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Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over my envy?

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Dear Chump Lady,

D-Day was over a year go and I have since filed for divorce. I am the mother of two young kids and am no contact with the ex except for communications regarding the kids and finances. I trust that he sucks and don’t want him back (although he has tried to reel me back in after I filed).

However, I still feel sad/envious at times when I see happy two-parent families walking about or even among my friends. I live in a neighborhood that just seems to be full of smiling young couples with kids in tow (it’s like stroller city here). I think I’m on the road to “meh”, but what do I do about my feelings of envy and sadness for a dream that will never be — a happy two-parent family with the father of my children?

I also do not currently have any potential suitors and I feel like my chances of finding a good man are pretty dim, given the fact that I’m in my mid-40s and have two young children, and, even if I did find someone, he would never be the father of my children. Chump Lady, how do I get over my envy and grieving over a dream that will never be? Thank you.

Best,

Dreamer

Dear Dreamer,

Envy isn’t very productive, or helpful for your healing. It’s human, I get it, but when you go there stop yourself. Measuring yourself against other people — especially people you don’t know — is a recipe for misery. You don’t control their life’s journey and you don’t know what they’ve suffered or are suffering now. That person whose happiness you envy may have lost a parent, or flunked his/her examinations, or have a cheating partner too. I’m not saying go with the schadenfreud, I’m saying recognize that you don’t know that person’s whole story. Yeah, even if you’re close to them. We all have struggles and hidden sorrows.

And let’s say by God, every strolling couple is deliriously happy — well, good for them. The world is a better place for every well-adjusted, happy family out there. If they’re smug about that? Okay, hate on. (No, not really… but I’ll allow you some snark.) But recognize that their happiness doesn’t take one whit of happiness from you. There isn’t a big happiness well and they’re drawing up more than their share, exhausting limited happiness resources. They’re happy. It’s zero reflection on you.

Unless you make it about you. Which is really what envy is, a kind of projection. I Want That. They Have That. I Hate That They Have That and I Don’t Have That.

So focus on what you can control here — YOU. Your path forward, your attitude, your resiliency.

Ever heard the expression “If first you don’t succeed, redefine success”? You need to redefine success. You’ve narrowed it to being partnered. Worse, even if you want to be partnered, you’ve excluded every potential man from your life because he’ll never be the father of your children. Way to give up there before you’ve even tried!

First off, fuck those definitions of success. That you have to be of some shiny, nuclear intact family. Most people don’t get that — moreover, they don’t get a CHOICE about it. So, how unfair is it to judge people by criteria they can’t even control? It’s like standards of beauty. I’m never going to be 6 feet tall and weigh 120. There will never be a gap between my thighs. My hair will never be straight and fall over my shoulders in a cascade of loveliness. So WHAT? Am I to never feel attractive because I cannot attain that standard? Fuck that. I do my best, take my squigdy middle-aged ass to the gym, eat pastries because I like them, and put a lot of conditioner in my hair on humid days.

I adapt. I overcome. I say, fuck your unrealistic standards of my worth, Society!

You need to do the same. Start redefining what happy is, what success looks like, and arrange your life to get some of your OWN defined happiness. When you do that — you’ll find the envy fades away, because you’re living your life on your terms. You’re not measuring yourself by some dumb one-size fits all standard.

You’re going to grieve what you lost. That takes time. You’re going to have to accept that you’re not going to get the life you thought you were going to have. The rewiring is a process. But don’t make this harder than it has to be, by measuring yourself against the neighborhood flotilla of baby strollers. We don’t get the life we thought we had, or prayed for — and trust me, that can be a GOOD thing. Thank God my reconciliation prayers were unanswered. Every day I spend married to a man who is not the father of my child — a guy I married at 43, being less than a perfect physical specimen — I feel like I won the lottery. Go ahead, hate my treacle. It’s insufferable. But that’s how I feel. So do I tell the universe, I’m sorry THIS WON’T DO. We didn’t meet at 18 and go on to have 50 years together, so I REJECT this as too little, too late?

I could’ve been happy many other ways than my husband. (But I’m glad for him, of course.)  I had a job I loved, a terrific garden, good friends. Geez, there are many good ways to build a life. Be open, be grateful. Some days that’s so hard, but will yourself forward. Don’t let that cheater win. Don’t let him define your life’s success. You’re somebody without that nobody. Put THAT in your stroller and meditate on it.

This column ran previously. 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • I use to be like that but in this day in age some men will date women if they had 10 kids and they will treat those children as if they were his own..you cant focus on all the stroller parents because it always looks good on the outside you never know whats going on behind closed doors..on the other hand put focus on yourself and your children make sure you look extra special when going out or when u see ur husband you have to let him know you can do it with or without him..be brave never neglect yourself for what he did.. Smile and be better not only for you but for the kids…im saying this because i had to learn 6 years later while i lived looking and envying every other parent that had their spouse ..show him what you can do without him…his head will turn toward you..whether you want it to or not.

  • This advice is spot on. You get more of what you focus on, so if that is an intact nuclear family then you will keep on hurting. An interesting illustration of this is – last week CL made an offhand comment under a post, about a cheater being suffocated by polyester fumes from an Xmas sweater. I have found that soooo funny I can’t seem to focus on my cheater-still-in-the-house without imagining this exact scenario. I know that probably means I should try to focus on something perhaps a little more useful in life like eating more fruit but to be honest I am quite happy with a focus on something that makes me laugh every day. It made me appear a little weird perhaps when I was at the school gates when a bloke with three chihuahua’s in sweaters walked past but I think he was used to weird.
    This 2×4 is necessary as sometimes I think I forget that I decide what success looks like for me (wow look ? I wrote a narc sentence…). I have mine here and I realised just this weekend that I will be happier without him. Those four months I spent alone were traumatic but set in train a process that had me thinking about our past and my place in it in a new light. I never put myself first. I have so much ‘me’ to catch up on. I will be able to pick up where I left off when he leaves and this means his presence here is no longer as painful. I am saying goodbye to all I thought he had but am also very excited about my life next.
    It won’t be smooth but at least it will be me at the helm not some half version of me.
    He is now an impediment to my future not the destroyer of it. I can live with him and even be more sad than angry (well not very angry) because he is becoming a footnote albeit a large one in my life.
    Great advice as usual. Chump nation I owe you.

    • Capricorn: Well stated and KUDOS for the insightful switch from being destroyed to being re-routed on a new and liberating track for YOUR life. Kind of reminds of those “change” tracks that come together to send a train to a new destination.
      Your words come with a useful visual as many great lessons do!

  • I lost my family of four kiddos and would *gladly* pair up with a mother who has a brood of young ones. Having contact cut off from my family was the unkindest cut of all, but I keep myself open to the possibility that some single Mom would want a partner who misses the piggybacks given, bedtime stories read, monsters shooed, bleary-eyed sleepless sick nights, teething, sibling rivalry, and yes, even the insufferable teen years of knowing everything.

      • I have my own peculiarities which make that unlikely (living alone in a cabin near the Canadian border is the biggest) but I am open to the unforeseen showing up.
        Life’s full of a wide range of surprises.

        • dude… i am a single mom and living in a cabin in the woods in canada is literally a dream that keeps me going… i recently even visited emigration info thingy with that in mind. i had to relocate from central american rainforest after 10 yrs because being cheated on while a was pregnant and now i am stuck in northwestern europe city life but i just cant get and dont want to get used to it again, i need to be back in the wild. except for my little girl i guess there needs to be a school and friends sigh. but just saying the cabin in nowhere has its appeal to some even single moms.

    • Oh Kosse,
      I wish my Dog’s Vomit had left me 15 years ago when he so graciously tells me now he wanted too. I had Twins 5 & an 8 y/o and i would have loved my life to collide with someone as genuine sounding as you * yes even in the mountains in Canada (I am in Australia) Think of all the fun & closeness a family could have there.

      But alas Dogs Vomit waits until the kids are 20ish, my beautiful Mother to dies and no other family or support to have an affair and truly leave me on my own. And also find out my whole marriage was a lie…wow nothing like receiving that news flash when your 50 instead of a definitely recycleble 35 y/o.
      Prick.

      Hang in there Dreamer i’m about 7 months out from D-Day and the whole seeing an intact family unit that hurt to the point of tears is only just getting better. In that i don’t think of my loss EVERYTIME i see one. My kids are grown but even with the eldest 24 and the twins 21 we were a really close family that went to Bali and many others holidays together.
      I have come to realise we are still close, it’s just different. We are now a family of 5 instead of 5 and Fucktard is not a part of it (although he tries his damnedest to weavle in and i try my best to flush the piece of pus out).
      (((HUGS Dreamer))) you will get there.

      • Doh…family of 4 instead of 5.
        Unless you count my imaginary friend that i yell and swear at and call a bastard everyday? And ask “Why you fucker” and “Stuff you” They never answer but damn it’s a good listener. 😉

        • Yep Hopium, it sucks when you find out your long marriage was a lie. My youngest is 20, I’m 3 years out from dday, and I just turned 60. ? What are the chances I’ll find my true love now? I’m not even sure I have anything left in reserve after Gaslighter’s epic long con. It’s so surreal. Here’s the humor: I just met a beautiful man at the grocery store. We have gone on a couple of dates and have really hit it off. I’m trying to take things realllllly slowly. In conversation I just learned his FATHER is only 65….!!!!!! (ok, so I don’t look my age, but he doesn’t look as young as he must be either – he’s bald for Christ’s sake!) Life can be a bit cruel. Not sure how I’m going to proceed… we must have a 15 year age gap I’m guessing!

          • Not necessarily! His father may have had him really young… my sister is in fact my half-sister and a couple of decades older than me. She married a man older than her, not ridiculously, maybe a decade. His daughter from his long-finished first marriage was about 7-8 years younger than her…

            Because he was 17 when she was born. It happens… if your new friend’s dad was (let’s say), 20 when he was born, which isn’t an insane suggestion, then your boyfriend is in his mid-40’s now, and you are in your mid-50’s. I say no problem! No one wants babies now, everyone is old enough to be considered ”mature adult”, so why worry? Best of luck, he sounds amazing… and you never know, he may be the son of a pair of high-schooler 16 year old’s… and he may be closer to 50 than you think!

          • I cannot stress enough that we should not let age define us. So you’re 60, big whoop. We’re all living longer and leading healthier lifestyles. Plus I think a lot of middle aged or senior men are now not so quick to seek out a younger woman and appreciate women in the same age bracket. At least that is the trend I have witnessed in the past 7 years or so. Those men that do seek out younger women are the jerks we should have never involved ourselves with even in our younger years.

          • You are soooo lucky!!! Im 6 years out and havent met a soul…. I too look about 20 yrs younger than I am… (63)…

    • Kosse Ferel; You sound like such a great catch. A real father who loves it all, the ups & downs. Your ex is a fool andd I pray you find this joy again.

    • This is my life story too …. It went like …i was a sad sausage since the kids were born….fast forward 20+ years and I get the bomb drop . apparently I was also getting character assainated for years before to aquaintences as a ‘spender’ … ‘Nag’…he was ‘under the thumb’ and basically he was the long suffering husband hanging in there for the kids . somehow he managed to forget to let me know how desperately sad he was all those years …while still Fxxxxxg me and consuming 1000’s of restaurant quality meals (+taking care of the complete needs of his 3 children ) …and did I mention fitting in various full and part time work over the years . not enough for cheater fuvktard . he felt it was completely reasonable to leave us all with $200 for his AP before Christmas. So yes I could be envious but who does that ??? They are not normal and who can sleep at night after that mind fxxk.

  • This is still a beautiful world, as you heal you will see the joy in it.

    We didn’t pick good. We have to grieve the loss, let go of the dream, and live forward

    So know how you feel. It sucks, but it isn’t the end and it doesn’t define you.

  • There is a terrible void left after leaving a cheater. It’s lonely, unfair, and traumatic. For some reason partnerin up becomes a focus. Investing involved having a famiky and dreams.

    The best way to fill that void is to take care of your own needs. Self love includes seeking help, building a support system, furthering your interests and getting past the grieving process.

    I might add the fact that there are millions of good people in the world compared to the asshole you left.

    • Doingme
      This is very true.
      Self love is hard for chumps I feel. So many here have been the ones putting in the hard graft of raising a family, physically and emotionally. So many stories of ones being the responsible one in the marriage/partnership. So many have been let down by parents or family and have got used to small needs and seeking permission. So it’s no wonder we look at all those seemingly lost hours and investments and feel jealous of others who still seem to be secure.
      It takes time and effort to re-engineer all our responses and thinking. But practice makes perfect. Chumps are nothing if not workaholics and grafters and know how to love (just need a clear eye when picking).

      • So true. The erasure of history is hard. And really, really difficult not to resent what feels like a waste of so many years. Sigh.

  • I’ll tell you what’s hard. You see everybody with their beautiful strollers or their 20+ year marriages where they seemingly still adore each other…..that’s the easy part ( Also….a side note. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting couples that are faking it.)
    The “envy” that crippled me was the one where he moved on with a mistress and ( before I went gray rock) and let me know every chance he got how he was finally happy and how happy she made/ makes him. When somebody is just put in your place like it’s nothing. You were awesome till you weren’t, you were the straw with the hole in it and tossed in the trash and replaced with the new one.
    Somebody blows you up and you want them to leave and then realize it sucks, and what they lost…..not gut you in the name of their new happiness. That shit hurts like a motherfucker and is why NC is so important.
    I’ve done all the reading and I know what the deal is, she will end up no different than me.
    I know waiting for karma is not very meh. I feel very happy and healthy in my life but man would I love some justice.

    • I was just about to post an identical post! Seeing other people who appear happy is easy and genuinely makes me smile most of the time. When I see my ex going on vacation after vacation with the kids, new car, weekends away with her BF, expensive clothes etc…whilst I’m struggling to buy basic furniture for my kids bedrooms hurts like fucking hell.

      Me too Paintwidow, I’m happy and healthy, I’ve witnessed karma…but realised that Karma isn’t waiting for bad happening to them its about good happening to you.

      • Mickey, my ex went on invalidity. Makes more money than I do and all his debts were wiped clean. I took on all the marital debts (that he ran up) in order to get rid of him, so yes it does stink sometimes. He called last week, (it was a US number that I didn’t recognize) so I answered. Our son is getting married in July and asshole is up to his eyeballs in debt despite GF working also. He is worried about how he can afford to get over here (France) for the wedding and I’m sure he thinks I will help him. Screw him. So the wonderful pictures on FB and the great holidays are just that – illusions. At some time, someone has to pay the piper. I actually got an email last week from the French tax authorities about how “I had decided to leave France”. I can only think it is faceache letting them know (finally) that he has left, but I get to sort out the shit from that. Don’t worry they will get their comeuppance.

        • Comeuppance…I hope so Attie, I’m playing the long, patient game at the moment and can only hope my lawyer and if need be the legal system will provide me with some justice.

          I’m pretty sure it’s her BF who is bankrolling her for most of the vacations etc…she has a job, gets welfare payments and maintenance from me. Unless he gets fed up of paying for it all or she gets a cut In her welfare I can’t see anything changing.

          I’m paying more than I probably should do in maintenance, my payments were based on me having the kids 2-3 days a week and it’s more like 3-4, I’m documenting everything and I am going for 50/50 custody and will hopefully mean she gets nothing from me, but will have to wait and see.

          Hope the wedding goes well in july

          • Good for you for documenting everything. So many people like to point out how the wife gets everything and the men get screwed but honestly I think it works both ways. I know I got shat upon from a great height. I hope the legal system does right by you as there are some damn good fathers out there. I just thank heaven my kids were older and I didn’t have to take that shit from my dead beat ex. I’m dreading seeing the ex in July but will keep my own counsel (council?) as long as the bastard stays away from me (I’ve just gotta keep my sister’s hands off his throat). Keep the faith – your kids have a good dad.

      • I never look at what my ex is up to, and my kids never talk about it. He could be with someone else by now, I don’t know. It hurts less not to know. But just a few days ago I was looking at a picture of a woman and it occurred to me that she might be his type. I suddenly imagined someone like her making him happy when I couldn’t. Just imagining that hurt, but fortunately I was able to turn the page. My heart goes out to people who have to see their ex’s with other people. It has to be hard.

    • I got kinda peeved at a gal at a dinner we went to, she made some proclamation to the table about their long union and had her nose turned upward in superiority. I said “Oh really, you were married in 1996, so was I …too bad that death thing messed it all up”….really…if people are really blessed with decent spouse who didnt abandon them and are worth keeping, that is akin to winning the lotto…something to be thankful for, not something to obnoxiously flaunt.

    • No normal person can go straight from being a huge Asshole in one relationship to being perfectly “Happy” in the next one. I think it’s more of the situation where The Schmoopie is falling for his bullshit and Asshole enjoys the attention of someone who looks at him the way he needs to be seen. That only last so long. They can’t keep the mask on forever. Wash, rinse, repeat.

      • ^*^*^*^
        Chump Change, there’s a saying, “you can take the trailer out of the trash, but you can’t take the trash out of the trailer.” not sure if that’s exactly how it’s said but close enough.
        They don’t change, especially at their age.

    • Hey don’t forget when they broadcast how fxxking happy they are all over social media ….what else are they going to do ? Tell you the truth now !? Its ALL a big hoax. The trouble is you have to accept they played a double life with you too….that stings .

    • I felt the same thing! First, when my ex was replacing me with his mistress. Then, when he found new “love” with someone else and felt compelled to have her contact me on Facebook to tell me that they were still receiving my mail a long time after I moved out. The interesting thing, however, is that my ex was pretty much putting on a facade. Apparently, he had an open marriage but both of them like to lie, so it sounds like a real Jerry Springer show at his house. Sad. I’m happy to no longer be in the middle of the daytime soap opera he seems to create.

      • They thrive on the drama! Seriously, cheaters should undergo an fMRI to see if they have thrill-seeking personality–the intrigue! the deception! the wailing and gnashing of teeth when their spouse finds out! the suspense about whether their spouse will keep them! All this HIGH EMOTION gives them a boner.

  • Life anew after separation and divorce: I’m not saying it was easy. I was also a victim of domestic violence while the cops passed the popcorn. The friends I had in the early days were brave and stood by me and I’d say I owe my life to them. Just from the smug judgmental looks around town, I could tell who listened to XH’s story. He was somewhat more socially powerful which didn’t help my employment prospects. Small town. It had a good side. I didn’t have to bother with them! Not all of those who avoided me were bad – some weren’t ready to deal with their own family drama and my existence reminded them of it. It divvied up the friends real good. The only ones I had left were – not his family, not his friends, not his colleagues – but those friends I made outside his lying cheating circle. In that small town, I carved out a good life, as impossible at it seemed. The payoff isn’t always visible. The life you can make on your own effort is probably so much better than you can imagine right now. I’d say, do what you like to do, find your friends, and life will happen. I’m in a great relationship, also a very pleasant surprise. So, who knows unless you try?

    • MMargaret,
      I am angry for you regarding the cops’ behavior. The ones that were tasked to aid and protect in my case generally put me and those who helped me at greater risk. In fact, some of them came to my our home at then-husband’s request to protect him (the abuser)! He was trying to make a case that I was an abuser and therefore should get 0% custody of the kids.

      Hope you never have to experience that ugliness (abuse and lack of protection) again.

      • ^^^^ This is happening to me right now!!!!! Trying to uplift my stuff from my own house…. Cops “There are two sides to every story” NO FUCKERS – there are three big men (two of whom are violating trespass orders) intimidating one middle aged woman on her own property. WTF?!

      • Countercharging the woman with abuse is disgustingly common. It’s almost standard some places. I went through that too and my lawyer burst out laughing. By the time we got to court, my ex was done for and had to plead guilty. His charge against me got ridiculed and tossed out. Many women are not so lucky.

        • The Fucktard tried that one as well. I still regret declining to file charges for false report against the jerk, but at the time there was still too much hopium in my blood. What was really impressive was how the matter was handled. I had to meet with the district attorney before the case could be dismissed, but when I showed up I was given over to victim advocates from the domestic abuse center for counseling and information instead. Thank god that there are some pros out there who can’t be fooled by the disordered.

  • I hear you Paintwidow. I get bits and pieces of their life. She is still married. Our divorce is not final yet and they are traveling together. She is taking my place at all the fun work events we used to attend. My daughter actually saw them together at a work event(they work at the same company) and it totally freaked her out seeing her dad acting all happy and like nothing had happened when he strolled in with his new love. Daughter and father don’t speak. He of course blames that on me.
    Daughter says people will never know who he really is. Everyone thinks he is this awesome, charming, wonderful guy. Heavens no. He is horrid with every fiber of his being.
    I will be glad when I am completely done. I don’t want to hear about his new life and love.
    We were 32 years and I have no doubt she and he will last a long time. He faked it with me for 32 years! I am not waiting for Karma. I want it so bad but going to go on with new life. She will roll through his money so fast. I hear she tells people she is set for life as she is marrying a millionaire.
    I get seeing all the happy couples. I never realized it was such a couples world until I am no longer part of a couple. It does hurt. Bad.

    • Live for Today,
      I got that too. The kids don’t speak to him and he looooved to put that on me.
      “Paintwidow….maybe you didn’t poison them intentionally but you let them see more of our divorce than they should have.”
      Nothing to do with his choices at all.
      Sorry…..off topic but that shit infuriates me.
      My kids are adults, and level headed sensible adults. If they have turned their back on their father he should reflect on his choices.
      My ex may stay with this one for years too. He’s good at giving just enough to keep you on the hook and second guessing yourself.
      I know the karma is that….she now is saddled with that douchebag. I just wish she wasn’t driving my old Lexus……wasn’t the new me.
      Some days I’m soooooo meh, guess today isn’t one of those.
      Thankful for chumpnation.

      • “you let them see more of our divorce than they should have.” Yep, the problem, of course, is that anyone has been able to see under the mask. Not that they wore a mask…

      • That shit infuriates me too. Cheater babbled on to the mediator how I drove a wedge between him and his ADULT children. Mediator gave me a lecture. I smiled and said – I have told my children they are free to have whatever relationship they want with their father.
        Cheater pants – you were heartless to your OWN kids – you WON’T apologize.

        I don’t care how he treats me know. He’s a heartless shit. But dang, these are your KIDS! Act like a freaking adult.

        Rant over.

        • As if your ADULT children can’t make a decision for themselves?! ??? Cheaters are so pathetic! Especially once they get caught. Grow the fuck up and just come clean you giant idiotic baby!

        • When mediators say this stuff, they need to be called out. As in, “This person here lied to me for months (or years) about the cheating. And he sits here and tells you I drove a wedge between him and his adult kids? You believe that? The kids know he cheated. He drove his own wedge. If you believe that stuff, we’re done here.” And that there would be the end of mediation.

    • LiveForToday

      I had an awful mother and father. For a long time I had difficulty watching any mother and daughter or father and daughter while I was out and about. Seeing them chatting over coffee in a coffee shop was the worst. Those feelings lasted a while until my life filled up with my own children.
      Then after I had had my last boy, for a while I was envious of pregnant women. When mine were older I envied those with babies. Now I am no longer part of a couple.
      I stopped envying mothers and fathers with their daughters when I accepted that I had my own journey. I stopped envying other parents when I accepted the same. Now I look at couples and at this stage in my life give thanks that I am alone. I look at couples right now and wonder which is cheating. I am losing a husband who turned out to be a cheat but I now want my own space to breathe and expand. So much of my life has been about how others saw me or approved of me.
      Not any more.
      We all have to find our own way but CL is right to accept the pain of what you are no longer and focus on what gives your life meaning and joy. Only you can choose how you feel. I truly hope you feel more peace soon. ❤

      • Capricorn, my parents are such train wrecks…I totally get it. I have never sat in a coffee shop with my mom. She has never asked me how I was and listened or me to answer.

        I have over compensated with my kids but mostly it has worked well. My parents never bought me the health/beauty stuff I needed… soap, shampoo,deodorant, a new bra… they were considered useless luxuries while mom threw parties to look rich to her friends. I bought my kids every drugstore thing they ever asked for and put a vase of fresh pink roses in her bathroom on my daughters birthday. I bought her ballet shoes in Paris and we have had coffee in NY, SF, Rome, Venice, London etc.
        I feel like a freak when my friends post about how much they love their parents and how much they fret over sickness and death. I’m at absolute Meh with my parents. Absolute. I seriously don’t care.

        • Unicornomore
          Me too. Have been at ‘meh’ with my parents for a while. For me that means that I just never think of them. If I do happen to the thoughts are not attached to any feeling and so just slip by. At least I know what meh looks and feels like. I’m just coming at it down a different road this time.
          I too overcompensate with mine!! They will remember nothing but having coffee shop chats with me. ?

        • OMG, I thought our lives were similar before, my husband died and I found out more then I needed to hate him. But you also just described my patents. My mother bought crystal, china, had parties and we had no toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, undead wear or even enough to eat. I spent my childhood scrounging for food while she was always on a diet. No wonder we settled for so little. Thanks unicorn, I love your post.

          • She didnt feed you? OMG, that is awful…I never went hungry but the insanity peaked out when she spent out family budget on a tea party for an Ambassadors wife (custom printed invitations, floral arrangements) and we literally had not a drop of shampoo in the house. My wedding to H1 was a fucking nightmare of trying to impress the Joneses with literally no money.

            How much did you know before he died vs after? This is a special sort of hell…I know its still easier than a lot of the hardships here, but I wish that I had better info when he was alive so I could have thrown his ass out.

            • I want to be at Meh with my Mother. She is the ultimate manipulative vicim. You ask her, Do you want me to take you to the Doctor?
              Long, sad put upon face….No, that’s fine…voice trails off…..I go everywhere alone….What’s one more trip…..

              Every health concern is dire. If she were truly sick, I would not believe her because she has been the little boy who cried wolf who so often. I had a doctor come out who was trying to give her a colonoscopy. He touched my arm with his finger, light as a feather. He said, this is the amount of pressure I am applying and your mother is screaming. We can’t do the procedure.

              When the nurse said, Will you help your mother get dressed, I ran out there, shouting, You dress her, I’ll get the car. She revolts me.

              She is a burden. I love her, but I will feel a sad sick relief when she is gone. That is not Candyland, but it is the truth. 🙁

              • My mom told everyone she was having “back surgery” …she was having a mole removed from her back.

                I am so over it all. She drank herself into dementia. She breaks herself faster than anyone can fix her and she will die. Its quite a shame. I feel no guilt, she chose what she chose.

              • OMG Unicorn! That is so funny. Just like my Mom. I know there is a connection as hard as concrete between our mean self absorbed mothers and the disgusting men we chose.

            • Unicorn, I only knew he was an angry ass. I was ready to leave, had planned everything. When he got diagnosis and went on hospice. I stayed took care of him for a year. Then I find papers, recipts, etc. we had $400,000 I earned for retirement he used on porn, hookers etc. all gone. He lied about everything. I got the life insurance and got rid of all his shit. I truly did not know before.

        • ” I have never sat in a coffee shop with my mom. She has never asked me how I was and listened or me to answer.

          I have over compensated with my kids but mostly it has worked well. My parents never bought me the health/beauty stuff I needed… soap, shampoo,deodorant, a new bra…”

          Me neither. One of the most humiliating things was my mother never noticed I needed a first bra. I still remember all the teasing. Was it subconscious [she will suffer the way I did] or was she just so self absorbed it didn’t register?

          • My mom had a tubal pregnancy that resulted in a full hysterectomy before I started my period. I think the surgeon might have been an asshole…why the hell remove every organ for a tubal, but she REFUSED To buy me feminine hygiene products to have on hand. My period would start before I left for school and she would take me to the only place open at that hour…

            ready for it, ready????

            the local liquor store…yes, all my tampons came from Dawson’s Liquors

            and she would be so mad at me…of course menstruating was my fault

            oh she could have picked up a box at kmart much cheaper at any point in the month, but that would require thinking about me and making me a priority for 3 seconds

            • Wow, she sounds like Carrie’s mother. Did she call your breasts “dirty pillows,” too? I’m sorry you had to try and survive with a mother that insensitive.

      • PW – thanks for the encouragement. My kids are adults too. They see their dad for who he is. Son especially sees him as a pod person. Nothing there mom. Daughter, he screamed at. Cheater won’t apologize. As we know – not in their DNA. He’s their dad – feel bad for the kids. Cheater just thinks we should all accept his new wonderful life.

        Cap – yes a people pleaser all my life. I guess I qualify as a co-dependent. I am learning more about me. I like most of the time.
        Only person I have to worry about is me – and love on my kiddos and grand baby.

        Cheater – well he will marry the whore – take on her four kids from three other men. I do
        talk to the OW husband – our cheater spouses haven’t figured this out yet. Between the two of us we were able to get a good handle on their gas lighting. But whore has told more than one person including her own kids – she is gonna get rich by marrying cheater.
        I think I will see Karma in this life.

    • Live for Today. Same for me–I didn’t even realize I was being abused and we were married 34 years. He is such a good con man. He wasn’t even earning a living when he got together with the AP he left me for( of course he claims they met after we separated–meh). He will make it last if that is what he wants and i think he wants since he wears a wedding band and calls her his wife( he is even a fake that way–we aren’t even divorced yet). His kids try to have a relationship with him but he is so entitled he doesn’t treat them well–he even owes our daughter money that she has concluded she will never see.

      I am in a new relationship but not committed and dating others because I am just freaked out( damaged really). He is a good honest quiet introvert, the polar opposite of my ex who can win over a room in 30 minutes. The way I feel scares me–it feels codependent, so i have work to do before I commit to my introvert or anyone else.

      I feel jealous of couples and while I said I would never get remarried, I do believe in marriage and feel that I want to be a couple, I don’t want to grow old alone. I just know I will not do it without some serious protection in place in the form of a prenup or cohabitation agreement. If the man I am with doesn’t want that well its a boundary and we won’t work. That’s also how I feel and that boundary will remain in place.

      • I feel the same way. I know love yourself and you’ll always be enough blah blah blah. For me life is all about shared experiences and being with the people you love. It’s so very hard for me to go from husband and wife living with my best friend getting through things together to being completely alone. I have a few friends and my mom and stepdad and grandma that really love me but it just feels like for myself what is the point if I don’t have that connection. That feeling of someone who gets me in ways none of those other people can? I want to believe in love and I want to be able to find someone else eventually I just can’t imagine being functional in a relationship ever again. My mom was in her early 20’s and got divorced from someone that was disordered after only 3 years and it took her until she was in her mid forties to find someone she wanted to be with and she is STILL upset about her divorce from over 30 years ago. I just fear that I’m going to be that way too and it makes me want to just give up. I know that’s not an answer but it feels less terrifying than facing the next 45 years alone.

        • Sad Shelby, the man you were living with was NOT your best friend. Best friends don’t do that to each other.

          You Miss the Lie. (A very wise observation I read here once, and it’s stayed with me)

          We all have bad days like you’re having. The Lola recipe for recovery is:

          1 part good quality dark chocolate

          4 parts good therapy with a counsellor who helps you express these fears and sadnesses, and teaches you strategies for working through them

          4 parts Chump Lady archives, at least one taken daily

          3 parts new hobbies that get you out of the house, require minimum committment and expenditure, and/or are that thing you always wanted to try but then said Naaaaah

          If you try this recipe even for a week, believe me, you will feel very differently.

        • OMG this… Even though I should be grateful to be rid of him – the 20+ years of my life that I knew is gone. My kids are 18 and 22 and now I have to figure out what to do with my life, they were (still are) my life! I know I will be fine but it’s so hard to break a 20+ year routine…that is the hardest part.. and all of my friends are coupled up still. One day I’m excited and the next day that overwhelming feeling of dread. And I’m sure HE doesn’t feel that way at all! Assholes! I wish I left him 10 years ago!

    • 32 years for me too. I think what they say about the marriage is a complete lie. Either that or he is anazing actor-Oscar worthy. I am in a similar boat as you re ex personality and power and what people think of him. I’d love to chat with you more.

    • Yep. Gaslighter fooled me for 32 years too, then Wreckonciliation after separation bringing it to over 35 years. Schmoopie was already in the picture, were still not divorced. It may last awhile, she’s high as a kite on his poison Kool-Aid.

    • Maybe we can help ourselves by reaching out to others who feel cut off from “coupledome.” We are probably the only ones that really understand how they feel.

  • I’m so down with not letting the cheater define my success! For so long I allowed him to devalue me because he made more money while I worked a part time job, stayed home with our two boys, and did all of the chores. I felt bad about myself even though I make more money with my part time job than some people make working full time.
    Now that I’m away from the crazy, I see the truth.
    But he’s threatened to leave me so many times that it’s a knee jerk reaction for him.
    Now that I’ve filed for divorce and moved out of the house his last ditch effort to reel me back in was to tell me, “Everyday your chances with me diminish, maybe I should start dating”.
    To which I replied, “You’ve been dating for the past three years!”

    • Lol, Wormfree! The threat of involvement with others is so insane. I mean, what? Think another one will change my mind? Not so much. Snort.

      • Thing is, he’s running out of threats. I mean what else can he do to me now that the lawyers are watching?

        • Exactly. What chump wouldn’t want to sign up for yet another round of criticism and abuse at the hands of such a perfect person?

        • Quoting Manfred Mann and the Earth Band is awesome.
          Blinded by the Light!

          Revved Up Like a Deuce
          Another Runner in the Night.

          Some silicone sister with a manager
          Mister told me I go what it takes
          She said “I’ll turn you on sonny to something strong
          Play the song with the funky break”

          Sorry…I am like Cappie with the fumes from the sweaters. I cling to anything that makes me smile these dark days.

        • Let me get this straight. He did YOU wrong, and he’s generously offering to give YOU another chance, if you hop to it and don’t make him wait. What a charmer.

          • Haha…I got this, too. “I left OW to come back and give you another chance.”

            I wrote it down in my list of the really disordered statements that he has made. Every so often, I open it up and review the list anytime I need to remind myself of just how bad he sucks.

  • One twist: the more other people normalize a happy, well-adjusted family life by living it, the more others can embrace that life without feeling bad about living that way and expecting nothing less. Healthy relationship attitudes take a hit from Perel-ites and the RIC to accept deception as a reasonable way of life. People who embody goodness in their relationships tip the social scale in the direction of honesty and respect. That is a socially powerful thing.

    Thinking that way helped me to switch over from envy to appreciation. (I’m still jaded about whether what I see is what is actually true, but I work that piece separately.)

  • Im a “way down the path” chump and oddly enough…one of my actual problems now is that my life is so good that I am stuck with some rancid jealousy from women who wish they had some of my circumstances. In truth, I have a couple of really great things going on one being a great (not perfect, were all human) husband.

    When I meet people now, they dont know my dad is a narc, my mom is an alcoholic with dementia, my sons have severe mental health issues (one flaring up now and I have no guarantee he will survive). My daughter has struggled with facial paralysis and I have a stress related disorder that I hide from everyone.

    I was in an abusive marriage for 26 years and really really suffered. Unconditional love is something I will never know.

    It is a mistake when people want to swap spots with me.

    • Unicornomore
      You are one amazing soul.
      I often get the same. People mistake me for what I appear to be. Confident, strong, well off, middle class woman. They do not see my life as it has been. Every inch earned and still a struggle.
      Once my clients realise I know as much about pain as they do it is both a reassurance and an incentive for them. And the connections made with another soul are solace to me.
      I admire you so much.

      • “Every inch earned and still a struggle”…. yes, that describes me well. Even though I’m married, I’m still very much a soul surviving parent to young grieving adults all of whom have challenges. My older son’s depression is so bad, his entire personality was decimated…he bears no resemblance to the person I knew him to be. He is 28 and lives far away. I have zero control over what he does and if he killed himself I wouldn’t be shocked. Grief stricken yes, shocked, no.

        My mom has always been agonizingly self absorbed and now in her dementia, she waxes nostalgic about all the virtuous things she thinks that she did in life none of which she did.

        I have invested SO much, virtually my entire life into relationships and people who wrote me off without a second thought. I’m thankful for my work where my impact seems more impactful and positive.

        • Hi Capricorn, Unicornomore: Both your stories so resonate with me. Also had train wrecks for parents. Narc Dad is dead – it was a relief when he died. Covert narc mother at 92 is moving quickly into dementia – a moving target, as there’s no inhibitions now and all her worst narc traits are breaking through. I am her only caregiver as my narc brother has been out of our lives for the last decade – has taken no responsibility for his aging parents whatsoever. My cheater ex exited 18 years ago for his AP, leaving me with 3 young children. I ate a lot of shit sandwiches during that excruciatingly long time of having to keep in contact with him while the kids grew up.. I am finally free of ex, now that the youngest child is in university. On the bright side, I married a fellow chump 12 years ago, who is the best thing that ever happened to me. I thank God every day for him, and for my kids, because without those bright lights, my life would be one dark place.

          • tflan386

            I have to disagree with you on one point
            “I thank God every day for him, and for my kids, because without those bright lights, my life would be one dark place.”

            I know you feel this to be true but honestly to have survived so much and to still be a loving, functioning, responsible person, To still be here experiencing and giving joy, I think that you will find that your soul is a resilient and very bright light and that is why your life will never be a very dark place.
            True others add light but I think you must generate your own. And Unicornomore too. ?

            • Thanks, Capricorn – those are lovely thoughts. I am going through a particularly difficult time as certain unresolved and buried FOO issues have started to scream into my consciousness. Why now, at 58? Don’t know why there has been such a long latent period, as I am a pretty reflective person. Curious how unprocessed feelings from way back can raise their ugly heads decades later.

              • Tflan386
                Well it’s actually good news IMO. As a therapist I know that thoughts only surface if they are ready to be faced and dealt with. Otherwise they stay buried as they are too threatening to the psyche.
                If thoughts from the past are surfacing then you are ready for them and in all likelihood will discover that the fear of them was larger than the thoughts or memories themselves.
                So please don’t worry or take this as a bad sign. In the therapy room I’m always excited to see a client who suddenly is being assailed by long buried stuff. It usually means it’s breakthrough time and a time of great personal growth.
                Individual therapy can help if you need a safe space while you work through stuff.

  • Superb. 2 years post-divorce and and dating another single parent. It is not always easy to create a new life and world, especially when children are involved but am giving it a good go and am happier for it. Thanks!

  • I’m happy to see marriages and families intact. When I need a dose of baby love, I hug my grands, my nieces and nephews and even old people. I understand your feelings though. I worked hard supporting my x and raising my kids many times by myself. X travelled all over the world and we would dream of a time when the kids were grown and gone. Then finally I’d be free to travel too.

    Well it didn’t happen that way. He didn’t wait for me. He cheated more than likely through out the marriage with ho s. At first it hurt like hell It was and is so unfair. Just one more item to add to the list of many things.

    BUT I still want to see those places and do some of the things I use to dream about with x. I’m not a year past the divorce and I’m working toward that goal. I do have an occassional twinge about what was suppose to be….but what’s was suppose to be is what I’m living now. That other dream life was only a dream. X and I were not a good match. OW bless her heart ’cause if she can deal with this guy, make him happy, build him up so that he works for the next ten years or so, so that HE can PAY me MY MONEY! I’m good!

    I’m not looking to get hitched again anytime soon, but if I want to remarry there are guys out there. But there is just so much to do. And I’ve got so much to learn about me and this big blue marble.

    Enjoy your life cheater free and stop putting so much energy on these ass holes. Poop and move on.

    • My nowdeadcheater also travelled the world while I kept the home fires burning. I trusted implicitly then and never worried he was fucking strangers…now I realized he probably did.

      I only went out of the country once when he was alive and it was a super budget trip with my daughter. After he died, I found an investment we held jointly and I had a clear memory of a time he went on a rage at me about that one investment even though I had nothing to do with any of it. First the fools at the investment jerked me around with it and I quickly said “just give me my money…now”. FU. It was enough for 2 plane tickets to London, a room at The Royal Horseguards and floor seats to see One Direction.

      Since he died, Ive been to London & Italy with my daughter and Turkey & Germany with my new husband. Me & daughter headed to Amsterdam in March…its my turn and Im loving it !!

      Renewed, you GO!!! there are coffees and pastries waiting for you !

      • Wow! I’d love to go and explore any of those places you’ve been. I was held back, x was so jealous of me. I never understood why.
        Some point in our lives chumps we will be alone. Hell I was married and alone but divorce has opened up so many opportunities. Life is too short and I’m free to live well.
        I’m looking forward to those pastries and coffee…and me 2.0.

        • You just gotta leap at it…my daughter has 2 best friends whose moms are afraid to drive on a highway, fly on a plane or go the closest city. When I said we were going to Paris, you would have thought we were going to Mars the way they talked of it. We got lost a time or two and all French numbers between 60 and 90 sound like gibberish but we did great.

          Recently my daughter was in DC and helped a mother daughter duo use the Metro…they asked her how she knew how to navigate so well and she said “My mom taught me early, on a Metro 4 times this size in another language” sniff sniff I was so proud…

          She is doing an internship in DC and the organization has an office in Brussels..I told her we should go there. Today she got stressed and asked how were going to get to Brussels…”fast train” (she was expecting “goat cart” perhaps?). She looks to me to be a Badass Boss Bitch (look up Boss Bitch in the urban dictionary, its a good thing).

          Where ever you go in Europe, get a moderate hotel near the center of town close enough to walk to the train station.

  • Great question, and wonderful advice. It applies so fully to so many other situations too. I feel this way a bit every year when spring rolls around and I see all the “25 years together!” anniversary posts from children to their parents or from couples to each other, and I can’t be THAT couple any more.

    I will say this, however–I WAS that couple for nearly 30 years, and I’m sure I inspired plenty of envy for many of those years. We seemed so perfect. Behind closed doors, however, something was WAY off, and for many of those years I didn’t admit it to myself, even. It really is true that a couple can seem very happy to everyone else when they are not. I was unknowingly married to a cheating, closeted liar. So, as Chump Lady says, don’t spend you energy on that. Remember everything is not always as it looks. It may be totally misdirected.

    Thanks again, Chump Lady for great advice. Anniversary season is coming so I’ll be referring back to this soon.

  • I have been guilty of this, and it’s part of why I “settled” for my ex – he was my daughter’s father. Even though he came riding in with a flowing Red Flag, just the fact that he was her dad outweighed all my reservations. What an idiot I was! But it is what it is; I will move on and try not to define a “good man” by such narrow parameters. In fact, I’m still trying to figure ME out, and change my odd predilection for freaks, deviants and fill-in crazy people. If I can manage that I will be much happier.

  • I am still in Chumpville with my Spouse who is now clinging to my leg trying to make it up to me.
    I understand your envy. Even though we are still an “intact” family going about our daily business I am sure we probably appear perfect from the outside but I watch with a sick feeling in he pit of my stomach when I see other “happy” families. The fact is we are not and I struggle daily with the feelings of worthlessness and anger about what happened.

    I decided to take control of my life and feed my soul and nurture myself since my spouse can’t seem to figure out how to help me I will help myself. I just turned 50 and have a 4 and 7 year old. I feel myself longing to simply be free from all the mistrust and pain that is my day to day life. I really think in some ways it would have been easier had my spouse left but they will not. They refuse to leave our home so I am sort of forced into reconciling, or at least that is how it feels sometimes.

    My advise to you would be to focus on you. Put the kids to bed and take a long bath with lavender oil in the water by candle light. Make a list of all your great qualities that make you special. Regardless of if “Mr Right” comes along or not you will be happier and more content once you start loving you again. It’s so hard I know but I felt a tremendous amount of relief once I started doing this. Positive affirmations are key to help undo all the negative programming from your marriage and life in general. You deserve to be happy and can be regardless of if you have a man in your life or not. Take a painting class. Learn a language. I began taking horseback riding lessons at 50 years of age! It brings me so much joy to connect with animals. Find what makes your heart and soul happy. Once you are happy with you the rest will take care of itself.

    Good luck!

  • Hi Dreamer 🙂 I know that feeling, and I am facing it every day. Sometimes I am good at it, sometimes, well, I am kinda of blue. But, what I am starting to do is taking notes of my happy moments. My personal heaven. I did not have a choice, you know. I was kinda of dreaming a family, but it did not happen. He left me before. An now, that I am surrounded by girls much younger that are getting married and that are living the beginning of a dream, sometimes I feel lonely. And mad as well, cause they throw that “sparkling dream” at my face, without considering my feelings. i am so bored of hearing sentences like “you will live your dream, just hang in there”. You know something? I AM living my dream. Yeah, I am alone. But fuck it. I do not need to be married to be happy. I refuse to put the idea of having a relationship as “the” priority of my life. Cause it is not. I am happy on Sunday morning when I can go running in the park and then eat eggs & bacon. I am happy when I can dance in MY living room (and by the way I am absolutely happy for my very pink furry carpet! And for my crazy curtains and my plants!), washing the dishes and listening to the kind of music I like, without asking. Without compromising. I am happy when I decide to spend the money I earned in doing things I like. Do I want to learn diving? Nail it! Do I want to go hiking? Done, done! I am happy cause I made my happiness my priority. And yeah, I may be single. But there are worst things in life… like, my ex for example! When I put all these into focus, envy and sadness just… vanish. Cause I start to get it. Life is a path and we are at different points. we take different ways in the woods. My way is wonderful and it is my duty to make it interesting and rich, not for the idea society has. But only for myself. If I will meet someone else along my journey, good. If I won’t, good anyway. Send you lot of love!

    Emm@

    • Emma, thank you for this: ” it is my duty to make it interesting and rich, not for the idea society has.”

      I’ve been stuck in a depression for several months because I think I was still living on the fumes of the dead marriage’s values. I’ve been realizing recently that being chumped like this is a tremendous gift. I’m really free to make any old kind of life I want – even wallowing in depression at a Dove bar Pity Party if I feel like it.

      I’m not there yet and I feel like I’m whistling in the dark a lot of the time. Most of the time. I really don’t trust my intuition any more. It’s like everything I thought I understood about Life was wrong. The recent anxious and shocking political events (US) are mirroring my marriage falling apart. And I’ve been very ill and my body no longer works the way it used to. So, everything is different. But lately, I’m beginning to imagine the tiny exciting possibility that maybe that is a really good thing.

      • Roaring
        So happy to hear the stirrings of a new you!
        You have been through SO much.
        Anyone who can think up the idea of a Dove bar pity party is a winner in my book.
        You are free and whistling in the dark is all most of us are doing a lot of the time it’s just that we chumps are a bit raw from events and have had our old lives wrenched away from us against our will.
        I’m on a news fast for the foreseeable future and being menopausal is definitely not a fun ride. So I get what you are saying – how out of balance everything feels.
        But I too feel stirrings of a possible sighting of a silver lining creeping over the horizon.
        Roaring – huge hugs to you. I can not wait to follow your story!

      • I hear you sister. And I am happy you are better. I am happy that the darkest days are over. I know, sadness sucks. But keep fighting. Day after day. Nothing last forever. Not even sadness 🙂 As CL said, trust he sucks, and keep going. Cause u are amazing. You are so much stronger that yesterday. And tomorrow u will be even better. I don’t care if society labelled me as a wild, acid woman. I don’t care if they think that with a relationship my life will be better cause I will be less bitter. I am not bitter at all. I am sarcastic and I love it. I am strong and I can proudly say that I own me. I have my job, pay my bill, pay my things. I do not have to ask permission to anybody. I earned that. Being chumped sucked, it was an hard lesson. But it made me the woman I am today and that I will be tomorrow. And gosh I love this woman. And not just me. There are so many other like me out there. Like, take this forum. Take ChumNation. Who knew that we were so many? I am so proud of this forum, you know. I feel surrounded by amazing susperstars. Wonder people… like everybody is so strong. So great. So inspiring. Give me the strenght of doing better every day, challenging myself. And those that are trying to label me or to put in my place? I open the door and I gently take them outside my life. And I know that I won’t miss them. Love Roaring! Lots of Love! Emm@

  • My advice would honestly be to change your definition of happiness, a “normal” family, and not let others define one for you. I think we all have an idealized dream but in some ways it’s like the mythical unicorn. Even the ostensibly “normal” families I’ve seen have their flaws. My husband and I tried hard to appear “normal” “happy” and “stable” but that facade cracked and then exploded – but people were shocked, as they thought we were a great couple. It’s equally painful and humiliating; it’s like a societal Pick Me Dance — look at me! I’m so normal!! I can function.
    We all function, just differently from each other. Let go of the envy and just function, Conjunction Junction. Let society do their own thing.

    • Totally felt this way. Not only did I lose the dream of being a “happy” “normal” couple. I ended up moving back in with the parents and losing unstable jobs. It took a long time to get a stable job and move out into a place of my own. I had to really redefined my life when I didn’t have anything that remotely resembled the cookie-cutter american dream. But, I never have been a cookie-cutter individual.

  • I work with the general public and now that I no longer wear rose colored glasses, I see past the envy.
    I notice the men disconnected from their familys, midlife woman needing the attention of a teenage girl.
    The beady eyed narcs, they have a certain look about them ( like a imaginary toxic green cloud around them). Are now on my nadar.
    I do see happy couples, which gives me hope but I remember we once gave off that illusion too.
    I have learned not to be envious others because you never know what goes on in others home or thru facebook friends real lives.

      • Mickey, most of us have met your ex. Sometimes she’s a middle aged man needing the attention of a teenage girl.

        • “Mickey, most of us have met your ex. Sometimes she’s a middle aged man needing the attention of a teenage girl.”

          Plus butterflies in the tummy and sparkly gel pens, so he can write I <3 schmoopie in his notebook, after they go to the high school Winter Ball. 😉

          • Hahahahahahaha!

            And just like teeny boppers, it will probably be a new schmoopie every few months, if the schmoopie is smart and leaves.

  • Envy, After I was alone, I became very aware of a couple in my neighborhood. The husband was so handsome and their house was clean and perfect. He was always home on a Friday night. I was almost like a waif child, pressed against the glass of their living room door, drooling at the site of love and family.
    Then, one day, I met the husband’s father out in the yard. This old coot was just a talking fool. He was visiting and he was bored. He gave me such an earful, and it was in such a blunt way, I am certain it was all true.

    The dream couple hate each. She blows her whole check on tacky clutter, according to H. He stays drunk from 3pm on. They have a barrier down the middle of their bed so their feet will not touch. She refuses to cook anything for him. He may have cheated.

    I was jealous of an illusion. Not even remotely anchored in reality. And, all that time I wasted, being sorry for myself that I did not have their life, when their was just theirs, flawed and stressful. Not that I am taking pleasure in it (the German word, well, maybe a bit) but it was a small comfort. That is why I stay off Facebook. The images people produce on their are not real life. It is just a big ego kibbles Pez dispensary.
    I have read the fastest way to make yourself unhappy is to compare yourself to someone else. Become sort of blind to others, in a very nice way. You are an explorer on your journey with your children. Unless someone wants to step in and offer you a hand, don’t focus on them at all.

    • I totally agree with you on the Facebook thing. I don’t have a Facebook because I don’t need fake friends that haven’t thought of me in a decade flaunting their perfect lives and just all the crap and drama. I have other social media but avoid regular people and mostly just enjoy comedy and news type accounts. I really feel that a lot of the entitlement issues and self-absorption in the world is caused by social media and celebrity driven unreality. Normal people are not the Kardashians or those perfect women that make a living off of Instagram by working out. Everyone is not “100% happy in their relationship” (according to my STBX he deserves to be 100% happy and that was what the whoremat was offering him ask him how happy he feels after betraying someone that is 50% of the people in his life that never let him down, and see how much he likes OW’s bug infested apartment). Seeing all that fake happy shit gives people completely the wrong idea of what is import and how to “be happy” hint, it doesn’t have to do with your outside shit!

  • This is starting to eat away at me. I know I should be at “meh” – 2.5 years pas BD, divorced 16 months.

    I sit in my tiny house, renovating by myself on a shoestring budget, they live in a brand new McMansion. She benefits from MY years of scrimping and saving, allowing him to work all the time to advance his career.

    My big “Thank You?” – to be dumped like garbage after 30 + years, blamed for everything (including his affairs and “abusing” him with neglect) – plus emotionally and financially monstered against until MOST of the family investment was erased.
    {Thank God the 401K’s were not open- he would have GLADLY handed this over to his attorney – just to spite me my half if he could have.}

    I know he lost in the end. He lost his children, me, about $100,000 (at LEAST) in his half of savings/equity income. I’m sure his divorce lawyer bill was 2x what mine was.

    I have scrapped and fought and crawled out of the hole, re establishing my household equity (at least) renovating a new house – I have landed on my feet.
    BUT I see other women my age, who’s husbands did not go batshyte crazy at 50. I’m jealous of their vacations, holidays and family unity. I could paint a “rosey glow” around my accomplishments, but I’d rather simply accept the way I feel as natural and hopefully only temporary…

    • I totally understand that feeling of scrimping and saving and sacrifice for nothing. My STBX is an immigrant (UK) so when he came here he started with just a minimal amount of cash he had saved from working in his country. I love my mom but she was a single mother and we had barely enough to get by during my childhood. And I was working full time and going to school full time when my husband came here so we could be together. We married and moved out and started with very little. We were married for ten years and we live in a very expensive area that has slowly become that way so we are amongst the poorer in our area. We saved for several years to basically pay 1/2 of our car off with our down payment and then we saved for several years and (with some help from his family that could afford it) we put a down payment on our condo. We spent our entire marriage saving not taking fabulous vacations, not going to the movies or expensive dinners or amusement parks or buying expensive clothes or purses and then he leaves for some whore. I get that feeling of what was the point of that?! At least we both end up with basically next to nothing because all our money is in the condo and since we are in our early 30’s don’t have much in the way of assets so the whore isn’t taking 30+ years of my hard work too. But it just SUCKS! If he wanted to blow everything up he could have just not wasted my time. I could have lived at home never spending for ten years and now I would have had 120 months rent saved up. I’m so mad and sad and hurt. And it sucks. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Even if you aren’t in a McMansion at least you have something for yourself. And don’t let his blame shifting bother you. I know it’s hard and HE will never admit it but even if you were the worst wife ever that is ALL on him. Nothing you could do MADE him cheat. He has to say that because his fragile view of himself as a good guy will be blown up if he admits he’s a cheating a-hole and you didn’t deserve what he did to you.

      • Shelby, we have so much in common. I am also in my early 30s, and I was with my ex for almost a decade. I originally lived with him in his country of origin (worst experience of my life, by the way) and he immigrated to Canada to be with me. Those years feel massively wasted… or, at least they definitely did. Now–I don’t really think so. That whole experience has made me so mighty now. I know what I want. I know what a good relationship looks like. I don’t have children that tie me to him (although he did try to get “partial custody of the dog,” and my lawyer had to tell him that wasn’t a thing). Like everybody else here, we have time to start again. I’m so much happier now than I was when I was with him, even. If you ever want to talk, I’d be happy to. I’m so sorry you’re going through all this.

    • McMansions can also go tits up – here’s hoping! It’s better to have your own little place that is secure than a McMansion. And if he did the dirty on you why won’t he do it on her. Karma has a way of working its way around.

  • I also had stroller envy, but for a different reason. The Fucktard promised me a child, but the time was never right for him. Then, as my bioclock ticked, he claimed I’d be a lousy mother, I was too old, he didn’t want to retire with kids in college, etc. The bottom line was that he was too selfish to be a parent, and like so many things, he lied to me about it. I know it’s for the best because it set me free, but it was one more layer of sadness to overcome. But life goes on, and my dog loves me, and my new and improved husband loves me, and past sadness does not define me.

    • This is what my brother did to my sis in law… he drug his feet acting like a spoiled child until her bio clock alarmed then he had an affair. I do not advocate violence but if she had shot him, I would have defended her. The reconciled and now live an ostensibly contented early retirement. They never had that child she wanted. He is my only sibling and I love him but he is a bit of a narc butthead at times.

      • I know it’s wrong but I would probably let anyone who had been cheated on off if they murdered the cheater. It really isn’t that person’s fault the cheater literally makes you feel insane! I get that feeling. I almost stabbed mine when we were arguing right after d-day but then I imagined the conversation with 911 when I had to explain why he had a knife sticking out of his shoulder area “um I slipped? It was an accident? The way he accidentally fucked someone else and didn’t mean to is the way I stabbed him?” I would give another chump a free pass on the murder AND award damages too ?

        • Oh, I am right there with you. I would be very still and quiet on the jury panel. No one would know my thoughts. I would smile and nod and be a vanilla middle aged bore. But anyone who killed because they had been cheated on?
          I got you.

            • Me too! It is a great way to numb the brain to the pain. I think that cheating should be a Get Out of Jail Free card.
              If I ever get my hands on a big chunk of money (snort) I would pay for lawyers for women who killed abusive or cheating husbands. Only by the Grace of God that many of us did not just SNAP.

        • I’ve thought the same thing about a lesser punishment for murderers of cheaters. In the old testament, it was perfectly legal. Just saying. If cheaters aren’t responsible for their behavior, why should we be held responsible for ours? Or wait, maybe it is wrong to hurt other people and they are responsible…

      • With narcs, it’s all about them. The ideas of being responsible or sharing aren’t high on their list. They might say the words you want to hear, but if it isn’t what they want, it’s not going to happen. “Team player” isn’t in their vocabulary. Nor is “sacrifice.” They really should come with proper labeling and warnings.

  • @Dreamer, I TOTALLY get what you are saying and very sadly that is what kept me with cheater for YEARS after the first D-Day…. that not wanting to surrender the dream, even though I was in fact continuing to live a lie. So, I want you to know I TOTALLY get you. But I also want to address your final comment being into your 40’s, with small kids and any guy you might hope to find wont be the father of your children, etc. ALL true – and again I get you (I am 48 with an 8 year old and two other adult children all by the Cheater)…. and I used to fret about your last point A LOT. But, I forged on, I met a guy on line and just yesterday, I was sitting on the couch trying to knit (my first sock… a whole special challenge of its own) and my new BF is there having a “tickle war” with is also 8 year old son, and the kid was laughing and laughing, and you know pretending to try to get away but loving every minute of it, and I saw my boyfriend’s face, he was looking so joyful as he’s playing with his son (a kid who is NOT MINE, BTW and I also used to have this “thing’ about how I didn’t want any other woman’s kid in my life) and I could not help but think, look at him (the BF) look how sweet he is, I can see how much he loves his kid, how happy he is playing with him… even though we parents complain about the kids all the time, LOL! See him with his kid just made me love him more. It didn’t matter that is wasn’t MY kid. Then MY kid, piled on the pig-pile tickle fight and it was just sweet and funny, and I just know we were all going to be OK.

    This time LAST year, Superbowl Sunday, I was sitting alone on my couch while the future X was out in a bar. No one was playing with my son, we ate dinner alone that night because “daddy” was out in a bar.

    I guess I’m trying to say, my BF isn’t my sons father, and I’m not his son’s mother, but we all love each other and we are all a family now. And I’m really happy.

    You can be too. focus on what makes you FEEL happy and not what “people think”, or what it looks like to the neighbors, etc. You are going to be OK. Many hugs.

  • I wonder if what you are describing is mourning rather than jealousy. You had hopes and dreams about what your own family would be like. You were the faithful spouse, thinking you were in a committed relationship and moving towards what was your own ‘happily ever after’, even though it wasn’t perfect – it was yours and you were putting in the hard work to make family life good.

    What happened to you was unfair, especially as the faithful spouse. You have to question everything now – what parts were real and what parts were lies; how much different would you life had been if different choices were made by everyone involved.

    Although I am still in limbo with my spouse, the most therapeutic thing I am doing for myself at this moment is allowing myself to mourn. Mourn the loss of my own ‘happily ever after’. Even if we stay together, it will never be what it could have been had my husband decided to never chase after porn and enter a world of objectification and perversion and eventually even sexual acting out. Mourning the loss of trust – how do you ever fully trust again when someone you love looked you in the eyes and lied to you? Mourning the loss of my best friend. My spouse was my very best friend, I thought I could trust him with my life. To know the level of deception he utilized just to create opportunities to jack off to porn, yikes. To mourn the loss of the future we were supposedly building; even if by chance something remains – it won’t be what we were supposed to be building. It will forever be tarnished by his betrayal. Even if I divorce, I am tied to him for almost another decade in raising our children. I mourn the bondage of this baggage for a very long time to come.

    So, have you allowed yourself a time to mourn? I understand the importance of being mighty, but we do get to be sad about the ruin of our hopes and dreams when we did nothing wrong. We get to mourn, maybe what you are feeling is the tug of those last tears that need to be shed. For all those memories now tarnished, for all those dreams not lost, for trust to be shattered.

    We don’t have to be mighty everyday, what happened to you was wrong. While we get stronger every day, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for mourning.

      • That is lovely. And for me there has been a lot of shame and humiliation as well. I have felt like a failure and just so unworthy. It’s seeming like you can’t just make this stuff go away but you really have to work through it. I love this post.

    • Yes, this. Though cheating was my deal breaker. We all need to grieve our losses, and give ourselves time to do so. I go back too and remember the good, it wasn’t all bad. Until he let go. Until he became someone I didn’t recognize. Before that, There was so much good in our life together. I still mourn the loss of our fairy tale. But the disordered sabatoge dreams, that is who they are. They don’t care about anyone else’s happiness, just their own. So happy to be away from messed up values.

  • I don’t understand how I can feel so relieved to be rid of the disordered fuckwit, so proud and happy to be on my own doing whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it, and at the same time, so envious and wistful and heartbroken when I see happy couples and “intact” families. It’s too much to hold on to all at once.

  • Chumps!!!! My STBXH reaped what he sowed and I got to see it!! This is kind of long, but stuff like this does not happen all the time. It all started when my best friend from High School was getting her nails done. We live in a very large area, with hundreds of nail salons, so the odds of what is about to happen is nothing short of a miracle.

    As my friend is getting her nails done , she hears the woman next to her tell the nail lady, that she started dating a divorced cop about a year ago and he just sold his house. Total lie, we are still not divorced and she was the reason we got one. But looking like an adulterous whore in a nail shop, around a bunch of married women is never a good idea. The woman continues her story and proceeds to say that her boyfriend (my STBXH) broke up with her two weeks ago after telling her he just couldn’t give her what she wants-he told me the same line. But here is the kicker, she then says she ran out of birth control pills and found out the day before that she is pregnant with his baby and is going to tell him that night!

    Before the woman leaves, my friend asks her if she is talking about my husband. The woman says, “Oh you’re a friend of My Real Name”, she proceeds to say, please don’t tell her, that would be STBXH’s worst nightmare”. I instantly text my husband,” Your girlfriend’s pregnant – good luck”

    Now here is the irony of it all.

    First, my STBXH is an arrogant cop type, who claims to not be afraid of anyone or anything. However, when we were married and I would ask about having children. He would say that his only fear in life was having kids. He is a flaming narcissist, so actually the truth is his greatest fear is that a baby would take away attention and kibbles from him. Needless to say, in then seven years we were married we didn’t have children (blessing in disguise). So bitch, I can confidently say that I’m not his worst nightmare, YOU ARE! Being able tell him first that his worst nightmare has come to life, was the best text message I have ever sent!!!! I imagine he felt shock, betrayal , deception, and complete devastation that his imagined life as a free bachelor is now falling apart at the seams and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. That his finances, lifestyle, and future have instantly changed in a second because somebody conned him!

    It even gets more ironic- my husband had bought me Valentine’s Day flowers last year, with a note saying “he was ready to fight for our marriage”. He didn’t know I could still see the credit card and he bought this OW a $100 nail gift certificate the same day. Now, his whore is in a nail salon, almost a year later to the day, probably using another gift certificate he has given her, spilling all their ugly truth. Not realizing she has just given me the golden ticket! My STBX has been fighting me all the way in our divorce not agreeing to a settlement and threatening that he won’t have to pay a lot of alimony because he will stop working overtime. I call BULLSHIT! I think with a crazy baby mama and a newborn, you will be working all the overtime you can get.

    Last, I have always expressed how my husband was so kind, sweet and caring to me and that was one of the reasons it was so hard to believe this was happening. Over the past year, I’ve come to understand that all of his kindness was simply a way to manipulate me. It kept the kibble dispensary open day and night, I was his biggest fan and champion. He learned exactly what to say to get me hooked emotionally, so that I could never consider there was anyone better than him. I imagine that he implored the same technique on this whore. So when he started to pull away, she thought I can’t possibly lose him. He is the best boyfriend I’ve ever had… So like any good hooker, she sperm jacked him. Ultimately, his form of manipulation brought out the super crazy in an already fucked up person. He was an amateur, and literally got screwed over by a 30 something- who had nothing better going for her besides getting knocked up by a cheating, lying, soon to be completely broke ass cop. Personally, I don’t think it could have happen to a more deserving couple.

    So champ nation, take heart!! Nobody gets away with anything in life. I can’t tell you how many times I cried that I just wanted justice for my pain. In fact the day before I found all of this out, I went over to my house to pack my things. I left so angry after finding this whore’s items throughout the house. All I wanted was justice, and it came in the form of a satisfying text message- letting him know that he now has to live his worst nightmare. Welcome to the pain of betrayal and loss asshole!

    • HeReaped

      OMG BEST STORY EVER!!!

      You have just made my day, week, month, year!!

      Absolutely perfect in every way. ???

      • I know Capricorn! I forgot to say this is Not This Girl- I just had to change the title beside it was too good! My STBXH is also the Jesus Cheater, who Chump Lady sent through the BS translator about his text message prayers! You can’t make this stuff up!!

        • Jesus cheating is seriously the SICKEST thing in the world of cheating (other than like child prostitution or something). It SERIOUSLY makes me feel ill to even think about. I’m not religious in any sense of the word I used to be VERY into church in my teens and now I just feel differently. But it just makes me SO ANGRY that people exploit religion and claim that this is what GOD wants to try to justify cheating. God wants you to be happy and treat everyone with love. WHORE FUCKING is NOT LOVE to your wife. It just infuriates me. And the way they try to exploit the chump’s beliefs too. Like you trust God. And this is what God told me he wants. So you can’t question me. If you do then you are questioning God. It’s so sick. Hopefully he knows his bastard child with that whore is God’s will too ? Because CLEARLY God wanted them to be together which is why your ex HAD to cheat with schmoopie in the first place and then God waved his hand and stopped her birth control and then she got pregnant by divine intervention. Or they are both self absorbed assholes that deserve each other and every bad thing that happens to them. I WILL pray for you to be relieved of your sadness and for good things to come into your life.

          • Sad Shelby! You nailed it, I’m sure this will be their story. It was God’s will for the baby and that is why he cheated. But I now understand my STBXH and he will never change. He will cheat on her and always be reinventing his story.

            • Justice! Hope you get your divorce agreement finalized before that baby officially changed everything.

              • Please let their be justice for what happened. I get so angry that I find myself plotting revenge against people who like the Facebook photo of him and his OW whore. Like, I want to hurt them for giving credence to someone who is a home wrecker.
                Facebook, the surest path to misery besides food poisoning.

          • It’s only what Jesus wants if you met a different Jesus other than the one in the Bible. Jesus said “go and sin no more” to the cheater, not “go and whore it up!” Cheaters need to be shown the book of Malachi where God refuses to accept the offerings of men that abandon the wives of their youth. They ain’t reading what we’re reading if they think God is happy about this. Either that or they don’t know how to read words like no or not. The Bible is really quite clear about this. God even put it in a commandment to make it easy for people to understand.

      • I totally have to agree. This made my morning. It made my morning to picture you giggling (or cackling ?) away while you sent that text and blew up HIS life. Have some of that! That feeling. That feeling of shock and WTF?! And how could you?! Yep. That’s just for you A-HOLE! Just be grateful it’s not your drama! My STBX got his whore pregnant and I had to deal with d-day on top of the idea that I wanted a baby but we couldn’t afford child care and some SLUT BAG was having my husband’s first child. And then the whore miscarried. So at least I’m not dealing with their baby drama crap while all this divorce and separation stuff is still going on.

    • “DEAR STBXH: By the way stbxh, your baby mama was overheard bragging that she was just delighted to be expecting!!! she just KNEW this was going to bring you guys back together – FOREVER and EVER!!!.” 😀 😀 😀
      or
      “OW declared that she always wanted a passel of children, this “oopsie” is really a first blessing!”
      She threw a wrench into your life — a few lobs back CAN’T hurt that much —

      — because you were not there, this is only “hear say”, how could you be held accountable?
      SERIOUSLY – tho.

      { I would seriously add the part about intentionally “running out” of birth control. That is never an “oopsie” and a very obnoxious thing to do.} I’m SURE she’s telling him she has NO IDEA how she got “with child”. This is how #2, #3 and #4 come around. NOT FAIR to a child.

      • He Reaped, I just LOVE this story! It’s delicious revenge. The idiot OW bragging to what she believes to be total strangers about her dramatic life only to find out that the world is actually quite small. Then the “coups de Gras” is your message to the cheating liar! Oh well, at least he got a heads up which is more than most of us Chumps got on D day. I know it’s wrong to feel “warm fuzzies” when that Karma bus rolls over them, but I just can’t help but feel they truly deserve it. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when she tells him
        She’s preggars and he tells her “bye-bye”. I’d be getting my nails done again just to hear the continuing saga. WE know how it ends already!

    • That is just simply awesome. The karma bus drove over him, and backed up and did it again. I will live my stbxh’s karma through yours. Thank you!!

    • Great story! Your stbx was intent on giving OW the heave ho as now that he is nearly divorced he assumes he can do better than some desperate defect that is ok with dating a married man. Ran out birth control my foot, she wanted to seal the deal. He is now stuck with some tramp he doesn’t give a rat’s behind about and she is pregnant so they are tied together for at least the next 18 years. Never rains it pours. Yup this is a good karma story.

    • My heart sings with your news of X’s justice (but impending horror for that poor little child about to be brought into dysfunction).

    • My stbx always dreamed of early retirement when our kids grew up, well he got a 24 yr old breeder pregnant. Must be fun chasing a 2 yr old at midlife..no early retirement because of alimony, child support for family 1 and now diapers for family 2..
      It is ironic, because I have new found freedom with older kids and now extra income

    • So much poetic justice, in the way of the betrayer getting betrayed, and because their narcissism finally ends up doing them in. Of course side hos couldn’t possibly have ulterior motives–no one could ever be looking to play a narcissist. Isn’t everyone there to bask in the glow of their awesomeness? Narcs are so high on themselves they don’t even realize they can be a mark for scammers as easily as anyone else, or even easier, because people who aren’t so high on themselves might question people coming on so strong with flattery and praise and all that ego-feeding stuff.

      My Ex didn’t get trapped with a pregnancy, but did still get played like a fiddle. He was supposedly oh-so-special and oh-so-appreciated by the side ho, when the truth was, he was totally interchangeable with whatever guy she could get to fall for her scam. She didn’t care who ended up paying her way out of her marriage, so long as someone did it, and she had another guy to move on to. Still, dumb ass ate that shit up with a spoon, even though he was well aware she has a list of flaws fifty miles long, which includes being a known liar, phony, fake, etc. But of course none of that applied to him because he’s special like that.

      Not. So much for his plans of riding off into the sparkly sunset (which sets and rises for him, of course) with someone who *totally appreciates him.* But he did still get to be free of the “ungrateful” wife and kid, so I guess that part technically worked out.

      Something funny? He’d accused me of having ulterior motives. You know, part of the rationalizing bullshit to attempt justifying how he was acting like an asshole. He accused me of that and all kinds of other stuff, none of which was true–about me, anyway. But when it came to his side ho, all of it was true and then some.

      These fools think they can chump everyone, and end up getting chumped themselves. It doesn’t justify what they put us through, but at least it is a type of justice.

      • My STBX got exactly what he deserved too! His beloved schmoopie is a whoremat (whoreish doormat) and he has realized too late that hmmm the grass is NOT greener! Instead of living a basically care free life of spending on whatever he wants and all the free time he could ever do literally ANYTHING in, he is now babysitter to her rape kid by an ex fiancée and living in a bug infested shithole, he’s gotten fat, he’s always sick, he doesn’t sleep anymore and apparently the whoremat sleepwalks and tries to leave the crappy apartment they live in.

        She was told by her narc mother she is worthless and should do ANYTHING to keep a good man around, like getting “accidentally” pregnant maybe? Or telling my STBX that she wanted to help him with his marriage and then she told him she loved him too much and then fucked him? Or telling him her SOB story about how previous exes stole from her, stole her SSN and bankrupted her and how the cheating, alcoholic ex hit her before my husband helped her become strong enough to say “no more” after putting up with that shit for ten years?

        Yep. Sucked in by a master manipulator all because of her I love you, you’re the NICEST person I’ve EVER MET, and open legs. All that boring, responsibility free, stability with an “asexual” wife and a “sexless” marriage is looking pretty fucking awesome from the other side!

        He told me this weekend that he wishes he was back in the marriage BEFORE the cheating. Wait. The part of the marriage where I DIDN’T love you? And where you were SO unhappy for YEARS?! THAT part of the marriage? To someone that’s so BORING because you know everything about them already?! THAT marriage is what you’re longing for now?! So wait, exploring people and learning EVERYTHING about them and making connections and fucking strange ISN’T all you dreamed it would be?! How’s that 20% working out for you now?!
        ???

        • Sad Shelby

          One thing.

          Please don’t ever use the phrase ‘rape kid’ again. It’s offensive on so many levels. I get the rage and the hurt but that child doesn’t deserve that phrase at all.
          Rape is rape and is horrific for anyone.
          The child of such an act should never be labelled that way.
          Just had to say something.

          • I think remonstrances should be private, no matter how well-founded, Capricorn.
            We’re all triggered here, some in the early stages, when rage is out of control and we can say things without thinking.

        • “He told me this weekend that he wishes he was back in the marriage BEFORE the cheating. Wait. The part of the marriage where I DIDN’T love you? And where you were SO unhappy for YEARS?! THAT part of the marriage? To someone that’s so BORING because you know everything about them already?! THAT marriage is what you’re longing for now?! So wait, exploring people and learning EVERYTHING about them and making connections and fucking strange ISN’T all you dreamed it would be?! How’s that 20% working out for you now?!” And this truth and very sarcastic part of your post is why I love CN. You say your truth IRL and you are just a mean, bitter bunny!!!!

        • Mine said he lost the only woman who ever loved him. But wasn’t I just some ungrateful bitch who didn’t appreciate him? Didn’t I have ulterior motives and I was out to get him? No idea what I was supposedly trying to get, and I guess I was running one hell of a long con since I was with him 20 years.

          He fell for all the sob story bullshit, too. Hook, line and sinker. Didn’t even bother trying to confirm any of it, or ever ask himself why she wouldn’t have left her marriage long ago if any of it was true, why she wouldn’t have gone to relatives for help…

          Every bullshit lie that came out of her mouth was accepted at face value. But then he’d question me like I was some chick he’d been going out with for a couple weeks rather than the wife who’d stuck by him all that time and never done anything really wrong to him.

          So now it’s, “Huh, I guess maybe you were telling the truth. My bad.”

          Sorry (not sorry). Once he decided to go there, to spit in my face and stab me in the back and rip my heart out and kick it in the ditch, talking all that “don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” bullshit it useless. The operative word there would be GONE.

          • They are just pathetic! They really are. He didn’t LOSE the only woman to love him he CHOSE to THROW HER AWAY! In my case STBX has nothing inside him that gives him worth to himself. He started getting into really good shape and that caught the whoremat’s eye and she gave him his worth. His non-whore wife loving him and choosing to spend her life with him meant nothing when SHE said he was amazing. I’m sorry I didn’t spend my time telling him he was amazing and perfect. He wasn’t. I told him he wasn’t all the time but I also told him I loved him exactly the way he was. He had much he could have improved upon but I never criticized or belittled him. I stuck around through a decade of good and bad because I LOVED him. And apparently I was using him for his paycheck and as a roommate because I didn’t love him THAT way and he was just a placeholder until something better came around. ??? Our life was everything to me and it all seemed to be okay to him too until the whoremat came around boo hooing about how unhappy SHE was. Then suddenly HE was too. Directly after d-day he had been unhappy for YEARS practically the entire marriage, then it was 3 years, then 18 months, then maybe only 4 months. These idiots HAVE to tell themselves these pathetic stories because “I blew up multiple lives because I felt like it and figured I was WAY too smart to ever get caught!” Doesn’t play well in civilized society.

    • That is great…the best text I ever sent was to OW…a very casual mention of Hs death and some reference that Im sure she already heard (but she probably hadnt). I hope that she sees him as her Great Lost Love forever.

  • This post is pretty much me, except I don’t feel envious of those couples, I just feel sad.

    I also feel cheated; cheated that I can’t share the beauty and joy of my children’s youngest days with my partner; someone to share the good times and bad.

    I could have and should have married a man who would have truly loved me. Now, I may be single forever, who knows. But I’ll never have the intact family everyone around me has.

    Sorry for being a Debbie Downer.

    • I know what you mean. But, considered objectively, my life is SOOOO much better single than it was with an intact family. No one undermines me, no one gives me the silent treatment, no one tries to triangulate with the children, I don’t have to do social damage control because the fuckwit alienated yet one more person, I can break spaghetti into thirds and not have to listen to a diatribe on how it should be broken in half. Alleluia!

    • It’s okay and perfectly natural to feel cheated. You were cheated. But it’s better and healthier, ultimately, to be alone than to suffer that. Brighter days are ahead. Hang in.

      • It worries me that my XH is too narcissistic and dense to understand any karma or character repercussions. I am not sure he has the insight, well I am certain, he does not have the insight to know he is with someone who is evil and gross. If he did not value me before, he is not going to later.
        I think these people are just a cut bait and run situation. I want justice. But, my XH does not even grasp he did anything wrong. I know I am not saying this well.

        The best I can do is be happy I am not with someone who is drunk, cheating and disrespectful, dirty and belligerent. But, a moment when he stops and says, My God, what have I done?

        I had better not hold my breath.
        I will not get that victory.

  • I have also felt that same envy. It is particularly triggering when I hear people complain about their children. I know all parents feel that way sometimes, hell, so do I. But it is hard to hear from people who are so tone deaf as to not realize how the alternative isn’t so great. I now have to split custody with my ex and his OW who are not married. I grieve the loss of getting to be the kind of parent I wanted to be and I grieve the loss of the childhood she will never have. I am sad about the morals and ethics she is being exposed to in that household, that lying and giving up are okay ways to behave.

    I will say that once I was able to truly accept that this was happening and there was nothing I could do about it, I was able to make my peace with it. If I had to be alone half the time then I was going to make the most of that time. I was going to go out to storytelling events and find open mic nights and comedy shows. I was going to go hiking in the woods every weekend and start taking spin classes at the gym. All of a sudden I wasn’t sitting at home and lamenting my missing daughter, I started to do things for myself. Funny thing happened, people started to envy me. People started to say they wish they had the kind of free time that I have and I always look like I’m having fun. Don’t get me wrong, it still hurts, three years later, and I don’t think I’ll ever be “over it” but it’s getting easier.

    I always took professional “family photos” for us each fall. The first fall that rolled around post-divorce was hard, I didn’t want to do the photos, but I found a groupon and it was really cheap, so I just did it anyway. It was hard to sit in the studio with all the happy families around me, and me alone with my daughter. But I fought back the tears and plastered a smile on my face and got my photos. I’m so glad I did. The next year I spent more and had lovely outdoor photos taken, this past fall, I did it again. I’m so glad that I didn’t stop the tradition of fall family photos because I was embarrassed of being a single mom. I will have those pictures of us for the rest of my daughter’s life and I’m so glad I will.

    When the affair had come to light and my ex left we had just booked and paid for a non-refundable 9 day trip to Disneyworld. It was going to be our big once in a lifetime dream trip. I couldn’t stomach the thought of going on the vacation we planned together, but I did so anyway. I took my 3 year old daughter and we had the BEST trip. It was so much easier and more fun without him. We had such a great time I booked a much cheaper Disney Trip for the two of us for the next year, and yet again we had a great time. I thought having all those families around would be tough but all I noticed were the bickering couples and not as many happy families.

    There are silver linings and when you start to look for them you’ll see that things are going to be okay. Not perfect, but it will all work out in a different way.

    • What you said about taking the trip reminded me of a similar experience, only it happened for me while Ex and I were still together. At first, it was just my daughter and I, and it was so laid-back and…pleasant. We stopped when we wanted to stop, got to places whenever we got to places, treated it like the vacation it was supposed to be.

      Once Ex met up with us, there came the bitching about not making good time if we stopped to check out (whatever my daughter and I wanted to check out), the cost of the hotels, gas, food, whatever. We hadn’t taken a trip in ages, there was absolutely nothing wrong with or irresponsible about splurging a little, we weren’t staying at ritzy hotels or eating at five start restaurants, but still…bitching, criticizing, negativity. My daughter said we should’ve left it at just the two of us, it was so much more peaceful and relaxed then.

      I’m still glad we went on the trip. I wouldn’t trade that time with my daughter (road trips with kids old enough to appreciate them = highly recommended), and there was a silver lining in realizing how much things changed with having Ex there versus not having him there. It’s yet another reminder that I’m more at peace without him, and so is my daughter.

      The silver linings might be difficult to see, impossible at times, but I agree that they’re there, and one way or another, things will be okay. I haven’t gone through everything I’ve gone through in my life to end up beaten by this.

      • Oh my goodness that brings back memories. Many moons ago when we had to get the kids US passports renewed we had to go to the consulate in Paris. I always arranged it so we had a day to go around Paris then a day to visit Eurodisney. I remember it started to rain inside the park and my oldest still wanted to push his baby brother in his pushchair. I tried to tell him no, let’s just keep going when my ex reached out and hit my son so hard. You know I don’t think my son holds it against him but I sure do – that was one hell of a smack. I hope the bastard gets one in return some time, cos he was good at handing out beatings.

      • “I haven’t gone through everything I’ve gone through in my life to end up beaten by this.”

        Love this, Attie.

  • On my gosh, yes. Very hard to let go of what might have and should have been. When I feel myself start to go there, I remember the following things. 1). It was absolutely no fun being married to cheater boy. It was, in fact, pretty darned shattering on a regular basis. 2). It’s incredibly wonderful to move through each day without cringing and cowering in the face of his endless criticism, which was always pretty biting, but was exponentially worse once all of the affairs, but particularly that long and gutting last one with the employee 20 years his junior, got under way. Now, I get to make coffee, walk the dog, tend the yard, catch a movie, hang out with my kids or do anything at all that might catch my fancy without being belittled half to freaking death. Pretty darned nice. Relaxing. Okay, not sure what shape life will take from here, but whatever happens, it can only be far, far, better than the daily hell that was happening. 3). Though the whole deal stunk, there were some attacks and surpassingly odd exchanges toward the end that were breathtakingly cruel. I recall those in detail, and ponder them whenever I’m tempted to get weepy, which does still happen. 28 years is, after all, a long time. 4). When all else fails, I consider the fact that he actually believes he was some sort of martyr, and it steels me. He tried not to hurt me? He tried not to hurt the kids? He felt endlessly tortured while messing around with who knows how many increasingly young and subordinate chicks? Um, no. Unwilling to be a denizen of crazy world any longer. Only human, so bound to sting if/when he marries this last one. Not going to love it if kids (a bit older, thank goodness, but it still messed mightily with their heads and hearts) have to show up to celebrate that diabolical union, but better her than me, you know? Been there, got the tee, burned it, salted the scorched earth.

    • ChumpionSAHM, Your number 4, gets me through the sadness, because gee it must be so hard to be married and have to “go mess around with sho knows how many increasingly young and subordinate chicks”, the agony, the martyrdom, that the x must have “felt” everyday as he went to work. F*er!!! We, the kids and I knew the truth. And he may have portrayed a suffering, sex starved, good guy, but we knew the truth when he was at home.

      “4). When all else fails, I consider the fact that he actually believes he was some sort of martyr, and it steels me. He tried not to hurt me? He tried not to hurt the kids? He felt endlessly tortured while messing around with who knows how many increasingly young and subordinate chicks? Um, no. Unwilling to be a denizen of crazy world any longer. Only human, so bound to sting if/when he marries this last one. Not going to love it if kids (a bit older, thank goodness, but it still messed mightily with their heads and hearts) have to show up to celebrate that diabolical union, but better her than me, you know? Been there, got the tee, burned it, salted the scorched earth.”

      • Yup. Cheater Boy’s martyr story–which he painstakingly constructed as the only possible way to move on without at all tarnishing that all-important public image–was really the very last straw. The insanity of it did much to help free me. I mean, really? Fucked endless chicks but felt just utterly horrid about it the whole darned time, and my resentment further wounded him? Deeply crazy. You can’t make that ish up.

    • The criticism thing seems to be a really common element, along with it getting worse a year or two before everything totally goes to hell. It seems like they keep upping the ante with their “others,” and once that’s not cutting it anymore, that’s when it really becomes our fault. We’re the ones making them miserable, it’s been our fault all along, keeping them from their blessed “freedom,” or whatever the hell we’re supposedly keeping them from.

      I’m all too familiar with “breathtakingly cruel.” Those words you’d swear they sharpened like knives to make sure they’d do as much damage as possible. It’s like they know the jig’s up, or soon to be up, so they might as well say all that hateful stuff they’ve been storing up for years, get it off their poor, overburdened chests. We are such nuisances, after all (insert eye roll, disgusted face, etc.).

      Or it’s all just attempted rationalization for their bullshit, have to break out the really good (aka crazy) stuff since they’ve got a hell of a lot to attempt rationalizing. Whatever it is, as much as we don’t need to dwell on it or take it to heart in the sense of buying into it, recalling it if you’re starting to feel sorry for them or anything along those lines…yeah, damn effective.

      I appreciate that we can say things here and it’s just understood. “28 years is, after all, a long time,” might seem contradictory, nonsensical, whatever else to people who haven’t lived this crap (20 years for me), but for those of us who have, it makes total sense, and in a way, says it all.

      • The criticism is the build up to the discard. None of these fools are especially original. I said it the other day, but for anyone in a marriage/relationship and someone starts viciously critiquing you, the breath taking cruel jabs, there is something off. And it usually them getting off with someone else.

        • Yup. Absolutely. All part of the crazy justification. If the wife FORCES me to be that mean to her (ha ha, no, but that’s apparently how they think), then clearly the affair is a spiffy reward much deserved. Mine often conducted showy one-sided fights over absolutely nothing just before he left for long stretches with the chick. Apparently, just so we’re all clear here, a weed in the mulch and candy in the candy dish are sufficient justification for bedding whoever. Snort. Good to know. One thing I will have forever is a candy dish with seasonal candy in it. Current choice: conversation hearts. Next up: jelly beans, or maybe malted milk balls. I’m such a rebel.

          • Hmm…I also tend to keep seasonal candy in candy dishes. This must be our fatal flaw…but being serious, there may be something to the general idea of that. Evidence that we’re doing things toward making our houses homes. A positive, so they have to turn it into a negative to support their bullshit narrative about us being so supposedly awful.

            One of his ongoing complaints was that I loaded the dishwasher wrong (of course the definition of right = however he’d do it). Going along with that, the complaint about cooking resulting in too many dirty dishes. That tends to happen when you make a big meal all from scratch, but being able to cook’s another positive, gotta find a negative in that.

            Toward the end, I’d get bitched at if I asked him to go out just the two of us, or stay in and watch a movie together, etc. Couldn’t say I never wanted to spend time with him when I was asking him to spend time, gotta do something to shut that down.

            The list could go on and on. I’ve wondered if he ever did much of anything that wasn’t to do with blame-shifting, rationalizing, distorting reality in one way or another.

            • Yes. Can totally tell that you truly grasp the ins and outs of this particular version of hell. Especially great for them if they finally succeed in generating anger of frustration, because, hey–see? She’s a candy loving, dishwasher backward shrew. Sigh. But we lived. And it was not easy.

              • LOL at “candy loving, dishwasher backward shrew.” I should make that my username. I became far too familiar with the “criticize everything” version of hell. It’s amazing the lengths they’ll go to attempting to find justification for their bullshit. Nitpicking at the tiniest, pettiest things. Making things up out of whole cloth. All the baseless accusations…so glad I’m free of that now.

                As much as it sucked to go through, all the bullshit that went on in addition to the actual cheating makes it clear that reconciliation can’t happen. Even if I could forgive cheating (which I can’t, but just saying), I don’t want to live with all the rest of it anymore, either.

  • Sometimes I think the most damaging words ever written or read were ” and they lived happily ever after.” No one really does that, but we are raised to believe that Prince Charming will rescue us, marry us, and solve all our problems. We will wear pretty dresses and live in a castle with a staff of people waiting on us hand and foot. We will be happy, forever and ever. REALLY??? Where is that world? Fantasy Land does not exist. People who have to show off and brag are only “happy” in the fleeting minutes they believe they have made you envious. If you can somehow build up a resistance to these sucking life forms (Dementors? aka Harry Potter books?) you will be much better off. Don’t let anyone else ever define what happiness or success is TO YOU !

    I am in my 60’s, near retirement age, and I live by myself. Well, I have two cats — not exactly the Crazy Cat Lady — but close??? I am happier now that I have ever been in my life because I define my own boundaries for happiness now. The benchmark for happiness is very low for me, so I reach it often. It may be enjoying a cup of coffee in a quiet house, watching a show I like on television without interruption, or finding a good book to read. None of these things are expensive or unobtainable for anyone else — and they may not make you happy, but they make me delirious.

    I never liked to go out to places to “look for” men — even when I was young. I don’t do that now. But I did look for people who enjoy one of my greatest joys in life. I love live music, particularly the kind of music I grew up hearing in the homes of my family. I live in Tennessee, and my people were from southwestern Virginia. It is simple music, and it was one of the few joyful things my family could afford. I found people — men and women — who enjoy music, and I spend most of my off time with them, “jamming.” This makes me happy. It may not be your thing, but whatever your thing is — find it and do it. Chances are other likeminded people will be there, and you will make new friends who have similar values to you. Last Friday night I was in a “jam” with 6 men of various ages, and two couples had come in to just listen. We all had fun, and I didn’t go home with any of them. My cats were very happy to see me, and I slept like a pro. Sunday I went to a “Girl Jam” and played music with some of my female friends. The point is, happiness doesn’t have to be found in “couple” things — happiness is doing what makes you happy. Don’t define your happiness as being part of a couple — define it as being able to do something you love doing. It probably won’t happen overnight, and it takes effort to sustain — but it is well worth it. You don’t have to go and brag to others about it, many will not understand why THAT THING makes you happy. Too bad for them.

    Near where I live, there was a terrible forest fire recently. Thousands of acres burned, 14 people were killed, many more lost everything they had but their lives. The point is, you don’t have to look far to see people enduring far worse things than you are going thru right now. The amazing, resilient people here could sit and be sad about all they have lost. The people around them could mind their own business — being happy that destruction did not reach their doors. What has happened, instead, is that these displaced people are starting new lives, and the community around them have been contributing to fund raisers which will offer a “hand up” to those in need. Resilient people are awesome! Soon this area will be back, stronger than ever. They’ve even named the cause “Smokies Strong” .

    I think most of us have been thru an emotional and financial firestorm. We walked out with our life, and maybe a few material possessions. We have a lot to be thankful for, and are entitled to our sense of loss for the life before the storm. But that is the PAST. We live in the NOW, and look forward to the FUTURE. Make your own happiness, and good luck.

    • I love that, Portia. Yes. I love men and sex, even after all of this horrid train wreck, but definitely not feeling any desperation to be coupled. My STBX inadvertently did me a favor by disappearing into the affair “compartment” for longer and longer stretches at a time. In fact, have been operating as a single woman for a very long time, and that’s okay. Not believing that there’s some magical power in coupling actually feels pretty darned freeing.

    • I am feeling less and less like Dreamer and more and more like you Portia. I also am in my 60s and at D-day I was dispairing about growing old alone. Thank God I found Chump Nation.

      I live with two cats and two dogs, zero devaluing, my sons work with what they love, I have many fine and enthusiatic students, I love my job and, as soon as Sparkledick stops torturing me about a divorce settlement, if enough $ is left over I will sell my house and become a small farmer. Every day I think about the Syrian and Africans who drown in the Mediterranean because they want to work in peace.

      As CL says, we can only control ourselves.

    • Portia, I hear you! I am 62 and I’m learning to play the fiddle so I can enjoy jamming with others. What do you play?

    • What a beautiful post, Portia. It made me feel better, as my mind races at 4 AM. I hate wanting revenge. I hate it. I want to drop it, leave it, let it go. But it rises up when I least expect it, like a migraine.

    • Thanks, Portia. Your post is a beautiful reminder of how much power we do have to in our lives.

      You point out that real happiness is concrete–the cup of coffee or the group of musicians enjoying a song together. The happy stroller families are just an abstract image–one that we are imbuing with our own fantasies. I still miss some of those fantasies, but I am a lot more successful in my post-marriage life at attaining real happiness than I was whilst I was married and struggling to fit the narcissistic peg into the nuclear-family-sized hole. He performed the happy-families image in public for quite some time while being abusive at home. Eventually, even that fell apart.

      I was “fortunate” in that I knew my marriage was lousy for years before I left. People who are dumbfounded by a revelation of cheating have much less time to adjust. Although, truth be told, I don’t know that there is much to choose between when it comes to living unhappily for years or being whomped over the head with a horrible revelation and getting out of a bad relationship quickly. We all wish we’d been offered a third and kinder choice. It is up to us to move forward and build that better choice ourselves, I suppose.

    • Love that, Vixon. This makes me think of something I read recently that was talking about how few people have all the pieces of the “perfect life” puzzle all the time . . .most are missing one or two . . .

  • I was lonely and envious for most of my marriage. A dad who went to kids’ conferences and appointments was an exotic creature. A husband who was loving and supportive and sometimes romantic? Too much to hope for. I was single while married (though in a very different way than STBX acted single while married!).
    Now that I am getting rid of him, I see possibilities where I once saw envy.

  • I get ‘intact family envy.’ Fortunately, it has faded since D-Day #1, three years ago. Now I am generally glad that some families/people are intact as they hold the fabric of society together, in a way balancing out the effects of some of us, including me, who are not helping propel society (much).

    I understand wanting a partner after having lost one’s spouse (to infidelity, abuse, divorce). In my late 40s with young children and no job, I thought that nobody even close to decent would want me. I am still surprised that my friend of 30 years, a successful, childless chump who is younger than me, decided to date me after my husband left. I was bereft when my boyfriend left me last year. He came back a few months later. We have had a very good relationship since. Although I don’t want him to leave, I think that if he does, I will emotionally eventually be all right. I am starting to feel that life without him might also be all right. After half a century, perhaps I am finally starting to get comfortable with the idea of being single (and a single parent), in spite of not feeling very competent. It can take awhile to get used to feeling fine being a unit of one.

  • Watching all the lovey-dovey couples snuggling into each other is hard because I’m not envious; rather, I’m highly cynical about human beings now. I no longer think to myself, “Awww… How cute, they’re in lurve!” Now its, “She’s probably fucking her college boyfriend while that poor schmuck is stuck at work to pay for their house, her Lexus, and that extravagantly stupid diamond ring on her finger.”

    And when her poor unsuspecting husband finds the emails and photos of her betrayal, she’ll blame him for his lack of attention and affection (Funny how she originally dumped the college boyfriend because he was a loser; only now it’s great that he has plenty of time to come around during weekdays. Oh, and he can do that swirly thing with his tongue that her husband can’t quite seem to get right.) The question isn’t “if” it will happen, but “when.”

    The hard part for me is not walking over to couples and telling him to “RUUUUUUN!!

    • As sad as it is I get that feeling too. When I see couples around I wonder how happy they actually are. And when I think about 50ish% of marriages having cheaters in them I wonder who is being chumped without knowing it. It makes me sad to feel that way. Before d-day I wouldn’t have said I had the perfect marriage or perfect husband or even slightly perfect life. I had what I thought was a good, happy marriage and a decent husband and a small but happy life with lots of room for bigger and better things and lots of time for us to work for and on those things together. Now when I look at “happy people” I just feel like it’s all a load of ? waiting to get blown up

      • I’ve found myself thinking these things lately, too. It definitely feels better than evny, but it’s also kind of depressing because it makes me wonder if anything is truly good and whether my next venture into a relationship or next marriage will just be shit, too.

        • The whole situation makes me feel sad more than anything. One of the biggest things I grieve for isn’t just my future life and stability it’s the innocence. I KNEW people got cheated on and divorced but until it happens to you it’s a scary story you hear about a friend of a friend of a friend, not something that affects your life. “The wife must’ve been frigid or the husband just got married because it was the next logical step. They were only still together for the children it’s not surprising she would cheat.” It was sad for other people but being a good wife and happy in the marriage and husband saying HE would NEVER do something like that makes you feel invincible. But after it happened it literally felt like when he said those words “I slept with someone else” my innocence and ability to feel pure joy was torn out and destroyed forever. It’s only been a few months but it just feels like I will never again believe that everything can just be good. I feel like I’m just waiting on the next terrible thing to happen and when it does it’s like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ The world sucks. People suck. Bad shit happens. I can’t believe all these other people are surprised by this somehow. Isn’t it obvious life is cruel? Hopefully I’ll be able to recover but I just trusted and loved him so much and I believed in him and our relationship so completely I don’t think I’ll ever be able to open myself to someone like that again just out of fear of something, anything going wrong. Even if I find a great guy and never get cheated on again I feel like that fear will taint my happiness.

          • Exactly, SS, it’s the loss of the innocence. That’s what hurts the most. And it almost doesn’t seem possible to get it back, after knowing what we now know.

    • Betrayed, I’m actually afraid that I am too cynical. There is a lot of back story to my cynicism, like an on going affair between boss and his secretary, but “nothing” is going on there (ya right), thinking that x had the same values and morals as I did because he told me he did and my buying into it because I could, another co-worker, who should be classified as a chump but is actually a cheater apologist, she believes our boss, and her cheater husband is not a “monster”. Sometimes I don’t trust my views because they are so extreme to what my “real” world is. I guess everybody has to tell themselves a story to get by, but I feel as though I have been cured by fire, I am raw metal, with no gloss on it, while the “others” have gloss and rose colored glasses.
      I don’t think that I will ever find someone else, I live in a small, rural area, but I have a decent job that I won’t leave because I finally have a retirement investment that I don’t want to lose and I don’t believe that I could find a job that would pay me what I am making, I am 50 years old and I am comfortable where I am at, so far. The co-workers actions are killing me slowly but I hope these f*ers retire over the next 5 years. The few times that I have ventured out I have met some really messed up men that “seemed” ok on the surface, but underneath they were just cheaters or cheaters in training. Prospects on finding someone are slim. I’m an introvert and I’m not exactly interesting, I have my own hobbies, I would like to get a dog, but can’t at the present moment because I rent, I’m religious and that is not in my favor here. But you know what I am content, seeing happy on the horizon and hoping that the x is not the last man that I will love, but hoping that I will finally find a man that actually loves me, quirks and all. Envy for the coupled families that I see, no, I don’t envy that anymore, I pray and hope that they are ok in their lives and that they can raise those cute kids up right, healthy, safe and sane.

      My daughter got married about a year and a half ago, you don’t even know how many times I wanted to tell her to RUN or at least just live with her bf, this went against what my religious views are and I felt conflicted by that, but I was so worried that she would get hurt. Things are going well, as far as I know, and the only thing I can do is be there for her through her married life and if things go bad, be there for her again.

    • I hear that! My super sneaky diabolical revenge plan has always been simply to let my cheater dude and his impossibly young girlfriend dance off into the sunset together. I think they deserve each other. No desire at all to know how it goes. Lived with him long enough to have a pretty good idea of that. Besides, if she can do the Stepford Wife deal, more power to her. I’m just glad to be on the way out at last. Really don’t think I will ever marry again, but I can certainly envision a mutually agreeable monogamous (because, have to face the fact that this matters to me) situation that involves each free and umarried person having fun, enjoying each other, and then going home. This was the most crushing experience of my life by far, with every promise of more of that to come, but the relief is palpable. I think for we the chumpastic, just a wee bit of cynicism is pretty darned healthy. Don’t plan to lock up my heart and throw away the key, but happy for now with its current population: kids, friends, and a very good old dog who is by far the best and most faithful male I know at the moment.

  • How do you get over your envy when you see intact families strolling for a walk in the park?

    I think there is one word that helps you recover from this….redefining your new IDENTITY.

    My identity that I knew – pre-cheating – was that of being a husband (or wife) AND a Dad (or Mom). So when half of your identity is stolen, yet so callously, you are left feeling vacant like an empty lot. The natural reaction is to envy what you once had. But not anymore for me. No Ma’am. No Sir. Not anymore. It will fade.

    It took me time but I eventually redefined my identity. I was, am, and always with be a Dad, So half of my identity remains. The other half that defines who you are is what it is you choose to do with your life post divorce. Following your passions will always take you there, I promise.

    Get busy living or get busy dying – this will define who you are. Immerse in your newly reconstructed identity. You can still take and enjoy strolls in the park with your kids/family and be both the Mom and Dad.

  • Hi, Dreamer –

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but my experience has been that the longing for an intact family does not totally go away. It does, however, get better. I remember going to Disneyland with my siblings, their families, and my two kids who were 15 and 18, about two months after filing for divorce. Seeing my brothers and brother-in-law with their kids made me feel so envious and sick to my stomach. Watching them be amazing with their kids, playing in the swimming pool, etc. was almost more than I could handle. Now, almost five years out, I still have moments where I’m envious, but not to where it’s sickening to me. I’m pretty much at peace with my newly defined family of myself and my two kids, now 20 and 23. I’m grateful that my siblings have not had to experience what I’ve been through.

    There are times, however, when being the lone single one is still hard. My neighborhood sounds like yours with lots of intact families and kids. This New Year’s Eve I went to a neighborhood party and was truly the only unmarried one there! I felt that familiar shame and awkwardness of not being from an intact family. Instead of letting it consume me, I decided to connect with the neighbors I was comfortable with and took care of myself by leaving before midnight. I didn’t want to be the only one standing there with no one to kiss at midnight!

    All in all, envy of intact and happy families is something that I conscientiously keep in check. I’ve learned to love my own situation, knowing I’m living in safety and truth and have great relationships with both of my kids. I trust that a new relationship will happen for me when the time is right, but for now I know that I made a healthy, loving decision to not stay married to or have my kids raised by a disordered cheater.

  • I had to deal with envy as a kid, envying kids who had a father, envying kids who had brothers and sisters. Got over that. I dealt with envy of happy couples, then I met the traitor and thought I was in one of those happy couples. I had to deal with envy of all the lucky women who manage to have a baby, envy of teenage mums, regret I didn’t do something dumb like that when I was 15 and instead I was such a “good girl”. I dealt with it focusing on how lucky I was to have found the traitor and his kids and have this step family of my own. All lost when DDay came. So I focused on what in my life other people might envy: living on a beautiful farm, in our lucky country, safe, well-fed, protected by law at least most of the time.
    I focus some more on how the traitor has created his own misfortune because he no longer sees the beautiful farm I see every morning when I wake up, he sees fuckface instead. Not a pretty sight. He moved from here to the whore’s, their little plan to insert the whore in his family appears to have worked, at least on the surface. It is a lot easier to see now that it is only a superficial impression.No need to work hard to tell myself that anymore. Yes, NC is great, but being able to observe from the sidelines has its advantages… once you learn to read the signs. Don’t be fooled by appearances, they are not that happy.

  • I had a friend like that. She was trying really hard to have a good life. I actually liked that about her: always cheerful, she had something to do, she had various activities.
    She was single, wanting a guy. That’s what she said, anyway. However, she set herself up for failure, by saying things such as: Oh, he’s younger than me (2 years, omg!)
    I told her I only dated younger guys (ok, it was a small gap of 1 year). I could not convince her.
    Underneath her intentions, she was like the Dreamer: the angel, dreaming the perfect dream and the devil: constantly sabotaging the other. Deep down, she was after something else, she just couldn’t bring herself to admit or even realise…
    This is a perfect case for how the subconscious mind runs our lives.

  • A couple months after I filed (last summer) I went up to Chicago to visit my best friend. While there we went out to dinner with her “small group” from church because the dinner was a good-bye to a woman who was relocating (out to CO, I believe, to get closer to her kids). As we were eating/drinking I learned that this woman was chumped many years back. As I was in searing pain at that time, I asked her how long it took for her to feel better. She said that it took quite a while — about 5 years. She went on to say that she is now really happy that she hasn’t found another man to be in a relationship with because she has *never been happier* in her entire life. (And, my dear best friend – who is very happy and whole as a single person, herself – also confidently leaned over and discretely informed me that it won’t take be that long because I’m starting as someone who is quite independent). Hearing my friend’s friend say this with such conviction was very inspiring to me.

    Plus I’ve had numerous role models of single women living seemingly happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

    “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” : )

    • Nikki, I’m pasting this quote up on my mirror, it’s priceless!!!!! ““A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” : )” Happy pedaling, not, hahahaha!!! Just keep swimming, is gonna be my motto!!!!!

  • Just last week on the way to school, I told my 13 year old girl that I had done everything I could and stayed with her dad longer than I should have because I didn’t want them to be from a broken home. She looked at me and said, “Our home isn’t broken. Dad just isn’t a part of it anymore, but our family is still together.”

    Sometimes she amazes me.

  • That was me. For a while.
    We were supposed to grow old together (so I thought).
    Not anymore. I’m happy alone. I adjusted my thoughts out of necessity because as CL says, it’s not productive at all.

    Now it’s just wonderful. No one to lie to you. No one to gaslight you. No one to cheat on you.

    I can binge watch Mad Men without rude misogynistic comments. I can open my door for fresh air without worrying that the neighbors will hear him yelling at me.
    I don’t worry about what the hell is going to happen next.
    I can go to bed and get up whenever I want. I can sleep soundly without worry.
    It’s lovely and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    • Jewelsie, I was thinking the same thing yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday…..I had two televisions going all day for the pregame, eating garbage food, screaming and yelling like a rapid animal and didn’t have to answer or feed others! I stayed up all night, slept until noon today and didn’t have to share my craziness with a lying, cheating idiot! Funny thing though, I had to call jerk face last week, forgot to block him again….lo and behold the piece of crap was texting me about the game. “Go away little man!”

  • In my profession I have learned that it is foolish to envy anyone. Do you have any idea how many “soul mates” have come to me for advice and representation? I have seen couples who appeared perfect to the public but were living in hell at home. Do not envy anyone. Forge your own destiny.
    I have personally seen the karma train roll in and over my first ex and her AP. It wasn’t pretty and it did not make me feel any better.
    That same karma train may very well run over my current X, but so what. It will not make me feel any better.
    Fellow chumps-Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Sooner or later everyone has to sit down to a banquet of consequences.” That is true. You may never know about it or see it but it will happen.
    Let your Xs deal with the consequences of their behavior and you focus on making a good life for yourself. Stay strong CN.

    • Ican’tbelieve, “Fellow chumps-Robert Louis Stevenson once said “Sooner or later everyone has to sit down to a banquet of consequences.” That is true. You may never know about it or see it but it will happen.” Getting to the point where it happens and you don’t have to see it, is when you reach MEH! on a Tuesday!!! I pray that it happens for every chump on here SOON.

  • A wise friend once told me, “Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.”

    Focus on yourself – what brings you joy, peace or whatever else is important to you because only you can give that to you. Stop putting your energy on what you think others have; you aren’t them. You will get there. I used to envy couples until I heard a co-worker say one morning to another co-worker that I, the single one, seem to be the happiest in our team (and they’re all married).

    When you get to meh, none of this would matter. You will find joy in seeing happy couples and families and wish them well, and at the same time are grateful that you no longer have to live with a cheater, and that you can now live your life on your own terms.

  • I started to write a reply earlier but thought better of it. What we have here is not even a dream vs. the reality. We all dream of what we want out of life. I used to think I wanted things I didn’t have as a kid, like a big, fabulous house. I used to cut pictures of things like a pewter tea set out of a magazine or make my own “wish list” when I browsed in stores. Those are dreams, usually fueled by watching movies or seeing some ridiculous house on HGTV. And when we dream of marriage when we are younger, we dream about someone being “in love” with us forever and having a family like the Cunninghams on “Happy Days,” only with sexier parents. When we dream about things, they are always abstract and idealized.

    In the best of circumstances, a real marriage and family isn’t a dream. It’s a challenge. An intention two people have to build something together. Both people have to be all in. Both people have to be decent and basically kind. Both people have to slog through moments when the kids are difficult and the money is tight and there hasn’t been romance since the first baby was born. You can’t do that with someone who is not capable of actual love for another person because other people are just kibble dispensers and props for image management and paychecks.

    Those of us who didn’t get the happy family with 2 kids dream missed the mark for lots of reasons. In my case, I had a broken picker. And maybe I was so incomplete myself that I wasn’t able to take notice of the marrying kind of guys who were interested in me. (A few come to my now, to my regret). But the dream of a ” happy two-parent family with the father [or mother of your] children” was doomed from the start because cheaters can’t do that by definition.

    So, for chumps who feel like Dreamer did, D-Day and what follows is actually a way to get back on the road you want to be one. It’s an opportunity not to dream about something but to set a goal or intention and work toward it. You want a life partner? Go through the emotional fire after D-Day and process the marriage, the infidelity, the aftermath and watch yourself grow and change. Get busy figuring out who you are without a partner. Learn how to recognize a disordered person when you meet one. Put your focus on building your own life and learning to be happy regardless of circumstance. One of my HS friends is fighting colon and liver cancer. She’s an artist. And she lives with such a powerful, grateful life force. This surely isn’t her dream, as it wasn’t my dream as a young woman to end up without kids, as it is never a faithful person’s dream to discover that their partner is a cheater and a liar. But once we stand up on our feet, leave that cheater, and commit to our own lives, we open the door to things we can’t imagine. The last thing I ever expected on D-Day was to be so happy living alone and recovering bits and pieces of myself that I allowed to wither up and die years ago because being in a partnership was all I could see.

      • I spent way too much of my life trying really hard, to no avail, to help the cheater boy see that real life, with all its flaws and disappointments, is something to treasure. He was the dreamer–wanted that perfect robot of a wife, kids who excelled at every darned thing and were never any effort, and always that super sparkly public image. Ultimately, the kind of guy who would plod down a gorgeous path through the woods thinking only about burning calories and conquering things, but never noting the beauties, big and small, all around him: play of light through the leaves, animals skittering in the underbrush, birds fluttering and calling, bees humming around wildflowers. Just nothing. Did not register. I could bathe the kids and end up a soaked and sudsy mess, all the while thinking it was the most amazing, funniest, and precious thing ever. He saw only mess, only flaws, only voids he could never fill because he did not know how to look, and he valued and still values things that can never satisfy. It’s sad, but it’s also a choice, and a destructive one. Now, I can sit on my porch and enjoy the sunrise, or wander out onto the deck to commune with the moon, and not have to cope with someone who cannot savor things, but can only find the one stray leaf or weed that incenses him, or feel driven to start crafting ways to make it all better. Reality with all its interesting and challenging complications is entirely more satisfying than empty fantasies that can never be fulfilled, anyway–and thank heavens. Perfection would be wearying and dull.

        • This^^^
          Ny XH and I had a month where our business had a break. Like a shark, he had to keep moving. He was restless and bored. I felt my stomach clenching and I wanted him to relax and be present with me. He was sitting on the couch and I was putting away the dishes. He said, I feel like I should go and do something. (Never satisfied.)
          I said, Don’t you know these are the days of wine and roses. He did not know this is the title of a film about alcoholism, I was trying to get him to drink the moment.
          I said, Relax and let’s enjoy the days we have. We don’t know when we will have them again.
          And we didn’t.

    • LAJ,

      “In the best of circumstances, a real marriage and family isn’t a dream. It’s a challenge. An intention two people have to build something together. Both people have to be all in. Both people have to be decent and basically kind. Both people have to slog through moments when the kids are difficult and the money is tight and there hasn’t been romance since the first baby was born. You can’t do that with someone who is not capable of actual love for another person because other people are just kibble dispensers and props for image management and paychecks.”

      This sums up what I thought my marriage was, but I learned the hard way that it wasn’t even close to this. x thought that “marriage” should be easy, no challenge involved. I assigned intention to a “man” that had no honor and was definitely not “all in”, even though I was “assured” that he was all in at all tpimes. I yet once again assigned to x decency and kindness that just was not there. Kids, money and “romance” were the top things that x told people about (my kids don’t really know how he was so “resentful” about having to have our young adult kids still living with us), I was all about the “money” (what money, I knew what we both made and we were ok but not rolling in money) and don’t even get me started on the romance, there was a slam, bam, thank you mam, thing going on for an agonizing 22 years of wedded bliss for me. In the end he just wanted a kibble dispenser, a wife appliance and someone to blame all of his inadequacies on. Oh and someone to triangulate his schmoopies with, you know that unforgiving, affection lacking, money grubbing, kid enabling bitch of a “wife” that just doesn’t understand and appreciate his wonderfulness

      LAJ, Your posts are always inspiring and truthful. They make this chump think and they usually make me get a little better every time. Thank you.

      • Truthfully I never thought marriage WAS hard. Or something to be worked at because I WAS HAPPY. I had a time period where I wasn’t happy and I thought about leaving but in the end when I thought “am I so unhappy I’d rather never see him again or perhaps just lessen my expectations and stop blaming my husband for my unhappiness and look at other parts of my life?” I knew I wanted to be with him more than I didn’t want to be with him. Apparently when his difficult time in the marriage came around he thought I was supposed to somehow MAKE him happy and it was MY FAULT he wasn’t happy anymore. Too bad he didn’t say what was on his mind and then ran off to the open legs of a giant skank!

  • A good rule of thumb, through these less than revered times, is to remember to be truly grateful for what you do have. The value of thankfulness can never be underestimated when looking for the road to meh.

  • I found myself being envious of X who is now on his third true love since our divorce 1.5 years ago. Then I realized that I was happy. Truly happy being alone and putting myself first. Now I see how pathetic he is, searching for a peace he will never find. He keeps downgrading and his current gf is as big a scam artist as he is. Same lack of morals. I guess what I’m trying to say is that happiness snuck up on me. I don’t need to feel bad that I live alone. I choose to. I’m comfortable with it. I’m not like X who can’t be alone for two seconds because I can’t face myself in the mirror.

    • newday, x can’t live two seconds without a gf. He’s had several since he left me for his twu luv, that lasted 6 blissful months before she went back to her husband and kids. He is currently cheating on his current gf, with schmoopie #1 at his and their former place of employment. Ah his bliss, I can see it from here, safely away, divorced and out of the way. It was all him, all the time and I had not one damn thing to do with it, even when we were married. He “chose” current gf, he “chose” first schmoopie and he is still cheating on them, the “chosen” ones. I say that they are his chosen ones because he told our daughter that I “pressured” him into marriage with me, as my daughter refers to it “like a child bride”. So he chooses skanks on his own and he did not choose me, I chose him, I feel bad for me now lololol, cause his choices suck, literally and figuratively!!!!!! I sure as hell don’t envy any of them and for that I am eternally grateful to be away from all of the drama.

  • I agree wholeheartedly Einstein! When I was going through the thick of it with my divorce and illness I was just desperate for a moment of relief. I finally found that if I listed outloud all the things I was grateful for each night then things seemed a whole lot better! They didn’t even have to be monumental, it could be as simple as a new rose finally bloomed outside my window or I actually ate three times that day. Of course I had even better things happen as time passed. It really helps! Envy should remember that those cute little families she is so envious of may have major problems behind the facade she sees playing at the park. We never know what kind of burden the folks we come in contact may be carrying. Don’t assume that thier life is perfect, be thankful and grateful for your own blessings. It takes the “sting” out of being chomped!

  • If CL is a 2×4, then this is a 4×4. Some things I have that people probably envy me for:

    — Being born in a country that has women’s rights
    — Being born healthy — not, like, Sub-4:00 marathon, but the basics: two arms, two legs, both eyes, both ears, a heart, lungs…
    — Having clean drinking water, a roof over my head, enough food to eat
    — Not having the threat of war or being blown up by random explosives or gunfire on a daily basis

    … You get the picture. Those poor women who were (and still are) dragged off by the Boko Haram to be repeatedly raped and bear children to their captors? They didn’t ask for that. They didn’t deserve it. It’s just bad dumb luck that they were born into circumstances that put them at risk for such horrific tragedies.

    It’s a hard-core attitude I’ve come around to, but in the end, Life isn’t fair. Mom & Dad told me true when I was just a young tot. There are no guarantees in life. A good friend of mine was stricken with cancer and died at age 59, just as he was about to retire. Meanwhile, some of those Nazi bastards lived well into their nineties.

    A friend at work & I were talking today about just this subject, how jealous she is (burdened with three young sons, whom she loves dearly) that I (childless) can do whatever I want. Meanwhile, in spite of not having ever wanted children, I see the appeal in having family. I have no one except my sister. — That’s just how it goes.

    I am SO. LUCKY!!! I have SO much to be grateful for. Do I have a man’s love? No. I may never have that kind of love again. As the movie line goes, ” ‘Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” I didn’t deserve to be born healthy any more than people who weren’t didn’t.

    All I have is this life. I hope I make a difference before I shuffle off this mortal coil — I want to focus on that. If I never get love or dedication? Oh well. What I have lately been saying to myself is, “Not everyone gets to have everything.”

    Sorry if this is too harsh.

    • My thoughts exactly NWB. I find that practising thankfulness is a kind of mindful meditation, forces me to be aware of all the good things around me, so to be present.

    • Nope. Get busy living. I get it. We are incredibly fortunate to live in America. I will tell you this awful discarding experience has taught me to be kinder, more patient, and far less judgmental than I used to be.

    • Excellent points, NWBiblio. Some days it may be impossible to feel happy, but we can be grateful for what we do have, take a moment to make someone else’s life better, and take a step or two that will make tomorrow better for ourselves.

  • Dreamer,

    Envy is what gets you back in the saddle. Envy is what will help you get out there and find a man who, despite not being the biological father to your children, will be the father they need in their lives.

    I was adopted at birth. Neither of my parents were my biological parents, but when I think of mother and father, they come to mind first and foremost. Being a father isn’t about spewing out a little sperm in the right place nine months before mommy passes a kid out of her lady bits.

    Being a parent is about changing diapers over and over again, waking up at three AM to let the little tyke know the scratching on the window isn’t monsters, it’s tree branches in the wind scraping the side of the house, being there to comfort them when they fall trying to ride a bike and skin their knee, and then convincing them to get back on the bike the next weekend, answering that silly little question about a sign you see while driving, going to their school plays, sporting events, vacations, and being proud to be their parent.

    I assert that you can find a nice guy (or even a nice gal if your tastes run that way) who can do that for your kids. Maybe he has some of his own. Maybe you and he will have another. It’s up to the two of you.

    But don’t make the biological connection to your kids the most important aspect of your life partner. I’d wager that some of those happy couples you see in the park have blended families with his kids/her kids/their kids/whatever.

    Honor your feelings, but remember that if you want what they have, make a plan (when you’re ready), and go out and get it. There’s someone out there for you. Hope you find them.

    (((Hugs)))

  • I view happy, intact families the way I view Olympic gold medalists–wow! it must be amazing to have that gold medal. But it was not in the cards for me to have an intact, happy family, nor can I turn back time and start training for the 800 meter dash.

    • Yep. I am never going to become fluent in french and Spanish. I am never going to dance professionally. I am never going to go back to school to get a specialty degree. — These things just aren’t going to happen. Nor am I going to have a man standing by me who aged gracefully, bittersweetly, into or golden years together, with secret jokes and memories only we share. But I have many other good things in my life, and I am grateful.

  • Perhaps some will scoff at my reply but I am going to post it for those who it will resonate with. I read years ago in a relationship self-help book that the authoress recommended that the reader sit down and in great detail and with much thought and focus behind it. Write out exactly what qualities you want in your next mate. Not just physical of course, but spiritual, how they treat you and your children. Who they are inside deep down and their morals of course. Then she recommended you carry a copy of that with you at all times and occasionally pull it out and re-read it to refresh your memory. This I thought was a great idea. I had done all the other exercises in the book and then I pooped out and didn’t do this one. Perhaps if I had, I might not have suffered with a covert narc for 17 years of my precious life. Or I might have still been fooled anyway.

    The point is I think this is a good idea as it solidifies your wants and your needs and intention. It goes along with the Law of Attraction. This is where some may scoff, snort with derision or outright laugh. Go ahead. Because then I am going to say that it is also rooted in some psychology. Also good common sense. Like the old saying, ” You can’t get what you want, till you know what you want. ” We think we know what we want, but it’s a bit daunting to sit down and write it out in long detail and really think about it. That’s why I didn’t do that exercise, it felt more than a bit daunting. Because basically it’s like an order slip to the Universe. Instead of just waiting to be swept away by the next narc/disordered person that comes along to use you. It’s truly asking for the best not just what you think you can get in your 40’s with kids. And that’s a good thing for us co-dependents to do. We tend to be too nice and too selfless so this is a great exercise in asking for what you want.

    When you do that. It’s focusing on your future, not envying other people. It’s asking for what you want and then trusting that as you go along your everyday tasks that the Universe or God or whatever you believe in the higher benevolent powers that be, are arranging it. That it will happen and you don’t even have to make it happen. You’ve put in your order slip and now it’s up to the powers of good. The authoress didn’t mention the Law of Attraction, she just said that it worked amazingly well. Even if you only think of it in a psychological way, it is reminding you of what you truly wish for and want so that you don’t just settle for Mr. sort of Right with a lot of caveats.

    Because we never know as we go about our days when we are going to run into someone we like and there is potential with. So carrying that copy of our wish list along with us is both talisman against the bad and beacon for the good to home in on. It’s really true and simple, that when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. There’s some wisdom from Dr. Wayne Dyer. Changing your focus from I envy these people because this is something I can’t have. To, I am happy for these people and I will be one of them in the future. I will have perhaps not the biological Father of my children, but perhaps one even more spiritually and emotionally suited to the task. Let’s face it, all it takes to be a biological Father is a slip of the birth control. But it takes a lot to be a good Dad and Husband. It takes real commitment and real Love and real morals too. This person in your future will be better than if he’d stayed and you will be luckier and happier and so will your children than if he’d stayed.

    Even if no one does come along to take his place it’s still better and you will feel better soon about it all. Just don’t think that it’s beyond you, or outside of your reach because of your age or because of your having children. If he’s the right one for you and them, that won’t matter at all. In the meantime do the self work so that you change yourself enough so that you never draw another narcissist again. So that you’re protected and so are your children from those predators that we nice co-dependents draw to ourselves out of ignorance. Learn everything you can about that and change yourself and wish for exactly who you want and watch what happens. The self work will take up the time and keep you from feeling so envious. You’ll be glad that it takes time because you need that time to fully heal from the addiction to the narcissist. I wish you well on this journey, I am on it too. Best wishes and positive energy to you.

    • Thanks WishTues I need this now. I have always had a picture in my mind of my goals and they happened. I will write down more than about a man, about who I want to be and what I want in my life going forward. Beautifully written thank you.

  • I cried (again) when I read this post. My D day was 3/5/17. It’s still new and raw. I am almost 44. My 4 kids are aged 4, 5, 6 & 7. I am still in shock and hope to file for divorce shortly (he says he’s not in a hurry or organized enough to focus on it right now), but, as much as I know this is all his wrong doing, as much I know I deserve better, I can’t quite grasp this ‘raising 4 tiny kids on my own’ thing, even though I’ve been doing it on my own for years as he is the least proactive person I have ever met. Every time I look at 2 parent families, I die a little (actually, a lot) on the inside (especially when I see other 4 kid parents together). I have been stuck in a shitty marriage for 9 years, been gaslighted by a narcissist husband the whole time, and as much I finally realize this, I still can’t cope with the idea of being ‘divorced’ and my kids being from a ‘broken home’, and I’m insanely jealous of everyone else who has made their marriage work. When does it get better? When will I be able to hold my head high again and not feel like a failure or feel eternal humiliation?

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