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Emotional Vomiting and the Kindness of Strangers

Grief can make you very sloppy. The other day I was reading this great essay “Falling” by Betty Jo Buro about coming undone around strangers. The story is a one-two sucker punch of grief — the death of Buro’s mother and and an impending divorce. (Take a moment. Read the essay. Regain your composure. Please continue.)

I love this passage:

In the elevator, there’re just two older women and me. After a couple of minutes, they tell me, in the kindest way possible, that I need to push the button to make the elevator descend. I apologize and say, “That woman reminded me of my mother,” and then I start to cry on the elevator in the mall with the strangers, holding the bag with my ridiculous jeans.

It made me recall my own sloppy encounters with grief. I remember many months after a friend’s suicide breaking down at a Home Depot in front of the demolition saw display. (He had been a carpenter.) Do you know how mortifying is it to be reduced to muffled sobs by a Milwaukee Sawzall? Very.

Grief is like carrying an invisible bucket of toxic slop on your head. You balance the bucket so carefully, constantly aware of its presence, fearing it might spill. But despite your best efforts, sometimes you trip, and slop pours out all over everything, and you have an embarrassing mess to clean up.

A couple observations on sloppy grief — 1.) Sometimes people will help you clean up. 2.) When you trip and spill, the burden isn’t quite so heavy any longer.

One of the most startling things after heartbreak is the kindness of strangers. Especially after infidelity, because there is no way to take that rejection other than deeply-to-the-mitrochrondria-of-your-soul personally. How can the person who knows me best discard me so completely? How awful am I that this happened? So it’s a real shocker when someone who doesn’t know you at all treats you with kindness.

WTF Universe?! There are GOOD PEOPLE? Hmmm. I may need to rethink my present miserable condition.

The stranger on the elevator who says, “It’s hard” and “I know what it’s like to miss your mother” and doesn’t look away from your vulnerability and grief, has just validated you. Okay, they may be trapped on an elevator with you, but in that moment, they’re able to be present with you, because they’ve suffered loss too. They get it.

I think it’s our job as humans to get it. As I’ve written about being chumped before, the experience changes you if you let it. The pain will crack open your heart, but with that pain comes the ability to walk into other people’s cracked open hearts. After this grief, you will see things in Technicolor. You’ll be grateful for the kindness of strangers, and when you recover, you will be that stranger who comforts, who won’t look away on the elevator, but will say “Hey, I get it” as you both fumble awkwardly for tissues.

I know it’s mortifying to spill your bucket of toxic slop. I have spilled that bucket in a Home Depot. I have overshared. I have emotionally vomited on total acquaintances. (“How was your summer?” Me: “I left my husband. How about you?”)

And I while I do not recommend the experience, (we’re all about dignity here at Chump Nation), I know that the messy grieving stage is finite. And I forgive myself for it. Because the fact is, when that bucket falls — it empties.

An empty bucket is a lot lighter to carry, especially with a friend (or a stranger) to help you carry it.

Have you been comforted by a stranger? Tell me about it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’ve been comforted by many strangers, both here and the wonderful people on IHG

    Faceless, nameless strangers but wonderful humans who despite their own pain and grief extend and support to others.


    • Have even met some of these chump, and they are also fantastic in the flesh….Strangers no more.

      • WTF, My fingers are dancing to their own beat this evening. Expect more spelling and grammatical errors….

  • Comforted by the kind people’s comments here on the forums and comment sections. At times it has reduced me to tears that they have taken the time to acknowledge my pain. I wonder who you all are and it makes me well up that you are real people in this planet that I live and feel so alone on. Xx

    • The loneliness will pass as well. It is a great world out there once you see it in the Technicolor CL speaks of. We all understand and will always give you support on your way to being you again. Alone or not, you will always be less lonely without the cheater.

      • Precious Marked711,

        Beautifully stated!

        “Alone or not, you will always be less lonely without the cheater”

        So sad how true this is! I have heard it called “Married alone” and it truly is the deepest kind of loneliness. Before any of us experienced this, we would have never believed that actually being alone would be far less lonely than being with a cheater-freak / wingnut.

        I continue to marvel at all the wisdom (& snark!) shared here by all the fabulously kind folks of this Nation!

        Love to all of you as we continue to ForgeOn!!

        • “Alone or not, you will always be less lonely without the cheater”

          So true. I never felt so alone during the last year of our relationship. It’s a different type of loneliness when you are in it. It is a shattered self esteem, begging for love loneliness. The loneliness now is a defeating feeling, but liberating nevertheless.

          • Or nonetheless. Not sure if the right English for that one haha!

        • ForgeOn~ So very true! The loneliest days of my life were during my marriage! I am alone…..but since I got rid of the liar/cheater……I really do feel “less lonely.” Thanks for pointing that out so eloquently.

      • My divorce seems to be going on forever
        My ex is trying to fight for custody
        My kids are old enough and speaking to GAL and hate visiting him and his slut who lives with him
        Kids age 12 and 16
        He is always angry and yelling at these kids

        See I am spilling my guts here and feel all of you understand my pain
        Thanks Strangers with kind heart !

    • Yellowsunshine,
      Your post made me cry, good, caring tears though. It is so true, CN has an army of caring hearts. I read a chumps name and I remember parts of their stories. They are real and alive in my heart. They make me cry, they make me laugh, they give me hope.
      All each one of us can do is make the most of each day we are granted in this big ol world.
      I think those of us who came upon CL, CN are very blessed!
      Yellowsunshine, I am sorry for your heartache. I hope today is a good day for you and I often wonder, when I see your name, how is your puppy?

      • Hello peacekeeper, aren’t we an emotional lot- I just cried because you remembered I had a puppy! How true is CL’s post today!!

        He’s doing really well and a great help for me 🙂 he’s a very placid dog (a whippet) and goofy at the same time. He brings me so much joy when his silliness makes me laugh in my darkest moments. Little angel xx

        • Off Topic: I rescue retired, racing, Greyhounds 🙂 and my big, goofy, boy really helped me smile during my grieving process. I find the breed very sensitive :-), well when they aren’t sleeping. 🙂

    • Yellow, Mark is right. It will take time but you will get through the loneliness. I’m 2 years past Dday and only in the last couple of months have I finally started to enjoy life again. Honestly, I was super lonely in the relationship. I was just so occupied with trying to make it work I didn’t recognize how lonely I was. It takes time but you will get past it. I know it doesn’t feel that way, just go one day at a time!

      • Lost, im sorry that you have had to go through the same of the rest of us. But I’m so glad to hear you are finally starting to feel like yourself again. Keep fighting!! We will all make it through this, people like yourself prove it xx

  • I have been comforted by strangers. All but a few of those strangers have been here on Chump Nation. As much as I will never forget and have been changed by betrayal, I will never forget and have been changed by the kindness I have been shown here.
    Furthermore, the pain of the betrayal is fading but the kindness shown to me here will resonate for me and for my boys for the rest of my days.

    • Also, as I go forward I am learning to accept kindness from myself to myself. I was estranged in many ways from myself and the process of getting to know myself again and treating myself with kindness, respect and understanding is a real pleasure and a thrill.

    • Capricorn, you are a strong lady! I always look up to you.
      There is so much knowledge in your posts. You enlighten and touch the lives of many!
      Your sons could not possibly have a better, more sane parent, ever!
      I am glad that you respect and honour yourself also.
      In the eyes of many, YOU, Capricorn, are mighty!

      • Peacekeeper,
        Thank you! It’s nice to be able to pay this stuff forward. Just today I went to my local grocery store where they also have a place you can have your car valeted. Ive been working on my garden and going back and forth to the dump with my garden waste, so much so that my car looks like it has been carpeted with grass inside. I left my car there and the guys asked how long I had had the dent in my rear bumper (it’s been at least a year, an old lady drove the wrong way in this same car park and dented my bumper). They said I could fix it with hot water as it is plastic. When I came out with my shopping the car was clean inside and out and then they grabbed their kettle from the office and proceeded to fix the bumper. I thanked them a lot but they just shrugged it off and got back to work.
        Every little helps doesn’t it! ❤️

    • Your whole statement is so true. I only made it through the worst days because I had CN to come to vent and read solid advice from CL. I have also learned about taking care of myself from here. So, I stick around in an effort to help others through their dark days and try to encourage them. It’s the least I can do.

  • Not long after The final DDay after I had kicked him out I had to replace the garage door key pads by myself. The directions weren’t working so I called the helpline. The girl on the phone kept trying to figure out the problem and it just wouldn’t work. I proceeded to start sobbing and telling her my life woes of my cheating husband and this was the first thing I had to do on my own and this girl, who I never met, proceeded to listen to me, talk to me and calm me down. When we finally got it working I literally cheered in joy and she told me “you got this, you are going to be fine”. She kept me going that day and gave me a boost I needed. When strangers are kinder to you than the person you took vows with you know getting out is the right choice.

    • I love this story. I think it’s going to be a weepy Thursday here at CN.

      • I agree, weepy Thursday. Something about “you got this” comment and strangers being kinder than our husband, turned on the tears. We do “got” this! Thank you.

    • Exactly, I was awestruck by the kindness of strangers and how they were kinder to me and my children than their father. Incredible. It represented a shining light of hope for me.

    • I never would have imagined crying in front of strangers, a friend of mine invited me to her sisters engagement party, I knew a few people that were going to be there, and thought it would be a nice opportunity for me to get out and socialize. I walked into the party and without warning, broke down in tears, not just tears but sobbing and couldn’t stop myself.
      My girlfriends mom came up and hugged me and some other people came up to rub my back and see if I was alright. Omg, I was so embarrassed, I’ve never been a crier, especially in public and here I was sobbing and couldn’t stop.
      It is sad when strangers offer more empathy than the person we married.
      I could never imagine feeling good about myself and actually enjoying hurting someone especially someone who trusted me.

    • Same here, so much kindness from strangers after so much meanness from the one I have been kindest to. Time to direct it to the right people!

    • The man at my car repair place, customer service guy at the car insurance company, woman collection agent at the dermatologist office, and pedicurist at the spa all heard my story and were so supportive. The first three commiserated and told me it would get better. Two even shared personal stories. I was so thankful.

      The girl at the spa was outraged. She said he was crazy to leave me as she painted my toes a beautiful color. Being the same age as the AP (29), she said my x (60) was a pervert. Loved that!!

      I spent quite sometime keeping his dirty little secret of infidelity. I couldn’t tell family, church, school, or neighborhood so I felt like a complete fraud. I told EVERYONE I could after kicking him out for good. It was such a release to be honest and transparent and have others tell me he was a fool. I felt my self-respect returning. Absolutely instrumental to my healing. Now, I don’t feel the need to share with everyone all the time. My grief is manageable.

    • Tears hearing this story. It shows the fight you had to get that accomplished right in the the thick of it!

  • I can’t think of an example offhand. I do know that if you are ever in a relationship of any kind with a person who “delights” in the misery of others, Run. There is nothing there for you.

  • This made me weep. My memory is so damaged from abuse I can’t tell you the details but I do remember a number of strangers who patiently listened to my sordid tale when I was vomiting it to anyone who would listen. Hairdressers, repair people ministers etc etc. They validated me and while I was mortified for doing it I couldn’t seem to help myself. All kind and patient. One in particular became a friend through our shared horrors. It was part of my journey and I don’t regret it. They won’t see this but I thank every one of them for helping just a bit. I will pay it forward any time the opportunity arises. ????

  • When strangers are kinder to you than the person you took vows with you know getting out is the right choice.

    Wow Beachgirl – that is incredibly true and I hate to think of the years I wasted accepting his shit treatment (smh).

  • Yes CL, After being cruelty abandoned for the OW ( 34 years married & cancer survivor) I was on line waiting to pay for ridiculous blouses .. style I’d never wear.
    The Christmas song playing in the store brought tears & I couldn’t hold back. A elderly woman behind me asked me “Are you ok dear?)

    I blurted tearfully my sad story., she put her hand on my shoulder & said “I’ve been there, it’s ok . Let her have him . He doesn’t deserve you”. I apologized trying to compose myself & thanking her for her compassion.

    It wasn’t a good day but having a stranger say that to me gave me hope knowing there are good people out there.

  • The young, perky Teachers at my daughter’s school were utterly merciless. But I spoke briefly with a school counselor about scheduling time for my daughter to talk to him. My bucket slopped a little during our conversation and the counselor told me he went through the same thing himself a year before. At the first parent/teacher conference post-separation the counselor greeted the ex and I in the school hall. He gave me a look of deep sympathy, then while shakimg the exes hand looked him straight in the eye and gave him a look of deep disgust. That small act helped. A lot.

    • That is awesome of him to do! I’m sure it was hard for him to shake hands but at least he gave him the “look”.

  • I thought being blindsided by an affair-driven divorce was bad (oh and it WAS). And then my mom died. My heart, which had done a semi- decent job of healing, shattered anew. Made worse by our estrangement, somehow.

    I think sometimes the most dignified thing you can do is wear your grief like a huge corsage with zero fucks given as to how people will react. Going through a nightmare divorce kind of prepped me for untangling the sticky web of remorse, regret and deep, raw grief that clung to me after mom died. It taught me that yes, this sucks and it hurts but you will eventually get to the other side of it.

    And just like the divorce, my mom’s death has changed me for the better. Her final gift to me was teaching me how to pluck the good from the bad. Finding the one edible bite of a big ol shit sammich.

    Cripes I haven’t even read the essay and I’m already bawling. Thanks Chump Lady ?❤️

      • I know, right…not even trying to better that one.

        It sounds like Hausfrau had a complicated relationship with her mom or something else was going on and I find myself reaching towards it cause my mom stuff is so messy

        When I hear of folks grieving nice loving moms, I gently step away hoping they dont notice the distance because I dont live in that world and cant offer that sort of help. Mom has BPD and alcoholism and destroyed any love I ever had for her over the years. I have generic goodwill for her, but she emotionally beat my love to death a long time ago.

        She was rather horrid to me right up until she became demented and now seems to be fond of me which is something I flatly dont know what to do with. I better stop …my sloppy bucket is spilling.

        • I’m right with you, unicornomore. My mother died 3 months ago after a descent into dementia which for the most part made her an amplified version of who she had always been (angry, self-pitying, manipulative), but which also (sometimes) let her display what seemed like genuine affection for me. I was thinking of her a couple of days ago — there’s a thing going around on Facebook where people interview their children, with the first questions being “What’s something your mom always says to you?” and “What makes your mom happy?” My immediate responses about my mother when I was a child (not that I would have dared to voice them) would have been “What’s WRONG with you?” and “Nothing.” It’s hard.

        • Ah yes, the BPD mother. I’m 46 and just now figuring out that this is my mother. I look back and see all the emotional abuse she bestowed upon me as I became more and more independent starting in my teen years. And to this day, she demands control of my life. But, honestly, after being betrayed by the man I married, something inside me changed. I no longer have the energy to deal with her. I am tired. But I must maintain boundaries. That means cutting her off from most of my life decisions and not being concerned with what she thinks. ugh.

          • I was the only child around for my BPD mother as my siblings lived the other side of the world. She trashed my wedding day. Before my first child was born she threatened to report me to the social services for child abuse. She was a demanding fucking nightmare who I constantly tried to please, and when she died I discovered that she had thrown away every single family photograph that included me and she left everything in her will to one of my siblings. I would say to anyone with a BPD mother, it’s not possible to fix them and you can never do enough for them so just do what my siblings did and politely keep your distance (ideally move to the other side of the world). If you do that you’ll save your sanity and you might even get a decent inheritance.

            • That is horrible Leli.

              My mother recently raged against me because the man I am seeing invited me and my son to go fishing. She felt very strongly that i should have invited her as well. She wanted me to agree with her and accept the FACT that I am a very insensitive and thoughtless daughter…and, wait for it, I only ever think about my son! It was not my boat or my fishing trip…and I didn’t want to invite her anyway.

              I have a growing list of times she has stepped in and attempted to take over HUGE events of my life. She demanded I take medication during child labor, she has called my therapist and told them to put me on medication, she has called my real estate agent and demanded answers about the sell of my house when i wouldn’t share that information with her. She did the same thing when i bought my current house. I am 46 freaking years old. And it was not the first time I have bought a house.

              • I recently had a chance to return to Minnesota to where I lived as a child and I was sad to realize that my landmarks all over town were the liquor stores. I had 2 outings with my dad while I lived there…one to a liquor store and one to the house of a woman he had a huge crush on. ew.

                So my expectation is that she will die and I simply wont care. I cared so much for so long, but that is done.

                She now likes to speak freely of all of her virtues none of which she had.. she is lazy and manipulative and self absorbed. She once got on a wild kick that I didnt love my middle kid and treated me like I was an abuser. She hates my oldest because she doesnt like his name. She expects me to give her some of H1’s death money even though I have never given them a single hint of how much I have (although I think the 5 trips to Europe may have tipped her off) which likely drives her nuts.

    • The timing of this post is eerie. My mother died YESTERDAY after an epic battle with cancer. Four days before Mother’s Day. I don’t even have a grave to visit. She’s in a refrigerator at the funeral home.

      And my dad, whom she has been divorced from for over 50 years, called within a minute of her death.

      The STBX was gracious enough (and continually reminds me of it) to press the pause button on our fight over spousal support. He sent an incredible bouquet of flowers to reinforce that he’s a good guy. The last flowers I got from him were the sorriest flowers from the grocery store in a feeble attempt at Valentines Day a month before DDay.

      I’m rambling and off topic — kindness of strangers and virtual vomiting.

      I’m so incredibly thankful for the support and wisdom of this community. It gives me strength, courage and an understanding of the heartlessness of the person I married some 25 years ago.

      I’m 14 months post DDay and my virtual vomiting has lessened significantly, but still spews on occasion as another violation is discovered (he was cheating before we decided to have a child — wtf?) or an epiphany hits me.

      • So sorry for your loss, Eagle. I’m sending you virtual hugs and extra CN strength to get through all this.

      • So sorry GiddyEagle, so sad that you lost your mum and you have to deal with the cheating and divorce pain. (((GiddyEagle))).

      • I’m sorry about your mother, GiddyEagle. She lives on in your memories.

      • Giddy Eagle, I hope that your Mom’s passing was peaceful and that you were able to say good-bye.
        Not a day goes by that many of us don’t think about our Mother.
        I feel so sad that many chumps were robbed of a Mother’s love.
        I am so sorry for your loss Giddy Eagle, and I send you love and wishes for strength in the days ahead.

  • My dad has moved in with me and I finally got around to attaching the lock box on the outside of the house so emergency services could get in. I open the drill to discover the ex has taken the charger and spare battery. I did laugh, gave him points, I didn’t think he was that clever.

    When I went to replace those items, I explained what happened to the lady serving me and she gave me a discount! I am past the sloppy stage, but still very humbled by the kindness of strangers.

    • They are clever aren’t they. x made a big deal out of leaving me tools to take care of the house. And yes everyone of them had the charger and battery missing. Like being married to a 10 year old

      • Mine took most of the tools from the house, and the cottage, and the Florida house despite the fact that he had a shop full of tools as well. Anything to shove the knife in deeper…

  • I don’t have a story about strangers but I do have a question. I am an open person but realize I regret saying certain things to certain in laws. Now, I am in a quandary about what to say acquaintances and potential new friends to not over share. We have new neighbors with whom I am now friendly. They had met stbx while they were building their house before he moved out. I have never said anything about our circumstance but I am sure they have to have figured out that he is not around. I sort of feel a need to explain but no openers have come up so I guess I should just go on waiting for it to come up naturally.

    I feel the same sort of awkwardness with my kids friends parents and people at the church we have been attending regularly since he left.

    It is so hard to me know what is the right info to share. I was about to say I am such a worrier but I caught myself because I know now that was one of the many gas lighting phrases cheater always used on me!

    • I have found that very simple expressions to neighbors, such as “now that I’m on my own” or “now that it’s just me and the kids” have worked well in opening the door to that conversation. (Because, yeah, they have noticed, but they don’t want to say anything in case it was messy.) Once I did that, my neighbors immediately offered to keep an eye out for me, which was comforting.

      With potential new friends and school parent friendships, it’s very easy to say, “well, the kids will be with their dad that weekend” or something along those lines. It’s like “code” for divorce. Everybody knows that drill, and again you are opening the door to a conversation if you/they are interested. It’s also a nice way to reach out to potential new friends, as in “my kids are gone every other weekend, and I’m looking for someone to try out the new sushi place with (or whatever).”

    • Feelingit I feel you. I don’t have any advice, really, all I can say is what I did after my divorce and after a lot of “friends” either evaporated or just proved themselves to be total assholes and were telling my ex what I was saying about what happened, while I was most vulnerable and hurt (unfortunately these people do exist). I got a therapist and shared everything there, I came here at this forum and shared my story for an empathetic response, reconnected with my extended family and childhood friends who were amazing and supported me more than I expected. And for the rest of the world, I just shut up. If they asked, answers were very short: “I am divorced. Not much to say about that, really.” And it wasn’t at all bad, because in silence I have had the time to observe people and decide whether they are worth sharing with and befriending or not. Just take your time, you will get there, keep coming here, this community is amazing. Hugs!

    • Oh I know. I had our garbage company call me and tell me I am overpaying on my account. I had to explain I was going through a divorce, douche locked me out of the bank accounts, and there was nothing I could do about the overpayment. It seems like as soon as you say “I’m divorcing” people automatically say “oh I’m sorry”. My automatic response to that statement is “don’t be, it’s for the best.”

      I will say that for some reason (I’ve found anyway) mere acquaintances tend to pull back when you are going through divorce; as if it’s contagious and they don’t want to catch it. I’d say if you want to continue to build a relationship to just wait until you are asked, but if I had this crap all figured out I might not need to read here daily… soooo, maybe someone has better advise.

      • Got a Brain, wow, yes, I had a dear friend “disappear” when my ex fiance left. For years, I wondered what I had done to lose that friend. She saw me one day at a coffee shop and came up to greet me. She stood there, awkwardly and said, I am sorry I abandoned you when he left. It terrified me watching you have to rebuild and find a place to live and I couldn’t watch. I was afraid of what would happen to me if my husband left.

        Wow was all I could say. Years I thought I was “bad”, did something to “offend” her when it really had nothing to do with me. So now, when people act odd or become cool, I don’t automatically assume it has ANYTHING to do with me. It might, but more than likely, it doesn’t. I like living with this attitude much better. People have their own stuff, they don’t walk around obsessing about me.

    • I’m all for sharing because our history defines who we are, and I want people to know that I’ve experienced loss, and I want to know if others have, too … but I got sick of hearing myself overshare and got caught a few times sharing with people who had it much worse (it’s all relevant, but really, mine was lame compared to theirs).

      So a simple phrase might work for you now. “I had a husband, but he had someone else.” or “I found three was a crowd.” or “Apparently he didn’t like me as much as I liked him.” or “I find myself starting over …” or “My marital status? Suddenly Single” … They will get the point, and they will have no chance to judge you … they will see you as someone who has experienced loss, and the ones who care will want to talk to you further.

      • Champ, I’ve boiled my explanation down to a simple, “My husband of 40 years left me for his married coworker”. Just a few words but speaks volumes!

        • Yup!!! That about does it!

          My favourite comeback was, “Ex says you split up and he’s dating Poopsie” … I said, “Not in that order.”

        • Yes. Mine is “My wife of 28 yrs suddenly left me for her old high school boyfriends.”
          Almost everyone just laughs. They already know how it’s going to end.

          • I just say he left me for the mistress. Locals ask me where he lives now and I say he lives with the mistress in her grandmother’s house and has a part-time job. Just the truth.

          • What is it with high school boyfriends? Mine did the same thing. Still waiting for that Karma bus to come around…

      • Champ, yes I simply say, well, Ya, I don’s share. My husband’s girlfriend got kinda pissy that I had a baby while they were together.

  • I was a broken stumbling wreck for years after my kids dad left and would totally tell people EVERYTHING,I would cry,I would rage,I was desperate and trapped in terrible pain and just spilled out everywhere. Many strangers were kind to me….and many friends melted away. I had such a wall around me of constant defensiveness when I was with my ex that any abuse that came my way I could handle…but kindness was so unexpected (and not what I was used to) that it threw me and id just fall to pieces in a big messy weepy jelly pile. I found it so very hard to believe that people could actually just be nice after years of cruelty,I was suspicious of their motives at first I must admit….Now I have come to realise that kindness is real and the mindfuck I existed under was NOT normal. What a hellride it has been. I’m finally finding some peace and trust in the world again. I’ll never be the same trusting woman but I am getting better.

    • Yep, kindness used to make me melt into tears, but I am getting used to it again. We can get used to it!

  • There were too many kind people to count in those first two years. The main one that stands out is my bar tender. I moved downtown to a one bedroom condo to be near work and knew no one. One day I stopped a a new bar to get a beer and a burger and Danny, the bar tender, introduced himself, asked me my name and asked “so, what’s your story?”. It seemed like the nicest question ever. I proceeded to actually cry in my beer and vomit all my details. The great thing is that he actually listened and understood and helped make a safe place for me to cry in my beer for the next year. I love all the bar keepers at First Draft. It’s my favorite place to just be understood. I know they do it for a living, but they’ve shared some of their stories and truly do understand. And they’re a lot cheaper than a shrink. 🙂

    • I love this and have a very nice mental image of you all there in a sort of brotherhood!

  • For me, I think of my mechanic. The dude suspected something was up between me and my now (ex) wife by the way she carried herself. (Having to deal with a car always breaking down in the midst of the mess was no fun.) He listened to me and helped me find a reliable car that I used to leave CT for MN, my home state. I am thankful for his kindness.

  • An elderly neighbor brought over a Mac and Cheese casserole soon after my cheating wife moved out and the house was for sale.

    She said that when she divorced her ex husband it felt like a death and except there was no funeral and no wake with family and friends bringing over food.

    I teared up at her words and her thoughtfulness. I’ve moved away but visit her on occasion, she’s like a grandma to me.

    • What a gem of a woman! It’s so true, even though you are emotionally devastated, and overwhelmed with legal and moving issues, no one steps in to help with meals or practical help like when someone dies or is having medical treatment. I guess most people don’t realise what it’s like, SGS it would take a fellow chump to do something so thoughtful.
      Having said that, the day after my ex left us, a good high school friend rang out of the blue and said she had this strong urge to call me (she knew nothing of this). She was over in a flash with food and some emotional TLC.

  • In the early days of my divorce I was sharing a cab with a friend and I was telling her for the 100th time my sob story. I dropped her earlier along the way and as I was proceeding further on my way home, the cab driver turns at me and says: “Ma’m, I am sorry for eavesdropping to your conversation, but I wanted to let you know that your ex is an asshole for leaving you and your children the way he did. You are young and seem nice, and take it from a man: you will be fine! He is the loser.” Made my day, that cab driver. God bless his soul!

  • Right after DDay, I opened a mailbox at a chain mail service store. It was the first thing I did to separate my finances from him. The owner, an older man, saw my distress and said, “we are like family here.” Well I lost it. It’s amazing how grateful I was to have that empathy.

    Btw – when I moved and changed cities – same franchise chain mailbox store – I was treated so kindly. Those folks must see a lot of wreckage. I still thank God for those people and how kind they were.

    • Your post reminds me of when I opened a post office box at my local post office. I told them I needed it because my stbxh was stealing my mail(I must say allegedly here–hmph)in order to screw with my credit( a federal offense in Canada) It took a few late bills to figure it out. They just treated it as business as usual which was helpful too…no fuss no muss can be good

      • I wish my post office experience had been this way. I went in to open up a new PO box in my name only. The clerk rudely informed me that I already had a PO box with my husband & she wanted to know if there was a problem. “Why yes, yes there is, Lady. He’s a lying, cheating Asshole whom I’m divorcing. Anything else you think you need to know?” I wanted to punch her in the face…but I did get me a new PO box 🙂

        • My narc father got a post office box in town decades ago supposedly for his philately but I’m pretty sure it was also for his philandering.

          No cell phones/f*ck phones in the seventies. Pretty sure he didn’t want my late mother to know exactly how much he was spending on his stamp collection (double whammy to my mother-hiding assets and cheating). We lived in a nice suburb and nobody was walking onto our acre of property to steal mail, as he “feared”.

          A credit report will reveal secret post office boxes.

  • My kindness of strangers story is, my ex told me he was leaving on NYE 2014. He lived at our house for roughly 6 weeks after that. Within a week of him asking me for the divorce, our computer broke, our big screen TV broke, everything started falling apart in our house. The problem was I had not bought the extended warranty on our 70 inch television, and our factory warranty had literally run out a month before he asked me for the divorce. As I was in a perpetual state of weeping, my ex-husband was trying to capitalize on this and trying to negotiate the most lucrative settlement for himself, and when he wasn’t trying to get me to sign over everything (” Paintwidow, who knows where we will be in a year. If we can settle this peacefully and you don’t screw me, maybe there’s a chance for us down the road. Right now this is the right thing for me”…..yep, the whole time he had an AP he was leaving me to go live with.) he was walking around putting his name on the things in our house that he wanted, mainly the TV. I actually called Vizeo and wept on the phone to the nicest customer service rep about how I just been asked for divorce on New Year’s Eve and how my husband was a serial cheater. Do you know that that guy arranged to have a brand-new upgraded TV sent to me?? and all the paperwork on said tv came in my name?? I had it two days later. I then told my husband he could have the broken TV, since he wanted it so bad.
    It was the first win I had since my world fell apart.
    I don’t even know his name, but I’ll never forget him.I plan to always pay it forward,

  • About a month after I dumped Rhys, I was at the dentist for my six-month check. The new hygienist- a no nonsense sort – told me “Miss Vulcan, you’re too young for your gums to be in this kind of shape. Do you not floss?” I promptly lost my composure and started blubbering like a child; Rhys had said something similar before and had even said my mouth looked inflamed. The hygienist realized she’d hit a nerve and I told her and the dentist- who’s known me since I was14- the whole story. Hygienist explained the gum thing is fixable and Doc offered to call up some of his high school friends who he was pretty sure had gone into the Mafia.

  • I am a reserved person and have kept most of the horror story of my cheater to myself. I have shared with friends and in a small town word gets around I guess. Around Christmas time I would come home to find food, treats, gifts for my kids, money on my porch. Cheater wasn’t paying child support either so I was really struggling. These anonymous acts of kindness are what got me through in the beginning.

    Cheater has also been on a smear campaign painting me as a controlling bitch who keeps the kids from him. He says he was not happy in our marriage and couldn’t take it anymore….again small town and rumors get around. I have had a few of his friends reach our to me lately to say they know what really happened and have lost all respect for him. Also I deserve better and they have the highest respect for me and let them know if I need anything. WOW! Their words brought me to tears and they will never understand how much it meant!

  • Oh, so many people … all the people you never thought would. Some old friends told me to suck it up, that no one cares about me, that the AP seems so happy with my ex. However, strangers were far nicer.

    I have a huge financial hole to dig myself out of, at quite a late age in life. I was proactive, and called everyone, told everyone about my situation, that my partner had an affair and left me, I was still in the house and trying to keep it going, and I was trying to dig myself out.

    My employer: They gave me a raise when they knew I was struggling on my own.

    The tax departments … one woman talked to me for 10 minutes about how to survive. One man told me he understood and negotiated a more than fair payback scheme for me.

    The banks … they call every month to see what that month’s payment will be on an overblown line of credit … they tell me I’m doing great and not to worry. Another bank gives me pointers on how to not lose the one remaining credit card that’s still in good standing (although over its limit). A bank reversed charges for an NSF they didn’t have to reverse … they did so because I had been in a fog and totally gapped and they understood.

    The insurance company … she said, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt … you will get out of this. Keep plugging away at it.”

    The telecommunications company gave me a huge discount, guaranteed for 2 years.

    The car dealer, who sold me a much-needed new car for zero interest when I had 30 cents in my bank account and the lowest credit rating one can have.

    A young girl at a company … ” … but you have your dog [she heard the dog barking in the background] … that’s good, eh?” [Yes, it is, for sure.]

    • As painful as it is, it’s good to find out the true nature of the people in your life. Anyone who says “nobody cares about you” is not and has never been your friend.

      What an amazing list of kind people, though, especially surprising to see that from companies that usually seem soulless. But give yourself credit for asking for help. No one can help if you don’t ask.

      • A random plumber gave me a hug as I was crying. He came to install a new toilet so that I could better sell my house. I started crying when he asked my why I was selling. I told him why (threw out pervert after 31 year marriage- getting a divorce). He told me that men like him usually get what they deserve HIV, arrested in prostitution stings, beaten up by whores/Johns. That made me smile.

        • This gives me hope… I would love for Mr. Sparkles to get arrested at one of his Craiglist “group sex” parties by the airport where the women are about the age of his oldest daughter… WOULD LOVE IT! (Nope, not a meh yet!) LOL.

          ARGH… he is SUCH A FUCKWIT.

        • That’s nice of him … it’s amazing what good insights people offer when we’re thinking ex is off living happily ever after.

          Not related, but a while back I was getting my bathroom fixed (falling tiles, faulty floor) and my 55-ish male repairman said, “So you’ll be without a toilet for 2 days … is that alright?” I said, “Hey! I’m 54 and female. What do you think?” He said, “Oh, you’re right … my wife’s your age. Yeah, I’ll hook it back up tonight and take it out again tomorrow to finish the work!” I love a man who can empathize with women’s bladders!!!

        • Leavingthecrapbehind,

          Yup-men like this do get arrested as a part of a sting operation ! The pod (Mr. Jesus Cheater) I briefly dated last year shared with me after a few months that this happened to him ! He tried to blameshift it on his wife caring for their newborn son and his problem with “lust”. Guess what asshole-you’re not the center of attention when your wife is tending to a baby, breastfeeding and everything else !
          GTFO and don’t call me again… Slowly re-etching the template I grew up with-narc father and depressed mother.

  • Mr. Sparkles was not a church-goer (well – only as a means to an end). I went to church every Sunday and sat with my widowed mother in the pew. It was also one of the few ways that remained where I could see my mom without feeling like I was “neglecting” Mr. Sparkles (shocking – my Mom hated him from day one.)

    When my mother passed away, I remarked to Mr. Sparkles how hard it was to go to church and sit alone in the pew. Nothing.

    So, I moved my seat to the back of the church and found a lovely group of senior men who’s wives either didn’t come or went to an early service. And they “took me in”… hugs and greetings and welcoming. A year went by that I sat alone.

    Then, about a month before the final D-day where Mr. Sparkles announced he was leaving, he offered to come to church with me as a way to try to FIX our marriage… as long as I would get up at 5:00am with him to watch The Walking Dead. This was his plan for us reconnecting. (YET – all the while, he was already grooming the OW and apparently building up to discard me.)

    So, Mr. Sparkles comes along for two Sundays. I make a big show out of introducing him to the pew of men behind me. THIS IS MY HUSBAND, I say… so proud like.

    When Mr. Sparkles stopped coming (because he decided to leave for the OW)… I was left alone in the pew again… now, no Mom… no Husband.

    But these guys… men who have been friends for 50 years and sitting in that back pew together… they made a point every Sunday of talking to me and to my son… asking about “life”… but never “where is Mr. Sparkles” They lifted me back up every Sunday with their kind, non-intrusive words and their gentle eyes of understanding.

    It was never about what I gushed to them, but how when then saw my tears, I feel the touch of a hand on my shoulder from the pew behind me. I was not alone.

    They were and are my reminder that good men do exist. I hope my son grows up to be like one of them.

    • My STBX was a church goer and it feels really strange every week sitting in the pew that we sat in together with our son. Everyone has been so lovely to me and my son, they all feel as bewildered as I am as to what he has done. I think sometimes they find it hard to know what to say but they have been great with offering support etc. I know there are lots of people their I could talk to if needed. They wouldn’t understand but they will always listen and be sympathetic,

      • Hang in there PC… it was my Pastor (who married us) that remarked that God will push people out of your life (as much as he brings them)… keep your faith. If you’re going through troubled waters, it is because your enemies can’t swim.

    • I was part of a business networking group and when I went through divorce the men in that group circled the wagons. There was a man to help finance my new home, a financial planner who helped sort my money situation, a real estate lawyer, a home inspector, and a man who would call just to be on the phone with me while I cried as I drove home to that empty house. I couldn’t even talk and he would just say, “let me keep you company on the phone.” When I blurted out to another man in the group that I’d spent 35 years with STBX, he immediately answered, “And you will have another 35 years to live. What will you do with them?” It was wonderful to get that kind of support from men after my husband walked out.

  • Mine is a random act of kindness story.
    When I was a kid our holiday tradition was going to a neighbor’s property to cut down a xmas tree.
    When ex and I moved to current town, we found a self cut tree farm, and continued the tradition.
    First December post divorce decision, I enter with the kids. It was not a great day, heavy mist, but we went after school to beat the weekends crowds. I thought I was doing ok with the divorce at that time, but in hindsight I must have had a “look”
    I struck up a conversation with an older gentlemen while the kids fetched the wagon and saw, told him about my children tradition and continuing it with the kid so– made no mention of divorce, etc.
    When the kids and I returned with our tree, I was told the gentleman had paid for it. Still tears me up thinking about it. I had the money, but here was a random stranger who wanted to make my day better,

  • THIS.

    A co-worker who barley knew me said I could stay with her after DDay when I had no where to go. She had 2 kids, 2 dogs, going through a hard time herself. But she still helped. I broke down in the office.

    When I left the west coast for good, a few months after DDay, I just had my cats, and a carry-on bag on the plane. The cat crates I got weren’t right, so the guy at the airline check in, said “hey no problem, I’ll just take those and you can have these.” I am sure I would normally of had to buy them. I teared up, saying thank you, shaking all over.

    On the plane, the stewardess gave me a vodka cranberry. 2 of them. No charge. Just looked at me and smiled. Haha, I must have looked like I needed it. I did. Longest flight of my life, leaving it all behind.

    I’ll never forget​ this. Maybe it wasn’t much these things, but it helped me keep my sanity and get me to a safe place.

  • Within the same week of him moving out my son was diagnosed w/ a chronic autoimmune disease. Talk about a one-two sucker punch. We had an appointment shortly after with one of his specialists who was a kind woman whose children remarkably had the same names as mine. The ex & I spoke to her in private after the appointment to let her know what was going on as stress can be a trigger with his disease. Later that afternoon the ex & I got into a huge argument over the phone and I was left in a puddle of tears, seething in the middle of my office (luckily I was alone in the office that day.) A few minutes later my phone rings. It’s the Dr. She just wanted to call because she sensed the situation was really bad and wanted to make sure I was alright and did I need any help. Apparently I didn’t have as good a poker face as I thought. I was so grateful for her reaching out to me. I felt relief and it touched my heart enough that I could pick myself up off the ground and take a deep breath. And just this week I had the opportunity to reach out to a stranger as she broke down publicly. I didn’t turn away-I grabbed her hand and offered her words of reassurance and she held on tightly. And it felt so natural.

  • The first weekend I had to let go of my boys (7 month old and 2 year old) to go spend their first weekend with the ex, I was so lost. No family or friends…..I was a momma, wife, and daughter-in-law all my married life and now that was no longer. I found myself inside a Sam’s Club….I didn’t even need anything….notta. But I couldn’t go our empty home. I was walking in circles over and over. I finally purchased a coke and settled into a big, comfy recliner on the furniture isle and people watched. I was there for more than 6 hours…..sitting. When I realized the pitifulness of my life I began to quietly sob in that recliner. An older woman stopped and asked me what was wrong and I completely fell apart and told her my story. She sat and listened and held my hand. She prayed aloud for me to find comfort. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness and emotion…..she was a total stranger. I didn’t even get her name but I will never forget her face and her kindness. I think she was planted there for a reason…..I finally got up and walked out of the store realizing that just bc my ex, ex-in-laws, and OW were evil, not everyone was. I wish I could say that I never spend hours sitting alone in Sam’s again bc I did but I can say that I finally no longer do!!

  • I didn’t necessarily think of the kindness of strangers on this post but I do remember overwhelming kindness from acquaintances.

    I had finally sold the marital home, the buyers weren’t backing out and I had to pack….asap. It was the 4th of July weekend. I posted on FB that I needed help and there would be beer and pizza. Those who showed up surprised me. Two other single moms that I’d recently met, one of their boyfriends, a newly separated male friend, a homeschooling family I knew and the wife’s sister who’d just moved to NC from California (she bought a ton of my furniture too) and my parents.

    People threw stuff in boxes, torn down beds to carry down stairs. And, I’ll never forget, one of the single moms packed up my wedding albums. She looked at me and asked me what I wanted to do with them and I couldn’t respond. I was going to sob in the the worst way in that very moment. And she recognized it. She said, “Nevermind, I’ll take care of it.” and smiled at me. I could not even convey the relief I felt for that bit of kindness and understanding.

    Later that weekend, the ex emailed me to let me know he was moving in with the Whore. We weren’t even divorced yet. And my son was having a birthday in one week. These people are such unbelievably callus and selfish. It boggles the mind.

    Thank you for this today. I needed it. I still feel wounded at times. Grief is not linear. I wish others understood that more than they do.

    • THIS – Grief is not linear…. nailed it.

      I’m almost 3 years since Mr. Sparkles left for the OW. The divorce was final this past December. The OW dumped him and he’s already living with a new GF and having her around my son (now 11). And, I still can’t find MEH… It’s closer. I trust that he sucks. But he is still in my dreams sometimes and I wake up thinking I miss him. But, feelings aren’t facts. And, if I have more grieving to do then let’s get it on. I want to feel it… heal it… and get to Meh!

      • I’m 3 years out too, same as you. My divorce was final in October 2015. I have moved on, closer to meh most days, but sometimes a memory pops up or something triggers a memory. Those things can not be helped/controlled.

        I would have never imagined the depth of the pain of betrayal. It does leave a forever scar. And even though I have moved on and created a brand new life for myself, the pain is there…hiding. Mostly, the broken bits allow the love to pour out….and love to come in.

  • I took my kids to the Grand Canyon the holiday weekend he left to “think about things,” but really was on a vacation with AP. As me and my three young kids drove the distance, I kept thinking how strong I was, limited budget, but “Look at me! Driving to the Grand Canyon! Who needs him!” We got to the hotel and I was at the front desk, surrounded by numerous other, intact families with the Dad’s checking in their families and found out I had booked for the NEXT night and there were no rooms anywhere in the city or surrounding areas. All that was available was the honeymoon suite for $1000. I knew my credit card wouldn’t hold a charge of $1000. I felt the sorrow build up in me from somewhere very, very deep. My soul just gave up. My chin was shaking and tears were welling up as I squeaked out to the check-in clerk that “my husband has left us and I don’t have the ability to pay for the suite…and I couldn’t even continue to speak as the emotions I was trying to keep down just exploded all over that hotel foyer. I turned to leave with my kids, but then laid my head down on the counter and just sobbed, eventually just slowly rolling down on the floor, completely losing any composure I had left. I absolutely could not stop the flow of tears and gut-wrenching pain. My poor kids sat on the floor with me while everybody stared. My 14 year old son gathered my things and tried to get me to the car when this amazing, incredible hotel manager saw the ruckus and everyone staring and gave us the honeymoon suite for free. I was still on the floor, didn’t know what was happening. The manager let my older boy sign for the room and gave him the keys. I feel terrible about my kids stepping in to take care of me – but they are now strong, compassionate young men.

    • OMG. I can just see you now. All that pain. I”m so sorry that happened to you. And thank God for the kindness of others.

      • Beautiful story that had me in tears. I think it’s good for kids to see real life authentic emotions. That was raw and real and no gaslighting – and you did get up off that floor, didn’t you.

    • This is such a beautiful, raw, and powerful story. I can so relate to feeling on top of the world one moment and being brought to your knees the next. I can feel your pain and anguish, too.

      Early days, when my teen son sometimes caught me crying or exhausted, he would ask if I was okay. I would tell him, “This is hard” or “I feel sad” and then say, “but it’s going to be okay.” My son is (like me) a heart-on-his-sleeve kid, and it was an opportunity to let him see that sometimes we just need to cry. There is no shame in that. I suspect your hotel meltdown had a similar quality for your kids, so please don’t feel terrible. You got up again, and your kids saw that, too.

      • My daughter would also get really concerned in those early days when I would start crying. I started telling her that I was having a really bad day and that tomorrow would be better. Every time tomorrow came and I WAS better, she stopped looking at me with fear. Pretty soon, those bad days started getting farther apart and her confidence that we would be okay grew.

        Life is really hard sometimes and the best we can do is reassure our kids that we will figure it out. It may be different than what we had planned, but it will still be okay.

    • The Journey…I got chills reading your story. I know that pain, we all do. What wonderful boys you raised! Huggs.

  • My STBX walked out after 20 years of marriage, 2 pre-teens, and when I was 6 months pregnant. When my baby was 4 months old, she had her first seizure. At 7 months, she was given a diagnosis of a rare and severe form of epilepsy. Everytime I met with a doctor…the neurologist, the geneticist, the pediatrician, etc, they would ask where her dad was. I then had to reveal that he left when I was pregnant. A couple of them would ask if he was the same dad to my other two. When the answer was yes, most could not keep their professionalism and would let a look of utter disgust cross their face or let a comment such as “wow, how do you do that” slip out.

    That just validated that he was NOT normal and cruel. Nobody deserves the treatment he gave not just to me but to our children. They would then start asking about me and what kind of support I had to not only get through that but for what was to come with my daughter. They brought in others to help me get through countless applications for aid and programs. They took my mom aside to make sure that I would have the support that not only my daughter would need but that I would need. These people who I barely knew made me feel valuable when my own husband made me feel worthless.

    • GetMeFree – this is probably one of the worst stories of DD’s I’ve heard. What kind of animal does this to a family he helped produce? What? He couldn’t ‘handle’ the tween years? Couldn’t handle a beautiful new baby he impregnated his beautiful wife with……I’m just… – he is the devil incarnate. I’m so glad the village stepped in to assist you. I can’t imagine what it would be like to navigate these waters with so many pressures of the kids on you, and you alone. I hope it has worked out for you, so far. I would like your cowardly x’s address and I am taking over my 3 Danes to take care of him.

  • Of all people, my gynecologist has been so nice through this ordeal. The first time I went in for STD testing ( because douche decided unprotected sex with a stripper was a good idea) he was so calm and said, “you’d be surprised how common this is.” I was a blubbering mess and felt so embarrassed, I think he could tell I felt like the only one in the world who this has happened to. Fast forward 5 years, and again I’m in for STD testing because douche was sleeping with escorts. This time though, I held my head high and announced this would be the last time I would be doing this because douche was a done deal! He spent a good amount of time telling me which were the best lawyers in town, who was part of the “boys club” and in with the judges (which he clearly detested, but knew it would benifit me). He’s an older man and has delivered all of my children. I dread the day he decides to retire! Yes, I realize saying that about your gynecologist is, well…. odd, but he has been one of a few that I felt were completely on my side through this whole ordeal. Plus he told me he always thought my ex was a douche ?.

    • Having your gynecologist call your husband a douche is just so….well…perfect.

    • Got-a-brain, having your gynecologist call your husband a douche is great. But logically, gynecologists should all be like yours because they know exactly the risks all these cheaters expose their wives to, and their job is keep women healthy in this area. So cheating husbands are always undoing the good work gynecologists are trying to do. Gynecologists should be natural enemies of cheaters.

    • Wow!!

      What a gift from heaven your doctor was!!

      I liked my gynecologist because he said, “Too bad these men don’t come with a sign that says — ”

      And I finished his sentence, “I’m a piece of shit!”

  • After separation from STBX, before I was able to speak of the reason, friends showed up. Some just sat and listened to my pain, I was invited out to dinners, received phone calls and emails, just to check in. A margarita inspired piñata bashing credited a bond with some other chumps. The support and love I have been given from my sister and my children have fueled my resolve. The widows, that have lost husbands have been the most understanding of grief and loss. Church friends and counselors are always there when needed. I need them all. I am beginning to understand that it will take years to process the abuse of long term infidelity. I pray you all have an army to surround and support you.

  • This isn’t a betrayal story but it shows first, that there are people who pay attention to others and, second, that we chumps can make progress. Recently I was sitting through a public event a few days after the very early death of someone close to me. The nature of the event brought back a lot of memories about a hopeful time in her life. I wasn’t crying, and I was fully present. It was just that time collapsed a little and I could be there and feel that other time simultaneously.

    Afterwards, an acquaintance came up to me and asked, “Are you all right?” And I could smile a little at the kindness and say, “The person who died was my good friend.”
    He said, “Oh, that’s right. What a terrible loss for us all.”

    Four years ago, I would have just shrugged off his concern because my emotions embarrassed me. Not now. Sometimes I don’t share the cause; I just say “This brought back memories” or “It’s been a tough week.” Other times, I just acknowledge the source of grief. Good people understand because they feel the same way. I’m lucky; in my work I get lots of opportunities to notice young people who are struggling and I can pay these kindnesses forward.

  • Well, my cheater passed away on Monday of pancreatic cancer. Of course, I was with him and so were my kids. (Didn’t see Schmoopie anywhere around for those last moments!). Believe it or not, I’m glad we were there for him. Of course we are making the arrangements for his final rest (again, where is Schmoopie and the cheating cheerleader team? Oh yeah, no fun here!). But I digress, kindness of strangers during my hospital stays with cancer was over the top! I was astounded at the number of nurses and hospital staff who had been chumped horrifically and shared their stories of heartbreak and survival. I began to believe that just about everyone had been cheated on as if it were an epidemic! But I also got the end result, these folks were living proof that you can not only survive, but thrive! My medical care from them was outstanding, but my mental state was immeasurably improved by these strong, fearless folks. They had been through the fire and survived. It gave me the hope I needed! They “got” it! Now I am running myself ragged planning a funeral and it is tough given my health. I was out buying things in preparation for the funeral and the last store was crowded at the register. The gentleman ahead of me finally had his turn and he told the cashier, “please take this lady first”. I thanked him and I was forever grateful for that tiny act of generosity. I thanked him and he was very gracious. How could he have known I was hurting physically and mentally! God bless him! It made my day! If I had to hand write letters to each and every person who in some short and small way who helped me get through this, I dare say I would be busy every second of the day. This is one of the biggest reasons Chumplady and Nation are so very important. She posts the “mighty” letters and stories of each and everyone of us go through on our journeys through the shitstorm. Without this blog I don’t think we would have done so well. It gives us clarity and helps us focus during the worst time of our lives! So, a huge THANK YOU TO ALL AT CHUMPLADY AND CHUMP NATION! No finer people exist than right here! My tribe!

    • Roberta, you are incredibly mighty to sit with your cheating ex as he dies of pancreatic cancer. And I know you are dealing with your own health problems. You are one class act.

    • Roberta–You have been a mentor to me from the start. I am over-the-top in awe that you could sit with your cheating X and now plan the funeral. I’m pretty sure I will not be able to do that when/if the time comes. I wish the best for you and your kids. I am sending good-health vibes your way.

      Sorry for your loss? Really don’t know what to say…

      • You are so much better of a person than I am. I no longer wish my X anything but to leave me alone, but I’d let him rot in his own misery and loneliness. I couldn’t stomach being around him even if he were dying. I get extremely nauseous around him. Literally. I wouldn’t even feel guilty either. Probably makes me a bad person but I try to be a better person in other ways.

      • I’ve been planning the ex’s funeral for about 10 years . . .

        • I plan on attending exassholes funeral, just to make sure he’s really dead…

    • Roberta – you are mighty. I don’t mind taking the high road (usually)… because I know I’ll meet people like you there. Peace be with you through this time.

        • Roberta,
          I hope your children honour you on Mother’s Day. ( and every day). How courageous and brave of you to be with them at their father’s death bed. He is one very fortunate person.
          I am sure that the medical staff caring for you in your illness saw what a brave, one of a kind, person you are. It was, and it is, their privilege to administer their care and emotional support to a very special lady.
          Many hugs, Mighty Lady!

          • Thank you to all who replied. I actually gave in and took care of him with my kids the last few months. It was exhausting, but hospice was unbelievably helpful too. Talk about great folks. He really has no one to care for him if not his kids and me. He found out the hard way that the OW was nothing more than a party loving, golddigging HO! All the cheerleaders on Facebook evaporated. Good thing we were there for him towards the end. He was bedridden, no muscle left to walk. Not strong enough to even lift a glass of water to his mouth. It was pitiful, but I have no regrets and I make no apologies to anyone for being a decent human being. Believe me, there was a time when I would have told anyone I would never help him. You just can’t say never. My kids were great to him too and it helped bring him happiness in those last days. I’m proud of all of us for coming to his aid.

    • I’m so sorry for this latest upheaval in your life, Roberta. You have had to contend with so much and have done it with such strength, grace, and humour. Prayers and blessings to you and your family.

    • All I can say, Roberta, is you are a beautiful and kind person. You have an understanding of the big picture. Bless you and your kids, too.

  • I had two work colleagues–T and E–that were going through (or had just finished) divorce at the same time as me.

    I had never really connected with either of them, and in fact had a negative feeling toward T due to her undefinable role (and relatively high paycheck) at our firm.

    But I wanted some on-the-ground, non-legal advice about getting divorced in my state, so I asked them.

    Each separately went out with me for happy hour, during which we each got to tell our divorce story. I was the only one who had a story involving cheating, and it was definitely more than they expected to hear. But they were kind and supportive.

    I didn’t become friends with either of them. As time went by, we drifted back to our old relationships, as polite acquaintances. A year after my divorce was final, I left the company to try a new job in a different city.

    But I’ll always be thankful for them, and others like them, who got “more than they bargained for” in asking about my divorce.

    So many of us need to tell our story, repeatedly, to get through the healing process. We need to affirm that this is happening/happened, and to hear that we weren’t crazy or unreasonable for feeling what we feel. And sometimes relative strangers can fill that need.

    It’s like that line from 20th Century Women:

    “I don’t know if we ever figure our lives out. And the people who help you–they may not be who you thought, or wanted. They just might be the people who show up.”

  • I have commiserated with people whom I would consider friends of friends, new coworkers, etc. who have been super supportive. Some have gone through similar situations (or worse), and some are just good sympathizers/listeners. Even my HR person at work answered my questions regarding how to handle health insurance, etc. when starting my new job (a result of separation, as I was a SAHM previously) with a “I’ve been there, so I can help you out.” It’s sad how often this happens to people, but it does create quite a support system for us chumps.

    On a side note, anyone else’s emotional bucket just keep filling back up? I just filed paperwork yesterday, so I’m fresh at this, and it seems like it’s not just vomit, it’s a chronic illness. And I’ve had the support of friends, my family, acquaintances, strangers…

  • About a week or two after D-day, after having fled to my parent’s house with my toddler several states away, I was out with a group of friends who all knew what happened and dragged me to an art exhibit. They had also invited someone new who had just moved to the area and was planning her wedding. She kept bubbling over about her fiancé and her wedding plans, and it was enough to really get to me since my wedding to my then-partner of a decade had been months before. She was a stay-at-home fiancée and I wrote her off as flighty with little sense of her own identity. But I kept my mouth shut as she went on about her finance and wedding because her joy wasn’t mine to spoil. Then she turned and asked “How are you?” I responded “Me? I’m full of rage.” I expected her to give me a wide-eyed look and move on. But she didn’t. Instead she said “May I ask why?” So I told her the gory truth, and she didn’t flinch. For the rest of the evening she made it a point to come talk to me any time I was alone, and she was not deterred by my sloppy grief and anger. She even invited me to meet her for a glass of wine sometime, and I went, and we became fast friends. I even met the famous fiancée (who is a good man I now consider a friend) and ultimately went to their wedding. She remains a very good friend, and was always there any time I needed to talk or vent. She had been chumped by a long term boyfriend and was no stranger to what I was feeling.

    This experience was significant for me because I expected strangers to be repulsed by my grief, and it turns out that good people don’t react that way. That was revolutionary to me, and was a step forward in fixing my picker regarding the people in my life.

    • >>”This experience was significant for me because I expected strangers to be repulsed by my grief, and it turns out that good people don’t react that way.”

      This was a hard lesson learned for me as well.

      • Strangers have been kinder to me than my pervert and his family. I have been saying that since the day I got married.

  • Every Christmas, prior to divorce, I grabbed several tree angels. The boys got a tree angel each, and I grabbed two, one for me and one for my husband. I would also make a generous donation. We, the boys and I, had a blast shopping for clothes and toys for these anonymous children. Should have been a big red flag that X never came along or wanted to do something kind for others less fortunate. Then, the year of the discard was also the year my youngest graduated and moved away to college.
    That Christmas I only grabbed one tree angel. I just stood there remembering and tearing up. There were three older ladies. They were 80+ if they were a day. They thanked me and asked if that was all I wanted to take. I lost it. Just started bawling because I was so ashamed that I couldn’t afford to do more for these children. I explained I had just gone through a divorce, my husband left me for a girl 20 years younger, and he’d emptied the accounts. They just smiled and one laughed and said, “Oh, is that all?”. I was flabbergasted. But then they proceeded to pat me and make soothing noises. All three of those women had been through the same thing decades before. They were so kind. Telling me it was his loss because i was such a looker, kind, etc. He’d be sorry one day and that I would easily get passed all of this nonsense and find a much better man. All three told me how glad they were that their first husband’s left, but it took a couple of years to feel this way. That their “new” husbands were so good to them. It made me realize just how often this happened and just how kind complete strangers could be. I left there with much more confidence, because hey, don’t you know I’m a “looker”, than I did walking in. I also realized that it’s ok to let other’s help me from time to time. We all go through financial distress during life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of to ask for help, financial or otherwise. Great bunch of ladies.

  • The weekend CheaterEx traveled North to visit (a.k.a., screw) his “twu wuv” for the first time (they were long distance Facebook/text/sext/phone soul mates), I found myself at the mall, just walking around in a daze. One of those foreign mall kiosk guys stopped me (“Excuse me, pretty lady, can I see your nails?”) and I was too sad, exhausted, and lost to run away. I listened to him, watched him buff my nails. Then he says, joking, as part of his scripted sales pitch, “So, are you married, or happy?” I lost it. Sobbing, tears, and snot bubbles, the whole ugly story rolled out of me while this poor guy with slicked-back hair just held my hand and listened. When I finished, he gave me a hug. He looked me in the eye, told me I was beautiful and that my husband was an idiot. He was 24 years old (I’m in my mid-40s) and he offered to give me his number, which made me laugh.

    I bought the stupid nail buffer, not because I needed it, but because I appreciated what he had done for me in that moment. I still have it, two and a half years later, and I still smile when I see it in my vanity drawer.

  • Every time a workman comes to my house to make a repair to get my house ready for sale- they always ask “why are you selling?” Then….I break down in tears. I tell them I am selling because I found out my husband had a secret double life with hookers, porn, webcam hoes and anonymous “hook ups’ he fished off the internet.

    One man (a carpenter) told me “Real men don’t buy sex” and “Real men do not treat their wives like that.” I loved that guy!

  • I still work to hold back the tears in public. When I see happy couples milling about……I still get a sense of sadness- even though I am better off without the liar/cheater/pervert. I think I am grieving for the life I “wished” I had with Pervy Pants…..the years I wasted on him. More so than missing him.

  • Happened a couple weeks back… As per our settlement agreement, the genius was to get some furniture from the house. His list contained all of the pieces I picked myself and that I love. He had already moved out a year before. Our kids were wondering what he was going to do with it. Anyway… After scheduling and him canceling at the last minute over a period of 9 months, the day finally came. When the movers showed up, they presented me with a detailed list of what they had to pick up. That’s when I found out he was donating everything to a local charity. The furniture went and me and the kids went three days with no place to sit other than the kitchen chairs. That is until I figured out I could go to the charity and get my furniture back. When I told the story to the person there, he went out of his way to help me out. He got me a discount because he could not just give everything back, He was telling every one in the building what had happened, he kept telling me he was sorry, that my ex was a very bad person, that people were not all bad… That place was filled with reformed convicts working there in a rehabilitation program and they ALL showed me more grace and kindness that the genius ever did.

    • Un-effing-believable!
      That is the lowest, most despicable thing I’ve ever heard.

      Bless the strangers who showed kindness and support!

    • omg what an asshole. And yes, I’m sure he rehabilitated convicts were kinder…

    • How I can still be surprised by the cruelty and lack of conscience these morally bankrupt jerks can be is beyond me…yet your story did just that.

    • Pretty please with a cherry on top… can I have your X’s address?!?!? What a fucker… just speechless.

      When a reformed convict is a better person than a NPD fuckwit… ARGH!

      Definitely not a meh today, sorry gang.

      • I am so not MEH today. And,I haven’t cried this much in a long time.

    • That is a fantastic story of compassion. Your ex is truly a horrid person.

    • That is one of the cruelest, most assholey things I have heard in a long time. He would do that to not just you, but his children. He truly, TRULY sucks.

      • Posted before I finished. This is actually the most spiteful thing I’ve read on this blog. Wow–you chose your user name well for sure! So glad you and your kids are rid of him. ((hugs))

    • A heartless monster! So glad he is out of your life! Charles Manson would have more “decent” about the furniture than your X!

  • I do know one thing- if I meet a fellow chump with newly bloodied heart and mind- I can be strong for him/her. I can be compassionate and helpful. I will not say stupid trite things or blame the poor chump in anyway. I will also give the new chump a copy of Tracy’s book!

  • My midwife has been absolutely fantastic, I had gone to my doctor almost straight after D-day as there was no way I was going to be able to go into work. When the midwife read what they had written on my notes, she said OMG I’m so sorry and then proceded to tell me that her husband had had an affair. They had reconciled for a bit but she divorced him in the end. When I went in on Monday she said she had spoken to the health visitors and the midwives at the birth centre so they know what has happened and they know not to ask too many questions. She also said you don’t want him to come to the birth centre do you? I said no and she said good I think we would all rip him to shreds if he did try and turn up. I know she was joking but it’s really great to know there are people who are looking out for you and really do care.

    • So glad you have people to support you. Take it from someone who has been there, it will be hard and emotional, but these people will help you find the blessings that will be there. Namely, that precious new baby.

      • Thank you it’s a really scary time but I have lots of lovely friends and family for support. I am just hoping that the future will be ok, and I will be able to enjoy my new baby and my DS will be able to enjoy quality time with his sibling. X

        • It will be okay. Sometimes, I think God gave me and my 2 other kids my baby girl to HELP us get through this hell. On days when it felt really bad for all of us, she would do something new or smile or any of those things babies do and we would all smile or laugh. She has brought us so much joy and helped us pull together as a team and family.

          • I think I’m just really sad about the time I will be loosing with my children. I know I just need to be the sane parent etc and that I have no control over this situation and the choices he made. I also know that there are so many chumps here who have it worse than me.

            • So sorry to hear what you’ve been through, pregnant chump. I definitely agree with what GetMeFree said – that baby will help give you the strength you need to get through this hard time. I know my daughter has done that for me. She was still a tiny baby when the cheater left us. Even on the darkest days, my daughter gives me a reason to smile. And even on those days when I’m exhausted and just want to give up, I remember that I’m the sane parent and that we are lucky to have each other. I know that I have an opportunity to help shape her into the best person she can be. Men who do that though to expectant moms, new moms, and well, really anyone? Ugh, they truly are the worst. Glad to hear that your midwife and her colleagues have been so sympathetic.

              • I’m so sorry to read your stories these cheaters are really something else. I don’t understand how they can justify their actions to themselves and to the OW. Thank you both for the encouragement my DS is very excited about being a big brother so they are both keeping me going.

  • On my D Day, it was a TSA agent who was the first to comfort me. I will always be grateful to her for the hug and kind words she provided to me.

    My infant daughter and I had flown to a beach town to spend a week with my now STBX who was teaching at a university out of state. It was his spring break. It was supposed to be a relaxing and joyful reunion. He told me about the OW, a student of his, a woman 14 years his junior, on a car ride to the beach three days into our vacation. He offered to go to therapy but said that he would not stop seeing her, that he loved her, that our marriage was “broken.” After much sobbing and shouting, I demanded that he take me to the airport as soon as I could pack up my stuff. As we stood on the curb at departures, I told him to “Have a nice life” and never looked back. When I was going through security, I was doing my best to hold back tears, but a quivering lip and bloodshot eyes gave me away. As I clumsily loaded my suitcase and my daughter’s stroller frame onto the conveyor belt of the x-ray machine, the agent said to me, “Aw, honey. Are you leaving some special behind?” The dam broke, and I wailed in response, “No, but my husband just told me he’s having an affair. She’s a student of his. He says he loves her, and he won’t stop seeing her. So I’m going home…” After a look of utter shock, she hugged me, helped me gather my things, walked with me the rest of the way through security, and said, “Oh, honey, I am so sorry. I promise you will find a good man someday. You deserve better than that. So much better. You take care.” Her kindness to me that day meant the world to me.

    • I am sobbing. Thank God for people that are kind-hearted and it means even more when it comes from an unlikely source.

      • Agreed! I never would have expected it, especially from someone in a line of work that generally calls for a very serious demeanor. That TSA agent was a true blessing. And really, on that awful day, every person who smiled at me as I walked through that airport (because I sure did look like a total wreck!) made me feel less alone and gave me hope.

  • i didn’t realize how poorly x treated me until the divorce when simple kindness from strangers made me cry. That’s when I realized I couldn’t even remember the last time x had said something kind to me. After dday I was on the phone with the credit card company trying to straighten things out. Didn’t mention my personal problems. At the end of the call the representative made a comment that I sounded like a very kind person. I cried for an hour after I hung up.
    I hadn’t told anyone at work about my divorce but since x was all over FB the gossip got around. I never spoke of it, thought I was doing a good job of hiding my emotions. On my birthday my coworkers threw me a surprise party with all my favorite foods. Only time in the 15 years I’d worked there. I cried all the way home after work, partly because they were sensitive to the fact this was my first birthday on my own but also because they actually knew what my favorite foods were. Something x never knew after 34 years of marriage. I also try to pay it forward.

  • Yesterday, two different ladies told me that my sons are gorgeous, just like their mother. My husband and his family always made me feel so ugly. He used to say that they take their beauty after him. And yesterday I wasn’t at my best :). I was thinking that is pretty fucked up to be appreciated by strangers and to be put down every single time by the people you consider the closest, and dearest.

    • Lola- amen to that dear fellow chump! It seems these disordered cheaters are stingy with everything- including goodwill, compliments and decency,

  • The emotional damage the pervert inflicted on me could not be hidden. I was devastated when I found out about his secret life and voyeurism. I felt sick for weeks (vomiting, nausea). I felt like a wounded animal.
    Strangers helped scrape me off the ground.

    • Leaving, did you read the article that was linked yesterday? I know we have similar stories and for some reason that article really validated me and helped me understand my vomiting and nausea as well… So nice to be past that!

  • I was at my doctor and the nurse marveled at my 30 pound weight loss since the year before. I said i was getting divorce, the ex had cheated. She told me all about he ex who left a post-it note for her to find when she got home from work when he left her for another woman. It was a cheerful convo but there was an unspoken acknowledgment that we each understood the pain of it. Chumps are everywhere, and chumps are strong.

    • so true. It feels like every other person i meet here lately is a chump. Best and sweetest people ever.

  • On one of his trips to pick up his things x called the sheriff to accompany him as a power play to try and take things he wasn’t allowed to have. The sheriff of course stuck to the decree and didn’t allow him to ransacke me. This sent x into a huge rage. As he stood there ranting the sheriff asked if I was taking back my maiden name. I told him no that I had to many areas to do it in. He stood there a minute watching x then said “whether you legally change it or not, if I were you I’d introduce myself by my maiden name in the future.” It was such a relief to see that I was not the only one who thought he was an ass.

  • For me, it was the nurse in the emergency room. I fell apart on her when I drove myself to the hospital in the middle of the night because of excruciating stomach pain. When I woke my then-husband (sleeping on his pull out sofa next to his bar in the cellar) he said he needed to take a shower before he could drive me. And then he fell back asleep as I was doubled over on the living room floor, waiting for him to get ready.

    When the nurse asked me if there was anyone she should call, the waterworks and verbal vomit started, and between the physical and emotional pain of realizing I was completely alone in my marriage, they didn’t stop for hours. While doctors ran tests to determine why I was in such pain, I spilled my guts through sobs, and she let me.

    At one point, with her arm around me, she said, “Maybe your gut is telling you it’s time to get rid of him because he treats you so poorly.”

    Several hours later, when then-husband showed up for a ten-minute pop in (which I later found out was on his way to hook up with his skank; he probably was to be able to tell her I was terminal), she told him she had never seen such thoughtlessness in all her years as an emergency room nurse.

    I heard her say that to him outside my ER curtain, and it struck me it was the first time anyone (including myself) had ever told him off.

    She gave me immeasurable strength that morning. It’s a support I still come back to when I feel overwhelmed.

    • Your ex is a complete creep. So glad you had that ER nurse to validate you on a day when you needed to hear exactly what she said!

  • This morning.
    At the doctor’s office getting tested for everything.
    When she asked if I have been exposed to any STDs, I couldn’t help it and just broke down crying. This was my first visit with this doctor as we had recently moved to the area so we had no history or prior relationship.
    She listened while rubbing and holding my hands. She offered me tissues. She said she was so sorry. After I regained my composure, she starts her examination and continues to talk to me, asking questions about my situation not the procedures. After I told her the condensed version(how long, how many, how could he) she tells me something I needed to hear…he’s weak, a coward and this is his shame not mine so do not hang my head or take that shame; that I have not done anything wrong and don’t let him in his cowardice lay any of the blame at my feet, to be strong and smart going forward for my children because they will need me to be mom and dad.
    I felt kind of stupid leaving her office for emoting like that but as I was sitting in the lobby of the lab waiting for my blood tests (still here) I logged on to CL and couldn’t believe today’s post….it was made for me. I just wanted to say I’m glad my doctor was so compassionate and understanding. She let me drop my slop bucket on her and she didn’t flinch, shut me up or hurry me along. She is the 3rd person outside of ‘him’ that knows (told 2 friends); I feel guilty for telling anyone but it does feel better to say out loud to someone else ‘something really shitty happened to me and the pain is killing me and I feel alone and unloved, etc. ‘

    • Ohyeahwow,
      I’m so glad you got that doctor! I didn’t tell anyone for 18 months during wreconciliation and I swear it’s the secrets that kill you. Once I started talking a bit more and moved toward divorce my health got a LOT better and my hair stopped falling out.
      She’s right, it is his shame and not yours – you don’t need to keep his secrets if you don’t choose too.

    • That doctor is a keeper.

      I’m sorry that is happening to you. I hope your test results are negative.


    • I’m so glad you got that doctor too but so sorry this is happening to you today. Big Chumpy hugs to you.

      You are not alone or unloved. You are strong and mighty. You’re about to find out just how strong and mighty you are.

    • There were so many strangers that were kind, loving and attentive when I first found out. The wonderful nurses at my doctor’s office. One nurse in particular came into the exam room and told me her story of her cheating STBX, that she was in the process of a divorce. She shared that STBX had cheated on her and knew how I was feeling. She said, “Baby, you have nothing to be ashamed of, he should hang his head in shame.” Gave me the lab slip to ***** labs and told me to ask for ******. I did as I was instructed.
      Went to the lab, asked for ****** for the tests. I was horrified. Evidently I was hanging my head, looking at the floor when she walked in. ****** pulled up her chair, took my hand and said, “you will make it. All of us who have been through this make it. It will take time but I promise you, you will make it. May God watch over you.” She gave me the biggest bear hug I have ever received from a stranger. I still think of her and the nurse often and am truly thankful for the kindness I was shown.

  • I had just finished my first year of graduate school after the discard/abandonment of me and kids by ex. I was exhausted as I taught full time, went to school full time, and had taken on extra grading for more sections for the cash(child support was a dream–like unicorns). I also was driving to a university just over the state line eight miles once a week to moonlight teaching a night course there (which was forbidden). One day when my office mate was out, I was just sobbing quietly at my desk when there was a knock on the door. It was a crusty, curmudgeonly old professor that most of the students couldn’t stand. I was terrified because I thought I had disturbed him. He asked me what was wrong and it all came vomiting out. Then I was terrified that he would tell the dept. and I would lose my tuition waiver for the moonlighting. I begged him not to tell, and explained that in order to write my dissertation I needed to save money for a research trip to England and I was barely managing to pay rent and feed my kids and would never be able to do it without the moonlighting money. He said he wouldn’t tell. The next day in my work mailbox there was an envelope from him with a check for $500. That gruff old man that everyone thought was so horrible gave me enough to (at that time) cover the entire cost of a plane ticket to England. I tried to thank him, but he just waved his hand at me from his office chair and said “I’m trying to work right now young lady.” God I love that old man.

  • Gosh, so many of these stories have made me cry.
    I had a bit of a toxic splash very recently, the day after my ex got married (5 months after he left). I am trying to get our house ready to be sold and I had had curtain rails put up but then realized the curtains I had bought weren’t the right type to go on them. I went to the local curtain/craft shop with the curtains and started asking about rings I could buy so they would fit. When the ladies told me that the only way to fix the problem was to put up new rods I just blurted out “I have just paid to have someone put up these rods, I can’t change them. My ex left me 5 months ago and got married yesterday”. It really wasn’t relevant, obviously and he never so much as put up a picture hook previously, so it is not like he would have done it. There was a huge queue behind me and I did feel pretty foolish. The lady was lovely though and took me to find curtains that would fit – on sale. She wished me luck as I paid for them. Small, I know, but I felt that I had been ugly, however, she didn’t treat me that way.

    • It was relevant. It was hard to accept and totally surreal that your ex just got re-married. One more disappointment, no matter how small, was just too much to bear.

  • So many times I have seen kindness from strangers. Most recently I went to my first AA meeting. I am still trying to reconcile with the cheater (hence the name textbook chump). Anyway, this last week marked a triggering date for me and we were out of town visiting a large, anonymous city. I recognize that a very poor coping mechanism I used to deal with the cheating was to drink too much. I don’t want to ever do that again, it felt good at the time to have the pain go away even for a bit but I now see drinking to excess as a form of not caring for myself. I nervously went to this AA meeting in a large anonymous city and told my story in one or two sentences. I felt the compassion of the other 8 people in a way that I can’t even describe. I will never see them again but I will never forget their understanding, acceptance and compassion.

    • Plums to you textbook chump for taking steps to care for yourself.

    • Good for you! Recovering from being chumped is also a chance to heal in other ways. I’m doing the same. 🙂

  • One of the most stunning examples of the kindness of others in the face of grief happened when I was 13 and my bio dad died. My cousin’s wedding was scheduled for a week hence, so I was up on Long Island for both the funeral and the wedding.

    The wedding rehearsal was held a couple days after the funeral, and a bunch of us went to rendezvous with the rehearsal participants somewhere at a hotel lobby type thing, I think it was. Anyway, my Grandma completely broke down. She lost it, and was crying her heart out in this place. A server came over and hugged her, asked her if she was okay, and brought her a cup of coffee. She was so very kind to my sweet grandma, and I’ll never forget her comforting words (in that no-nonsense New York accent!) and actions. That has stuck with me all these decades later.

  • Counter to the stereotype, I have had wonderful conversations with- Customer Service people for phone companies.
    *Years ago, I’d moved to a strange city, woefully underprepared. I’d cried to one that I needed the phone to get work (they were much more expensive ten years ago) and he said “I took care of it.” He’d cleared my balance due.
    The most recent convo I’ve had was with a young-sounding fellow. Somehow we got on the topic of high-functioning autism. Only now after decades am I understanding why it’s made people shy away from me for my entire life. He said, he has it too. I could tell- we just understood each other. I didn’t want him to get in trouble for talking too long, and he said not to worry about that.

    * The time when I was very ill from surgical drugs and weak from recent major surgery. I was trying to leave a bus and getting my body to go down the stairs. Suddenly, a beautifully elegant, dark skinned hand- like a pianist’s- wrapped around my wrist. He had the strength to instantly steady me. He stayed firm as he helped me down the stairs, set my cart next to me, and leapt onto the bus without a word. I never saw his face. I was helpless and would have fallen if he hadn’t helped me.

    *Around this time, I’d been walking to a store at night and had dropped and lost my wallet. Someone found it got a postal mailer and mailed it back to me. I carried my dead mother’s drivers license, its the last pic I had of her. I cried to see it returned to me and tried to send a thank you to the address on the package, but the Post Office returned it as a dead letter.

    *Neighbors had seen I was sick and alone, not leaving my house, so brought over bags of groceries to me. I didn’t understand grace back then, and returned the untouched food to them. But their kindness did feed me, in that I got the urge to get well again.

  • I too say much thanks to CL, Chump Nation and the many kind strangers that have helped me along my journey. I remember going to the doctor to get tested for stds about 2 weeks after Dday. It was particularly embarrassing as I had just been there 3 weeks before for my yearly exam. It took 3 tries to call the dr and make the appointment. When the nurse came in to prep me for the examination, I blurted my story out to her. To my surprise, her response was “I’m going through the same thing, I just got tested myself”. And she proceeded to tell me her story. We were able to hug and cry together a bit before the dr came in.

    One woman who I blurted my story to is a neighbor of mine, and she told me that one day I would help someone else the same way she was comforting me. That is true… your ability to be compassionate goes way up after stuff like this.
    Another woman I know casually saw me in a store and asked me for my now ex husband. When I told her the 10 second version of my story, she said “me too”, and then told me what her story was. We exchanged numbers and for months when she was low, would call me for encouragement. I only see this woman a few times a year, but when we see each other and I ask her how she’s doing… she knows what I’m really asking.

    I still have a ways to go but I wouldn’t be where I am without the kind words of strangers, and the friends I’ve picked up along the way.

  • Once during an appointment with a complete stranger, filling in for my pain management specialist (I have Rheumatoid arthritis), I broke down and wept over my situation. I tried to tell this guy my husband just left me the week before, while I choked on my tears and snot. I was pathetic. I was suffering from a disease called Reynauds, which affects circulation to extremities. In my case; the nipples. It was brought on by my pregnancy and made my boobs feel like they were on fire.
    After I blabbed out my grief, he first said that he has a tendency to make women cry. (which made me laugh a bit) then proceeded to tell me about his time in the ER at the Portland, OR hospital. He said there was a disturbing number of folks who’d come it with stuff shoved up their butts. He gave me a list; from butt plugs, to light bulbs, to various produce… His theory was that methamphetamines played a large part in the desire to plug things up (so to speak.) He must have detected my sick sense of humor because I was doubled over in laughter. We ended our conversation with him telling me about a male patient with Reynauds on his penis. I can’t imagine. If anyone here has had Reynauds, they know how incredibly painful it is. Yikes.
    This complete stranger made my day. I’ve been back to the clinic many times since but have never seen him again.

  • My mother had unexpectedly died 2 weeks before my 42nd. My H dropped the ILYBINILWY bomb 10 months later on the way home from the airport after we scattered her ashes in Maui. 2 months later, I was leaving to take a trip to Australia with a friend, since H canceled at bomb drop. It was the day before my 43rd birthday. H came to pick up our dog as he would be watching him while I was gone. The day before, H was insistent that I sign a waiver of service before I left (I was to be gone 12 days). I told him that I would try, but the doc needed to be notorized and I wasn’t sure if I could get it done before I left (I was working until 3 am that week to clear my desk).

    I had just handed my scumbag the notorized waiver of service when a minute later, the door bell rings. I thought the airport driver had arrived early. The man asked me my name, I asked him if he was the airport driver and he said: “No, I’m an officer of the court. I have a summons for you.” I must have crumpled, like someone punched me in the stomach. The guy smirked and said: “Oh, is this a surprise?”. I ran into the house and experienced my only episode of rage in my life. I threw the two pages of the summons at H (he had included that in his later RO against me) and followed him out to his car screaming “Go back to your fucking whore, I know you have one!” (he also included that I yelled obscenities at him in front of our neighbors in his RO, but left out the part about the whore).

    Two hours later, I was on a plane to LA to meet my friend and catch my transpac. A gentleman seated next to me noticed I was sobbing. He asked if I was ok, and I unloaded. He validated my feelings as he had previously experienced a divorce and had gone on to happiness later in life. He gave me his noise cancelling earphones and DJ’d some “Toto” songs for me. When the flight landed, he gave me a hug. He was an absolute angel to someone that must have looked like a snot-soaked wing nut. It makes me cry to this day how someone I didn’t know was more compassionate to me than someone I had spent 18 years with.

    • I’m sorry you had to go through all that awfulness. There’s something about kind strangers on an airplane that can really restore your faith in humanity. And DJ’ing some songs just for you? I love it! What a kind and compassionate soul.

  • Everyone’s stories are touching me so much today. My story happened out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. A woman named Amy started a small business called “Garden Girls” to care for people’s gardens – weed, prune, plant etc. She only hires women and the girls happen to be quite attractive. I loved supporting her business and they worked for me for 3 years, but when I found out about cheater X and his porn habit, webcam life I did have a hard time having the girls here knowing that he was watching them in a sexual way. But despite the trigger, I wanted to support her and just let them come and tried to deal with my emotions. So cheater X moved out and he wanted to hire the Garden Girls to come to his little garden (solely for the purpose of perving on them I’m sure). Much to my surprise, Amy called me and told me that Cheater X had called her office manager for a consult and she wanted to check with me to see if I was OK with it. She said her loyalty lay with me and she would not work for him if it upset me. I wasn’t expecting anyone to turn down money/business to spare my feelings and I got pretty teary. She said that ethical matters were very important to her and she wanted to be loyal to her good customers and was happy to walk away from him. She has more integrity in her little finger than Cheater X has in his whole body and she treated me more kindly and respectfully than he ever did. It meant so much. So many good people out there!

  • I have to give a shout out to my colleagues and the job I have. I am so fortunate to be responsible for 28 people with different difficulties; all from bipolar disorder to retardation to down´s syndrome.
    When I was blindsided and barely had the will to live, everyone rallied around me for months, getting me coffee, being there for me. The love and kindness of these people that really know what it´s like to suffer was my saving grace.
    My employers gave me allowance to take time off and come in later if needed (with pay).
    They came to get me for work and drove me home to make sure I was in a place I felt loved.
    They made me feel loved, included, and did all they could for me.
    Now that I´m back on track, I try every day to give them all special one on one attention, and make sure they all know how much they all mean to me.
    The kindness and just plain goodness of all their hearts gave me new faith in the human race, and new faith in myself, and my worth.

  • Unbelievably, but yes. By total strangers. In those stages of grief, I felt validated. I felt some comfort. It helped me pull myself together and walk straight. But that was a year ago.

    I did it again this year. And I totally see it as vomiting. I overshared with 2 total strangers. They listened as I stole the conversation. With strangers, you don’t know with whom you’re talking to. One admitted she deserves some karma payback. But she did say the right things. She said her friend (!) was involved with a married man and that her friend broke up with him, telling him, he should be grateful for the heaven of family he has.
    Perhaps these encounters do hold meaning. I’m sure she was able to see the other side, the wife and mother’s grief, the cost of such a double life.
    Weird enough, after she listened to me and even hugged me, I didn’t feel like judging her. I realised she has her own issues and I knew she learned some lesson there and then. Perhaps she won’t make herself an OW again (her friend!)

    And what I learned is that I must stop oversharing. I must contain this whole experience in a phrase or 2. For my own benefit. Reliving that sad movie of my life brought me a step back from my recovery. And I cannot afford to walk back, I must move on, as my son depends on me. I can’t afford a breakdown. I must look ahead and prepare myself to walk forward. It’s been a terrible experience, one which I managed awesomely well! Now all I have to do is thrive!

  • I remember being at my Dad’s wake, who died unexpectedly, and my ex being off with her affair partner whilst I was at the wake and funeral.

    I remember wanted to spill the slop bucket of pain but having to be strong for my three kids. I swallowed the slop buckets of pain and kept it inside.

    • Aw man that sucks. My story is similar but slightly different. Big dday was a week before my dad died. Cheater wife was there with me, but mostly to look good for herself not to support me. It’s all about them. I feel denied the need to grieve my dad’s death because I was totally sucked down the sewer of her betrayal.

      Anyway, Rick, I’m really sorry for you. Some day, some way please find the ability to let those slop buckets of pain come up and out. I know, that’s a heavy burden to carry. God bless.

  • Not even a week after d-day I was at the gas station that I frequent and for some reason, the pump would not take my debit card. My response was to mournfully mutter to myself on the verge of the then too common tears
    From around the pump island stepped a tiny gray haired woman. She may have been 60 or 80 and you could tell life had been very hard on her little body. I live in the heart of Appalachia and this woman was the embodiment of the grit of these mountains.

    “You in trouble?” she asked.

    Emotional eruption. My mouth could hardly keep up with the words that poured out of me. To this day I have no idea just what I said but it was a long and anguished diatribe filled with colorful commentary about both my ex and his girlfriend and my unspeakable heartache.

    She didn’t even flinch, looked me dead in the eye and responded, “They can surely be bastards, baby. Bastards. Bastards. Bastards. Now you go on and ask Jesus to bring you a good man. Do you need a cigarette, baby?”

    I thanked her but told her that I did not smoke. With that, she reached out and grabbed me. She hugged me with such strength and such warmth that I felt completely protected and absolutely recharged.

    The town I live in is very very small and I know many of its residents. I’ve looked for my little rugged angel for five years and have never seen her again

    • What a fabulous story, Paula.

      Just having someone listen or take your side feels wonderful.

      I remember the morning following the night the ex told me he wanted a divorce and that he’d been dating some whore behind my back. The first person I saw was my team lead. Of course, when she said Good Morning I just started boo hooing. She took me to a conference room and asked what was wrong. I told her and when I finished she just had one word. “Fucker!!”

      I think that was the best thing anyone said to me at that time. It was just do perfect. My dear friend has passed on to the next world since then, but I often think of her and her reaction that day. Ex had just better be glad he wasn’t around that morning. I think she would have kicked his ass for me, lol. He sure deserved it.

    • Great story, and beautifully told. I felt like I was right next to you at the gas pump.

  • I was reading Leave a Cheater on a plane. The woman next to me said, “oh, I hope you’re reading that for school or something?” — “No, afraid not,” I responded.

    Turns out she and the cheater were from the same small rural town of 10k people that was 2000mi away. What a small world.

    I shared, but not overshared, because I didn’t want to get into that small town drama stuff…she told me that whatever he did it was his own messed up perspective of right and wrong and that she hoped that I was going to have a fun weekend escape. I did.

  • I am crying and I’ve only read through a third of the responses.

    I was the blubbering mess variety for a loooong time. I told anybody who would listen and so many people gave me indicators that they had been through the same thing.

    I first stranger I blabbed to was a bank employees. It was a Sunday after my D-Day and there was a branch of my bank at the grocery store that is open about 4 hours on Sunday. So while I was doing the weekly shopping I stopped in to open up my own personal account so I could start to protect myself. At this point I was still hoping for reconciliation, I hadn’t told my sisters, only a couple friends in town as soon as I found out and needed to cry.

    Anyway, I’m a mess at the grocery store. Haven’t slept or showered in 2 days. Puffy raw eyes. I couldn’t think straight, I didn’t even know what I needed. But she listened to me and got me some accounts and checks and a new debit card and line of credit. She offered some financial advice. Then at the end of the interaction she kind of got quiet and I could tell she was probably breaking bank protocol but she told me the same thing happened to her and it was going to work out. She said it seems hard to imagine him not being in your life, but you’ll adjust and manage and one day you’ll feel happy again. She said that the fact that I was already there at the bank taking care of things was a sign of how together I really was. Keep using your brain and you’ll pull through. I don’t think I stopped crying for another few weeks but I do remember her in that moment and feeling a little less alone.

  • Strangers are wonderful. They offer a kind word and don’t judge.

    A divorced friend offered this piece of advice to me early on: remember that it really does take a village. Don’t put up a shield. If you need help for you or your kids, just ask someone. People want to help.


  • All the stories and I’m all misty. (sniff, sniff)

    The stranger that was kind to me? The hard-bitten police sargent at the city run animal shelter. I went in to get the dog’s license renewed after my divorce and asked to have the record updated to remove ex’s name. Sargent Crusty (almost) smiled, snorted in derision and said, “Of course you want that bastard’s name off the license. Bet the dog didn’t even like him either.” You could’ve knocked me over with a feather – the dog *detested* ex – and she totally called it.

    • Yep. Animals are smarter than us, they listen to their gut feeling!

      Babies too…

  • There is another shout out I’d like to make… I don’t have his name and I won’t name the company… but I had put Spyware on Mr. Sparkles computer way back in 2009 and hit the mother load. Within 24 hours I had his email passwords and email access and discovered all the nasty shit he was doing. Let’s call that D-day #1.

    Fast forward to 2014 and I’m scrambling to “prove” that all of the atrocious emails that I have copies of and examples of his multiple personal ads were placed PRIOR to my installing the software. I found the name of the company on the bottom of one copy and called their Customer Service hotline. The company had actually been sold – but he thought that he might be able to go back in the records from EIGHT YEARS ago and find my purchase receipt.

    It took a while and a few email exchanges filled with my emotional vomit, but he eventually found it. He wanted me to nail Mr. Sparkles as much as I did.

    I didn’t end up needing it for court… but that single piece of paper gave me the validation I needed to KNOW that I wasn’t crazy… I had been gaslighted. It is my “trust that he sucks” charm whenever I get that twitchy fog coming on that he is somehow better for the new appliance. NOPE.

  • The summer after my divorce–my kids were with XW for two weeks, so I was alone for the first extended time–I flew to Europe myself, where I’d planned to go someday with XW. En route from one Swedish city to another I sat on a plane next to a German woman traveling with her fiancé and their small children. She was so sweet and I found myself completely unburdening myself to her. By the end of my tale of woe she was in tears. In another situation or with someone I knew, I would not have been so communicative and I probably would’ve been mortified. But this woman was so sensitive, so empathetic, and–I believe–so genuinely interested. I will never forget her and loved a stranger for a brief flight.

  • I’m just going to copy/paste a story from my personal blog ( concerning exactly this sort of situation. Keep in mind that although I’m only 5’8″ tall, I’m a bearded, stocky, muscular Iraq war veteran with a chronic case of resting asshole face. In short, I’m not diminutive, and don’t present as easily approachable to most.

    “So, a few weeks ago, I attended the Pride festivities by myself. It proved more emotionally difficult than I had imagined, in part because I’d have much rather attended the parade with the girls, but E had them that day. After the parade, I walked through the festival for a few hours. It was a good time, but with the political nature of LGBTQ rights at this time, I couldn’t help but pay a lot of attention to the family, love, and acceptance aspects at play. While it was very warming to see such large and significant expressions of these things, it was also hard not to personalize that to my current situation. It is remarkable how lonely you can sometimes feel while surrounded by a sea of people.

    After a while, I had to leave, and walked the few blocks east to the quiet parking lot where I had parked my scooter. The stresses of life, of my week, of missing my children, and more caught up to me, and as I got to my vehicle I just started to cry. Not sobbing, but not sniffling, just weeping. This is something that I’m fairly accustomed to as of late, but it’s always difficult and makes me feel exposed, vulnerable, and insecure on those (mostly rare) occasions when it happens in a public place around strangers. This man, roughly around my age, and his much older female friend were doing shots in the parking lot about 40 feet away, and upon seeing me bent over the scooter wiping tears from my eyes, he asked if I was alright. I said “I’m not sure” and they started walking toward me. He approached, this short, balding, freckled, chubby gay man wearing a tank top a size too small, and said “hey sexy, are you gonna be ok? Do you need a hug?” I told him that I was going through a divorce, and I just really missed my daughters and family today, and all of the festivities, while amazing and encouraging, just brought all of those issues to the forefront. And then I told him I’d really like a hug.

    And then I sobbed. On a flamboyantly gay stranger’s shoulder. In an empty parking lot. While receiving one of the best hugs I’ve ever had. For about 30 seconds. And it was great.

    After thanking him, and he telling me “cutie-pie, you’re gonna be alright,” I went on my way. That was it. A couple minutes of interaction from this stranger completely changed my day.

    Thank you, gay angel. I should have gotten your name so I could have sent you a proper token of appreciation. I hope for society’s sake you’re out there hugging people happy every day.”

    • CCT, your story was very touching. It warmed my heart and reminded me of all the fabulous people who helped me through my tormented first year. I am giving you a hug (from a 5′, almost 60 year old woman) from the bottom of my heart! May you find peace and love again.

  • Such a great post Chump Lady!

    I recall the kindness of strangers in the grocery store. It was something very simple – like getting something down from the shelf & letting me go ahead of them in the line – but it felt extraordinary to me. (At the time, a family member had just died and my EX had left.) After those experiences, I always remember that we have no way of knowing what hardships someone is going through in their life and that a random act of kindness may go a long way.

  • After learning of the lying, infidelity, and the other woman , I pulled myself together to take my car for an inspection almost the next day.

    While sitting in the waiting room of the auto repair shop, I started to get misty eyed and probably looked all sorts of awful.

    An older man in cowboy boots and a big belt buckle (lived in Texas at the time) asked me what was wrong. I simply said I was going to be getting a divorce.

    Without hesitation he said “the first divorce is always the hardest. They get easier after that.”

    Didn’t make me feel better but made me laugh. Which was probably what I needed, but I still think he was serious about the implied multiple divorces – lol.

  • I spilled to a bare acquaintance who used to pop in at the info centre where I volunteer whenever she got back into the area (she’s a seasonal worker who’d even worked on the farm for us a couple of days once). “He’s a fuckwit! Fuck, I used to like him, I thought he was ok! What a fuckwit! How could he do this to you, and you’re so nice!” and the swearing continued for a while. Then she gave me a huge hug and told me I would be much better off without him and I would do better on the farm on my own.
    Cherish these hugs!

  • I discovered kindness from a lot of businesses. When the moving company wanted to go to the house and give an estimate, I simply said, that’s not possible.” Nothing more. She said, “Oh My God, you have one of those” and started crying. We cried together and she also arranged a discount. I was unable to go back and get the internet and cable equipment and they waved the fee and charges from the point I left. Can you tell everything was in my name. I did have to divvy up to get the power in his name. I’m sure they get this a lot but its nice to to get a sympathetic ear and support when you’re at rock bottom.
    If I could accept the generous offers of yard help from my neighbors, that would be real progress. I don’t think people realize how hard it is for some people to accept help especially if you’ve really been alone in the relationship and was responsible for everything.

  • I just started my new job last week and I keep reminding myself “dont overshare, dont overshare”, but then they know from my CV that I lived abroad for 10 yrs and they know I am single mom because they adjusted their schedules so I could arrange daycare (super nice)… so on like my third day we are doing a field trip and the one girl in the car is like trying to figure out why I moved back (she asked politely and said if you dont mind me asking) so I just went like “oh my xhusband cheated while I was pregnant and he has various addictions, I might aswell tell you if not you would just keep wondering” *silence in the car* then my other coworker that was also there was visually emotional for me and shocked, he felt so bad for me I think and to see that was kind of nice but then I felt guilty the rest of the day like damn I overshared on my first day LOL

    • I am going to start a new life….in a new state when the sale of my house closes. I have been thinking about what to say to potential employers. Should I tell them the truth? Should I be stoic and and pretend that my husband’s hot sexy, adulterous internet activities have not affected me? What to say? Why I am moving far away from the pervert/liar who destroyed my life? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      • your exhole’s activities were neither hot nor sexy—they were driven by self-loathing and shame. Please don’t take that on yourself, and nobody you meet going forward is owed any explanations—but if you feel the time is right, go for it!

  • first week i mean…

    and today my neighbours touched up the hedge which was kind of blocking the way to my frontdoor of my home, which isnt even connected to their yard, they just helped me and i hadnt even asked 🙂

    and ofcourse all of you here and on the message board.

  • One week after he told me that the “I don’t love you, and I love her” – the night he told me, it didn’t quiet click in for some reason. But the next day, I went to a huge mall with my daughter (11yrs old), she went to get a snack, I sat down waiting for her, and I completely lost it right there in the middle of the mall – a few strangers stopped by and asked if I was OK – my poor girl didn’t know what was wrong with me – I just blurted out something about Dad loving Skank – and she said of course he does she our friend. Uhrr hate that did that to her.. I remember not being able to control my emotions, my crying – it would just come out!!

    But in this journey – I have encountered so many, beautiful positive people, some strangers, some new friends. I have formed a true friendship with 3 other amazing divorced ladies (3 out of 4 with infidelity). I have re-established my relationship with my extended family, whom EX was always putting down. They in-fact got together and GAVE me the money to hire an attorney. I am now completely surrounded by loving and positive people.

  • Every spring I shop at a local family owned garden center. On the first visit there after dday the owner asked how I’d been. I sloppily blurted out that my husban cheated. He then selected a pretty perennial & insisted that I take it as a gift. It blooms every summer & gives me a smile when I look at it and remember that a relative stranger cared about me.

    • Real men….know that cheaters suck. That’s what I have learned.

  • My eyes are leaking terribly from the main article and all the readers’ comments. The strangers who showed up from nowhere to comfort and aid me (during joblessness, a broken heart x too many times, FOO insanity, broken down car) truly seem like heaven-sent angels. I’ve had a long, hard life. I’m not religious but these random “miracles” show me there is Something Here. They appear for a brief moment in my life – like a blip – and then I never see them again.

    I’ve comforted and assisted friends, family and strangers in the past .. and it sure is very wonderful to receive the same in return, especially from total strangers, if never from some of my old toxic circle of non-reciprocating takers.

    This is one of the BEST topic threads ever, CL. Thank you and CN for sharing your stories.

  • Kind strangers? EVERYONE at Chump Nation.

    Not exactly strangers, but the guys at the gas station and the cashiers at the supermarket all noticed STBXH disappeared and they take extra good care of me and my car.

    Just to be mean, STBXH purposely made a check bounce to pay my scorpion exterminator service, I had to explain and the people were disgusted with ex and super nice about giving me extra time.

    Great post today.

  • Today would have been my 32nd wedding anniversary. I spent the day at a spa…..telling perfect strangers about my husband’s lies, deception and infidelity. They were kind and supportive. More so than my husband or his creepy ass family ever were.

    On this date last year….I sat across from my husband in a 5 star restaurant …..wishing he was dead and dropping the insurance money off on the doorstep. (I knew he was up to his neck in porn/webcam hoes and anonymous hook ups from the internet). I may have “played dumb”- but I wasn’t dumb.

    I had a better time this anniversary with strangers than I did with my husband. If that says anything at all.

  • I would appreciate any input on explaining to potential employers…..why I moved far and away from the pervert who destroyed my life. What is the best thing to say?

    • Leaving The Crap: When I got a job after cheater ran off with “dog park girl”, I had been working part time. I didn’t know what to say, why I was not getting back into an old field of work, wanting full time. I simply said that “it was time for a change”. You can also say you have always wanted to live in “State” and the time was right for a move.

      It was months before anyone at my new job found out what really happened.

      • …and when I overshared at that job, which I still have, they were supportive and my new boss said, “wow, you dodged a bullet on that one! Good for you!”

  • I love this column so much! I overshared to so many when I left my NarcEx. It still happens albeit less frequently.

    After a year and half out I just bought a little house for me and my son, its tiny and imperfect which is a-ok with me! A few weeks ago, I found out the landlords of my rental needed me out 2 months earlier than expected so I was frantically trying to fix up this house…that needed everything. On moving day with a 102 degree fever, while I was moving our worldly goods, my plumber was telling me there were problems and he was going to charge me 10x more than expected, the sump-pump dude was in my basement telling me the existing drain system would need a 1k upgrade to function properly, my landlords painter (who I had thrown $50 at to help me move) was asking if I wanted to go find secret patches of blueberries with him…all of this culminated in the basement when my grandfatherly electrician was trying to tell me some bandit squirrels had chewed some wiring… and I just lost it, straight up crocodile tears, hiccups…the works. Sputtering incoherently about blueberries sump pumps my ex etc…He looked at me and literally hugged me, told me everything was going to me ok, comforted me, counciled me, and stood with me till I could regain my composure. I will literally never forget his kindness and countless others who have lamplighted my way.

  • I moved out about a week after DDay (Thursday before Easter) into a random AirBnB near the college where I teach. Had no idea what I was in for–my first experience staying in a complete stranger’s home, and it would be for over two weeks while waiting for my spot at a rooming house to open.

    This angel of a host provided every beautiful home-cooked meal, including wine and beer and snacks to take with me, and we had many conversations about politics and mentoring and careers and divorce. She was my rock when I felt I had nothing solid in my life. Other AirBnB-ers came and went during my stay. I ended up talking about relationships for 3 hours one morning before my first trip back to my home (to see the cats) with a 22-year-old student who came to stay in another space in the house, completely breaking down on her. She just hugged me. The lady who runs the rooming house I now live in also told me her story and hugged me when I signed the lease. It’s amazing how understanding people are.

    • I’m still firmly in the word-vomit and unpredictable crying phase. I keep thinking how much easier it would be to just move back in and pretend nothing ever happened. Is this something to just wait out?

      • It would definitely not be easier to go back. It would increase and prolong your suffering.

        This step you’ve taken is scary, and there are plenty of scary things yet to come. But it gets better–you can’t even believe how much better. Stay the course, and keep posting. There’s a forum here which is extremely helpful. It’s really early days for you, and it sounds like you could use the support. Hugs to you!

  • In August 2014, my then-husband and I went to a car dealership to trade in our 20-year-old truck for a brand new car, made possible by an inheritance I received from the death of my mother. On the way to the dealership, I debated with myself as to whether I should put his name on the title, as he had been extremely abusive to me that year. I opened up a separate savings and checking account to handle my inheritance money, because I didn’t feel comfortable using our joint account and I planned to pay cash for the car. I did not know it at the time, but he was having an affair with OW. I would not find this out until much later. I was trying to save a marriage to an abusive man who had told me he didn’t love me, didn’t want to have sex with me and that he was just using me for my money. I tried very hard to make this marriage work by being loving to him and buying him whatever he wanted. I did stand up to him regarding the abuse, basically by just trying to talk to him about why he should not be abusive to me and pleading with him to stop the abuse.

    Once we were at the dealership on that hot August day and had told the saleswoman what car we wanted, an eerie cold wind blew threw the dealership. My then-husband said he thought it might have been the spirit of my mother, a narcissist who had never liked him. When the saleswoman asked whose name to put on the title first, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her to exclude him so I told her to put his name first.

    The next day we went to the auto insurance agency to purchase coverage for the new car and drop it on the old truck. This was the same agency who had insured my then-husband from the time he was a teen-ager. The group of women who worked at the auto insurance agency welcomed us warmly. They made a point of telling us that they liked when we came to the agency in person because they all liked to gather around the front window to watch my then-husband open the door for me when I got in and out of the vehicle. They made a big deal of what a chivalrous gentleman he was and how they didn’t see men like that anymore.

    Well, fast forward 7 months. The new car seat has been damaged by what can only be described as sex! And it wasn’t me and him!! I was quite shocked when I saw it!! He was out in 12 days!! He gaslighted like his life depended on it but was not successful. I had to go back to that insurance agency to let them know that we were separated, I had the car, and I needed an insurance card in my name. The only one I had was in his name. The women who worked there were SHOCKED! Why were we divorcing? What did that chivalrous gentleman do? I told them, “Just imagine the worst thing a husband could do. He did it.” They told me how sorry they were and offered me chocolate.

  • My mortgage broker had just been through her own hell. We exchanged stories, realizing that both of us had been left by a husband who had become disabled and somehow couldn’t deal with his wife taking care of them. An hour of chatting and sobbing later, we eventually got around to dealing with refinancing the mortgage for the divorce.

  • When I called to cancel the joint credit card and was asked why I was cancelling I said “divorce”. The guy on the other end of the line said “You are not alone, I know it must be tough now, but it will get easier”.

    Likewise when I was calling the references for the mediator service to see if they were any good adn was told by one of the respondents, ” I know it is tough now, but it will get easier later”.

    The real estate guy who came to appraise the house also gave me a pep talk before he left having been divorced himself a couple of years earlier.

    None of these people knew the details of the divorce, but they all knew I was hurting and offered comfort without needing to know the details.

    Validation that was so important for me came from the people who had known us as a couple for a long time. There were a number of people including long term couple friends, a young lady who had nannied for us for 7 years, and members of STBXs family all told me that I had been a good wife and that they had noticed all of the things I had done to be a good wife and make his life more comfortable. That was huge.

  • I completely lost it last night in front of my daughters aged 6 and 9. I retreated to the bedroom halfway through dinner and sobbed for about half an hour. Obviously my daughters aren’t strangers, but they’re not the ones I expect to comfort me through this and I’ve managed to hold it together around them so far. They took turns hugging me and cleaning up the dishes and the entire kitchen (for better or worse) and then brought me teddy bears with little notes attached saying they loved me.

    • Chompingchump,
      Your daughters are beautiful!
      They gave you their hearts in their teddy bears!
      I hope today is a better day for you.❤️

  • The younger me dealt with grief by denying it. Covering it up with work. Came back to bite me. Years later, I hadn’t moved on, in part, because I hadn’t grieved fully. It just came back in wave after unfinished wave. ( I think there is a reason why some cultures have very demonstrative, wailing grief. I think it provides encouragement for them to work through those emotions instead of burying them).

    So, after D-day, I did grief Miranda Lambert-This Ain’t Your Mama’s Broken Heart style. That song ran through my head and made me laugh, even as I let myself/made myself fully experience that pain. Do it now or do it (again and again) later. Did it and am done with it.

  • A bit of an aside but I often read posts from chumps who lament that they are fat or have put on weight since DDay. Hugs from kind strangers: big, fat, warm hearted people give the best hugs. It’s so comforting and reassuring to be taken to someone’s bosom and enveloped in their caring arms for a few seconds when you feel like shit. Remember that when you worry about your weight.

  • Wow. Took me all day to read. and so many touching stories. One of many kindnesses that continues to this day is my workout partner. I’m very liberal she’s very conservative. The day I had ‘evidence’ I cancelled our workout and we went to breakfast. I thrust the evidence in her hand. When she met my eyes she cried for me. For over a year she listened to me rant and race, revenge fantasies, my throwing up. The second year she put up with my crazy dating stories. She remembers my long silences and tears. Every step of the way she’s been there. Moving furniture, packing his shit. Even her mother has heard my story of woe. She’s never judged my decisions, she’s seen me at my worst and as I move forward. We aren’t in the same social circle in our town. Just workout partners and now friends.

  • Thanks to CL/CN, I knew I would lose people permanently after Dday (inlaws, Switzerland friends) so I wanted to say thank you and goodbye to everyone I knew would be on that list, to thank them for being part of my life for a time. So I really wanted to meet with my Switzerland friend’s mother, in whose home I had stayed while visiting her daughter on the East Coast several times over the years. I always liked her and honestly felt a little sorry for her since I knew she suffered from depression (she used to “run away from home” to a secluded cabin in Maine when it all got too heavy) and her family was mostly in denial about it all. — Anyway, my expectations were low, since I had just been chumped by XH, then told to “get over it” by our best friends, her very own daughter. But she heard my story and replied, shocked, “How could he make such a unilateral decision?” and I could have wept with gratitude. She followed up with “Well, you know, he never was a very deep person,” in a way that sounded dismissive of him (rather than forgiving).

    On a lighter note, I had a favorite client at work who I admittedly didn’t know very well personally. She was (is) a very bright and bouncy and happy person, but I told her for some reason one day when she came in to the clinic, and in response her jaw dropped and she said simply, “Motherfucker!” — A whoop of laughter as that was EXACTLY how I was feeling, but to hear it from (as my mother used to say) “someone who wouldn’t say shit if she had a mouthful!” was just a welcome delight.

  • Year one of bombed out marriage a mother from my son’s school who I vaguely knew but not well, invited the four of us to her holiday home in Europe. We didn’t go, but I was surprised to be invited and know she did it as she felt sorry for me.
    She has a great job, is wealthy and works very long hours and I was surprised to even be on her radar.
    I also had a lovely south African come and do a day’s work at the house. He realised I was on my own and refused to charge me. Just a lovely guy.
    Other people who I thought would be supportive , have been flaky. I think terrified it may happen to them, a virus they might catch. The virulent cheating arsehole virus.There are also the ” two sides to every marriage” people. If they say that, and they feel they do everything right, their husbands will never cheat. Right.
    Support comes from empathetic people, and you only find out who has empathy in a crisis.
    This experience changes you forever. I would never walk past anybody now who looks upset. It may seem embarrassing but sometimes the comfort of strangers is crucial.

    • Oh yeah that reminds me. A local teenager unexpected helped us shovel our side walk (we live on a corner) after the first snow of the season shortly after STBX moved out. She claimed she was just doing it to put off working on a book report but I think she was really just being kind.

  • shortly after he went I had to go to the doctor’s office, testing for infection. Had never met the doc before but she was so nice to me, that I left the building sobbing, she’d been so kind. So many people let me vomit my story all over them, an sob my heart out. Someone sent me a bunch of flowers, more than he’d ever done. The estate agents I had to value the house were so kind, and because divorce was taking so long had to get an update, third time one of them offered to go round and knock some sense into him.
    Now for various reasons his mobile phone contract was in my name [he’d have sent me to get his hair cut if he could have unscrewed his head] and although I know I ought to have just cancelled it, I feared his vengence, although he could very easily have got a much better deal and transferred the number. A guy from the company rang up to try and get me to upgrade the contract, I explained the situation and he said no way should I be paying that, get him to sort himself out, then told me that his father had gone off with another woman and his mother was so much better off without him, and do everything I could to get rid of him as soon as possible> In the end how I got him to get a contract of his own was by accident. One of the bills was way way higher than it had ever been and I looked at it to see if it was to his mother, she and his father were suffering ill health and one of his whinges was that she kept ringing him at work cos she had a problem. I’d suggested that he got a new contract with plenty of talk minutes and rang her from the train every morning and then she wouldn’t need to ring him up with an urgent problem, or if she did ring he’d know it was urgent. And she would get to talk to him every day, which was probably more what she wanted. No, you’re not the boss of me, don’t try and solve my problems yada yada. Anyway this huge bill, I downloaded the bill, and I emailed him saying did he know he’d rung up this huge bill, I’d looked to see if there was anything wrong, but didn’t know what the numbers were, would he please check it. I said all I know is that you haven’t been ringing your parents, so that is good that there is nothing new wrong with them. Bam, instantly – you’ve been looking at my phone records, you’ve been snooping, I’m going to get my own contract – which he did. Why didn’t I think of that before, it was not unreasonable for me to look at the records for a contract in my name, and he had been quite happy to use his continued access to the joint bank account to monitor my spending, and work out a spreadsheet of what I’d spent money on complaining when there was a cheque or a paypal payment as he didn’t know what it was for. Which spreadsheet he put triumphantly on the table at our first mediation session, only to be told by the mediator that it was irrelevant and not how things happened. She was kind to me and held him to account when he behaved like a spoilt 3 year old

  • *Purposely plagiarizing Chump Lady*

    I loved this passage.

    “I think it’s our job as humans to get it. As I’ve written about being chumped before, the experience changes you if you let it. The pain will crack open your heart, but with that pain comes the ability to walk into other people’s cracked open hearts. After this grief, you will see things in Technicolor. You’ll be grateful for the kindness of strangers, and when you recover, you will be that stranger who comforts, who won’t look away on the elevator, but will say “Hey, I get it” as you both fumble awkwardly for tissues.”

    This experience has most certainly changed me. I was closed off from a lot of people in my life. Work,home and friends. I realized I too kept relationships superficial. I crave authentic interactions now and pursue as much as I can. I’ve always been a good listener but I never really let people in. I’m working on changing that.

  • I can’t recall any strangers’ kindnesses. Because any online friends haven’t seemed like strangers.

    But I do recall a moment. An old friend whom I went to school with – she had moved to the UK and lived abroad for two decades – got back in touch. She had flatted with the OW when we were young. They were really good friends. Caught ‘my’ OW cheating on her boyfriend way back then. She told the boyfriend all about it. My hero. Anyway, that boyfriend became my truly beloved partner of 29 years, father of our three kids, my best mate, someone I really admired, felt deeply connected with, loved very deeply, and felt all of that reciprocated. We were such a great couple. Once.

    Anyway. This friend got back in touch. I messily spilled the story a few months later. Felt bad, emotionally vomiting on her. She was delightful, and sent a lot of support. Fast forward two years. She moved home to our country, and lives in a city three hours from me. We catch up regularly.

    Last Christmas she was out shopping. In our largest city (where she lives, but so does the OW, on the other side of the city.) She frantically messaged me. Our previous mutual friend, the OW, had just walked into the design store she was in looking for new lighting for her house reno. She ran out of the store and messaged me. Horrified she would be seen. I asked why. She messaged back that she just. Could. Not. Abide. Women. Who. Go. After. Men. Who. Were. Already. Partnered. And that she was so damn furious on my behalf that the OW got to carry on her life without any recriminations, when I had lost so much at her hands. (And his, yeah, we get that.) She was worried she would smack her in public. Her ‘old friend.’ The difference was, HE was sorry. SHE was just a maggot who stalked us for two more years as ‘we’ tried desperately to do the work he needed to do to untangle the shit he had uncovered about himself as a result of him fucking ‘our friend.’

    I read her message. Years out from D-day. And wept huge, wet, shaky tears. No one has shown me that loyalty. No one.

    So, no kindness of strangers. But remote kindness in the form of oh-so-rare loyalty, when everyone else always told me to just get over it. As my life fell apart. As my heart lay bleeding on the floor.

    I took a giant leap forward in my healing that day.

    • horsercumin, you always hear about people cheating with exes, and a bunch of whorseshit about true love, etc but I really think it’s just Low Hanging Fruit Syndrome.

      Your ex’s affair partner is a known cheater. He knew she would be in for fucking on the sly. Same story with the whore my ex hooked up with. She would fuck anything that moved. Lol, whores don’t change their spots.

      • Thanks Anita. Totally. One of my first reactions was, “oh, holy shit! Did I walk in and interrupt their (cough) destiny? Were they ‘meant to be together?'” He soon put that to rights, saying just what you did here. “Nope. No way. She was just there, when I was having a fucking selfish and stupid breakdown. I knew she wouldn’t say no, what about my friend, horses.”

        Low hanging fruit indeed. That fell and splattered all over my life, rotting and permeating the atmosphere with her diseased body and scorched earth policy.

        You can’t remove the stench. Even with him mopping up, Febreezing and building new structures all around me. I had a unicorn, but you never get what you worked for and deserve once they shit on your love story. And then you’re labelled an unforgiving bitch by everyone else.

  • I had SO many wonderful people be so amazingly kind. One interesting thing was, my landlord, who I always thought was kind of a no personality, not very friendly hard nose type, was SO nice and wanted to help any way he could. It brought out the nice guy in him. He is a solid married guy, and I think he was literally disgusted by my ex cheating on me.

  • Lots of wonderful stories, but I’ll just add this self-indulgent debbie-downer:

    My cheater possessed amazing on-demand skills of charm and “empathy” and could have been the stranger in many of these stories. But at home, a completely different person who just used and consumed and took and expected without giving anything back.

  • This posted on THE DAY I found out tithe ex moved in the can of ALPO and her 3 kids. It was on the heels of my aunt dying who was like my second mom.

    I cried for a week at work.

  • I felt like I was emotionally dumping my bucket all week long, everywhere. No one helped me, but they did leave me alone… and that was really ok too.

  • just seeing this article today 6/5/2018

    It was written about a day after I found out about the cheating. I wouldn’t find Chump book for another 3 months. Another month for this website. A year to find this article. Would have been helpful back then. I was a mess. Cried inside home depot and the parking lot of a restaraunt- random break downs from the inner depths of me. These were two of many to come over the months.

    I am now 1 year later….and determined to survive.

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