My husband effectively abandoned me for another woman when I was pregnant with our second. Our 7-year-old was disabled (22q deletion syndrome) and I was trying to finish a master’s degree. I hadn’t worked full-time since the year our daughter was born. I found myself putting my degree on hold and returning to full-time work (a $12/hr temp job with no benefits) at 7 months pregnant. I worked until 2 days past my due date, and I cried all the time. When I had my baby, the hospital staff wrote all over my records, “husband is unsupportive.”
Fast forward to a year later. Different woman whom my husband claimed he had broken up with and gone no-contact with. We’re separated but (for whatever reason) I’m trying to save the marriage. Labor Day, I checked his phone. He was at the OW’s place “ravaging”  her the night before. They never went no-contact or stopped seeing each other. I was a sobbing, heaving, lactating mess crumpled on my bedroom floor. My husband left, put on a suit, and took the OW out to a glamorous formal night on the town, then posted pictures all over Facebook the next day. That’s how not-sorry he was. It felt like my pain was unending.
I found Chump Lady’s Web site a few days later (from Googling “how to get revenge on a cheater,” which seems funny now). I downloaded the first version of her book and read it in less than a day. Slowly, and with a lot of mistakes along the way, I began to implement her method. I wrote in to her and got some much-needed advice at one point. My divorce was final about two months after D-Day.
It’s been 2.5 years. Since D-Day I have:
- Written and finished my master’s thesis
- Gotten the septorhinoplasty that I’d been wanting since junior high so I no longer look like the love child of Barbara Streisand and Adrien Brody
- Finished my master’s degree
- Attended an all-expenses-paid theology seminar in California
- Started and finished a professional certificate at the local community college
- Published political op-eds in a well-known newspaper
- Been promoted at work
- Paid off my nose (now they can’t repossess it!)
- Submitted a scholarly article for publication
- Begun teaching Sunday school at my church, another thing that I’ve wanted to do since my teens, but never have.
I’ve been dating a soft-spoken, emotionally sensitive man for about a year now, someone who goes to church with me, supports my life goals, has a solid career, and treats me well. He’s moving from Minneapolis to Chicago to be with me next month.
I also found out in October of last year that I don’t have one disabled child; I have two. The son I was pregnant with when my husband abandoned us was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. I haven’t let it stop me.
My ex-husband’s mistress dumped him before the divorce was even final (and wrote a hilariously narcissistic blog post about it). She married a youth pastor and moved to North Carolina in October of last year; I can’t imagine a life of ministry and service to others is going to go well for her. I was tempted to report her to their senior pastor, but decided I would rather not have her bullshit drama back in my life.
It’s amazing how little I think of my ex-husband. Even though we have two children together, I barely talk to him. He does his visitation (sometimes late), pays his child support (sometimes late), and leaves me alone. I never see “rage” or “charm” anymore, just occasional self-pity. He actually does a decent job of helping out with the kids, taking our son from preschool to ABA autism therapy most weekdays. We’re cordial when we meet face to face. I no longer feel anything when he mentions he’s dating someone else. I’m not angry, I’m not jealous, and I’m not “so happy for them.” I. Just. Don’t. Care. Like in that Gotye song, he’s just “Somebody that I used to know.” He still works a crappy job and has constant trouble with money, has even been arrested for dumb stuff like “driving without insurance,” but so long as he pays his child support relatively on-time, I file it all under: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”
So, you want to feel better after being chumped? You need these three things:
(1) To be free of your cheater: divorced and as no-contact as possible.
(2) To fill your life with other things to love, and I don’t necessarily mean a new romance. Read. Write. Travel. Build your career. Volunteer somewhere. Go to church. Go to comic cons. Join a book of the month club. Join (or leave!) a political party. Find something to be passionate about, and start working on it.
If you have only one or two of those things but not the other, you’re still going to hurt. But if I can get over it, you can get over it.
I said earlier that I found Chump Lady by Googling “how to get revenge on a cheater.” Here is my revenge: I’ve moved on, I’m happy with my life, and I don’t care anymore whether he’s happy with his.
 “Ravaging” was my husband’s choice of word, not mine. He’s Mormon and doesn’t say “fucking” because that would be wrong.