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Overcoming Awkward Firsts

awkwardSo, it’s January, the month of self-improvement. The season where we all slouch towards better versions of ourselves. Resolving to go to the gym, or organize our pinecone elves, or tidy up the moldering piles of not-sure-what-exactly in the corners of our rooms.

As I was contemplating going to my office gym yesterday (I didn’t, I’m still stuck in contemplation mode….) it occurred to me that every journey begins with awkwardness.

Should I work out at lunch? Yes. But God, then I’d have to lug a dufflebag of gear with me, and what if I see someone I know? And I’m in spandex leggings? No one wants to see middle-aged thighs in spandex. I’ve worked hard to cultivate a certain dignity as a skilled professional  — do I throw that all away when someone witnesses me doing a lunge-squat? And showers! Have we thoroughly considered the entire pain-in-the-ass factor of undressing and dressing mid-day? Under fluorescent lights? In a shared space?

I folded like a cheap card table. Okay, it’s decided! I’ll just sit here at my desk and avoid the Awkwardness of the Gym.

If you think this blog post is going to twist and build to the conclusion that, oh no! I overcame my dread of gym awkwardness and now I feel unconditionally loved and accepted in spandex…. you would be wrong.

It’s still awkward.

All new shit is awkward. Even the things we used to do well once upon a time, and got kind of rusty at (like dating since the Clinton administration) can be paralyzingly fraught. And that is the EASY STUFF! Putting headphones in and lumbering on the elliptical to ABBA? Agreeing to a low-stakes coffee date? That’s amateur awkward! Olympic awkward is going to your first parent teacher conference as a single parent, or class assembly, or other obvious Public Intact Family Together Events. That kind of awkward fuels opiate addiction and mommy-needs-wine memes.

So today’s Friday challenge is to tell me how you pushed past the awkward and accomplished some new firsts. Was it as awkward as you feared? Worse? Did you fall flat on your face? Did you lunge squat forward  anyway?

Inquiring dufflebags of gym gear want to know.

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  • Men friends finding out you’re newly single, and ask for your time, and you do not want to date. Okay? You just want to be fuckin’ mighty, with no guy tagging along!!!

    • This exactly! X’s and mine old school chum is also single and wants to date. Too close and too soon.

    • Men friends who haven’t talked to you in months finding out you’re newly single and suddenly deciding to come out of nowhere then disappear again when they find out you’re not dating.

      Not exactly the first time that’s happened but not something I missed that’s for sure.

    • I discovered the awkwardness of deciding that I wanted to date but everyone assumed that it was “too early”. I had been alone in my marriage for SO LONG that it didn’t feel like “only 6 months” after he died, it felt like I had been waiting years to try to connect with someone.

      I thought about it at length the other night driving…the really stupid mistakes I made when I started dating (like leaving my purse on the table when I went to the bathroom, Im lucky he didn’t run off with it, that was stupid) but none of them caused me or anyone any real harm.

      • I dont think the fact that I did stupid things indicated that it was “too early” to date. I believe I would have been stupid if I waited 6 months or 6 years… there is just some weirdness that we have to get our systems in the process of dating and you cant really think yourself out of all alone, it has to be worked out in real life…like kneading playdoh to make it soft…you can THINK about kneading it but its still hard in the can, you gotta take it out and squish it in your warm hands.

        So really CL is right, there often simply IS a stage of awkward, but it doesn’t last forever and wont kill you.

        Also, there is no way in Hell I would ever “work out” in the middle of a work day. Just because it works for some people doesn’t mean it would work for me and I dont have to feel bad about that.

        • Ladies don’t sweat in public. They just don’t. This means that jogging is done at night after dinner … in the dark!!! Yes, that is just how cowardly I am!! Saves a ton on gym fees, though!

          Uni, I love your thoughts on not waiting to meet others’ perceptions of when one should be “ready” to date again. For me, I had no expectations about it at all but I had definitely been lonely for decades. So when someone rather wonderful wandered into my zone of awareness, I couldn’t help but notice him. Poor thing. Ha Ha!!!

          • AH Dixie, someone wonderful wandered into your zone…that sounds intriguing ! The Colonel had had one date in 12 years and was only peripherally considering the possibility of maybe thinking about dating when my dad called him and gave him my number and the rest is history.

            • I love your story, Uni. I love that you finally have the happy ever after you and your Colonel both so deserve. And I love the hope it holds out to the rest of us here. Not that being alone is a terrible fate … after being paired with an asshole, alone is good! But I am a romantic, I guess.

              • Dixie, you deserve love so goo for you!
                I run in the early morning because it is my favorite time to run. Fortunately, no one is out to see me, and I finish just before sunrise! I love the outdoors instead of the gym, too.

          • I don’t think we should worry about what others think of us when jogging or at the gym…regardless of the size, shape, workout gear, sweatiness or redness of other exercisers, I just think “Good on you!”

            • Whenever I see an obviously unfit fat person running, I am very impressed by their mightiness because it is especially hard for them. Don’t be afraid.

              • When I see anyone unfit who are running, biking, or at the gym I think good for them and what courage it takes for them to be there.
                X was constantly commenting on people who are over weight, calling them degrading names and making comments in regards to who would do them.
                If it were a mother with babies he would laugh and make crude remarks in reference to their husbands. every where we went he’d point out heavier people. I got to where I could predict what he’d say. Funny thing, his entire family is obese.
                If he were to meet these same heavy people he’s laughing at, he’d be the perfect gentleman. Or with friends of heavy people he’d make the most sensitive remarks and show concern for their health and well being.
                As if he actually cared.

              • Whenever I see an unfit person at the gym I generally notice for about the 0.5 seconds that they’re in my line of sight and then I go back to my internal monologue of “christ, why am I not able to lift as much as I used to? I should go to the gym more often. I wonder if I can discretely wipe off some of this boob sweat without anyone noticing.”

                Seriously, unfit people – do your thing. Anyone who’s paying attention to you instead of their own workout is a loser.

            • Miss Plastic Parts manages a gym and teaches classes there. Cheater o’Mine is a gym rat who used to sit in restaurants and make condescending remarks about what the people around us were eating. Trust me, the people running the gym and the others who are there mock you if you don’t already look like them.

              • That’s fine–those of us who aren’t Gym Rats mock your Cheater and Miss Plastic Parts for their shallowness and inability to keep their private bits to themselves.

              • Respectfully disagree!

                I have had a gym figure most of my life: I don’t mock those who don’t, not everyone is silently judging other body types! Obv. the narcs and insecure are doing so: but I hope that those types can be regulated to the insignificant file in our heads.

                Trust me.

              • Oh yuck. Sad that people can be so mean.

                I have to say that I have had a different experience. I love yoga and belong to a studio with many extremely fit people as members. We regularly have newcomers join, sometimes for a day, and sometimes for a journey. Either way, I’ve never seen anyone make fun of another person, even a person who is extremely overweight and unfit. I’ve only seen support and admiration for folks who have the courage to get out there and try.

              • Wait…I just thought of someone I know who made fun of someone being unfit: my ex. No one where I work out, but unbeknownst to me, my ex made fun of ME to his AP. This was one of my fun discoveries.

              • Oh, Honey, don’t you realize that demeaning comments about the “sucker at home” are step one of his plan?

                He’s simply showing who he is.

                DTMFA and let her have him. He’ll be making the same kind of comments about her next.

      • I was lonely for most of my marriage. I got used to being lonely.
        When the opportunity to date a nice guy came along, I didn’t hesitate. My friends and sisters were supportive. My mom gave me a hard time because I am still married (not by choice, but because STBX is dragging it out). She actually asked “How does that make you any better than STBX?” Are you fucking kidding me? How about I didn’t have multiple affairs for the past 8+ years? How about I didn’t expose anyone to sexually transmitted diseases? How about I never lied to my family about where I was and what I was doing? How about I didn’t spend family funds entertaining mistresses at restaurants and in hotel rooms? Mom shut right up after that conversation.

        • I understand. There r those in my family also who think I should have fought back regardless the cost and “taught him a lesson”. But I followed lawyers advice that it wasn’t worth it. I often wish I had drug him thru the mud but then I look at my children and I don’t think they would have benefitted.

    • The men friends/acquaintances thing is really strange.
      I have male friends who are married that I am conscious I need to behave differently with now that I am almost single. Not because of any real potential impropriety but just because the rules have changed.
      I’m also a natural flirt with people that to me would be obviously no-go (think older people etc.) and now I’m having to be aware that I am not a no-go person myself so the rules of playful non-interested flirting have changed too (I never actually flirt with people I really like funnily enough which is another mixed message I have to nix).
      And thirdly – there are the ones I actually like/like. A whole other minefield. I made sure one I thought might have potential knew I was entering the market and while we are hanging out more and growing closer it is definitely weird. I still live with my ex and am legally still married although separated so slow is the way to go but there is a minefield of mixed messages, hints, good days, bad days and the concern of reading too much into anything. Sigh. Who knew middle age could be so dramatic and so like middle school??

      • AND…the red flags…I feel like that is ALL I see. That EVERYTHING is a narc move!! UGH.

      • Yes, to all of the above. I read Amy Poehler’s book, “Yes, Please” which featured a chapter about the aftermath of her divorce. One subsection is called, “No, I Do Not Want to Fuck Your Husband,” because that’s the “suddenly dangerous” vibe she was picking up from her married women friends.

        AND, I think about asking my financial advisor out sometimes. I’ve known him a long time. He’s single. I’m single. There’s a camaraderie, but…. What if he doesn’t feel that way? Or he does then it doesn’t work out and I have to find a new advisor???? — Arrgghhh!!!

        The funny thing is, last year I had a little fling with a guy I met on a cruise ship. He was an employee so I couldn’t tell if I wasn’t flirting “right” (had I forgotten how?), or was he just humoring me because I’m a paying guest?, or am I just being gross and obvious?, or not enough gross & obvious?? It turns out I was obvious but not gross but he couldn’t act on anything until the cruise was over. But, jeez, yeah, I felt like I was in junior high all over again: “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

    • Worse yet – married men suddenly becoming all flirty when they learn you are separated/divorced. Ugh!

  • First surgery for my child… dental surgery. The ex was in the medical field and usually contributed somewhat. Or at least asked questions to make himself look smart or whatever.

    I got the bad news alone, asked the questions alone, made the decisions alone, and even got to pay the bill alone.

    It was liberating, actually, because I was in charge, and I never felt like I was being painted as the lesser parent. So, stay mighty my friends! You got this!

    • this. ^ my son had a medical procedure and I managed it myself – every detail – beginning to end. terrifying but liberating.

    • I was “fortunate” to have such a thing occur a mere two days after my divorce: My dog developed a heart problem and needed a pacemaker installed, for which I had to fly us out of state. I ran the whole show and did a great job (so did she, in fairness), and it was actually weirdly NICE to have SOMEthing that I could finally DO something about and (to some degree) control.

  • For awkward, nothing beats dating. Took a long time to do that on account of needing to fix my picker. And when I finally took the plunge, I discovered that I didn’t know how to swim — I had never really dated before: it’s not part of my culture, and I met my ex so young… But then I realized that it’s just as awkward for the people I got dates with, and that the ones for whom it wasn’t awkward at all were clearly not meant for me (players, anyone?), and that when it’s really really really awkward it’s because it’s actually tedious and uninteresting, and that the best people are funny, fumbling fools, and that awkward is not exactly a bad thing. Just a sign, if you will, that we are thoughtful, vulnerable, cautious humans.

    • But, yes, for Olympic awkward nothing beats running into your ex and one of his more recent schmoopies while you are with your new boyfriend. If there was ever an argument for moving continents…

      • I totally see that you are saying here, and Im sure the awkward was real, but I would have paid money for that to have happened to me…Major Cheaterpants would have hated Colonel Greatguy.

        • Oh hell yeah, Unicorn! I forgot to mention that part. Happiness IS the best revenge.

      • I think I need to move continents…

        I was riding in the car with my boy-du-jour to brunch one Sunday morning and we drove by his whore’s place and I saw his car parked out side of her place. My boy-du-jour has no interest in the details of my ex and divorce (which is fine… he is just the boy-du-jour), but I was having an internal panic attack. I had to send my friend a “aaahhhhh… Ex’s car parked outside his whore’s place” text. She reminded me I was out with my entertainment ex producer boyfriend and there was booze at brunch so I would be fine.

        I am the one who wanted to keep the house, but man I hate it when I go to Target and I see his car at his whore’s place. I said to Friend “maybe I should have moved… to Maryland”. (we live in CA).

        • Now CAGal, do you really need to go to that Target? I’m avoiding his entire neighborhood, which ain’t easy, since so many of the production companies and organizations I work with are there. True, I didn’t do it out of some kind of wisdom: I just happened to go there for a screening, after I had just seen the divorce lawyer, and got a massive panic attack. Figured I can’t afford that too often.

    • There’s a great video going around Facebook right now about working with millennials, and one of the things it talks about is the instant success/fail of their dating world. The speaker says, “Because of the internet, they no longer have to go through: ” and then does a very funny & charmingly awkward thing where he’s, like, tracing his fingers in circles on the arms of the chair, looking down (and SO awkward!) and says, in this creaking voice, “Sooooo… anywayyyyyy……” never looking up. It’s adorable and SO true!

      • This!
        Simon Sinek is the speaker! My son just showed me this video a few days ago as he watched it in one of his HS classes.

  • I feared going on my first date after splitting up. My ex and I were together for 21 years and I’d last dated when I was 22.

    The blind date went well, and so did the next and the next… until we married. I had thought that I would never marry again.

    • Yea!! So nice to hear this . the thought of dating is terrifying even after a year +.

    • I married at 18 and have been married for 39 years. When I have finally had enough and quit being a chump, I don’t think I would ever want to date again. After all the cheating and crazy making I have a trust issue and not sure if I would ever be able to trust another man.

      • I met my x at 17 and married him at 22, divorced him at 49. I don’t want to be with anyone but my dog and cat!

      • I was also married for a long time and, after my divorce, have had no desire to date. I am not saying I would never date. I am sure I would under the right circumstances. But, dating is not even remotely on my radar. Not because I was so badly hurt after X’s infidelity, although I was. And not even because of the emotional numbness I experienced, and still do at times, after the divorce. I don’t date because I want to get to know myself again, to do all the things I didn’t do while I was busy attending to the needs and wants of my family. In many ways, I lost myself in my marriage and I am finding myself again. I am not open to a new relationship right now. I’m just not there yet, and may never be. I am, however, enjoying this somewhat solitary path I have chosen.

  • Going to a Meet Up.

    I know I’m introverted. Getting out and doing things that interest you in a group of strangers who also have the same interest is hard. But I still do it. Every freaking time.

    • Fellow introvert here. *raises hand* Bravo to you for going to Meet Ups. I joined a few months back and have yet to find the courage to go to one. Maybe next month…

      • Go! Make yourself go! After I left town (because that would’ve been too weird, the potential for overlap) and got settled in a new place. I’ve been here about three months and am a member of at least a dozen meetups. Some of them have just been awkward and kinda gross, so I just congratulate on having attended and then leave. I even started my own Chump-based meetup and have met some really great fellow chumps!

        If nothing else, if you’ve moved out of state, people will say the NICEST things when they ask how long you’ve lived there and you tell them only a couple of months. So many people have said that I’m “brave” or a “go-getter” or similar. I NEVER feel that way, so it’s nice to get that little boost.

        (Also, I’ve been going to meetups for about three months here, and it wasn’t until today that i had a “follow-up date” [she asked if I wanted to go skiing, and then introduced me to yet another friend of hers], so don’t lose hope if you don’t immediately “connect” with someone!)

        • To be honest, most of my friends now are people I met through ChumpNation during meetups, the Austin City Limits and Yosemite trips. During the marriage, most of our friends were from Hannibal’s department and as I started to acquire more and more information about his marital escapades, he warned his colleagues not to socialize with me (and only 2 out of about 7 couples have kept in touch).

          The infidelity shaped me, and it feels artificial to pretend otherwise. Non-chumps who clearly think I should be “over” it by now and never discuss the marriage/divorce are hard to take for any length of time. I’m used to being open about what I am thinking and feeling, and other chumps just get it. Shared experience brings a sense of closeness that is hard to replicate in normal friendships.

          • I’m sorry I missed those meetups. Similarly, the most genuine people I’ve met have been through the meetup I started here in town. In fact today I went skiing with a chump I met just a couple weeks ago. When I got to the resort, she was chatting on her phone, raised a finger, just a minute. She hung up and said, “It’s my daughter. She’s having trouble with the divorce.” — I got it, instantly, and we could dive right into the meat of the conversation.

            Not unlike other survivor groups — or maybe soldiers — we share the experience of trauma, deceit, and healing. That’s hard to replicate.

            • I think Chump meet ups are fantastic although I haven’t been to one yet. The meet ups I was referring to as having never gone to are non-Chump Meet Ups in my area through

              • Lol, I had never heard of! I had a feeling ANC and you were referring to some other type of meetup. Thanks for the clarification!

    • Yes, ANC! While sitting on the train going to my first Chump meet up, I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing? I’m going to meet new people that I’ve only communicated with in an electronic forum.” A group of baseball-game bound women on the train offered me a drink. I accepted and had a great time commuting into the city. This helped me relax, and by the time I arrived at the meet up, I had practiced my socializing with strangers skills enough to feel more at ease. Having said that, once with a group of Chumps, any feelings of awkwardness melted away. I met my tribe and felt immediately at home.

    • I was going to post this very thing. Got some food ahead of time and sat in the parking lot for a good while before entering . . . only to discover I was the first one to arrive.

      Then came Uniquelyme, and Cheaterssuck, and everyone else — and suddenly I was home.

      (it helped a lot that Apple was also a first timer.)

  • For me, life got awkward whenever I did couple-ish things alone, like:

    – Eating at restaurants (especially breakfast, for some reason, and especially if I brought a book)
    – Going to the movies
    – Going to the beach
    – Car and bicycle shopping
    – Hanging out at the park with a child
    – Attending weddings

    I like doing things alone, but others would always act like it was pitiable. They would say “table for two”? I would say, no, just me.” They would say, “oh, just you? Well, OK…” And I would get the head tilt. I would say “yes, and I like it this way.” That kind of response doesn’t make anything less awkward, but it does shut down the pity. 🙂

    • I’ve always eaten alone on a regular basis so the ‘just one’ thing doesn’t bother me, says more about the person than me. I do try to help out the next single person by telling them it can make some people feel awkward or lonely to hear that so maybe next time don’t say ‘just one’. 🙂

      • I travel for work sometimes, so I LOVE solo restaurant outings now. After the breakup it was hard though. Now I just ask for the crappiest table, lay out work or grocery lists or home remodeling plans and go to town!

        I work from home too to the getting out before I ossify into stone is a blessing.

        • Luz, same here. I do a great deal of traveling so I am used to dining alone. I usually have my tablet which never argues with me as what to order. 🙂

          • That would have been great! Back when I was newly single, laptops were too heavy to lug around everywhere and tablets and smartphones were sci fi. 🙂 I was the nerd with the book and the notepad. 🙂

    • When dining alone, 99% of the time, I approach the hostess & say “table for one” before she asks me. That ends the opportunity for any snarkiness on the spot.

      • I say, “Just me!” in a cheery voice. I know many many many many people who would NEVER go out on their own: to a movie or a restaurant, so I think those of us who do are pretty awesome. Also, in places like Paris, it is SO not a big deal! The smaller towns are harder, I think, but I do it anyway, sometimes adding, if I sense awkwardness, “I heard great things about you guys and had to give your restaurant a try!” Maybe they’ll think I’m a food critic and be extra nice. 😉

        • My ex and I used to go to a great little restaurant in our local town. After the restaurant closed for the night the lady owner sometimes went down to another bar for a quick drink before heading home. That is where my ex hooked up with his skank (I call it the OK Corral – they all seemed to come crashing out the windows at closing time). Anyway, suffice it to say the restaurant owner knew me and my then husband and also knew the skank. Once he had shacked up with the skank (but still married to me) and after the OK Corral closed sometimes about 10 of them would go the restaurant to eat. I thought “bugger this, I’m not going to stop going there just because he is with her” so one night I took my book and ate there. The next time I saw him he said “oh I hear you were at XXX restaurant on your own”! Word travels fast obviously. Anyway, I have this really gorgeous, much younger Tunisian friend (known him for years) so one night I asked him if I could invite him out to dinner but there was just one condition, he had to hold my hand and make like we were dating! He played his part to the hilt and we had a blast, particularly since my ex was a skinny runt with cystic acne. Ex never bothered me again about “poor little Attie being all on her own”! Ha!

  • A few weeks ago, I attended “A Christmas Celtic Sojourn” in the Boston area. It was glorious, and as I was driving home, I actually said out loud to myself, “I did it! I am a badass!

    It was hard, but I did not let the fear of being seen alone at a family/couples event stop me from enjoying a really unique and beautiful theatre experience.

    Yay, me!

    • Ha. I actually just had “I am a badass” tatooed on my inner arm. Message to me :-).

      • @Finally Awake, Every day my boss always says to me, “Remember to stay Awesome!” I was thinking of having that tattooed on my arm.

    • It’s great, isn’t it? To go do those things we love to do without having to beg or plead or finagle (sigh). I went to a huge Halloween party at a local brewery — it was enormous. Initially I felt really weird, but there was a Pink Floyd cover band who was really really good (AND they were all dressed like members of the Addams Family, with Cousin It on sax, and the chick vocalist from Dark Side of the Moon as Wednesday — Boy, did SHE belt it out of the park!!), and a huge dark techno dance area. I love to dance, LOVE it, and even though I’m fifty-two years old, I really had a great time dancing by myself but in a crowd of several hundred people.

  • Going anywhere in public with my wife (we’re still living together, the D will be over soon). Everyone knows we’re getting D’d, and a lot of people know about her other relationships – and many knew before I did, sadly. I just feel like everyone looks at me to see how I’ll behave or how we interact. I’ll get strange looks and people seem to act differently. It’s totally awkward for me, and I understand that it’s probably awkward for everyone else too.

    I feel much less stress when I’m out and about alone, or when it’s just me and the kids. I’m looking forward to more of it being just us soon.

  • D-day was in May so I had all the child’s awards ceremonies to attend and Narkles the Clown wanted to sit next to me….and act friendly. I didn’t. That lasted two events of me being aloof and ignoring him. Event at an event I just flat out said, in front of everyone “I will NOT play happy family with you after what you did, please don’t sit next to me.”

    • Yes, our family has been @ the same school K-8 and attended events as a family. Now, he and I sit on opposite sides of the gym @ the bball game and everyone notices. To help the transition for me, I made sure to speak the truth about it, but it used to be an easy part of our life. Now, awkward!

      I feel so relaxed when he DOESN’T show up (which is often) but was glad he was there for the kids – until they said, “I wish he just wouldn’t come.”

      • I can sooo relate to school awkwardness. Ex and OW are still together. We all lived in a very small town, and our families were ‘good friends’ (until D-day, that is). The youngest children from both families still attend the elementary school there. School events are extremely awkward. Our kids have played on the same sports teams, are often placed in the same classroom…. but nothing was worse than the first parent teacher conferences being booked back-to-back with children from both families. Urgh.We all met in the hallway outside the classroom door. Fucking hell. For both the adults and the children. Talk about worlds awkwardly colliding. Luckily OW’s ex and I have remained friends. That makes it easier.

        I will say this: small town life is far more awkward for ex and OW. The entire town is sickened by their relationship. They are shunned. Neighbours say a courteous hello as necessary (for the sake of the kids) and then scatter away. It’s quite different when they see me. Plenty of hugs, how-ya-doing, lots of laughs… but that’s because I always invested fully into all of my friendships. Call it karma. Call it whatever. You reap what you sow.

        Both OW’s ex and I have since purchased homes in a nearby city (where the rest of our kids attend high school). Life goes on, and I am counting the days when my son is high school age as well. It is HELL when your marriage goes down in a fishbowl… but you survive. You get out. You move on. And eventually you thrive.

        • Thank goodness the town has opted to see who the bad actors are and shunned appropriately. That must make it easier to maintain your dignity in such awkward encounters. I totally understand your fishbowl analogy!!!

          • Definitely, Dixie Chump. When we all attend the same event, I swear some acquaintances even ramp up the friendliness factor towards me, almost as a ‘moral lesson’ for ex and OW: When you deceive your spouses and friends and treat them like shit, you will pay the price.

            Of course ex and OW still feel like the victims within the awkward shitty life THEY have created for themselves and thrust upon the rest of us. Seriously?!? Such sad, sad sausages….

            • X has no shame, still thinks he’s awesome, and chooses to flaunt his new life, but our school and neighborhood community have stood by me and the kids.

    • My kids friends all noted that we were sitting on opposite ends of the hall at concerts and concertedly NOT interacting. Very awkward.
      He NEVER came to concerts and events before things blew up…….

      • Same here, Finally. I had no problem with attending family events with my kids and no spouse because I had been doing that for a while anyway. Now, of course, he is working very hard to polish his tarnished image, and he is just Daddy Devoted. He’s at every class party, open house, teacher conference (not with me, thankfully, but he schedules his own and NEVER went to those when we were together), and other miscellaneous kid events. This is the same man who never can help me with child care when the kids are sick or have a snow day– then, he’s “busy” because those occasions don’t allow him to show off. He’s just ridiculous.

        That being said– those occasions have always been awkward for me, but I just remember that they are finite and that I don’t want to do anything that would hurt my kids, so I ignore him as much as is humanly possible, and I’m almost at the point where I don’t care if he’s there or not. My youngest will be done with elementary school in the next 1.5 years, so most of those family-oriented parties and events will come to an end. Poor dear. However will he get his Fabulous Daddy Kibbles? 😀

        • Same here! No attendance or even interest until now. It is all impression management.
          Kids’ teachers and therapists figured out he was only paying lip service pretty quickly, though.

    • “I will NOT play happy family with you after what you did, please don’t sit next to me.”


      I applaud you for doing this…you kept some reality in the situation, it wasnt a slight, it was a giant betrayal and you acted appropriatly

  • What I find awkward is that, like a lot of us, other people assume I must want to date again. Be half of a couple again. Not yet, please. Pump your brakes. I had a friend who showered me in Christmas gifts because she didn’t want me to feel sad on my first Single Christmas. And I snickered to myself, because this sh*t is Awesome!!!
    I’m not hating or saying no men, ever again. Just…Not now. Not yet.

    • I hear you. I didn’t know yet how awesome it would be to live alone when I got divorced. It was hard at first, but I soon realized I LOVED IT!

      Also, I waited a long time to date, by choice. I dabbled a little in response to peer pressure, but I shut it down. I didn’t want to be partnered again just to have a partner.

      I don’t know that I was feeling that way before the end of my first year, but I did get there. I am remarried now, and I am glad, but I can’t say I don’t miss many things about living alone. I someimes have duplex fantasies. 🙂

      • That’s how I feel. I don’t want a partner just to have a partner. I spent too many years with someone just trying to make it work. I want to be me for awhile and then find a good fit.

        • Amen. I’m not closed off to the idea, but some fellow chumps & I were talking (at a meetup!) about dating websites yesterday, and I was like, “Look, I can’t even find a dress at the mall if I have to come up with one for an event, so I most certainly am not going to go SHOPPING for a man!” I’m just gonna live my life, and if there’s another similarly-minded soul out there and our paths cross, then OK… maybe. (Like the guy at the end of “Under the Tuscan Sun”? He was kind of adorable.)

          • Agreed! Let’s just lay down and let the ladybugs find us. I love that movie!

          • So true NW Biblio. I like leaving the option of leaving it to fate; my brief spell online-dating was an exhausting experience that confirmed that many (most?) people lie extensively in their profiles. Height, age, health, career, education, marital status….
            There was a funny bit in the movie “The Big Short” where the Christian Bale character talks about how he met his wife online. He described simply himself as a medical student with one glass eye and tens of thousands of dollars of student debt. Her immediate response was “this is an honest man”.
            To relate this to the topic, OLD was my bravest step and a good learning experience (see above!)

  • For me it’s making good decisions and then letting that shit go,/i>

    I realized this last year that I was raised by crazy people who were trying their best. My actual instinct is to self obliterate because of this. SO MANY choices of friends and partners I have made over the years have been by passive default.

    I’ll give you an example, but so many dynamics in my life are like this. I have been struggling to pay off debts that are just foolishness on my part, but also because I haven’t enforced my custody agreement to be reimbursed for half of school and medical expenses. Because I’m a “nice person who feels sorry for the sad sausage.” Who has been a sad sausage for ten years or more. Guess what? Sad sausages don’t have Bad Luck! Sad sausages drive drunk and uninsured and get into accidents. Sad Sausages refuse to get a better or second job no matter how much they underearn. Sad sausages impregnate people they’ve known for three weeks and then double their child support.

    In the past, I would have still been wringing my hands for asking CSEA to triple the support amount. It’s been 12 years since I asked for an inflation adjustment. I’d allow the Sausage to badmouth me to daughter as the BIG MEAN LADY who’s making things hard for him.Never mind being grateful for the 12 years of skating by, the thousands I haven’t collected, the endless resourcefulness and damage from having to find a way to pay for obligations that weren’t mine to meet so our daughter had her needs met.

    Now? I don’t give a fuck. You start figuring it out, 40 year old Big Boy who lives with his Mama. Friend who texts me while I’m in the hospital to complain about her sore foot? Love your good parts, but fuck that. Guys who want to date me but think my uterus is their business? Racist family members with kids in prison who rant on FB about Black Crime? Boy, Bye. Girl, Git.

    I am not above regret or responsibility. The difference is, thinking through decisions better and then enforcing consequences I do not have to regret or question.

    There are SO many scenarios with Cold Slab O’Meat that if they happened today, instead of capitulating to his whines and whims, I would have laughed his dumb ass out of my house and my heart before he had the chance to cheat. Turtle Dick wouldn’t have even made it out of the gate with 2017 Luziana.

    • Well look at the badassery you have going on !! I was also raised by crazy people who enculturated me to assume everything was my fault and act accordingly. Ive learned “no”…like when my mom (who hated my late husband) expects some of his life insurance money. Just to make them crazy, I never told my parents how much money I have…not their business.

    • On the deadbeat issue — if your state sucks at enforcement (many do), see if you live in one of the 38 states where private CS collection is legal. I don’t know if he has arrearages, or pays but not enough. If it’s arrearages and he works under the table, but has means of some sort, they may be able to collect. (These places work commission, so a third goes to them, but hey, 66 of something is better than nothing.) I just wrote a story on the $115 BILLION (with a B) in unpaid child support in the U.S. Interviewed the CEO of — I was impressed. Wish I could use them, but my order was in Va. Hope it helps someone else though. Everyone — ENFORCE YOUR ORDERS. I know you’re exhausted, but turn the damn thumb screws on the sad sausage in your life. Thank you this has been a public service announcement.

      • I know your note is general, but his CSEA arrearge is not enough to collect. As long as he pays his current 35.00 a week (riches!) they will not collect the old balance. What he really owes is the 50% of shared expenses, which he knows I would have to file contempt and get a judgement for. Those do not fall under CSEA in my state. So instead of deferring the 36 month adjustment review, I’m filing one after 11 years. He’ll fight it. He’ll plead poverty. I don’t care.

        • That sucks. Also consider calling a Legal Aid society for some pro bono help enforcing that shit.

          Like I said, I just wrote a story on this — I’m not a lawyer (obviously), but if you want to get him on contempt charges, a judge I interviewed said she jails when it’s obvious they can pay more and they don’t pay. Or they have the skills and job history to work, and don’t. You need to come up with a boatload of evidence on how he does not prioritize supporting his child, but other things. (Facebook screenshots? Whatever you got.) Document, document, document.

          If you get a lawyer, they can subpoena his credit card records and those of any girlfriends or wives. I interviewed a lawyer whose retainer is $20K and to hear the way she sticks it to deadbeats was a beautiful, beautiful thing. Too bad most of us can’t afford the $20K.

        • Luziana, I have a good friend who’s ex financially devastated her by cashing out all their retirement when he left her after 35 years of marriage. She had been diagnosed with a serious neurological disease. Even though the courts here have ruled that he has to pay maintenance, he ignores the order and works for cash under the table in another state. My friend is living on a small pittance of disability and the kindness of friends who contribute towards her monthly expenses. It’s so sad. I’ve often wished there was something that could be done to make her deadbeat ex pay what he owes her. If you know of anything that could help, I’d love to hear about it. My friend has no money to pay a lawyer in another state to pursue him.

          • I’m no lawyer, but the contempt of court is serious if he owns any property. She doesn’t need to pay to collect in his state, just the state where the order was issued. He has to travel.

            When I divorced the daughter’s dad, a local law college handled my case pro bono. It’s worth a shot?

      • My son will be 18 in Feb, he’s not in school but working 30 hours or so a week. His Dad and I never married (22 years together) and I’m wondering if I should do child support. My son lives with me and I also carry his health insurance on my work plan. Right now Ex gives me $400 for that, after a long fight about “he doesn’t have the money I think he has,” but it’s OK for me to pay $400 a month when I make half his salary. I live in upstate NY. I know technically 21 is the age but wondering if it’s worth the fight? Any help is appreciated.

        • YES DO IT. You need to call your local county child support office — check NYS, then county and call and they’ll walk you through it.

          It means not going hat and hand to the fuckwit. If he has a regular job that wages can be docked from, that’s best for support. You’ll also have to document what he’s already paid.

          I’m assuming you don’t have a court order for child support since you broke up? That’s the first step. Get a court order for support. Local CS office can help you with that.

          The beautiful thing about the state (when it works) is that you are OUT of the mix. NC is maintained. The state is the heavy. And the debt follows them. (Enforcement, not always.) If you get the court order and have no luck with the state, then consider private enforcement or (if you can afford it) a lawyer.

        • NoMore

          Are you able to claim your son as an exemption on your taxes? My son moved back home and completed his degree in my home state after I filed for divorce. He is older than your son, was working part time,however I was able to file as head of household rather than single. This allowed me to save paying in over three thousand dollars in federal taxes for the past two years. It would have been more if I could have also claimed him as an exemption.

          If he decides to go to college you will also be able to claim his expenses when you file. I’m not sure about the health insurance.

          • @Doingme…Yes, I will be claiming him on my taxes. He won’t be going to college. I recently did paternity (you have to establish it thru the court) which my Ex hired a lawyer (idiot) but whatever, that was the first step. If I do child support, he will likely hire a lawyer again but I won’t- why should I – if I get nothing it’s basically what he will give me soon enough. I don’t trust him to continue to give me $400 every month. I did speak to a lawyer back a few months and he said that the Ex’s lawyer could try to have my son emancipated- but I’m thinking that would mean he would have to come off my health ins. and that would be a bad move.

        • In CA, you get nothing if the child is 18. Unless he is still in highschool.

  • Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and past awkward, I decided I would really like to join the next chump meetup in my area. I am two years out from DDay and officially divorced yet still struggle at times. I thought being around those that would truly understand could potentially help me and maybe I could help others as well. So I joined the forum – very late to the club as more of a chump lady reader – and inquired on how to join in. The group members couldn’t be helpful enough responding immediately. I even got to meet a great fellow chump as well in advance of the Jan meeting. Love CN.

  • I feel as if i had been let out of a time machine or prison after 23 yrs, the whole world has changed.
    When old exes found out i was getting divorced they crawled out of the woodwork, mid life crisis men looking to recapture their youth thru me. (All of a sudden I was the one that got away).
    Believe me they all sucked the first time around (ugh, I have a lifelong broken picker lol)..i don’t want to attempt to put spoiled milk back in the fridge hoping it will be fresh again.
    I have not dated anyone new, my life is about me and my children right now.

    • “i don’t want to attempt to put spoiled milk back in the fridge hoping it will be fresh again.”

      little, that is such a great way of looking at dating the wrong people! I did some online dating for a few months last year, and I think that I became better at figuring out if a guy was “spoiled milk” or not (hence, why I am still single).

      I agree– I have no desire to be with someone just so that I can be with someone. I have enough concerns as a single parent of young children; I’m not going to throw the drama of a guy who isn’t good for me and my kids into the mix. My ex has provided plenty of drama by marrying the OW; my kids and I don’t need more of that crap in our lives.

      • MovinOn , I figure if I wouldn’t want them around my children, my children sure wouldn’t want their mother around the guy.

    • This was my experience too, little red. They weren’t a good choice for me back then, haven’t changed, and are certainly not a viable choice now that they’ve been leading a lifetime of cheating and/or addiction! Yep, I am the one that got away alright. Works for me! Lol

  • I had more than one, but I knew I need to get back to being me again so I:

    Went to grad school, in my late forties, the first class was terrifying!

    I joined a band even though I haven’t played my horn in 20 years! Very scary, but 2 years later I sound pretty good!

    I went on a yoga retreat, alone, but met some wonderful people that I am still friends with.

  • Tried to post a comment earlier but it disappeared. Apologies if I post the same stuff twice!

    I was born awkward and self conscious so I find pretty much everything awkward.
    I only fully relax with no other humans in sight. I like being alone with a book, with the tv, singing and cleaning my house, writing stuff or exercising in my garage gym, and luckily being with clients in a counselling room.
    You can find me at Odd Duck dot com (kidding). ?
    So for once I guess I have an advantage. Nothing will ever not feel awkward on a scale of mild to high. So I have no reason not to try anything as I have learned who I am in this respect.
    I have always been mildly fearful and anxious but have learned to live with it and push through. As long as I can carve out at least and hour of alone time a day I am good. More is better.

    In the book Warrior’s, Settler’s and Nomad’s by Terence Watts I realised (apart from the fact that the book is a bit hokey) I could think of myself as a warrior, who is always vigilant. I liked this image more than the crazed loner type. Probably from growing up in an ‘interesting’ household and needing to be safe.

    Better stop now as I seem to be going off on a tangent.

  • Never really occurred to me, but I already take the kids to all the family events by myself anyway… I passed the awkward phase without even realizing!

    then again, I guess I should’ve noticed that was a sign that my wife was already checking out… 🙁

    • Same here HateThyNeighbor. The only difference…I don’t have to make up an excuse why my XH wasn’t with us. Life is so much better 🙂

      • ha! good point! I never actually made the excuses out loud, but they were always in my head. So there’s that I guess!

      • ^^^this! Yes! Years of excuse making. And I realized myself the other day, our marriage was ending for years and I was getting used to being by myself. No wonder it feels so normal…

    • Same here. I was alone for several years, so when I kicked him out there was no difference there.

  • We had needed work done on the house that he was convinced was unnecessary and his absolute refusal to get it done was going to result in the septic system backing up and sewage going all over. I literally laid awake at night worrying about how bad his rage was going to be the day the poop started coming out of the basement toilet. I was going to be blamed for it and it was going to be very ugly. I was readying myself to implement the escape plan.

    Bam, he died. I hired contractors to fix what was broken preventing the sewage spill I knew would otherwise be on the horizon.

    I had such a fear that people would now see me as an easy mark to rip off, that I was overly sensitive to it. The workers didnt do what they promised and I accused them of ripping me off and the owner of the company asked me if I would please just tell him my concerns and hold off on the accusations of fraud. Oh…sorry, I guess I “over armed” for that discussion. Sorry, awkward.

    The work was done in October and they told me the sewage would have backed up and disaster would have struck by December. I knew I had “shit” and “the end of my marriage” coming at me very fast, but woo doggies, it surely didn’t come in the form I expected it to.

    • I had to deal with xh rages over refusing to see critical house maintenance and refusals to pay or contribute to the cost or effort. Near the end I just called the contractor and set it up despite the rages, I knew the work had to be done before the house could be sold.

  • After one’s life is blown up in one fell swoop, what do we have to lose? My post D-day attitude (on the days I wasn’t rolled into the fetal position), was Fuck It. What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do X or Y? Typically the answer was, “nothing too bad.” Perhaps some disapproval by others, but when your lover/friend/confidante/husband of 24-years turns out to have had contempt for you much of the time to be able to serially cheat, what’s a little bit of social disapproval?

    I had my highest teaching evals ever the semester of D-day; I said whatever funny or outrageous thing popped into my mind–within reason, and always related to course material ; ). I started running and doing wind-sprints as if I was training for the Olympic 800-meter. I started wearing even bigger earrings. Every adventurous thing I did helped propel me forward just a little, and then I’d go curl up in fetal position until the next adventure.

    • Tempest <3!

      Love me some big earrings! 🙂 I wear mine all the time now too!

      I tried dating…you know how that went…ugh… Thank you for being there for me when I put a stop to the dumb shit 🙂 I love my new and improved Picker!!! 🙂


    • It’s sometimes amazing the liberation you can gain by hitting rock bottom — nowhere to go but up!
      I love the tales of your adventures — and running? I love it, as a lifetime runner, just leaving it all on the track. Get out of my mind and into my body more often, frequently works.

    • Exactly to your first paragraph! That’s exactly how I felt. And still feel when I think about doing something that scares me. Well, I’ve lived through one of the worst things, so the potential “worst outcomes” don’t sound too bad for about anything…

  • SEX!

    Really, anyone is going to compare solo parent/teacher meetings or doctor visits to intimacy? No hiding cellulite or post-nursing breasts or a penis that doesn’t respond like it used to!

    Do you keep condoms in the nightstand or will that look like you “do this often”? Do you have lube incase someone needs it? Do you know what lube is? What if they want the lights on and you count on total darkness to hide the parts you even hate to see? What if you’re caught off guard and your boxers have smiley faces on them…or if you’re wearing tighty-whiteys and she breaks out laughing?
    And these things can happen more than once for those of us that haven’t found a perfect match the first time into the relationship pool.

    A picker might be fixed and the new relationship maybe going well and you decide to make that plunge. Then the relationship doesn’t work and you heal and bravely face dating again…this is like diving off a cliff and being terrified again.

    And sometimes that intimacy turns out to be the end of a relationship (not every couple can be compatible sexually) it takes some strong self-confidence to dust yourself off and go out there again.

    Meh comes in handy during moving on from post-divorce relationships too.

    • Oh dear God, the thought is terrifying. My bits are not what they once were…….

      • Either are theirs!
        And, the truth is, no one cares.
        I have learned to laugh at the awkwardness and realize that everyone is in the same place.

      • Nope, not interested in diving in that pool. My bits held up just fine, but I am not sharing them. Intimacy is too big of a risk for broken-hearted me.

    • Hey Rebecca, thanks for “going there” so I don’t feel awkward saying it too! 🙂

      Yep, mine is SEX too!! My ex was the only man I’d ever had sex with. That was a huge hurdle for me to overcome because he was always telling me that I was cold and uninterested in sex and since I didn’t enjoy it much with him I was afraid what he said was true. And the whole showing my 54 year old naked body to someone… yikes!

      And then this guy I went to high school with came along via Facebook. He is single, lives in another state but comes to my state to visit family, and claimed to have a thing for intelligent ladies. After weeks of talking every day I decided to go all in and have him come to visit for a weekend. I have never been so scared in my life. I spent the hours leading up to his arrival literally wringing my hands and trying not to throw up at the thought of him rejecting me.

      It actually turned out great. We enjoyed each other’s company both in and out of bed. It turns out I’m not at all cold and uninterested in sex, at least not with someone who is present in the moment with me and expresses his enjoyment. Neither of us is looking for anything other than intermittent companionship right now so it’s a good fit for both of us. Getting over my fear of physical intimacy was a huge step for me. Getting over my fear of emotional intimacy will take longer, I’m afraid, but at least now it seems possible.

    • Oh yes, yes, thank you for being the brave one. It pissed me off to no end that Widow sites & books never discuss sex like it was impolite or something. I was absolutely faithful for the entirety of my 26 year marriage and I had 3 kids during that time so the body I was taking into dating this round was NOT the firm unaffected body I started with.

      For all my fears and concerns and anxieties, I found that the actual experiences were so much better than my fears led me to believe. I had the most bizarre interludes with one of the men I dated early on, but even though I decided to not date him any more (he was poly and not willing to consider monogamy) and our interactions were laughable, it also taught me that I was “enough” and it was all going to be OK.

      My early interactions with my new husband were very sweet and even though age had taken its toll and out bodies didnt always do what we wanted them to, our experiences were and are precious, kind, tender, loving, passionate, devoted, meaningful and lovely.

      This is going to be OK, really.

    • Definitely Sex. After 35 years with the same woman and no sex for the end once she started with the AP I definitely have some issues to work on. My fear of failure based on fear and age was palpable. So much so that it I basically made it happen. With the occasional use of the little blue pill and the rebuilding of my confidence I am getting now ok with the erection inconsistency that comes with age.

      And in the end it really seems to be not a big deal. When you are in love the intimacy of sex outweighs the actual physical act. And there are more than one way to skin a cat. 🙂

      • Chew, this is spot on: “When you are in love the intimacy of sex outweighs the actual physical act.” I have a male friend who fears an equipment failure so much he simply won’t attempt sex again. To me that is a tragic failure to understand that for most women, intimacy is the real heart of the matter, not the banging (although the banging is fun too). I lived without the intimacy for the 30+ years I was with my ex. I absolutely know for a fact I can live without sex much easier than I can live without intimacy. I’ve been there and done that.

        • Sex was never the issue with Loser. Hell, he could have sex with anyone and probably did. You are so right, it is intimacy that is so important and is what us Chumps are really interested in.

    • Thanks everyone for commenting on the sex question. I was literally holding my breath as I read your stories (thinking …please tell me it worked out ok….please say it wasn’t horrible…). I’ve been divorced since July and every time I think of being with someone sexually I feel huge anxiety. I’m just not ready to date and need to give myself some time. Your stories are SO helpful – they make me feel hopeful and open to the idea that everything might just work out fine!!!

      • You’ll get there Kathleen! I’ve been apart from my ex since 2012 and divorced just over a year. It obviously took me a good long time to feel ready! When we were in high school the guy I was with was the cool, popular dude and I was the geeky book nerd. Before we got together I kept wondering if this was going to be like a scene out of Carrie where I think I’m the prom queen and instead I get a vat of pig’s blood dumped on me. Instead I found that time is the great social equalizer. We were just two lonely, nervous but excited semi-strangers who had last seen each other in person in the late 70’s. I also found that acknowledging the awkwardness before, during and after helped too.

        • Thanks Beth – your story makes me feel incredibly hopeful. And I haven’t felt hopeful in a while…

      • I’ll go you one better: My first sex was about a year after Dday/divorce (same timeline for me). And the guy (my age, about 50) was A.MAZ.ING!!!! After years of a completely mediocre sex life, I was like a coke addict who found a whole kilo of pure. For four days, we barely left his apartment.
        Yes, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, wow, there’s some saggy stuff there, but he did not seem to care one bit. We had some minor age-related performance issues but that just meant we did “other stuff” which was completely nonexistent within the marriage.
        If that guy is the last sex I ever have (though I doubt it will be), I will die having at least that question answered: No, it most definitely was not “me” that was the problem in our marital bed!

        • My ex left me when I was 51, just starting menopause. My doctor put me on HRT – pretty strong to start with in order to stop my periods completely. I WAS AS HORNY AS HELL and it was fabulous! You know there is suddenly something weird when you look at the bus driver and think “hallloooo baby”. Honestly, I must have felt like a 15 year old boy hitting puberty. I think that really helped because boy was I ready for sex and the twat had just buggered off so I was a free agent. My divorced sister asked me if I wasn’t worried about taking my clothes off in front of a strange man but I just said “nah, there are no Greek gods out there anyway”, and I was right. Shame I had to go on a lower dosage HRT after a while though – but what bliss while it lasted!

        • I’ve been reading your various comments tonight and wishing for a “like” button as well as the “haha” pop up option on my iPhone. You are killing me NWB! I want to hang out with you and be besties. ? My friend was with me for four days as well and same thing – going at it morning, noon and night and the whole time I’m a little pissed at myself because this is what I’ve been missing for the last 33 years?? What a waste!!

          • I do seem to be a little chatty today….

            I’m glad you had good time, too, Beth. I had had a lot of experience before marriage, and XH did not. So, I thought, we’ll work on it together and it’ll be great…. nope. Fortunately, it turns out that SEX is still great, just not with XH.

      • Regarding sex… So, maybe ending up in bed with another narc cheater love-bombing me into submission wasn’t the best idea, but when the sex was actually good (much better than the ex) and I was told all kinds of nice things, and it ended before he started devaluing that part of the relationship, it did end up getting me a little of my mojo back – enough to contemplate a relationship with someone 8 years younger. THAT didn’t work out either, but not because of any sexual deficiencies on my part.

        So while my picker is still being refined, and I am still dealing with all the awkwardness of being an introvert and dating, at least my mistakes make me more comfortable with the idea of sex when the right man comes along.

    • I choose to think of it this way: Awkward first-time-with-a-new-partner sex tells you everything you need to know about that partner!

      My SexyChumpGuy reads here, so I will keep things discreet. But, our first time together was god-awful awkward (for oh so many reasons), but it’s something we still cherish and laugh about almost two years later. Being that vulnerable with someone new, and surviving, was a huge step for both of us. And everything leading up to that moment, and everything that happened after, showed me that this was a wonderful, caring, and genuine man.

      Let’s face it, sex is awkward more often than not. Finding someone who cherishes your awkwardness, and their own, is a wonderful gift.

  • Awkward for me meant setting boundaries with my X.

    Mr. Sparkles wanted to bring OW to our son’s events (sport, choral, theater, etc.). I said, “Really? The divorce isn’t even final.” But, I realized that the whole point for him was to show off his shiny new relationship to our small town – try to control the narrative – and frankly, be able to triangulate and abuse her (our town knows she was the OW even though she was told differently).

    SO – I told him which performance night he could attend with her for choral and theater and then I made my plans to help backstage or whatever so that I was still present for my son but not engaging with them. Ironically, my friends (who are mighty) snubbed them at the shows.

    For sports – I told him flat out not to bring her until the divorce was final. I played to his narcissism and suggested that our son didn’t need the distraction of his Mom being on one side of the field with all of his friend’s parents while Dad and OW sat opposite.

    He tested this boundary at one game, sending me a text 20 minutes before the game started that she would be with him. SO – I marched right on up to her at the game (our first time meeting face 2 face)… and I proceeded to introduce myself as Mr. Sparkles WIFE, tell her that I thought her attendance was highly inappropriate, and that I was leaving the game. Mr. Sparkles followed me out of the stadium while my stepdaughter had to explain to the OW what just happened (she really was stupid and believed of all Mr. Sparkles lies). She then left the game out a side door and I returned to watch my son. What was shocking to me was that Mr. Sparkles didn’t chase after her, but instead stayed and watched the game. That is what a sociopath looks like folks.

    Since then, boundaries have been much less awkward for me, including giving him a final date to move out his shit from my house and earning me the moniker of “Bitch”.

    Oh – and the OW, she broke up with him 5 months after the game incident. Maybe she started to get a clue. Who cares.

    Now he has “Girl with Dogs”… so far, he isn’t trying any new bullshit with me on that front. But, I do hope he enjoyed the Lint Roller our son gave him for Christmas 🙂

    Next awkward step… getting back in to dating… I’m prepping my self for a Summer kick-off!

  • In my late 40’s I went back to school. I am not only the oldest student in my classes, but I am also older then the teachers ( who have all been grad students). That was….awkward. But, I went and I made class friends and I participated and I got ALMOST STRAIGHT MOTHERFUCKIN’ A’S BITCHES.

    But what I did which while awkward and scary actually was the most freeing in every sense of the word….I drove my kids down to see a concert in a fairly large city 4 hours away from home.

    Now, this was huge because in my entire marriage and dating before that……I had never driven that far by myself before. Fucktard wouldn’t let me go by myself for one thing, and when I floated the idea of my sister and I taking a little roadtrip a couple of years ago he pooh poohed it by intimating I was a horrible driver and couldn’t do it.


    I can do it. Furthermore, I got around this fairly big unknown city just fine. I can do these things. Alone. Was it awkward? Of course. Scary? Definatly. But it was so important to prove to myself and my kids that we didn’t need Fucktard to continue with our lives.

    • Calm, I did the same thing. I drove 14 hours by myself to visit a family member the year after our separation. It felt really good to accomplish a long, solo trip without any problems. Congrats on going back to school, I’d love to do that but can’t figure out the $$ part of it. With just 10 years left to work, seems like it would be hard to pay back those loans before I retired.

    • Calm, you are a woman after my own heart…I just got my school acceptance letter yesterday…I start in like 2 weeks. I wish I had done this before but I couldnt raise kids, work, go to school and deal with him all at the same time. I will likely be the oldest person in my class, but Im just gonna own that shit.

      I was an experienced traveler, but one of my most defiant moments came after I remembered him going into a tirade in the kitchen one day over an investment that HE chose and HE made (with me being quietly supportive in the background)…it had lost value and he was mad and he (of course) blamed me and went into an abusive rant/rage about it. I ran across that account after he died and didnt care what it was worth, I cashed that bad-boy in and took my daughter to London…stayed in fine hotels and went to see One Direction in concert. (Oh how I wish I could have had a chat with myself the day he was screaming at me)

    • You go, Calm!! Enjoy your school days, they will whiz by, and the experience is esteem-boosting! Very good luck to you.
      We have told ourselves, and been told by conniving partners, that we are no good at certain things. That’s what a down trodden life will do to you. I remember when I got my first job outside the home, when the kids were teenagers, and I had to use a computer, gasp! X was the one good at that! Well, guess what? My whole body was shaking, but I did it, and after about three weeks, I did it daily, became a top seller in specialty sales, and learned CAD design. It would be nice if they stopped telling us what we’re good at. How would they know, anyway?
      Good people want a confident partner, it helps them, too.

    • I also went back to university at 50 and loved just being around all the 20 somethings. Before one lecture, the lecturer was chatting to various students while we waited for start time and commented to me “so, I guess they class you as a mature student”…. the first thought that flashed into my mind was “how did he know???” Quickly followed by “oh right” … but I sure didn’t FEEL 50!!!

  • Well I’m with Chump Lady and the first thing I did was join the gym…It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do and must have walked by at least 10 times before plucking up the courage to join. I was petrified of looking like a novice, passing gas on the leg raise machine…

    On my first day I was placed by the Personal Trainer on the previously mentioned leg raise machine (I’ve no idea if thats its official name). I was wearing shorts that i though had one of those mesh under-pant linings that “Contains everything” on my second push on the machine my instructor had a horrific expression on his face…my shorts didn’t have a lining and i was shall we just say “On display”.

    It didn’t put me off, 2 years later i’m still going to the same gym, I’m in the best shape of my life, I love it, it gives headspace. My new chumplady appreciates my efforts too 😉

    • Machine could be the Leg Press. Others may be the Calf Raise or the Smith Press (though Smith Press is usually not considered a machine). Oh, or the Hack Squat machine. 🙂 stick with it- it will save u (((hugs))). Oh, also, I highly recommend squats and deadlifts!!

  • I was always shy and terrified of speaking in groups. One-on-one, I did great, but put me in a room with a bunch of people and I turned into a silent wallflower. My ex was the outgoing, fun one — the life of every party. After he left I decided that it was time for me to find my voice since I longer had someone to hide behind. I joined a small Toastmasters club that was very supportive and friendly. At first I could barely talk for 20 seconds without shaking so badly that I had to sit down. A year later, I won at 3 levels of a humorous speech contest. Facing my fear and overcoming it lead to renewed confidence in many areas of my life out side of speaking in public.

    • Wow, you rock Lyn! Overcoming one’s fears is an incredible boost of confidence.

    • That’s awesome Lyn! I started shaking at the thought of a Toastmasters group. 😉

      • You should visit one sometime! They won’t even make you talk if you just want to observe.

      • Beth – I think you can handle the Toastmasters thing after your AMAZING, BRAVE sex story!!
        You did make me laugh out loud! You are so brave and your story was wonderful. I am panic stricken at the idea of sex – and I am a proud ex-Toastmaster member. (It is a wonderful group and no, you don’t have to speak until you are ready – they totally get how scary it is…) I think you are ready to do anything you feel like doing – you are a total bad ass.

        • Thanks ladies! The funny thing is, I teach so I’m comfortable speaking in front of groups but the thought of speaking in front of a group of seasoned speakers… that seems really scary. Or maybe my students don’t bother me because I’m not sure they’re listening?! 🙂

  • Posted this in response to CL post above…Also used the wrong sign in name! Again, any thoughts are appreciated…A) I feel like why bother (NC is nice) B) I want to FUCK him as he did me and this would hurt if I the courts awarded $ for my son’s care (I just want the health ins paid and maybe a little for food that this kid devours…I HATE NARCS

    My son will be 18 in Feb, he’s not in school but working 30 hours or so a week. His Dad and I never married (22 years together) and I’m wondering if I should do child support. My son lives with me and I also carry his health insurance on my work plan. Right now Ex gives me $400 for that, after a long fight about “he doesn’t have the money I think he has,” but it’s OK for me to pay $400 a month when I make half his salary. I live in upstate NY. I know technically 21 is the age but wondering if it’s worth the fight? Any help is appreciated.

    • You need to talk someone in Child Services for your state. But what I would share is:

      – if he isn’t in school after 18, not likely you’ll get child support, but ask
      – as there is no divorce, it might be difficult to force health care coverage – BUT, if he is responsible, coverage is provided until they are 26
      – if you do NOT declare your son on your income tax as a dependent, he may be eligible for Medicaid or a less expensive insurance under the ACA Health Exchange (Obamacare)

      Best thing is make some calls – google… talk to an attorney…

  • I’m not sure if awkward is the right word, but it was certainly unpleasant to attend a piano recital just weeks after ex had moved out. And a singer got up and sang the beautiful song from Les Mis “I Dreamed a Dream” … ugh. Read the lyrics to that sometime if you are unfamiliar … very upsetting to be sitting next to the person that did exactly what that song describes (killing the dream.) My solution to that scenario is to not sit with him ever again at upcoming events. I will sit with friends if I can or alone. The “united parent front” is OVER.

    And my best advice to others is to try to anticipate when they might show up to a kid event unexpectedly so that you are mentally prepared. It is truly unnerving to be caught by surprise. Perhaps that gets better with time.

    • Dixie,

      I am so sorry you had to experience all the painful emotions that song evokes ever, let alone sitting right beside your ‘assassin’. …tears for you and all of us.


    • Broadway, musicals, the West End, and songs are still ours, Dixie! Cheaters can’t have the joy too!

      • And a huge surprise recommendation–a friend got me both the Hamilton official musical and the Mix Tape for Christmas. They are Fabulous!! Musicals have come a long way since Gershwin.

        Alert–don’t listen unless you are at least a year from D-day. Hamilton is a sparkly narc, makes his wife a chump, and some of the songs are heartfelt and potential triggers.

        • Exactly. Y’all owe it to yourselves to give Hamilton a spin. And if you’re already a Hamilton fan, the just released Mix Tape is top work too.

    • Thank you Jeep and Dubious. Ex hates broadway, musicals, and song lyrics. He sat there and “heard” the same song without hearing the lyrics and so was unmoved. Yes … music is still extremely important to me and he can never ruin it!

  • Look, I haven’t dated since the Bush administration.

    Sure, it was W, but that counts.

  • First, I’m changing my sign-in name from Chump Changed after Chump Change gently let me know my clever idea wasn’t new here. I wish I had a way to see all the taken names! But I’m hoping no one else is as jazzed about their freckles as me.

    My awkward came after moving back home so soon after getting married. I’d had a wonderful party in a park last September, quit my job of three years with a huge December celebration of my new love, and ran off to another state only to find out in April that Deadfool had been screwing a clueless coworker the whole time. And he’d had countless prostitutes and emotional affairs.

    I told almost no one while in wreckonciliation (on the advice of blogs, because “if it works out, people will never forget what he did to you,” so I guess chumps are supposed to maintain the facade for cheaters). My Facebook posts were about the fun things we did, and how much I was enjoying my new home and hobbies. Spackle City.

    So all of a sudden I was back, and had to decide how and when to tell people, so I didn’t have those many awkward moments in the grocery store or other places I would see people. I wasn’t ready right away to post my marriage’s demise on social media, so I avoided seeing people for the first couple of months. But right when I got back, there was a huge celebration for a holiday at this local amusement park. Pretty much everyone in my small religious community was there, so I had to just buck up and drop the bomb while in line to buy funnel cake or ride roller coasters or, LOL.

    I am a pretty blunt and blasé person in general, and was able to joke through most of these situations, which I think helped the people receiving the information, and reduce the awkwardness. But I would not wish this process on anyone else, and I hope I never have to go through it again. Except every couple of weeks or months, there seems to be another person I forgot doesn’t know, even after the big reveal on Facebook. So this might just be my life for a few years.

    • Yes, people who haven’t got the memo. Awkward! A family friend we know was speaking @ our church one Sunday and asked, “Where’s _____ ?” Right in front of God, the congregation, and my kids. When I said probably with his girlfriend because we’re divorced over it, he said oh yeah, he had heard that but forgot. Extra uncomfortable because cheater was the president of the congregation before his adultery was discovered.

    • Love your new name Freckles! I think you handled moving home with grace and honesty. I remember that feeling of “there’s no turning back now” after telling it like it is. This crap takes moxie and great courage. Rock On!

  • I trick myself. I allow the opportunity of turning back whenever I find the monkeys in my head arguing over whether I should do something or not. Let’s say it’s hiking. I walk a hill next to my home.

    Monkeys in my head (MIMH): Oh, we don’t feel like it today. What’s the use anyway? We will just stop down the road, nothing will be accomplished and you went through all this pain for nothing.

    Me: I am just going to change into my hiking clothes and we’ll see how it goes.

    MIMH: Okay, but don’t hike the hill, it’s painful.

    Me: I’m just going to hike 1/2 the hill but we can always turn around.

    MIMH: Okay, but don’t hike ALL the hill, it’s painful.

    Me: (at halfway mark) I’m just a going to hike All the hill but we can always turn around.

    MIMH: Okay, but remember you said we can always turn around.

    Me: (at end of hike) See, it wasn’t that bad and I feel pretty good about it!

    MIMH: Okay, but do we have to do it again?


    Only way for me to calm the monkeys is to tell them. “Hey, we can always turn around.”

    PS The monkeys love the rain.

    • LOL!! Our monkeys must be related!!! Mine don’t stop at just rain … they hate humidity, cold wind, hot wind, the midday Alabama sun in June through September, snow, ice, … they are picky little fuckers!!

    • This is great. I have a lot harder time with decisions than before the marriage, and will borrow your nurturing approach to move through the inner critic that thinks sitting on the couch and avoiding all social interaction is the only safe option.

  • My awkward moments include being asked by one of my students during a teacher evaluation if I was married. (I am legally separated going through a very contentious divorce.) I waited until after the evaluation to tell students that I was legally separated. Students, which were generally collectively a tough crowd, behaved sympathetically.

    Other awkward moments include answering the question, ‘Why are you interested in this job now?’ during job interviews when I don’t want the job but have been forced by Family Court to apply for it. My first thought is, ‘My husband left me and took all our money.’ Then I try to think of something that is true and highlights the positives of the job and the situation. I am not generally lazy; I am depressed and not happy about working at a job that pays poorly, I am permanently, hopelessly bad at, I thoroughly dislike and takes up 60+ hours/week (a schedule which is exhausting, prevents me from helping my kids, one of which has special needs, thrive, and seems to preclude me from following my dreams, e.g., finishing my doctorate) help the kids and me merely survive. Some people say that the first job will lead to (much) better jobs. Based on my reading and experience, that doesn’t usually happen for late middle-aged women who have been out of the traditional work force for longer than they have been in it. As a 50+, unemployed, soon to be divorced from a litigious sociopath, mother of young children, I often feel figuratively screwed.

    Fortunately, I am getting better at publicly standing up for my kids (e.g., insisting that people consider providing them medical and educational services, especially when I offer to pay 100%) when STBX decides to do something that harms them and me, tells people that the only thing that needs to be done is me (chump) ‘grow up and start appreciating and loving the kids.’ Since when is politely requesting that your child be allowed to receive medical services that everyone except aggressive, disordered STBX agrees is beneficial/necessary a sign of immaturity and lack of appreciation and respect for one’s child? In cases like mine, joint legal custody SUCKS–I will likely go to court a few times/year for the next decade just to be allowed to give my kids over-the-counter cold medicine–or watch my kids unnecessarily suffer from lack of services–because STBX refuses to let them have basic care.

    • “Then I try to think of something that is true and highlights the positives of the job and the situation”

      Me, too, when people ask why I left Alaska and moved to Oregon. The immediate reaction/response was negative and about XH. My life is no longer about XH so I chose more Pro-Me statements, like, “Well, I’ve always like Oregon and have lived in AK for twenty years and wanted to try something new.” — Ahhh, much better. And, with practice, that is now the immediate reaction/response (instead of that other thing).

      • I found your blog (I think) and I see where you’re contemplating moving to another country. How brave of you! Hope you enjoy your journey.

  • Hi Chump Nation, if there is one thing I’ve learned about Chumps, its that we are not the best at giving ourselves the tools we need to do the job. Let’s take ChumpLady’s story about working out at the gym (with advance apologies)…

    I bet her thought process went something like this:

    “I need to exercise. My squidginess is out of control. Plus it’s good for me. I never should have let my squidginess get out of control.

    And then her subconscious adds, “You must be punished for this.”

    So sensible ChumpLady reasons, “Well, there IS a gym at work…” (probably very inexpensive)

    So even though ChumpLady has just mastered her carefully cultivated professional air at her new job, she determines that she should just put all that aside and take on the new task of better self-care in a very public way. Plus, it’s cheap.

    Only a Chump would do this to themselves (consistently constrain themselves to what’s cheap, or impacts others the least).

    So Tracy, I beseech you. Don’t set yourself up this way. Redo your math. If you want to exercise, then figure out how to enter the world of exercise in a more psychologivally suppoertive way. Only you can determine how that works for you.

    And these are just suggestions:

    1. Join a different gym (convenient to you) so you have a more private place to discover your inner warrior – even for the short term.

    2. Consider skipping the shower. You shower only if YOU want to, not because of some imagined social contract.

    3. Why a lunch workout? A workout is hard to constrain to an hour, anyway (what with showering and all). Again, it seems like something only a Chump would do to themselves (skip eating for a course of public humiliation).

    4. Get help. It’s okay to hire a trainer. Or join a class (spin, yoga, tai chi) that gives you some instruction, camaraderie, and accoutability)

    I’m not picking on ChumpLady. This is more about boundaries. ChumpLady is all over boundaries. But who said that Chumps only get to have boundaries to Keep Out Bad Things?

    I encourage all Chumps to also have boundaries about Good Things as well. Boundaries in the sense that it’s okay (or even mandatory, dammit!) to give ourselves the tools we need to do our jobs (and self-care is a fine job).

    I’m trying be better about this myself – and rest assured, it is often awkward. And by awkward, I mean, loaded with guilt – and even shame.

    Isn’t that silly?

    • LOL. My work gym is FREE! Free! So is the one in my building at home. No excuses.

      My work around is that I walk to work (1.5 miles). But then it rains. 🙁 Or I spend too much time writing my column in the morning. 🙁 So, I can’t take the time to walk the 1.5 miles. (Note to self, work a day ahead… wake up earlier…) And then the cookies call to me… you see how it goes.

      I have no excuses! When I considered it though, there was an awkward barrier there. Then again, I’m pretty immune to mortification these days. (I wrote a book… and a blog… nationally outing myself as a CHUMP.)

      But thanks for the pep talk. Much obliged.

      • Forgot to add:

        5. Get new sneakers. Chumps are probably notoriously bad at plunking down 150 bucks for new cushiony shoes that fit properly. Plantar faciatis is real, y’all.

        6. Treat yourself to two new, totally cute workout outfits – including a cute wrap to throw on after. Why torture yourself with worn-out spandex that doesn’t even fit the best? If you can find it in your favorite color – that’s even better.

        Why should all the ‘carrots’ be saved for later, or eaten instead of cookies?

        • Seconding the shoes. Spend the $150 if you can afford it. (You’re worth it.) I have never regretted spending too much on shoes.

          • Yes on the freaking expensive shoes. Outrageously over priced but so necessary!!! My running shoes kept me both upright and sane after DDay. You can’t put a price on that.

      • You need to UBT what those cookies are saying … we would all benefit, I imagine!!

    • These are all good tips, but I have to say that the reason I go to the gym is for health benefits, so I don’t have to buy new clothes (because of weight gain) and because I feel awesome when my body is working the way it should/can.

      The reason I do NOT go to the gym is laziness, cold weather, TV, cookies/cake, and adorable dogs with big brown watery eyes imploring me not to leave the house AGAIN today!!

      (Also, if I did not shower? It would be DIS.GUSTING. — I remember running a marathon one day, and there was this perky chipper runner who passed me, giving the never unappreciated “Good job!” salute as she ran past me — my response, a half-gasping/half-vomiting “You…. too…. [wheeze]” She had this teeny tiny little triangle of sweat between her shoulder blades. That’s it. Her little (dry) ponytails bounced along. No sweat anywhere else. I, OTOH, look like a straggler to Moses’ whole Red Sea thing.)

    I had my daughter’s boyfriend (now my son in law) wait until almost dark to teach me how to start it and the general method involved in pushing it. That first little segment of cut yard literally made me cry with satisfaction. My kids took a picture! My area is rocky and steep, so I needed tough boots, plus gloves, earplugs, and safety glasses. I always wear jeans and long sleeves to prevent scrapes and insect bites, plus a hat for sun so I look completely ridiculous compared to my male neighbors who look like they’re out for a stroll in sneakers and shorts, but I don’t care anymore!
    When the “good” mower is acting up, I can load it in the truck with the help of my neighbor’s son, take it to the shop and explain what it’s not doing. I can just keep on pulling the cord on the old NOT self-propelled mower until the bitch finally starts and if it doesn’t, I can Google what to do next, and I can remove and scrape the crud off the spark plug.
    Each one of these steps was painfully awkward the first time, but now I’m a champ at it. Does my yard look good? Hell, no – it’s rocky and steep. But it’s mine and I can handle it and I’m proud of that!

    • Same here with the mower! Mine broke down and I had to load it into the trunk of my car to haul it to the shop–I live on a busy main road in town so everything I do in my front yard is on public display, which is very awkward, but I’ve been managing to keep my head held high even on the tenth try at starting the mower.

      The worst, though, was the extension I borrowed for my leaf blower so that I could clear out the gutters. The thing is twelve feet long and has a mind of its own–getting the blower started, strapping it to my back, and getting the huge and heavy extension going in the right direction is, well, let’s just say it’s not the most dignified endeavor, especially since the best way to get leverage before I point it up at the roof is to secure it with my knees first.

      Blowing out my gutters with a huge strap-on between my legs is definitely awkward! But so far no one has posted any videos of my struggles (though I’m sure many people driving by have had a good laugh)–and my gutters are clean as a whistle.

      • Other Kat – I AM NOT WORTHY!
        But fortunately, I can clean my gutters with a ladder and a garden hose with the nozzle set to full blast.

        • Not at all, I’m just a big old chicken when it comes to getting on ladders–that is much more mighty in my book!

      • Other Kat (OK ?),

        You are mighty! This summer, just months after DD and post cancer surgery and chemotherapy treatment, I needed to somehow get an old push mower into my van.

        It was broken and would cost more to repair it than a new one. I needed to take it to be recycled. I couldn’t lift, due to surgery, and many incredible friends and family were a bit series cheater divorce and cancer fatigued.

        Rather than sit down and cry, I figured out I could lean it back and the front tires touched the bottom of my van’s back cargo door. I was able to leverage and slide it into the van. A nice man at recycling lifted it out for me.

        It would likely seem a small thing to many but it was the day I started to own my mightiness and determined no matter the circumstances I wouldn’t crumble.

        I stood tall with my middle finger to my STBX even higher. I hired a lawn care guy that brings his wife and son to help. They appreciate the work, I appreciate them, and they even help me other small projects as needed.

        It’s awkward for we Chumps that are so capable and hard working to ask for help. I remind myself of my turning point often when the next “first” comes at me from
        raging or sad sausage cheater. Given time, all circumstances can change and the take away lessons can fortify our mightiness.

        Next up…goodbye awkward cancer! You’ve taught me the lessons I needed (leave a cheater, gain a life) and now our time together needs to come to an end.

        Stay mighty this cold January weekend CN; mad respect to all of you.

        • FN, I am in awe. I barely managed to get my mower into my trunk without surgery, and I strained all kinds of muscles doing it. But you are so right about how these seemingly small tasks can be empowering, particularly for those of us who were married to narcissists of the control-freak variety.

          I remember all I could think was that the last thing I wanted to happen before I got the damn mower in the trunk was for X to drive by and wrestle it from me, which was his MO for the first few months of our separation, always just happening to show up to “help” when I was trying to do something myself for the first time.

          Then a few weeks later I had to take my front screen door to the local hardware store to be repaired. The very idea of roping it into the trunk was so intimidating I thought about buying a new door and having it delivered, which would have been an expense I couldn’t really afford. So I put my big girl panties on and managed to secure it into the trunk as best I could, but then I had to face the daunting task of driving with it hanging half out of my trunk without flying out and hitting another car or person and/or running into X, who would have had all manner of things to say about my poorly-tied knots and the dangers I was posing to myself and others.

          Silly long story short, I put my blinkers on and took a very slow ride down side streets and not only managed to get the door repaired, but made another trip back and forth with it two weeks later after the screen blew out again. Didn’t even put the blinkers on, just strapped it in and took off. This time I actually wanted to run into X, ha!

          Nothing at all like facing surgery and cancer through all of the other post-chump challenges–that is truly mighty, FN. Here’s to a cancer-free 2017 and beyond!

      • Other Kat you are mighty!

        I found a plastic product for my gutters at Home Depot that was less than $2.00 for a 20 foot roll! It fits right down in the gutters and wala! No need to clean!|THD|google|&mid=sXHAZG02o|dc_mtid_8903tb925190_pcrid_111414437105_pkw__pmt__product_202518614_slid_&gclid=Cj0KEQiAnb3DBRCX2ZnSnMyO9dIBEiQAOcXYH7DYypYWDg1rxv8SPCUa256CiqnExYwFlBrHP1rTCOAaAqJn8P8HAQ

    • Ha! This is fabulous New. I feel the same about assembling flat pack furniture. You go!

  • I went through the awkward phase while being separated, then the divorce process and afterwards.

    I decided I was going to take the red pill and muscle through every phase of life so that I would come out the other side as this super evolved human. It worked!

    I built a new business, I’m an awesome single dad and now gdad(!), got my shit together to start dating again, know who I am, know my worth, know my boundaries. Every single thread of life has improved.

    Thanks so much cheater for being the catalyst! And fuck you too btw.

    • Hmmm, this ‘red pill’ construct is very helpful.

      To riff on my earlier comment today, I find that Chumps can be very good at misfiling a lot of endeavors under ‘taking the red pill’ (“Look at me, doing the heavy lifting because who said life was going to be easy!”), that may be more about self-denial (not giving ourselves the tools we need to do our jobs – like taking appropriate care of ourselves).

      Figuring out where to draw the line between appropriate self-care and extravagance is my current challenge.

    • I love how so many of us who are at “Meh” have that little kicker in the end. Just yesterday, I told a fellow chump, “Oh, yeah, I’m really past it. Whatever he wants to do. The whatever of ‘why’, etc. — Of course, if he died in a fiery plane crash, I wouldn’t be sad.” 😉

  • Awkward was when my ex brought his mistress to senior night. It was a night where our daughter was being recognized as a member of marching band in her senior year of high school during a football game. It’s kind of a big deal. She asked my sister and I to walk her and my ex showed and brought ” her”…the home wrecker. First and last thing we were at together.
    He introduced her around like it was nothing. Our kids had been very clear about never wanting anything to do with her but his feeling was hurt that he hadn’t been asked to walk our daughter on the field and to stick it to his child , he showed up with his mistress.
    That was the day my kids went NC…..almost two years now. I know my daughter was heartbroken inside, but refused to give him the satisfaction, refused to acknowledge he was even there, and took a selfie on the field of her family…..the people she could count on.
    That was the day I got mighty. If she could do it, so could I.
    Fuck him….
    Now he’s just pathetic, and I don’t care if I ever see them together.
    I no longer feel awkward, I just feel happy fuckface is her problem now.
    Gigantic hugs to all those that have to see their ex and his mistress on a regular basis, I hope you got a shit ton of money in the divorce to endure that.

    • the audacity of some of these bastards, right? XH’s dad (also a cheater — ding ding ding!) did the same thing: introduced his AP around like it was no big deal and truly seemed oblivious to everyone else’s awkwardness. It wasn’t ever spiteful, just like, well, this is how it is now so it should be perfectly normal! — Amazing.

    • My STBX is doing the same shit. Brought his young girlfriend to son’s soccer game. This was just 3 months after he left for good and 2 months after his sister was born and STBX hadn’t even told the kids he was dating. Son went no contact for 2 months. STBX was outraged (and blamed me). “Kids will just have to accept who makes me happy.”

      self centered bastards

  • I’d say the awkwardness of being single for the first time in several years in and of itself is pretty weird.

    The awkwardness of the first person you actually talk to after your ex. I recently met someone, and after talking to him, I texted three of my friends and was like “…um…I don’t know what to do.” And it was even more awkward when he actually talked back. A lot. All day. I was like “Uhm…he keeps talking to me…like…he’s not going away. This is good right?”

    I had to actually show my friends the messages he was sending me and they were like “Kara. He’s flirting. No, really, there, there, and there. He’s flirting with you.”

    I felt so dumb haha.

    • Kara, this happened to me as well. I had been introduced to a single man recently divorced as well. He started texting me about really random things that I became really confused about. I seriously thought he had meant the texts for someone else and was accidentally sending them to me. I ended up calling a long time single gal pal and told her about his texts. She just chuckled and told me he absolutely meant those texts for me and that in between the lines he was flirting and the random subject of the texts was just so he had something to talk to me about. She said it was cute, and she was 100% right. I felt dumb but he and I are now dating and it’s been a fun first step dipping my toe into the dating pool after 14 years.

      • This is the first time I have been single in over 7 years. Which I realize is a shorter time than some people here, but still, it’s awkward and difficult.

        What’s interesting about this guy is not only did he flirt, but I did have some casual sex with him, and then I went to my home state to visit family for two weeks. And he talked to me every day while I was gone. For most of the day. If he wanted to ghost me, he had a golden opportunity to do so, but he didn’t.

        I did a sketch portrait of him (I’m an artist) and he liked it so much, it’s now his profile picture on fb.

        I’m tentative, of course, because honestly, my ability to trust has been shattered. I’ve been cheated on too many times to immediately trust anymore. I told him that right upfront. I told him a little bit about my history of being a chump, and that I’m just not able to trust someone enough for a full relationship yet. He told me he’s actually in a similar position, and he’s not ready either.

        And here he is…still talking to me. Still asking to meet up. Still here. I’m slightly in disbelief. This is a day and age where no one wants to really TRY and usually “I’m not ready for a relationship” leads to ghosting. And he’s stuck around anyway. It’s nice. I’m kind of enjoying that there’s not the pressure to immediately commit, but he’s still willing to communicate with me.

        Which brings me to the point I guess: The awkwardness of learning to be able to trust someone again for the first time after a series of cheating/painful experiences. And the first time you meet someone who turns out to NOT be an asshole. It’s like “Is this even for real?”

  • My first time going to a singles meetup. I walked in, turned around and walked out, drove away, got mad at myself, turned back around and parked, went back in and had a fabulous time.

    Then there was the first time ex took the kids and ow on a week long beach vacation and i was home having to make the decision to put my kids very sick cat down, all by myself.

  • During the “good times “, I was concerned about using a mutual gas card because the narc claimed his xw had run up 16 credit cards and their joint bank account. So he wanted to completely control the money and I had a separate card and bank account. Later, he offered a joint credit card only for gas or an emergency. When he discarded me, we had a joint bank account. I had very little money and was inquiring at the bank if I could transfer money from our joint account to my separate account. They told me that I could have it all and close the joint account. I did it instantly which helped me lawyer up. I was so controlled that it was freeing to take that money after 18 years of marriage and now we mediate next week after 19 months. I have learned to live alone, not be told how to drive or what direction to take, eat alone and in peace. I learned to drive two different tractors on the farm and be content on a 100 acres watching wildlife and helping with a coonhound rescue. Peace! Happy 2017!

  • Sitting at my son’s extra curricular sporting activities and having Fucktard bring his whole family (which is a small army and also the skank) to watch. He liked to ditch his family and slunt and come sit with me which usually ended with me laughing at him, an argument and then me telling him to get the fuck away from me.

    Ohhhh the one time slunt sat on “MY” side and I sent him a text and told him to come get his lost mutt because she was clearly in the wrong place (in my sight of vision ?), he didn’t like that much but I laughed and gave whore a little wave. Ruff ruff.

    Then he really pissed me off so I got a court order where only the two of us and paternal and maternal grandparents can now watch son’s extra curricular/school activities. End of awkwardness for me but I think they still feel awkward and they should.

    The reality is Fucktard is nothing without his small army backing him. No one fucks with the Queen – silly little bitch!! Gooooo team!!!!

  • My awkward first was this week. I went on vacation with someone I barely knew who is from another country. I’ve never gone on a vacation with someone I’m not close with. She is a mutual friend and she sent out an email blast a few months ago asking who’s single and wants to do something for New Year’s and I said Let’s Go!

    We hit up the Caribbean together and just got back yesterday. It was awkward at first but turns out we are both easygoing people and had so much fun together. Two single gals on a beach vacation – watch out!!

    This is my first step on my New Year’s Resolution to Gain A Life!!

  • I think the first awkward (post dd#2) was a concert our daughter was in. I sent him a link to buy tickets and did my own thing. I don’t know where his seat was but he did go alone, afik. It ended up being fine, I just didn’t want to sit with him. I feel strongly about not doing any “happy family” bullshit, at least for now. Maybe by graduation or wedding, I won’t care if we sit together but for now, I don’t want to, so I don’t.

    I still have a pile of awkward to do (meet OW, date, sex…) but I’ve been solo parent for years and I never put my ring back on after DD#1, so no awkward there.

  • SOOO many awkward firsts this year, but here’s the one that has turned out best so far…first time SCUBA diving in over 7 years…with no dive buddy.

    I’d tried multiple times over that 7 years to convince “him” to schedule a diving trip with me, but he never would. SO, after D-Day and some time with a really good counselor, I decided I needed to go diving again…back to my happy place – under water and safe from society at large. (Divers are not normal people/not typical society…which is why I love them and feel very safe and comfortable around them…especially under water.)

    …but, I no longer had a diving buddy. Awkward.

    …and I no longer fit into my own wet suit. Awkward and embarrassing. …but I had his wet suit which was much too big for me, but I knew it would still work fine for this first attempt to literally dive back in to happiness.

    So, I sucked it up, took a refresher course, and scheduled a trip with my dive school. Awkward or not, I knew all these folks had trained exactly the same way I had, and there were two dive instructors on the trip, too. …not too difficult to join up in a trio of dive buddies. (It’s a bit challenging for a single woman to safely find a dive buddy, but not too difficult to buddy up in a trio on a large group trip.)

    …and I loved it. …some anxiety for the first two minutes since it HAD been over 7 years since I dove open water, but the deeper I got and the closer I got to the shallow wreck, the more I eased into the sheer wonder and happiness of diving again. I literally left the surface world for a bit and thoroughly enjoyed my safe and happy world under water.

    Well, eventually I had to resurface.

    Awkward again.

    After 7 years, I wasn’t just rusty; I’d also gained weight during depression.

    Oops. I’d managed to deal with the wet suit issue, but hadn’t accounted for the depths of my flab.

    I had to have help getting back into the boat! (…didn’t help that the water was rough and the waves were rocking the boat pretty high and low at the time, but I knew the biggest problem was ME. I was WAY too out of shape.) I even barfed over the side of the boat. That NEVER happens!

    …and that was it for me that weekend. I was scheduled for four dives, but I only made it through the first one. My body just couldn’t handle anymore.

    …but that time under water was Heaven. The fact that I was still depressed after D-day and physically struggling with the neglect I’d inflicted on my own body just opened my eyes…and heart…and digestive system (in reverse). Lol

    I had to bail on the rest of the dives that weekend, but it lit a fire in me that I desperately needed. I was GOING to get in diving shape ASAP. I was GOING to FIT into my own wet suit and start diving regularly again.

    …so, when I got back home, I immediately started eating healthy and using the My Fitness Pal app to hold myself accountable, joined (and regularly attended/used the weight room at) a local gym, started attending a few water aerobics and fitness classes (also awkward – BAD personal body image and being around people – awkward for me, an introverted, wounded puppy), addressed a few minor health issues with my doctor (which slowed my exercise progress for a bit…but only for a bit), and set up light exercise options at home while I was restricted from heavy exercise and later, for the days I couldn’t make it to the gym during open hours.

    I’m now 9 months past D-day and 5 months after that first dive. My health is better than it has been in years. I’ve lost over 20 pounds. …which doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering the 8 weeks of restricted activity and my determination to stick to doctor’s orders to build muscle and lose weight slowly (so it’s more likely to STAY off and improve fitness…not JUST lose weight), I’m okay with it.

    20+ pounds in 5 months (2 of which were under restricted exercise) isn’t bad. Actually, it’s right on schedule for the .5-1.5 pounds per week the doc wants. …seems slow while I’m impatiently ready to push forward like a rocket, BUT…when the experts you trust tell you exactly what to do, it’s generally better to follow the advice of the experts with YEARS of experience and education. 😉

    I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at the gym…in the weight room AND in the pool classes. (As awkward and scary as it was to be around a lot of people WHILE WEARING A BATHING SUIT, it turns out that the instructors and folks in these classes are pretty awesome. It’s a great work out and a lot of fun. …and keeps me from being a hermit. Lol)

    I could probably fit into my own wet suit now, but I’m waiting just a few more weeks/pounds to try it…just in case. …but it’ll be soon. I’ve already scheduled another short dive trip in late February and another in April. I WILL fit into my own wet suit by late February, and I WILL be fit enough to enjoy every single dive. 🙂

    Every moment of the last 9 months, learning to adapt to this new reality, has been awkward, and I’m nowhere near meh yet. …but each awkward moment of moving forward has built momentum. The awkwardness fades and the fun emerges. I’ve still got a lot of awkward days ahead, but they’re not as scary anymore.

    …and by this time next year, I suspect I WILL need a new wet suit. …a smaller one. 🙂

    • Cdclocks,
      Well done with the exercise program. I too love diving and I do a lot of deep water aquarobics as my preferred exercise.

      I recall a very old gentleman I once knew at the gym saying “it’s the days you don’t feel like exercising, that you must exercise” and he was over 90!

    • Thanks for sharing the awkward AND your inspirational. Your writing reminded me some of the things I love about diving, and it’s exactly like my many dreams of flying are, except for the breathing equipment.

    • Thanks for sharing! I am an avid diver and think this is a great activity to get fit for. You are brave to step out and into your goals and your future. So super!

    • cdclocks – inspirational story – you are brave and getting out there – fantastic! And don’t ever downplay losing 20 pounds – that is a LOT of weight to lose and you are right, slow and steady wins the race. I appreciate your story – you lifted my spirits!

    • Wow. Maybe finding diving buddies won’t be as daunting as I thought! CN has been a huge source of encouragement as I work beyond this nightmare, so I always knew there were kindred spirits and supportive folks here. …but I never thought about how many might also be divers. Lol That’s awesome!

      Most folks around my land-locked area just look at me funny when they see me focused on getting fit for SCUBA diving – which I consider my best “safe” and “happy place,” though the gym and pool are quickly becoming second best…and are infinitely more immediate and accessible. …more than sufficient to “tide me over” between dive trips. (Pun intended.) 😉

  • Awkward is everyone in the school knows you are going through a nasty divorce/custody battle and you go to your child’s parent/teacher meeting at school and you can just see who’s taking sides. Although it definitely helped that I had been blogging for a few months by then and the whole school read it so they knew what an evil whack-a-mole I was dealing with.

  • My awkward first was my son’s university graduation, where I found my single self sharing the front row with OW and ex, her smiling and waiving to my son. I felt so many emotions that day, recalling the many years of effort put into raising kids, being a good wife, single parentong while ex travelled on business…it was a watershed, but not one I wished to share with the interloper. She should have been classy enough to be otherwise busy that day and let us quietly celebrate our family success. Hell, she stole everything else.

    Fortunately I resisted the urge to publicly embarrass myself and took the high road. My son told his father to go celebrate elsewhere since he didn’t want his Mom being forced to dine with the whore.

    • Marci,

      Same story here. Change story from son to daughter’s graduation from college. I keep thinking “why could the OWhore not have been classy enough to not attend that very special event.” Then I realized because she was the OW, she didn’t have any class, didn’t know what class is, and would never have any class.

    • Your son is a gem!
      My son knows when I’m upset and he is only 2! They know

  • I thought I’d share an awkward experience for my poor extended family. My abusive, cheating narc STBX, who is taking me to court on false allegations for the umpteenth time and has falsely publicly accused one of my parents of molesting our kids. decided to pick up our kids at a relatives’ house a couple of hours away as the kids’ wanted to attend a relative’s birthday party and I needed to look for work at that time. STBX attended the party (without invitation), stating not for a few minutes but hours, ate the expensive, fancy food, and even without invitation got into the family photo, the last family photo of the sort my family will ever have because some of the members have advanced stage cancer. He also wanted (offered) to attend a family outing to a major amusement park that week. The nerve of narcs! One of my relatives thankfully had the confidence to to tell my STBX that she did not feel comfortable with him attending our family outing that week. STBX started an argument with my dad, insulting my dad. A sibling of mine (politely) told my STBX to get out (that he was not allowed to fight with my relatives at a family party). I think that we (my family) is finally involuntarily ready for a bad reality show or one of those talk shows where bouncers tear people off each other…

    I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised–when we go to the meetings (held infrequently) to discuss the education and medical care of our child with special needs, he spends most of the time talking about himself instead of ways to help his child who is struggling mightily.

    • Why do they act so clueless about normal boundaries most people know not to cross. It’s so insulting. Narcs make people around them so uncomfortable when they don’t seem to follow basic societal norms. He was an unwelcome guest and should have left rather than impose on your family. He sucks.

      • NWHI, Thanks for responding. Ideally, STBX will have fewer and fewer opportunities to hang around as our kids get older.

        • I don’t think the guy was clueless about crashing the family party. He wanted you to know that your family likes him better. That’s the way shitheads think.

          • Quite possibly, Survivor. This is the human being who convinced me to come home (from one home to another) to purportedly be a dutiful wife who took care of not just one but three homes a few years ago–to be ‘searched’ by police although I did nothing wrong. (In one of his false allegations, he ttold the police I stole some items from him.) Will try to protect my extended family from my law-breaking, manipulative STBX.

            • I hear you. The creature I was fool enough to marry accused me of spousal abuse, and, when the cops told him he was dreaming, made a citizen’s arrest to “teach me a lesson.” He also claimed my grandmother’s furniture in the divorce because she (who met him twice) liked him better than me. And he took a crowbar to the patio door at my secure undisclosed location after I finally got free, to steal back what the court awarded me in the divorce, including the cats. Did I mention he made a play for my baby sister? The idea of taking your family from you is high on the agenda of the disordered. Even if your family has your back. Especially if your family has your back.

  • For me, the most awkward time was when I left the Fucktard and spent six months on the couch at my Dad’s house without telling the outside world what was going on. We were in MC and I was hoping it would all work out, just a rough patch, nothing to talk about here. HOWEVER, at that same time, unbeknown to me, the Fucktard was running around proclaiming himself separated, and saying that even so, he and I were “still the closest of friends.” He was also telling people he was living at our vacation cabin. And that I was always cool with him dating while married. And that I was crazy. The list went on and on.

    I’d run into people who’d tell me how surprised they were that we had an open marriage, or wanting to know when he’d moved to the lake, and whatnot. After he’d lured me back home to reconcile. Awkward!

    • What rotten behavior on the part of your ex! Hope you don’t have to suffer fools/jerks so much these days!

      • Not so much, RSW. The Fucktard ex had the good sense to die a long, painful and lonely death some years back at the age of barely 57. I met a nice chump man 13 years ago and we’ve been married six years now. His now 26 year old daughter unfortunately took after his disordered ex, and is no longer welcome in our home. God knows we tried with that one, but hey, NC works wonders when reason won’t.

  • When I run into someone who knows STBX but doesn’t know we are divorcing but asks “Are you STBX’s wife?” Ummmm…technically, I am. Never know how to answer.

    The other one is when I meet people and I have the baby. They just assume I am married (as I have 2 other kids). When they find out I am divorcing, they look at me funny. And all I can think is do they wonder if I was the one who cheated and that is why I have this baby on my own.

    • Sending you hugs. Please focus on what you need to do, don’t fret over what other people think. As CL says, have 1 line to tell your story. Succinct and to the point.
      One day, those people will get it!

    • What about answering Are you X’s wife with something like “Only until the divorce is finalized! You’d think it’d be quicker in cases where your husband has cheated on you…”

  • Awkwardness of realizing the cute guys who smile at you are 10 years younger and only being nice because they think of you as a kind auntie. (Not that I blame them, lol.)

    Awkwardness of looking at photos of yourself when you’re feeling pretty and well put together and realizing you’re actually quite frumpy and lumpy. (Eww, who IS that? Me?? OMG)

    Newly divorced feels fresh and youthful and happy. But the old face/bod doesn’t reflect that. At all.

    Haven’t found a way to overcome this stuff. I like myself a lot, and I’m very confident, truly. But I don’t like mirrors!!

    • Hmmm, you know the cute guys that smile at you may NOT be thinking of you as a kind auntie. They might be interested in trying something else. I do know how you feel, after the huge weight loss and 2 years of hell I gained a lot of wrinkles and grey hair. I look 10 years older than I am. Hard to adjust to looking old seemingly over night. I stay away from mirrors too. Jedi Hugs!

      • Those guys are *not* thinking of you as a kind auntie. They want to get in your panties. Give us a smile in case we are shy, and see what happens. ?

        • I agree with Dubious. Many of the women in my family, including me, have significantly younger partners (usually husbands), our gray hair, wrinkles, lumps, and bumps notwithstanding.

  • Ok, now that I am about a yr and some months out of the divorce and no longer – an emotionally labile mess with verbal diarrhoea about my story(I still have moments, I share with my mom)— I am ready to blow this horn
    I was scared of heights, but hey- I didn’t care if I died at the time when the divorce was proceeding- so I went sky diving and bungee jumping.

    I don’t swim, but started swimming and surfing lessons.

    Joined a PErsonal Training studio and can dead lift 80 kg easy now.

    With a lot of CN help and encouragement from CL, got the nerve to stick an 80% settlement . Got a decent lawyer.

    Applied for a second job and they love me:)
    Dating long distance now … really scared.. but going mighty.

    Yes… the inner critic is so heavy handed… I have blocked nearly all of my regular “friends “. Can count two people that I trust, other than my family and my dog. Some days are not just awkward- they feel like mountains. Even getting out of bed is hard – but got to go on …
    Cannot let me or you lovely people down.

    • An 80% settlement. That’s. Mighty. May I be ever so fortunate in two weeks. Everyone on here inspires me to keep going when I want to give in. So thank you.

  • Everything was excruciatingly painful and awkward after Dday. Then after I kicked him out because he wouldn’t “choose” me and our family over the young whore– ugh! — after 25 years together, I felt even worse at first. I lost the “pick me” dance. I felt old (although I look like I’m much younger than I am at 48), I felt rejected. I felt abandoned. I felt like something was horribly wrong with me. I felt crazy because from my vantage point (and my therapists’ input) I seemed like a great person: warm, caring, loyal, devoted wife and mother, fit, smart, ambitious, extremely hard worker, excellent cook and housekeeper, successful attorney, love sex. But he left me, so something must be wrong with me, right????? But, he also left our 4 wonderful kids. . . .So, NO, it wasn’t me! Thanks to CL, CN, and a very few select friends, and God, I see that it was all him. He sucks (and by “sucks”, I mean he probably has mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse issues, FOO issues, narcissism, and complete lack of integrity, compassion, empathy, responsibility, decency, common sense ….. not my monkey and no longer my circus — my job is just to know he sucks. That’s who he is. We are not compatible today. He does not have the bare minimum deal breakers for me: fidelity, compassion, integrity. End of story. Divorce is imminent.

    Here are the “events” I made it through even though I felt extremely awkward:

    Within months of separation, I took my kids on “our” family vacations to the lake and then to Hawaii solo — faced all those memories — saw all those public-intact families all while the loud “why why why” was clanging in my head — I put on my running shoes, sobbed my heart out, asked myself whether I still loved those places, whether “he” would steal those from me too. Answered “HELL NO!!!” Enjoyed the time with my kids, knew it would be better the “next” time, and soaked up some sun and got a nice tan (gave myself a complete pass on hats and 50 spf sunscreen the first year);
    I did Thanksgiving solo — all our family traditions — the food was delicious, the kids thankful — I felt mighty (also heard that douche and whore child, who can’t boil water, went to a crappy restaurant alone on Thanksgiving all while my kids were sending him pics of my amazing pies, the turkey, all the trimmings from scratch — Baahaahaaa;
    Did Christmas all alone — up on the roof putting up the lights and all — felt scared and shaky, but did it! Felt mighty!;
    Make a new tradition for Christmas Eve, which used to be spent at SIL — we now go to an awesome restaurant that my kids picked — I survived the pain of all the other tables looking at me in my gorgeous dress, big hair and makeup, 4 gorgeous kids …. no husband. I held my head high. The wait staff treated us extra special.

    Ok, too many to list: last one: I survived kissing and all forms of sex with a new partner — hadn’t kissed anyone else since first Bush was in office. I had to tell him about the life-time STD douche gave me. I thought I”d die. But, turns out he has it too! Complete non issue. Hahahahahahah!!!!! Sex was amazing! I love him, he is no cheater, a complete mensch, and. . . .. HUGE!!!! if you know what I mean! Sorry if TMI. He’s a bit older and thinks of me as his young sexy thing! Hahahahaha…….gorgeous, fit (met at the gym), completely single, and we have been dating 18 months and taking it super slow. His kids are awesome. My kids are ok because we don’t do overnights and we don’t step on their boundaries.

    Sorry, gotta go. Thank you CL!!! Thank you CN!!!!

      • Thank you GetMeFree. Not for most, I know, but for me, dating my one-guy, being intimate with him after 26 years with only STBX, has contributed to building a life, having some fun, boosting damaged sexuality/femininity/rejection. I went on a run with him and kissed him 6 months after DDay 1 and “only” 1 month after I kicked douche out after DDay 10+. That’s too quick for some, but turned out well for me so far. 19 mo this later,still taking it slow. No overnights, no drama, just support, love, lots of fun (work out and run 5x a week together). A different perspective.

        • I was mostly referring to continuing to do all the family things together and start new traditions. To not let him “steal” those things from you, too.

          I personally have no desire to get within 100 yards of another guy yet, but if that is making you feel mighty and you are keeping it from messing with your relationship with your kids, then I say “go girl”.

  • Sitting in the emergency room with STBX after my baby’s seizure. This was Thursday night. On Tuesday, he sent me a text letting me know that he was going to be stopping the automatic deposits of his paychecks and that he would just pay back support once things were finalized. In other words, he was telling me he was keeping all his income for himself and I should figure out how to pay the bills on my own (we have 3 kids, one who is special needs) and he would “settle up” later.

    Fool doesn’t realize how temporary support works, but he definitely showed exactly how responsible he feels about his kids and how little he truly cares about them.

    It was all I could do not to turn to him in that room and kick his ass.

    • Oooo, I would not have stopped!
      That kind of anger is exactly what that POS needs! To teach him a lesson once and for all: he cannot mess with his kids’s welfare! Amen!
      Jesus, who are these laws protecting???

    • GetMeFree,
      I am angry for you, your kids, and everyone else who hears those sob stories, which oftentimes are just depictions of selfishness and entitlement by the abandoning spouse.

  • I decided to try something completely different and started practicing with the local roller derby team. At 52. Oh, it was awkward, all right. I hadn’t skated since Michael Jackson went solo. During my first timed skate (goal is 27 laps in 5 minutes), I had to roll off after 21 and puke in a garbage can. It was fun, and great exercise, but I took a break when I cracked my tail bone (still taking that break) and dedicated myself to mountain biking. New man bought himself a mountain bike. Next adventure: paddle boarding.

  • I felt awkward receiving a birthday wish from one of his friends, wishing me “all the best”. Does she know I’m divorcing that looser? Of course she knows his version. It’s well known how his truth is built upon lies and deceit. So what do I do now with this birthday wish, and “all the best”?
    I reply: I lost the worst, now I have the best!
    She’s actually a nice person, she’s been nice to me, probably clueless to the real situation. But I’m still pissed!
    I haven’t reach that Olympic awkward yet, I’m taking it one step at a time. And tell myself that I am freaking awesome!

  • I agree with many of the comments here that being single itself after such a long time is awkward in and of itself. Going to weddings alone. Going to movies alone.

    Not dating because I have never dated in my life, and my ex was the second man I’ve ever been with. I’m pretty invisible to guys in general, so in a way that’s nice, but at the same time of course some attention would be nice. But UGH. SO AWKWARD. 🙁

  • After 2 yrs reading CL & CN I am ready.. My brave/awkward moment was
    ✅going to the lawyer’s office on myown (I was so scared) When I parked some kid on the street said outloud “you are a hot lady.. ” ?
    ✅ At the lawyer’s office I started talking, crying & venting with the paralegal lady and she was so sad & mad with what happened to me that said: “You are so beautiful you will find someone nice”
    ✅ Another day I went to notarized a document & I was getting in a parking & a land scaping truck horn at me. I guess the cheaters diet is working ??
    ✅ 4 days ago I visited my female doctor to follow up on my depression & anxiety pills ( thanks to Mr. Cheaters ) and the doctor all of a sudden said: “At some point you will not these meds anymore and we will find you a “real man for you”
    ✅ It is good to know that it is not our fault however the fact that people think we need a “man” in order to be happy is not fair. I am happy for my CN ladies that found real men. But I know & we know that we can be happy without men, too. I am separated & I can not wait to have Mr. Cheaters out of my life. My only partner, my first boyfriend and I am not planning to date for a long time. I need to know first how I will manage my life on my own, deal with a preteen & manage my finances alone. I am not thinking about sex or men right now .

  • Our first court date and my attorney had never met my husband. Later my attorney asked “was that your Husband in there by you”? Me. “Yep”. Her. “Wow. He is no Don Juan, you will do just fine in the dating world.” I told the story to my 20 something son. He had to Google Don Juan. Youth!!!

  • Something that has really helped. Six years prior to final BD and abandonment, we had gone to a few therapists for issues (family counseling).
    These issues were of control nature, or more correctly, his wanting absolute control of me and the kids.
    Over the course of a few years, two different therapists (actually three) looked directly at me and said “Magneto, it’s not you.”.

    At the time, my old sparkle self thought this was not helpful to counseling, because ALL marital issues have two sides, right? 😉
    I wrote it off to the fact I was more personable while xh was more socially awkward.

    As I step out, now alone – I used to believe that I was all to blame for the affair and his unhappiness. Now for the first time I truly understand and accept those words spoken to me.

    For the first time I really don’t feel that his unhappiness was “my fault”. I know now that I couldn’t wave a magic wand over xh head and make him happy, or fix the cluster f* of relationships he built with his children or me. I did my best. Not only did I, but counselors could see my efforts. If he could not, if he did not value what I offered, I can’t force him to.

    That’s an awkward acceptance.

  • So many awkward situations for me, almost a year past the trickling information from D-day, and the past year of the failed wreckonciliation. Most awkward is still trying to see the woman I have been with for 16 years since I was a teenager, turn into a completely different person, and continually fighting to not see her as who she was, so I don’t get sucked back in.

    Also awkward is my lack of confidence and fear of the future, until the affair was found out, I was always so sure of us and our life. Some days it becomes a struggle to be sure of decisions I make and I just want to find myself again. And the fear that there is a chance that our 2 young daughters could end up living with her far away from the community we currently live in, I will fight the best I can in order to keep them in the only home they have ever known, but even thinking about not having them everyday is awkward and devastating to me.

    She still lives in the house disappearing for certain amounts of time, and magically appearing at home again after no communication with me or the girls, wish I could legally change the locks and say goodbye! Hoping there will soon be court orders telling her to leave and telling me those little girls are staying home…..I am sure there will be much more awkwardness to come!

    • Dubbs–document, document, document. If your cheater is leaving the house for wide stretches of time, without explanation, she is leaving the children in your care, no? If she is routinely abandoning the children, it is highly likely that YOU can get majority custody as the sane, stable parent. Document other abnormalities in her behavior. Keep a notebook, use dates and times and lots of details.

      Courts nowadays are heavily disposed to 50/50 custody except when it is not in the interest of the children for them to be with an irresponsible parent.

      I’m sorry you find yourself in this situation. Sign up for the Forums and post details of your situation in Private: General to get the most specific recommendations from people (including men) who have been in your position.

      • I went a long time not keeping detailed notes but since I have realized this was the direction she wanted, even though she doesn’t do anything to get our family out of limbo and leaves it all on me to make decisions. I have been able to look back at calendars and phone records in order to put together a solid timeline. I now document daily how involved we both are with our children from who is running them to activities, making meals, homework and bedtimes.

        • After deciding to get through Christmas for the kids, I called her on some of her behaviour that she was showing Christmas day, right away said she wasn’t coming to my families that afternoon, and then did not contact me or the kids for 10 days. I asked her why she didn’t even call the kids, she said that they have their IPads to get a hold of her if they wanted to, really are you kidding me putting the onus on a 5 and 7 year old to communicate with you? Unbelievable!

          • It is unbelievable. These cheaters and their disordered behaviors defy credulity.

            Abandoning the kids for 10 days running? Go for full custody. No child should be left in the hands of someone that irresponsible.

    • Good luck to you Dubbs. Your story is so sad … a mom that would put anything before her family is very hard to comprehend. You and your kids deserve so much better. I hope 2017 will bring a good outcome, but you have all my sympathy because it will no doubt bring many unpleasant challenges. Have courage and press forward. Your kids need you. Go for full custody with everything you’ve got. You can always provide visitation with mom to secure that important relationship for the girls, but by having full custody you will have control over how much and when according to ex’s behavior. I am so sorry you are going through this and I wish you well. Hugs.

  • OMG – so can relate. The awkward is even worse than the awkward of the person at the bottle shop (australianism – substitute wherever you purchase your booze) knowing your name and/or order. Shame upon shame.

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