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What makes you resilient?

Here’s something I bet you haven’t thought much about — your own resiliency. When I meet chumps in real life, and they tell me their crazy How I Got Chumped stories, it’s notable how they downplay their own heroism. They’ll share the humiliating details, but they’ll brush away their mightiness. Oh, what else could I do? I had no choice.

Well, you’re not dead for starters. You’re not shooting up in an alley somewhere. You didn’t succumb to escapism like your cheater by fucking, out-running, or spending the pain away.

You showed up for work. You fed your kids. You got up off that floor.

Think about that. Something keeps you going. Now, I’m sure many of you will object to this assignment and tell me how crappy you feel, and how far you fall from the mark. I’m not having that. Today’s assignment is similar to a “tell me how you’re mighty” post, but goes a bit deeper. When you were getting up off that floor, you didn’t have the time and distance of new accomplishments and a new life. What was your inner script? What did you tell yourself? I’ll be goddamned if I let this break me? Today is a good day for living? My progress reports are due?

What makes you resilient?

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.
  • Im resilient by the Grace of God (a different kind than the cheater suggested in his book review…this is REAL Grace) and the fact that I decided that he already stole enough of my life, Im not going to let him ruin any more of it.

    • I like to look for moments that would never have happened if my life were still intertwined with Major Cheaterpants …I stop, look around, feel the moment and revel in it. (I’ve been seen dancing alone in my yard.)

      • I’m hearing you. I dance around the house to the main stream dance music he hates and is too loud.

      • I am resilient because my parents taught me to problem-solve and to look at a situation and see humor when possible. My sense of humor, it saved my life when I was getting up off that floor. It saved me while I lived through over decade of mind-fakery and abuse. I had to dig deep, for my son. I have managed to get us both out of a deep hole and better off. No matter how hard the storm, I always looked for the rainbow to follow and for how I could make the most of a situation.

    • This is my first time on this site and I’m not terribly tech savvy I don’t know how to post a comment can someone explain to this chump. Thanks

      • You posted the comment Lyndaloo, do it again, and welcome

        Easiest to login at top of page, otherwise just enter a name and email address under your comment, click submit

      • Thanks Datdamwuf!
        I’m 72 years old married for almost 40 years that’s right 40. Three months ago, my cheater told me he wanted a divorce, he was in love with a women from his bridge club! This was not his first time he tried this 20 years ago but the women he was in love with wasn’t interested. It was all a fantasy, he was devastated, I actually felt sorry for him, I thought going through a mid life crisis so forgave him and took him back. Now I realize he’s been fantasizing about romantic liaison for years. He thinks it’s not cheating because he hasn’t had sex with this latest bimbo. long story short, I told him to get out well actually “get the fuck out now” I wasn’t playing this game again. We have been together 40 years, it was my second marriage his first. I have 3 successful kids and 4 grandchildren. They are all devastated they considered him their father. He was the only grandfather the grandkids knew. My son called his first born after is asshole, that’s how much he thought of his step father. They have all disowned him and are sickened by him.
        We have been retired 16 years, have travelled the world, had a lovely home, no money worries, a pretty good life indeed. What more would anyone want? He claims he’s been unhappy for years and I was too, and he he can’t talk to me sound familiar?
        It’s been three months since I kicked him out and during this time I had my lawyer draft a separation agreement, I got half of e erything and all of the furniture. I sold our home and bought myself a lovely place in a another town and moved in a month ago. I’ve changed my will and my life insurance and I’m moving on. I realized the jerk was besotted with his new fantasy fuckbuddy and feeling very guilty, so best to get what I deserve before he wakes up from the dream or she kicks him out.
        I was totally blindsided by this asshole, he pulled the rug right out from under me, but I was god damned determined he would not ruin the rest of my life. All the books I have read say it can take 3 years or more to get over a betrayal; well I don’t have 3 years to waste, At 72 I’m on the fast track. LOL This is a very supportive website and I’m glad to have found all you fellow Chumps. My message is go forward don’t waste time trying to figure out the asshole, life is short and I’m going to have an exciting new adventure.

        • I’m done with my creep, thanks to chump nation, am 60, so glad I decided not to give him another minute!You go girl! Stay strong! You got this!

          • Gosh your only a kid at 60! Glad you’re doing good and finished with that jerk too, they really are pathetic stupid idiots.
            Best wishes to you!

        • Wow, proof we really are a great bunch! Intelligent, committed, kindred spirits. Goes to show you that no matter what our ages, background, etc., our rotters can turn on a dime at any moment. True love indeed (snort!)?. I am beginning to believe Cheaters lose their minds…. To give everything good up!?!? Your ex had it all, What the fuck, right??? Welcome lindaloo!

          • Thanks for all the replies, these asshole cheaters lose more than their minds they are too stupid to realize they’ve lost the best life and love they will ever have. The creeps they leave for, won’t be there when they need them. When they are dying of cancer or have a stroke, they’ll bail at the first sign of trouble.
            Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, there are no do-overs, these idiots don’t deserve the wonderful families and love the had. Look at all the people who have lost loving partners, parents who have lost children, people who have serious illnesses and would trade places in a heartbeat. Our moron cheaters are “unhappy” because they have it all but it’s not enough. They are fucked up beyond comprehension! Greedy, self-absorbed assholes, and we need to remind ourselves everyday how lucky we are to be rid of them!
            All best wishes.

            • “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal”

              Just love that attitude Lyndaloo!

              We get to rewrite the script and dump the poor actors.

            • I couldn’t have said it better myself. Welcome aboard. Thanks for the inspiration.

              Your story makes me so glad STBX gave up on reconciliation to run off with Schmoopie. Otherwise I would totally have taken him back, endured 20 more years of pick me dance and then been left again later.

              I am sorry you had to endure that instead of getting rid of him the first time, but I am impressed that you had the mighty to get rid of him now so you can enjoy your life. Good for you.

            • Lyndaloo, thanks for writing! I was missing him and wondering why he’s so selfish….but you’re right. Time spent on figuring him out is time wasted from my life. Take care!

            • I can’t tell you how much better I feel since I’ve lost 200 pounds of asshole!

            • Lyndaloo, you’re the best! Thank you so much for your story!

        • Welcome to CN lyndaloo, and wow, you are super mighty!! Although my marriage was a quarter of the length of yours, it took me about three years to find my new bearings, but it might have taken me longer given the shit sandwich diet of sharing custody with a cluster B…

          Keep moving forward, and enjoy your grandkids cheater-free!!!

          • Thanks for the good wishes, at 72 I had to take the fast track! LOL there is also a bit of wisdom that comes with age that says, wait a minute, I’ve been done this road before. You also develope a thicker skin. I’ve been through my share of troubles and I just can’t allow myself to entertain this crap not at my age and stage of life. It’s a lot tougher with children you have the contact which doesn’t help. It may take time but forward is forwar, no matter the speed. Best wishes.

          • Three years? Dang! I thought it was only two. That means I have two more to go instead of just the one more. Drat.

        • Lindaloo, you are an inspiration! Many blessings to you for a very speedy healing and I just love your attitude. You’ve got this! Thanks so much for sharing.

          • Hi Kimberley,
            I don’t think I’m completely healed but I’m completely done with Asshole. I figure I may have 10 good years where I’m healthy and active and after that who knows. So my choice is cry my heart out over an idiot that thinks he’s going to ride off into the sunset with some bimbo or get off my butt and keep living. I have cutivated a lot of good women friends over the years, my kids and I have good relationships so the choice is simple. I have one daughter in the UK and one in the States and a son here in Canada. My American grandson in theis going to be 20 he’s at Uni and texts me great photos and messages. Same with my granddaughter who lives here in Canada. I’m fixing up my new house and then I’m going to plan a trip. I am blessed to have enough money to live comfortably so the glass is more than half full. I try to remind myself to be grateful everyday. Best wishes.

            • Lyndaloo, you are awesome!! And wise. You didn’t give your Ex much room to screw you over and that is awesome. Only wish I had moved faster!
              Enjoy your “new” life, you earned it I am certain of that and make it all as happy as can be! You are an inspiration to all of us.

              • Roberta, you are right I didn’t give him much time to screw me over this time, but he’d been screwing me over secretly for the past 40 years! While I was busy raising kids and establishing a career,saving for retirement and looking after our aging parents, asshole was fantising about being in some torrid love affair. So not so smart of me to ignore the signs. I frankly think he was just waiting for someone, anyone to fill his fantasy.
                If I were to dwell on this I’d really be a nutcase so I chose not to look back and you shouldn’t either. It is what it is, go forward know your worth and live your life. You are the sane one he’s the loser.
                Best wishes.

            • Lyndaloo,
              Traveling has been the best for me. I travel with a gf who is divorced as well. We both divorced the same year, our x assholes have been best friends since high school, it was a shitshow for awhile. Anyway, keep traveling. If you wind your way to Michigan let me know, I’d host you in a second! Your story is awe inspiring

              • Thank you that’s very generous of you. One never knows where one will end up so if I’m ever in Michigan I will be sure to let you know in advance.
                Best wishes!

        • Wow, Lyndaloo – you are absolutely amazing! Truly awesome 🙂

          • We are all amazing women and we should never forget it! Best wishes! ?

        • Dear Lyndaloo – Good for you!! You are so courageous and I love your positive attitude!

          I’m a little behind you in age and length of marriage (51 years old and 23 years married, respectively), but I feel just like you do! I wasted enough years on the jerk, and I’m moving forward without looking back. Once my kids are grown I plan to travel a lot and enjoy life on my terms. And the big bonus of all this is that I won’t have to take care of him in his old age. The bimbos are welcome to him! Haha! I’m sure you feel the same way.

          I had 2 DDays, just like you, and I think that is what makes this easier. The first time I discovered he had been cheating for 9 years, and it literally almost killed me – the emotional and physical pain was almost unbearable. After forgiving him and giving him a second chance, I found myself in the same situation 4 years later. Since he saw what the first time did to me, I realized that for him to do it again meant that he was nothing less than a monster. It was/is so clear to me that he doesn’t deserve me and I am so much better off without him. Sounds like your situation is the same. What an idiot your husband is – he lost the best thing ever when he lost you. Bravo to you for shaking the dust off your feet and moving forward. You and people like you are what make Chumpnation so amazing! (((Hugs)))

          Chump Mama

          • Chump Mama,
            Yes it isn’t fun to be dumped by these assholes that we loved and cared for but we aren’t teens anymore and we know when we are being played for fools. These cheater assholes will never get it, because they never matured. They think life’s going to go on forever and don’t think about anything except their own needs. It’s really a character flaw they can’t or won’t grow up. I call it the Peter Pan syndrome if you keep screwing around well it never will end and youll find the “perfect” one. They don’t look at the children and grandchildren and see their own legacy what wonderful people they are and feel pride. They don’t look at their wives and feel gratitude that someone cares enough about them to clean their house, their clothes feed them and nurse them when their sick. They can’t they are incapable of looking past their dicks!
            You are better off without this man-boy as am I, you already have children to finish raising and you sure don’t need the additional burden of a big dumb asshole as well. Life is good we just have to remember that we are special worthy women. Take good care of yourself!

            • Ha! Mine not only didn’t feel gratitude for all of those things, he resented them because I was “mothering him”.

            • Lyndaloo, exactly, they’re too immature to value what they have.
              I’ll never understand how anyone could shatter lives then walk away without remorse or regret feeling good about themselves.
              Yet, these assholes do..,

              • Mine was so confident about his abandonment that he sent the kids a news article about having “no regrets” in life as a way to let a third party give them the message that dad ran off with his AP because life’s too short. Thankfully they see that hes just a common cheater coward. My “regret” is that they lost their father figure role model and hope to god they dont suffer shitty relationship templates as a result.

              • Who does that,
                The no regrets thing sounds exactly like something my stbxwould do! And you are right: he is a common, cheater, coward!

                You are their great role model because they see that!

          • If I would’ve ended up taking care of that all that asshole when he was that old man I’m afraid I would’ve pushed him in his wheelchair right off the porch… The deep end of the porch

        • LyndaLoo I am so impressed by you and what you have done so efficiently by getting a lawyer and finishing with him and moving on. I was feeling sorry for myself because I’m 53 and wasnt able to get financially clear as I still have to coparent and he is self-employed. I realize that I have raised 2 wonderful girls, enhanced my job skills, and generally enjoy life more WITHOUT the lying, cheating and all-round asshole in my life. I too am Canadian and appreciate everything great this country has to offer. I have learned that life is not fair but if you do your best, you have won anyway.

          • hi laveandlost,
            Nice to meet a fellow Canuck. You sound like you have meh and are going strong. Raising two wonderful girls and enhancing job skills are pretty impressive accomplishments. Sometimes we do forget just how important we are as a role model for our children and this is especially hard and important when there’s only one doing all the work!
            So, don’t worry about being debt free you will attain that goal one day right now give yourself the credit you deserve for being a terrific mom and great example for your girls. Life sometimes isn’t fair but we don’t have to look to far to find someone in much greater hardship. I live in Ontario where are you.?

            • Yay True North (women) Strong and free! I’m from the Maritimes. I vote for Lyndaloo as Canadian expert Chumplady as she sounds like Tracey but with Canadian references. So glad you joined

              • Yesterday I had lunch with some long time girlfriends they were in disbelief that my cheater was a) a cheater and b) that he abandoned me after 40 years. Of course they are supportive and I appreciate their love. One of my friends knows a women who knows both my cheater and his bimbo. This women said she was surprised that my cheater and this bimbo were an item she really couldn’t see the two of them together. Of course any gossip about the cheater and the bimbo is hard to resist. But driving home I suddenly felt disgusted and really sickened. This whole mess is so tawdry and sickening like watching a reality TV show where everyone is sleeping with everyone else. The kind of people my mother told me to avoid as they “were of dubious character” and not to get involved with them . His mother would be mortified by his behaviour if she were alive.I no longer want to be associated with him in anyway, I don’t even want to acknowledge his existence. I’m changing back to my maiden name. Maybe this is Meh? What do you think?

              • Definitely change your name. I completely disassociated myself from him by doing just that. It is a pain in the ass(pun intended) but worthwhile!

              • Also watch Grace and Frankie! I loved the humour, irony and relationship drama. It made me laugh and cry both. I like the way the age issue was portrayed – realistically from my point of view not that of younger generations.

        • Lyndaloo,

          You are an ispiration & you haven’t any more of YOUR time to waste & please remember that the last 40 years are not wasted because, you were doing your best possible to be a great wife etc…you showed up but, unfortunately he wasn’t being real/authentic/genuine & he lives in his own weakness & shallowness. Your life wasn’t wasted, neither was mine. What is was is a huge lesson of self worth & we did & do deserve better. This is your time to shine & show him that regardless of his actions/behavior YOU are genuine, real & authentic & you show up in your life for others because, your good! Now you show up for YOURSELF in everyway. You are worthy & you are your best friend. You are finally free! Good Luck & Keep Being You! xoxo PR

    • Lyndaloo,

      I’ve read a TON of great posts on this site, and yours is the best yet. Such a simple philosophy, and yet so perfect. Three years is too long to waste no matter how old you are. We should all be on the fast track to restoring a healthy, fun, wonderful life. If we sit around being miserable despite everything we DO have, aren’t we just living by the cheater’s philosophy?

      I am completely inspired by you. Thank you. I’m 35 and I don’t have 3 years to waste.

      • You are so right! Mourning the loss of a cheater is crap. Mourning is for special people who loved us and we loved them. Wasting time looking back is just that, wasting time. I’m older so time is paramount to my view of life but really none of us know when we might die or be diagnosed with a catastrophic illness yet we still mourn what might have been. Well I say bullshit to that lets move on and enjoy each day. I hate to think of the time wasted on this asshole I married! Ugh!! Glad to hear you are moving on too!
        Best wishes!

        • Well, there ya go – you are completely correct. It’s important to understand the difference between being “done” and being healed. Let the head lead and the heart WILL follow. What a gritty gal you are to understand first, proceed and then enjoy. The fast track is the best track. HIO – “handle it once”

          • Nain, I agree there is a difference but we all have shit to carry around and sometimes we wallow in it and in other people’s shit too. That way we don’t deal with our shit and move on. So while I’m sure I’ll have days yet that are not so great, I will navigate through them and remind myself how great I am and what a fucking loser he is. I don’t have time to waste on his shit and it is his. Best wishes

            • I’m so thankful for your post, Lyndaloo. Married almost 39 years. Im 60. Forgave him an affair that resulted in a child with the OW. He begged for forgiveness, I set boundaries and made it very clear (or so I thought) what it took to keep me. Found out this past Christmas he’s been going to strip clubs and getting lap dances. At least that’s all he’ll admit to. Deal breaker. Our children are grown and we have beautiful, perfect grandchildren. I know I am worth more than a lap dance. We all are. I’m scared to death of going it alone, but I’m not letting that stop me. I was a faithful and loyal wife. His loss. Maybe he can pay a stripper to take care of him next time he’s sick. Your words inspired me. I so needed to hear your story. You are mighty!

              • Dear Just Breath,
                So he begged for forgiveness got it and did it again. They don’t get it, they think we can just keep accepting this shit. They don’t get that we can walk away that they aren’t the “‘fabulous guys” they think they are. That we are sick and tired of their stupid fuck ups and they don’t have our love to destroy anymore. It’s over!
                I’m glad your going on your own, it is scary, but you will feel like you have your self respect back, who wants to live with these assholes and their bullshit. If you haven’t see a lawyer and figure out what you’re entitled to, I’m Canadian so don’t know US laws. Look after yourself and see your doctor if you need to. Lean on family and friends and get yourself as much support as possible. Above all don’t take any and I mean any responsibility for his crap. It takes two people to make a marriage work but only ONE to destroy it , this is on him, he has destroyed this marriage.
                I was pretty crazy the first month but just kept going, made a list of what I needed to do and one by one marked them off. Keep busy and don’t look back. I was so mad I just screamed like a banshee alone in my car if anyone had heard me they’d have sent for the medics. It’s a horrible rotten thing to do to you so scream if you need to but just let it out and let go of this loser. You are a smart worthy women and you can make it on your own. The people on this site are all good listeners , feel your pain and have good advise, so keep posting and keep your resolve to have a better life. I know you will survive this and come out stronger, I know because I did. Good luck and lots of Canadian bear hugs!

        • Yes!!! Lindaloo, love, love, your philosophy and posts!
          Thank you so much, you’re an inspiration.

        • I’ve been thinking about this “mourning business ” we keep revisiting after the cheater dumps us. So I asked myself what am I mourning? As I said in an earlier post, I think mourning is for special loved ones who we cared about and who loved and cared about us. These assholes never cared about anything except themselves. So while I understand there is an emotion we feel is it really mourning ? Mourning seems like too dignified a word for what we have been through with these assholes. It also gives the impression that we lost someone of value. Does this term keep us stuck? Mourning, grieving these words make us think that it’s appropriate and necessary to spend a long time thinking and feeling about a loss. I’m more pragmatic then most so this is only my thinking here, but each time I read something about grieving a lost relationship etc etc I can’t help but think asshole is not worth grieving over. So should I grieve for a life with a cheater, or a neighborhood, or what exactly?
          My new life is filled with promise and I’m excited to think what will happen next, who knows, I ts an adventure. So while everyone sees their past life differently, accepting that long periods of grief after leaving a cheater in a bad marriage is necessarily, perhaps isn’t in our own best interests. My friend recently said “it’s like a death” I thought about that for a few minutes and said no it’s not if it was I’d have gotten all the money! Life goes on, all good wishes to everyone!

          • Lol at getting all the money! You made me see one of the reasons it is worse than death, everything is a fight. Your pragmatism is getting you to meh quicker and that is a good thing. If there is a word that I would have used to describe Stbx, it would be pragmatic. No offense to you lindyloo, it is a good thing and there is a time and a place for it. And I learned good things from his pragmatism. I believe it is helping me to step back, see what needs to be done and do it in the face of this adversity. I am just not to meh yet.

            The pragmatism comes down from stbx’s dad. He was a very successful business man and always looked ahead. The inlaws house burned down 13 years ago and the next day he was planning the rebuild. 3 days later they bulldozed the remainder and kept right on going. Strangers grieved more than they did.

            Now though, it hurts because me and the kids get the vibe from the in laws that we should just get over it and be a good little divorced family. Cheater wasn’t happy so he moved on, you do the same. Don’t cry over it. You have been replaced, too bad, so sad but move on, don’t be emotional. We say this in jest sometimes but that is where I think their pragmatism goes awry: they don’t feel or if they do, it is something to be hidden.

            Hence a reason for my screen name.

            • Everyone processes things differently sometimes we need more time than some one else. I have lived through a lot of good and bad times, nursing and then burying my parents, his parents, my sister, an earlier divorce, and worst of all the death of my 4 year old grandson from cancer. Many times, I thought I’d never recover especially over my grandson’s death. When I compare these tragedies to what my cheating asshole has done to this family I am sickened. This was not something that just happened, it was his choice to destroy our family. After the initial schock of his latest betrayal I had to decide how to live the rest of my life. I could give up and become a burden to my family and friends or I could soldier on and make a new life. I too come from a very pragmatic Scottish family and I’m sure that upbringing helped me through a lot of life’s crises. I empathize with your pain and your need to cope the best way you can. I hope that you can see your in -laws don’t want to acknowledge their sons actions because it’s too difficult for them to see they’ve raised an cheating asshole. Children are smart they know who loves and respects them and they figure out who the assholes are in the family. You will recover from this and so will your kids but it’s not an easy road. Best wishes to you and children.

              • “When I compare these tragedies to what my cheating asshole has done to this family I am sickened. This was not something that just happened, it was his choice to destroy our family”. You hit it there lindylou!

                And you are probably right about the inlaws not being able to acknowledge what their golden child has done. Many have told me that.

                I just hope I can get to meh about them taking the route of our golden child would not do such evil, it had to be feelingit’s fault.

            • You will get to meh, your children will help you get there. I am right about his parents, who wants to acknowledge they raised an asshole!? You know that this has nothing to do with you this is about the asshole trying to fill his empty soul. He thinks he can fuck his way to ever lasting love. Take a look at your kids and see their beauty and ask yourself what kind of a parent gives that unconditional love up for a bimbo. It’s not about the bimbo or you it’s about his stupid childish ego that can’t take responsibility, he’s entitled right! Just like my asshole, he could have come to you to work things out and if you and he couldn’t; well ok, get a divorce. But do it properly and respect everyone and I mean everyone (like his kids) in the process. But they don’t want to spend the time thinking about how the might fix things or do the honourable thing, or the damage and hurt to the family. Just run off with the bimbo and tell yourself and everyone else you weren’t happy, that’s a good reason right? Believe me you are well rid of this asshole and I’d stay as far away from his enabling parents as I could. Drop the kids off if that’s what’s required and have nothing to do with them. Fuck them! Best of luck to you!

              • Lyndaloo – They don’t spend time thinking about doing the honorable thing. Nope, they sure don’t. Run off and tell everyone they were unhappy. Yep.

                Well, I wasn’t ‘happy’ all the time, either, but I couldn’t dream of destroying my family over it. But they don’t bat an eye.

                My stbx has the bigger house in better neighborhood, the younger girl, new baby, the bigger truck, the bigger camper and more toys now – and guess what…. he is still the miserable angry person he was before. He has not been made a better person. And he sure doesn’t seem any happier. His soul is still empty. In fact, maybe even more empty than before.

                He calls me ‘welfare ass’ because he has to pay support. He doesn’t see that it’s the honorable thing to do to care for the family he dumped. It’s just a pain in the ass because it cuts into his money for more toys and new house.

                He has no respect for his new ‘love.’ He gave his friends naked pictures of her. I still have his ipad. The pictures showed up there, too. His friend’s wife was so upset she found the naked pictures on her husband’s computer.

                Stbx told me a couple years ago when his 22 y.o. coworker started working with him how she is a go getter, used to getting what she wants! Lol. She wanted my husband and look what she got. A dirty old man who shares her naked pictures with everyone. Yep. There’s her prize.

          • This really resonated with me. So true what you are saying. Thank you!

          • I see your point, and objectively, I think you’re right that these jerks don’t deserve mourning. However, what I was mourning was not the reality of who I realized my ex actually was, it was the loss of who I thought he was up until dday. Of what I thought my marriage and life was, of what I thought my future would be, of the story of my life. It was also a mourning for the loss of innocence, in a way. Seeing that people, and not just anyone but my husband who I had also considered my best friend, could act in ways that were in direct opposition to my well being when he had promised in front of our community to love me until one of us died.

            So, I no longer wanted to be with the person my ex revealed himself to be. But the love didn’t go away immediately; I still loved who I had thought he was. And it took me a good long while to mourn all of that and the fact that my life had completely derailed and was not going to be anything like I had imagined it. That, for me, was worth mourning. And, for me, it was important to take the time I needed to process all that in as healthy a way as possible. And Chump Lady was a huge part of that for me. Her wisdom taught me to see him as he really was and to understand his motives (because he wanted to) and to deal with all the dissonance between who I believed him to be and who he actually was. Eventually my pain became less raw, and then less all consuming and slowly I started to move on. But I needed that time to grieve the incredible betrayal I felt and what felt like the loss of my whole world. It wasn’t, but it sure did feel like it…

            • NorthernLight, ^^^I mourned the person I thought I married, the marriage I thought I had, my best friend and who I thought loved me as much as I loved him and our family.
              My life and world was completely shattered. The person I loved more than anything was out to destroy me in every way imaginable.
              I will move on but I’ll never forget the pain of betrayal.

              • I feel the same way, Brit. I was just really disappointed and angry that XH was not who he presented himself to be and I mourned the dream of the way I felt our marriage SHOULD have been. But I did not mourn him or miss him at all because once he revealed his true evil self, it was GOOD RIDDANCE!!! I also mourn my innocence, but at least I won’t ignore the red flags next time.

            • My stbx told me I’m mad that he left me.

              No, I told him I’m thankful he left me. I’m mad that my daughter has poor role model for a father who shows her that women are disposable and people leave you if you made them ‘unhappy.’ Mad that I have to deal with manipulation, lies and bullying that is dragging on this divorce and wasting time and money. Mad that this marriage was a lie.

              Mad he left me? No. He is someone else’s lying, cheating, selfish man-child.

              And yeah, the vibe that you are supposed to be the little family that is just supposed to get over it and move on. Ugh. Now I’m mad all over again. Lol

              • Yes, I get this… there is a difference in what causes our sadness/anger/etc., and it can take a long time to get over…

  • My inner voice always told me “you have to go”. No reason, no consolation, no help. Just “leave”. So I did and moved to the other coast of the US with a new job.

    Chump Nation, this hurts so much now.

    • Good for you for listening to your inner voice. So many of us drown that voice out or rationalize it away. Hang in there. It’s hard. You hurt because you cared. You were all in. That means you are capable of loving and being in relationship (As opposed to being a sociopath who can just walk away at the drop of a hat). That’s good! You just have to choose someone who is worthy of you next time. When you are hurting, remind yourself it’s because you have a soul. Give yourself permission to grieve the death of your relationship. Make time for silence in your daily life so that your inner voice can continue to be heard. Know that you are loved. ChumpNation has your back. Sending hugs your way.

      • Love it. Rationalized the open marriage she demanded. Got into needing sleep medicine because my heart wouldn’t let me be. Off of it now, thank God. She’s now trying to isolated emergency from my in laws, who I love to death. Ugh.

        I’ll do fine without them and all, but it still hurts. She’s given me a chance her to build a whole new life though. I’ll take it in the end, but first let my heart speak freely, then rationalize it.

        Thank you again, it really hit home.

    • i envy you. i so wanted to move but kids kept me here. moved here for Xinlaws and my kids to be close to grandparents. oldest is a senior this year so i’m truly free a year from now. good thing i stayed because mother remarried and moved off. abandoned and moved away from family for a man she knew for less than 3 weeks. so, i’m mighty because i put my kids and responsibility above my need for tru wuv!

      • Lostintx,

        I moved to Michigan for same. I’m here until youngest graduated HS. 5 more years. Then re-evaluate. You’re a good man.

    • You will be good, many years ago I moved across when I was 23 and had very little money, not enough for accomodation. I slept in the loading dock of a theatre for three nights and eventually found my way to a share home. If there is a will there is a way.

    • Gato

      It took so much courage to take that step. Please check out the forum for our meetup this month. There may be a solution to the transportation issue.

    • My inner voice would whisper you need to leave and when it did, and I was alone, I’d say it out loud. I’d say out loud I can’t do this anymore please leave him. I changed my cell phone code to HOPE. It kept me remembering all day that there’s a reason my phone code is HOPE… everything isn’t ok and there’s hope for me. Even at our most broken point we still have that light inside of us. We are survivors and courageous even if we are hurting. I have hope for love and safety and hope that I’ll have the baby I want so badly. A baby with a man that thanks me for bringing his child into the world. I finally left.

      • I put post-it notes all around my house with affirmations that helped keep my mind on track when everything was falling down around me and I was in freefall – much like your HOPE password.

  • I have a couple of inner mantras that help me get through the days. “I was happy before him and I will be happy after him” and when it comes to dealing with him for the kids I remind myself “I love them more than I hate him”.

    • IDeserveBetter – I have a mantra that I have been using recently “trust the Universe” and I have found it incredibly reassuring because the reality is that, when I do, things work out ok.
      Like most here, my life – and, in particular, that of my children has been totally turned upside down by the Sprout’s actions. He just left for his new life and I was left to clear up the debris – both practically and emotionally. Our house has sold and, despite the fact that there is a big shortage of rentals where I live, at least decent ones, I just picked up the keys for a really nice house (not as nice as the one’s we owned but pretty good – and it is just ours) where they were happy to take our 2 small dogs too. Every time I start to worry about the future I say this to myself and it really does help.
      I also really like your mantra of “I love them more than I hate him”. I kind of do this in my head mentally – take a deep breath before I have to interact with him in front of them. I do really hate him, more than anything else because of how he has treated them, but I love them so much and I know how awful it is for them anyway – I don’t want to make it any harder for them, so I am superficially pleasant, despite my feelings. A good mantra would be very handy though!

      • My mantra is/was “God is with me, God is my source. I am wise and I am motivated.” I use it to break the pattern of negative thoughts spiraling around in my head. Some days I have to say it a hundred times just to function. Some days I’m fine and genuinely happy. I am holding on to the philosophy that if your life sucks right now, just don’t make it worse. This too shall pass and if you just don’t make it worse, your own natural mightiness will kick in and ensure you come out of this and thrive. So far so good. It’s been 10 months since Dday #3. I had hoped by now to be “over it” lol, but I am still plenty sad, angry, heartbroken every other day at the loss of a marriage and family I thought I had earned. I am already better off without him, by every objective measure, so why do I still hurt and why do I still find myself in meetings at work writing my mantra in my notes over and over again just to keep it together? My mom told me once ‘slow growth is good growth’ so I think I need to be more patient with myself and my need to grieve. When I start feeling sorry for myself, I try to give myself permission to feel those feelings, and respond to them by doing something kind for myself and my kids. Thanks for being here, CL and CN, we are not alone.

      • Yes, I love this quote! I love my daughter more than I hate him!

    • That is my mantra – I love my kids more than I hate him. I remind myself every day.

  • I’m not going to give him the pleasure of seeing me wither away and die (although I’ve felt like I wanted to) also I want to live long enough to collect half of his social security and my share of his retirement.
    I’ve heard he finds that very upsetting.

    Somedays have been more difficult than others. I don’t know if I would be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for waking up to CN every day and reading for inspiration.
    ~Thank you~

    • I refused to whither too. The morning after he pinned me to the bed and threatened me with a broken whiskey bottle, I raced off to the hospital to get a medical report and then carried it to the police station and filed a complaint for domestic violence. THEN I went to work. You can imagine what I looked like! The Staff Counsellor and the Doctor called me down to the Medical Service (they knew what was going on) as they were very worried about me. I was a wreck. A little later they sent me a message asking how I was and I just replied “spitting fire”! And I was. The cops arrested that mother-fucker and when the court date came I was told I didn’t have to appear but I went anyway. I stared at him all the while he told his lies. He wouldn’t look at me and the veins on his neck nearly burst. Ha, bloody ha, you wanker. If you didn’t get me that time you NEVER will. And he didn’t. I took out a new mortgage at age 53 and will be paying a 17-year mortgage off in 7 and then I will retire. And now I have my life back but I suspect that oxygen-sucking worm will shrivel land crawl back into his hole sometime soon.

    • Brit, I will think of you and the other chumps getting half of retirement monies with a smile. My CH managed to quit his job and spend all of his inheritance before I could file for divorce. He did it with lightning speed. So now he laughs at me and tells me he will take half of my income and retirement if I file. He can too! My lawyer had worked everything out so that as soon as CH received his inheritance, I could file. He had a job and a tidy sum of money. I could have at least not had to pay alimony. But now I am stuck. My son is in college and he took me aside a couple of weeks ago. He said a few of he friends have had to quit school to support themselves and have had trouble keeping a roof over their heads because their parents divorced. He thanked me for sacrificing my freedom so he could finish school. As someone already said today, I love my kids more than I hate him.

      • Linda, be sure to change the beneficiaries on your retirement and make out a will if you aren’t divorced.

        What a fucking loser. So sorry.

        • Doingme, I did! I changed my life insurance, etc all to my sons names. I told CH I did it so he wouldn’t “help” me die somehow.

          • You really do have to wonder if the cheater exes will kill you for financial gain.

            Before I threw my cheater ex out of my house, I wouldn’t eat anything she made, and I would also sleep with my bedroom door locked. Prior to that I was waking up with strange bruises, and blood on me. I think when I was in deep sleep, she would come in and hit me while I was asleep. There was nothing else I could think of to explain it.

            • Had a useless custody mediation to check off a box this morning and am just ow processing it. I don’t feel a bit mighty but I probably am for sitting through it with a poker face and keeping my composure.
              Now all I can think is I would love to scream fuck you at the mediator who has known serial cheating fuckwad for a grand total of about an hour and yet he could sit there and tell me I think he really wants to have a relationship with his kids and that is best for the kids unless they are in physical danger.
              Just before I read these posts, I was thinking, how do I know they wouldn’t be in physical danger? I didn’t know he would cheat on me and put me at the risk of std’s from unprotected sex. I did get a series of yeast infections when he was fucking shmoopie.
              I just stared through mediator as he rattled on about how a judge would probably give him One night a week, every other weekend and half of the holidays. He would also get two weeks for vacation. All the while I am feeling like he is telling me to send my kids with my rapist. I guess I am mighty for not collapsing. So surreal.
              To close the session, mediator says that there is just so much distrust and animosity, that he does not feel things can move forward until after therapy begins. Fucktard cheater interrupts and says I do not think that cuts both ways. I had to bite my tongue not to respond:of course not asshole, you can trust me, I have never lied to you, but you on the other hand have made me eat shit sandwiches for years and Treated me like crap for years and I can trust nothing that comes out of your vile mouth.

              • This is such a tough spot to be in, Feelingit. Please know that it will get better–not in some wonderful, immediate way, but slowly as the truth comes out (i.e. Fucktard doesn’t show up for custody, disappoints the kids, etc.) Also, you will find new patterns and joys once the legalities are settled.

                Basically, either the mediator is right (which I don’t believe), and the kids will be healthier for having two involved parents, or the mediator will be wrong (which is probably true in 95% of these cases with a cheater), and the custody he wins will slowly unravel. You’ll be frustrated with every thread that frays, but learning that their dad is a jackass is part of the shit sandwich that kids, unfortunately, have to learn on their own.

                Please keep biting your tongue and practicing that poker face–we know that jackass is baiting you trying to create a new narrative with him in the starring role of martyr.

                You are Mighty and shouldn’t have to spend a minute of your life mediating his selfishness.

              • How old is your child again feeling it? I am going to have to go to mediation soon. I’m absolutely dreading it. I sounds like it just doesn’t work with cheaters and liars. Thankfully the 1st appointment I have is an individual meeting, I don’t want to have to look at him, he makes me want to throw up.

            • My X was so pissed that I got half his pension that he worked “the streets” for 20 years for and I did nothing to deserve half of it. If he dies it will stop for me, which sucks and if i die he will get it back. I have told may people to investigate him if I ever disappear. If that isn’t reason I don’t know what is. I have him on tape calling me every thing but a white women because I told him I was going for half his pension and him getting mad and throwing everything off the counter and telling me he will run over everything before he gives me anything.

              • I often wonder if there’s been an alien implant device or a demonic infiltration of a large number of the population making them all behave the same way

                Everybody talks about cheaters operating from the same script, and they do. There’s got to be something making that happen.

              • Do your homework. Your half of the pension doesn’t need to return to ex, and when he dies you should still be collecting your half. Make sure to sit down with someone familiar with retirement issues. A QDRO is often needed to spell out your wishes but this requires someone with a great deal of expertise (not necessarily a amply law lawyer either).

              • Pregnant chump, I feel the same on throwing up. I learned on this site to ask for separate rooms and got it. Mediator asked me privately if there was abuse and I said no, he bullies and intimidates and mediator said that is abuse. We were in separate rooms 90% of the time which made it better.

                This was court ordered mediation and my lawyer said from the outset our case would not settle here. It was just something I was forced to do. The mediator was good in some ways but others terrible. He kept interrupting me and talked on and on about himself and his opinions. In the end, you can’t settle visitation when stbx has no relationship with kids- they are 17, 15, and 13. The 17 year old is almost out of the picture.

                I have sole custody now because he abandoned us. Only now that he realizes I want to keep it that way is he freaking out and desperate as his perceived loss of control and making crazy plays for custody which further alienate the kids.

                I woke up again thinking what a horrible role model he is as he is absolutely unscrupulous. Makes me angry when people like mediator say the kids will see his faults and not repeat them. That is a crock of shit. I see my adult son and 17 year old treating me like he did regularly and it is not easy to stop.

                So my required mediation is over and we continue with high conflict for now. I assume your kids are younger so it will be different. My kids have more choice but look on the bright side, hopefully you will have more exposure management as they develop. Hugs to you. You will be mighty in mediation!

            • Mine took out a life insurance policy on me after D-Day, with a smirk he told me “If you kick off, I’ll need someone to take care of the animals.” This was I was falling apart physically and emotionally.

              I was losing so much weight, couldn’t keep food down, hair was falling out. I got this idea in my head that as long as he had access to the house, (we were “nesting’ and alternating times alone in the house), he was quite possibly poisoning me.

              It really became a bit of a “thing” in my head.
              Turns out, he WAS poisoning me, just not the way I thought.

              The further away I got from him, the better I felt.

              • That’s scary, StarStuffGoddess. I’m glad you figured it out and you’re okay. Right before the divorce my XH kept talking about the life insurance and it was very creepy. I felt like he was planning something and I made sure I took his name of of mine.
                I just read a newstory where someone killed their spouse after four months of marrige, but the policy was left in the former spouses name, so not only did the person go to jail for murder, the first ex-spouse got the payout.
                These narcissistic monsters are capable of anything, so CN please protect yourselves both physically and financially!

              • My hair fell out also due to the stress of 36 years of putting up with man child ?! I even had to wear wigs! A Pyschiatrist told me to lock myself in my bedroom because he was that dangerous during the divorce! Murder looks good to them when your taking your share of assests! Many women are murdered when they are leaving an abusive relationship not because the husband does not want to lose them but rather because the husband does not want to lose his money , retirement, or respect from family!

              • Just clarifying the newstory thing I mentioned in my post, the newlywed spouse of four months had set up a hit on the spouse for the purposes of getting the insurance money. Smh

      • Linda–So sorry to hear that the laws are not in your favor and he was able to get away with this horrible trick. Life can be so unfair sometimes… and these people….have no conscience.

      • Linda,

        Did he spend it all on schmoopie? Even if he didn’t you shoud be able to prove he wasted marital assets. Other chumps can elaborate more but it sounds like you need a private detective, an auditor, and a new lawyer.

        • Manic Pixie Nightmare, he didn’t spend it on Skankawhorus. He bought televisions, gadgets and so on. There is really not much to show for where it all went.
          I am amazed at how quickly it all went down the drain!

    • ThankYOU Brit, for your compassion and your inspiration.
      In CN’s eyes you are mighty!

  • I kept telling myself simply that LIFE WAS TOO SHORT to accept this bullshit existence with him. And that I wanted to look back and KNOW that I made the right choice for myself and my kids, even if that choice meant I was going to have a few rough years to get back on my feet. That beyond the crap, there WOULD be a better life for the kids and I without him. And it truly is FANTASTIC without him now. Best move ever.

    And my mum kept powering me through, saying “this too shall pass”. You just have to keep pushing forward at a slow and steady pace ????

  • I kept/keep going for my 4 kids. I would walk through fire if I had to, for them. I am still putting one foot in front of the other because of them.

    • Same here. I did, and continue to do, all I can to ensure my son knows he’s loved and has every opportunity to achieve his goals in life. He’s not afraid of hard work and is a kind, intelligent young man that I’m very proud of. If not for him, I’d be that antisocial crazy cat lady with a dozen cats lol

    • I’m in the same boat as you. We are people that do what needs to be done. Not because it’s always fun and rewarding, but because the kids need a sane human in their lives. I had to fight a lot of urges to just pick up and go. In the end, it was for my girls and I continue to just put one foot in front of the other. It get better. Over 2 years out and my life is slowly improving. I know that its going to be better than it ever could of ever been with X.

      • Two years out too. Things do keep getting better and more peaceful.
        My 4 kids kept me going — I couldn’t leave them with a legacy of suicide and they need me– the younger ones needed real things: meals, clean clothes, clean home, family dinners, school lunches, my interested and loving face watching them while they do their activities, rides to and from school, hot lunches to eat during busy school days, a listening and validating ear to vent to, holiday traditions maintained, turkey roasted, stuffing, birthday presents and cake, pies, Christmas stockings filled with chocolate Santas, forms signed, tv shows to watch together, a loving presence when old pets had to be put to sleep, memories to share, someone to take them to doctor and dentist and orthodontist, to buy groceries and toiletries and clothes and shoes. Someone to organize parties. Someone to teach them resilience, and how to face adversity and persevere. How to have dignity, integrity, compassion. I teach my kids those qualities through my actions.
        X abandoned. Youngest sees him 3 times a month for less than 1 hour each.
        I’m all they have on the parenting front. It’s my #1 priority, my life’s passion, all I ever wanted in life was a family.
        That kept me alive. Keeps me striving to recover today. Keeps me on the path to building a life.
        I’m proud of myself for leaving, choosing an abuse-free life, getting divorced, fighting for my kids and for myself. For our financial health and future. My law career is flourishing now. My finances are stabilizing. My health is excellent. These are blessings and I’m grateful. I have the gift of the willingness to be no contact, to choose myself, to protect myself. That keeps me resilient.

      • I had the advice of several friends and family members to keep me going. My sister told me the best revenge is to live well…which really resonated with me when asshat said he was really worried about how I would survive without him lol. A fellow chumped friend told me after DDay to do something nice for someone else AND yourself every day to get through it. And in the words of Dorie from finding Nemo “just keep swimming” has kept me putting one foot in front of the other. Although the process has been slow and painfull, I have taken my devastated kids from tanking grades and behavioral outbursts over the loss of their family to kids who are now happy with good friends while excelling in school and sports.I started a new hobby to do at home , being available to the kids while asshat runs around dating schmoopie. I stopped stress eating, took up a new sport and lost 60lbs, 20 more to go. Next plan…back to school to finish my degree. Its all about me baby!!!!

    • Exactly.
      I found CN on D-Day and I read here how my kid would learn from the behavior I modeled, so I had to model strength and resilience. I was going to make it through the hell and be fine on my own. And I am. Now I really want my child to see what a genuine, loving, trusting, kind, reciprocal relationship is. And I’m making progress there too. ?

    • I keep going for my kiddo too… I’m modeling strength, resilience, and dignity as much as I can so she hopefully will have a better picker than I had!

      • Knowing I’m resilient has helped me through this. Iwent through more serious things, a sick sibling, being molested as a child twice, these things could have broken me. But XH leaving did hurt. For the life I wanted, the man I thought he was, makes it harder when he dangles the thought of him changing in my face over and over and how we can just pick it all back up. But the fact that my two young kids look at me and still think I’m the best mom even at times when I haven’t been able to hold it together in front of them keep me going. I am mighty because almost 8 months from dday I have fought hard to put my life on a me track again. Lost 35 pounds, have been pushing to promote at work and support myself fully, and am set on finally getting my BA. Lastly I am mighty because my son tells me I’m a beast. Yes for them I am.

  • My mother.

    She had two kids when my abusive, probably cheating father died. She kept us clothed, fed, and raised us well while holding down a full time job, and managed to send both of us to great private schools for junior high school through college. If she could do that, the least I could do to pay it forward was to get through my own far less daunting challenges.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • It amazes me how people in the past endured such hardships! They just pushed through and kept going. My mother’s dad died when she was around 3. Left behind a wife and 7 kids. Her mother managed to house them and keep them feed. I always heard that she had poor health to boot. She died when I was a toddler but I sure would’ve like to have known her. Thanks for the reminder that what I experienced was rough but nothing in comparison to what many in this world face daily.

  • When my divorce process started, I was also attempting to survive a very traumatic death experience (a family member). Over the next several years, I lived through the illness and death of many more people (and pets) who I dearly loved.

    Entirely lacking in support system, I made some shitty choices trying to survive. It might seem like surviving is the measure of my resilience, but it isn’t.
    The real measure is the owning up to the shitty choices and doing the corrective work to realign with my true core values again. Over 15 years in, that work continues, and I still embrace it, even though sometimes it is really tough. *That’s* the resilience.

    • Thank you for this, Amii. I drank too much after I dumped Rhys and it still shames me. I just have to say to myself that I know I can do better.

      • Our broken hearts deserve our love. You are no less beautiful now. 🙂

    • Well said, and well done, Aimiisfree!

      The path to Meh is covered with loose rocks that will trip you up, as well as prickly thorns that hurt a lot when you fall on your face. My path also had a lot of seductive pit stops that offered fattening food, numbing drinks, and easy access to X’s email. Looking back, I’m embarrassed at how many times I indulged in those particular, destructive pit stops. Shitty choices for sure.

      First I had to recognize that I was deep in those pits. And that I was stopped and going nowhere. It took every ounce of willpower to decide to climb out and get back on track.

      My motivation came from my love for my children and a sense of value I never knew I had. I have three kids counting on me to be the sane parent, and I wanted them to know that I would never abandon them.

      When I discovered the cheating, I finally concluded that it wasn’t me, it was HIM. He is a lowlife. He was – and never will be – any match for me. That realization got me out of victim mode and into survivor mode. I then recognized the pit stops on the path to Meh as the same kind of seductive and destructive obstacles to joy that X had always put in front of me.

      It’s so much easier to walk right past the pit stops now! As I do, I’ve also noticed that the road isn’t as covered with loose rocks and thorns anymore.

      • I am so happy for you that your journey has gotten so much more inspiring with time!! 🙂

    • Thanks, folks, and good for all of you!!!

      Truly, I have only really started shaking the shame over some of it in the last year. Shame is weirdly permeating. I can still find myself deluged in it over things from my early childhood that were really reasonable for my age at the time.

      Learning to redirect the old habit of drowning in shame is incredibly freeing, though, and empowering. (Finally, sheesh!!!)

  • God gave me peace! I realized it all was a painful process that no one should have to go through, but victory, freedom and peace is on the other side. I was able to get our youngest daughter graduated from high school through the aweful process. The divorce is final just a little over a month now and I am exhaling slowly but surely exhaling. Finding myself is a new adventure! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other!

  • The thing that has made me resilient through this shit show is knowing that I am RIGHT. There is righteousness in that. I was RIGHT to be furious, and that something felt off, and in my belief that it wasn’t my fault, and in knowing that he and the OW are skeevy scumbags. I’m right about it all.

    This might seem like a nanny-nanny-boo-boo moment in which I pump my hands in the air in vindication. But it’s not. (Or at least not *just* that.) I spent a decade backpedaling to appease my ex. Every time I had a legitimate concern or complaint and approached him about it (no matter how gently and sweetly), I always ended up apologizing to keep the peace and hold things together. I always ate the shit sandwich and claimed I was wrong to have needs, wrong to want to spend time together, wrong in expecting anything from him.

    No more of that. Insisting that I was *not* wrong for being pissed off was empowering, and it fueled my resilience. I am RIGHT to expect honesty. I am RIGHT to desire monogamy. I am RIGHT to enforce boundaries. I am RIGHT that his behavior was (and is) wrong, unacceptable, and amoral.

    This has been the fuel in my tank. That, and of course my amazing little boy, who was 2 when things blew up. Now he’s 5, and he still keeps me going every day. I just love that kid. <3

    • You took the words out of my mouth. I also backpedaled, minimized and rationalized for the sake of peace (mistakenly thinking peace and stability are the same thing). But about this, there was no denying my “rightness.” No sane person could possibly deny that what he did was just plain wrong.

      Only time I ever stuck to my guns in my marriage, regardless of how much chaos he tried to create when I didn’t back down. I was right and I knew it. I wasn’t backing down.

      The “rightness” also gave me a kind of “permission” I hadn’t allowed myself before. I had always put the marriage first, the family first…to my detriment at times. If I was faced with choices which would benefit only me or benefit the marriage, I picked marriage every time. But now I was right. I was justified. I was okay putting myself first, because there was no marriage after he broke it.

      • Yes, you nailed it! Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” has become my personal anthem.

    • I love this…because it describes me, although I don’t think I’ve admitted that until now.

      Yes, I was right about her affair, being faithful, etc.

      But I was right a thousand other times during our relationship, but I bent over backwards to accommodate that “people have different perspectives,” even when her perspective was clearly the worse one.

      Sometimes, different perspectives are valid. Other times, one person is just wrong!

      Solid point. Thanks!

    • +3!!! The marriage was miserable, stuffing my thoughts and feelings because bringing them up led to hours of mind numbing dialogue about how I misunderstood him, assigned false motives to him, and he felt like I didn’t love him. I forgot the original topic as I tried to extricate myself from the pit of discussion. I would do something, anything, clean the sink to have something to do besides sit still for that, but of course that was unacceptable. I would try to physically leave and he would restrain me. I would try to go to bed (I worked early; he didn’t) and he would yank the covers off me and jump on the bed.

      Through all that I didn’t understand why I wasn’t thrilled about our marriage. I coped by having lots of girlfriends to talk to, but even that was discouraged. He didn’t allow them over, and he called me every half hour if I went out, and read me the riot act later if I didn’t answer. Otherwise I let a lot of my feelings go, or shut up about them except for rarely, and at those times life was hell.

      Then his betrayal was exposed, and 3 years later I filed for divorce. It wasn’t my reason other than making the divorce more acceptable to other people, who assume that’s why I divorced him. No, it was just my rescue.

      • The Twat used to yank the bed covers off me too. That seems to be quite a common mo amongst these assholes. I was always up first (at the weekends he would stay in bed till midday), but God forbid I ever want to have a siesta at the weekends or if he had been up all night screeching with his guitar but would then tear into the bedroom and yank the bed covers off to make me get up ‘cos I wasn’t allowed to sleep if he didn’t feel like it. One time he made a full English breakfast at 4 a.m. on a school morning for me and me kids!!! When nobody wanted to get up to eat it he threw it across the kitchen and left the mess for me to clean up. So, no I didn’t divorce him because he cheated – that was my “get out of jail free card” because I hated his guts. Still do.

  • Whilst we were together I felt so insignificant most of the time, that if I wasn’t around my ex and to some extent my kids wouldn’t really notice. Over the last 3+ years I’ve realised that my kids need me more than
    I ever thought, thats what’s kept me going through this hell, that my kids need a sane parent.

    I intend to live a long, happy and healthy life from now on.

    • Agreed on the sane parent. The other parent can continue to be all sparkley, but the kids need a rock. I am that rock for my kids and to hell with the X and the shit show!

  • What kept me going? Many of the reasons already given here. But, most of all, the determination to model a “strong woman” for my 14 year old daughter. It is the opportunity to teach her so much and to try and undo my doormat behavior with her father over the course of her life.

    When her school let out in June, I took her to Utah to hike Zion, Bryce Canyon, etc. Both of us needed to go somewhere beautiful and peaceful to try and begin our healing process (Dday was the end of March).

    The place we stayed was full of amazing women that we got to know. At the end of our vacation, my DD looked at me and said, “You’re turning into a FemiNazi” (her word for an empowered woman). I wasn’t sure what to think about that statement, and then she said, “I like it. Before, you always used to give in.” I nearly cried tears of joy. That was my epiphany that things will get better for us. Knowing that this is an opportunity to help my daughter grow into a strong woman is what keeps me resilient.

    Well… that and reading again and again in CL’s book and on this site that the best way to get under STBX’s skin is to live a full and happy life! Sometimes, being ornery is a good thing! 🙂

      • Peacekeeper, every time I read something you post I am overwhelmed by your true kindness. You and your daughter are going through an unimaginably difficult time and yet you are still able to find compassion and gentle words for others. I can only hope to someday be that kind of person.

        I must confess that in one of your posts here (where you said, “All these assholes who break a Chump’s heart. I want to line em all up and spray them with a kindness serum.”)… I was reading hastily and my brain substituted the word “napalm” for “kindness”… !!! LOL.

        Guess I’ll be working on this for a while! 🙂

        • Meh or Bust,
          YOU are a very kind person, you are there, you are very kind.
          I see it in your posts.
          I came inside to escape to CL, CN for a break. My daughter and I just took apart the casket spray. I swear she has pressed every funeral flower, to save for the children.
          Meanwhile the cheater calls frequently, wanting attention, telling us what to do and telling my daughter to buckle up. Yet he does not do one hands on thing to truly help.
          His loss.
          Thank you for your kind words.
          The sun is beautiful here today, but your post makes it shine even brighter.
          Thank you kind lady.

          • Ugh, Peacekeeper, I am weary of your jackass cheater’s pronouncements and I don’t even know him. Every time he talks, just think this:

            (And tell him Chump Nation told him collectively to STFU).

            So sorry for the grief you and your daughter are suffering, but glad you at least have each other.

            • Tempest,
              Lucy in the pretty blue dress, I will think of you and her when I deal with the cheater’s remarks and I will have a big smile on my face.
              I am so blessed by the love and support of my beautiful, strong, loving daughters and an army of wonderful friends. They are always there for me and I for hem.
              Not so for the cheater. You reap what you sow.
              His loss.

              Thank you Tempest, I feel your strong arms pulling me up. I feel the caring heartfelt love of CN. I truly am so blessed!

        • Meh or Bust,
          Napalm, I like that better,
          Sleep well,

  • My biggest struggle at first was trying to remind myself that I wasn’t at fault and I wasn’t who he tried to tell me I was. The manipulation, blameshifting and gaslighting made it very hard to remember who I was and I had to remind myself all the time that I was the sane one, and he was the asshole. That I was making the right choice. That the guilt would go away because it was only created by him. Basically, I heavily relied on “Trust that they suck”. Then once I finally internalized that, I reminded myself every day that I was strong enough to raise three small kids on my own because I had already been doing it – it was actually easier without him. And I would also try not to think to far ahead into the future because I would get overwhelmed. One day at a time – get the kids to daycare and home and bathed and fed and in bed, and if I could do that, I could survive. Every day I feel stronger, especially looking back at how ridiculous the whole situation was and what I actually put up with! I still can’t believe it sometimes. The newfound confidence makes me feel very hopeful 🙂

  • Keeping going being a dedicated parent and family provider when married to an abusive arsewipe who wouldn’t ever be satisfied, no matter what I did or what we had makes you pretty resilient.

    My parents lived through WWII. My Godfather spent 4 years in a POW camp after being shot down in 1941. His wife didn’t even know he was alive for about 6 months. Made my troubles, painful as they were look trivial.

    I realized that whilst it hurt, it wouldn’t kill me and I would be fucked if I would be beaten by a vain, selfish, entitled, lazy, cruel and callous middle aged harpy and her fuckwitted, preening AP.



  • When you are married to a man-baby for decades, you have years and years of history and experience picking through the wreckage to find salvageable parts so that your family can survive. It’s a resume item. And that is what you draw on when you need to save yourself. The more years you have with these time-sucks, the more damage-control experience you have, and the more resiliency. Truth. Also, sense of humor. Because OMG. The old fools. From a distance you can see what clowns they really are. Not our tribe.

    • SO TRUE. I had 18 years of damage control. Of apologizing for his behavior. Or paying overdue bills. Of keeping things together. I was the parent in the relationship – and I was the ADULT in the relationship! I always knew I would be just fine without him and I am!

      • Completely agree!! Apologizing for his behavior and trying to save face was EXHAUSTING! Now that the drama of the divorce is almost over, things are unbelievably easier!

  • The morning after I found out about his cheating, I woke up and I said to myself, you are still you! I reminded myself that I had existed for many years before I got married and was happy, healthy, and lived a good life. Although my world had been completely destroyed and I was losing almost everything I loved and cherished the most in life including my husband- I found moments of peace because I knew that the core of who I was could not be destroyed or taken from me. Eventually I would be able to experience laughter, happiness, and love just like I had before I even knew the cheater. He couldn’t take my spirit!

    Also in my moments of weakness when I wanted to take him back I remember reading on chumplady how there are dealbreakers in a relationship . You either are OK with being cheated on or you’re not OK with it. There will either be consequences i.e. divorce or there won’t be consequences. You either want to eat a shit sandwich for the rest of your life or make a new life for yourself. When presented to me in that way, the choice was simple. I was worth more, I deserved more, and if you cheat on me then I divorce your ass. These realizations and beliefs fueled my resiliency

      • >>the choice was simple. I was worth more, I deserved more, and if you cheat on me then I divorce your ass. These realizations and beliefs fueled my resiliency.

        I can relate to this tough stance when it comes to defending yourself. I also said, ha – I am NOT putting up with competing with another woman. Was he kidding? Didn’t he know that I was a very proud woman? (is that a good thing – I hate pride). I knew this butt-swinger for a long time and she was such a downgrade. (yanno, compared to ME!). Talk about stubborn – I was NOT going to pick-me-dance before I even read what it was. He said he wanted a divorce, I said, OK let us sit down and tell me what assets we have. I never shed a tear – nope, not ONE in front of him, not even during mediation. He only shed a tear when he was telling my sister about his affair. I wanted to wear combat boots after my performance all the way through it. I’m still stunned at my strength – even negotiating the divorce. I credited my mom and my mom solely for giving me a wonderful self-esteem. She had a very low one and she wanted me to feel special, and I do. Thanks Mom – and also, I found C/L, C/N 1/2 through my nightmare and they helped me push the lethal injection into the entire marriage.

        It took a village to give me resiliency.

        • I did buy combat boots about a year after dday, and I wear them a ton now. 🙂

  • My X told me what he’d done and then wanted me to kick him out! obvs so he could then claim there was no chance of reconciliation as i had kicked him out, he wanted to paint himself as the good guy. So i said no i really want you to stay for me and your daughter and everything we have together if you don’t want that you can walk out of the door of your own free will.
    He asked me to “please just fuck me off” when i stood by what i’d said he left!
    My daily mantra is “whats for you won’t pass you” My baby girl keeps me going everyday 🙂
    Stay strong chumps xx

  • I did it all for my kids. I kept thinking, “you can’t let them think that this is what relationships SHOULD be”. “You have to make sure they are all OK”. Then one day I realized that not only were we all OK, we were doing great. On our own. We still are.

  • I would tell myself that my life would be much better someday without him. I could envision my life being free from being criticized for every little thing.

    Faith in God. Faith that somehow there was a stronger force helping me along the way. There was this one Thanksgiving where I was without the kids, after dinner, I had to leave my family’s – just had to. When I got home, I cried like I never cried before, I got on my knees and asked God to take this pain away, to help me heal. That really was the turning point in my healing process.

    Being Grateful. I talk to myself about this all the time. When it all seems so unfair, that they are living the Fantasy life of vacations, kid free days and weekends away, and seemingly no money problems. I tell myself of the REAL things I have, the admiration and respect of my Children, my health, my best friends, and the love and support of my extended family (his too).

    Two months ago, I bought my own home and moved, and fixed the new place on my own with help of friends and family. As I was carrying my boxes 3 flights of stairs to my car, I would tell myself, “You are Mighty” You did this on your own. I am so proud of myself. Would of never thought in a million years that I could do this on my own. I did it!!! I survived this shit.

    • Mighty Again, I also find strength in gratitude…grateful for my four teenage kids who live with me and whose love and closeness and fun that we have together without the lying cheater that are worth it. They are worth the years of deceit and humiliation inflicted on me; worth the loneliness I often feel in the middle of the night because I miss the husband whom I thought loved and cherished our family and me more than anything.

      That said, I have shamefully fallen off the road to meh many times due to my stubborn hopium habit.
      He flys all over that world and comes here and stays in our guest house every 2 months or so for a few days, puts on a unicorn mask, and then rips it off and laughs in my face as he packs to leave again.
      Reading this today I am inspired! Finances are in order and the divorce is nearly final, so I emailed him and said that he cannot stay here anymore. I hereby recommit to resilience: going to pack up his shit (and there’s a lot of it after 22 years), and get mighty again. I am so, so grateful for my kids, and I have to do it for them! Thank you CL and CN! Rip that pipe out of my mouth!

      • Nomocake4you, That’s wonderful, that you are finally recommitting to resilience! You will feel so much better once you rip that band aid off!

        • You’re so right. Hope to become mighty like you! Getting there…

    • I love this!!! You are mighty and you give me hope that I can get there! Thank you

  • My friends and family – especially my Mum (who I love to bits). They listen to my grief, anger (homicidal) and pain, and my feelings of betrayal, violation and freaking bewilderment with the most extraordinary love and patience. And I know I repeat myself over and over. But holy fuck, I pulled a thread 7 weeks after FF (Faithless Fuck) on New Years Eve said all sad sausage that he is not happy and can’t give me what I want (subtext: I am a worm not a man, and I have a superduper secret girlfriend, ha ha, and I am re- virginised by this never before seen on this planet stupendous great love after years and years of frequenting prostitues!). I have also been struck by the kindest of strangers, and chumps in the most unexpected places who soothe my poor raw self.

    I am not mighty, but gonna be.

  • My Stbx-narc suddenly walked out on me and our 3 kids (then ages 8, 6, and 11 months) just a mere 6 weeks after tricking me and my retired parents into a cross country move for his new job, which paid a lot less and had much less vacation time… but allows him to be the boss and, crucially, live in the same town and work very closely with a certain man he’d had an especially intimate friendship with for the prior 8 years, but they were separated by distance…. you guessed it: he’s the OM in a secret gay relationship they are carrying on behind the backs of both their wives and the 5 children between them.

    I choose myself. I’m proud that I immediately figured out he was planning to divorce me and realized he was secretly recording me in a pathetic attempt to collect evidence. Nope!!!

    I am resilient because I choose not to take it personally– hell, this is going to make an epic story for the grandkids someday. Narcs are gonna narc. He doesn’t even see or know me at all, even after 15 years together. Because he’s an idiot who thinks he can get away with his big plan to be with his Sekrit Boyfriend. Nope!!!

    I am resilient because I choose to go to war against his bullshit divorce filing in the new state, by hiring a bulldog, former prosecuting attorney who is herself a divorcee chump and is loved by the judge to whom our case was assigned. The case will be re-filed in our original state and/or I will get a killer settlement. It is just a question of when. He is trying to drag it out and recently fired his attorney and hired a new one who has never appeared before our judge (good news for me), but now I know ALL the tactics he’s gonna try.

    He can no longer surprise me because I expect the worst from him always.

    I am resilient because I take the long view, and have the mentality of a warrior. Someda this chaos will be over, and I get to be in total charge of my one precious life again!

    • Josephine- Sending you hugs and continued strength for your battle. We had someone in our family who was also closeted and cheating- it’s a double mindfuck. Hang in there, you have a beautiful life in front of you.

    • Josephine,
      I am freshly 2 days out from discovering OW, although we’ve been separated since January 1. Tomorrow I plan to find an attorney and begin the file to divorce. I feel very confused about making sure I ask for all the things I deserve. Can you recommend a resource online or a book that would be helpful as I gather my thoughts? I live in Alabama, and my wayward husband now lives in New Jersey. But I will be filing in Alabama.
      (Or anyone else who’s reading….. any advice would be welcome. I just found this site tonight, and I’ve been reading, laughing, and growing stronger by the minute all night long. And now it is almost morning. Literally and figuratively.)

      • I’m glad you found this site, and I’m so sorry you had a need to look for it… I know of someone who’s a divorce lawyer in Alabama. Not sure what part of the state she’s in, but I could find out if you are interested. Perhaps even if she’s not a good match, she could recommend someone else? I don’t know if it’s possible for Chump Lady or Tempest to give you my email address privately, if you are interested? Or I could give you more information in the forums? And of course, other people might have suggestions too. (You can log in to the forums at the top right of the webpage.)

      • LeahSue, I am so sorry but so glad you found this site. Getting a (good) lawyer and therapist were the first two things I did. Then I read CL’s book, Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. I also read another book, Splitting: Divorcing a Narcissist by Kreger/Eddy although the Chumps here seem to know more about this stuff than any so-called “experts”! Because I have kids I couldn’t go NC but that’s usually what everyone else says to do… the alternative is grey rock – in other words keep contact with STBX minimal, email only if possible, and only relevant to the divorce. When I felt the shock and pain start welling up I would just start reading whatever in CL’s archives… I always felt better when I did. This site saved my sanity and kept me balanced through Dday and now negotiations.

  • His therapist, who told me at our first meeting after D-Day that “none of this is your fault and there is nothing you could have done to avoid it.”

  • I’m almost one year out from D-day. From the moment I discovered the OW and made the decision that I was done, the thought that dictated how I reacted to everything was “How do I want to look back and remember my actions?” Knowing that my kids were watching me, and that anything I said or did could potentially be used against me in court made it much easier to choose the high road and not get dragged into his attempts to manipulate me or pretend he was the victim. I also constantly reminded myself that I wasn’t the victim either. The only potential victims were our kids, and I was doing everything in my power to not make them victims either.

    So far, if I go by what my friends and family are telling me, I’m doing a pretty great job.

  • [On my 2nd d-day, after my ex refused to stop seeing his girlfriend] Looking at my infant, playing on the floor, and thinking: I don’t want this kind of life for her. I don’t want her growing up with a dad that she has to constantly be “shiny enough” for, and I don’t want to model this kind of marriage for her as something “normal.” I want her to be the kind of person who knows her worth. I never want her to push all of her common sense, her basic needs, and her self-worth deep, deep down so as not to make a peep and dissatisfy her husband. So I’m going to put my money where my mouth is, practice what I preach, and stop doing those things myself right now. ::Got up, turned to where he was sitting on the couch, and told him to move out ASAP. Picked my child up off the floor, and went about my business::

    Best decision I ever made.

    Two main things spurred me onward through the long divorce process (with ex dragging his feet all the way, of course): the fierce desire to give my daughter the best life possible, and the memory of all the peace, calm, and great times I knew during my years of being single (and knowing I would get back to that peace with time).

    • That word fierce resonates with me. I also felt a strong ferocity to survive for myself and my son.

  • My 10 year old keeps me going…knowing that I’m the parent that she will always turn to humbles me. It makes me know that I will come out on the other side OK. Five months out from D-Day, almost divorced, moving out of state…I have to believe that God has a better plan for my life…that the intense emotional suffering (we were together for 18 years) is not all happening for no reason. As I read before- this is my life NOW but this won’t be my life forever…that thought keeps me going.

    • I love this.

      “this is my life NOW but this won’t be my life forever…”

      Stay strong.

  • To recognize that one person cannot and will not have so much power over my life that I let this destroy me. I have to do this. It’s my life and I must move on. No one can pickup the pieces but me. Hopefully there are others to help along the way but ultimately my life is my responsibility.

    Not always easy to do and somedays it will weigh you down but you have to believe there’s a lot more life to live. So live it.

  • We weren’t given a choice about our spouses’ lying and cheating. We were blindsided, gutted, mindfucked, abandoned, and left for dead. I’d venture a guess that many of us lost ‘dear friends’ who couldn’t fathom or handle the magnitude of our loss. We were victim-shamed and questioned about “our role” in the infidelity…we were accused of asinine things, like gaining too much weight and not folding socks properly. We had our safety, security, and control of our lives violently ripped away from us through no fault of our own…and yet here we are!–ALIVE. BREATHING. Telling our stories. Resilience, unlike infidelity, is something we get to choose. In the midst of a nuclear bomb being dropped on our lives, we forced ourselves to get out of bed and shower, to go to work (or find jobs, if we didn’t have them before), we continued being caregivers for kids/pets/elderly parents, we made it through birthdays and holidays despite overwhelming grief, and in those small, simple daily tasks, we decided for ourselves to keep moving. That’s resilience–when you have every single reason to give up, but you choose to keep moving forward.

    • Exactly! it describes what we all went through, what we all felt.

    • So many ways to sum it up. This is def one of them. Stay strong ?

    • Sarasen that was so perfectly said it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you

      • Yes …..yes …..?✌️???a proud and happy survivor that made it to the other side:) : ) 🙂

        • Yessss! Dday was my moms birthday, still beautified put lipstick on and got myself to her house to celebrate with her, a mans dumb actions won’t taint my mommas day

    • This is my first time on this site and I’m not terribly tech savvy I don’t know how to post a comment by itself or maybe you just reply?
      At any rate I’m 72 years old and was married for almost 40 years. 3 months ago he told me he wanted a divorce he had fallen in love with a women from his bridge club. Well I was stunned! After 40 years we been retired 16 years have travelled the world, no money issues, could do what we pleased. Good kids all successful and 4 beautiful grandkids. What more could anyone want? Oh and he thinks he’s a great guy because there hasn’t been any sex only an emotional affair. Can you believe this idiot! He had tried this once before with a women at work and she tejected him. So the Chump took him back and here we are again. I have a suspicion he’s been trawling for someone for years, when I look back at his behaviour all the signs were there I guess I didn’t notice having too much fun being retired or maybe I didn’t care enough ?
      Well not this time, I told him to get the Fuck Out and take his things with him. That was 3 months ago almost to today. Got my lawyer to draw up a separation , told him I wanted half if everything, sold the house and bought myself a new place in another town, And the last of the money will be transferred to me next week! I am lucky I had a good job and have enough money to live comfortably I know lots of women don’t. I’m in good health, nice looking for my age, I don’t know how many years I have left on this earth but that moron is not going to destroy the rest of my life I’m ‘movin on’. I have a wonderful family and good women friends who are aghast at this situation. I think this site is wonderfully supportive to all us chumps, my advise what would you tell your best friend if she were in this situation? Keep moving forward however slowly, forward is forward! All the best to my fellow Chumps!

      • wow 40 yrs and 72..i am impressed. i am 66 and had 30 yrs. resilience for me was delaying retirement (he was remodeling our beach house for my retirement when a golddigger tramp shook her butt in his face and he dropped his pants) and going to work everyday. the most dangerous place for me is in my head and the weekends are killer. my girlfriends were my life savers..thank God for girlfriends! i have turned a corner in emotional devastation department after 3 months and am doing fun things i left behind that the grumpy old man didnt want to do. surviving is not good enough..i will thrive and find my joy again! hugs to all!

      • lyndaloo,

        You are mighty. Just sayin’.
        I love the “no nonsense” approach. Pull off that bandaid and start healing.

        You are an inspiration. I wish I’d had your guts at 54…

    • I love you SaraSen, this is just the best post, you have a way of cutting to the chase of how we all felt and what strength it took to just function. As for me I haven`t been particularly mighty but one day said I was not letting my home and property go to Hell in a Handbasket because of coward and slut so I began furiously cleaning redecorating to the extent I could afford to, painted ceilings all by myself. Cut the grass and raked all the leaves up I am out here in the country so lot of work and I so remember throwing the rake down more than once in tears but I wasn`t going to let the fool defeat me. Faithfully taking care of my then 2 now almost four year old grandaughter once a week not missing any week during the whole entire nightmare of his cheating and abandonment. And he had to walk out one week before same grandaughter`s second birthday party which I had promised my daughter I would help with. I did it and God knows how… Will never forgive him for spoiling that day for me. So all in all nothing really outstanding but I did get back to a normal functioning level. And now planning to get much needed exterior repairs done to my home. They had been needed for years but did lazy coward attend to them? No and really we can look back I think and say we had been carrying quite a load alone for the most part.

    • Thank you SaraSen. I needed to read this. I am generally a strong/positive person but I am only 4 weeks out from D Day. Doing my best but have moments of such intense grief and pain. Especially night time when I know he is with AP. I kicked him out/filing for divorce and he moved in with her. I don’t want him back bc I know I deserve better but I really just want this horrific pain to stop!

      • Baby steps, Givemestrength, just keep doing one day at a time. Celebrate small stuff. Taking a shower and getting to work every day was key!? Grieve. Coming to terms with the end of a marriage is no easy process…and it’s hard when dealing with betrayal and everything infidelity tosses our way. When my world was falling apart I found it helpful to practice extreme self care. Exercise, and lots of it, helped balance out my anger, and then I discovered Netflix. I’d never spent much time watching tv, too busy with everything else…but getting caught up in other stories allowed me to switch off my reality for awhile. So any series really (I found reading traumatic for about three years after, go figure!)…. West Wing, Brothers and Sisters, The Waltons, and Damages were early favorites, then my kids turned me on to Breaking Bad. I even loved the language! Music is also a good outlet, and I attended many concerts. Creating a new life with intention has really helped. So, hang in there. <3

        • I had trouble with reading, too, for the first 6 months or so. But Law and Order (all varieties) and Blue Bloods saved me. There is almost never a time when they aren’t on regular cable.

          • LovedaJackass,

            I found that I lost the ability to read, watch any film other than fluff, or do just about anything that required sustained concentration. It’s a few years out now, and it has yet to come back fully.
            I used to love to read; would immerse myself in book after book, heavy stuff. That is something as yet I am still unable to do.

            I also lost the ability to fall asleep unless I have something to listen to/focus on.
            For me it was audiobooks, (63 hours of the “Complete Sherlock Holmes” narrated by Stephen Fry is a winner!!!!!), or listening to some documentary on Netfliks.
            Classical music doesn’t quite do it, but seems to have some soothing effect now and then.
            When it’s quiet, and dark, and I’m alone with my thoughts, the faucet opens and bad things start pouring out. Sad to say, but most nights I still have to have something playing on my cell phone, tucked under my pillow…

            I hear you on the Law and Order!
            I watched/listened to every single episode and every spin-off, at least once.
            That and The Twilight Zone, Forensic Files–I know more about serial killers and sex offenders than I ever wanted to know. At least the Hollywood versions!

            I am curious to know if others have had this experience? It’s almost as if my brain has been re-wired in some way, maybe by trauma? I do feel physically altered.

            Hopefully when this is all over and I’m settled, the ability to read a book with some depth and the previous pattern of falling asleep in a quiet room will return.

            • I also love to read and have been unable to read anything except for CN blog. I also love certain TV series and I have had trouble watching too. I force myself to watch some TV shows. It’s been tough!!!! The shock symptoms are bad. I am anxious, lack of appetite, and feel like I am in a haze a lot of the time. I am only 4 weeks out so I think this should get better. Night time is the worst when I am alone with my thoughts. I have nightmares and find it hard to sleep. I don’t want him back bc I think he’s disgusting but I picture the two of them together and it makes me sick. It also makes me sick what he is doing to our son. I feel like at night my mind is on a never ending loop trying to figure out what happened and just being sad/angry about it. It sucks!!!!

              • I couldn’t really read much of anything for a long time after dday (but I could read Chump Lady, thankfully!), and I could only watch some tv shows and movies. (I avoided love stories and anything with adultery, which wipes out a lot of things.) But I had a show that allowed me some relief from my reality for a while when I watched it. And thankfully I ended up with a freelance work project (about 6 weeks after dday) that was challenging and enjoyable that also gave me a focus and required me to move forward. I couldn’t eat much either, had trouble sleeping (and I have never really struggled with that), and had nightmares with my ex and OW in them, when I did manage to sleep. And of course for the first weeks, I would wake up having forgotten what had happened and then would remember my reality again.

                I heard somewhere that when we go through traumatic experiences, our bodies work hard at handling our emotions and inner state, so we tend to be less physically attentive and more clumsy. I dropped a lot of things and had to pay attention going down the stairs because I felt so not-with-it and in a fog. (And I did not drive for a while either because I felt so inattentive that I thought it was unsafe.)

                These first weeks and months are so hard, but I think it’s completely normal when going through this kind of thing. It really does get better with time. Please take care of yourself….

              • Thank you!!!! I am going to try to keep looking towards the future and telling myself it will get better! I have that too where I wake up in the am and am reminded of my reality. It’s tough!

              • GiveMeStrenth,

                The “Mind Movies” are the worst.
                For the first year or so, I had them too.
                Triggers, triggers, everywhere. Driving past where he used to hookup, seeing somebody’s name…lying in my bed alone, wondering if he had had someone else in it. (Decided never to ask, and refused to think about it. I loved my Tempurpedic Mattress and I would have had to throw it out!)

                If I’m any example, it does get better. Much better.
                These days, I hardly think of the man unless he contacts me about the divorce, which is taking forever.
                And when he does, he might piss me off because he’s a d*ck, but there is no emotional attachment to it at all. It affects me no more than if someone was a rude driver. I couldn’t care less what he’s doing, or with whom.

                I won’t lie by saying it didn’t take a lot of work on myself to get there.
                I went to therapy, I cultivated new friends, I constantly re-directed my thoughts to MYSELF and WHAT I WANTED and away from his sorry excuse for a self.

                Reading CN, other books about his “problems” (yes, I was an Amazon Chump of the first degree!), educating myself about what a manipulative, shallow creature I had unwittingly married, all came together under an umbrella of realization that he was a loser, and unless I wanted to live the rest of my life with soul-sucking excuse for a partner, I’d better get on with getting away from him permanently.
                That, and going NC as much as possible did the trick over time.

                Now the thought that bothers me more than any other is the one where someone else may be staying in my house, (which I designed), enjoying my farm, (which I created with my own two hands), sitting in my garden, picking my flowers and vegetables, with my animals, (whom I rescued, rehabilitated, love dearly, and can no longer see).
                THAT is a pain I just can’t seem to get over, so I choose to think about other things. It’s a work in progress.

                With regard to GUBU I achieved “Meh” after about two years of separation. (The law in my state.) The cherry on that sundae was meeting someone after that period, when I was finally ready to give to someone emotionally.
                Now I’m at “Meh-plus”. 🙂

                You’re still so raw over it, it’s a new wound for you. It will heal.
                But it will take time. I believe you’ll get there if you can focus on yourself as much as possible. And while you’re focusing on yourself, it might be helpful to keep a list handy of all the ways you got screwed over by this person.

                For me, once I saw who he REALLY was, there was no going back. I am so much better off, and you will be too.

                As CL says “Leave a cheater, gain a life”. Truer words were never spoken!

              • Thank you so much for your advice and support! I know I don’t want him back but know the pain will take time to heal. You give me hope! I am very happy for you that you met someone great! When I am ready I hope that’s in the cards for me. ?

      • You are only one month out Give me strength. The pain is excruciating I know and the worst part is you have to go through it to get out the other side. Let the tears flow. I am 5 months out and starting to feel better. Still moments of sadness but not as intense. Keep reading CL and find ways to express your feelings. I found talking to a psychologist and writing in a journal helpful. Seeing friends too. Reading booksalso. Runaway husbands by Vikki Stark and of course Leave a cheater gain a life by Tracy Schorn (Chump Lady)
        Lots of (((hugs)))

          • Give me strength, so he is living with the OW huh? Try this exercise, it worked for me. Remember your evenings with him? Mine would sit in front of a TV and channel surf constantly. Then he would place his hand in his waistband of his pants (a la Ed Bundy) and fall asleep. Snores like a train, his upper denture would slip at a cock-eyed position and he drooled! Lovely. Do you think they are any different for the OW? Baseball for my Ex was almost a religion. He wanted to listen to his game with no interference or noise. Apparently Schmoopie hated this and they had very loud arguments that resulted in complaints from neighbors in her condo.
            Just know that once these guys get comfy and think they have hooked the next supply then all the romance is gone. Sound familiar? Same guy, no brain transplant happened when they left. He still sits and snores, farts, belches and then she gets to clean his nasty drawers on wash day. Lucky Schmoopie. Don’t think for a minute that they are romancing constantly because they aren’t.

              • Having a laugh at this !! Could name a few bad habits in the personal care department. At one point i noticed he had shaved down there and even his legs ?? I said jokingly because i wanted him to laugh over it too . Unfortunately it was deadly serious and i wasnt taking it seriously so that was my bad and prob a sign he was impressing all those ladies . He completely denied he had shaved anything despite the disappearing evidence. So worse it just confirmed he was pathalogical liar on top of everything else.

    • SaraSen, your post resonates with so many including me! It reminds me of the MC telling me I was not a victim when I told him I needed to find myself, that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I wish I would have had your words then to say wtf do you mean, I have been victimized!!!

      Now, looking back, I believe MC was a probably former cheater ( extremely rare if one can ever be former) .He always talked about he and his wife’s marital problems leading him to the counseling profession and he totally preached waiting out the affair and doing your best pick me dance. I agree that both partners in a relationship should constantly be doing the pick me dance but if one cheats, all bets are off and get out immediately,

  • Deadlines. All my deadlines kept me going. I am a self employed seamstress, and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid, and I so desperately needed money! Many times I’d be sitting at a machine sobbing, but still worked through it. I had to. Otherwise, I would fail, and THAT I would not give him the satisfaction of!

    Also my daughter. There was a long stretch when I just didn’t want to go on, not as in suicide, but more like if I didn’t wake up tmw, I’d be happy. I knew that would kill her. So I got up for her. My daughter and my deadlines. Thank god for them both!!

    • People like to say that surviving for another person isn’t legitimate but you’re proof that that’s a load of malarkey.

    • That was me would never have committed suicide but if I went to bed and not woken up that would have been okay too. and I tried to hold strong enough to my faith not to do anything foolish, but as you say the kids though mine are grown. How could we have done that to them?

  • Resiliency, I’ve got! Reciprocity, not so.

    I recall saying the serenity prayer. I asked God to grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change (cheater was not looking to change) and courage to change the things I can. (Get out of a long term marriage) I calculated at the time of divorce that I most likely have 20-30 more years of life on earth…..make the best if what’s left!

    I have a mom that lives a few states away and she told me everyday “you’re going to be okay”.

    Then to add more power to resiliency I have two daughters to model what is okay and what is NOT okay.

    Yes!! As chumps we so easily share similarities of cheater antics…… Surviving after living in a cheater world, we are resilient and mighty! Two major things that we share and that cheer us on to put one foot in front of the other.

  • I was desperate to do the right thing. I wasn’t a quitter. That’s the first thing he would say, right? And did. Anyway, the first glimmer of true clarity came when a pastor said to me, “You won’t break up the marriage by leaving. He broke it”. Hello freedom!!!! The women’s shelter helped me get away. There was little in the way of counselling and I couldn’t understand some people’s advice to be “angry”. Angry was dangerous and anything short of zen fed into the cheater’s claim I was crazy. So I just about went crazy keeping it under wraps and above it all. That was toxic. I wouldn’t do that again. But I channelled my life into getting a 3 year degree in two and raising the kids mostly myself. So, I guess I concentrated all that power into one good shot at freedom. Still I was shattered. The next step was to process it, belatedly, get the physical shock out of my system, learning to breathe and move my body freely, and finally – laughing at the stupid jerk’s antics in hindsight. If anyone told me that laughter would heal so well, I’d have worked on it sooner!

    • You know you’ve gotten to a good place when you can look back and laugh at your exes crazy antics

  • I kept telling myself “You can do this”. Also I had a lot of help from friends and, the big life-changer, Chump Lady when I discovered her. But the constant reminder to myself that I can handle this was the key.

  • I used to be proud of how big of a shit sandwich I could eat, not just from stbx but at work too. Can resiliency be a super power? Figured it made me special or was my talent before I knew what codependency, narcissism, or what a shit sandwich was. Anyway, I don’t think I want to tolerate shit sandwiches anymore.

    • Great point Stary. I too believed it was a super power, yet it was in fact lending out super traits to assholes.

      Now that you are aware you can surround yourself with authentic people who maintain reciprocal relationships.

  • It’s very silly but, being Hungarian, I told myself the blood of Attila the Hun, the “scourge of Europe” runs in my veins (maybe, who knows?). Time to pillage that MF’s village.

  • I decided he didn’t get to choose, playing me for a fool while he traipsed around with his whore. So I chose me.

    • I have a fridge magnet that says “I can only help one person today and I choose me.” I love that thing. 🙂

  • During the worst of it, when it took a huge effort just to get out of bed and start the day because I felt nearly incapacitated by living a hellish nightmare, my simple mantra was ‘Every. Day. Move. Forward.’

  • God, my kids, my dog, my garden kept me going. I was in the middle of graduate school, working on a research paper during DDay, but the class and the paper were great ways for me to work out some of my heartache. I decided he was not going to sideline last semester at school, like the good saboteur that he is.

    Also, for the first time in my 20 year marriage, I wasn’t lonely anymore. I could actually feel love and support from my friends and family (after I finally fessed up to how horrible things were at home). I put together a few friends to use as a support group, and held on for dear life until the divorce was final.

    I was blessed, I was fed up, I was ready to get my life back.

  • I think, overall, I have been pretty resilient over the last 7 months since The Sprout left me and my kids (after 20 years together) and moved on to his new life, complete with marrying OW 2 months ago, leaving me to sort everything. I am anxious – and incredibly angry and preoccupied by the fucker a lot of the time but when I look back about what I have sustained over these last months I think I can be reasonably proud of myself.
    More than anything else my motivation has been my children – they are so so precious to me, and they need me more than ever now. Both have special needs, which he had minimal interest in, so that isn’t so different, and his interactions with them were always superficial.
    I am also lucky in that I have a wonderful job which I love and I work with patients who inspire me with their courage and humanity every day. I have to keep doing my job to a high standard for them – and to maintain my professional status, both for myself, and also as a means for supporting us all financially.
    My family, although they live half way around the world, have been incredibly supportive, as have a number of precious friends.
    I also often think of my very beloved grandmother who died, age 95, 11 months before The Sprout left – I am so grateful she didn’t see it happen. My, extremely narcissistic (but overt until covert Sprout) multiple cheater grandfather left her at the age of 65, just as he retired, after a lifetime of her following him around for his career. She was so much more fucked over than I am at this age that it makes me just so grateful for it to have happened at the age of 47 instead. She never repartnered but did build a good life for herself again, and was deeply loved and connected to our family (and friends) until she died – unlike my grandfather, through his own actions.
    There is certainly a part of me that doesn’t want the fucker to feel like he has won – or is important enough to be able to break me, wouldn’t that be so wonderful for his ego.
    I know that now is hard but I also know that that is how it should be, really, unless you are a psychopath (that’s for the ones who put us here!) and I really do believe life will get better. In fact, I’m pretty sure it will be fantastic one day – more than it could ever have been if I had continued with the slow, painful drip of ever-escalating covert emotional abuse that The Sprout provided for over 20 years, and I get to choose it!
    I shouldn’t forget to mention CL and CN either – totally sanity saving! I have recommended it to many!

  • My children. My job. Being appreciated by decent, honest people. As many chumps have already pointed out above, the Power of Choice.

  • The example set by my parents.

    In so many ways, I’m not, never have been, and never will be like them. But I had a phenomenal example set for me, through all of the good and bad I witnessed over the years.

    Each of them had their ups and downs, both as spouses and parents, and of course there was so much I was not witness to. But their words and actions, both good and bad, shaped my view of what a healthy relationship is supposed to be, and I modeled that behavior in my own marriage to the Kunty Kibbler.

    When I told them I was getting divorced and all of the reasons why, I got exactly what I needed (and, deep down, what I knew I would get) — validation that I was not at fault, that I had always acted in good faith, pure intent, and with the well-being of my family always at the forefront.

    Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not have the same type of stable home and unbroken family that they were able to sustain for 52 years,before my dad passed away in April. But my actions both before and after DDay made them proud. That’s what makes me resilient.

    • I’m sorry for your loss, UXworld. Sending hugs and prayers your way.

    • Freedom. I want my freedom back…. to be myself, to buy what I want, to feel comfortable in my own home, to be free and easy with my kids, to make a happy environment where we don’t have to perform all the time and suck up our feelings all the time, where I no longer live with the silent treatment, constant silent treatment and arrogance all the time- as if I was a second class citizen. I have worked very hard for a little no while raising two kids and maintaining a household, getting my ducks in a row, sucking it up every day to keep my kids’ lives on track, and to try to do well at work. Be pleasant to stbx while wanting to scream, now I want freedom!! It keeps me going…. also a better more stable environment for my kids. I pray I can get more custody… he is asking for 50%, but at least they will be free 50% of the time….

      • Oh my God ShryiKL, that is IT exactly for me. I wanted my freedom, my life back. Unlike most people on this site I was DELIGHTED when he ran off. I had been asking and asking for a divorce for years – even the kids begged him to agree to it, but he wouldn’t because he knew he was on to a good thing. He got to spend my salary (I earned more than him), he got me to sort out all the chaos he left in his wake ALL THE TIME, he got to use me as a punchbag (physically, verbally, mentally and financially) so why would he leave. I knew I was worth more than that but trying to get by on around 3 hours sleep a night kept me firmly under foot. So when he ran off I had to nail my feet to the floor to stop myself from jumping for joy. He wanted to come back 3 weeks later but that door was firmly shut. So he got the skank and I got my freedom. Thanks schmoopie.

    • “Due to circumstances beyond my control. . .”


  • I got myself off the floor by telling myself “I chose this, this is my decision.”

    Making it mine instead of something that just happened to me.

  • I’ve been pretty good at verbalizing my boundaries since the dawning of time, what I had a problem with were consequences. STBX was, and is, a master boundary jumper; his mantra “nod, agree, and do whatever the fuck you were going to do anyway, regardless of anyone else.”
    8 months of in house separation gave me time to fumble around learning about consequences.

    He lived in the basement guest room (which has a full bath), yet came to our room every morning to shower/dress. He would come and go as he pleased, and frankly was running around like a frat boy on viagra. He kept telling me he would move his things, yet it never happened. When he told me we had to reschedule our sons IEP meeting because he “had to work” (aka, screw his new girlfriend overnight), I took that anger and dumped every bit of his $50,000 wardrobe, his toiletries and all other belongings down in the guest room. My children were horrified at MY BEHAVIOR.

    When he was moving out he enlisted my daughters boyfriend and 3 other football boys to help, he walked in and immediately started telling the kids to take things I was keeping, thinking I’d say and do nothing, but I did. Those poor boys, I was on a learning curve and didn’t quite do it with the grace I would have today ?. Again, the kids were horrified at MY BEHAVIOR (okay maybe I deserved a little bit of their horror on that one)

    After repeated discussions with him about breaking into the house after he moved out, I made the hard decision to remotely set the alarm after my daughter had come to the house with him to let him in (a 16 year old is not going to tell her dad, “no, I won’t do it” I know him, and I know she had no choice). I refused her pleas to turn it off, and had police dispatched. They left before police arrived, but I filed a police report when I got home. Again, kids were horrified at MY BEHAVIOR.

    Of course he used every single one of these instances to paint me as crazy (omitting the entire truth of course). Today I’m pretty good about implementing consequences without the emotion. I think partly because…

    I react promptly and do not let myself get to utter frustration

    I know my worth and I have a right to boundaries

    I know I can’t control him, only myself and my reaction

    And the biggest thing of all (which was quite the learning curve for my children) consequences for bad behavior is not the problem, the bad behavior is the problem.

    For me now, consequences are just a matter of fact… you cross my boundaries = consequence.
    There is no more second guessing,
    am I overreacting?
    being irrational?
    being unfair?
    being selfish? etc.

    I’ve evicted fuckwits voice from my head and listen to my own wants and needs without being selfish, knowing he will call me crazy no matter what I do, so I teach him how I’m willing to interact with him, and I teach my children that bad behavior has consequences, it’s not moms job to suck it up, keep the peace, etc.

      • It is interesting that so many of us (me included) feel the need to acknowledge, apologize for and correct our typos. I wonder if this is residual angst over not wanting to look imperfect in front of our judgmental spouses/STBXs/Exs. I think that may be true for me anyway. They really do mess us up.

        • I’m not sure… I’ve not given that a whole lot of though ?. I do know I can get quite ” passionate” when speaking of fuckwit; vomiting my experience, instead of giving thoughtful coherent explanation ?. I guess years of hearing my thoughts were twisted probably plays a role in fearing being perceived as a rambling idiot.

        • For me, it’s my English major, law and librarian background. Can’t shake the need for precision in the spoken and written word. It’s one of the few things I can’t blame the Edgar Suit for but then again, I don’t see it as a flaw either. 😀

        • That’s one of the things that makes this the best comment threads on the interwebz. Everyone here self-corrects, and nobody gets flamed for grammar or typos.

        • I have thought of that many times on this site and for the most part have made a conscious decision not to correct unless I think people really won’t get it. Now I concentrate on apologizing unless I actually hurt someone. I have to stop myself a lot. Stbx never apologized so I can learn from him lol.

          Also, this makes me think of my narc mother who ALWAYS corrected our grammar in speech and writing and didn’t balance with compliments on content.

    • Who cares if he calls you crazy? Or I should say, don’t let it bother you. Stick with your guns as you are doing. The children will come around and learn that your behavior was what it needed to be. Continue to not let that bastard trample any longer. Well done!

    • I love how mighty you were to say “no” when Cheater tried to triangulate using the kids.

    • Imposing consequences on his behavior was Behavior Modification 101. It works with horses, dogs, Asshats. Completely called for, downright admirable, and probably had the desired effect!
      I wish I had caught on sooner…

      • Star

        This is the problem I had with forgiveness and reconciliation. He never received consequences.

        Problem is that unlike an animal these creeps are not loyal and could really give a shit about working to repair a relationship. They are selfish and lazy.

        It’s about boundaries, knowing one can’t control another’s behavior, and making infidelity a deal breaker. No free passes.

        There may be situations when a post nup benefits a chump financially and I’d recommend it if chumps need to protect their assets. However, there is nothing worth staying with a poor investment, risking ones health, safety, energy or time.

        • DoingMe,

          Agreed, 100%.

          I wish consequences could be bestowed as earned, both good and bad.
          People should reap what they sow. Unfortunately, we chumps are often on the wrong side, actually helping them get off easily!

          This is what the RIC got me. Working ever harder to help him realize my worth, not being angry or imposing consequences lest he decide being with me wasn’t fun enough anymore. After awhile I realized that even if he once again became the person I thought I’d married, I could never unsee what was behind that mask.

          He knew it too. He actually filed for divorce first, once he realized I’d really seen who he was. I guess we both knew there is no coming back from that.

          There are some consequences for him now, though. My life is better–but harder–and his life sucks. He’s old and sick and lonely, no one loves him, we had a good life together and he threw it all away. He thought there’d be a smorgasbord of willing ladies once he got me out of the way, but I guess the fact that he had a sweet wife at home made him seem like more of a catch than he actually was.

          As a cheating, porn-addicted, limp-d*ck loser who is half broke now, he’s not nearly as appealing as he once was. He’s got an rx for Canadian Viagra. I doubt he’s ever had the chance to use it. 🙂

          Oh….I know he’s “sorry”. Sorry because he screwed up his own life. He’s never been sorry for what he did to me though.

    • “Consequences for bad behavior is not the problem, the bad behavior is the problem.”

      YES!!!! We are made to believe that WE are acting incorrectly, but it’s just a distraction from their bad behavior!

      Thank you. I needed to hear those words today.

  • I am the queen of mighty, fellow chumps.
    I’ve been the biggest idiot, as in I had no f-ing clue he was banging the babysitter. Right in my house, under my nose, in front of my baby. I’m up their on the losers chart!
    I paid PI to find out. And even while watching the pictures, reading the report, I still could not see it. I’m a chump, what can I say?

    I am mighty in the sense that I worried first about my son (he turned 2 in the midst of all that).
    I did not confront my husband, I did not stalk and set the OW on fire as I felt like doing. I did everything legally!
    My husband, while coming to pick up and to return the baby, did not even notice he was not allowed in the house.
    Once he left the house, gone he was! He recovered only what I allowed him to have. Got 2/3 of the house, got custody of our son, right to relocate abroad with my son and I got all of these in a matter of months! I left with MY car! Idiot, he bragged the car was his.
    Was I the biggest looser? I don’t think so!
    Of course, once I freed myself from him, I achieved a lot more. Even though I invested everything I had in this 10 years relationship, it was a bad investment. So I cut my losses and restarted my life. I am worth so much, I am able to generate so much more!

    • Standing Ovation for you Enraged!!! Way to be mighty. Some would wither and die with what you have been through. What a nasty fucker he was!! Good for you!!!

    • Thank you. I guess it’s a good example, one must keep their head and will get out of the mess.
      I did not even cry…I had to keep it all together for my son. My XH tried to lay the narrative that I am crazy, sick or whatever. It didn’t stand, as he had to take a loan and pay the lawyer and mediator. Basically, he lost everything and was left with his prize OW.
      Who’s the crazy bitch?

  • I told myself and my kids I wanted to set a healthy example for them of how NOT to let people treat you, how NOT to treat women (talking to my son), how NOT to allow men to belittle or treat you (talking to my daughter), how to stick up for yourself, how to spot a bully and liar, how NOT to trust everyone and SET healthy boundaries and how to love yourself and be your own best friend. We talk about these things openly because even though I’m no contact (except in writing) with the Narc they have to deal with him on a consistent basis. They struggle with certain areas like setting boundaries but are much healthier than where they were 3 years ago.

    Chump nation, you better damn well believe I point out every asshole move the Narc “plays” with our kids and remind them of how NOT to act. I ask them about their feelings and let them share freely. I don’t judge them and I give them a safe environment to share. They don’t share everything with me about their Narc father and that’s fine. But, when they get thrown under the bus and he puts them in the middle you better believe we are talking about it. To NOT screw up my kids, give them true love and God are the main things that have kept me going.

    Thank you Tracy for letting us share our drive. I never really thought about it, I just did it and then only talked about the ‘crap’. When you put it in this perspective, it’s a positive eye opener. Happy Friday!

    • Exactly. Excellent job. I’ve fallen out with two of my “friends,” because they believe the teenager should not know what is happening? Why exactly should I help hid his dirty laundry, you know. Children need to see that you don’t have to accept bad behavior.

      • Hey, if the dad is a cheater, he’s lying to the kids. Someone has to established what reality is for them or they will be screwed up for sure.

    • SouthernChump, I really needed to read your post – thank you! One of the biggest things I struggle with is how honest to be with my 14 yo daughter about her dad. There are some internet sites that say it’s not a good idea to be open with kids about a narcissistic, bullying spouse. I don’t get why, but maybe because it could lead to accusations of “parental alienation”? Or maybe the kids will think you’re just bitter and demonizing the cheater?

      To me, honesty and openness seem like the best policy. My daughter saw pretty much everything that happened in the marriage, anyway. Does she not deserve to know what was/is unacceptable behavior? Even at this late stage, should she not learn what boundaries are and how to invoke them? I feel like she should be introduced to the concept of NPD and taught what the signs are. But my “golden” stepson, who is being Switzerland, does not think this is appropriate for her.

      And, truthfully, I am not sure what to do… after all, I am still recovering from 16 years of trampled boundaries and bullying and clearly no master of healthy behavior. Heck, sometimes I’m not even sure what “healthy behavior” looks like!

      I would like to hear from other chumps on this issue…?

      • In my case, I initially kept it from the kids because I was hoping to reconcile. As it became clear that wasn’t going to happen I thought it would be good for the kids to know the real reason we were divorcing (he was leaving me for somebody else). I did not want to be the one to tell them, however, I thought STBX should do it. He kept saying he wanted to wait until they were older. This put a terrible burden on me for several months to keep that secret without the kids knowing the full story behind my distress, not just being left but being replaced too. By the time I actually initiated the divorce I thought their relationship had cooled and if it was no longer a factor maybe they did not need to know. Then, when I discovered they were still going strong after all I lost it and chewed him out and my daughter overheard and that is how she found out about Schmoopie. Then he agreed to tell her brothers before they found out in a similar fashion. I regretted the way in which my daughter found out, but I don’t regret that the kids found out. It lifted a burden off of me to have them truly know the full extend of my pain. It also prevented a future scenario where they wouldn’t understand my hostility towards Dad’s “innocent” new girlfriend.

        I would say tell because they are going to find out anyway one way or another and the secret will eat you alive in the meantime.

      • My then 16-year-old daughter is the one that discovered the affair – there were nude photos of the whore on her iPad, which was still synced to ex’s iPhone. So there was no hiding it from her, and neither did I want to hide it. We’ve always been very close. The only time I hid something from her was when I found out the ex was back with the whore. I told her that her dad had a girlfriend – but didn’t say who. Told ex he had to tell her who it was. Of course, he never did. So when ex wanted our daughter to come visit him, I told her who the girlfriend was so that I protected her. No need for her to go to his house and come face to face with the whore!

        I think your stepson is wrong. It is important that children know what healthy boundaries are, what is and is not acceptable behavior. I’ve told my daughter that there ARE good men in this world that treat women right, that do not cheat.

      • Do you want your daughter to think it’s acceptable behaviour for her future partner? Tell her so she can learn to look for the red flags and establish healthy boundaries not just with her dad but with future potential life partners.

      • Stepson is not her mother. End of story. He doesn’t have a voice in how your DD is raised. Set a boundary and tell him STFU. Just sayin’.

      • Meh or Bust–Don’t gaslight your children; CL is right on this issue. You don’t need to editorialize, but your daughter needs to know she can count on one parent to not bullshit her. There is never a guarantee that fuckwits won’t take you to court for “parental alienation,” but they typically do not want their affairs broadcast to the world in a public document so chances are you are safe. (should there be any threat of parental alienation charges, I have a document you can use if you email me [email protected]).

        And LAJ is correct–tell stepson to STFU.

        • My Ex worked for a popular telephone company “V” when he came home and wrote me a Dear Jane letter! The SOB had no balls he mailed it and ran out of the house when the mailman delivered it! We were married 36 f—king years and he couldn’t tell me to my face that he loved his Whore co-worker! The devalue stage started and he began to date her on weekends.. he then grew balls and asked me to move out of the house that I was paying on! I filed and the SOB came to a side street near my job and he and Whore face got out of thier work trucks and blocked the road to intimidate me! I was so nervous I almost ran them both over! I went to work quite upset and called my lawyer! The lawyer put out a letter to the both of them with her name listed as his paramour on the letter to stay away from his client or else! My ex flipped out and began locking the house down and harassing me everyday until the divorce was final 1.5 years! I am out almost 3 years and never have been happier! But yes believe me the worst thing you can do is expose both of them! Mine moved away from our hometown after the divorce was complete!

      • I’m also in the camp of openness and honesty. My daughter is much younger than most of your children, and doesn’t remember the actual split-up. But she sometimes asks questions out of the blue like “Why doesn’t Daddy live here anymore?” etc. Telling the simple, clear-but-not-editorialized truth is never wrong (and I would argue that doubly pulling the wool over their eyes and hiding the truth so that they’ll have to have their own d-day of sorts in the future *is* wrong).

        I say things that are matter-of-fact: “When you’re married, you agree to be with each other only, and not have other girlfriends and boyfriends. He had another girlfriend, and I gave him the choice to stop seeing her or move out. He chose to move out.” Sometimes she’s satisfied with that answer, and sometimes it spawns followup questions: “Why would he not want to live with me?” When I don’t know the answer, I just say “I don’t know.” All of those little conversations end with me reiterating that she *always* has a safe place to live at my house, that she *never* has to worry about me leaving, etc. etc. I hate having to explain this stuff to her even the tiny bit that I have, but at the same time, I love knowing that my actions are what she has seen, and will continue to see, and that those will always back up the fact that I’m 100% with her and 100% in her corner, whether it’s convenient or not. UNLIKE someone else. I don’t need to disparage or editorialize to bring that across.

  • Inner script- he doesn’t get to have me. He will not destroy me. These clowns cannot take anything else from me.

    I think you know you are just a Thing to these people. They don’t value you. They don’t value their kids or the marriage. Everything is a prop or tool for them.

    Then there was the knowledge of the fuckbuddy minions. People you may know or strangers who conspired with the turd to cut you down. Fuck that shit. I KNOW I’m resilient. I’ve dug myself out of situations across the globe honorably.

    The hideous Mow with the prolapse. This was a bit of pain shopping right after learning I gave a huge chunk of my adult life to a serial cheating whore whose Plan A had them developing their true love escape. I was able to look through a large portion of her Wonder Years that included Asshat. This woman had been trolling me through his social media (they swapped logins like middle schoolers swap Instagram). She changes facades like people change underwear. Her new facade during this time was absorbing parts of me – my interests, pets, general style of house/home, etc.. creepy.

    During the horrific discovery, I was working, raising my kids and managing life. I called on my truest friends for support and followed their good advice- lawyer up, document, get checked for STDs, keep important files safe out of the house. I searched the web for insight to WTF I’ve been blindsided, found CL whose library posts made a lot of sense and hit it home.

    I did go through the classic Chump scenario of actually doing MC with the idiot. My cognitive dissonance ran high. My advice regarding therapy is do YOU, alone. No MC. If the cheater doesn’t want to “lose their family” (see how this doesn’t really include You as an individual???), let them sort their shit out with their own therapist For YEARS before even considering joint, marital therapy.

    If you chose to remain in the relationship, you need physical separation and a solid post nup. Your decision isn’t going to be swift like a cheater would hope. This is the second most important decision of your life. The first one was saying , “I Do.”.

  • I tell myself “if you cannot walk, then crawl” but keep moving! keep doing, keep living!

  • * my children are my biggest motivation and my biggest inspiration.

  • The moment after I confronted my ex-douchebag (after throwing his clothes on the lawn, punching him, and getting every last thing off my chest), I collapsed. I wanted to go to the ER where they could pump me full of so many drugs that I wouldn’t CARE anymore. But I didn’t. Always, there has been a voice inside me – I think it is God – telling me, “You are going to be okay. You are going to make it through this.” It’s been my guiding light, even during the moments where I’ve broken down and felt such immense pain I thought I would die. Always, the mantra, “You are going to be fine” has kept me going. It’s something I KNOW within the deepest parts of myself, that this will not break me and be The End. I will be FINE. I will thrive. I will emerge from this nightmare stronger, more resilient, wiser. I’ve learned that I was being abused by my narc husband – and I was losing myself. But NO MORE. I am DONE with him, DONE with his manipulation, lying, deceit, cheating. I DESERVE BETTER. And by God, that is exactly what I’m going after.

    • But the biggest motivator to keep going? My daughter. I would walk through hell for her. I would even go back and live through that horrible marriage for her. She was the one good thing the ex-douchebag gave me.

      • You know you’ve been through that for her, right? She was given as parents you and a disordered father. The best one parent can do is be the sane parent. That way, your daughter will choose for herself. Keep being the sane parent, she will choose you.

        • Thank you. Yeah, I guess I have walked through hell for her. Why do I still have problems accepting that ex-douchebag was abusive? I think I’m still in denial because for so long, I thought that since he didn’t hit me or call me names, it wasn’t abuse. When he pushed me one time, he later apologized and said he wasn’t abusive “like those men that beat their wives.” Uh…what?

          My daughter and I have grown closer through this whole ordeal, and I”m so incredibly thankful for her.

          • Amen sister!Pregnant chump, I feel the same on throwing up. I learned on this site to ask for separate rooms and got it. Mediator asked me privately if there was abuse and I said no, he bullies and intimidates and mediator said that is abuse. We were in separate rooms 90% of the time which made it better.

            This was court ordered mediation and my lawyer said from the outset our case would not settle here. It was just something I was forced to do. The mediator was good in some ways but others terrible. He kept interrupting me and talked on and on about himself and his opinions. In the end, you can’t settle visitation when stbx has no relationship with kids- they are 17, 15, and 13. The 17 year old is almost out of the picture.

            I have sole custody now because he abandoned us. Only now that he realizes I want to keep it that way is he freaking out and desperate as his perceived loss of control and making crazy plays for custody which further alienate the kids.

            I woke up again thinking what a horrible role model he is as he is absolutely unscrupulous. Makes me angry when people like mediator say the kids will see his faults and not repeat them. That is a crock of shit. I see my adult son and 17 year old treating me like he did regularly and it is not easy to stop.

            So my required mediation is over and we continue with high conflict for now. I assume your kids are younger so it will be different. My kids have more choice but look on the bright side, hopefully you will have more exposure management as they develop. Hugs to you. You will be mighty in mediation!

    • I think your conviction and mantra are wonderful! You do deserve better, you will be fine…

      • Thank you! I’m feeling better all the time. I have my bad days, but I just keep moving forward. Actually starting to feel excited for the future for the first time in a LONG time.

        • That’s wonderful! I remember for the longest time I couldn’t think beyond the present moment or the one right after. Being excited about the future is a huge milestone!

  • I credit my take no bullshit New Yorker attitude and my integrity for my resilience.

    Whenever I start to spin into the emotional side of what has been happening, I constantly remind myself this is what he wants me to do. He wants me chasing my tail emotionally, so that I neglect or delay in doing the right thing. Remind myself that he is this ordered and it has nothing to do with me.

    This keeps me focused on the business end of separation and divorce, and to keep my eye on the long-term strategy and outcomes. And if I do get into an emotional tailspin, I come here and reach out for support so that I can get back on track. Thank you CL for providing this place for validation !

  • One time he told me “I’m going to break you. I’m going to destroy you.” I responded “I’m stronger than you think”. I realized at that moment that I was a much stronger person than him, despite the imbalance in our relationship. He never could overcome obstacles on his own. I repeated those words to myself often and I was determined to prove it to myself.

  • I can’t tell you how many mornings required a concentrated effort just to get out of bed… let alone make breakfast, check homework, pack lunch, get my son to school, get to work, work, come home make dinner, get to his activities (or suffer through visitation absence), shower, bed.

    For many days – heck months… that was it. And you know what, THAT WAS ENOUGH. In fact, that was herculean looking back at the emotional wreckage Mr. Sparkles created with the discard for the OW.

    And I think that is where my resilience started… just realizing that doing the bare minimum was ENOUGH. Slowly, over time, I got stronger. I set more boundaries (which is very empowering!). I got back to church and got close to God (I listen to KLOVE every day). I got angry and I got honest. I told myself – cry tomorrow – today, get shit done. And then the days add up and before you know it, you’ve filed… your kids are back in their routine… you go to mediation and court… you ready CL every day and share your story… you join a book club or volunteer or try something new… and you find that you are doing more than surviving, you are living.

    And my friends, there is nothing sweeter than living a chaos free life and giving your kids a sane parent. The karma bus, for me, has a been… taking my son on great vacations… updating the house the way I want… putting in a new patio so I can sit by the fire with a bottle of wine when my son is gone with the fuckwit.

    Resilience is the act of faking it until you are making it.

    You’ve got this Chump Nation.

  • I have 3 daughters. They MUST know they deserve better than the treatment I endured at the hand of my stbxh. I must set that example. It’s not an option.

    • Yes, I have two daughters, and I wanted very much to show them that you do NOT tolerate abuse (and that’s what cheating is.) You leave.

  • Honestly, thinking back, I don’t know where my strength came from. I don’t know how I did it. I was beyond stressed realizing that my life was forever changed. I was sick with worry. Raising two teenage daughters. My immediate family lives a few states away. I was so physically sick of the life I was living that I ended up suffering from shingles. I had lost soooooo much weight. I had no idea which direction I was going in each day. I ended up driving places and not remembering how I even got there! Seriously one small step away from going insane.

    Survival builds an incredible strength!! I just pulled on my bitch boots and never looked back until the dust settled and the divorce was over, the house was sold and packed up (three times)….long story, new home was purchased and we were settled. I fell on my sofa and slept. SOUNDLY! for the first time in 7 LONG years! And I slept ALOT for the first two months. Literally could not keep my eyes open. No joke! I was tired. I was so tired.

    I’ve learned SO much. About myself, about others, about what is truly important and who to surround myself with. I don’t ever want to experience this ever again but I am so glad I saw my strength!!! I CAN DO ANYTHING!!!! And I mean it!!!! I am going on 3 1/2 years since my freedom and in my new home. I am paying my bills by myself and living MY life!!!! AND I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!!

    • You are rocking your new life. I can relate to the toll this shit takes on your health. In my 13 years with him I had constant colds, flus, chronic ear infections, eye infections, adrenal burnout and shingles on my head which lasted three months and totally messed with my brain. One day I completely forgot to pick my son up from school. My narc was a binge drinking responsibility dodger for the first five years then morphed into a self obsesses health freak cheater once sober.
      6 months out I have dropped 10 kgs have no health issues and loads of energy. Just need a decent job now and I will be on my way.

  • She promised to have my back, not plunge a serrated dagger into it.

  • Right before my X left, she was crying and spouting some blather about “kundalini awakening”, and I had the thought, “There is more to me than spending my life taking care of someone who is – to put it mildly – not very together.”

    She left for new “kundalini” buddy.

    I got a big promotion at work, made new friends, ran a half marathon.

    I was right – there is more to me!

    • Kundalini awakening? And I thought I’d heard it all.

      You rock, SnowyEgret! Congrats on the promotion, new friends & half marathon.

    • Snowy, your ex and mine used the same excuse. Even the rare excuses aren’t original!

      My ex gave many ever-changing reasons for her affair. Halfway through our divorce process, right around the time her OM was getting married to his longtime partner and mother of his child, my ex “apologized” for her behavior…and then blamed it on her “poor handling” of her kundalini awakening.

      Apparently, these alleged “awakenings” bring forth as-yet-untapped sexual energy. Of course, my wife provided no explanation of why that energy had to be expended on someone other than her spouse.

      To my wife’s disappointment, I didn’t even respond to her latest explanation. I just told her to file the next divorce form at the court.

      Kundalini, my white ass.

      • I had to Google that one. What the ever loving fuck?! “Kundalini, my white ass” indeed. That two cheaters (at least) used that same bizarre excuse just goes to show you that they never have an original thought or action. Never.

      • These fucking New Age hippie cheater bitches, I had one of those too

    • All belief systems of all types make convenient excuses for shitty behavior choices. That’s why we all need UBTs and BS meters when dealing with others, but also for dealing with ourselves.

    • Mine listened to binaural beats, sound waves for meditation. Mostly sounded like you are inside and elevator shaft, not very zen if you ask me. Anyways one was for kundalini awakening and to make your penis larger and broader!.
      Was into many other stupid new age crap and overpriced herbs for whatever.
      He got sober from alcohol and become neurotic about this kind of stuff, always having to lie down on is magnetic mat thing, which by the way cost $2000 instead of you know helping with the kids. Don’t miss that shit. Always pushing is health advise on me and talking rubbish about ‘moving towards love’ which is ironic considering I found out later he was cheating. Also crap about humans being unevolved, anyways sure ain’t missin that dribble.

  • My brother came over to be with me that awful first night. He said, “when you look back some day you are probably going to see that this was the best decision you ever made.” At that moment I made up my mind to make it the best thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t choose the abuse but I do choose to make my life so much bigger and rewarding than it was while I was married to an abusive cheater. My resilience comes from my determination to choose my own thoughts to believe in. I choose to believe in me.

    • This is very inspiring!!!! I am very close to D Day and this is how I want to be – strong! Just have to get there! Thank you!

  • I told myself that I had to do this for me otherwise I would have wasted my life and we only get one chance, that better times are ahead and that I will not let someone treat me like dog shit. I play a sad song some mornings in the shower (used to every YAy progress) and cry for what I thought I had but then I stick to my routine I’ve created and get on with my day. I’m not to meh but I’ve had glimpses and that sustains me. I’ve made new friends am learning to play piano and don’t have to walk on eggshells anymore or be berated or be his mommy. Thank you CN and CL for making me know I CAN DO THIS we all can ????

  • I had to keep busy. The most dangerous place for me to be is in my head and weekends were really tough. I have a very difficult job and it takes concentration and focus. I pulled out that crisis management tool belt just kept putting one foot in front of the other and rounded up my girlfriends for daily support. Thank God for girlfriends!!! Other tools were exercise, crying, meditation, crying, reading. Oh and changing everything in my bedroom. New sheets, big bright daisy shower curtain and butterfly rugs. Butterfly’s have become my icon,.. transformation! Most significantly, I watched me grown boys cry and told STBX that I would never watch that again. He had one chance to come back and make things right. He chose the tramp instead and literally said his happiness is more important than the families. So I am the role model for my adult children. We all need role models throughout life and I’ll be damned if my boys will have two weak sniveling parents to model. I can overcome with grace and strength. Yeah I hurt like hell and I still have to succeed and achieve and thrive. Fuck survive..I will thrive on the back of tragedy!

    • I love it–transformation of your living space, transformation of you & your family.

  • On D-day, when I found his notes preparing for the sexual harassment hearing because of affair with gradwhore, plus a 6 pack of condoms, a little voice asked, “How much self-respect do you have to sacrifice to stay in this marriage?” And a stronger voice answered, “No more.”

    Step 2: Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” on endless loop for 3 weeks.

    Step 3, as the full horror of my marriage became revealed, the same mantra I had used to survive a controlling, narcissistic father kicked in and I thought, “He will not break me.” This time, I was also further motivated to set a good example for my daughters, that one does not tolerate bad treatment.

    • Tempest,
      All that you have survived has made you one helluva strong lady!
      I love who you are!
      Your daughters are blessed to have such a wonderful role model.
      ((((Many hugs))))

  • My daughter, my career, and once I knew what was really going on, pure, white hot unadulterated anger.

    Today I thank the Sluterus for taking the Toddling Slab O’ Man Baby off my hands. There is no way I would have survived my son’s death if I hadn’t already tasted the kind of pain he put me through.

    And mostly I take responsibility. I don’t blame myself because there are thousands of people walking around just as imperfect as me perfectly loved. But I chose two terrible life partners and fathers of children. Before I did the work of healing from severe childhood abuse I thought someone else could fix me. I thought vultures standing over me feeding on what was left of me were guarding me. Now I know there was nothing worse ‘out there’ than who was already under my roof.

    I don’t know how I did it, but I see how I do it now. Does that make sense? When someone makes weird demands, I laugh and turn away. When someone attempts to shape who I am to fit the gaping hole in their soul, I say ‘That’s not my problem to solve.’ When someone has deep satisfaction with my essential values, I remind them where the door is and how I paid for it.
    Don’t knock numbness. It builds wonders.

    Most of all, I think of my daughter and giving her not just the things I never had, but resetting her life experiences to a default of awesomeness. I will parent her with effectiveness and authority rather than leniency, helplessness, and

    I’m just leaving this new Kesha song here too. If you skip ahead to 1:00 when the song starts, prepare to be blown away. My daughter played it for me and by the end all I could manage through my wet face was, ‘It’s….good.”

    • “I don’t know how I did it, but I see how I do it now.” Yes, it makes perfect sense.

      Amazing mom; amazing daughter.

    • Wow – you are mighty! And this song is beyond perfect – made me cry! Thank you for sharing!

    • I just found this site tonight. It may be what saves me. And this song. Oh My.

  • I’ve got 4 things:

    Gratitude. It took a long time, but I learned to be grateful for what I have–and that’s a lot. Great job, decent income, nice little house. Although my parents have passed and all my aunts and uncles, I still have a sib and a bunch of close cousins. I have cats and flowers and deer! And friends! I have my teams! There are games to play! There are turkeys walking around outside. I’m in great health. That makes me rich.

    Don’t look back. I spent many, many years pining after my XH the drinker, who walked away from me years ago. I end up marrying him years later and discover that it’s hell to love someone who is in other relationships, in his case alcohol, drugs, and his buddies. What that taught me is that someone who walks away should keep going.

    Self-efficacy. Things need to be done. I’m not spending my life whining and complaining and waiting for someone to rescue me or watching everything I care about go downhill while I dither about doing something about it. If I can’t manage to learn how to do something, I can pay someone who knows.

    I’m not alone. There are lots of people in the world. Lots of animals to love. And I have a relationship with the Universal Power of love and grace.

    • LAJ, you are our Guru here at CL (and a smart, classy woman). What a beautiful list.

      I am far enough away chronologically and emotionally from my marriage that I can remember the trauma of D-day, but be grateful even for that horror and its aftermath. Everything that has happened to me, good and bad, has gotten me to this point in time–fabulous friends with integrity (even if some of them are only on-line), days surrounded with positivity instead of being persistently belittled, new projects that I now have time for because I am not pushing a matrimonial stone up a hill. I wish this state of mind on all of us.

  • I often remind myself of this: life is short and tomorrow is not promised.
    And on the other side of fear lies incredible freedom.

  • I’m loving seeing so much strength and inspiration here. I know its easy on any of us, we all have our own challenges along with the life changing events surrounding us. But we’re still here, not just carrying ourselves forward, but helping each other along the way. This is so great. Thank you all.

  • The kids need me. I have no choice. My employer needs me too. Somebody has to look after the house. Etc. etc. Just because I am an emotional wreck, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is going to stand still and let me fall apart. Sometimes I do think it would be tempting to just give in to madness and escape life’s stresses like STBX chose to do, but I don’t have that luxury. I don’t have anyone to shuffle my responsibilities onto like he did.

    • Even if you had someone to shuffle your responsibilites onto, you would not be comfortable with that.
      That’s the difference between a cheater and a chump: integrity and responsibility.

  • At the time, my inner dialogue I repeated to myself was that I wasn’t special. That what happened to me wasn’t a rare thing and that my husband was not a fucking prize to feel bad about. It helped me to keep thinking this way, because when you insist that what happened to you is the worst thing to occur on the planet, you blow it up to be an insurmountable mountain. I had to keep remembering that there are a whole lot of people in the world who had it worst than me.

    I would think about all the other times in my life something horrendous happened, and I noted how little I cared about it NOW, so I knew I’d eventually get over that pain of the whole thing, and I did.