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What Lessons Did You Learn From Cheating?

So, I was going to decode the other part of the inexorable piece of crap “12 Lessons I Learned from Cheating” by Parker Barrett today. But I decided to spare you. Spoiler alert — it’s not what she did, it’s your reaction (judgement) that’s the problem. Which pretty much sums up any dealings with disordered fuckwits — don’t use your judgement. Swallow the bullshit and we’re all good here.

Bullshit such as, it’s impossible to end relationships honestly!

“I think affairs can be really useful, because let’s face it, life is fucking scary, and it’s hard to make big changes all by yourself.”

Yes, Parker, life is fucking scary. Especially when the person you trusted most pulls the rug out from under your world. You’re called upon to make some big changes all by yourself.

So Chump Nation — what were those changes? What did YOU learn from cheating? Give me a list. It can be 12 or 2, or 27 items.

I learned:

  1. If I’m finished with you? I’m really not to be fucked with.
  2. I have a great capacity for forgiveness. I tried to reconcile. (But give me another D-Day? See item #1.)
  3. I’m so much stronger than I ever knew.
  4. With some help, I can move out of a 3,500 square foot house in under 3 hours and turn off utilities.
  5. That I can do my job even in times of terrible crisis. I’ll still show up.
  6. That yes, children are resilient. They shouldn’t have to be, but over time, they are. Be the sane parent.
  7. It’s super hard some days to be the sane parent.
  8. There’s a good life on the other side and I built it.
  9. Who my friends really are and who’s a waste of space.
  10. That I could love again.

Your turn!

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.
  • 1) when you marry you are responsible for the fuckwit’s debt

    2) two people in a bad marriage can create two awesome kids.

    3) I don’t need to like my ex in order to sanely coparent with him
    4) caring for myself is creating a good parent for my children.

    5) although I would not turn down love, I’m OK being a singleton.

    6) friends are wonderful.

    7) life is worth living even with pain

    8) a good job is worth it’s weight in gold

      • Learned from divorce
        1. If an excuse seems ridiculous, it is.
        2. Stay quiet, get ducks in a row and sign off within 6 weeks. Guilt only lasts so long
        3. Register your separation agreement with maintenance enforcement immediately. Things won’t always be amiable esp when new love interests come on the scene.
        4. Determine your best case scenario for parallel parenting and be clear/stand firm.
        5. State your expectations rather than ask can you, would you pick up ds after school
        6. Parenting transfers are best left to third party ie pick up and drop off at school or day care NOT at your house. Requires non custodial parent to be on time and can’t jerk you around. They don’t like looking bad to others but it’s ok with you.
        7. Let the kids talk about their time with their other parent on their time (I find this the hardest)
        8. Expect NOTHING from former partner. You will always be disappointed. My therapist suggested I pretend he was dead and then ask what would you do?
        9. Have a back up for custodial issues. Their children are NOT their priority.
        10. Limit communication to ONE email address.
        11. Document/keep receipts for everything.

        • Totally second these, Physics Gal. I was warned about number 2 and acted just in time. OW hit the roof and demanded he pull out of our financial settlement but the next day it came back from the court, signed sealed and delivered. Backup plans are wise too. If mine knows I’ve got something important on or am away during their weekends with him, he inevitably throws a spanner in the works

  • I learned
    1) That I am mightier than I ever thought possible
    2) Thst someone who says they love you can be capable of doing the most evil things to you
    3) That a parent who claims they love their child can pull some spectacular crap on their child too
    4) That being the sane parent pays huge dividends
    5) That lawyer who are supposed to be on the side of the wronged party can be just as bad as the stbx
    6) That the pain and grief are finite and there is a good life to live on the other side

    • I could have made this same list. I would add:

      7) That I am getting good at judging people by their actions and not their words.
      8) That if people overlook STBX’s bad behaviour, they are probably behaving in an equally bad way. Cut them out of your life.
      9) That there are a lot of really good people out there who if they know your situation will surround you with love and support
      10) That even while dealing with the disordered, there is a peace that comes from removing them from your heart and life (no more pick me dance or dancing on eggshells)

  • I learned that I had to marry, bond, have kids, live life then divorce to be fully convinced of the horrible woman that she always was all along.

    • SureChumpedAlot – I have learned the same thing minus kids. Such a hard lesson. One word – Hubris. My own hubris that I could make a bad man be an altogether better, decent person with love. Doesn’t work that way unfortunately.

  • 1. Never trust anyone more than your own gut instincts.

    2. I can bend an awful fucking lot before breaking. That’s a testament to the strength of the stuff I’m made of.

    3. Don’t deny yourself indulgences, but always act for winning the long game.

    4. As gut wrenching as my personal situation is, there are others who have gone through far worse from ehom I can learn a whole lot.

    5. Kunty Kibbler is every bit as fucked up as I secretly feared she was capable of being.

    • #1 is so true. My gut instinct told me to leave after the 1st date (and many after that) but I let the love bombing and societies sayings overrule it! Never again!

      • OMG Me too – stood there on my wedding day thinking WTF are you doing – alas Love Bombing is highly addictive – stupid me

        • Same here! I knew I was making a bad decision but felt too far in to back out. Doing so would have been the MIGHTIEST choice I would have ever made. Took me way too long to get mighty. 🙁

          • I’m relieved to confess I felt the same. I was panicking in the weeks leading up to our wedding day, wondering why I was marrying this man with increasingly bullying tendencies, and suffocating all my dreams to support his ambitions. I was terrified of humiliating myself, hurting ex and upsetting family. If only I’d listened to my gut.

        • I’ll validate trusting your gut! The two thoughts that crossed my brain when I was about to say, “I do,” was that, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying no, and that I should enjoy it while it lasts.

      • There were signs, early on, that I attributed to his young age (he was 22, I was 32). I felt neglected, passed over for the “fun” thing — That scene in “Say Anything” where John Cusack & Ione Skye are at a party and, though they separate to talk to other people, he still keeps popping up to check on her? Yeah, that never happened for me — he’d ditch me at the door.

        But for me, I didn’t stay because of love-bombing. I stayed because he seemed a good person, other than being “young.” He was kind. He didn’t mind that I was a woman who made more money than he did — no sexism. He had a job and went to work every day. Also he was pleasant, happy, fun, easy-going — a nice counterbalance to my sometimes high-strung intensities. Also, he seemed so “normal,” a change from my own highly dysfunctional family.

        • Omg, you just described my STBX perfectly. But the “nice guy” thing was all an act. He maintained it only when I was completely focused on him.

        • You described my marriage too. He was 8 years younger, a nice guy, I felt very emotionally supported. Now that we have been separated for 6 months, I can separate his behavior from his words. He was mostly self-centered and controlling as a husband and a father. I know I am better off without him, but getting over this is going to take a while. I see myself alone for a very, very long time.

      • Me too! I didn’t even get love bombing. I received two years of dating torment and hell before I talked him into marrying me. Yes, I talked him into marrying me. I was desperate and felt that I would never again have the chance to get married. Wish I could go back now and bitch slap myself and insist that I dump the creep.

    • ” I can bend an awful fucking lot before breaking. That’s a testament to the strength of the stuff I’m made of.”

      This is GOLD. And so true!

    • #5 combined with #1 sums it up for me. I should have known. Nobody else, even to this day, would believe it, but I should have. I will never know why I ignored it. Both being from a small town, nobody understands why I am now being so cold. They don’t have to. This is now my life, and it rocks!!

    • #1 and #4

      I almost left the wedding ceremony … wedding pictures show me backing away… LOL

      Should have trusted my gut feeling and ran.

      Yep, my situation is not special ~ good gawd I’m amazed at how many chumps there are out there. But I learn something all the time from my fellow chumps. The biggest thing I’ve learned? It’s the cheaters loss ~ we rock. We always did.

  • 1) actions speak louder than words
    2) forgive myself for picking a flawed character as the father of my children and husband
    3) keep finances separate
    4) trust your gut instinct
    5) there are good man out there
    6) I am much stronger than ever thought and not crazy
    7) I have been given a second chance and will rebuild a much better life

      • Of all the evil I have been thru and all the pain, this one is the hardest to deal with. I made my choices, my children had no say in the matter. I have spent the rest of my life trying to make up for it as much as I can. But I know it made them who they are now. They all deserved so much better!

        • I am with all of you on the ‘children’ regret thing. (Think I’ve made a lot of positive progress on it, though)
          I believe that is likely the #1 regret / sadness for Chumps with children.
          However, my own son feels much like angelgirl……Seeing the ‘stupid’ results of his cheater-dad’s repeated sick choices caused him to choose to be polar opposite——Kind / a truly Good Man / etc.
          However, the regret is still there, is it not? We would rather our children have 2 goods parents!
          Remember: We did the best we could with what we knew at the time, so Stay Sane now

          Love You, Nation!!

  • 1. Jesus is a tried and true anchor for the soul during stormy times, including times where people abuse His Name.

    2. Take emotional affairs seriously.

    3. Don’t allow others to distract you from making the cheatibg, THE ISSUE needing addressing.

    • Amen to #2. In retrospect I should have gone to her next and told her to get out of my marriage and told him to quit Boy Scouts.

    • Amen to #3! Assholio kept trying to say that the cheating was a “symptom,” not the cause of our bad marriage. Because the way to make a struggling marriage better is to screw around…

      • OMG! No kidding the way STBX was “fixing”our marriage (which BTW I thought was pretty freaking good!) was by talking shit about me to the whoremat and hating on their spouses together. And then the BIG fix was to fuck each other. That was the way to fix that marriage right up! Thank GOD for the whoremat. Otherwise where would we be right now? Definitely not in Fixed Marriage Wonderland! Which includes such mindblowing sights as Untangling the Fucked Up Skein Falls and the River of Shed Tears and the Ruined Lives Rainforest. THANKS OW!

        • I like the walking path next to the River of Shed Tears. I especially like the fainting couches that dot the shoreline and the Kleenex dispensers every 4 feet.

          Sad Shelby, please don’t take this the wrong way (because I’m sane, heterosexual, and completely joking)…but I wanna marry you and have, like, a thousand of your babies. You are my kind of hilarious. Note: there is absolutely ZERO funny about our circumstances, which is why a heavy dose of non-sequitur and sarcasm feels so damn good. What else can we do but mock the absurdity of what’s been done to us, to our families? Our exes are boggarts, and this is how we cast the riddikulus spell.

          • Thank you so much. Honestly, I think my best quality besides my inherent and epic goodness?, loyalty and ability to love is my sense of humor. It’s the number one thing I’m complimented on. I like to make people laugh. And it makes me feel better when I can laugh, especially at my own jokes. It is literally the only way I’ve been able to get through this. Just when I start to feel stronger I’m knocked back on my ass and I spend days upon days sobbing over my losses. It SUCKS! I used to be happy go lucky Shelby and maybe eventually I be her again someday. It’s hard to imagine because the person that made me laugh the most and encouraged my silliness the most was STBX.

            Thanks for brightening my day ?

          • “fucked up skein falls, river of shed tears and ruined lives rainforest”
            “fainting couches dotting the shoreline..”
            ROTFLMAO!!!
            I love you both, Honey and Sad Shelby, for giving me a huge belly laugh after nearly two days of sobbing grief. Thank you thank you

            • Same here. I’ve had a major set back this week and I’ve spent basically everyday since Sunday crying non-stop. I’m trying. Just not very successfully. ☹️

  • Thanks CL for sparing us. I was losing the will to live thinking about reading more of her shit. You know your nation.

    1). Actions not words (repeat daily)

    2). Nice isn’t kind

    3). Life can take very sharp corners but I can still steer

    4). I can cope with what I thought would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me.

    5). I can love and value myself a lot more than I knew

    6). I cannot fucking stand cheaters or their apologists

    7). There is more goodness and love for me in the world than I suspected.

    8). My children can learn appalling life lessons but we can come together to thrive.

    9). Work can be a life saver

    10). I can have the future that I choose for myself.

    11). Extreme emotions are survivable

    12). I can choose to be happy.

    • Im gonna jump on Capricorns list since it is so close to what I would write if I weren’t just waking up.

      My additions are

      1. Some people can lie so well for so long that you have no idea that you are living with a chronic liar.

      2. There are people who write books about “Christian Marriage” who either
      A) know they are making stupid shit up
      or
      B) genuinely have no clue how badly disordered some spouses are

      3. Sometimes hope is your very worst enemy

      • Amen! # 2. I remember in counseling be told to buy a book called, “The Excellent Wife”. What about the excellent husband? Then, I was told I had to change somethings. Yeah, like leave this church #1.

      • This^^^^
        “Some people can lie so well for so long that you have no idea that you are living with a chronic liar.”

        • Yes ^
          That is such a stunning lesson–that people will flat-out lie with such sincerity and passion.
          My counselor told me that there are people who will NEVER admit to doing anything wrong.
          Hard lesson, but it explains a lot.

    • These are so true! And expanding on #4 – it makes things that used to feel terrifying feel a whole lot less scary. Skydiving? Sure! Rock Climbing? Yes please! Making new friends? I can handle that.

      • I love this – I had a friend tell me that after her divorce, she would have said yes to someone who asked her to go pet tarantulas because the worst thing that could have happened to her already had. Bring on the tarantulas!

    • #2 on Capricorn’s list is very important, and it took me a while to figure this out. One of the first things the MC asked me about Assholio was, “is he kind?” I had to think about it, which is not a good sign. Well, everyone thinks he’s “nice” because he will do anything for anyone who asks (outside of the family, that is), because it’s all about maintaining his image. Is he actually kind? No, because he only cares about himself, so he’s not able to truly be a kind person. He can only imitate what that looks like to the outside world and go through the motions.

      • ^*^*^*^
        Is he kind? He can imitate kind, to what looks and sounds to the outside world as kind and go through the motions.
        Everyone seems to think he’s a great guy, he puts on a great act. He would tell me that everyone liked him but me.
        It never occurred to me at the time that he was a different person to outsiders.
        Charming, funny, empathetic, people would tell me how lucky I was.., I was brainwashed into thinking it was my fault he was cruel to me and nice to outsiders.

        • ‘Bout time ya ‘got with the program’, Brit, Sausalito and all y’all. You be such bad, ungrateful spouses for not realizing that they are just sooooooooo nice! (sarcasm!) Barf!!

          Yeppers….Page 298 of ‘The Cheater Handbook’…….Freaks!……ALL of them

          I have been trying to educate people I know as to the difference between ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ Lots of people thought cheaterpants was sooooo nice….and he was / is. As long as you are not his spouse or child! It still amazes me how many just do not get the difference. Even Ted Bundy could be ‘nice’…….(Yep, I know someone who actually met him once……Said he did ‘Nice’ real well!)

          Love Ya all as we all ForgeOn!

          • Absolutely nice isn’t kind! One lesson learned here too, and I had no idea until the whole cheating thing.
            I’ve learned that there are cheaters and chumps everywhere. Now that I tell everyone WHY he’s gone, turns out nearly everyone who is divorced, there was cheating and horrible discoveries for male and female chumps.
            I’ve learned that so many people who are divorced because of cheating are afraid to tell, feel forced to “get over it” and only talk freely to other chumps. Start talking to them about how you really feel and you open the floodgates of the nightmare they’ve been through.
            I’ve learned that I have great friends in this rural town, that my neighbours like me and are good people, that we are not surrounded by idiots and enemies as the traitor made them out to be.
            I’ve learned that I can cope with a huge workload, lack of experience and physical strength and still do well on the farm.
            I’ve learned that my body is still my friend. I spent years feeling unwell with the traitor, since he’s gone I’ve been healthier than in the last 9 years. Strange, eh? No UTIs for a start…
            I’ve learned that I can be strong and confident, I didn’t know I had it in me, but I do,
            I’ve learned that UNM is right, sometimes hope is your worst enemy. I thought I was pessimistic, in fact I can be overoptimistic and refuse to face harsh realities.
            I’ve learned that I am my own social capital. The traitor spent years telling me that I had financial capital but no social capital (no family, no kids). Just another way to make me feel deficient because he was jealous I had done so well financially all by myself. He brainwashed me into believing that bullshit when my success was due to my determination and work, my personality, my social capital. He didn’t want me to remember that.
            I’ve learned to look at people’s behaviour a lot more closely and I think I am getting better at reading them.
            I’ve learned that I am too trusting, after years of being told that I wasn’t trusting enough.
            I’ve learned that my beloved mother did something absolutely horrible to my father’s wife and his kids. Far worse than I ever imagined or was able to empathise with until it happened to me. I really don’t know what this would have done to our relationship if she were still alive…
            I’ve learned that the last thing I want to see before I die is a dog’s face. I want to always be surrounded by animals, I have found the right place for me farming livestock and being close to nature.
            I’ve learned that I want to earn other farmers’ respect for being a good farmer and steward of the land.
            I’ve learned I am lucky because I am content with this, it leaves nothing to be desired but the traitor and the whore will NEVER be content.
            I’ve lost everyone I loved and survived.

    • My 2 grown sons have finally witnessed me stand up to their bully, narcissistic, greedy, selfish, lying, cheating , pig father after 36 years of being his doormat in front of them! Many people including them don’t like the woman I have become post divorce and NO CONTACT! I RESPECT ✊ myself now! My needs come first! None of them cared when they seen him killing me in front of them!

    • Yes Capricorn! Number 4!! “I can cope with what I thought would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me.” It still amazes me that I was able to make it out and now be relieved that he is out of my life. Before the idea of living without him seemed like an impossible hell, but now feels like heaven.

    • Chump Lady and Capricorn; thank you for doing the heavy lifting today! My only addition would be:

      1. Lying by omission is still a lie.

  • The Fifty Shades of Poop : part two

    Getting caught is scary, std’s are not as scary as getting caught

    I fucked a village and every time I fart a random dude pops out, taking a dump is scary

    I have a lot in common with typist monkeys and swing from branch to branch cuz life is Scary

    Judgey people I judge are not evolved if my cheating is not judged as evolved, I like bananas

    Shiny things are shiny!!! duh…..

    You don’t know me, I’m really really nice, just ask my 1212 facebook friends

    Affairs taught me so much, it’s not lying if you omit, overthinking is not healthy…..people who think too much are downers and duh…..

    What was I going to say….giggle giggle….I forget,…see how easy it is to not be burdened with over thinking

    Fake boobs don’t make me a fake person

    Men love me because I’m cheaper than paying for a hooker….I Fuchs them for compliments and connection….i have standards…duh

  • 1. “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.” Shakespeare. People really can be indecipherably good liars and you may NEVER know.

    2. Never say “My husband would never cheat.” You do not know what people are capable of–see 1.

    3. Moral cowardice is pandemic in our current culture.

    4. Victim blaming–it’s a thing. See 3.

    5. I deserve birthday presents too.

    6. Stop making him look good for other people. Let people face the consequences of their behavior. He doesn’t send Christmas presents? Don’t wrap some of yours with a label saying they’re from him. Let his kids SEE he doesn’t care. It hurts them less in the long run.

    7. Always keep a close eye on the finances. Affairs take money. YOUR money. Your mortgage money. Your retirement money. Your kid’s college money.

    8. A court order is just a piece of paper. Don’t think that having one ensures anything. Getting it enforced is sometimes nearly impossible and expensive. Consider getting away from Fuckwit your reward.

    9.Do not try to “Be friends” with the EX. Find friends that don’t make you cry yourself to sleep at night.

    10. Unscrew the dashboard panel of his prized camaro. Slip a little fish behind it. Wait. You may be the only Karma you get. Do not feel bad about this ever–see 1-9.

      • He never found it. I heard through the grapevine he tried to sell it and couldn’t get a taker because it reeked. Odd how that happens…

        • omg – I’m SO glad I didn’t read the Fish Idea earlier.
          I would have totally unscrewed that, inserted fish – hopefully already dead, in his brand new spendy dandy sports car that SHE loved, apparently.

          What’s with old men and sportscars – biggest cliche~

          • My secret Karma…Before we were separated but after I knew about his affair with a disgusting criminal whore, with a different daddy for each of her babies, all of whom had spent time in jail for various criminal charges…I found out how to make homemade itch powder, and I put it in cheater asshole’s underpants! I have no idea if it worked or not, but it makes me smile every time I think about it.

        • Saw, I think a lot of us learned the hard way that someone who doesn’t mind lying to you certainly doesn’t mind lying to police, judges, child support agency, employers etc. Mr. I work for cash under the table and move every six months (sometimes into the neighboring state) is pretty hard to collect child support. Maintain health insurance what’s that? The $40,000 dollars worth of secret credit card debt I ran up fucking whores, who cares if I was ordered to assume it? Never take my name off the mortgage to the house you signed over and then abandoned leaving a bankruptcy on my credit for seven years, hey what’s your problem Bitch! And yeah the banks, credit card people etc. give fuck all what your court order says.

    • I remember my STBX standing in the doorway of the bathroom trying to tell me that his serial cheating was my fault, that I had never supported or loved him enough. I said, “I see” and calmly shut the door in his face. I then grabbed his toothbrush from the holder and liberally scrubbed our toilet, especially the “landing pad” where the shit collects. I lost count how many times his brush got dunked, sometimes twice a day, but I really can’t be held accountable for my actions. If only I had been supported and loved enough.

      • 2nd Gen, ” I lost count how many times his brush got dunked, sometimes twice a day, but I really can’t be held accountable for my actions. If only I had been supported and loved enough.”

        IF ONLY I HAD BEEN SUPPORTED AND LOVED ENOUGH!!!!!!

        You have me rolling around laughing my head off. Not a good thing lol, because I’ve been sick and my congestion is killing me. But I’m still laughing.

    • Jojobee, you deserve to be celebrated on your birthday and everyday.

      We all deserve to be celebrated, especially Chumps.

  • 1. Hurt people hurt people

    2. His cheating is not my fault

    3. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a cheating asshole

    4. Many people blame the victim

    5. I accepted a lot of unacceptable treatment for a long time and while I don’t fully understand why, I know I won’t allow that anymore in my life

    6. Chumps are the kindest, wisest, funniest, honest people I’ve ever “met”

    7. I never expected to be at meh but it’s a Real Place and I’m in the suburbs

    • Not persuaded that these cheaters have the moral or emotional capacity to be hurt. People who do not give one fuck about others hurt people on purpose, without provocation, and without guilt.

        • Right, but “not normal” is not equivalent to “hurt.” We are hurt, but we don’t go around damaging and abusing random people, much less supposed loved ones, because of it. Narcissists are not wounded little victims.

          • ^^^THIS! They aren’t hurt. Poor sad sausages. They aren’t abused and have low self-esteem. That’s one of the lies they hide behind when they get caught in order to distract us. They think they are GREAT. They don’t get hurt, they hurt. They aren’t abused. They abuse.

    • x’s family had generational incest. He was molested, he in turn molested his sister. His cheating is of the extreme perversion nature.

      He is also a selfish, dumb jerk. But everyone in his family is deeply wounded spiritually. It’s not a pass for making decent choices, but it is something I realized when I discovered some of the depth of deception and sickness after D-day.

      • X had the nastiest father, who had an even nastier father. He was hurt, and I was stupid enough to think it would end with him.

        It didn’t. He hurt me and hurt our sons. Over and over. And still.

  • 1. That it really is black and white. All or nothing. One way or the other. And that isn’t a bad thing.
    2. That I was always too good for him.
    3. That some people can rationalize anything.
    4. Parallel parenting is the way to go.
    5. The kids will be just fine because I am a good enough mom and person to assure that they are.
    6. Sisters and friends are amazing.
    7. That a lot of our mutual college friends were not surprised that he turned out to be awful.
    8. That the sex was, at best, mediocre.
    9. That my libido didn’t die.
    10. That cheating is normalized a lot and that I don’t have to be a part of that. I’m not going to watch movies and shows about glorified cheaters.
    11. That cheating is indicative of a character flaw. I won’t associate with cheaters just like I won’t associate with people who are racist, sexist, or homophobic.
    12. That cheating public figures such as politicians have proven themselves to be untrustworthy and I absolutely believe that it affects their ability to do their job with integrity.

    • So many good ones here. The ones that jumped out at me. #1, #4, #4, #4, #4, and #10 – #12. Did I mention I really like #4.

      • #4—-oh, hell yeah. The rat bastards never do anything wrong. It’s always, always someone else’s (mostly me) fault. They’re perfect, always will be. How he rationalizes three failed marriages is beyond me. Now he’s on number four, with someone young enough to be his daughter. He’s the same person that failed in three marriages. Chances are good for this one. She’ll put up with anything, because when he checks out of life—-there’s going to be a real nice payday. Half as much that it could have been.

  • 1. Yeah he DID really mean to do that.
    2. Never let him near your finances.
    3. Let him sink or swim by his own actions – don’t cover for him.
    4. You CAN do this.
    5. I always knew I was tough – but hey, I’m SCARY tough. This backbone is made of solid steel (who wudda thunk)!

  • 1. Evil really does exist

    2. Cheaters, and their apologists, are evil

    3. Revamping your entire life after decades of marriage is really hard and sometimes necessary because (see #2)

    4. Finding a community of friends to help you through these times is INVALUABLE

    5. Working a job you love and earning enough to make ends meet for our kids can help you maintain your sanity and realize you are a good person (no matter what cheaters say about you)

    6. If you leave a cheater (and really leave those f##kers in your rear view mirror) you can gain a life

  • 1. I learned I have a badass part of me and she’s not only mighty and brave, but she’s strong and could probably beat the crap out of someone if they messed with her kids or those she loved.

    2. I’m a nice person, but I’m also angry at times too. And being angry is okay. Being angry doesn’t make you a bad person.

    3. I learned how to spell narcissist. I have learned just about everything about NPD and probably could teach a class on it.

    4. I learned that God *really* does love me. Like I know it to be true at a heart level. Actions not words. He has shown up so much in the past two plus years. I cannot only give Him the credit and glory for all the small miracles (they were miracles to me) that happened.

    5. I learned that evil can be cloaked in “goodness.” Just about everyone who knows my ex thinks he’s such a “nice guy.” To me, he’s a fake, phony and evil person.

    6. I learned there are very many good people in the world and they want to help if they can.

    7. I learned my exes family never really did love me, even though they said they did all the time. When I stood up for myself for the first time to my fake, lying, manipulating, ex-MIL — they all turned on me. At least I now know who they are too.

    8. I learned there’s a blog writer named, Chump Lady. She uses her own money to keep a blog going, because she sees there is a need in the world for her blog. She’s a good person (see #6)).

    I could write so much more, but I ditto all of the above.

    • Right on Martha!

      Especially this: 7. I learned my exes family never really did love me, even though they said they did all the time. When I stood up for myself for the first time to my fake, lying, manipulating, ex-MIL — they all turned on me. At least I now know who they are too.

      I tried for 18 years to be part of their “family”. “We love you like a daughter! – Love, Mom A. and Dad A” cards and notes. All fake. 3 weeks after a 70 day divorce, they let XH’s “Just-a-friend” stay with them for Thanksgiving. “Mom A.” tells XBILs wife that she called MY house and a MAN answered the phone. Hmm…no man was in my house and not even my dad would answer my phone. Nice projection on behalf of her cheating son.

      When I realized they welcomed his whore immediately after our divorce, I sent good ‘ole Mom A. some very honest and critical texts. 18 years worth of anger over her interfering in our marriage (She likened herself to “Marie” on “Everybody Loves Raymond” – except she couldn’t cook and wouldn’t clean – and Marie dressed better!). I was ruthless and mean – but she drew first blood…

      • Yep, my XMIL always did that after 32 year of love you like a daughter, your my daughter, blah, blah. Threw her son out and she never talked to me again. Had dinner with the whore and now best buddies!

  • 1. Once a whore always a whore (men & women)
    2. Some people lie so well that they even believe it.
    3. Jesus cheaters are the worst of the worst.
    4. I can survive alone.
    5. My kids are amazing and supportive. So sorry they had to watch me almost self-destruct.
    6. Do not project my values on someone else.
    7. Blood is thicker than right or wrong.
    8. My kids are worth the BS I went through to have them.
    9. I have grit way beyond what is average.
    10. I know that life can be better and I do not have to push myself to love someone unconditionally. Love is my choice I can make every day. It can also have stipulations.
    11. No-contact is by far the best step to implement in dealing with these type of people.

    • LNT, yes yes yes

      #2 –>I think one of nowdeadcheaters biggest surprises when he got to Purgatory to have his God debrief is that when God told him to go ahead and take off his cheatergoggles and look down at me, he saw (maybe for the very first time) that I am a wonderful gal…not the villain his mind had created to justify every crappy thing he ever did

    • Good list.
      I’d submit that closeted gay cheaters (married to unknowing straight spouses) are just as bad, if not worse, than Jesus cheaters, but spot on with this list.
      xxoo

      • Oh, mine was a real piece of work in that way. He was hiring female prostitutes, but most had very short hair and looked like 10 year old boys.

        Then I found Thai ladyboy porn: Male on the bottom, female on the top.

        He was too much of a narcissist to admit he liked little boys… to himself or anyone else, so it came out in this way.

        He is truly a sad sausage, and a bad example of a human being. At least be what you are, even if that thing is despicable. Don’t hold me captive as a stepford wife! Leave me out of it.

  • 1. You don’t know a man until you’ve divorced him. I think Zsa Zsa Gabor said that first — but, boy, is it true!

    2. When you are young, you don’t fully understand your boundaries. Never again will I put up with life in an emotional desert.

    3. I am stronger and happier than I ever gave myself credit for. Cheating taught me that, no doubt. Thank you, cheating!

    4. Yes, hurt people hurt people. Profoundly traumatized families produce people who are profoundly traumatized themselves, and take it out angrily on others. Run-of-the-mill fuckedupedness, on the other hand, produces chumps.

    5. Walking away from abuse is not failure. Not my job to fix the abuser. Not my job to make it work. Not even “for the sake of the kids.” My job is to care for myself so I can give the kids the best version of myself.

    6. I will be blamed for the cheating, or for not knowing about it, or for the marriage itself — by the cheater, by his family, by well-meaning strangers. I can live with that. The cheater, on the other hand, will have to live with what he actually did. Sweet revenge.

  • 1. The things that seemed at first like the core problems of cheating (the sex and betrayal) aren’t the actual core problems of cheating (deceiving a person you profess to love while secretly violating relationship agreements and causing the person harm are indicative of severe untreated illness and the betrayed partner may be in extreme danger.)

    2. You will never know the cheater’s entire story.

    3. Even when you think there could not be more, there is more story.

    4. No amount of love, history, commitment, or desire to protect children is worth this shit.

    • You have to come to accept #2 & #3-most cheaters are NEVER going to give you the details & will only admit to what you have tangible proof of. And when you get to meh-you won’t give a shit, you will just be thankful that they are gone.

      When things first came crashing down at D-Day, stbx told so many lies even he didn’t know what he was saying! I was initially obsessed with knowing everything…every little horrible detail and he refused to talk. I was the marriage police & it sucked. Thankfully, CL & CN slapped me back into reality that it doesn’t matter how many women or times he cheated-he cheated. I didn’t waste any more time untangling the skein…..I spent my time productively & planned my escape. I’m sure stbx thinks he got one over on me because he was able to get away with it for so long. Now, I couldn’t care less now what stbx did or does-I’m just enjoying the peace & quiet in my life.

  • He came to the house tonight to crap on about the bed because he is moving into a rental on Friday. I had emailed and said he could collect it from the garage when he had paid up his part of the utilities. Didn’t like that so he came over. I told him through the door to leave or I would call the police. Him ‘oh our house is a fortress for the kids rant rant rant.
    My jobs on the line and I need of every penny atm. I call the shots now ‘ little miss control’ is what he said in a txt then told me to fuck off, anyways v mails, delete before listening, emails same.
    Txt him with my requests ie do this or this doesn’t happen, its the approach he understands as he is disordered and unreasonable, petulant like a spoilt child, then block, nice one way dialogue.
    Nearly sorted with his stuff out of the house and my grey rock is working.
    Think the rage may be coming soon but I can handle it. 11 days out my hearts busted but I’m angry and can’t stand to even think about that fucker let alone set eyes on him, time and NC but just got to weather the shit storm. Despite being a trooper at work no days off, some fuck ups, I feel like the village outcast and rocks are going to be coming my way soon, thought it would be my refuge but can only think boss has cheater issues in family maybe and he cannot deal with it one bit not one bit of ‘yeah that must suck’ freaks me out. sorry it’s off subject just need to vent in the shit storm.

    • Lady B
      I think you are learning like I did that when CL says it will hurt like a motherfucker, she meant it.
      You are/ will be fine considering where you are. I can’t even remember 11 days out. Just a bit blank. Try to carve out some moments of quiet and breathing for yourself. Five minutes here and there adds up. It is what it is. Keep trying to grey rock. Ignore people at work unless they get it. You can deal with that later. Just focus on getting through each day best you can. I discovered that wildlife documentaries were my way to calm down. Watched HOURS of them. Only thing I could watch. Try to eat protein. I ate a billion hard boiled eggs. Felt like it anyway.
      It’s just getting through at first. Hugs hugs hugs to you. You are mighty. You can do this. ❤?

      • The only thing I remember is that feeling when you wake up… “Where am I? Oh yeah. I was lied to and betrayed and now I have to find strength to get out of this on my own. *sigh*

        In my case, he wouldn’t let me back into our bedroom and when I tried to sneak past him to get in he cried “physical violence!” And called the cops on me to try and have me removed. Thank God the cops have seen this kind of thing before, and actually gave me the option to file a restraining order against him. I’ll never forget the look on his face, and his comment about how 2 of the 3 cops were women, so of course they were going to side with me. What a tool. I tried to duck under him to get into that room and he called the cops on me saying I’d shoved him? Wow. First moment I realized I was dealing with a manipulative nutbag for real.

        But, on the advice of my lawyer and the cops, I was relegated out of the master bedroom and into the pokey second bedroom (my lawyer said I could fight him on that but it just wasn’t worth it), where I remained for the next year and a half while fighting for my new life and my financials in the divorce. I had a lock installed on my door.

        That teeny room had two small windows. At first it felt like a prison cell. I was trapped in this house trying to avoid him, and all I really had for solace and protection was that 8 x 12 box with a single bed, a desk, a bookcase, and a padlock on the door.

        I remember buying small, plastic storage solutions at the dollar shop to fit into small spaces available in that room, to organize my important or frequently used possessions. That room had doubled as an office, so I got a TV Tuner and attached it to the computer. This was a few years ago, and in Australia. The TV tuner didn’t work so well, but between it and my iTunes video library I had the company of a 19″ computer monitor as a TV screen to cry myself asleep to on those lonely, shocking, scary nights while I was trying to detangle the skein of fuckedupness in my head.

        Meanwhile, he had a master bedroom with a California King, a flat screen TV, and most of the time would manage to beat me to the living room to watch cable. If I passed by to get some food in the kitchen, he would stare at me blankly as I passed. I felt like I was living with a psychopathic stranger. Which, really, I guess I was.

        The big break finally came when a friend got me a month contract job that paid as much in a few months as a year of full time employment would have. This got me out of the house, around people who had nothing to do with him, and kept my mind off the grief to a large extent. My friend was in IT services sales, and I was project managing one of his client’s projects. He spent quite a lot of time schmoozing for new clients and more work from existing clients, so my days and evenings were filled with work, and then accompanying him on sales expeditions at a bar/restaurant near the office. It nearly felt like a social life, and one I’d been deprived of for the whole of my marriage, surrounded by real people, instead of the fuckedupness I’d come to know as normal.

        The narc was very confused at first. I could see him peering through the window at me leaving for the bus in work clothes. It was creepy. Of course, he brought it up in court. I had another job. Surely he was entitled to that money. Since it was contract, I played his little game and ran the financials through a friend, so he could never track that money and he ended up with not a single cent of it! Which was good, because it largely went to the lawyer!

        And despite having supported us in style for many years, he somehow manipulated the numbers for our company to prove it was worth nothing as an asset for the divorce. He insisted I keep doing the books till we reached financial settlement, so I was doing that in my spare time from the other job. Really, I was so busy most of the time that it left precious little time to feel sorry for myself, which was good.

        There was a miraculous flip from hopelessness to hope ( the real kind, not the hopium kind) during this time. I was mighty. I was standing on my own two feet. I was killing it!

        That pokey room slowly became my haven. Spring had arrived, and out the little side window, I could smell the jasmine in bloom. Out the tiny, slit window facing the back of the property, I would peek out, see lush, green landscape, and sunlight filtering through the trees. That prison turned into a place I could be at peace. I would wake up ready for work, or on the weekends, ready to go waterskiing on a nearby river with another friend and his family who I had renewed friendship with… an activity I’d done in my youth before I was married to assbucket, and which I proudly embraced and caught up with that youthful feeling again.

        I would come home from work at night tired, but calm. I would come home from waterskiing on the weekends, exhausted, but happy and peaceful. I had my own life, and his bullshit could no longer hurt me. Did I mention that this was Australia, and my family and close friends were in the US? I did this all by myself. I had phone support long distance from my parents, but it’s not the same.

        Nearing then end of my contract job, I reconnected on Facebook with an acquaintance I’d known in high school who had also been divorced. We were inseparable after that. We spent hours everyday getting to know each other very well before re-meeting in person. The Facebook phone and Skype became our two best friends. I can remember getting threatening e-mails from my ex regarding bandwidth. I was using too much. He was having to pay extra every month to buy extra bandwidth. I thought, “Great! Let the business which has no reportable income for the purposes of the divorce pay for that bandwidth.” I have no idea if he knew I was using that to talk to my new love. But I hope so.

        Things didn’t go well for me in court. Despite being able to prove with hard copy evidence all the money he had spent on hookers and 16 year old girlfriends, and money stolen from our bank accounts and taken to other countries to spend on women, even a receipt for a car he’d purchased for an Australian girlfriend, it was a no fault state, and the court didn’t care. In addition, he was trying to say that money his mother had given to us for a down payment on our house was a “loan” and that I had to pay my half back. So his mother, who often told me I was like a daughter to her, who I took care of when she broke her ankle, and her own son wouldn’t cancel one of his (as I now know) prostitute fishing expeditions to Thailand to look after her, was turning her back in me. Typical.

        My job, my waterskiing and my new love were all there to distract me, and to remind me I was mighty, and would be OK.

        1.5 years after d-day 2 and moving into that pokey bedroom, I left town for the US for Christmas, planning to come back to fight for the divorce financials in the new year. I left with 3 suitcases on the plane, and 2 small boxes I mailed home to the US. That’s it. Once I touched down, I knew it would be detrimental to go back, and I never returned to Australia, but instead chose to fight from overseas. A weaker position, my lawyers told me, but a stronger position in my head, and one I wished I’d done sooner, being back with my family and massive support structure. Six months later, we reached settlement. I got about 42% of the assets that I knew about. It was enough. It turns out he wasn’t fighting for money, but for power. The one thing he could never get his hands on was my car, it was in my name only, and I left it with a friend rather than him when I left town. When I offered him up the car, he agreed to all the other terms. A good lesson, remember sometimes they just want to feel like they’re getting one over on you, especially these narcs.

        Grief is a funny thing. I remember the good times and bad in that pokey little room. I remember my mightiness and my weak moments. But every once in awhile, even when things were looking up, I’d sit down on the only little bit of available floor near the door of that room, and just cry uncontrollably for maybe 10 minutes. Then I’d get up and continue about my day as if everything was fine. I believe it was one of the last stages of major grief I experienced. I was learning to respect the grief by crying hard, but also to let it go when I had to get on with life. And it felt good, this process. It helped.

        At the time, it felt unpleasant, but the tears were the physical manifestation of all that ick of that 20 year farce of a marriage leaving my body. Every single teardrop was worth it. I learned so much about me. I found myself again.

        Now, 3.5 years after d-day 2, I’m back in California with my family and my new love. I have a house, a job, a new life. A genuine life. There is no doubt like there was in that 20 year farce of a marriage. There is happiness and certainty. On those rare moments when I don’t trust my gut or am not being true to myself, I pull back and right that wrong.

        Every hard bit of it, every tear, every stress, every moment in that pokey room were all worth it.

        Sorry to have gone off topic, but Lady B’s story of the early days after d-day triggered those memories and I hope provide a good example of how things will unfold. At first it’s survival, then it becomes fixing yourself and learning to trust the real you. Then you internalize it until you become you again to the point that you know the chumpy will never be able to happen to you again, but if it did, that you could handle it.

        Stay strong, my fellow chumps, you are mightier than you know!

        • DancesWithMeh
          Thanks for posting that. It was so timely for me too. Today I had plans to go into town and run errands but could feel the sadness and tears heavy inside. So made the decision to go home, cuddle up with the cat and a hot water bottle, crap TV and cry it out. I have learned that if I do that I will be so much better when it passes. The passing gets quicker. Used to be I couldn’t stop crying (or start) then days, now hours.
          I’m happy to see the tears now as it is a sign to me I am processing and recovering, I’m not in denial or shut down.
          Your story is a fantastic survival one full of guts and courage. You are mighty. Thanks for sharing. ❤

          • Yes! Exactly!

            When it first happened I spent 36 hours in bed, practically comatose.

            Over the next 1.5 years, I would have bouts of crying. They got shorter and shorter, until they got to a point where I would sit down on the floor and cry for about 1 minute, and then stop as abruptly as I started, get up, and go on with my day as if nothing had happened.

            Like I said, grief is a funny thing. And oddly enough, it felt like I was able to actually “control” it, but in a productive way, towards the end of that. I would cry intensely for that one minute, it was real and intense, then I would just stop and get on with things. I never knew exactly when it was coming, but I learned to respect it, not to try and throttle it but to just stop what I was doing, cry and then get on with things.

            In 2015 once I was back in the US, every couple of months I would have a really sad, depressed, stressful day and question everything. That was almost worse, but it was more about adjusting to some of the hardships and trials of restarting my life in a new country.

            Then I got my own house and a job here in the US, and have hardly looked back. Again, been too busy to! One thing this does is makes you appreciate being busy and less prone to wasting your time on unimportant things.

            I think now, at long last, the writing has become cathartic. People kept telling me to write, but the words would never come. Just now, at 3.5 years out, the words are finally flowing!

          • Why thank you!

            Lady B’s post just triggered something in me. Brought me back to a feeling at that time.

            I remember knowing that I had to get out, but waking up every day, wondering how I was ever going to get out of that mess. I didn’t quite have Chumplady at the time, although by midway through it, a friend in the US put me onto her, and that helped immensely.

            I think it’s important to keep telling these stories of “I was in your shoes and I remember that feeling, and here’s how things went from there. And now I am mighty, and I have a much better life. Trust it will happen for you, too… but it will take some time.”

            That’s what that story is meant to reflect.

            And in maybe 2 years, I expect to hear Lady B’s story of her great new life too, and how she got out! 🙂

            Necessity truly is the mother of invention, and when your hand is finally forced, most of us chumps are well positioned to stand up and fight, and so we do. And then we learn how mighty we really are. Narcissists are no match for Chumps when push comes to shove!

  • 1) There is no pain worse than a broken heart. So go ahead and get that tongue piercing you want and fear the needle no more…you can handle it.

    2) You know who your real friends are when you are bottoming out, on the floor, and they come to pick you up. Literally.

    3) It’s ok to make jokes about your ex.

    4) It’s also ok to admit when you miss them.

    5) Return to yourself. If you buried a part of your identity to make room for them, dig that shit back up. There’s room for more than one artist in the world.

    6) Maybe your next partner will be someone different than you expected, but their willingness to be with you will be both scary and refreshing. Scary because you’re used to feeling like you’re a waste of space, refreshing because you’re not.

  • Thanks for sharing all of that horribly won learning, Chump Nation.

    I guess what I would say is that I’ve learned to deal with character-disordered people.

    I’m nice, and used to be naive. The Jesus Cheaters are the worst, yes, and they are attracted to the faithful (double-meaning intended) like a cat to catnip.

  • These are great. Thank you everyone for sharing.

    Mine in no particular order;

    1) I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was (much stronger)
    2) My mental health is better (so better) since leaving a cheater
    3) I can travel happily on my own and enjoy it
    4) I’ve learned boundaries and deal-breakers
    5) I can make new friendships and learn to let go of others
    6) Even if I’m scared I can make it through just fine
    7) It’s nice to feel strong and happy again

  • That author was sick in the head, as sociopaths are. Grrrr. This really does stick out:

    “I think affairs can be really useful, because let’s face it, life is fucking scary, and it’s hard to make big changes all by yourself.”

    BS Translator says “Goody, goody! I’m too much of a chicken shit to tell everyone else that I just kind of went along the whole Wedding>Kids Thing because I didn’t want to seem like The Bad Guy; I didn’t really mean my promises and I didn’t consider that the expectation REALLY IS to be this Nice Guy FOREVER But I’ve *grown* and now I am considering it… and it fills me with dread that I have to keep this charade going forever. So, I’ll do nothing about it and instead tell my ho-worker, who really listens so well and isn’t bad to look at either, about my problems and SHE’LL help me with a plan… because I’m a coward and am incapable of making big, scary changes by myself. “

  • 1. If your “partner” says he left you because you valued your dying dog over him, be glad that you did.
    2. If your “partner” adds, “and other reasons”, don’t bother asking what they are. His answers will be as fucked as No. 1.
    3. I’m my own best friend.

  • Best thing I learned….I am not the consolation prize that honor goes to your Pookie. I am First Prize, The Emmy, The Oscar, The Tony, The Grammy, The Pulitzer Prize, The Nobel Peace Prize! You told me I wasn’t for a long time and I believed it but after two months of detox I’m realizing how great I really am! Now get back in line!!!?

  • 1. Being lonely in a marriage is far worse than being alone. In fact, there are many things worse than being alone. Living with a cheater is one of them. 2. The kids look to you. If you are okay, they will be. 3. Liars lie and cheaters cheat. Do not expect them to change who and what they are. 4. Solitude is not punishment. In fact, it can be positively delightful. 5. Love takes many forms. Romantic love is only one of them. 6. If you do not believe you are deserving of love and respect, no one else will either. 7. We come into this world alone and we leave it alone. What we do in between is what matters.

  • 1. I can change the locks in my house in under 45minutes, including the trip to the hardware store.
    2. Amputation hurts like a mo, but I’ve got what it takes.
    3. I’m really good at keeping composure.
    4. Dating at 44 sucks.
    5. Who’s who among the people I know.
    6. I can take care of business despite my emotional state. See #3.
    7. There’s life after divorce.
    8. I don’t need to be nice to be polite.
    9. My picker is better.
    10. It’s not me, it’s you.

      • I’m 26 and can also confirm this. The shock on people’s faces when you say you’re divorced creates its own set of issues.

        • Not as young as you ladies but I’m NOT looking forward AT ALL to men. I seriously feel like I got burned so badly I don’t think I’ll ever trust another human being again. Besides the five or whatever I trust now. I’m an emotional wimp and I don’t open up to people for fear of being hurt. Then this happened and now I feel like I’ll probably never open up again! I trusted my STBX with my life ( like all of you did) and he threw me away like a flaming bag of dog shit. It sucks so much!

    • The dating thing scares me to death. Haven’t dated in almost 30 years. Afraid my picker isn’t fixed enough for that. Good for you for getting out there. That’s AWESOME!

      • Special, I felt the same way. Guess what? IM SINGLE! Ha, I never pictured myself with anyone else.

        It’s just a date, being open to it is the first step.

    • Per #1; I never changed the locks. I rescued a dog with aggression issues instead (X was scared to come to the house to pick up more clothes). I’d kind of like X to try coming back to the house; Tramp doesn’t like intruders ; ).

  • Hoping and waiting to be treated well is not an effective strategy.

    Sometimes you have to start over whether you like it or not.

    There are so many good people in the same situation as you.

    Family members have no more right to manipulate you than anyone else.

    Life is full of joy and beauty whether you take notice of it or not.

    Nasty, hateful people will not change just because you want them to do so.

    • Love the way you express things Dixie. All spot on of course.
      You list made me laugh. I immediately started thinking ‘oh Dixie’s list is charming. Why did I go so orderly and numbered. I’m so controlling and overly organised.’ Hahaha. Sheesh.
      I should add to my list 11). Being gentle with ones self is a long process!! Lol.

  • ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT! (i second-guessed mine for the first time in my life and it was a MISTAKE)

    Friends are the best!

    Once a cheater, always a cheater. They just get better at hiding it.

    Once again: FRIENDS ARE THE BEST!

    • Yes!!! I’ve learned that I have fought against my gut, my intuition all my life instead of listening to it. No more!

  • I have such a long list of what I’ve learned, but everyone has covered it already – lol! I will say this, which is maybe a small thing, but was a life-changing discovery for me:

    Charm is a skill, NOT a character trait.

  • 1.The pain was bad but it was useful cause I really love the person I became
    2.Now, I recognize immediately attention seekers and “I-will-make-you-feel- guilty” narcissists
    3.I was much more lonely when I was with my ex than not now that I am alone
    4.All the things I thought were scary are actually pretty fine. I can deal with that shit easily. I am a bad-ass
    5. Nope, I don’t care about what people think about me. I care about what I think about me
    6. Discovering that someone you trusted can damage your self esteem and break your heart is bad. Realizing that you can start from scratch and rebuild everything, is awesome
    7.I have a five dollars bright pink carpet. I love it and I am considering to buy a furry pillow in the same shade. My house, my life, my rules: I am driving my train and I do not ask for permission
    8. There is a huge difference between compromise in an healthy relationship and the pick me dance
    9. My guts were right. From now on, I will always trust my guts. They are my friend. They are cool
    10. If someone would give me the choice between going back in time, keep living with my ex without knowing of the cheating or going through the pain again but becoming the woman I am today, I have no doubts: I would still choose the pain.

    Emm@

  • 1. I’m stronger and more resilient than I ever thought possible.
    2. I like myself and my life more once I got the strength to move on without him.
    3. My 2 children are doing better after seeing they have a mom with the strength to get out of a marriage that was harming the 3 of us.
    4. My career skyrocketed once I got rid of my ex, I believe because I became more fearless and willing to say yes to more opportunities.
    5. It takes a village and it’s ok to ask for help. It is a sign of strength, not weakness.
    6. I didn’t realize and appreciate how much my friends and family loved me until this happened.
    7. Always be able to take care of yourself financially. I was fortunate to have a great job and it was still scary to end the marriage, despite what he did.
    8. The pain is temporary and though you don’t want it, you will survive it and thrive despite it.
    9. Despite currently being single and having some “interesting” dating experiences so far, I do believe there are good men out there and someone will be in my future should I want it.
    10. Cheating is an absolute deal breaker for me because the trust and respect is gone. Some things can’t be fixed.

    • ChumpLawyer, I relate to #4. Surviving a divorce definitely infused me with more courage to tackle things that were too scary before.

  • 1. This utterly sucks on every single imaginable level: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, economic. Only those who have been there really know.
    2. Infidelity and divorce are not the romantic perfection Hollywood makes them out to be. (Snort. But true.)
    3. My heart can be wounded but is essentially impossible to kill. Although this is part of what made me vulnerable to 34 (holy shit, it’s hard but necessary to acknowledge the reality of that) years of chomping, it is also one of my finer qualities. Never going to lock the heart in a steel box and throw away the key.
    4. Despite the deep damage, which may take the rest of this lifetime to heal, and despite the scars that will always remain, I have strength and a capacity for joy that I never fully appreciated before. Almost every single day of this whole tragic mess, something has delighted me: certain configurations of clouds, silliness with kids, coyotes sounding in the night, church bells in the distance–millions of things large and small. This quality saw me through a rough childhood, and it will see me through this. Grateful for it.
    5. Moving on is not at all a linear process. I have moments of resolve, pain, joy, anxiety, energy, fatigue. That will last for awhile, and that’s okay.
    6. He cannot change. This is harsh but freeing.
    7. Feelings about the other woman are complicated, because that’s how it is for decent people. She’s a slut, because there’s nothing mysterious at all about the wedding ring, the children, the wife she interacted with many times, but she’s also the latest in a long series of chumps. My feelings about her run the gamut from “eat dirt and die, whore” to a somewhat compassionate “careful what you wish for, kid.”
    8. Being cast in the role of the enemy really and truly rankles, but there’s nothing for it but to let go. I was there. I know what happened. That’s all I can control.
    9. “Mindrape” is a more accurate term than “mindfuck.” Against my will, scary as hell, not pleasurable, traumatizing. Best to call things by their true names.
    10. The trek to Tuesday sometimes seems like a hands and knees crawl across burning desert sand toward a total mirage of freedom that promises no shade, no water, no respite. But Tuesday lives in me, always has, so I will carry on.

    • “1. This utterly sucks on every single imaginable level: spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, economic. Only those who have been there really know.
      2. Infidelity and divorce are not the romantic perfection Hollywood makes them out to be. (Snort. But true.)
      3. My heart can be wounded but is essentially impossible to kill. Although this is part of what made me vulnerable to 34 (holy shit, it’s hard but necessary to acknowledge the reality of that) years of chomping, it is also one of my finer qualities. Never going to lock the heart in a steel box and throw away the key.
      4. Despite the deep damage, which may take the rest of this lifetime to heal, and despite the scars that will always remain, I have strength and a capacity for joy that I never fully appreciated before. Almost every single day of this whole tragic mess, something has delighted me: certain configurations of clouds, silliness with kids, coyotes sounding in the night, church bells in the distance–millions of things large and small. This quality saw me through a rough childhood, and it will see me through this. Grateful for it.
      5. Moving on is not at all a linear process. I have moments of resolve, pain, joy, anxiety, energy, fatigue. That will last for awhile, and that’s okay.
      6. He cannot change. This is harsh but freeing.
      7. Feelings about the other woman are complicated, because that’s how it is for decent people. She’s a slut, because there’s nothing mysterious at all about the wedding ring, the children, the wife she interacted with many times, but she’s also the latest in a long series of chumps. My feelings about her run the gamut from “eat dirt and die, whore” to a somewhat compassionate “careful what you wish for, kid.”
      8. Being cast in the role of the enemy really and truly rankles, but there’s nothing for it but to let go. I was there. I know what happened. That’s all I can control.
      9. “Mindrape” is a more accurate term than “mindfuck.” Against my will, scary as hell, not pleasurable, traumatizing. Best to call things by their true names.
      10. The trek to Tuesday sometimes seems like a hands and knees crawl across burning desert sand toward a total mirage of freedom that promises no shade, no water, no respite. But Tuesday lives in me, always has, so I will carry on.”

      This list -yes. (All the others are great too)
      I learnt too how intensely the body can react to betrayal. My doctor and psychologist said that I had physical trauma reactions (along with the emotional and mental trauma).
      Still dealing but getting better.

  • 1) if someone wants you to change to be deserving of their love ( thinner, sexier, etc) – they will never love you nor are they capable
    2) you are enough, just as you are, right now (thanks Brene brown!)
    3)happiness is a choice, one that you make for yourself and comes from within
    4)being alone is so much better than being lonely in a couple
    5) the karma bus sometimes misses and ex’s can live happy lives, so make sure you are content in your own

  • Quick list:

    1. Not everyone can be redeemed. Redemption is an internal process, and I am an external influence.

    2. I am loved by people worth loving even when I am so emotionally broken and financially broke that I feel I have have nothing to offer.

    3. Little red flags add up to big character flaws. Lack of remorse and accountability is always a major problem even if it only appears in small increments or insignificant places.

    4. I have been surprised by both the capacity of my forgiveness and the depth of my rage when they are deserved.

    5. I have narcissist radar now. I can spot one at a mile away. They are remarkably alike.

    6. I am now grateful for receiving, because I finally feel worthy of it.

    7. I matter. A lot. So do my principles. They are inexorable connected.

  • 1. Sometimes you can do everything right – taking your time and not rushing into the relationship, marrying your best friend, etc. and it still turns out wrong.
    2. Forgiving yourself for picking the wrong partner and wrong parent for your children is critical to moving forward in your life. Understand that you did the best you could with the information you had.
    3. The character disordered are capable of fooling everyone for years, decades even. Don’t beat yourself up for falling for it – a lot of other people did too. See no. 2 above.
    4. Trust your gut instincts. When that little niggling voice inside is telling you something is wrong believe it no matter what your heart believes.
    5. You are stronger than you ever believed yourself to be.
    6. You will never again let someone else define who you are as a person, a parent or a partner.
    7. Sex is really fantastic with someone who is present with you in the moment. [How sad it would’ve been to go through life without know that.]
    8. Staying with the cheater “for the kids”can do an incredible amount of harm to the children you are trying to protect.
    9. Life is SO MUCH BETTER without a cheater. Your mental, physical, financial and emotional health will improve so much you will hardly recognize your new self.
    10. Once you survive what you once thought was an impossible amount of pain and heartache, you will never fear walking away from a toxic relationship again.

    • This list is excellent, Beth! #9 is so true, all of your list actually!!!! It is so true that just because you take your time getting to know someone doesn’t guarantee that they are not disordered, they just had the ability to keep the mask on longer.

      • NME, you are so right about the mask. What’s ironic in my case is that my family saw that my ex’s mother was severely character disordered (although we just referred to her as bat shit crazy, not disordered) and we were all so relieved that Ex had escaped all that damage unscathed. WRONG. He just learned to hide it better than his mom did. He fooled everyone – my parents, my brother, my grandparents, all of our friends, etc. so I give myself a pass for falling for it too. People STILL tell me, that they can’t believe how thoroughly he fooled everyone into believing he was a stand up guy. Luckily for me, he gave up the mask when I filed for divorce. That he lives with a stripper, has no contact with his grown children, and his only daughter changed her last name to my maiden name so as not to be associated with him pretty much says it all. I don’t have to say a word anymore.

    • This is a great list-
      #2 is the one that really stands out for me. Stbx was polar opposite of everyone I had dated before and I thought that made him safe. Yes, I loved him when we married but he had everyone convinced he loved me so much more-even me. And then the truth came out-he never loved me & had played me all along. He rarely was there for me or our son for the first few years & now wants to be Disneyland dad. I just hope one day when my little boy is older he will see who the sane/stable parent really was.

      • Wow, CurrentChump, this is so much like what I thought I had found with the traitor! “Stbx was polar opposite of everyone I had dated before and I thought that made him safe. Yes, I loved him when we married but he had everyone convinced he loved me so much more-even me. And then the truth came out-he never loved me & had played me all along.”

      • I’m betting on your boy figuring it out CC. I feel very fortunate that my kids were already adults when DDay #2 happened. My daughter already had her dad’s number so it was a no brainer for her to figure out who was the sane parent and my son, who had hero worshiped his dad got a rude awakening when he accidentally walked in on his dad moving his stripper girlfriend into his house – the gf who’s existence he had vehemently denied on many occasions. Oops.

  • I learned that anger can be my friend. I also learned that there is no need for revenge. Life will take care of cheating assholes in due time.

  • Mine’s simple. There are really scary monsters in this world, and they’re not under the bed. She was in it right next to me the whole time. I will know better where to look next time.

  • 1. I am resilient.

    2. A cheating spouse is a liar, a coward, and a thief. Cheaters know all the angles and believe they are just in their deceptive actions. Once you know the truth, don’t believe their empty promises.

    3. You find out who your true friends are when you are raked over the coals by a cheater. Keep your tribe of supporters close!

    4. Emotional abuse is a serious problem that is not widely addressed in society.

    5. Once you commit to freeing yourself, don’t look back. Focus on moving forward and making positive changes. It is totally worth it!

    6. It’s never too late to start over. If you put your mind to it, you can work past your fears and overcome obstacles.

  • OK, if you haven’t seen Deadpool but planned on it, spoiler alert. What I learned? I can be a superhero for 4 or 5 moments. After that, I am done. NC stops the abuse and the droning and narcs abuse and drone too much.

    [Deadpool is about to shoot Ajax]

    Colossus: Wade! Four or five moments.

    Deadpool: Sorry?

    Colossus: Four or five moments – that’s all it takes to become a hero. Everyone thinks it’s a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you’re offered a choice to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend – spare an enemy. In these moments everything else falls away…

    Colossus: [Deadpool gets bored and shoots Ajax in the head, killing him]

    [vomits humourously]

    Colossus: Really? Was that necessary?

    Deadpool: You were droning on.

  • I learned:

    1) My instincts are valid and I shouldn’t just assume I’m paranoid
    2) That I deserve be taken care of, not just be the caretaker
    3) That hell yeah I’m an awesome Dad and it’s not cool to overlook that
    4) That I have the best friends a dude could ask for
    5) That deep down I’m actually an optimist — not sure what the future holds, but it’ll be good!

    • HateTN
      I like number 5. I always thought and described myself as an optimistic pessimist. Now I’ve inched forward to being pessimistic optimist…
      Honestly I thought this would drive me deeper down but in a strange way I do feel happier (even through the grief).

  • 1) That I’m so much stronger than I knew I was
    2) That if something doesn’t feel right, I should never be afraid to question the perpetrator
    3) That I should pay attention to a person’s actions, not just his words
    4) That I should value myself and not be so afraid of being lonely that I ignore RED FLAGS for fear of losing the person and being alone
    5) To build boundaries!!!
    6) That I’m able to make HUGE positive changes in my life on short notice
    7) That I can’t control the others, only myself and the way I think about and react to things
    8) That I’m a SUPER MOM!!
    9) How to navigate the US education system and get my child into a good public school even though I wasn’t born here
    10) That I CAN, I WILL and I MUST GAIN A LIFE!!

      • Along with my X, I lived with Satan.

        1) Evil is real.

        2) I learned who were my friends are.

        3) I learned to trust my intuition.

        4) Actions speak louder than words.

        5) Justice isn’t always served in family court.

        6) There are people who don’t have a conscious.

        7) People blame the victim.

        8) I learned the person I married never existed.

        • Brit, #8 is what keeps me going.

          A “friend” told me you picked him to be your kids father, yes I did, I picked him due to the “facts” that he told me when we married, I did not “pick” this thing that he ended up being.

  • I learned:

    1. When people say: “It felt like the ground fell away from under my feet”, I thought that was a saying. I didn’t know that it was an actual feeling.
    2. I’m stronger than I thought I was.
    3. But even I need a break.
    4. Trust your instincts. I see others picked this one. But do so. 100%
    5. Friends will come from different places. A lady that was a friend via another friend, started calling me out of the blue. And now we chat regularly. Another friend developed from my son’s school. She was really important in getting my divorce done. And the last friend, she came from work. We’re both divorced and get along really well.
    6. Some friends will distance themselves a bit, and that’s ok. During the divorce, information about the lies my ex had been telling came out. And it was a bit much for some people, especially his “best friend” the past 20 years. I understand she needs some space right now.
    7. A new dynamic will develop. And it’ll be ok.
    8. Don’t be ashamed to seek help, mental help, medical help, anything that’ll help you.

    • CrazyDL

      I liked your list. Big yes to number 1. I also discovered that vomiting from trauma is real and not a movie thing. The nuance with friends is a good thought too. And so yes to 8. ❤

      • OMG the trauma vom! It’s real! I still don’t eat much because of that. But yes. You can actually be SO UPSET that your body tries to turn itself inside out. Also when I heard the words on D-day I remember saying I was having an out of body experience and that I was sure I was going crazy. That I actually could NOT believe the words I was hearing. That was so surreal! I still can’t believe this is supposedly my life. I’m pretty sure that I got someone else’s trauma dramarama. This was not the way I was supposed to end up. Can someone help me out here and get me back into the life I was SUPPOSED to be living?!

  • 1. There is someone else out there who has my hair (chump lady)
    2. People really can change. STBX wasn’t always an A-hole. Now he is.
    3. STBX isn’t evil, just selfish and stupid.
    4. The pain caused by selfish and stupid isn’t much different than the pain caused by evil (but Karma is more likely to bite someday).
    5. I have more friends than I knew.
    6. I am a better friend now too because I have more life experience from which to draw empathy.
    7. My sister/brother in law and parents love me.
    8. My children love me (even the teens).
    9. STBX’s family loves me even if he couldn’t.
    10. Everyone but him (and maybe Schmoopies 1 and 2) knows I am the best thing that every happened to him.
    11. Hanging with the kids three nights a week and coming by on weekday mornings to say good morning for ten minutes before they leave for school is not enough to make you a good Dad.
    12. Its his loss.

    • For some reason, I read #1 as “someone who’s holding my hair back” (you know, when you vomit? the sign of a true friend?) and that really IS Chumplady!

      • Still being a bit of a chump and still being in reflexive protect STBX image mode I kept telling everyone “well at least he still cares about being a Dad”. Then the other afternoon I was at my daughter’s therapy session and the therapist was asking about the current status of our separation. I explained STBX’s self imposed (and facilitated and encouraged by me) visitation schedule and her response was “so the kids are mostly with you then”. That is when I realized that he really isn’t doing that much after all. On the one hand it is disturbing that they are not more important to him. On the other hand it means that I don’t have to sacrifice much of my Mom time due to his poor choices.

  • If it walks like a duck……it is a duck….don’t second guess yourself or give them the benefit of the doubt

    Actions speak louder than words

    You find out who really has your back

    Time is both a healer and adds perspective

    Shut down all methods of communication. …silence is golden

    Don’t partake in shit sandwiches

    An honest man’s / woman’s pillow is his/her peice of mind

    Music…..acdc don’t have any triggering songs….acdc and move you faster out of the longing stage to the righteous anger stage

    A cheaters life is not pretty

    No fault divorce is a crock of shit

    From the moment they cheat….they will never (NEVER) have your or your families interests at heart…..believe this!!

    Eventually the cheaters world falls apart….have the popcorn ready ….but likely you won’t care anymore

    A sense of humour is your best weapon with garden variety cheaters ….smile /joke often …it takes their power away that they stole from you with their lies and bullshit

  • 1. When actions and words don’t match, always trust the actions and know the words are lies. (And my kids learned this too)

    2. Instead of a swirl of gray confusion in my brain, I have clarity. False equivalency,
    blame shifting, real remorse vs. fake, taking responsibility, making amends – these things make real sense to me now and inform my life in a positive way. (Thank you CL and CN)

    3. It’s shocking, demoralizing and depressing to deal with Switzerland friends and it hurts to move away from these them. But space opens and new friends come to fill it. Much better friends!

    4. Living in a peaceful house full of truth is a beautiful thing.

    • These are lovely. For years, I argued with XH about getting home from work on time, and he always whined that he was TRYING, and of COURSE he would rather be here with me than at work! — Nope, he wanted to be at work instead. — I still kick myself for overlooking this realization. It was right in front of me.

  • It is important to nourish your body; however, completely fine and fun to embrace unexpected weight loss and just go right on ahead and rock those skinny jeans tucked into boots. BOOM. Fun to be sexy. ?

  • 1. Another person can’t make me happy. Happiness has to come from inside me.

    2. Don’t listen to words, watch actions.

    3. God is my refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.

  • 1. Cheaters suck
    2. Always trust your gut. The heart and brain mislead you.
    3. That person whom you thought could never cheat…. can and will.
    4. Go to God for help.
    5. Once a password is initiated, you are in trouble.

  • 1) Marrying someone to help them change, to be a better person, is a really bad idea. Like teaching a pig to sing, it accomplishes nothing and annoys the pig. I can’t fix you, only you can fix you. I’ll support you in that fixing, but I can’t do it, only you can.

    2) See #1.

  • I would take all of the above comments and only add:

    I learned that sticking to my boundaries and deal breakers is good. It doesn’t make me ‘controlling’ or rigid in thought. People who continually test to see how far they can push your boundaries are grooming you for abuse.

  • 3) Emotional abuse is a serious problem that is not widely addressed in society.

    (Straight out of Over and Out’s post, but it really resonated with me, so I added it to my list.)

  • The most important thing I learned was that it doesn’t hurt some people to lie.

    From that I learned not to project good character onto people who don’t have it.

    I learned that a person who is doing immoral things and wants to continue seeing themselves as a good person will believe and say and do unvelievable things to create and preserve their alternate reality.

    I learned that if I’m ever thinking “I can’t believe he doesn’t see how selfish that is” or “I can’t believe he doesn’t understand how hurtful that is” that the time to walk has come. He does see. He does understand. And he does it anyway. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

  • 1) If it feels like you are being manipulated and lied to while being told otherwise, trust your gut.

    The end.

  • What I learned? ‘One and done’ if I see any signs of:

    1-infidelity
    2-emotionally abusive statements
    3-non-tactful criticisms
    4-any evidence that the relationship is not considered important enough to discuss or compromise on selfish needs.
    5-the emotional maturity of a 7-year old (cute in 7-year olds, in adults not so much)

    • Exactly, Tempest! I really started to wonder why I was putting up with raging, childish tantrums from a grown man. Oh, and of course he would throw another tantrum when I used the word “tantrum” to describe his behavior!?

  • Great lists, very helpful!
    Some of mine are:
    – If you have to coax him to love you, his love will be phony, and never enough.
    – People that somehow turned me off, and made me want to avoid them – They’re all Narcs!
    – I can start over, I was always capable of that.
    – Crying for two years actually didn’t kill me.
    – I can make healthy lifestyle choices and heal myself!
    – Kids know.
    – I too am a BADASS.
    – Every day is a new opportunity, embrace it!

    • F reewoman, “Crying for two years actually didn’t kill me”!!!!!! Perfect!!!! It didn’t kill me it made me stronger!!!!

  • I’ve learned:

    …lots and lots 🙂

    The worst thing I thought could happen, when it did…actually brought me a much better life.
    Drama is stressful and I am so happy he left my life.
    I am so much stronger than I knew I could be.
    I like mowing grass 🙂 Even though my little yard harley is loud, the experience is so peaceful and fun 😉
    I can and do use my power tools 🙂
    I can fix / repair so many things! …and those that I can’t are probably not good for me anyway – let them go.
    There are so many good people in the world. They expect nothing in return, except a genuine smile and a thank you 🙂
    I can ask for help and accept it with grace and appreciation and reciprocate when I can.
    A smile can heal.
    A hand can save.
    I am not crazy or bad or worthless.
    You can’t do that!…yes, yes I can. 🙂 …and its not stupid…
    I am not afraid to walk away, and I will if it is for my greater good.
    We reap what we sow is really true… 🙂
    Magic trash cans are real 🙂
    I am not afraid of the dark now that the monster is gone 🙂
    I like sleeping alone.
    I like sleeping 🙂
    I can take care of myself and make good choices for my future all.by.myself 😉
    Now, you have to earn my trust…its no longer just given.
    You can live however you want – over —–> there.
    You are not a mistake I will make twice…and, no, we can’t be friends.
    My real friends are awesome and they got my back all.the.time 🙂

    Love you all CL and CN 🙂 Thank you!
    Jeep and Beau

    • Jeep Tess
      Just LOVE these posts always full of ?
      Makes me smile too. Your positive attitude, road taken and support just makes me feel a little bit safer ! ❤❤

      • (((((((Capricorn))))))) 🙂

        I know where I came from and can look back down that road up out of the black despair and see my foot prints and my hands and knees journey…there are lots of hands and knees marks…miles and miles of them, actually…I can also see that the time spent on my hands and knees is where I gained a whole bunch of strength and faced a whole bunch of scary fears…and beat them 🙂

        I know a lot of my fears were formed in my monster filled childhood…and that paved the way for absolute ease of manipulation and control by satan…quite easy for him to walk into my life and be my hero. (I swear they can just smell us) he had no trouble at all smiling in my face and stabbing me in the back. …and oh my how I loved that man.

        I actually told him one day in the court…’I hope that you are never, ever allowed the to hurt, maim and kill another human being with their love for you. I hope if you ever try it again, it bounces off them and infects you.’

        🙂

        I believe that all of us will get there and be free of the despair and fear. I look back now and can see that my progress was hard, yes, but the struggle was imperative for me cause all I wanted was to JUST PLEASE LET ME FEEL BETTER CAUSE THIS HURTS SO BAD!…and then, one day, my brain was like…’wait?…what?!’ 🙂 and I looked around and WOW! Hey! I GOT THIS! …ouch…my knees hurt! …hey…WAIT! 😀 MY KNEES HURT! …and I just sat down in the sunshine and breathed and SMILED! 🙂 cause I realized I was FREE!

        🙂 Thank you Capricorn! I see so much wisdom in your texts and so much of it resonates for me 🙂 I KNOW you got this 🙂

        • Jeep Tess

          ?? what I love about CL and this site is that it builds trust. A bunch of newbie chumps who have just had the bejesus crushed out of their hearts come here and we trust what we read here. We have to make little leaps of trust and faith again. We learn right from the worst of times that we can learn to trust again. Maybe differently than before, maybe better? We trust others like you who have been there done that and have come back to share the good news. It restored my faith in people at a time when I was just broken in bits.
          And you are sooo upbeat it just makes me smile! ??

          • Yes! When I first found CL and CN that is when I truly started healing cause, yes!, just like you, I thought, hummmm…they made it! I can make it! And, OH!, that’s what was REALLY goin on! Cause there were people on here telling their stories that WAS MY STORY TOO! I was simply floored! FINALLY! Finally, I understood!

            People paying it forward when I was a newbee… 🙂 THANK YOU ALL! 🙂 And I love you!

            The Clip
            The Muse – HI! 🙂
            Rumblekitty
            Tempest – Love you Tempest!!!!
            Arnold – HI! 🙂
            Calamity Jane

            and so many, many more!

            Yes! We are so Blessed to have so many people giving so much here EVERY day!

            We really need to change the law to make this abuse a felony. Because it IS a felony.

            • What JT just said ALL of it…. You, my dear JT, are a wordsmith indeed!
              Love this Nation……. You saved my soul, my life…..
              So many names I can not remember, but the words, the love, the effects of being with people who genuinely give of themselves to help others who have been through the same horrors………I have no words to express my gratitude. All of you will always be in my heart

              • I know right ForgeOn 🙂

                Finding CL and CN is like just what ya need when you need it most! 🙂 Like a breath of sweet validation in the midst of cheater fog! Whoooo Hoooo! Home Sweet Home!

                🙂

          • Here JABT 🙂 Let us give you a hand up 🙂

            Whew! Please share a glass of wine with us! 🙂

            🙂 We made it and we are FREE 🙂

  • I learned things about other people and about myself.

    Others – Cheating is rampant in our society. Why? I’m not sure, but once this happened to me I started to notice all sorts of other people who are experiencing or have experienced this in my world and then in CN. I was appalled at first that cheating was so common, but now realize that we live in very self-centred times and that for many people, they are all that is important. This isn’t everyone, but enough that I am no longer naive and accepting of what people say. I look below the surface all the time now.

    Myself – I have learned that I have a dark side and a light side. I was always a pollyanna until I discovered my husband was cheating and for awhile, some very dark thoughts dominated my mind. I initially felt guilty that I could have that much anger and hate, but now accept that it is a part of me. I am not happy with everything I said or did, but I have learned to love myself totally – the good and the bad. I have also learned that I can surrender what I thought my life was and to accept what it has become. And I can be happy – not every minute – but for the most part and live each day with meaning and love for my family and friends.

  • What have I learned? I’ve learned that I seem to have an affinity for nutcases, and I’m so chumpy that I thought he would grow up and change. I’ve learned that your best laid plans don’t always work, and that’s okay. I’ve learned that I am way more resilient than I ever thought I could be. Also, as CL says: There is always a Next. And I look forward to it!

    • Merry
      Love this “affinity for nutcases”. YES.
      For me could be good as a therapist…. just need to work on my personal life ?

      • Yes, I have been guilty of having an affinity for said nutcases that is only surpassed by my ex’s renowned Skank Tooth. Let’s call it what it is: he would have you believe that he just needed love and attention from shady, slutty dungeon whores. I cry Skank Tooth!! That’s what made him do it. But I digress….

  • OOOO…here’s a BIG one I forgot! And it is so important!

    …those that really love you will be HAPPY for your achievements, however big or small, and they WILL NOT compare them to what they or others have done. Those that love you will glow with you and help you grow…not throw crippling criticism and douse your light 🙂 Walk away from hate and blame throwers 🙂

    Criticism given to hurt – not heal – is a big red flag. While 2 x 4’s of wisdom are welcome and needed, crippling criticism is a big NOT. 🙂 …just smile and walk away from from that toxic gas bag 🙂

  • 1. Legal insurance is worth it!
    2. I am happiest when I stick to my boundaries and treat myself with compassion and self-respect
    3. It’s okay to say ‘I’m not okay’.
    4. A good therapist is a worthy investment because you are investing in yourself
    5. I made the right decision not to have kids with him
    6. I have no regrets about making his affair public or outing the other woman to her husband, church, and society
    7. To not fall in love with potential and words but to fall in love with patterns and actions. I was naïve and I forgive myself for that.
    8. Once I’ve lost respect for you, you will never be able to earn it back
    9. To appreciate the opportunities my parents gave me, and that my hard work in my career was worth it.
    10. There is the land of “meh” and I will find it one day
    11. I was right when I said “I’m not responsible for your happiness”
    12. That learning independence in childhood was beneficial in adulthood
    13. He was right when he said we were “incompatible and had nothing in common” because he is weak and I am strong, he is a coward and I am brave, he is a liar and I speak the truth, he is selfish and I am selfless, he is deceitful and I have integrity.
    14. Healthy coping skills
    15. Peeing on his toothbrush after I discovered his affair made me happy 🙂
    16. That I will be a beacon of light for my friends should they ever find themselves chumped by a cheater
    17. Many hearts are with me (Chump Nation) and willing to help guide me to the light again
    18. I may not feel strong, but I know I have strength based on the actions and choices I make. Others see it, I struggle to see it in myself, but I trust myself to know it’s there.
    19. Who my true friends are, and how amazing they are. Everyone else isn’t worth my energy.
    20. I can have my worst fear come true, contemplate suicide, and still get my shit together to rebuild a new life for myself that is still good…different, but good.
    21. The other areas I put energy into (career, dreams, hobbies, friends, family, etc.) were worth it.
    22. The anxiety I felt for most of my relationship was not due to a flaw in me, it was a symptom of how he was treating me.
    23. Clarity of mind and stability of life feel amazing even if you are still healing and hurting.
    24. Pre-nups are a good idea, so is having your own career and money.
    25. While I would love to have someone love me the way I loved my ex, it is not something I need to feel whole and happy. I am okay being single and I am enjoying it.
    26. To embrace the scar this has left because it means I am capable of loving someone deeply, being hurt beyond comprehension, and healing from it.
    27. To trust my gut and don’t waste this second chance at a new life
    28. A nice guy and a good man are two different things
    29. What I lost was my faith in people, what I’ve gained is wisdom in the world
    30. I deserve better. I am too good for him. I am and will always be enough for myself.
    31. I can forgive and be angry at the same time
    32. I am a master at no contact and I do not touch the hot stove!
    33. I’m not a failure just because my marriage failed
    34. While my cheater is very disordered and he chooses to act on the dark inside of him, I still had many wonderful years with him and he was a positive influence in my life.
    35. How to recognize when I am letting fear dictate my actions and how to stop
    36. Once the raw pain was over, the light returned to my eyes
    37. Dating is odd
    38. My ex’s family loves me, and wants better for me, but blood is still thicker than water
    39. In the beginning it feels like they ‘win’, but time is our best friend and their worst enemy
    40. Grief is not an illness, it will not hurt me

    • Amen to #5 & #13 — and #15 makes me laugh and wish I could turn back the clock.

      #15: A story: A couple years after we started dating, XH (then-boyfriend) left me for about four months, then he moved back in and was very wishy-washy about our relationship. I ended up going to Urgent Care, and the PA asked what was going on in my house. I told her and she said, sternly, “He has to move out. He’s making you sick.” With tears of gratitude, I went home and told him, “The doctor says you have to move out.” He did. And I’ll never forget that lesson — Alas, I had to learn it a second time, more than ten years later.

    • Hahahahaha #15!!!! I just burst out laughing – was not expecting that!!!! If ONLY I had thought to do that.
      Your list is awesome Jeannie. And I loved reading everyone’s list. Wish I could comment on every single one.
      I do love Chump Nation.

  • 1. That I, also, can move out of a 3,000 sq ft home in two days with the help of my sister and Dad AND have my entire new condo organized and comfortable in 72 hours with the help of friends and family.
    2. A real man never lays hands on a woman when confronted with the truth and lies. No excuses. No spackling. Ever.
    3. Don’t fall for the narcissist bait – whatever tactic they try. Oh you had an abnormal EKG? Good. Save your energy and attention for people who matter.
    4. Trust your instincts ALWAYS. I should have trusted mine instead of being gaslighted and lied to for years.
    5. FedEx won’t judge you if you miss your wine shipment and go running down the straight after the truck to get your package … barefoot … in a robe.
    6. Your real friends will listen to you cry and bitch and scream, “WHEN IS KARMA GOING TO GET HIM?!” 87 times a day.
    7. In the lowest moments of your life, you still somehow find the strength to get up, get your son ready for school, and go to work. And you now know, you can handle ANYTHING.
    8. The best lawyer is the one who refers to your STBX’s schmoopie as a “whore.”
    9. The best revenge IS living well, even if hearing that makes you want to choke. Find that outlet for your rage. Be the person you want to be. Oh? Gaining weight, Fuckwhit? Nice triple-chin. I am down 71 lbs. Enjoy your cholesterol pills.
    10. Don’t spend hours googling the affair partner. Nothing to find. They are all garbage and hideous. Just because they post a meme about you on their Facebook about being an “upgrade,” laugh because you know that shit isn’t true and the joke is on them. Enjoy your turd, Upgrade!

    • Since STBX has moved out he’s gotten SO FAT! None of his clothes fit anymore. Surprise. When you act like shit and live with shit you eat like shit and turn into shit. I was the filet mignon of wives and the whoremat is old stale McDonald’s

  • 1. I don’t need to be friends or keep family relationships with ANYONE who is OK with my cheating STBX spouse. Or OK with cheating in general.
    2. Cheaters will lie about anything and everything if it makes them look better. Suspect EVERYTHING that comes out of their mouths.
    3. Cheaters will blame everyone else for what they did — even a 12-year-old child for getting them “in trouble” by telling mom about the text they saw to dad from the other woman.
    4. Cheaters will deny everything and create their own reality — even swear on their dear mother’s life that what they say about their reality is TRUE!
    5. Cheaters put out “bait” to see if you’ll take a bite, and always have that expectant, “I’m looking to see if you’ll take it” look on their faces.
    6. Cheaters REALLY DO have three settings of charm, self-pity and rage — usually displayed in that order.
    7. People ALWAYS only do what they want to do. Cheaters. Chumps. Everyone.
    8. There are a LOT of cheaters and liars out there — I can spot them a mile away now and see more than I ever saw before.
    9. It’s OK to pass judgment on toxic liars. I’m OK with being that judgy person.
    10. The expectations I have from my lawyer are relative to the amount I spend. In the end, I may not remember the exact amount I spent, but I WILL remember whether or not I pushed for what I wanted, said what I wanted to say, followed my heart and beliefs, was brave and not scared.
    11. I can scowl at the person who just said, “Smile, it can’t be that bad.”
    12. Always telling the truth about what happened brings me strength and shows others they can find strength, too.
    13. I can say “thank you” instead of “I’m sorry” — Thank you for being patient with me while I go through this. Thank you for understanding that I haven’t been at the top of my game at work. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your advice. Thank you for taking me out for a fun night. Thank you for inviting me and the kids to Christmas dinner. Thank you for sending us that great care package!
    14. It’s OK to be stuck. I don’t always have to push through, or push forward, or DO something. I can stop and be depressed. Mad. Lazy. Sad. Mean. Unsure. Scared. Lonely.
    15. Depression can seem like it lasts forever, but if I don’t ridicule my own pain (“She had it much worse than me.” “At least no one died.” “At least my kids are healthy.” “I have a job!”), if I let myself feel my pain, if I don’t apologize for my feelings — the depression will lift, and acceptance actually shows up.
    12. My children are allowed to be angry, sad, depressed, irritated, lazy, moody — I will never again demand they change their attitude or feel anything different or “look on the bright side” when they’re feeling what they’re feeling. The feelings will pass. They can think about them later.
    13. I really can survive anything. Even when I don’t want to.
    14. Showing and having compassion for ME — under any and every circumstance — is more important than anything else I do. Because EVERYTHING else I do comes from that place.

  • The cheaters are always babbling about “great sex, great sex, great sex”.

    I have a hard time believing Mr. Sorry Lay (ex husband) could possibly be involved in anything that could be considered Good Sex. Lazy, selfish, boring lovers don’t suddenly start being great in bed when they are 50+ years old. That’s just a lie they tell to try to make you feel bad.

    If the cheaters go from spending a few hours here and there with these creeps, I’m sure the ” great sex” would vanish immediately. After living with ex husband, I am totally shocked I could have any sex with him after seeing his nasty, disgusting daily habits. We all have them, and it’s a real buzzkill. Snoring, farting, nose blowing, shit left in the toilet, shit tracks in the underwear. Ughhhh, you can have him. Not sexy at all.

  • After a While

    After a while you learn
    The subtle difference between
    Holding a hand and chaining a soul
    And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
    And company doesn’t always mean security.

    And you begin to learn
    That kisses aren’t contracts
    And presents aren’t promises
    And you begin to accept your defeats
    With your head up and your eyes ahead
    With the grace of a woman
    Not the grief of a child

    And you learn
    To build all your roads on today
    Because tomorrow’s ground is
    Too uncertain for plans
    And futures have a way
    Of falling down in mid flight

    After a while you learn
    That even sunshine burns if you get too much
    So you plant your own garden
    And decorate your own soul
    Instead of waiting
    For someone to bring you flowers

    And you learn
    That you really can endure
    That you are really strong
    And you really do have worth
    And you learn and you learn and you learn

    author in question – several folks have claimed credit for this one.

  • 1. Life can change with every breath we take.

    2. I can only control my actions; not anyone else’s…EVER!

    3. Our time is precious and finite.

    4. Once you learn that you are with a cheater it’s important to remember #3 and act accordingly.

    5. Leaving my long term marriage (27 years) was scary. It was like jumping off a cliff into an abyss of unknowns. Be that as it may, that unknown has been a far superior option than staying with someone who didn’t love or respect me; destroyed our children’s in tact family and disregarded my health and well being.

    6. The abyss might be scary but it’s also where the possibilities live! I’ve learned to embrace those possibilities.

    7. This might not be the life I planned on, but it’s the one I’ve got. It’s up to me to make it as rich and fulfilling as humanly possible.

    8. No contact really is the path to truth and light (thank you a 1000 times All out of Kibble!). Once I went no contact with cheater ex, I began to see him for who he really was and my heart finally started catching up with my head.

    9. Being alone is NOT the same thing as being lonely. I was more lonely in my marriage than I ever have been in the 3 years since my divorce.

    10. Human beings are capable of being mean, petty and downright evil but we’re also capable of incredible kindness, generosity and good. Embrace the latter and pass it on because it’s the only thing worth living for.

    11. I don’t want cheater ex to be the last person I love romantically but I’ve also embraced the idea that this isn’t Noah’s Arc. I don’t need to be pair bonded to be happy. I am practicing self love and care and forgiveness for myself. (For not leaving sooner, for not trusting my gut, etc.)

    12. Part of rediscovering your self worth is learning to listen and trust your gut instincts and follow through with what they tell you. Always!

  • I learned:

    I am strong enough to survive things that would leave others in a lump on the floor.
    I will never again put up with even a smidge of emotional abuse or a vacant partner (if I choose to have a partner).
    That being alone is way better than being with a partner that makes me feel alone.
    That I am a straight up kick you in the balls badass when crossed!

  • All the yesses that ever yessed to the folks rehabilitating judgement’s unreasonably bad reputation. When did humanity collectively decide that calling stupid things stupid, mean things mean, selfish things selfish and so on and so forth was somehow a bad thing? It’s a great thing. It’s a smart thing. It’s key to survival, and also a key part of becoming an ethical person in one’s own right. This is not a matter of sneering at people or being unjust and callous and holier than thou, it’s just keeping the brain, heart, soul, and moral compass in good working order.

  • 1. It’s okay to be your own best friend.
    2. Trust. But verify (and verify discreetly).
    3. Keep your cards close to the vest.
    4. You will screw up (on no contact, keeping cards close to vest, etc.) so forgive yourself and start fresh. You’ll get the hang of it.
    5. Employers and coworkers are not always understanding of people going through divorce. Even if they act supportive they watch you closer, scrutinize more, and expect you to get over it quickly. Depending on where you work, it might be best to keep things to yourself or at least as much as you can.
    6. I don’t have to tolerate bullshit from anyone: romantic partners, spouses, children, siblings, parents, bosses, etc. How and when I remove myself from the bullshit is up to me. But I don’t have to buy in to it.

  • The only thing I have to add to the wonderful lists already here is this:

    1. If there is not one tiny shred of remorse in your cheater about the affair early in the process of attempted reconciliation, it will not appear at any point, so don’t bother. Really. My cheater’s only emotion was anger and entitlement after DD#1, about how I had “made” him have an affair, and he “deserved to be happy.” I kept thinking that a light bulb would go on in his head at some point (similar to CL’s coming out of the fog), and he would realize how shattering his actions were. Spoiler alert: it never happened. When I asked our MC in private if this was normal, she said, “well, some people are devastated by the impact of their affair on their partner.” Okaaaaay, he wasn’t. I’d rather she had hit me with a 2×4 and screamed “run away, he doesn’t give a shit about you!” and maybe the light bulb would come on my MY head a whole lot sooner…

  • Working within this context:
    A) Regarding my parents narcissism: Who the FUCK does that to their only child?!!
    B) Regarding my cheater-wife: Who the FUCK does that to their husband?!!
    C) Regarding my therapist: How in the FUCK can you blame me for her cheating?!!
    D) Regarding my so-called friends: What the FUCK do you mean you need to stay ‘neutral’?!!

    I learned:
    1) I have an incredible capacity for hatred.
    2) I can’t trust anyone – especially my own family.
    3) I am the only person with my best interests in mind.
    4) Given the smallest of opportunity, people will lie and cheat.
    5) Social norms are weapons used against me.
    6) Nobody likes it when I speak up for myself.
    7) Nobody really gives a shit about the good I do.
    8) I no longer give a fat flying fuck about anyone else.
    9) I can and will do whatever the fuck I want whenever the fuck I want to do it. (see: “I only one life on this Earth and I deserve to be happy!“)
    10) I no longer give a fuck about anybody else’s problems.
    11) I am no longer repsonsible for everyone elses problems. (see: #10 above)
    12) I don’t have to listen to anybody criticize me, my efforts, or my good intentions.
    13) Fear, obligation, and guilt are just weapons used to manipulate me.
    14) To keep my anger at the ready at a moments notice.
    15) Once my last kiddo is out of the house, I will be alone for the rest of my life.

    • Hey, BNM. I’m worried about you. Rage is natural and warranted–boy is it ever–but please don’t turn it inward too much, and please don’t aim the flamethrower of rage at every single thing. Scorched earth sure is tempting, but then you have to live on this earth, and it will be way easier to live and grow and heal and thrive if it is not burnt into eternal nothingness. I’m so sorry that things feel so bleak. Maybe it doesn’t help much to know this, but I know that feeling, as so many of us do. Lived there for months after the great day of revelation (and can we all say just fuck that fucking fucked up day from here to eternity?), and still become a denizen of that land far too readily, but I know there is more and better than that, even if for today, it’s just my good old dog, and the fabulous texture of the bread that that this turkey sandwich I’m nibbling at is made of (which the good old dog, who has put on a bit as I’ve struggled with the appetite, is dearly hoping to get a taste of). It would be easy to get lost in the hate. Have definitely gotten waylaid there a few times. Will again, darn it. But one of the great things about being a chump is that chumps know–not just suspect, but truly know in a deep and lasting way–that there is something deeper and more sustaining than that. We’re spun of that stuff, and other people and things (art, music, animals, humor, whatever you love) are, too. Anyway, don’t mean to overreact, but I do hope for you that when you tap into rage, it is to get past walls and get things done, not to wall yourself entirely into a charred and depressing world, seemingly safe (but life never wholly can be), but lifeless. Argh. The whole thing is so hard. So this whole mess of a post is just to say–hang in and may peace be yours.

      • Love this, Chumpionsahm. Lived through my worst years before and after ex’s revelation. Tragedies one after the other, then Dday. Just had to pick myself up over and over again. Held all my angels close. Listened to my gut. Spent two. years. alone, lining up ducks. Still, the world hasn’t been the kindest place…I am still trying to put my life together financially, but I remain hopeful. I look forward to the day when it all makes sense, when I may meet someone new; my gifts were wasted on ex and why look back? For twenty years I was played, and didn’t know why I felt so bad. His abandonment (and Cheating) freed me. I wanted the fairy tale (hell, we had it!) but I realized that as good as it was I could no longer be around someone who was capable of turning on and tearing apart his family. C, thank you again for your beautiful post. BNM, (((hugs))) to you. My advice? Baby steps forward, extreme self care, exercise, move, and do activities outside your comfort zone (volunteer, take a class,etc). Change your space: paint your rooms. Music is a great healer so I am sharing some of mine. Ben Howard (The dark stuff and Keep Your Head Up), Phil Collins, Patty Griffin. I spent three years grieving. Angry. I still use that to move forward. It is a process. I look at this as my Revolution too. CN, great responses today.

    • Betrayed.
      Wow. That rises off the page or the screen I should say. I would suggest a couple of things. A sit down first. Breathe second.
      Couple more things. Re-read what you have written. Then think about your kids. Think really hard.
      Did you deserve any of this shit? No.
      Does hating cover up the deep fear and anxiety, abandonment issues etc yes, sometimes for a while.
      Is rage a good long term strategy? No.
      You have a choice. Not an easy one coming through this much devaluing. You have to decide who you are going to be. This angry vengeful raging fucked up person or someone who remembers how much he loves himself and his kids.
      Anger we get it, it’s motivating but beyond that it is destructive. Find a proper therapist not a shitty one. Fine one who you connect with and will help. Your kids have one parent who let them down, don’t be another.
      Get proper help. Ask yourself what kind of parent you wanted and needed and be that for your little ones. We are all here for you. Trust here. Be angry here. Get hugs and help here. We love you. You are one of us. We get you. We are all chumps. We love you a lot. You are worth it as you are trying to be a sane person after shit parents and a shit wife. It hurts but unfortunately rage begets rage not safety.
      Write another list. Things you and your little ones deserve, want your lives to be. Keep writing that list. Keep posting. Huge hugs to you. You can do this. We have your back. ❤

      • I care about the good you do, betrayed. I lost my hatred for the limited when I had to sit in a room with him months ago. He was a pitiful demasked narcissist with no supply. Afterwards, I walked through a crosswalk with my head held high. I never spoke a word to the Limited. I didn’t have to. I saw him.

        I know we throw around things like: you deserved better and the pain is finite. Sometimes the journey takes us so far down we lose our identity and depression comes without an ounce of let up. There is hope. You DO deserve better, and the pain IS finite.

        You were royally fucked over. Being here is a testament in knowing there are amazing people in the world. Start living in that world, betrayed. It is real. You aren’t and never were disposable. I’ve felt the enormity of living with a fucked up abusive father, a battered mother with Stockholm syndrome. I thought I survived all that, believing I was resilient.

        Then after spending a lifetime with a man I believed in, I found out I was living with a sociopath. Discarded and erased in a split second.

        Medication and therapy with the RIGHT therapist is important. You are appreciated and loved here, betrayed. Fight for you, the good, loving, kind person. Block out the disordered. Let the sun shine in. It’s there.

    • Betrayed…please don’t let them win…please.

      You are so valuable. You are so loved. And those words are REALLY real about you.

      I know, I know…those are just words…I heard them too…from lots of people in my life…and then those people went home…and there I was…all covered up in those words they’d left behind to comfort me…yet, I was alone…and those words were all that was left of them and their comfort when they went back to their lives…and I couldn’t make the words come alive and wrap around me again like when they were there giving me those words…those words were just words all laying around…and I was alone… 🙁 and those words were…just these worthless, lifeless words…and I was just alone… 🙁 …blows…yeah…

      …it was so hard for me to see that those words were mine too and I could give them life…I just had to believe and those words would have life and hold me and help me for me…I know, I know…easier said than done…yep…wow! What a flippin struggle I had with those words! …but I needed em to be real for me! Damn it! Damn words! 🙁 …fuck those words…

      …but…those words are true! 🙂 Yep! They ARE dammit! Fuck what happened to me before! Fuck that! I wasn’t gonna let some toxic, juvenile gas bags, full of themselves assholes beat me to death anymore! Dammit! I struggled to survive my entire life! I wasn’t gonna give up. I stood up.

      …geeze…ok…ok…so sometimes I crawled, ok…okay!…I crawled A LOT. But, I kept fighting…and crawling and crying and, oh geeze, I hurled A LOT…ugh…

      But, one day…it was like, I wasn’t even thinkin bout it really, I was just like so tired of crawling and, wow…those words…yeah! Those words became real 🙂 FOR ME! Wha?!

      …and I won…and they lost…and my words I AM ENOUGH and I WILL THRIVE and I GOT THIS BABY 🙂 …my words…they have life and my life is so much better than my life ever was! 🙂 I finally realized that MY WORDS only had LIFE when I STOPPED letting others DEFINE ME 🙂

      WHOOOO HOOOOO! I KNOW I’m not who my abusers said I am! 🙂 I’m this awesome happy, help anyone I can, if I can, be there for you if you need me, awesome mother that loves her children, love to garden, cook, loved being a wife…etc…(you get the picture 🙂 ) and MY WORDS HAVE LIFE! And I DEFINE ME!

      You define you Betrayed 🙂 And the people who love you have always SEEN WHO YOU REALLY ARE 🙂 And let me tell you, they LOVE AND NEED YOU! So…you gather up your words and you give em CPR and breathe them babies back to life brother…cause YOU GOT THIS! And DAMMIT folks are DEPENDING on you! Even if you can’t see it right now! They ARE! They just got these pesky ‘lives’ to go do… 🙂 …but! and that is a big BUT! They NEED you in their pesky lives and dammit you better show! 🙂 …so?? 🙂 …ooopppsie…commitment! 🙂

      You got this Betrayed…please, please don’t let them win…please PLEASE know your words are alive and you deserve the great life that you want and you can have it! …you just gotta believe in yourself. You aren’t alone…YOU AREN’T ALONE! There is a great life for you out there just waiting for you to create it! Start with your words…there is power in your words. 🙂 Step into your power 🙂 Your loved ones need you!

      …oh…and trust me on this…your kids WILL come home! And…you can’t believe it, but it is TRUE…when they come back THEY HAVE MULTIPLIED! Wha?! 🙂 Yep…tis true! 🙂 And it is awesome to behold 🙂

  • 1. What I wished for and whatI actually got were two totally different things.

    2. Once those rose-colored glasses came off it was NOT pretty, but now my vision is 20/20 and like the song says, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone.” (My XH was the rain!)

    3. Peace makes me happy. (and good food, good people, and my two cats).

  • I only got one…
    Losing half my savings, losing half my stuff, going through courts to get a divorce, having half custody, having to move to a smaller house, having to trade in for a more modest car, being alone some nights

    is worth so much less than

    Self-respect, freedom from fear of getting an std, freedom from having to listen to all my wife’s lies, and the solid hope that I can find someone else who will treat me better.

  • I learned that:

    As deeply as I loved, I can absolutely hate with a depth I never imagined.

    I a man not stupid, crazy or “not loooking at the situation correctly”

    Thru my own hard work, perseverance and sacrifice- I have increased my credit score to better than all the time I was married to the genius. Always telling me my watch was stupid or wrong. Always living pay check to paycheck. Hey, Asshole, did it without any child support or support period from you!

    I am stronger and more resilient than I thought. I can separate, start divorce and take care of home, kids and dying brother. Who needed you? Not us.

    My kiddies and I are stronger emotionally with him gone. No more feeling not good enough.

    The kids and I can make it just fine without Mr Know It All.

    Discovered that we never got invited out by friends, etc cause nobody could stand HIM! Our social life has improved greatly.

    Learned that his very oldest friends can’t stand him now after finding out what he did and for how long.

    Learned not to take shit from him or his dysfunctional family.

    Learned there are too damned many of us out here in the world. ?

  • I learned most of the same things that were listed above, but mainly:

    1. how not to be naive,
    2. how to watch someone’s actions and not their words to determine their intentions,
    3. And sadly, how there are plenty of people in the world that see your generosity as something to be taken advantage of, rather than appreciated.

    But my biggest gift:

    A Class A Marksmanship Certificate on shooting down bullshit whenever I hear or see it. I can shoot it down sideways, upside down, with one hand tied behind my back, with my eyes closed….etc. It’s like skeet shooting. My wife will throw up some excuse or story…….and BAM!……out of the sky it falls. It’s almost like sport at this point, and the only trophy I got was a time-stamped divorce entry — but I’ll take it.

  • Always trust your gut!

    His family is not YOUR family.

    His Friends are not YOUR friends

    It takes time, a lot of time, to hear from such betrayal

    Don’t second guess your decision to leave, HE WILL NOT CHANGE!

    Sometimes life does not goes as planned, that’s ok

    take care of yourself!

  • 1) Once a cheater always a cheater.

    2) “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever” is a credo for serial cheaters. If someone really loved you they would not have left in the first place.

    3) Platonic relationships between men and women is a myth. Never accept that a friend that isn’t your friend also is just a “friend”.

    4) Always trust your gut, if you don’t, your fears will manifest themselves in other ways.

    5) Some people are takers and will never give back no matter how much you love or care for them.

    6) When exposed, a cheater who sneaks around will try and make you believe that it wasn’t about sex; that they were behaving like Jr. High School kids that had a crush on each other. The reality is that they were acting like drunk college kids who were pretending to make a porno.

    7) It was about sex (shorter version of #6).

    8) Expose, expose, expose. Care about the other innocent person.

    9) Get the STD test no matter how many times they try and tell you that they didn’t have sex with the other person.

    10) Turning Locations off on a cell phone means they are trying to hide something from you.

    11) Adultery is never “just sin” and is indicative of bigger spiritual problems with a person.

  • Lessons imprinted into my genetic code from pain, then hard work:

    – listen to your gut, develop this skill, the ostrich approach never works

    – when your SO says they want out (whether or not you know of cheating), let them go right away. Take the pain, don’t do pick me or ANY OTHER attempts to reconcile. If they come back make them prove it 100% on them. Even with kids involved, especially if kids involved. If you stay in, in any way it’s guaranteed to get worse.

    – yes, watch their actions. Their words mean shit.

    – know and embrace your boundaries. You will attract a better partner and have a better relationship.

    – be comfortable with listening while detached, asking questions for clarification only. You’ll get all the intel you need if you can remain detached. Keep your thoughts to yourself. They can ONLY fuck you up or over if they know what’s on your mind. Be slick, silent and beat them at the game of emotion.

    – after this trail by fire you will become this amazing, evolved spirit warrior.

  • 1. God is real.
    2. The devil is real
    3. A mother-in-law can be a blessing.
    4. Generational curses are real.
    5. The only person I can control is me.
    6. I have an amazing capacity for forgiveness.
    7. Look at actions, not words.

  • 1. Your faith community is entirely capable of leaving you hanging.
    2. When you think your SO is acting odd, there is a reason.
    3. That person they are always meeting for book/Bible study CAN be an AP.
    4. Anger can be a very good thing.
    5. Strong boundaries are a must.
    6. A good mental health professional is worth every penny.
    7. Yes, they will try to screw you over – even if they are a “Christian.”
    8. My household runs much more smoothly without him.
    9. Home repairs are easier to arrange and complete without him.
    10. I have more cash available to me – even without his salary – than I ever did while married.
    11. There is more laughter in the house since he has gone.
    12. My dogs behave better since he left.
    13. I have totally awesome family, neighbors, and friends who help me out when I need it!
    14. I don’t need anyone’s approval to be the best version of me.
    15. It’s alright if I go home, change into pjs, and eat popcorn for dinner.
    16. I don’t have to cook if I don’t feel like it.
    17. Emotional affairs totally screw with YOUR head.
    18. I can give myself permission to take care of me first.

    • I wish very much that #1 were not true, but I know that it too often is. The unkindest cut of all, in some ways, when the bottom line, back to basics safe space turns out not to be. #12 quite true of my good old boy, too. Dogs always trust their guts. Wise creatures.

    • Oh, and–soooooooooo true that the day-to-day things are worlds easier without the cheats. Everything is just far calmer. Even honest to gosh drama, which family life inevitably generates a certain amount of, tends to be way easier. Experienced, dealt with, over.

    • Number 15 made me laugh.
      I am currently lying on my bed with a load of laundry I need to put away but a don’t give a toss.

  • 1. I never knew something could hurt so bad and they could care so little – especially after 32 years
    2. I really never knew him. That’s pretty scary after 32 years. I thought our life was great. Apparently, not.
    3. I never knew he could have the depth of insolent pride to attack his adult grown children.
    4. I never knew one man could tell so many lies, even when he didn’t have to lie – he told lies.
    5. I never knew my little dog was so smart – dog used to love cheater – stopped sitting on cheaters lap after whore was at a sleepover at our house.
    6. I never knew a website/blog/book would be the lifeline I needed to survive this shitty ordeal.

    Hugs all around CN.

  • 1. Believe they are disordered. Normal loving partners do not lie, cheat, and blame it on the spouse.
    2. Learn everything about narcissism, covert narcissists, and sociopaths.
    3. Facing the pain is the way out regardless of how broken you feel.
    4. No contact and setting boundaries allow you to focus on your needs.
    5. Find a support system. A friend, a meetup group of chumps, a therapist who understands trauma, and RUN
    6. If your spouse has isolated you from family and friends move before you file. Take money and file after you have relocated, set up a support system, and found a new job.
    7. Never ever forgive or forget. Monsters make shitty friends.
    8. If you have leverage make it known without stating it directly.
    9. Never compare yourself to the OW.
    10. Block them in every way. Speak through your lawyer.
    11. Face fears one at a time.
    12. Knock the fucker off the pedistal.
    13. Trust yourself.
    14. Questions? Ask a chump.
    15. Never say never.
    16. Reastically assess what you lost. A cheater.
    17. Seek out strength. There are many strong people who were successful in gaining a life. Follow their lead.
    18. Create that foundation. Aim to thrive.
    19. Know your worth.
    20. Never reconcile. It’s a trap.
    21. Fight for assets. Get what you need to servive.
    22. Trust they suck.
    23. Look inward and allow the anger and pain to propell you forward.
    24. Shit sandwiches are no longer your diet.
    25. Applaud the Karma bus however, it arrived long before you knew.
    26. Tuesday comes.
    27. Meh is your best bud.

  • Ah, Betrayed. Another survivor of the “gift that keeps on giving” full access to every Predator, Parasite and Two Legged Fukushima that crosses our path. Some families leave Trusts but ours destroyed any vestige of it long ago. We gotta make sure that Legacy stops with us; otherwise our kids and their’s etc. will continue it into perpetuity.
    I wasn’t chumped in my marriage but I was a young widow. I’d like to believe it wouldn’t have happened anyway but none of you thought it would either-and you all is smart! And good looking too. Decent people are naturally attractive from the inside out. Looks fade, sleeze is forever. Anyway, I’ve spent decades being a Chump Whisperer so here’s some observations:
    -All cheaters are alike; morally and ethically bankrupt.
    -You can not instill a conscience where one doesn’t exist: “Conscience impaired” is shrink speak for “Unfit for human consumption” (or any other living thing.)
    -“Fixer-Upper” people, like buildings are the carrot of hopeium that in reality is the stick of Arsons in Waiting: Combustion is just a matter of time.
    -Beware any adult stomping on your “Pity” button. Adults do not want pity. Ever. This is a tactic of manipulation guaranteed to result in a relationship casualty and you’re gonna be the one needing a med-evac.
    -There are times in everyone’s life when their Pecker Picker is temporarily broken or their Hoo-Haa is on temporary hiatus. A permanent state does not occur naturally *in* a marriage but can be induced by paying a lot more attention to what’s *outside* of it.
    -Forget what the books say: Yes, there are (albeit very few) behaviors within a marriage from which you don’t come back including infidelity or getting the law involved by either party for what ever reason.
    -If it’s broken by someone else, they pay-not YOU.
    -Asking “why” is asking for an additional ass kicking. Besides, does a lying liar lie?
    -Reality is like gravity and ultimately, gravity always prevails.
    -Boundaries are not semi-permeable membranes; they are concrete reinforced blast barriers. Nonetheless, flying monkeys gotta fly so be prepared and site in your weapons proactively.
    -While the occasional skirmish is normal, love is not “a battlefield.”
    -Righteous fury is a righteous response to infidelity. So damnit, if they aren’t righteous to you, step up and be righteous to your own self.
    -Gas can’t light unless you provide the match: Stop being so helpful.
    -The people who love you consistently show you; the one’s that don’t tell you-occasionally and only if they want something.
    -Never underestimate the power of hubris: It’s the Lasting Lesson of Humility for good people and the fodder of monumental toddler hissy fit melt-down for those who aren’t.
    -Yes you can: You don’t need “permission” or a note from the doctor or your mommy/daddy.
    -It *should* “hurt this bad:” The good news is while you don’t think you can stand it, you are even as you think you can’t. See? You’re “doing it.”
    -Being “a character” isn’t the same as having one.
    -“Lifetime” isn’t life, the Social Clock doesn’t tick anywhere but in your head-reinforced by social media vainglorious self-promotion. Neither are real or realistic.
    -Human lives are not linear. They meander this way and that, with unexpected outside forces creating something new-and often more beautiful than what was before. The Grand Canyon came about because of an unanticipated natural leaky faucet. Prior to this unexpected development, it was just plain old land. The torrent of tears from your own leaky faucet is creating a life and a you that you never could have imagined or wanted. In the darkest moments, please remember the end of your story hasn’t been written yet and a great ending always requires imagination, time, a shit ton of re-writes and editing. It’s a collaborative effort between the you that was, the you that is and the you that’s becoming.
    I promise, it’s gonna be worth every last bit of pain and effort. Or you can have your old fractured and broken life back. It may be familiar-but so are rats and cockroaches if ya live with them daily.

  • “There are times in everyone’s life when their Pecker Picker is temporarily broken or their Hoo-Haa is on temporary hiatus. A permanent state does not occur naturally *in* a marriage but can be induced by paying a lot more attention to what’s *outside* of it.”

    I’m not sure about who you are referring to in this “whisper”, TW. Could you clarify please.

    “-“Lifetime” isn’t life, the Social Clock doesn’t tick anywhere but in your head-reinforced by social media vainglorious self-promotion. Neither are real or realistic.” Stumped me on this one too. Are you talking about marriage vows?

    And asking “Why” was a necessary step in finding answers and often knowing the truth propels us forward. It’s typical for the newly Chumped to accept the Chester’s narrative, blaming the OW. Growth comes when we question that narrative.

    • Lifetime isn’t life like Lifetime the TV channel? TV and movies and social media is all crap and people think that other’s life is perfect? That’s what happened to my STBX. Sucked in by Facebook and shit like that. All these fakey happy happy pictures and people showing their perfect lives and freaking porn with its bullshit unrealistic sex and he even mentioned that marriage wasn’t like a romance novel because it involved shit he didn’t expect to have to deal with. Well yeah stupid. Is living with the whoremat and her abandoned child from another guy and all her bugs like a romance novel? No? Hmmm. Maybe because all that stuff is FANTASY?! I bet the life he left is a lot more like a romance novel than the life he’s living now. Idiot.

      • Apart from this site and you tube the interwebs makes me sick and is part of the reason people’s morals are becoming corrupted. Nothing is scacred anymore. I mean nude dating shows as entertainment on tv, umm I’m am no prude and love sex and see it as intimate bonding and something spiritual.
        Society and liberalism has gone too far and I think it’s warping people’s minds, sorry if I sound like some grandma.
        FB had it for two months and thought nah this is crap.
        Give me real life anyday, porn, puke never seen it in my life and think it’s just creepy to watch others have sex.
        Any how Skype type shit just triggers me now, going to become a luditte.
        I’m just an old fashion gal at 42 maybe one day will meet likeminded old fashioned man but for now I have asshat trying to screw me out of child support, this is the 4th payment collected by agency and it was $112 short this fortnight, will find out what’s going on soon and asshat is also trying to screw me out of the pittance of overpayments that sits in the mortgage account.
        I’m going hardball with this fucker, his patheticness is appalling considering my work is on the line but as usual it’s all about him. Expect nothing and I am not disappointed. 12 days grey rock getting stronger and the fierce mumma bear is coming out, don’t fuck with me, my kids or my house.
        Run along now and Skype out how hard done by you are to your nympho whore,
        Just had a thought about things I learnt from being chomped.
        My parents were right he was and is a dickhead, listen to the words of the older and wiser.

  • 1. I re-learned who I truly am, and I love me
    2. I learned that a divorce does not forever “break” a Family. We are “whole” without him.
    3. I learned that I can move around giant furniture all by myself with the right tools and ingenuity
    4. I learned my little daughter had been trying to tell me he was bad for me her whole little life, and I should have listened to her
    5. I learned how much dogs grieve the inexplicable loss of a family member. And that they can recover just as well as we can with care and love
    6. I learned that living a good life truly is the best revenge.

  • 1. The worst thing that ever happened to me turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.
    2. I am stronger than I think I am.
    3. Some people think divorce is contagious.
    4. Cheating is everywhere and it makes me physically ill to hear about it….I won’t even watch movies about it.
    5. My kids didn’t break like I thought they would.
    6. Living without another adult in the home is hard, but mostly it’s amazing.
    7. Sleeping alone in bed has become something I don’t want to give up.
    8. I’m secretly happy I don’t have to share my kids.
    7. Everything always works out in the end.
    8. Daring is harder than I thought it would be.
    9. I’m not what he said I was.

  • 1. My standards are enough. Yes, they really are. They can be mine, AND enough. How ’bout that?

    2. Jesus is my homeboy. Also most reliable friend and confidant. Plus a lot of other things.

    3. Love that gut! Listen to it, and trust it.

    4. I have had more lucky escapes than the entire cast of The Colditz Story.

    5. Emotional affairs count. Ohhhhh yes they do, buddy.

  • 1. Once trust is shattered, it can’t be replaced, at least not with continued denials, lack of confession, lack of repentance and lack of any type of plausible excuse regarding infidelity evidence.

    2. Once evidence of infidelity has presented itself regarding a specific affair partner, it is impossible to think of the cheater without simultaneously thinking of the affair partner.

    3. Being cheated on means realizing the one you loved did not love you back nor have your best interests at heart. It means that it is time to consider your own needs, take care of yourself, trust your instincts and stop putting someone else first who puts you last.

  • 1 – Standard relationship advice doesn’t apply to a relationship with a cheater.
    2 – Attempting to do #1 will cost you far more than you would’ve agreed to pay if you’d known the cost in advance.
    3 – Cheaters are capable of an unimaginable level of cruelty. They’ll stand there looking smug as you slice yourself open on the shards of yourself they’ve shattered you into. After you manage putting some semblance of yourself back together, they’ll say you look like shit, kick you over, smile as you shatter again, and walk away laughing.
    4 – #3 is obviously metaphorical, but it’s not an exaggeration.
    5 – Trust that a cheater will hurt you in ways other than cheating.
    6 – The only way to “work through” issues with a cheater is to work your way out the door. Quickly.
    7 – Trust that people who say, “You should work it out,” do not understand the reality of a relationship with a cheater.
    8 – “Everyone makes mistakes” and “It takes two people to make a relationship fail” and all similar statements can be substituted for “You should work it out” in #7.
    9 – You could give your life itself to a cheater and they’d “appreciate” it so much they’d hook up with your best friend at your funeral–if they waited that long. Funerals do take a few days to arrange, after all.
    10 – The pain of being viewed as worthless by someone who was supposed to love and value you so much is indescribable.
    11 – Cheating shouldn’t be viewed as a “victimless crime,” but by far, far too many people, it is.
    12 – “Think of the children” is conveniently, contradictorily ignored when it comes to the damage cheaters do to their children.
    13 – Despite all of the above, and every shitty “gift” bestowed by the cheater, I’ll survive, and so will my child.
    14 – #13 is true because my child and I are strong and determined, not because the damage done by cheating is easily overcome.
    15 – What the cheater thinks of me and the truth of who I am are worlds apart.
    16 – At least some part of the fear of being alone was amplified and/or instilled by the cheater’s devaluation of me.
    17 – Fear of the future after saying, “I’m done,” was a lot worse than the reality of being done.
    18 – Our instincts speak up for a reason. Listen.
    19 – Despite knowing very well (prior to meeting the cheater) that the world could be a dark place, I was still naive.
    20 – I have to forgive myself for being naive.
    21 – “Relationships take work” shouldn’t mean being left feeling like a wrung-out rag.
    22 – I will never accept “Just being honest” or “Just joking” as an excuse for being unfairly criticized ever again.
    23 – I will never attribute violent outbursts, stonewalling, emotional blackmail, etc., to “Just having a bad day” or anything similar ever again.
    24 – I won’t let this hellish experience convince me that my good qualities are bad qualities, but I will remain aware of the fact that compassion, empathy, loyalty and so on become weapons to be used against me when dealing with the disordered.
    25 – If I’m ever in a romantic relationship again, that person will have to be honest, decent, affectionate in and outside of the bedroom, and have a positive overall outlook on life. I’d rather stay single forever than be with a liar, someone lacking in common decency, who’s as cold as Antarctica unless they’re looking for sex, and who’s determined to be miserable and see the bad in everything.
    ***This isn’t even close to a comprehensive list, but I have to reach a stopping point somewhere.

  • 1. I needed to fix my picker.
    2. My life got better when I learned how to live alone and really enjoy it.
    3. I’m capable of handling money and the house on my own–which is so gratifying.
    4. When someone tells you he’s a jackass, believe him.
    5. It’s important for me to know my deal breakers with all people and to stick to them.
    6. There are difference between kind and nice, between kind and putting on an act.
    7. Trust my instincts. (looking back, I had said the following things BEFORE D-Day: “I don’t think you love me an more.” “If you don’t want to be here, get out.” “You have time for other people but not for me.” And I knew the first time he talked about the MOW it was trouble.
    8. And act on those instincts. If someone suddenly has no time for me, the door is right over there, and he shouldn’t let it hit him on the way out.
    9. No contact is the way to the truth and the light. And if you’ve been discarded, this is the ONE advantage.
    10. It’s awesome to have a home that reflects my taste, my history, my needs.

  • I am an eternal optimist. I believe in the best of people. No matter what.
    Its easy to deceive someone who isn’t paying attention.
    I easily excuse bad behavior.
    My picker is broken – I don’t have a good grasp on what kind of relationship would make me happy.
    I want very much to move on from the shipwreck of my failed relationship

    • I learned this too–I see now my picker has always been broken and I do not see any hope of fixing it.
      I wait and wait for explanations which never come.
      I bend too many boundaries. I couldn’t even enforce them with my therapist.
      I would like to feel less angry.

  • The only thing in the list I would have enjoyed some snark on is this:

    “12. You Can Probably Never Trust a Cheater”

    She blabbers on about how she couldn’t trust him if they ended up together.

    But who does she think SHE is? Perfect example of a NARC cheater. Concerned about HERSELF possibly being cheated on, but absolutely no self-reflection on how she herself cannot be trusted either since, after all, she’s a cheater too!

    I also threw up a little in my mouth reading her self-description:

    “Parker Barrett is a late-blooming NYC native who survived 12 years of Catholic school, the 1977 and 2003 blackouts, and mockery of her shoes at a driving school in Lubbock, TX.”

    ******

    Hehe! So witty! Parker must think she’s the reincarnation of Dorothy Parker!

    As a native NY’er myself, I have to say this douchebag is ATYPICAL of NY’ers!

    For one thing, we do not have to go all the way to Austin, TX in order to learn how to drive. I got my license right here!

    Unless her mention of having her shoes mocked at a driving school is a snotty putdown of fashion sense in Austin, TX, another thing is NY’ers do not wear shoes that anyone would dare mock! If we learn anything here, it IS shoes!

  • I can’t think of very many, but here are a couple:
    1. Lots of women will absolutely do that to another woman.

    2. The little insignificant lies that supposedly don’t hurt anyone are actually a huge red flag. Because if a man will lie about whether or not he had lunch, he will lie about anything, really.

    3. I was not the problem in bed. (In 13 years with my ex, my first real sex partner, I enjoyed sex probably 3-4 times total. With my next partner, who was a considerate lover, I enjoyed it EVERY time.)

    4. Being single is amazing. Seriously, I find myself feeling pity for people who are in relationships who are just going through normal couple stuff. I don’t miss the obligations and the manipulations and the disappointments of relationships at all. I never got back anywhere near what I invested.

  • I’ve learned that Americans are really witty!We tend to view them here as unable to get irony, and generally a bit dim (sorry…). Completely wrong, at least for the US Chumps!

  • Hmm. I am in the UK and my ex came from a snooty family trying to claw their way into the upper classes.
    Not only were they TERRIBLE snobs, many were not a bit dim, very very dim.

    Only things they were interested in were
    a/ horses
    b/ shooting
    c/ being judgemental
    d/ money
    e/ nearly all are duplicitous in every area of life, also have affairs and think of it as a badge of honour. My mother in,law said of her daughter ” dust yourself off and wait it out” as her SIL was shagging the local shop owner.
    Insular beyond belief, and a terrible sense of humour. No ability to laugh at themselves – at all.
    My lessons from divorce?
    1/ Don’t marry anybody who comes from that world ever ,and do a LOT of research on your future spouse’s family before you marry them. They may be pretending to be different to suit you ( temporary)
    2/In the same vein, don’t project your values onto someone else. Realise and absorb who they really are. Unfortunately its true, love is blind.

  • 1. Trust your gut over your head and especially your heart. And don’t be afraid to verify.
    2. Do not ignore red flags or be accepting of excuses that don’t make sense. Again, trust your gut.
    3. A person’s past is indicative of their future.
    4. Get a dog. Now.
    5. I am capable of devising some seriously heinous revenge plots. However, I am never capable of acting on them.
    6. Real, true friends will show up.
    7. Cheaters are profoundly damaged and usually have a tormented inner landscape.
    8. I’ve grown to love the song by AC/DC “dirty deeds” ;).

  • 1. I learned that I can control my daily impulses to of wanting to kick the cheating piece of shit in the face,
    2. Compassion and empathy are not part of a cheaters personality.
    3. There is always more to their story (more lies), you just have to read between the bullshit.
    4. Do what is best for you! This is your life and you deserve more than a cheating scum.
    5. Feel your emotions and live in the present. The past is gone.
    6. You do not have to listen to everyone’s advice. Listen to yourself.
    7. Go and experience life and do the things you have always wanted to do but didn’t because you were being the “good wife” or “good husband”.
    8. DO NOT waste energy on the “Other Person” or the cheater, they are not worth your time or energy. They will reap what they sow.
    9. Get Therapy!
    10. You got this! Fight your way out of this storm and and fog!

    • If you don’t mind, I’m going to copy your list and keep it near me to read daily. It is the affirmation I need to get that horrible person out of my mind and my heart. Stupid trauma bonding.

  • Sneaking in here late to say I really LOVE this topic and the posted responses; fantastic lists of lessons that include items of things I still need to learn and WANT to learn.

    I did learn, very early on, that when someone promises they will change after they marry you, don’t believe it. The change would have to happen way before then. It’s just a lie and I won’t fall for that “I promise I’ll change if you’ll just do this-or-that” line again. Nope, not buying it.

    Nowadays, I won’t have anything to do with anyone who shows the first sign of abuse or disrespect. I don’t bother waiting for “change,” I’m gone.

    As always, I’m grateful to CL and CN. The truth matters.

  • 1. We will never understand why they did what they did. We can hash out plausible theories but we are not in their heads nor are we their therapists or fixers. It is not our jobs to make whole or right again. After a certain point, stop wasting mental energy trying to figure that one out (easier said than done but you will get there eventually).
    2. Leave the rotten apples on the ground and move on to the next tree. The cheater is rotten to the core and nothing anyone can do can make the fruit ripe and healthy again.
    3. Be gentle to yourself. You will have good days and bad days. It will be a roller coaster. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a moment and fall to pieces – it will get easier and you will get stronger. Acknowledge your feelings, accept them, and know bad feelings will soon pass.
    4. Dating post divorce and infidelity is driving drunk on the highway of love. You might not attract the best types of partners when you haven’t sorted your feelings out.
    5. Get a therapist, join a support group, talk to a close (and patient) friend. Sort yourself out and get a handle on what is going on upstairs.
    6. You are going to have baggage (unless you have the inner zen of a monk). Accept and acknowledge it. Running away from baggage won’t help you in new relationships – face it head on and deal with it before it surfaces in a negative way.
    7. You might not be able to watch movies like ‘the English patient’ or ‘bridges of Madison county’ the same way again. Celeb cheaters will be on your sh!t list – and that is ok.
    8. Once you know the truth, there is no turning back. And after a healthy dose of lies and deceit, you will start to question if the truth is really the truth at all or another elaborate web of lies. At some point, you might need to acknowledge that you will never know the whole truth of what happened.
    9. No matter the crap you read or listen to – the cheating was not your fault. Cheating was a choice by the other party, and they could have made another choice. It is a reflection on them and their character flaws – not on you.
    10. Not everyone feels the same way about cheating and lying in relationships , and this extends to your friends and family. It may surprise you. These people may not know what it is like to be cheated on and simply cannot relate. They may be French. They may not want to judge the cheater and remain neutral. Accept that they will not be able to meet you on your level – they won’t be able to relate. Don’t take it personally – they may be lucky enough to never know the pain of infidelity in a committed relationship. Look for comfort and support elsewhere.

  • Loved your piece till I got to ‘Bridges of Madison fucking County’ asshole read that last year and loved the film said I reminded him of Meryl Streep, what horse shit, this from someone who hadn’t read a book in 10 years!
    Prob a recommendation from the whore
    Anyways during his brief stibt back he asked about it abd i told him I burnt it because its about infedelity, silly me at that point thinking his was only EA.

  • 1. Thing I learned about me: I’m f-ing AWESOME! I’m the mother of my son. For him, I won a VERY consuming custody battle. As a side kick, I left the cheater in debt.
    2. I learned to read people. I spot and pay attention to red flags.
    3. I learned to protect myself.
    4. There are other people like me and somehow, we find each other. See No. 2
    5. [Hate, Envy] = fear

  • 1. I learned that if I don’t do what is right for me or what is best for myself, no one else will.
    2. Listen to your gut. Act on your gut. Trust your gut.
    3. Make sure that people’s actions match up with the lines they feed you.
    4. Selfishness is a learned behavior, but so is generosity. People are usually one or the other.
    5. Safety and familiarity feel unbelievably similar. Know the difference. One will keep you stuck and the other will wake you up to the fact that you need to RUN!
    6. When bad things happen, the good people are easier to see.
    7. Define the gray areas. They can help you see the blacks and whites much better.

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