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Dear Chump Lady, Why does my pink hair make me feel better?

flowerweldDear Chump Lady

Here is a silly question. I have been through years of hell. In short, like most people here, my husband of thirty years cheated with a woman at his office 30 years younger then him. I went through all the usual crap including forgiveness, starting again, listening to him gaslighting, blaming myself, counselling, anti-depressants, pick me dance……thank the Lord I then found this blog. Yes dear readers he did it again and I threw him out, we were moving house at the time.

I was devastated. He then got cancer and had a major op…. Which killed off my no contact with the miserable toad.

However, I was preparing myself for my son’s graduation. I went for a haircut and came out with a really brilliant cut and very loud pink highlights. The question is, why did a simple cut and admittedly extreme hair colour so change my mood when everything else failed? I would say I am me again and achieving Meh. Do explain if you can.

Pink Pauline

Dear Pauline,

One untold benefit of the infidelity experience is that you feel more alive.

I know that doesn’t make any sense to someone reading this with a recent D-Day. Alive? I feel run over by a Mack truck. I feel nauseous. I feel numb.

Hear me out — yes, you will in time feel MORE alive, not less. Your senses are heightened, you’re raw with emotion, and in a weird way you are more receptive to the world. There is a certain thrill in letting go. Your world is falling apart and you just fall with it. You look at everything in new ways. That sad song you heard on the radio a thousand times now takes on such import and significance. You relate to the pathos. You sing along and it feels so fucking meaningful.

This stage doesn’t last forever because we can’t go through life like an exposed nerve, but while you’re there you’ll find yourself incredibly receptive to new things. For you, that’s pink hair. For me it was welding. Embracing new things means you’re healing. Shaking yourself out of that old identity and into a new one, requires some experimentation.

Some people buy new bed linens and stop there. Other people dye their hair pink. I learned how to use a plasma cutter.

A little riff on welding — it’s like a glue gun that can kill you. Oh, I’ll just stick this piece of steel to this piece and look — it’s a flower! (See picture above — I made that!) But you ground it wrong and the current goes through you, not the metal. I did that and burned a hole through my hand. The fleshy part between my thumb and index finger had a neat, cauterized hole! WOW! Did I ever feel alive after THAT!

Sane, cautious Tracy would probably never take up welding. Heartbroken WTF Tracy did.

Old you probably would not have attempted pink highlights. New you wants to shake it up a bit and see yourself in new ways. Good for you! Rock that pink hair at your son’s graduation and enjoy your new life!

(And please tell me that even with cancer this guy is your ex. Last I heard radiation doesn’t cure cheating. Somehow I’m doubting his 30 year younger OW is sticking around for the chemo appointments…)

This column ran previously. A shout out to all the new hairdos out there. 🙂

Ask Chump Lady

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  • This is beautiful, and so true. Gaslighting, blame-shifting, and then the pain of discovery fog up our senses. But once you’re out of the weeds, everything feels better — and you feel more empowered, too. You can make choices — heck, you can dye your hair pink! You’ve been through shit and came out at the other end. Pink highlights, trapeze classes, whatever — all that seems only appropriate.

  • The short answer is “Because it’s all yours.” You did something purely for yourself, and that feels wonderful on occasion.

    • A close friend told me “shave your shit and go have some sex. Why? Because you’re a grown ass woman and you can”.
      Exactly… I can do whatever I want without judgment by Mr. Liar Cheaterpants.
      It’s liberating.

      • LOVE THIS, Lost 220#!
        I bought myself a steel-boned corset, a vintage wardrobe that plays up my new, still getting smaller waist & thinner, but still-curvy body! In a classy, I’m-not-pretending-to-be-a-teenage-tramp way (like OW)! I enjoy shopping in my prettiest dresses and watching other guys watch me walk by! (Not ready for sex, but….in its time, by MY standards!) Women even compliment me. I bought the corset myself, but the wardrobe was on fuckwit, who handed me his card in guilt. Find your pink hair, CN! LOVE THIS!

  • I read this one before so now I’d really like to know where Pauline is at.

    I’m hoping it’s something like “blue hair, half shaved, surfing, hippie” Pauline.

    I’ll smile thinking about a wonderful journey of discovery.

    • I think our cheating Xs are the leeches and maggots and in a way they, or us leaving them, do hasten healing.

  • Omg. Is perfect timing. I myself am actually thinking about coloring my hair bright pink or bright blue!! This is been on my mind now ever since he left late July. Or bright purple.

    I may wait until after our final hearing in September to do this. I wouldn’t want the judge to think I’m a freak. But I am looking forward to sporting some funky colors!

    • Go ahead, do it! I coloured mine pink and purple in September last year. (pink roots, purple tips) When we stood in front of the judge in November, it was pink and awesome. The judge doesn’t care. 🙂 And even if they DO care? Fuck ’em!

    • Do it!
      I did the pink highlights too although the lavender was pretty cool. I loved it & so did everyone else. It was so unlike the ‘old me’ (who had been worn down years by Mr. Runswithhookers) BUT it is just like the NEW me!!

      I agree with CL, the new you will feel alive again and want to experience everything. For me, I feel like I have been given a second chance at life to actually LIVE IT and I’m not going to waste that chance.

  • After 25 years of waffling and indecision, my D-Day and pending divorce finally helped me know exactly what I want for a tattoo. Finding out my husband has been fucking other women for the last 12 years and I can stop trying to save things has given me perfect clarity into exactly how to define myself.

    Now I just have to save up the money and find the time.

      • It’s based on a photo of some desert flowers I saw on a trip to the Middle East a few years ago. At first glance, the scene looked like an empty desert, but when you looked closer, the sand was actually a faint purple because the ground was covered with these tiny plants with beautiful purple flowers. I grew up in the desert and still love it. These flowers are a reminder that there is beauty that can thrive even in harsh environments. And, of course, they have tough little thorns so people don’t mess with them. 🙂

        • That’s beautiful imagery!! I’m going to google purple dessert plant so I can see it. Maybe I’ll paint it so I can have a reminder that though a chump, I’m a survivor… WE ARE SURVIVORS!! I’m almost 2 months post D-Day #2, and am quite anxious to have the divorce finalized. But at least he moved out.

    • I always liked tattoos but my STBX hated them and thought they were gross. So, in the 20 years we were together I never got one – until a couple months ago. I celebrated 6 months of separation by rewarding myself with my first tattoo. It is beautiful and I LOVE IT! I put in in a very obvious place so that I would see it everyday. It is my reminder to build the life that I want rather than the life dictated by someone else.

      I was a little unsure if my kids would think mom has gone off the deep end. But my boys said it looked good and my girls thought it was the coolest thing ever. They even brag about it to their friends. I’m already thinking about what to get for my next one…

      • My asshole thought tattoos got ugly colors when old, so he was always reminding me that when I told him I wanted one. As soon I was out, I got myself a nice dragon over my right ovary, which was removed in surgery several years ago. I look at it and I truly believe my dragon has been with me all my life: the tattooing process was only removing the sking that covered it. And it brings me so much joy to think the asshole is never, ever going to see it.

    • Me too! Mine is a pair–one arm gets done when I file, the other when divorce is complete, I’ve moved from New York to the desert, and I get my last name back.

      • Diana – that is awesome! Maybe I’ll get my second after the divorce is final. My tattoo is a melanoma awareness ribbon with bad-ass tribal-style butterfly wings in red and orange. (I was diagnosed with melanoma a week after DDay #1 – DDay #2 came 7 months later). Butterflies are beautiful creatures that acquire their beauty and their wings through their own significant transformation. The experience of dealing with cancer and infidelity (at the same time, ugh) has certainly had a transformative effect on me. I’ve learned to appreciate my beauty as I am (scars and all) and have earned my wings to be free to live the rest of my life as I choose.

        I think the next one will be four birds to represent my four children. They have earned some freedom as well.

    • Do it!! I was anti-tattoo for a long time but both my kids have them and after my divorce was final I wanted to do something that was (for me) radical so my daughter took me to get a tattoo. I got a small crown (Queen of My Own Life) at the top of my cleavage so I can see it every day and remind myself that I am in charge of my own destiny. That was almost two years ago and no regrets. I’ll probably get another one at some point but haven’t decided what or where yet.

  • It’s an act of self reclamation. During my marriage I spent so much time trying to be what cheater ex thought I was supposed to be that I almost lost sight of myself. His manipulation was gradual and subtle, and I balked at a lot of it, but, by the end I hardly recognized myself.

    Within a few weeks of leaving, I dyed my naturally blonde hair a bright, vibrant red. He hated red hair. It started out as a major fuck you to him, but I fell in love with it and kept it. Now people think it’s real, an it still makes me happy every time I look in the mirror. Another plus, I am treated with a lot more respect as a redhead than as a blonde. Also, in public estimation, my IQ seems to have jumped a 100 points, go figure.

    We get to really express ourselves once we unload the disorder, lying, cheating fuckwit. It doesn’t matter what our form of self discovery takes, it just matters that we do it! We work our way into becoming our real, authentic selves again.

    Win!

    • Oh yeah, Tessie!!!

      I always had to dye my hair blonde (I’m a natural dark brunette), or blonde streaks. They always looked orange to ne, but whatever.

      Since exh#2 left, I have had my hair done in various shades of red, with deep golden streaks, looks fabulous, I feel awesome and pretty again.

      I’ve rediscovered my love of crafting, and have created a bunch of things that not only made me happy, but others as well.

      What started off as a WTF, has become a Wow, That’s Fabulous!!!!

  • This is so true, I’m having a garage built for my new little cottage/house and I’ve made all the decisions re where it’s located, and how many doors, windows. Got building permit myself, organized for the electrics! I’ve just contracted with a painter to do the living room and hall. Had several girlfriends for brunch/lunch Tuesday, they stayed until 4:00 and didn’t have to rush them out to make dinner for POS. It’s excilerating to have the freedom to do what you want, how you want and when you want. Life is good again. ????

    • There is something so fantastic about being on your own schedule. I have a toddler, so it’s kind of a laugh for me to say that, but the days that I’m on my own are as much mine as I can manage.

  • I think it’s about control and taking it back, doing things for you, something you never would have known you wanted while married because you were busy making your needs and wants so small. I set out to do all the things I could think of that Narkles the. clown told me I could not do, should not do, or that he would handle but never did. Most of that involved finishing the home remodel it took him over ten years to not finish. Turns out I’m pretty handy with power tools. I had a five page list of things that needed to get done 18 months ago. I now have a list under a single page. Not only does it feel good. It really increased my self-efficacy and made me feel mighty.

    • Good for you! If I didn’t have to trade my house for an apartment, I would have liked to have learned to be confident with power tools. I’m good with a hammer or a paint brush, but anything with a motor/engine is a bit intimidating. When we bought the house, we had the big to-do list also, and I chipped away at most things myself — had to constantly remind/beg X to just pick something(s) to do, ugh. Lack of personal involvement and self-motivation/pride in our home life was one of those red flags that I missed…

      • OMG!!!!!! This: “Lack of personal involvement and self-motivation/pride in our home life was one of those red flags that I missed…”

        this must be on page 100 in the Cheater Playbook ????

        • Exactly. Married 35 years and the one small”to do” list turned yellow and brittle. Irresponsibility was his middle name. Since he abandoned me exactly two years ago, I have had to have water heater replaced, had large oak trees cut down, bought a car( the one he left me with broke down TWO days after he left, he drives a BMW). Replaced the washer and the dryer, dehumifier and had lawn tractor overhauled. I also replaced all recessed lights with the new energy efficient ones that were sitting on his “workbench” for over a year! On the bright side, with so many “undone” projects, the house appraisal came in nice and low. I am just beginning to plan my capital improvement list.

    • Married 30 years several D days. Separated 7 months working on divorce. I have so many house projects and am good with tools. I usually love it but I just sit around after work. I don’t feel like doing anything. Even when I was with Mr. Babyshit I always tried new things but now I don’t care. I’m tired all the time and want to hide. What’s up with me?

      • Spoonriver, that sounds like a doldrums river…maybe some depression? I am only 2+ months out from Dday3, and the rollercoaster has slowed down considerably, it’s still back & to, day to day.
        My energy changes…sometimes hourly. My marriage was in year 30, also. It takes a lot to take in the seachanges of married to divorced…I’ve started, but work such long days (10-12 hours/5 week!), I’m done when I get home. But I’m starting to find myself again… it’s so empowering!
        Do you have some good women friends? Maybe something new? I want to learn how to surf. Redecorate the cluttered house. I’m going back to acting again! There are new joys awaiting, but a lot of minutes in between. So many books I want to read. BUT…it’s all mine, now! And if I need down time to process and recharge my batteries, so be it. Stick w CL & CN…such a rich community in ideas, strength & support. You are MIGHTY.

      • I got my divorce finalized in late May. I spent the entire summer wanting to sleep, irritable with my kids, etc. I am still having a hard time getting out of the funk, but going to a therapist who knows how to deal with PTSD has helped some. She taught me about “grounding” to help with the symptoms. You may not have thought of it this way, but you suffered many years of abuse if you were married to a serial cheater, which causes trauma. I absolutely did not expect to feel depressed after my divorce, because I knew I needed out. I thought I would feel lighter and freer, not down in the dumps.

        Here is what the VA website says about PTSD/depression:
        “Many symptoms of depression overlap with the symptoms of PTSD. For example, with both depression and PTSD, you may have trouble sleeping or keeping your mind focused. You may not feel pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy. You may not want to be with other people as much. Both PTSD and depression may involve greater irritability. It is quite possible to have both depression and PTSD at the same time.”

        • Mine was in late March. I was okay until I found out that he moved ALPO and her 3 kids in with him the end of April, after telling me last fall that it was over. My kids told me yesterday that both Mr Twatwaffles and ALPO to my girls they were probably going to get married.

          My 9 year old told me flat out, “I think they want to make you jealous, Mom.” It has kind of set me into a tailspin today, but I truly do not want him back. I’m just still reeling from the sudden turn my life took without my consent or being fully conscious of it coming.

          • Sunflower36 I’ve wondered how I’d feel if my ex married his young schmoopie, although I have no desire to reconcile. At first it seems like pushing the knife in further and twisting. I’ve always known my ex could never be alone, he’s too high maintenance. After my SIL died young of breast cancer, we chatted about if one of us died while our kids were little. I told him I knew he couldn’t be alone, but please don’t bring in a batshit crazy and do that to the kids.

            Your ex is out of options and he needs to feed. He has pulled through Taco Hell because it’s all that’s open at 3 am. No offense to the Taco, I like their healthier cantino bowls. Sometimes it’s what suits ya’. And sometimes your digging the coins out of the seats….

            • I should mention my SIL died not too long after Dday # 1 and he had left to pursue twice divorced married howorker with a history of cheating already. A real prize howorker was. Coworkers had knicknamed her ‘Crazy ___’, because she really was a nutter. Our kids were 4 & 2 at the time. She apparently couldn’t have kids per ex. I’m sure she would have gladly inserted herself in as their mommy.

              I shutter to think of the feelers he has probably put out over the years. He just seems to pull in the bottom of the barrel filthy trash. It’s really hard to think this is what your kids will be exposed to from now on. Sunflower36 your young daughter is wise beyond her years and will fair well as she has her eyes open!

          • Sunflower36,

            ALPO,like the dog food ? Hope so because I am laughing my ass off at the notion !

            • Yes ma’am. It’s a spin off of whomever here said “You’re cheese, she’s cheese product.”

              Well baby, I am Prime Rib, and Mr. Twatwaffles threw me away in favor of a can of ALPO.

              Proof positive of what a dumbass he is.

        • Just looking into PTSD treatment. Have my 2nd appointment coming up. I’ve tried talk therapy. hands on healing, acupuncture, massage. All have helped with the crazies but now I feel paralyzed. I have a great list ready for when the energy comes back.

          • Here’s one thought: pick one project and make a date with a friend to come and help you with it. I’m struggling now with the consuming desire to sit on the sofa and do NOTHING. But when I call someone to get help, I have to get up and move. You can trade favors for someone if you feel guilty!

        • I actually feel better knowing I have PTSD. It helps me understand why I can’t control my emotions. We truly need to get our bodies ton rewire the connections.

          I’d love to hear more about the techniques you are doing to help heal.

          • After reading this, I realize I’ve been in pretty much a constant state of PTSD for the last decade or so.

            My son died, then 18 months later, my daughter was born with a rare birth defect and I had to go out of state to have her with surgery being a few days after birth and a stay in the NICU. When her sister was born 2 years later, I was definitely still reeling from those events as I sought an OB during that pregnancy and basically had the medical establishment treat me like a crazy woman for crying at the drop of a hat during appointments and such.

            Shortly after that, I was betrayed by someone I considered my best friend which caused me to lose a lot of other long time mutual friends. (This was a trauma that Mr Twatwaffles could not understand as being a problem. He was of no help at all.) and I was still working through that somewhat when he dropped the affair bomb.

            I feel I have been driven to the point of unhinged.

            Wow.

            • It would be absolutely normal to be somewhat un-hinged by that series of traumas and betrayals! Do seek a therapist who has experience with Complex PTSD (that’s different than PTSD from one occurrence or experience). There are treatments that can definitely help!

            • Hugs Sunflower. I had a ton of big Truamas also in a short time frame – kids’ drug OD, suicide attempts, arrests…. so I too am really struggling to recover.

              • I was just praying this morning on my way into work, “God, something has to give! Whatever it is I’m supposed to learn from this stuff and still not getting, could you please make it clear? I get that I’m the common denominator….message received Loud and Clear….what else am I missing?? GEEZ!!!”

                I’m so sorry MC99. It’s so hard when we’ve got kids with significant issues and we’re at a loss as to how to help them and always wondering if we’re doing the right things. We tend to take those things much much more personally. ((hugs))

      • Depression can be a real bear. Be gentle with yourself; maybe even get some meds to help. Then start doing a “Destuffing” project; get rid of everything you haven’t used in two years (donate or sell or trash). Keep only things you REALLY want in your life. Get a good friend to help.

        If it belongs to the Chump, put it in a box, put it in the garage and give him a deadline to collect it. If he doesn’t pick it up, donate it.

        You’ll be totally amazed at how good you’ll feel when you don’t have to deal with a lot of “Stuff”.

        {{{hugs}}}

        • Doing that right now. Gave the ex 30 days or items are deemed abandoned. (Moved out two years age. Divorce final in November. ). The a## couldn’t even reply. He cannot face the humiliation now that he knows that I know the details of his depraved behavior. You see, he has never told me about the affair or the filing of the divorce.

      • Spoonriver,
        Your first two sentences in your 9:31 hrs. post answer your last sentence.
        Still you have come a long way and in CN’s eyes YOU are mighty.
        There are so many known posters above and below my post who are reaching out to you with love, understanding and very helpful guidance and information.
        ( I feel I have come to know many Chumps stories and I feel such anger at the cheaters)
        Spoonriver, I hope one day soon your heart and your spirits will be lifted, and I wish the same to all Chumps. ❤️

        ((((Mega hugs to you))))

      • Spoonriver,

        Be proud of yourself for just going to work! I couldnt concentrate on anything for at least six months after dday and while I am better, I am still frequently present but somewhere else. I feel bad because I know it effects my children. They see it.

        • Feelingit,
          Your children mean the world to you and it shows.
          You get up every day and you do your very best.
          Your children are first in your heart.
          You have a giant size heart and a great determination.
          I read strength in each of your posts.
          I am pulling, forever, for you and for them!

          Xxxxxx

      • Spoonriver give yourself time to rest and be still. Massive life changes are exhausting and you have 30 long years of relationship to get over….it’s ok to just be still for a while and let your new reality slowly sink in. Take all the time you need,there’s no timeline,it’s letting your heart and soul heal. Take care.

        • I agree with WMLB. I stuggle with beating myself up over being tired, and I have two documented sleep disorders. I am supposed to be tired, lol! Even so, it is frustrating.

          ” it’s ok to just be still for a while and let your new reality slowly sink in. Take all the time you need,there’s no timeline, it’s letting your heart and soul heal. Take care.”

          Such comforting words.

        • Thanks for the support. It makes me feel like there are people that get it. Hoping the therapy will help. My therapist said that I’m emotionally exhausted (Ya think?). I know it’s that and having so much time on my hands. Trying to figure out what to think about now that the drama of lying and cheating and trying to meet his impossible needs are over. I have room in my brain for my own things and thoughts. Trying to find the new normal. I do feel sometimes like I’m falling through space without a parachute.

        • And iron! We often can’t eat well during this whole mess, and our bodies react badly sometimes too. Anemia does a huge number on our mood and energy levels. The cut-offs the medical establishment uses are probably too low, btw, so if you’re ‘low normal’ iron levels, at least start taking a multi-vite w/iron, or ask your doc about supplementing for a little while.

  • WOW Chump Lady,
    All the detail in your flower! It is spectacular!
    I wondered what it was all about until I read that it was your creation.
    Then you went on to create this site.
    Your life is full of accomplishments!
    Rock on awesome lady!

    Pink hair, blue, purple hair, tattoos, whatever liberates a Chump’s heart, it’s all good!

  • I also dyed part of my hair hot pink and then purple and then blue! Now I’m doing a bob in an ombré from brown to blonde! im also designing my own tattoo of a Phoenix rising. It’s gonna be blue and hot pink and I hope, beautiful.

    I do feel like I am more free to do whatever I want, even though I would have dyed my hair pink when we were together… I just never did. I don’t know why. But now I have no qualms about change! Maybe that’s it. Got forced to change something so major against my will, changing my hair seems like a silly change to worry over, right?

    • 12YearsWasted – I got a phoenix tattoo post-Dday… Over 6 hours at the tattoo parlor. It makes me feel badass happy every time I see it :)!

    • “Got forced to change something so major against my will, changing my hair seems like a silly change to worry over, right?”

      Exactly! The power to makes changes how and where we want is part of taking our lives back.

  • I have been rocking braces for a week and will be for the next two years. A total teenage look. Cheater can’t understand why “at this age” I decided to fix my overbite and “risk” a client facing job. My “don’t give a flying fuck” attitude throws him off balance and I have enjoyed our recent encounters as much as it is possible under the context. We are discussing separation points and I want this said and done by the time he leaves for his home country. Hopefully soon.

    • Shallow much, Cheater? Yes, I see how you can’t face humans with braces on your teeth because you can’t succeed in life unless you look one certain way that one certain person likes. Skills, shmills. Experience, whatever. Ability, come on. Didn’t you know customer service is all about the color of your teeth?

  • It may not even be as extreme a condition as being safe/cautious before and gutsy/daring after. It may be a matter of “always wanted to and should have long before, but never did” because Chumps are so conditioned (by nature and by narc conditioning) to put other things and people first.

    One of the big epiphanies I had post- DDay is how cheap I’d been with myself over the course of 20 years with KK. And I don’t mean strictly in the monetary sense either — I mean in the sense of doing things I enjoy, and of fostering relationships with the good people in my life, both past and present. All in the name of bolstering the spirit and confidence of someone who measured her own happiness by how much attention she was getting. And the attention was never intense enough or sustained long enough, so she was never happy.

    One of my post-Chump vows was to not be cheap with myself any longer. The live storytelling was only the first and most obvious gesture. Less obvious but no less impactful was spending more time with family during holidays, instead of leaving early because I didn’t want to deal with KK’s laments of being “soooooo bored.” Also: listening to the music I wanted to listen to while driving (instead of deferring to her music in order to avoid an argument), taking as much time as I wanted to complete a home project to my satisfaction (instead of hers), and allowing myself to take the scenic route to a destination (instead of rushing so she could get there first, and thereby ‘win’).

    The big things (welding, pink hair, cliff diving in Malta, whatever) are important. But know that they’re not the only ways of feeling more alive. Simply being more attentive to and acting on the everyday things that are important to you brings much the same sense of euphoria.

    • This, exactly. Catering to them and neglecting yourself. With them gone, a whole new world opens up to you in discovering yourself. Stbx cries about how greedy I am, and people laugh because they know I always put him and his hobbies ahead of myself. A part of me is coming out and growing that was stifled living with him. One thing I did was become president of our Toastmasters group. It’s a start.

      Love the pink and welded flower. Beautiful!

    • ^^^ exactly this.

      And my anxiety is disappearing which is the best gift ever. I thought after dday my anxiety would spike and keep going but no it decreased and kept on going down.
      I’m not sure how he made me feel so anxious all the time (he was out of the country so much) I haven’t really figured that out yet but it is a daily pleasure to feel just fine. Maybe I just gave him too much headspace. Don’t have that problem any more.
      I have not done or changed anything major but delight in just feeling free and more myself.

      • Your primary partner in life was lying to you and sneaking around behind your back and keeping things from you? That would make anyone anxious. Cap, you sound like someone sensitive enough to know on some level that something was not quite right in your marriage. Result: low level constant chronic anxiety. I know, because I had the same. Out of the country or next to us in bed every night, for some of us, the body knows.

        • Yes, the body knows. When I was first getting together with my stbx 16 years ago the weirdest thing would happen – I would be shaking. I was like what is this? It was so crazy. Looking back on that time – my body knew.

    • UX you are so right! My relationship with my grown children and grandchildren is do much more fun. Like most chumps I was always trying to make sure Asshole wasn’t bored during family visits, always treading on “eggshells” so he wouldn’t get into a snit and sulk and spoil the occasion. It’s insidious the way their “centrality ” permeates every aspect of your life. Always putting their needs and wants first. How many times did I say “oh, he won’t like or want to do that” and so I didn’t. Ugh!!!

      • I had the same experience with ex. Walking on egg shells and trying to keep him appeased at any function we went to that was central for me. I had to be creative about how I worked him into it mentally. For my family reunion, I would tell him “everyone just loves you so much, they always remember who you are and rarely me, and it’s my family!”. If I gave him that centrality going in, he would act the part and be fun and engaging with everyone. If we just went to an immediate family function with my mom, siblings, and nieces/nephews he would be pouty and sulking. My family tolerated him at best and he would be pouty and pissy. Drive separately so he could leave early then text me guilting me of why I was still there. He stopped going to any work related functions with me and I realized it was for the best. Always went by myself, if at all, cause he would text and pout that I wasn’t home with him. Sadly he did this alot with the kids too. Now we have normalcy in our life.

        • “Drive separately”

          There’s a red flag for you! I know because Mr. Sparkles always brought a second car on our summer vacation to the beach and, invariably, he always found a reason to have to drive back home for a “work emergency” or some bullshit about 3-4 days in to the vacation.

          They are addicts and all they care about is their next kibble fix. If they aren’t front and center, they want to go to where they will be.

          Thank GOD I don’t have such a huge black hole in my soul that can never be filled. My cup runneth over with love.

          • It’s just so true ICanSee, they are kibble junkies. Mine would keep his phone with him constantly and text like a fiend. It wasn’t initially the ho, our Apple icloud was shared but he didn’t know. If I ever had my phone out, he would tell me it was rude. The double standard. There were times though I wondered if there was something wrong with me that I didn’t have constant texting like he did. I really only texted with my kids or him when we weren’t all together. Otherwise intermittently with others.

            For vacations we had to bring the friend du jour to keep him entertained. The kids and I were never enough.

            • Haha! One anniversary trip, we were going to drive to Las Vegas. X informed me- he’s bringing our friend Mike along ????
              And he did, such a weirdo.

        • MJB, you and I were married to the same man! Ugh. I finally stopped doing anything with my family because my X was so awful. The egg shell walking was making me absolutely stark raving nuts.

          Now I’m living with family again and the complete amazing opposite of X. My coworkers have been so concerned about me living with my parents again because, I get it – it can be hard. But it’s wonderful compared to being around, living with or even breathing the same air as X. Yay!

          • I used to say my ex was high maintenance. I didn’t have CL & CN to put it all together. In my gut I felt like it wasn’t okay and not how people should have to live, in my mind I told myself all people have to give for a marriage to work. It was always about his wants and needs. I used to say I’m the giver, he’s the taker. Not sure why I ever really thought this was okay. Why it took a 2nd Dday with a different schmoopie for me to open my eyes.

            I have alot of guilt about how I let my family slip away from me during these years. Time I didn’t spend with my siblings and their kids. Now that I’ve been divorced for a year, my kids and I are really close with my family. My kids have so bonded deeply with my sister and niece. What the hell was I thinking before?!?!

            I’m glad you are with your family now marriagedetective. It’s wonderful to be loved and accepted for who you are and no longer twisting and contorting yourself into a pretzel!

            • I’m right there with you. Seriously, we married the same man – though I have no children from mine – both a blessing and curse. I have a lot of guilt too about not even being in contact with my family for all those years. I too have no idea what I was thinking, just that “well, I guess this must be how marriage is.” The relationship was sooooooooo lopsided! I have no idea why I thought that was OK. Truly, I know exactly how you feel on this!

              I’m glad that you are in contact and loving it with your family too! Yay for dumping the dysfunction and getting back with people who are loving and give some sense of normalcy. Life is so much more enriching and fulfilling!

            • My STBX belittled my immediate family and although they live closeby, we only saw them on the obligatory holidays.

              With him out of the picture, I see how much he influenced me and unfortunately I’m daughter as well.

              I just lost my mom to lung cancer a few months ago and I am deeply remorseful for time not spent with her

              Mom’s cancer was diagnosed right about the time of Day #2. The silver lining is that my brother and I bonded throughout her battle and we are working hard to continue our newfound relationship.

            • I always thought of mine as high maintenance too (money and time) and it always annoyed me that he didn’t seem to appreciate that I wasn’t.

    • Your comment about how cheap you had been with yourself hits the forefront with me today. (Btw I should be working on my financial statement for an upcoming hearing and transferring information to a flash drive but I am here procrastinating.)

      I bought a semi expensive ring for myself 6 months after cheater left. I finally wished up and stopped wearing the wedding ring and just couldn’t get used to my naked finger. I designed the ring and used symbolism meaningful to me but it it hasn’t given me that liberated feeling. I hope that will come. The cost of the ring and the cost of the few pieces of jewlrey he gave me over the years don’t add up to the cost of one of his watches.

      But as for being cheap with myself, that was on the front of my mind because yesterday I was made aware that cheater made a very large purchase using a check from his mother which is an obvious attempt to keep from giving me the marital money I am entitled too under the law and she knows it. it was yet another jaw dropping “really?” Kind of moment. Upon reflection, I think: she is trying to keep horrible, mean feelingit from getting golden child’s hard earned money. But who gets the benefit of that money? Her grandchildren. Because other than the ring and my T.J. Maxx wardrobe, the money is spent to feed, clothe, house and entertain my children. I am not the one, with boats, cars, guns watches, mistresses… to spend money on.

      50 years old and mommy is still fighting his battles. More Narc evidence every day.

      Longing for liberation!

      • Same thing with ex’s family. After he ditched us the first time (wife, 2 & 4 y.o. kids), his mom and sister were at my house loading up ‘his’ stuff. His mom was in her 70’s and is standing in the garage arguing with me about how the separation agreement her son and I had wasn’t fair (a cheap, big box bookshelf our son was using in his bedroom to store books and some toys). I realized I was missing so much stuff that they had sneaked out and moved. Some of the things we never got back, even when we wreckonciled 8 months later. I really couldn’t wrap my head around how his mom could know he was ditching his family, yet feel he was entitled to take everything. Wow.

    • It’s definitely a matter of “always wanted to but never did.” Which can also be seen as “this is who I am and I don’t have to pretzel myself into a box to conform to some Cluster B’s self-serving, double-standard expectations and restrictions any more.”

      I got the divorce tattoo as well. I went to Easter Island and stayed at a B&B in Hanga Roa that happened to be across the street from the studio of the best tattoo artist in the south Pacific. It’s a sea turtle and cost $50. I will love it forever.

      I got not just one French bulldog, but two (they’re sort of like Lays potato chips in that respect I guess, but way cuter and funnier).

      I went out and bought a new car by myself. I got exactly the car I wanted and did all the negotiation myself. Very empowering.

      Next I’m getting a motorcycle endorsement on my drivers license and a Vespa.

      It’s so freeing to do whatever I want and know I will not be met by disapproval, judgment, rolled eyeballs, the silent treatment, or downright anger.

    • Exactly UX. I feel the same way. The big things are important, but even the little things, like listening to music in the car just because we want to and our X’s wouldn’t allow it, is something to celebrate. I’ve found that everything I do, DAILY, is easier/better without the killjoy by my side. Woot!

    • I bought new dress shirts and shoes for the first time in over a decade, after seemingly spending $ for 20 years on braces and fake tits and girlfriend vacations and cruises-with-her-mom and bring-it-home dinners. I took my son to college and pro basketball games. I saw the Globetrotters at 47. Just learning about all this “chump” stuff, which I admit to being, yet hate having been played. What color of Mercedes would look good on a chump? 😉

      • Welcome (unfortunately) to the Brotherhood of Male Chumps.

        I shudder when I think about the things KK wanted to spend money on (but I refused). Tit lift, arm flab and back fat removal, tuition to patisserie school, 4×4 truck — all “just because,” all because she felt they were promised to her in some way, all merely diversions to have other pay attention to her for a little while.

      • I’ve always liked black or dark gray cars. I’ve had two BMWs, one of each color, the dark gray was my favorite. Of course I can’t afford luxury cars now after paying $30k to my attorney just to get what I should have received in the divorce from the get-go (and we aren’t done yet!), but maybe someday I’ll get back what I had to sell. For a Mercedes, I would definitely say black.

    • Oh the music thing Ux. Yeah, that’s a good one. I love to listen to music while I cook dinner and I always had to turn it off when he came home because he didn’t like my music or the fact that I liked to sing along. I mean, I no Miranda Lambert but I was in choir in school for six years so I can at least carry a tune in a bucket! It’s so freeing to sing what I like, when I like and even dance around if I want to (while avoiding the dogs who are usually laying around at my feet).

    • This: “One of my post-Chump vows was to not be cheap with myself any longer.” Give yourself your time, your energy, your focus. Give yourself relationships with family, friends, pets. Give yourself exercise and good food. Give yourself TV marathons and pedicures and [ugh] golf outings.

      Lots of chumps get caught up in the “lifestyle” trap, thinking that divorce will end the nice vacations and living in a big house. But the very best things in our lives are not about money.

  • It’s safe to say, IMHO, that most Cheaters don’t expect Chumps to survive the discard. Particularly with a sociopath like my darling Mr. Sparkles, I truly see moments of shock and dismay on his face when he is forced to see I am THRIVING (after 3 years, mind you) without him and not pining for him.

    There were so many little steps and big leaps with eyes closed that got me here. We had always talked about owning motorcycles some day and riding cross country. He left. I took motorcycle riding lessons. It was exhilarating (and I learned that I don’t want to ride 3000 miles on a bike, thank you very much!). I painted the bedroom and replaced the furniture. I sold my engagement ring and took my son to Hawaii and gave him surfing lessons. I filled my house with fresh flowers and bought Belgian Linen Sheets. I made decisions without second-guessing “will HE like this?”

    Freedom is scary, but you gotta face it head on… it’s like that scene in Forrest Gump when Lt. Dan is on the mast of the shrimp boat in the middle of a hurricane and he’s screaming “Is that the best you’ve got?” To some degree, you have to embrace the turmoil and the fear, welcome it, get to know it, then slowly you understand it and can let it go.

    We chumps are warriors – pink hair and all. I love this tribe. And no, Mr. Sparkles wouldn’t understand 🙂

      • LOL… they were 40% off… but I still feel decadent when I sleep in them. And the best part is that they aren’t covered in Mr. Sparkles back hair and “I don’t shower after the gym” dried up sweat. XO

        • The best part about my STBX being gone is no smelly pillowcases because he used to drool all over them. That and no more snoring are my favorite parts of being cheated on and discarded. Silver linings…

        • I bought lovely Tiffany Blue sheets (my favorite color) and they are so WONDERFUL to sleep in. I hate taking them off my bed to stuff them in the washer because they are just so pretty. I also bought white pillowcases with eyelet lace trim to compliment the king sized blue cases.

          I <3 them….

            • Oh! My ex wanted me to pop his zits on his back when they got painful. Uh, no.

              Maybe THAT’S why he left me…

              Back in July when I went on my texting tirade that got me talked to by the sheriff, I did ask ALPO the question (through Mr. Twatwaffles, since he told me he lets her read everything I write him) if she was to the zit popping point in the relationship yet.

    • Agree! They don’t think we can handle the discard. X is beyond furious because I am still breathing. He once told me he wished I would just drop dead.

      He continues to abuse me financially by not paying his half of our kids’ expenses as required by law. It’s the only thing left in his pitiful arsenal of spiteful acts.

      He’s about to be served with another contempt order. I prevailed on the first, and have every confidence I will prevail on this one, too.

      Chump Nation, please send out some good vibes into the universe that our case gets assigned to the viper of a judge (of the two who are splitting our now retired judge’s cases). If that happens, X will likely spend some time in jail for his boorish behavior. Having his skank bail him out would be icing on the shit sandwich I serve HIM fora change.

      • CAL – You are MIGHTY… “It’s the only thing left in his pitiful arsenal of spiteful acts.” You have done this… you have prevailed already… and you will again. His downward spiral continues while your Phoenix rises. Sending mojo, but I don’t suspect you really need it 🙂

      • Ooh ooh, sending vibes out both that you get the pit viper judge, and that he’s in a cantankerous mood that day. Please promise to let us know if X spends some time in jail!! #justice

      • Sending strong and powerful vibes! I’ve dealt with the same spiteful acts from the exh and although draining, we shine above them!

        The ehx was a nano-inch close with going to jail on the third contempt order I served him (no lawyers on either end) and it scared the shit out of him – he handed me a check for half the balance due in front of the judge! And was on time paying each month until the balance was paid off.

        Don’t back off, ever, on these contempt orders. Some judges know and see all…the ex’s aren’t fooling ANYONE but themselves.

      • Hey ChutesandLadders —

        I’m thinking the judge doesn’t have to be in a bad mood to do the right thing, which is to make sure your kids have the financial support that is needed.

        Then I imagined a court system of judges awake to the reality of how shitty cheating is, and how cruel the disordered are, and will not tolerate it.

    • Wow, THIS! Loved this. Applause and cheers to you, your courage and freedom! Freedom, fear and courage go hand in hand in my opinion.

    • Yes! It sounds like you certainly have done an excellent job living it up too. Love the Lt. Dan metaphor — I will be thinking of this when it gets difficult dealing with X asshole’s pettiness.

  • Yes! Just the ability to not walk on eggshells or be in that mind place where I put his needs before mine. Ugh. That will never happen again. That old me is long gone!

    On another note, I saw a great film yesterday-“Mon Roi” about a chump and her ultimate freedom. It was a hard watch for me especially in the beginning because it was like watching a horror film…I kept internally yelling at the screen, “don’t do it!!!”
    Spoiler: she survives and is stronger at the end!

    • I watched a BBC tv series on Netflix called Dr. Foster (a women Doctor) who finds out she’s been chumped. Its mostly about her pain and. the devastation these assholes cause and her revenge. She survives in the end, as well. Would have been a lot easier for her if she’d had the support of a CN but then it wouldn’t have been as exciting watching him get his comeuppance!

      • The 2nd series of this is going to start soon. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to watch it this time.

    • I went from blonde to dark brown. My hair stopped growing for a long time and since I threw him out it suddenly started growing again.

      I’ve finally figured out the tatoo I want to get; I’m just looking for the right artist.

      He was a bore. I lived my life doing what I enjoyed.

      Supposedly, he is doing all the things he wanted to do with me? As far as I can figure it means drinking unlimited amounts of alcohol, dumping his business, running up debt buying whatever he wants and basically living like a teen at a frat party.

      Instead of asking, “Do you want to… “, I just DO. Hooray, the anchor is at the bottom and I can finally live.

  • I did braces too at the age of 58! I had a diastema (gap) in between my front teeth and always hated it. I figured I had all my kids in braces when they grew up and cheater got dental implants at my expense to hold his dentures in!! So why not me? Because I had put everyone else’s needs ahead of mine! I figured better late than never! I don’t regret doing my teeth at all. And, yes, it did perplex my Ex at the time. His solution to my uppityness was to cancel the dental insurance I had. Joke was on him, I had paid cash (his) up front for my treatment!

  • I have been contemplating going sky diving (just once, tandem). I haven’t found the time or the money to do it yet, however, as I have been too busy spending money on activities with the kids all summer, but that’s been fun too.

  • I don’t have the courage for pink hair, but I am growing it long again (he always preferred my hair short).

    I’ve had a few “projects” (major house redecoration, tracing my family tree etc), but my big project is creating a wildlife haven in my neglected and overgrown “garden”. I bought a big strimmer and some new tools, and spent days hacking some stuff back and following a process of “managed neglect” in other areas. Very hard work, especially one particularly rainy day I went sprawling on my face in the mud trying to haul a heavy tree branch up a steep bank, but it made me feel like a muddy warrior goddess! ????

    I now have a thriving wildflower meadow complete with bug pond at the back of my house. I’ve always loved nature, but seeing the immense variety of wildlife move in so quickly (and stay!) has been really rewarding for me.

    Welding sounds great fun too though, maybe I should try that next! That steel flower is fab.

    • Wow! I wish I could see that!
      Gardening is my church, it’s so soothing to the soul. I hope my property can turn out like yours, I’ve just started on it, since I moved, and it’s pretty neglected. I planted a lemon tree, and pulled out six bags full of ice plant so far. I’d love to make a pond like yours!

      • The pond is basically a hole in the ground he helped me dig a few years ago (LOTS of moaning), with a butyl liner in it, then filled with water. It had become badly overgrown (basically because he stopped cutting the grass etc and I struggled to get to it), but the neglect seems to have been a good thing, as it’s thriving! I’d definitely recommend having a pond if you can.

        I think the hard work does is good, especially as we start seeing results. I bet your garden will end up looking fab! Mine will always be a bit “wild”, but the birds, bugs and other critters seem to love it, so that’s all that matters. Enjoy making your new property your own!

        • I love the wild nature look, too. I have a Rubythroated Hummingbird that comes here twice a day, and a dead tree trunk full of woodpeckers! So peaceful to watch them.

          • Wow, that must be amazing to have a hummingbird! I have woodpeckers too. It’s lovely when wildlife stays around, I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel I “belong”.

            POS tried to pressure me to sell the house, but I refused (I ended up buying him out, which was fair). One of my reasons for staying is the amazing wildlife here.

  • We deserve after what we’ve been thru to find anything
    that helps us cope.

    After being discarded so cruelly for a down graded whore, these disgusting selfish spouses should be punished . Their punishment in my eyes is living with
    their affair partner!

  • Yes to finally treating ourselves well. I had made my needs so very tiny that I was on point of disappearing entirely. Now, I am reintroducing the things I have always deserved, including not only decent self care, but also freedom from his unrelenting criticism and dissatisfaction with everything. It is liberating.

    Another key thing, I think, is that we discover our own boldness again. I figure that if I can survive this, there isn’t much that I can’t survive, and that is incredibly freeing, as well. I’m still processing the extent to which he had gradually and thoroughly undermined every single thing about me, and discovering how wonderful it is to exist without those lies.

    It’s like going from being a bonsai tree–always kept small, contained, shaped to its keeper’s liking–to becoming the soaring oak or maple we were always meant to be.

    • A Work of Artifice
      By Marge Piercy

      The bonsai tree
      in the attractive pot
      could have grown eighty feet tall
      on the side of a mountain
      till split by lightning.
      But a gardener
      carefully pruned it.
      It is nine inches high.
      Every day as he
      whittles back the branches
      the gardener croons,
      It is your nature
      to be small and cozy,
      domestic and weak;
      how lucky, little tree,
      to have a pot to grow in.
      With living creatures
      one must begin very early
      to dwarf their growth:
      the bound feet,
      the crippled brain,
      the hair in curlers,
      the hands you
      love to touch.

    • Cashmere, reading your post really reiterates the irony of chumpdom: I feel so weak and powerless but when I really think about it- damn straight I am strong. I have been betrayed at the deepest level by the person I loved and trusted the most and he continues to attack but I am surviving and so are my children. We get up everyday and do what we have to do.

      I am not the stupid piece of shit he wants me to think I am!

    • Spot on cashmere! I recently felt that one of the reasons that I decided stay with and get married to my X is because he would tell me a truthful thing about myself and then surround that thing with lies. He reinforced every bad thing that I thought about myself and then played on it with lie upon lie. It’s those weaknesses that we all have that he made me so embarrassed of. Like, of all the weaknesses in the world to have, my having that one was the WORST possible thing EVER!

      There was also a TON of projection going on in my marriage. When I sit down and tackle those things that he said to me that were so hurtful, I realize that it really wasn’t me, it was him who had a lot of those problems. Sure, I have/had problems, but the ones he was pointing out – no, those were his, but he spun them in such a way that they looked like me.

      It’s so wonderful to celebrate that these people aren’t in our lives anymore.

      • Projection is so interesting, and of course it’s not really common knowledge. I wish I was aware of it decades ago. One of the things X did, too, was criticize me for my natural traits, and I just went right along with that thinking. He is an extrovert, and I’m an introvert, and I don’t know why we were attracted to each other, because it just made life so hard! I was constantly pretzeling myself to go out, and hang out for many hours, getting all anxious, in situations I hated, because the king had to be happy! Of course, the last (in a loooong string) OW was an extroverted party girl!
        Your comment reminded me of all this, because my being an introvert wasn’t a weakness! I didn’t have to change, it’s ok to be myself. I felt so less-than for so long, just because I married the WRONG guy.

        • As I’m still trying to figure out what the hell happened over the last 20 years of my life, untangling that skein still, thinking the ex might be a vulnerable/covert narc. Then wondering if I’m the narc (what I found was if you’re wondering if it’s you, it’s not cause narcs don’t ever think there’s anything wrong with them)! Which one of us is the screwed up one? Trick question. It’s both of us! Him for being a narc. Me for tolerating it. Projection is in the narc tool bag and frequently used.

          • STBX was always good at making me think it was something wrong with me. If he did something that bothered me and I tried to talk about it with him he somehow always managed to get me to be the one apologizing to him by the end of the conversation.

      • Yes the projection thing. After DDay but before our first session with MC I came up with all kinds of faults or things I may have been doing wrong in the marriage that maybe contributed to his being so unhappy with me. During MC, however he didn’t pick up on any of those things. Most of the things he accused me of were the very things I thought he was guilty of. This made me feel terrible because I thought I really had been doing all of that to him and knowing how much it hurt to have it done to me I felt guilty for having hurt him in the same way. It also made me think that the whole “we just aren’t communicating well” was my fault too if I could have been so blind to what his needs really were when I was trying so hard to please him. Now I know that was all BS and he was projecting his faults and misdeeds onto me. The communication issue was on him too because he never says what he actually means and I am not a mind reader.

  • Love this Roberta! Funny thing is that I recently found his SS statement showing his earnings from the seventies through 2009. Evidently, he told the whore he had to support me all those years while married. The largest amount he claimed was 27000 with many years at zero. This was raising three children.

    I ALWAYS worked two or three part time jobs around my children’s schedule. I paid for all their needs including food, private school, and clothing. I had my own cleaning business while taking classes with three young ones.

    The lies will catch up once he begins to collect SS. Laughing my ass off at the thought of Nanthony reviewing his earning history and having to tow the line.

    After years of going without, working my ass off, he wanted control of my check. I had paid his health insurance and income taxes for the entirigy of our mirage of a marriage. He was upset that I got my hair done, bought clothes, and spent money on yarn to knit scarves.

    I’m sure she’ll dump his ass.

  • Doing something you maybe wouldn’t have done or have always wanted to do is definitely part of the upswing — you feel so close to death with the devastation of the destruction of your marriage, and then you swing back the other way into life full force. It almost felt like I had to — I fell so hard that I had to fly to end up back somewhere in the middle (i.e. normal). Either that, or I was rid of a bunch of dead weight and had endless possibility (plus toddler) out there in front of me again. I raised money for children’s cancer research and shaved my head. It was extremely metaphorical and liberating. I take boxing classes and punch, punch, punch (probably would not have done that by myself — I’m pretty introverted in my exercising and you have to pair with people for a good part of the class). I would hypothetically jump out of a plane, but that scares the shit out of me…but the feeling of “why the fuck not?” is certainly there!

  • I took up boxing and kickboxing classes at a local boxing club. I’m talking heavy bag, hand wraps with boxing gloves. I punched the shit out of the bag and enjoyed every minute. I think I am the only 60 year old moving the heavy bag and loving it. Got an ear piercing on the top part of my ear at a tattoo parlor. Had my brows done with micro-blading procedure and can spot a man after a piece of my ass a mile away. I’m loving my new life and smiling, laughing and punching a year out. Oh yeah, I forgot my 1 year DD anniversary and never looked back.

  • I stopped shaving my legs (I do not wear dresses or shorts anyway)…and I am blonde, so who cares.

    I take a shower and then sleep in the clothes that I plan on wearing the next day. Don’t see any point in wearing sexy nighties (threw them all out).

    I actually get to make my BEAUTIFUL bed with all the throw pillows…now that cheater is no longer still in it 3hrs after I leave for work.

    I get up EARLY to get a jump on the day…now that cheater is not keeping me up past midnight entertaining him.

    I eat cereal for dinner after a full exhausting productive day if I want to.

    I stopped getting weaves, perms, and other noxious hair treatments that would dry out and break off my hair (cheater wanted me to have “fat” curly hair)…it is now finally naturally long, straight and shiny.

    I work outside long hours on my days off doing the gardening and yard work that I love…cheater would monopolize all my time prior to his leaving and the house/landscaping looked like hell.

    I jump on a plane twice a year to visit family…I was afraid to do this before lest cheater would take advantage of my being gone.

    I spend money how I want to…and even save it too!

    I take the time to go see my friends or talk to them on the phone as long as I want to.

    I take my grown sons out to dinner twice a month…just because I want to.

    I change MY mind if I want to about ANYTHING…and do not have cheater challenging me or holding me to his ideas or agenda.

  • I got another dog, a huge black lab who loves her Mama and is her protector. I also traded my boring SUV and bought a red Jeep Wrangler, two things my ex hated. Red vehicles and Jeeps.

    I have recently took up playing the ukulele. We had a concert this week and I had a solo! I did the spoken/rap part of Taylor Swifts “Shake it Off” in front of 100s of people!

    I would have never been “allowed” to do any of the above. My new husband doesn’t care, he just goes along with it. He knows those things make me happy and helps me get through the hell my ex and his family is putting me through.

  • It’s been about 3 months since X left. I had to move in with my parents to pay off debt and such. It’s wonderful, if I’m honest. No, I don’t want to live with my parents forever, but damn if it ain’t night and day compared to how it was with cheater. I feel valued. I clean, help with the cooking, we tend my sister’s kids all the time and I’ve taught them how to sew (X told me I would be an awful parent), I have started exercising (X doubted I could ever do that and I never could cuz I did everything for him) and I’m spending my money the way I want.

    I also decided to go back to church and while I wouldn’t say that I think everything is just gospel truth, honestly, it just feels really good to be around people who have morals and standards and boundaries. I realize that just because you’re religious doesn’t mean that you have all those things but many do and the people that I looked up to as a kid are still around and still living like… good people. My family is there too and I just want to physically be around them.

    To be candid, EVERYTHING feels better, looks better and brings more delight because X isn’t apart of it.

    • I forgot to mention that the minute X was gone, I went and purchased the kit from my dentist to whiten my teeth. X hated people who whitened their teeth and I always secretly wanted to and never had the guts to do it when he was around. Feels so good to do whatever I want! Woot!

  • I dyed my hair pink at the roots and purple at the tips mid separation. I still remember the shocked and excited looks on my kids faces as they stepped out of the school bus that day. 😛 I’ve also been tackling shit around the house that my ex said he would do, but never did. This past week, while my kids were with him, I painted the kids rooms (including ceilings and closets, something he refused to do), separated their toys, donated tons, and made their rooms really nice. For the first time in a long time, both of them were happy to sleep separate. Before that, I painted and re-decorated my own room, so it felt like: my own room. I’ve decluttered my home, and it looks and feels amazing.

    Also, little things like mowing the lawn: He would say he’d do it, then either not do it, or cause a big drama while he was mowing. Coming in multiple times for water, sighing and making a scene. I mow the same patches of lawn in one go. I’ve started tackling the backyard, which I wanted him to help me with for as long as we lived here. I am working on a hosta bed for the front, as it’s north facing.

    I’m basically doing all the shit we were supposed to “do together”, but he never did. (And scold me if I did alone) And now I do it fucking alone and it’s fucking amazing. Because I’m fucking amazing.

  • I bought a weed trimmer, hedger, blower, wood splitter and wheel barrow…and I actually get to use all of it. I bought a new garden shed, had a work out building built out back and put new exercise equipment in it. I am in process of sanding/staining all my decks and putting in a tall outdoor lamp in the middle of my flower garden. I bought a nearly new 4×4 truck. I totally re-did my laundry room and guest cottage.

    It is amazing how much I am able to do with my freedom to be fully functional and creative.

    I leave the dirty dishes in the sink until I feel like getting around to doing them…sometimes for three days if I am too busy/exhausted doing outdoor work. 🙂 No one bitches about it.

  • I’ve added a screen porch to the back of my house. I’ve always wanted one so I can sit out in nature. We could never afford it when we were together. Really it just wasn’t what he wanted to spend money on.

    I’ve darkened my hair. Always been blonde and did my hair myself. Now get it colored and cut professionally. I feel so much more polished now.

    After Dday #2 when asshat decided to run off with Schmoopie 2.0, our teenaged daughter’s 20-something y.o. assistant soccer coach, our daughter was devastated. Didn’t talk to him for about 6 months. During that time daughter begged and begged for a puppy. I surprised her with one on Valentine’s Day. They adore each other, well we all adore that puppy! Asshat accused me of doing this to keep our daughter from wanting to come spend time with him (through our daughter). She didn’t want to spend time with you to begin with. But of course now he’s telling our teenagers ‘I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’.

    I’ve had some male attention, but I’m not quite that liberated or ‘meh’ yet. I’m not ready to date. Not because I have any desire whatsoever to wreckoncile, but I don’t want to drag my kids through that yet. I’m happy being the sane parent and my kids just want to be home with me the majority of the time!

  • Xh turned my girls against me saying I divorced him. He got a tax free cash inheritance and dumped me when I found his texts to married neigborho. Anyway, I bought a house that was dated on the inside at a great price. The money I saved on it I was able to replace the counters with granite and painted my dark walls white. It is so peaceful and comforting here now when you walk in. I have also replaced lights and the flooring so it looks like a new home. I also changed the outdoor lights to make the outside look good too. I got rid of stuff the previous owner had in yard and around the house to make it mine.
    I’ll admit I cried and cried when I first got here and thought is this my life. The downgraded home and all. After the remodel, I have a whole new outlook. I looked up home prices in my neighborhood, and mine is worth $50k more than I paid for it.
    I also got some highlights in my hair and it makes me look younger than my 56 years. My youngest daughter moved in with me and I’m able to support her so she has no worries while working her job.
    I’m in the process of looking for land because I’m going to build me another dream home better than the one I lost through divorce. Life does look better 3 years out.

  • I’ve taken an interest in woodworking. I’ve been “glamping” my pull behind tent camper and totally girlyfying it for me and my girls. Mr Twatwaffles would not have wanted anything that wasn’t camo, so that’s a FU to him as well.

    And shortly after he left me, I started getting my nails done (I like the classy looking French tips) and got a haircut. He never liked high maintenance women, so I never primped much when I had him around. Thing is that I know I’m a nice looking woman. When we got married, he presnted himself as a cowboy type… wranglers, hat, westen wear, and he was a good looking man. He let himself go to hell over the years, and purposely looked slovenly at my daughters wedding. (I bought him a very nice frock coat as a surprise for him to wear to it, and he was mad because I didn’t ask him if he wanted one! It’s for sale, by the way.)

    Anyway, I find it interesting that he didn’t want a high Maintenance woman, but that in the end his sadz were so high maintenance that he had to go looking elsewhere.

    Whatevs.

    I do like my nails.

    • I had the natural french nails too because I run my own high end jewelry store and all. But with all the outdoor work I now get to do, the nails went south in spite of wearing gloves and I don’t have the time to fuss with them. My business still rocks in spite of my short lackluster nails somehow…but I do miss the polished prissy look sometimes. There is a trade off with everything I suppose…I do like my pristine yard and garden more…plus, the property value is moving up much higher for those efforts, which is a better investment than my nails would be for my four kids when I finally drop dead. Maybe after all the work outdoors winds down, I can get back to my doing my nails…at least in the winter.

      • I had acrylic for awhile and I never did get the gel, but these are different from either and they are really sturdy and light. They hold up really well without gloves, although I did actually break one when I was trying to pry open the basement door, (knob fell off) and I slammed another in the car door ( along with my fingers…hurt like a mofo…) I get them done by this super cute Vietnamese lady named Sue. Been doing it since November.

        • Been there done that. Acrylic nails permanently RUINED my nail beds after about six months…maybe because of all the chemicals and how they have to file the natural nails to get the acrylics to adhere. They now split vertically, and I am always having to file them down because they snag or split further. It has been four years and my natural nails have never recovered since removing them. I could just go back to using them and look great…but now I am aware of the damages they do…something they won’t be obliged to tell you. I also noticed how THIN my natural nails now are…I have six that don’t split, and four that ALWAYS split in the same area.

    • Funny, You, me and STBX and your “him” are opposites in terms of the “polished look”. He wanted the high maintenance woman and I just wasn’t. More proof that it really has nothing to do with us. They are never satisfied no matter what they have and will assume that the opposite is better.

    • Sunflower36,
      Your post made me smile.
      I think you would be so fun to sit and chat with.
      You always come out positive in spite of all you have been through.
      Just want to tell you that Sunflower 36, to me you live up to your beautiful name!
      Your cheater lost a gem in you!

      (((( hugs)))))
      Keep being strong

      • Really? I think I’m so pissy and moany and insufferable to be around right now. Anyone who talks to me hears, “me me me me…” bleah. I’m fairly pathetic IRL.

        But it’s awfully nice for you to write, and I appreciate the compliment.

        Thank you.

        Made my day.

  • Oh…and I don’t bother with wearing the make up on my days off. I go to the store, post office or where ever, and don’t give a damn who sees “the real me”. I wear my slob dirty gardening clothes with my hair in a pony tail…something I could not do without getting scornful looks from X because I did not look sex ready for him. I get to have the same freedom as X did w/o worrying about having to always be “polished” and/or ready to impress ANYONE…HE sure in the hell never bothered.

  • I got a Tattoo – never would have thought of doing it in my previous life before D-Day and divorce. At age 45 I got inked. 🙂

    First Tattoo – FREEDOM with a Celtic symbol Triquetra (trinity) (placed on my left underside forearm) I wanted to be able to see it, my reminder. I chose FREEDOM.
    Second Tattoo – FAITH with birds taking flight (placed on my right underside

    It was and it is liberating, I marked myself, it has helped me to move forward.
    I got the tattoos with my sons when each of them turned 18. The tattoo experience is now a fond memory and a special experience with my sons.

    • I got a tattoo as well!!! Well, several of them, but that’s besides the point 🙂

      I remember reading this post when it was first posted and I had JUST gotten my first tattoo! It was about 4 months post divorce (after almost 2 years wreckonciliation/lining up my ducks) and it felt awesome! It’s a set of raising stars on my lower back on the right side. It was a design my oldest daughter had in one of her notebooks and I took it in and got it done. She always said we were going to rise above this shitstorm, and we did!

      In addition to that one, my oldest and I now have two matching tattoos and we can’t wait to get more. Mine aren’t anywhere where they’re visible (work purposes) but every time I see them or even think of them, I get a huge smile and feel badass!

  • Pink hair shows agency.

    That’s a word I learned from CL.

    And I agree with the feeling alive. It’s like I was running from bullets! It was shattering and exhilarating and everything was so colorful! I could pull the sheets over my head or keep moving. I chose the latter, fueled by anger and adrenaline and a refusal to be a victim. I would show the world he’d made a big mistake, by being my best.

    Pink hair is finally doing something for YOU, not for him.

    • That is the perfect analogy. It was exactly like running from bullets! I learned to multitask – running, keeping my head down, protecting my boys who were also in the line of fire, finding a lawyer, getting a job, breathing. It took me awhile to get eating and sleeping back on my to-do list. But I too am not a victim and I too learned the word agency from CL.

      Stephanie, you are mighty.

  • Mowing the yard! This blog just made some sense to something I experienced a few weeks ago I couldn’t understand. I’m about 8 months out. I have a baby. POSH abandoned us two weeks after birth. I’m trying to sell the house that I had just built with POSH (too many dreams and nightmares in that house for me to stay). While I am still having to make the house payment I’m trying to watch my spending. Growing up my dad took care of the lawn. POSH either mowed or hired someone. Thats $40 a week. I decided I didn’t want to spend that. That’s a box of formula for my daughter. The first day I mowed my own yard I felt so PROUD! Yes I had to have a baby sitter for my 6 month old. But still I DID IT! I took care of the 1 thing that I really use to rely on POSH for. I thought I was crazy for feeling so accomplished on push mowing a tiny yard. Take that POSH! I don’t need you anymore! You go lay on your girlfriends couch in her apartment. I got the house.

    • Hey IIWII, I had a babe in arms when I left Cheater #1. I found out that baby backpacks are the way to go when doing house or yard work. Best part? Jr. would fall asleep from the motion (he was a terrible sleeper). Now that he’s a teenager I wish I could pack him up and move him around so easily!

    • Mowing is major mightiness, whether you have a tiny yard or as I call my place, the back 40 [acres]. I exaggerate but you get my drift.

    • When I still had the house,I would spend five hours mowing an acre followed by a soak in the tub and then a professional massage. Dinner was a steak,baked potato,some greens and a couple of glasses of good red vino and then sleeping soundly

  • I am a bit busy with the new baby at the moment but this post is good for ideas of what I can take up at some point. I want to try and retrain for a new career. The one I have now just doesn’t earn enough and I don’t want to be reliant on state benefits forever. STBX was the main breadwinner so i lost out a lot financially when he left. Child support is not even half my rent plus all the other bills. I only did part time because of DS and then being left when I was on maternity leave was not in my plan at all. It seems so far that I’m suffering all the negative consequences of his actions.

  • By the time I went through d day 4,978,653 I felt so much better about myself. Why? I realized it wasn’t me. Had nothing to do with me. Never did. Not her cheating, lying, manipulating, none of it. It was all her. So was the bulk of the negativity I felt towards myself. Weight gain, drinking all because I was suffering after being systematically abused. I was free to not be that anymore. I was free to be me and who gives a fuck what she thinks.

    For the record, she hated me before, hates me now but if anything I’m more irritating now because I value me. Other people value me and she looks like a sick bpd with grandpa issues. I admit, that’s nice even if it means meh has to wait a little longer.

  • Hey IIWII, I had a babe in arms when I left Cheater #1. I found out that baby backpacks are the way to go when doing house or yard work. Best part? Jr. would fall asleep from the motion (he was a terrible sleeper). Now that he’s a teenager I wish I could pack him up and move him around so easily!

  • One factor is that living with abuse requires us to numb ourselves, often with wine, food, TV, and other distractions, like a new relationship. But sometimes we just stop feeling. For me, betrayal cracked all that open. I swear I cried teats for months about all sorts of things I had lost over the years, including myself. That’s why it’s so important for chumps not to jump into things that numb us but rather to go all the way through the pain. We need to reclaim emotions. When we avoid pain, we also lose joy and wonder and garden variety happiness. And when we’ve done a lot of numbing, we also risk being overwhelmed by any negative emotions as one crack in the numbing wall unleashes years of pain.

    Feel it all. Pain, grief, horror. Anger, jealousy, indignation. Wonder, gratitude, joy. And peace.

  • Well, let’s see. I got a new tattoo…an anklet with the Celtic symbol for “New Beginnings” as the charm.

    I went & bought all new bedroom furniture for my daughter & new living room furniture.

    I gave my car to my daughter (God forbid Fucktard would ever help on that for her) and bought myself a brand new one…first vehicle I’ve ever purchased on my own in my lifetime!

    I bought a weed eater & assembled that thing by myself & it works! LOL

    I go have my nails done regularly because I’m worth pampering. I even went from strawberry blonde (with a touch of gray) to a beautiful red (picked for me by my 16 y/o daughter who happens to be my fashion consultant & a damn good one at that). I get more compliments on it & I NEVER would have gone this bold before.

    I took my kids on a family vacation to the Dominican Republic this summer and I am going on a girls’ only trip to Cancun with some of my friends next month.

    And, last but not least I made the decision to finally quit smoking.

    I think I’ve come a long way in 8 short months 🙂

    • Congrats on the smoking. If you could get through what you have already been through you can do that too. With him gone it’s less stress, less need.

      • Thank you! Definitely couldn’t have quit during the separation/divorce, but I made up my mind that I was done with them.

  • I completely changed bed linens and cover, bathroom rugs and shower curtain. Bought brute orange couch cover.. just lots of bright colors everywhere and planted blooming flowers. Need color color color to brighten mood and space. Helps some when I am catatonic on the couch. Getting better every day! Need positive thoughts today.. have a rough day!! Had to talk to asshole about divorce.

  • I don’t have much to contribute because I’m just a raw nerve today but I do relate to not ever doing stuff for myself during marriage to Porky Pig. I never wanted him to say I was careless with his money (I was a SAHM). I bought my clothes used from eBay and got haircuts at Hair Cuttery.

    I wish I had the courage to do pink highlights and I think that is so awesome! I’m still afraid to spend money until we have a signed, notarized PSA.

    Funny, a few days after D-day which was also my discard I stood in the bathroom and cut my own hair off. I have no idea why I did that and it looks terrible. Perhaps I was punishing myself for being a failure.

    I don’t think I am a failure anymore. He was.

    • Oh, and (((hugs))) that’s how my day was yesterday and it started that way today, but it’s getting better.

    • MehorBust,
      YOU are not a failure. Never!
      You are just having a bad day.
      I read your posts and your strength and your love for your daughter is amazing.
      You are a wonderful person.
      Don’t let your cheater ever take your true worth away. That is your’s to keep MehorBust!
      I hope one day soon your name will just be Meh.
      CN loves you and are pulling for you!

    • I just remembered that I have always wanted to learn to clog (much to Porky Pigs disdain and horror). Perhaps now is exactly the right time to sign up for clogging lessons!

  • Hell yes, Sister!!!

    I know clogging in my area will start up again in the fall.

    Now is the perfect time.

    DO IT!!!

  • Post DD got a hair cut and colour, bought new work clothes and bag, applied for 3 jobs, got offered 2 and accepted the permanent one with the most opportunity to continue to learn. These were all previously strongly discouraged activities 🙂
    Also planted bright flowers in pots where I could admire them as they bloomed. Have made a list of other things I’d like to save up and replace after settlement.

  • Forget dressing up, nothing makes you look better or beats waltzing the old, hairline cracked, hard to flush toilet out to the yard yourself. I even set it back up and put a blooming flower pot in the bowl to horrify the neighbors for a few! 😀 HI!, Guys!!! Like the new lawn ornament???

    With help of sister and a few yoga like moves to assemble and position the new toilet into the small space, it turned out great! Accomplishment looks wonderful on everyone!

  • My Sister in Law, got me an appointment for Botox. At 57 years old, it was so liberating to spend $400 on the frown lines created by her cheating brother.

  • LadyLiar was incredibly high maintenance and spent a lot on clothes and shoes, so when I got up off the floor and wanted to do some things to feel better about myself, I had a hard time reconciling spending the money. I associated this kind of self care with her narcissism. I lost 25 pounds in the early months of my recovery from her final betrayal, and my clothes looked all wrong, so I started with shopping for a few pairs of pants. Then I took myself out for lunch and got a great haircut, color, and mani-pedi. That led to having my ears re-pierced (had let the holes close up when I had kids), and I have an appointment to get my tattoo tomorrow! I have a hard time with needles, so this is a big deal for me, but I’m ready. It feels great to outfit for myself for the rest of the trip to Meh!

  • I’m so late on this thread, but I just had a me weekend. Friday I got my lips done, little plumper and I got very subtle purple highlights. Hair and lips both look amazing, especially since I paid for all that by selling some jewelry the lying cheating piece of crap gave me.

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