cruel people (him and her.) They dragged that poor pup until it was skinned and raw gaping wounds and in so much shock it can’t even cry. They get out unchain the poor dog and let it go in front of the truck. They both hop in and run the poor pup over just enough to injur it and continue on their way as it drags itself off the road. All I had was me…

    When did I get my “mojo” back well this all happened just a month ago. Last week I decided to go out with her x boyfriend whom was never allowed to talk to me because she was insanely jealous and accused HIM of cheating (projection.) He agreed to come out with a few friends. We never talked about what happened directly just enjoyed the time company and moment. We shared a beautiful in depth conversation and I finally felt like I could breathe for the first time in a month! He said many great things about me and I finally felt good again not myself by any means but like I could at least get there someday. I lost the feeling of that unattractive worthless thing of a wife and reawakened to the beautiful kind spirited person I know I am. He looked at me and said I can see such a fire inside you and I can tell you are hurt right now but don’t let them burn it out. You are to beautiful keep shining.

    I hope you all keep shining!

  • I handed my xh the divorce papers myself. And my sweet dad paid for my lawyer. He told me that was one worry I wouldn’t have. I started finding my strength from there.

  • My biggest Empowerment Jolt(s) so far happened in a martial arts competition. I competed with other martial artists (including him) in the same belt level and age group. In self-defense techniques, I won the silver (jolt #1); in formals, I won the gold (jolt #2). I beat the living crap out of his conceited ass!!!! He thought he was better, criticizing how I trained and giving me lousy advice. All the other competitors came up to congratulate me, shook my hand and expressed their honor to compete. Out of earshot, he of course told me he didn’t understand how the judges ranked our performances. He just couldn’t believe he could be beat. I felt bad for him for a millisecond, then quietly smiled to myself. To his dismay, I put them medals on so everyone would know!

  • My outlet turned out to be singing. I started taking vocal lessons even though sometimes I couldn’t sing for crying. That morphed into karaoke nights out which then morphed into having my brother play guitar while I sang. Just did our first “open mic” in SF this past weekend. Even though my tunnel vision was bad and I can’t remember some parts and I don’t even know if people clapped, I sure feel good about myself this week after!