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The Health Costs of Staying?

So, at the risk of having a fun Friday challenge that sounds like a weekly phone call home to my aging mother, tell me about your health ailments!

One common refrain at Chump Nation has been the health costs associated with staying in a toxic relationship. The strange rashes, the sciatica, the teeth grinding — which miraculously cure themselves when you throw the cheater out of your life.

Stress is a killer, they say. So what’s the cost to our health staying with  cheaters? Can you die of malnutrition if you eat too many shit sandwiches?

Now, I’m not saying you can blame all your health problems on your cheater, but I am curious about what plagued you before you left, and if and how your health improved after you gained that new life. Of course, one benefit to leaving cheaters is it gives us much more room in our life for self-care.

I had all sorts of weird stress illnesses after D-Day, and especially in the months where I was plotting my escape, faking reconciliation as I lined up my ducks. My hair was dry and brittle, I broke out in hives, for the only time in my life, I ground my teeth when I slept… And sleep? I had nightmares, hyper vigilance, a racing heart…

All of which disappeared when I left.

So what happened to you? Muffin-tops gained? Muffin-tops lost? Any health benefits to report from leaving cheaters? Remember, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger — but first it gives us splotchy skin and thinning hair.

TGIF, CN!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I used to grind my teeth thought my marriage. I also gained weight and had a bad back. But, worst of all, I developed panic attacks and a telling recurrent dream about finding a long-lost miscarried baby only to be ignored by my husband. I now describe these things as the faint tones of a phone ringing insistently through a deep sleep: you know they’re there, but they don’t wake you up. Took myself to shrinks and doctors. Nothing. After D-Day and some major PTSD, all symptoms cleared up: I lost all the gained weight, stopped grinding my teeth, my back straightened out itself. And the panic attacks? Poof! Gone.

    • Let’s see: PVCs (aka heart palps), unexplained extreme weight loss aka the infidelity diet, depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, ptsd, sun allergy, suicidal ideation and attempt, for which I was hospitalized, and which ex-asshole described as my “trip to the spa” haha lol Not 😡 Like a remora on a shark, he was literally sucking the life out of me. Freeloading vermin…

      • Sounds so familiar – I was also driven to the point of suicide. I now realise that my STBX was doing everything he could to push me to ‘unreasonable behaviour’ (I found his notes!!) so he could maintain his ‘good guy’ persona. Hired a private detective to get the evidence of his affair and filed for divorce – best decision I ever made!

        • What a fucking nightmare for you guys! I had my own health shit, but wasn’t driven to think or believe ending my life would be better. I’m sorry that those motherfucking assholes led you there – but am thankful your mighty kicked in and you didn’t follow through. Big hugs to you! It might not seem or feel mighty to you, but it IS! Bringing yourself back from the brink of possibly jumping, to where thos fuckwits were clearly pushing you to…….. is very damn fucking mighty. 💪🏼

          • Body dysmorphia… severe body dysmorphia. Don’t even know the reality of what I look like. People say they’d pay to look like me and I see a blob.

            • Iseeme, this makes my heart ache. Please tell me you’re not still with your cheater! It is amazing how the inner eye can reset through the gifts of NC. Hugs to you.

            • I too have pretty bad dysmorphia. I feel fat with sagging jowls. I assume (but have not looked) that OW looks younger and has a tighter face b/c fb friends have said she has “had a botched facelift” Though that privately delights me, I assume my husband thinks she is hot.

              When my friends compliment me, I cannot tell if they are just consoling me or if it’s true. I think I was once beautiful, but my bastard husband once told me that “face down, (I was) letting myself go”.

              I guess I should have said “face UP, you are.”

      • I believe I would be dead if I were still with DOCTOR Narkles. Literally. Last fall & out of nowhere, I had sudden onset of grand mal seizures. I went into respiratory arrest, too. Thank God I was visiting family back east when it happened. An ambulance was called and I was tested and admitted for several days. I am now on a new strong medication I’ve finally become accustomed to. But it is a weird medication with side effects.

        My MD husband did not fly out or show up to retrieve me until after I was discharged from the hospital. Then, he became irritable, critical and downright cruel to me. This was the first/only time in our 35 year marriage that I ever truly needed him.

        If I had those seizures with just my husband around then, that would have meant no one around as he always had more important WORK to do. So I’d be, at best, brain damaged. Somehow even in my fog, my reptilian survival mode was on. And as embarrassing as it is to admit, I told my son that if I died suddenly, to check for medications that don’t turn up in routine autopsies.

        How nice it must have been for our son to hear my fear. UGH.

        • Omg Drs1st! What a fucking waste he is! Not even human. Sweet Jesus I’m so glad you’re ok (I know on you said on meds w side effects, but you’re HERE with us still) and I’m still stunned at the cold-blooded way your fuckass MDhusband responded. I don’t know why I’m still stunned or surprised, but I am. And, how terrifying for you AND your son to have tell him son to make sure things checked out if you died!? That made my stomach feel sick and do a flip flop. He will rot in the very hottest ring of hell!😡

          May you continue to heal and live better than ever! 💕

          • Was the seizure caused from stres? I wonder if you’ll be able to get off medication as you heal & move further away from D-day & him!
            I’m so glad you’re on the road to recovery & regaining your life!

          • My Dday was April 14th. My husband of 24 years has had a secret identity for more than two years (I suspect this is the worse it’s been, but it’s not a new thing). He, a church elder, part-time law enforcement officer, and high level big wig at our local aircraft engine overhaul facility, has been cheating with dozens and dozens of prostitutes, desperate Craigslist “ladies”, and crazy “bongage” weirdos! It has taken me 4 months to even be able to go a day without totally breaking down. On top of it our youngest child just graduated, so there’s the empty nest and I had a partial hysterectomy last Monday that was 3 years overdue. I hate my life. I now understand what he had been doing to me. The gaslighting, the deception! He made me think I was a terrible person. I was crazy, emotional, paranoid, controlling, and a big old ugly boring hag. He took a women who was outgoing, confident, fun and joyful and within a few years completely destroyed all confidence to the point I had planned to kill myself for more than three years because I was so unhappy and felt my kids were better off without me and he hated me and would never try to be good to me. Last September, he ran around on me with a woman from Craigslist who was in my summer college class and simultaneously another older woman who was a weird BDSM bisexual! He repeatedly asked this woman from Craigslist to meet him before my bio class! And, he asked her several times, “so how’s your bio class?” He knew she gave me vegetables from her garden and talked to me and our daughter while we canned salsa together! He tried to solicit a prostitute on his way to a college football game to see with our girls- a birthday present from me! He is the sickest most evil person I have ever known and I feel ill to my soul for having been married to him! I too, thought he was “making me sick”. I was so sure he was poisoning me that his sister gave me the $600 to get my hair tested at this lab out of state. I drove 6 hours to do this without telling anyone. It came back negative- but I still have the last cup of coffee he ever poured me in a metal thermos that I am going to have tested by a lab in California when I can afford it. Maybe HE was the poison- I don’t know – but since he left all my physical symptoms are gone!! Feverish every day, headache, body ache, joint pain, overwhelming feeling of dread, shortness of breath, to name a few. The paranoia is almost gone. The depression and anxiety are still present, but I now longer think of killing my self. I started praying everyday back in September and I really began to hear God tell me over and over, “wake up” “wake UP!” I started seeing my husband – really seeing him for the first time. It was scary, but I think God was telling me I was in danger and was trying to save me.

        • I’m a doctor and so is The Sprout. However, whereas I was always there to support him through his (minor but totally catastrophised) illnesses, this was never reciprocated for either mine or, even worse, my children’s genuinely serious health issues. I had a Melanoma 11 years ago (less than a year after our sick daughter was born, probably due to immunosuppressants) – he came to 1 appointment about that after I had had had a wider excision but only because I insisted – I thought it might be important if I was going to snuff it with 2 young children (touch wood all remained good). I have inflammatory bowel disease and have to have regular colonoscopies – I had to get friends to take me to the last 3, including the last in a city 2 hours away. I had put off other procedures as I was too embarrassed to ask for these – although now he has gone done these with friends/other family. Both my children have multiple medical issues. My younger daughter was premature and has a genetic disorder, and has had medical and educational issues all of her life. My elder daughter also has a genetic disorder and has had mental health issues. He has attended less than 5% of appointments, and even fewer of school meetings (of which there are many) even very important ones – and only after multiple reminders for each of these. His own work was always more important (mine is important to me too, but not more than my family’s health). I had a saying “when the chips are down, he’ll be nowhere to be seen”. This all grated so much more as he was such a hypochondriac himself and so preoccupied by the smallest of illnesses in himself. Since he left my inflammatory bowel disease has been remarkably good, despite all the stress. I have been anxious but this is getting better and I know will continue to do so as time goes by. Narcs are a health hazard, for sure.

          • Outofsparkles, I just wanted to let you know you can cure yourself of ibd. I did so with Crohn’s disease and have never been healthier. No symptoms, no drugs. Look into GAPS, or SCD or even as simple as Paleo. Whichever lifestyle you choose, it is simply a matter of removing the allergens from your diet and rebuilding your immune system (gut health). For me it was SCD, which is no gluten, grains, lactose or refined sugar. It was very hard (and I don’t follow it 100%) but my health is worth it. Also, minimise the number of colonoscopies you have because they are a major cause of bowel rupture (this happened to me).

            • Hi Carmel, I have done strict diets before including equivalent of SCD – and they have worked very well. I have just fallen off the bandwagon. I actually am under the care of an amazing gastroenterologist in Sydney who has pioneered faecal transplants. I was supposed to start in a trial of his taking high doses of specially freeze dried extracted gut bacteria but my break up has put a stop to this for the time being as I would have to travel down weekly and just don’t have time at the moment with work/kids. Having said that, the special antibiotic regimen he prescribed worked very well and I am now on high dose probiotics and doing well. I have just sold house/moved to rental which was an enormous job (from large horse property to smallish house in estate) and my plan was to get back to better eating again, although haven’t got to it yet! Thanks for your message – it has made me remember to focus on this. It is hard, but worth feeling well. My IBD has flared up a bit in the last couple of weeks and I’m so tired – just to help that would be worth it. Great to hear that this has helped you 🙂

      • Like a remora on a shark, he was literally sucking the life out of me.

        OMG! I just laugh snorted in the middle of my office!!!

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • 100% they suck the life out of you.

        I had suicide ideation too. Frequent panic attacks. This was BEFORE D-Day when he was gaslighting me like crazy.

        Two years post D-Day, I do still have some anxious symptoms. But they are markedly reduced. Whereas with him I would have an anxiety break-down every 2 weeks, now I might get one every 3-4 months.

        No one is sucking my soul out of me, that’s why.

    • ” I now describe these things as the faint tones of a phone ringing insistently through a deep sleep: you know they’re there, but they don’t wake you up.”

      This is beautifully put and spot on. I can so relate!

    • Oh my, FMS, same here. I’ve lost 15 kg, asthma has become intermittent/almost non-existent, panic attacks ended, chronic back and shoulder pain gone, I sleep all night, no more eggshells to walk on, no more hypervigilance, some space to breathe and be and live without fear of carping criticism and nasty vindictive jibes. I didn’t realise how depleted and exhausted and broken I was. My husband didn’t cheat with other women but was increasingly emotionally, verbally and psychologically abusive to the point I was afraid of him. All while pretending in public to be devoted pater familias, a task I aided him with by awesome spackling skills. Even though I’m still working through the heartbreak at the loss of my marriage (or my imaginary marriage anyway), the anger and sadness and coming to terms with the fact that all I wanted to believe our marriage was, at least for the last 15 years, was fake. That he was actually not the wonderful young man I married 25 years ago, but a mean and vengeful middle-aged man who never forgave me for refusing to get rid of our fifth child. Who acted out his anger and resentment in a thousand cruel, vindictive and mean ways that I just didn’t see for what they were – illustrations of his nasty attitude and downright dislike of me and his desire for me to be out of his life without him having to leave and be seen as the bad guy. He cheated on me by crowding me out of our home and filling it to the point of hoarding with antiques and bric-a-brac and curios he collected. I should have listened to the things he said in anger so often in the last several years and believed them because they were his real feelings that correlated with his actions towards me. After a devastating realisation of the horrible dynamic in our marriage and the whole fakeness of it all I couldn’t go on living the lie and enabling his abusiveness. I took a 2 month window of his absence (on long service leave. In Paris. With our daughter but without me. Enough said.) to pack up and leave. I had so little space in the house that you couldn’t even tell I had gone. I’ve gone minimal to no contact since. Just bare essentials related to financial settlement and custody arrangements for our youngest son – now 15. I’m 7.5 months post-separation, and about a year post-discovery of the depth of his betrayal of the vows we made and depth of his abusiveness. Umm yeah, sorry about the rant … might be time for another counselling session!

      • I applaud you for seeing the abuse even though there was no affair. (Ok, the cynical part of me what’s to say no affairmthat you know of.)

        Anyway, it would be easy to think you don’t belong here, but you do. Kudos to you for seeing the parallels and leverage the collective knowledge of CN.

        • Thanks GE. Some of you ladies have been or are going through a hell that makes my baggage look pretty tame. CN is such a terrific source of affirmation and support. Trust that they suck an excellent mantra.

          • I am same. No evidence of an affair, no d-day. That’s why I’m called Differently Chumped.
            However, he has been unfaithful and abusive. He witholds sex from me and is unfaithful financially and lies about so many things. So many lies in our marraige.
            I have no concrete evidence of an affair. I have not had a D day, so I thought I didn’t belong here.
            But the mindfuck is still the same. The experiences I read on here are so similar. I need this support. This website has opened my eyes to the abuse and given me strength to start doing what I need to do to survive, recover, and get healthy.
            I’m still a chump even though things are different. And who knows, maybe they aren’t that different and I just don’t know about an affair yet.
            Anyway, I am here. Thank you for accepting me. And if you don’t like it? well, suck it! I’m not leaving. (See? I am getting stronger already!) 🙂

    • I have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. After DDay and while we were in wreckonciliation, he made like we were short on funds and told me not to spend money. I forewent meds to treat my conditions while he continued to wine and dine his AP. Few months later I was diagnosed with 3 broken bones in my left foot, and spent 6 months in a boot cast because I was slow to heal. During that time he didn’t help in any way with caring for our 3 greyhounds, including daily walks when I should’ve been off my feet. Not even when I came down with type A flu and was shuffling in a cast on rainy days. Nope. My health has continued to decline since DDay and I pray I get out of this soon.

  • When he was in graduate school, we had 3 young kids and I worked nights. If you had asked me then, I would have told you that our marriage was fine, but I was always very cold, I had zero libido and had other signs of hypothyroid….

    at the time he said hollow words of devotion, but Im now sure that he was dppe into an affair or two and my body was screaming at me in ways my mind was not prepared to hear.

    During the worst of his abuse (I almost wrote”shenanigans” but that is way too nice of a word) I weighed 113 pounds, my hair was falling out and I had hives. I was ready to end it with his next phone call and when he called that very time, he said “Im coming home”.

    Since my new marriage 2 years ago, Ive gained some happyfat and I look younger than I did 12 years ago during the worst of his mess.

    • I am sure that the loss of libido was a result of the abuse, not the other way around. Panic attacks…I didnt have them often but I did when cheater and I would take the kids on trips, he was SO HORRIBLE on trips, hairpin trigger rage …I was terrified the whole time.

      • Loss of libido. Yup. At some point I could not stand the way he smelled. Repulsive. Didn’t matter how much he showered.

        I think there’s some science behind that-changes in body chemistry due to multiple partners.

        • YES! Thanks for posting that. The smell. What on earth? Showers didn’t make a difference. It permeated everything. Wow.

          • Thank you, people for mentioning the smell. During the cheating he smelled off to me, I was totally turned off from him. He continued with his side chick, and one day about 6 months after I found out we were on the couch trying to order party supplies for DS birthday party. I sat beside him with my stomach heaving, after about 1/2 hour, I realized that I was going to hurl everywhere. I jumped up from the couch and said, goodnight, I’m going to bed and stormed off. Our divorce was finalized early this this year and in the 5 years since, I have never allowed him close enough again.

            • Wow! Yes! I remember also being repulsed by his smell. So interesting to hear that it was an issue for others here as well. Man, I never would’ve connected it with the body chemistry thing and cheating.

              • Same with me. His smell repulses me. Is it a body chemistry thing or do we associate the smell with pain and mindfuckery?
                Either way, if anyone can find resesrch on this, please share. Fascinating.

              • DC – the more I think about this, the more I want to puke.
                I *knew* he had been fucking her in my very-personal-motor-bus.
                But, I couldn’t prove it at that time.
                *Somebody* made the bed nicely with clean sheets, but it wasn’t any way I made them. Nor the X, who never washed sheets or made beds. (the top sheet had the wrong side ‘flap’ pulled over the blanket, and it was too tucked in – almost like over-the-top, too neatness ) . What interested me is how far they went to keep it all ‘secret’ from me.

                When he started making me breakfast and I walked into the place (my m/h), I was overwhelmed with this smell. It was almost feral, now that I think of it. Earthy. Neanderthal. Ancient in mustiness. Foul, like an infection brewing – yeasty. Heavy in air like a dankness. Dark like sin. He served me some scrambled eggs with a huge smirky grin. Seemed he was proud of what he did in there for the past month. I took one bite – the stench was everywhere, puked a little in my mouth and gave the rest to the dogs after I seriously ran out of there in a horrible musty, smelling panic. He was still smirking. Asshole – we had lots of memories in that fuckin bus and it was HALF MINE – not hers! Stinking bitch.

              • Wow! The smell thing is strange! I didn’t like the way my husband smelled either! His breath and his face just smelled bad! It’s so weird that this is a “thing”!

              • Shechump-
                I just re-read your comment and something new hit me. Your description of the motorhome smell (very vivid,BTW) is eerily similar to what my douchecanoe smells like.

                I wouldn’t call it feral, but definitely yeasty. Close and humid (heavy air like in a darkness). And definitely foul, like something is brewing. Mold-ish? Towels, sheets, pillows, the back of the couch upon which he rests his armpit- I catch a whiff and immediately sit elsewhere.

                I chalked it up to his overweight, his incredibly hairy body, his sweating buckets, and perhaps his showers are not thorough enough.

                But now I wonder . . .

        • Wow, I never thought of this. But now that you mention it, I actually do remember him smelling different and also feeling repulsed. It’s like his skin scent changed.

        • Oh my God! This happened to me, too. When I first met shithead ex, he smelled amazing. I’d never met anyone who smelled that great, actually. Then, right around the time things started feeling really “off,” I noticed this really weird funky smell. I figured it was because of all these vitamin supplements he was taking at the time. But that “good smell” never came back, and I couldn’t stand being close to him. Yes, repulsive is exactly the description.

          I’ve never talked about this to anyone before, and I’m stunned that others have had the same experience. Wow!

          • Same here with the weird smell, I too thought it was the vitamin supplements he’d been taking, Something else I noticed is his skin seemed to be more greasy, ugh, I feel sick thinking about it.
            I’ve wondered if gf has found his odor as repulsive as I did.

          • Same here with the weird smell, I too thought it was the vitamin supplements he’d been taking, Something else I noticed is his skin seemed to be more greasy, ugh, I feel sick thinking about it.
            I’ve wondered if his new girlfriend has found his odor repulsive, probably not, they’re still in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. X needs to prove to everyone he’s never been happier which requires him being on his best behavior.

          • Me too! I couldn’t understand why he smelled so rotten! It was like when my dog rolls around on something dead but I guess it was him rolling around on the groundhog (my children’s nickname for the OW- every time they see her it’s 6 more weeks of shit sandwiches).

        • Yes, yes, yes to the smell!!! Even his clothes and sheets had a weird smell to me. I knew he was clean and likely didn’t actually smell, but there was something repulsive about his smell to me – not always, but I am guessing it started about the same time as the cheating. So happy to hear others experienced this too!!

          • Strangely, I also remember that after DDay 1, during the brief amount of time I am sure he wasn’t cheating, he stopped smelling!! And at the time, I had this epiphany about the smell. I thought that maybe I was somehow smelling the OW all those years, and once the cheating stopped, so did the smell. Before DDay 2, the smell was back. Facepalm – how did I not connect the dots?? But I am very curious if we smell the other woman or if the gut is just trying to communicate something.

            • We smell the other women. It why lots of poly/open women have the “shower the first second when you come home” rule before the men can do anything else. Smell is the most overlooked sense when it comes to women and it’s vital in determining whether we are attracted to someone or not.

              People often say that men are more visual, but women are extremely sensitive to sense of smell and its something men often don’t realize and cannot fake. If the sense of smell is off to you, you are not crazy, DO NOT IGNORE, he did something different. It could be innocent (ie went to the bakery and smells like cinnamon), but he broke routine. Do not be afraid to ask what that ‘different’ was.

        • Considering the degree to which I trusted him and never suspected serial cheating, you would think I would continue to deny it, but everything I consider now points out that the cheating was long term….

          you guys describe changes in your cheaters when the altered behaviors but my cheater never seemed to change habits or smells…he was a lesser or greater asshole at times, but rarely saw abrupt change…thus reinforcing that for him cheating was a chronic habit, not a new thing late in the marriage

          • Same here UNM. I never noticed a change in habits or scent either. I think that’s because the cheating was ongoing throughout our entire 30+ years.

            • same here. no change in habits or smell. However, I still paid a health cost due to unknowingly dancing the pick me dance. He was always finding something to criticize me about. I never ever measured up to his ideal of perfection. thus ended up with High blood pressure, always stressed and walking on eggshells. Then a life threatening emergency due to what I believe now is chronic stress. I now have a permanent health risk/issue. Looking back over the past 30 yrs I can now piece it all together. The put downs couched in humor, The trips and “helping” others. Funny how now that I discovered his serial cheating I can see through all his fakeness. Took me a long time. I have finally emotionally checked out. Next step; and its going to take the most courage, is to physically check out. I realize if I stay the stress of infidelity will end up killing me. I cannnot have high BP or stress. it is contraindicated to my condition. Thank You chump Lady and Chump nation for all the guidance and support. I will need it in the months to come.

              • “He was always finding something to criticize me about. I never ever measured up to his ideal of perfection…. always stressed and walking on eggshells. …. Looking back over the past 30 yrs I can now piece it all together. The put downs couched in humor, The trips and “helping” others. Funny how now that I discovered his serial cheating…”

                Yes, yes, yes…this was my experience exactly. Very very critical….I could do a huge task that he would never even try (like replacing all the wood trim on the outside for the whole front of the house) and he would respond with a snarly “that isnt how I would have done it”….the insults couched in humor – oh dear God yes.

                Me and newhub have been transferring over old video onto discs and thusfar I have not run across a single kind, sweet moment between H and I…he has “pretended” to hit me once and “joked” about throwing me over a wall on a mountain (that would surely have killed me, but nary a sweet word of love or nurturing.

                I feel like the stupidest, chumpiest human alive…forever optimistic that the sweet thing I hope for is around the next corner which will make all the nastiness worth it. I got a tiny, unpredictable single kibble on occasion…there is a psychological name for it, but I forget…anyway, it got me.

              • Same here. I am checked out emotionally but have yet to take the d-plunge. That could be a whole new post. Actually a whole new forum.

        • Yes, the smell! My STBX had the smell too. Right before I kicked him out it got so bad I could not stand to be in the same room with him! Since he has been out of the house (two months now) I have washed, cleaned, bleached, or just thrown away whatever his body came in contact with (well except Miss Piggy). His funky smell literally contaminated my house….Its nice to come home to a clean smelling house now.

          • I mentioned how one day after he moved out, I realized my house didn’t stink anymore. And yeah…he’s had a funky smell for YEARS that was off-putting. Wasn’t that way when we got together.

            My now boyfriend, who was also cheated on, mentioned the same thing…that he couldn’t stand how she smelled after she cheated.

            Very interesting.

            • Add me to the smell list and thanks for all who confirmed it. I couldn’t figure it out either. I kept changing the bedsheets every other day cause I thought that was the source. It wasn’t. I kept putting carpet cleaner down thinking that was it. It wasn’t! It was my ex but I didn’t realize it until she moved out.

              • I kept doing the carpet cleaning thing and I bought a ton of Sensty wax. Since he has left- none! The bad smell is completely gone. I would complain and he would say it was my cats and dog, but they are still here and he is gone. And, so is the smell!

            • This is quite interesting from a biology perspective, especially since you say your boyfriend noticed it about his cheater XGF. I would assume (sorry, biologist here) it would have something to do with sex pheromones which are incredibly potent and would tend to be stronger in men, or perhaps just more noticeable. While walking through woods, I can almost smell a nearby moose during rut (mating season) before I see him. That’s the job of the pheromone, to draw the female in. So if these cheaters are actively courting their strange, then the pheromones would be potent AND not directed toward us, so that’s an interesting component, as well.
              Great topic for a research paper…. And perhaps a reason to get a drug-sniffing dog (but for cheater hormones) if you suspect your partner is cheating on you!

              • I also think a lot of men lose their ambient body odor as they age and their testosterone levels drop naturally. So some of these guys are probably taking supplements, or, as I said above, just having a resurgence in that axis of their hormone system. Fascinating.

              • Can’t say I noticed the smell change in my STBX, but HE started commenting about smells, which I had found very strange. He had always been the kind of guy not to notice things – I could make extra effort with make-up, perfume, lingerie and it didn’t really phase him. Suddenly we’re at dinner and he’s commenting on how the waitress smells amazing. He later (in the throws of his fucking around) commented on my smell when we went to bed one night because I had applied some unscented lotion (so I think vaguely plasticy smelling – won’t lie, I don’t do it because I think it smells good!) and he commented on it.

                I found this interesting in thinking about pheromones as well. I’m not a biologist (ex is), but I remember reading eons ago about how going on the pill can change scents and pheromones and going off the pill then does as well. I went off the pill in November and he started commenting on scent in January (allegedly started sex with his side piece in March..). I do think it’s interesting stuff!

              • Omg!! A dog that can sniff it a cheating spouse. Brilliant. Too bad you can’t get a patent on the idea.

              • thank you for bringing some science to this “smell” discussion. i noticed this, of course, but only now is it crystal clear. i couldn’t stand his smell and i felt repulsed by him. right before d day we were at a music festival and had “indulged” in a substance. things between us were really strained at that point but i remember watching the band on stage and he put his arm around me from behind like he had done thousands of times prior. i have never felt so repulsed in my life. i just wanted to RUN. it was such a terrible feeling and now i understand how intelligent our instincts are. it just takes our brains a while to catch up.

        • Wow! I thought I was the only one who smelled something off. I was literally sniffing him out the month before he disappeared with his soul mate. He always smelled good/normal until then and I had no idea why he smelled so musty. His breath, his body, his clothes. It was so gross. I remember him kissing me and almost throwing up his mouth tasted so bad, like death.

        • YES. He smelled. Even when I didn’t know anything was going on, he smelled. He’d finish taking a shower – twice a day, he would – and his towel smelled awful. A FRESH, CLEAN towel off of a fresh and clean body smelled rotten. It got to where I only allowed him a certain set of white towels because even washing it didn’t help and only the smell of bleach could even slightly overcome it. Totally repulsive.

          This was a man who doesn’t even have stinky sweat. He could forget deodorant and be sweaty but not smell like armpits. Even old sneakers that you could squeeze sweat out of still smelled like that brand-new shoe smell.

          But his body has this odor I couldn’t stand, concentrated enough in that towel that it would permeate the entire floor if you left the bathroom door open.

          • This triggered me. I totally blocked out the towel smell. Same exact thing happened – clean body, clean towel and he smelled awful. The bathroom smelled horrible as the towel hung to dry. I washed his towels daily – couldn’t stand that smell! The bed smelled as well. I washed the sheets weekly and sometimes 2-3 times a week. It was so disgusting. He said it was from the fish oil he was taking. I think it was just from him being a whore. So glad I’m done with him and all his lies.

        • Wow! Vile X had that horrid fetid smell as well — I spackled and thought it was the multiple viagra he suddenly (at 46) needed to maintain an erection (even that didn’t work).
          nasty nasty nasty

          • I’m beginning to wonder, after reading these posts if there is a chemical change in the betrayer’s odor specifically so we can “sniff it out” and move on to greener pastures. Biologically, infidelity puts our own safety and health at risk. While we were still nomadic, for the survival of our species, women and children need not only healthy living situations but also the security of a hunter returning to his domain. Perhaps It’s the smell that gives us subconscious cues about the cheating. Maybe it’s the smell that triggers our intuition?

            • You’re smelling the other person. It’s why so many poly/open couples have a rule about showering the second their partner comes home from a date.

              • Funny I thought it was the change in hormones around pregnancy/breastfeeding, but you’re all describing exactly how I perceived XH smell in that year before Dday (when my daughter was only 6 months old). I’ve no proof but am confident he was hooked into his secretary back then. Sigh, so glad I’m four years and several oceans away from that shit show now.

        • YES! The smell! Mine’s breath smelled like acetone – It made me sick! And HE was the one developing multiple serious, health problems. Just weeks before Dday he had sepsis & would have died without medical care…which I stood by his smarmy side (AP came to our house and brought soup! What a catch!). I have had asthma & sciatica – I am convinced they were both symptoms of what my mind wouldn’t take in. Asthma is flaring more than ever due to seeing him, but clears up as soon as I go NC. No sciatica at all – and I could barely walk last fall. Just prior to Ddays 1 & 2 (yes, I’m a long-time Chump), I developed bursitis in my shoulder. Louise Hay’s book said a probable cause was wanting to hit someone! HA! No kidding. I was losing weight in a healthy way for the year prior to Dday and am SO glad I’m on that path – continuing to lose slowly and enjoying reclaiming a long-lost ME! There is hope and health on the other side of abuse & mindfuckery! Thanks, CL & CN!

        • WOW! I thought I was the only one!

          Not only was there a loss of libido plus vaginismus (the body knows), I couldn’t stand the way he SMELLED.

          Prior to the cheating, I noticed that I no longer liked the smell of him; his clothes, shoes, no longer had any attraction for me.
          When he started cheating in earnest, with a “serious” Schmoopie, he smelled–well, like an old GOAT. (I’ve had goats, so I know of which I speak!)

          He was in his 60’s by then.

          I think it was partly what they call “Flop Sweat”. The stress sweat of fear. My dad was a philanderer and it reminded me of the way he’d smelled. Also both were heavy drinkers/dare I say ALCOHOLICS.

          I remember thinking there was something wrong with ME. I mean, what kind of wife was I that the smell of her husband repulsed her? But there it was.

          As for older men losing testosterone and all, I’m sure there’s some truth to that.

          But even more telling is that my new Beloved is also in his 60’s, yet I love his smell so much that I often wear his shirts and have been caught sniffing his clothes on occasion. (THE ARMPITS!!!)

          He is extremely attractive to me, smells phenomenal, and I often feel like I’m more like my sensual 20-year-old self than I felt at 35 when married to GUBU.

          I will leave it to the imagination how I know his testosterone levels are just fine. 😉

          • OMG – does this ever hit home! The terrible, musty, stanky, moldy smell he was projecting – *his* bedroom stunk so bad and then he’d close the door when he left, magnifying it. It was a definite hurl-able issue, just walking in the door. I thought it might be the alcohol also, but it was a completely different smell. (I might even add, that I’d look over a see him strip his bed and wash the bedding – this was a guy who claimed he didn’t know how the w/d worked and never changed the sheets on OUR bed) And, the room still stunk.

            Based on so many replies to Stench – I’d say that should be a huge red flag in your marriage! You know exactly what your spouse smells like – especially if you’re cleaning their skivvy underwear every week.

        • LOL about the smell! I always figured it was because as he lost interest in me (relative to the OW) he made less of an effort with hygeine at home (this was true), plus, he started drinking more so there was that stale booze odor. So it’s interesting you guys noticed a bad smell even WITH the showering.

          • I have a friend whose BIL is a raging narcissist whom I suspect is also a cheater–she recently mentioned how bad he smells. Not only does his wife notice it (though she’s in complete denial about the possibility of cheating), but so does his SIL, who was recently divorced from her own serial cheating X.

            • This is really fascinating! It seems rampant and I agree that it should definitely be a red flag. There are too many of us who experienced it to conclude that it’s a fluke!

        • Yes!!! He started smelling rank. It was not the usual smell of his sweat at all. I thought it was drugs, but ur hypothesis makes sense
          Even tho I was nursing a newborn, exhausted – I was unable to sleep. Total adrenal burnout. A week after birth I was skinny again. Hair fell out the whole year. Loss of appetite which I usually love food. I barely ate. Just drank lots of coffee and started smoking again! I feel terrible because I was nursing the whole time. But I was in a constant state of fear, anxiety, and depression. Wanted to kill my self the entire year. (Still am a bit suicidal, but I will carry on for my baby.). I only obsessed about him, cheating, narcissism, and psychopathy. I couldn’t focus on my beautiful baby! It’s all s blur. He stole that from me. Because I was living in fear the whole time. Fight or flight CPTSD. Adrenal burnout. Hyperthyroidism which felt like I was on cocaine. Severe memory loss. ADHD. I felt like a zombie. A dumb zombie. I didn’t shower or paint my nails or do my hair. I could only take care of my baby and cats. I had recurring facial rashes resembling lupus rash. Night terrors. Numbness in feet and hands. Started stuttering. Severe amnesia. Could barely write with a pen. Shaky and nervous all the time. Mastitis 3 times. He went off on me for that! We are acupuncturists and he refused to treat me! He’s also a masseuse (gross and fitting for a pervert). He refused to masssage me ever! I begged and nothing. In short, I had several autoimmune reactions all at once. I went from looking very young to wrinkly face and haggard. I weighed 95 lbs when I’m usually 115. He still said I was fat.
          I lost my mind, he broke my spirit. The worst thing is I can hardly remember the joys of being a new mom! He refused to even take pics of us together. I’m heartbroken over this. Delivery day he took 3 pics of my baby boy on my breast. My face isn’t in the pic.

          • Now that I’m gone. I’m trying to heal. I’ve gained weight. That’s about it. This will take time.
            I just wish I had that precious time back with my baby, without living in fear. 😭

            • Devastated, I am devastated for you 😥

              But…you know what? It’s never too late to pick up and work on building a strong bond with your child. I also feel I missed some of BOTH my kids’ baby years, because things just weren’t right at home with the asshole (before I knew about all the cheating).

              I can relate to the photo thing, too. Now that he is gone, pick it up – work on building a strong relationship with your child. F**k the father, he obviously doesn’t give a shit about his child. And he didn’t give a shit about you, his child’s mother, a vital player in his child’s development. Focus on you and your child, don’t even give him a thought. It’s all about you and your child now. It’s the most important relationship you will ever have. Best wishes to you, stay strong! (((Hugs)))

              • Thank u. I’m trying so hard. It helps reading everyone’s stories(nightmares)! It’s difficult getting over the idea of a family. The fact that he never took an interest in our baby boy. A boy everyone stops to say how beautiful. I wish he didn’t move me across the country to do this. I know he’s a psychopath/narc but still can’t get y he plotted this. He could fuck anyone he wants free n clear. But chose the double/triple life. Fucking pos monster.
                I’m trying to enjoy my baby. He needs joy. I just miss those first months so bad.
                At least he can’t hurt us anymore.
                I hope I can b strong like u one day.

            • Devastated, I hear you on the pictures. I have plenty of pictures of my two children when they were babies with him in the pic He spent just a few minutes with the babies on any given day but I would be taking pictures/spackling as much as I could. So we have lots of pictures with daddy but very few with me. It bothered me for a long time but now at, 18 and 21, the kids judge their father on their memories and not a few years of pictures.

              I second what LHATA says…focus on your relationship with them now and take lots and lots of your awesome, cheaterless family.

              • Fern – exactly the same here with the baby photos. He was hardly around, and during the times he did grace us with his presence, I would quickly grab the camera and take snaps of him with the kids, for the kids. But he would never take snaps of me with them. So I have heaps of photos of the kids with him when they were little, but hardly any of me with them.

              • Thank u. Yes it’s painful the lack of pics. It’s as if by them not taking pics, we don’t exist! Their egos r so large there’s not enuf room for anything else. He never even took pics of our baby. Only took them of his evil cat.
                What am I really missing? A monster in the body of a sexy gorgeous man. An incubus. That’s really what he is.
                I thank the gods for this site. The support here is exceptional. The validation. It’s what we all need most.

            • Devastated, your story cuts straight to my heart. I had similar suicidal ideation. I won’t go into it here, but got treatment for postpartum depression. There is still pain, sorrow, and tears. But at least I am still alive for my kids.
              Hugs to you, and learn as much as you can about PPD if you haven’t already.

              • Devastated, I also had to mourn the idea of a family with him. But, it just wasn’t going to work. What he was doing was not acceptable to me. He didn’t deserve us.

                And yes, it does hurt like a MF**ker knowing that the person you loved was not fully invested like you were. And that they actually went as far as to have a child with you, and maintain their secret sordid life. I mean, what kind of decent person does that?! Nobody decent, that’s who. He’s not a decent person. He’s an asshole who doesn’t deserve you or your beautiful son.

                Trust me, HE is the one who has lost out here, not you. You have your son, and that’s the most important part in all this. Let the f**kwit have his bitches. He doesn’t get you anymore, or a lifetime with his son. Forget him. Work on yourself! Focus on YOU and your little boy.

                And you struck a chord with me when you said “a monster in the body of a sexy gorgeous man”, because my cheater was also a very hot looking man who got the double-take look from every woman that passed by. Tall, gorgeous skin, hot body, big shoulders, the bedroom eyes, awesome hair, perfect nose and lips, you name it!! But after I found out about all the cheating, he quickly became less attractive to me. Looks don’t mean anything!!! If the heart is ugly, the person is ugly. No matter how sexy/hot/handsome they are. His good looks are all a decoy. It doesn’t mean anything in the overall scheme of things. Heart/kindness is everything. Looks? Meh! Doesn’t mean a thing to me now.

        • OMG, thank you for bringing this up! When I first met my XH (together 40 years) in college, I couldn’t get enough of his smell; I remember burying my nose in his neck just to inhale his scent.

          I thought I was just imagining it when how he smelled gradually changed over the years; eventually, I couldn’t get near his privates because the odd smell literally made me gag. He showered every single day, but it made no difference.

          But the worst part was his breath: HORRIBLE, head-turning halitosis! He tried everything (gum, mouthwash, mints, dental visits), but nothing helped. Kissing him went from the sweetest pleasure I’ve known to downright nauseating. He would be within a foot of my face, and I would have to literally turn my head away. I honestly thought I was losing my mind because no one else seemed to be aware of his fetid body odor and bad breath. I kept thinking, “Am I the only one who is noticing this”?

          Of course, this was long before I realized he was working his way through a long string of whores… I think with each successive affair, his body chemistry was, in fact, changing, and when combined with mine, it became a repulsive combination (at least to me).

          He’s now engaged to marry Whore #14; when she began cheating on her own husband with mine, maybe her body chemistry begin changing, too, and now, they each think the other smells like heaven.

          • From a show I saw recently: a woman discussing with her friend which guy she truly loves:
            “I find it’s all about the neck smell.”

          • The last time Hell’s Tour Guide tried to tongue wrestle with me I pushed him away because the stench coming from his mouth was unbearable. It was truly one of, if not the most putrid smell I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it’s nature’s way of letting us know that what’s inside had gone bad, like when milk gets sour and lumpy.

        • This is fascinating about the smell. Here, too! Body order and breath. @MyRedSandles – I could’ve written your post. There were times I couldn’t stand to be within two feet of him. I always put it down to the meds he was on. But this is making a lot more sense to me.

          Wow.

          No matter. Just another layer of the onion.

    • Happy fat? Interesting you say that. I’m already a naturally hefty girl, and since Ben and I got together last year, that has become a touch more pronounced – I’ve had coworkers say something similar to me: something to the tune of “Vulcan, that boy of yours is treating you right – I can see it in your hips!”

      • I picked right up on “happy fat” as well. Have been unhappy about gaining a few pounds recently, but you just changed my whole perspective, Unicornnomore. It truly IS happy fat!!!!!

      • My guy cooks for me all the time (he also does the food shopping, a task I hate). Only trouble is that he likes me skinny…sometimes I have to remind him that excessively feeding me will eventually result in an over abundance of happy fat. As of now its at a reasonable equilibrium.

  • I feel more relaxed and I seem to have more energy even though I have more work around the house without Mr Cheating pants.

    • During being the marriage police, trying to answer the question.. .”Is he cheating ” I lost weight, my arthritis got worse, developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome which I still have.
      2 years of taking Xanax I finally caught him with whore.

      Divorced his ass & threw him out! Even though I loved him for 35 years, I loved myself more. He’s now living with Whore. My health has improved but my heart ❤️ has to heal.

      Better to be alone, lonely then being used, lied to, cheated on.

      • I am so sorry! Being the marriage police was exhausting and I did have panic attacks too after dd2 whenever I started looking around for evidence. Upset stomach, check. No more panic attacks or upset stomach. I don’t snope anymore because there is no reason too. I trust that he sucks.

        • 😂😂😂😂 “I don’t snoop anymore because I don’t have to, I trust he sucks!”
          This x10000

        • Hahahaha – “I trust that he sucks”! YES!
          I was having terrible insomnia in the past year or more, much worse just after Dday (#3, 26 years after DDays 1 & 2) when the crazy train had hourly runs. Fortunately, with CL & CN help, just 65 days in, crazy train is NOT dependable any more – I have throttle control for a day or two at a run! WOOT! It directly corresponds to NC.

      • Amen to the better to be alone than being lied to, used and cheated on (don’t forget the disrespect…oh but wait….he doesnt know how to respect anyone (including himself).

        I’m 4 months into the D-Day process and man is it ever a roller-coaster! Tired of all the BS and now I’m getting off this fucking ride. I’ve lost 62 lbs since I found out (due to a medical issue that’s being addressed but he doesnt give a flying fuck about). I’ve gained back my self esteem and my HAPPINESS!

        I do believe that our hearts will heal in time (his wont cause obviously he doesn’t have one).

      • 100% proud of you. I pick me danced for a few weeks, and wish I had of loved myself more than I did him. You’re mighty

  • I didn’t know skin rashes were common infidelity symptoms!

    I was breaking out in hives constantly. I even went to an allergist and found out that I developed allergies to foods I loved and had eaten without problems for years.

    My family said my bad marriage was “stealing my beauty.” They were right. Within a month if leaving, my skin cleared up, and a year after the D was finalized, I was back to eating shellfish, strawberries, and pistachios without complaint!

    • This is very interesting to me, because you are the only other person I’ve heard of besides me whose food sensitivities change markedly with certain kinds of stress. I was concerned that I might be a bit cuckoo for identifying this symptom. Thank you for sharing this.

      • food sensitivity also is worse with stress. Upset gut so often and IBS over. years with DX. Regularr chronic virusees from the stresses of walking on eggshells. Heart palpitatiatins at DD1. Sleepless pick me and marriage police nights too often. vomited all evening of DD2. After NC none of these. Now… comments that I am looking well. . 🙂

    • I got a case of radioactive poison ivy that spread to my entire body and ultimately ended with a case of something very similar to shingles. Go figure. Shingles typically is on one side of the body and on the torso, but I ended up with it pretty much everywhere. The poison ivy, coupled with the extreme stress I was under, triggered the herpes simplex one virus, so I basically ended up with he equivalent of a fever blister over my entire body. It was extremely painful.

      X did not so much as lift a finger to help. I was wearing long sleeve shirts and pants to work to cover oozing blisters and he told me it wasn’t a “good look” for me. Even though the I looked like I had fallen into a blackberry patch, he told me he just didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting well. After all, he wasn’t allergic to poison ivy.

      This all happened while the affair was in full swing and I was beginning too question how much time he was spending “working” with her. I was so stressed out that I couldn’t seep at night. I am convinced my body was screaming at me. I just didn’t know how to listen to it. Since X is out of the picture, no more allergic reactions. And, even though I am an obsessive gardener, I try to stay far away from vines of any kind.

      • Oh, the poison ivy. I get it every summer, although only minimally so far this year. When I was living with XH the drinker, I got a bad case one summer. I was miserable and trying to treat it with Caladryl and trying to prep the house for appraisal. At the worst point, while he was at the bar, I was scrubbing the grout of the kitchen floor. He came in, saw me on hands and knees, and stepped over me. I finished the floor and drove myself to the doctor. I think of that every time I get poison ivy.

        • So akin to the Hot Pocket cheater, we have the Poison Ivy cheater. 🙁

          LaJ and Violet, your stories make me so sad. How awful to be suffering to that degree and have your life partner be that blatantly indifferent!

        • Poison ivy sufferers, I beg you to try Zanfel. I do not work for this company or get paid to recommend it. 🙂 It is the ONLY product I have found that stops the itch — IMMEDIATELY upon use! It’s expensive: ~$40/oz, but worth every penny for those of us who are terribly allergic.

          • Is it a prescription medicine? If not, I want to get some for my medicine chest. Poison ivy triggers an autoimmune reaction in my body and it becomes a fairly serious health issue. I’ve never tried that medication and I would like to have it available. Poison ivy is my kryptonite!.

  • I went through a period of having stbxh themes horrible nightmares pretty recently. I think the timing correlated with our custody hearings. Stbxh threatened to kidnap our 3 kids and move them in with one of the many OW from the internet. I told my mother that I had gotten to the point of not wanting to sleep to avoid these dreams. Custody right now has been he has supervised visits and I have primary custody (so that helps to ease my mind).
    I have diagnosed IBS, which does flare up, but overall it significantly improved with only seeing stbxh for a few minutes at a time at pick up or drop off of the kids.

  • During the height of ex’s affair, and his dreadful treatment of me, I developed awful, awful toothache. My gum became inflamed around my wisdom tooth and eventually it started to make me physically ill, as my body wasn’t fighting it.

    It was so bad, I had to get an emergency dental appointment. I was put on antibiotics, but the issue came back.

    It persisted, until I discovered Cheater’s affair, kicked him out the same day. A short while afterwards, I realised that the toothache / gum inflammation had disappeared. It hasn’t reappeared.

    Hurrah for leaving cheaters!

    • This has turned on multiple lightbulbs for me. The year leading up to DDay was the worst (health wise) of my life. I has horrible rashes on my face and had to go to several specialists/ dermatologist. I had 4 oral surgeries including a bone graft in my jaw. I had never had surgery before in my life. I had panic attacks and nightmares. After dday (7 months ago) I couldn’t sleep, lost weight, and had diarrhea every single day for months. I knew the after dday stuff was stress but I never thought about all the other problems. What a fuckwit he is. I just got std tests today. I need to get over this. My head knows but my heart needs to catch up.

      • Also after my last surgery my tbx went out at night and left at home me swollen and unable to eat. He would wake me up when he got home drunk and talk about bullshit. I just laid there in pain and wondered wtf???

  • Ten years ago we adopted a dog from a rescue organization. She was skittish at first and it was six months before we ever heard her bark. She also had a sensitive stomach.

    On a weekly basis the dog would get sick to her stomach over something.

    It’s been five months since Porky Pig discarded us. The dog hasn’t thrown up once since he left!

    • Now that you mention it, my dog hasn’t had an accident since Mr cheater pants left. Even the dogs are happier.

    • Wait, hold the phone! I’ve followed this blog for years and LOVE this community. How would I have survived losing everything, my life, my money, our friends, family, house, everything — every single thing, but our children, who get it. And that’s everything. And interestingly for this groups. awhile ago, a so-called “friend” even posted ABOUT ME on this blog!!! But I haven’t participated, not sure why…

      But THIS. The many sicknesses…OMG. Then the DOG!!! Our family’s dear Beaux started barking incessantly at him, FOR YEARS — literally putting himself between x and me. Of course, x was furious at the dog, throwing him down to the ground and “punishing him.” Then Beaux got an autoimmune disorder, losing all of his fur, in patches, with crazy itching. HORRIBLE. The x could not have cared less, as I cared for him and everyone. Of course, when x left, Beaux was fine and as sweet as ever. I absolutely believe Beaux TOTALLY KNEW. Dogs know. They SMELL and have senses far beyond ours. Has anyone read “What the Dog Saw”? Beaux knew this man was a threat to me, our children, our home, even the dog himself.

      BTW, I also got MENINGITIS during this time — brain virus, in hospital, quarantined. So telling — although he posted “concerned” messages to all of our “friends” — he never came once to the hospital. I drove myself to the hospital, he never visited me while I was there, and I drove myself home. Two days before Christmas, with family coming, dog dying, etc.

      So it was 25 years (30 since we started), 3 (wonderful) kids, multiple pets, a (what I thought was a wonderful) life. But you know, I put the bastard through grad school, had and raised, alone for the most part, his children (with special needs), created/recreated our home (again and again and again, because we moved all over for his jobs), and just pretty much raised him, too. He was (and even now is) a child.

      So anyway, thanks for all of you and CL, my heroes, all of you!!!

        • Yes, my dog really seemed to like my XH early in the marriage when he was treating me right, but started to get very protective of me and jump in front of me in between us, with a threatening bark. I felt great that my dog was loyal and wanted to protect me. He could see and feel with his animal instincts that my XH had become pure evil.

          • X would nag and criticize not only me but our son and barking orders at our dog.
            He would constantly be ordering the dog around, complained that the dog was too close to the dining room when we’d be having dinner when the dog was in the family room.
            It got to where when X would walk into the room the dog would pee in fear.
            X thought it was funny. I think about X’s reaction now and I’m horrified, even more horrified that I stayed with him.
            Since X left our dog hasn’t been nervous or peed when anyone even strangers or repairmen enter the house.

            • Our two dogs became very nervous and unsettled during the last year of my marriage. I couldn’t figure out why they were always on alert and would bark at EX to take them out constantly when he would finally get home – or at least that’s what we thought they wanted. After he left, they became so relaxed and would sleep all evening. I’d have to wake them up to take them outside. Before he left EX told me that I could keep the dogs and he never really tried to see them after moving out. I, on the other hand, could not have made it through those first weeks without my dogs. The female, who HATES to be held, would jump in to my lap whenever I started to cry – and that was a frequent event – and stayed with me until I calmed down, enduring my hugs and caresses. The male would lie right next to my chair. They got me through.

              On another note, I also noticed a huge difference in my Ex’s smell during that time. All his things, his bedding, his towels, and his person were just so rank and disgusting. I had always enjoyed his smell and thought maybe it was just because he was getting older. Now I wonder…

        • I have two dogs and a cat. Post D day and during wreckonciliation, the oldest dog – a German Shepherd (who was actually my EX’s dog that he brought to the relationship) became extremely anxious, timid and on edge the whole time. Any time a voice was even slightly raised, he would scoot out and sit in another room with his ears back and eyes down. He followed me like a shadow everywhere all the time. Literally. I couldn’t go to the toilet without him following.

          The other dog just seems to go in to goofy, naughty overdrive. She looked to my EX as pack leader and he’d ignore her – it almost was as if she too was doing a pick me dance. Poor darling.

          The cat developed this really skittish behaviour and would be scratching all of the time and his skin would twitch like he was being probed with electricity. Just constant.

          Plants in the house just wouldn’t thrive.

          I too was sick a lot and could not bear him to touch me. My body would literally freeze.

          At the 18 month mark, One day I blurted out that I wanted him to leave. I was surprised by it as he was but as soon as I said it, my body felt relief. Sure I was afraid of what was to come logistically and financially and all that but I actually felt a relief and strength and a spark of something that was solely about ME for the first time in years. Within two weeks he had gone. I retained custody of the pets. Mr Embarassing didn’t want or even mention them, but even if he had I’d have never let any of them go with him.

          Within days the cat stopped his weird twitchy scratching and it has never come back. It just ceased.

          My shepherd finally seems to be able to relax and be still and if I shout now (at the TV, if I drop something, stub my toe), he sleeps through it!

          My girl, she’s got her dignity back too and seems much less needy, naughty and as if she’s trying to prove her worth.

          Plants are now thriving.

          If the energy we put out in to the world is in fact negative and has malevolent intent, then I believe that Absolutely infects the energy within our field. It’s Newton’s third law.

          It is no wonder that our health and minds and Soul’s suffer and those of our pets and any other living entity in that field.

        • I always say the cat knew before I did.
          He used to pee on Narkles the Clown’s stuff after he returned from “business trips”
          Turns out the Flying Whore has a cat.
          He has turned from a skittish cat always running away, into a sweet lap cat.

        • Yup! One of my dogs began stealing food off the counter whenever ex was around. It was remarkable. She’d look me right in the eye, jump her forelegs onto the countertop and swipe whatever was there (lab). She only did it when ex was in the room. She would also bark at him when she first saw him. He’d get upset at her, but apparently, she picked up that he was a threat. I like to think that she was trying to tell me he was a thief. Stealing my time, my life, our money …

          They know.

      • My stbx was such a big dog person when we met. We always had dogs. Somehow the last 10 years the dogs stopped looking to him and started following me around instead. They know who really loves them. He doesn’t care about them at all. I think back to when we got them as puppies and I never would have imagined he would leave me and them too. Life is strange. My dogs are more loyal than my husband was that’s for sure.

      • Mary Redmond
        You had meningitis and he let you drive to and from the hospital alone and didn’t visit? Dog dying?
        That’s a cold, hard turd of a former husband you got there. Get down on your knees tonight and give thanks for the strength in you that let you walk out that front door and never go back. There is a special place in hell for that jerk. So sorry for all the pain he brought to your life.

        • I believe part of the reaction from our dogs and cats is coming from us. Our pets pick up on our own subconscious fear and pain, what we’ve stuffed down. The one scaredy cat changed remarkably once the asshole was gone. Everyone commented on it. Within a month of his being gone the fraidy cat was totally changed.

      • Unfaithful/Narc/Asshole dads who have kids with special needs are in a category of their own. I am married to one.
        He gets major kibbles from caring for my SN daughter. He will do the visible things: pushing her wheelchair around church and the grocery store, big fundraising campaigns. When it comes to everyday non-glamarous difficult care, he is nowhere to be seen. Funny that.

  • Grinding my teeth in my sleep, insomnia, premature gray hair, lack of energy, physical and emotional fatigue.

    These people are toxic. It was so bad living with the stress, where I could not identify the source at the time, that my arrhythmia kicked into overdrive.

    • Grinding teeth..yup. I had to buy those mouth guards that you boil in water then shove in your mouth to form over your teeth. Those were even chewed to shit…since she’s gone? Don’t need them. I even forgot I used to wear them until this article today. Amazing the stress relief when these people leave our lives

      • Same here — massive grinding (waking up my DD in an adjacent room). I bought one of the guards, but it gagged the hell out of me, even when I cut it down.

        Hoping the stress relief starts expressing itself more in the coming months to ease the nightmares and the grinding ….. (*crossing fingers).

        • I grind so much the dentist said it gives me amazing jaw tone. But I did not have $500 for one of his guards. I tried one of those boil and shape guards but switched to Plackers Grind No More – they are really minimal.

          • Hey — jaw toning. Not something I would have thought of. But I kind of like the “cup half-full” approach! 🙂

        • I think it will..slowly but surely. After the emotional shit storm in the beginning ..calm waters slowly return. I couldn’t believe I forgot about that mouth guard. I used to wake myself up in a panic thinking i ground my front tooth off. Amazing not even an issue anymore. Good luck, you’ll be ok

            • Oh god don’t I know it..but the days turn into weeks etc etc..3+ years out now and life is pretty much normal. That first year was hell. All the “firsts”..amazing how your brain processes this and gets you to the other side. And Chump Lady and Chump Nation of course!

  • High blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, autoimmune disease, asthma, fibromyalgia, hair loss and PTSD. Neglected myself. Slept next to his hospital bed on a cot, like the faithful chump I was. His health? Great ( as long as I was there). Mine, not so much. But I’m no contact and giving my health the attention I deserved. People are saying he doesn’t look so good these days…….. where are the ho’s now?

    • I was the same. X does in fact have serious medical issues, and I sought and coordinated the best treatment available, cost be damned. I also made sure he took his many medications exactly as prescribed. For at least the last ten years of our marriage, though, I never so much as scheduled a physical for myself. (I did have mammograms,etc., thank goodness). My needs did not matter, so I completely ignored all of my own medical conditions. I think you will find this to be a very common occurrence among us chumps

  • STBX likes his women with meat so i never cared about gaining weight. at the same time i had horrible acne on my chin and on the side of my face. i think it was because of our diet as well, we just eat anything. and STBX is from the south so our food is mostly fried and salty. after i D day, so far, i lost all all the pregnancy weight that didn’t go away. i had more time to work out and do clean eating.

    i lost more than 30lbs, my skin cleared up and everyone i know who sees me now is saying i look great. well plus all the stress of pick me dance is all gone so i can say the weight of his infidelity has been lifted off my shoulders and i am able to focus on myself and nurturing my warrior goddes within. which i lost when i was still with STBX!

  • I was also grinding my teeth, had persistent anxiety that kept getting worse, even worse he gave me an std that I got treated but ended up anyway as cancer. Had to have a total hysterectomy. Cheaters are a huge health risk! ☠️

    • Oh, Heather – what you’ve been through! Bless you – I hope your post-cheater life is all you need & want it to be.

    • Heather

      I’m so sorry you were given cancer by your disordered ex.

      I too was given an std from a previous DD. I found out from my Doctor that it wasn’t thrush as I presumed but an std. up until that moment it never crossed my mind that my H of over three decades would ever dream of cheating on me. I sat and cried my eyes out in the Doctors Surgery.

      He tried to deny it and tell me that someone must have done something to me when I was unconscious during a surgery I had for cancer. What an insult to my intelligence. Talk about gas lighting and denial.

      They think they are so clever and we are so stupid that we will believe any old crap that comes out of their mouths.

      You take care and again I am so sorry for what you have been put through.

      • Yes they sure come up with excuses. I don’t believe anything anymore from the ex. It did take a long time to get to this reality. Anyhow, wishing you a happy cheater free life.

      • You are so compassionate, even after you also suffered a traumatic physical injury due to your cheater ex.
        The lies truly illustrate the old adage about “adding insult to injury”. What a lot of nerve the cheaters have, making the most ridiculous excuses. I’m shocked still but getting less surprised the longer I read CN true life stories.
        The love and hopefulness I see around here just goes to show everyone how mighty you all are. I hope every single chump gets a long, happy life in the new life she/he is building each day.
        Bravo sisters and brothers!

  • I’m not exactly large to begin with, but in the months since D Day, I have lost between 20-30 pounds (yup. Still a chump. Working on that). Add to that hives (So glad to hear that it’s not just me!), cardiac arrhythmia, nightmares (when I am able to sleep. Rarely able to sleep), back problems, circulatory problems (very easy bruising and lack of blood flow to my extremities), constant nausea, migraines…This doesn’t even begin to touch the other psychological issues that have me feel either completely and utterly hopeless all of the time, or makes me wonder about my sanity.
    I am not sure if it’s more the chump right now or the loss of my daughter (she has completely disowned me for not immediately kicking her cheating father to the curb when I found out about the affair. I don’t even know if she is alive…it’s killing me). Add in a very depressed autistic teenager (massive personality shift in the last few months, who still wants me to keep the chump) and a lack of family support, and you have a recipe for even more mess.
    Any suggestions from CN? Drowning here, and desperately needing advice from people who actually know what they are talking about (as all other “helpful,” AKA, unwanted, advice has been from people who have never been cheated on)…

    • Oh – I forgot the health problems from regular outbreaks of the genital herpes that he gave me (protection is there for a reason) and the stress over wondering when the high-risk strains of HPV will turn cancerous (again, protection is there for a reason. And who in the hell screws someone without protection and then goes and screws their spouse, pretending that nothing at all is wrong. God, I must be even more of a chump to not have known…).

      • So, ok, I too am stuck with cheater. I literally have no where to go, can’t get a job, and he conveniently messed up my car. He sneaks her in my house while I sleep. Yes, I have tried to stay awake, almost did this morning and got close to busting him out-huge fight at 5am. I want to leave, having everything fight me for opportunity. Do you have a way to leave? Do you have a chance at all? TAKE IT! I understand about the challenges you face but you need to think about this: Autism does not mean this child is void of understanding something is wrong with Mom. This child is depressed for a reason. If you are scared say so! Hell yeah I am scared but NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DO THIS TO ANOTHER PERSON! For me, clearly my Lord is protecting me from seeing it as I have tried and failed so many times and always some kind of set back so I can’t go. You need to lean on Faith, go and find a Pitbull for a Lawyer if you have the ability and take care of YOU! Please! I have friends who have Autistic children and I can honestly say that they are very perceptive. Do you need permission? Do you really think he gives a shit? If he did, he wouldn’t be cheating. Damn woman, just go! You are so strong and so cruel to yourself because you don’t see how strong you are. Hell, you took on the challenge of having a Special needs child, (some put them in a Care facility) raised a Warrior for a Daughter (believe me, that girl is alive and is waiting for you) She got that somewhere and I guarantee it wasn’t from that coward you call a husband! Step out of this because you have earned the right to. He does not deserve what he has but he deserves what he is going to get. The gift evil gives will never compare to the gift God gives. Blessings are coming! Run your race with endurance, persevere to the end. You can do this. I know you can!

        • Hey CN I got a call for an Interview! !!!!!!!! Finally a glimmer! Chumpiest chump, I promise God is with you! Hugs Miss Mighty!

            • Thank you! He does not believe that I know or refuses to believe it which is probably more like it. Jokes on him, I have 2 voice recorders with proof! Going to get a hidden camera for the bathroom. It’s been torture to pretend I don’t know, manifests itself with anger and disrespect. I am a smartass by nature so I drop hints all the time. Poor sad didums is so tired of being accused! Hangs the job thing over my head too. I also am losing my hair in mass amounts, have scratched myself to death, lost 100 lbs, gained 60 back. I have hurt myself by listening to those recordings because he won’t cop the truth, found the ropes, ties, gags, batteries and my God her freaking curly black hair in my bed, bathroom, kitchen, car, his truck, my kids car. Says hair can come from anywhere, I am crazy. The same hair for 4 years? We have moved twice, what are the odds? Yeah, I know about mindfuckery. Trying to plan a great BOMB drop when I have the ability to leave! I can’t wait to get on with my life and find Meh on Tuesday!

              • Hi living a nightmare

                You sure are having to put up with a lot of crap.

                What type of whore would sleep in the marital bed. They are scum and imo narcissistic.

                Your day will come when this is all behind you.

                I made the BIG MISTAKE of taking my cheater pants back two years ago after he left me to go and live with granny whore. Worst thing I ever did because of course he’s back seeing the old slapper.

                I’ve asked him to leave and move in with granny whore (it would also mean the Courts would give me more of the marital pot if they think he already has somewhere to live plus I’d be rid of the cheating git) but he says she won’t let him move in with her this time because he left her to return to me. He’s probably lying and wanting a double portion of cake.

                So he is refusing to leave and I’m going to have to go through the divorce process with him living here with me. Also he has the right to live here by law until we sell the House because both our names are on the House Deeds. A house near me has been up for sale for nine months. I cannot even put the house up for sale until the Courts issue the Financial Settlement and that will be at the end of the divorce. I have the nightmare scenario of living with him for maybe 18 months. Neither of us can afford to rent anywhere as the cost of renting where I live is insane.

                Hang in there because you and I will look back on this nightmare one day and we will be be at meh.

      • The Chumpiest – I didn’t know either, because I assumed and trusted he was committed to his kids and I. As did you with your cheater. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing or for being “more of a Chump to not have known”. You didn’t do anything wrong! The shame is entirely on HIM! He took advantage of you.

        Mine also contracted an STD from the hooker mistress he had. Like you, I also can’t fathom how a husband can f**k a hooker, not use protection, and then get back into bed with his wife and risk her health. Just. Plain. F**ked up! After 2 dodgy Pap smears, my third one was clear. But, I still panic about it all and worry if it will show up again in the future. I’m furious about it. Never had any type of STD before this. Ever!

        • I term this “biohazardous rape” as you did not consent to the degree of exposure which he decided to expose you to.

          • Wow, unicornnomore – that is spot on!
            “biohazardous rape” – we need a recovering chump to draft the legislation making that a felony. NOW.

            • The above type of described behavior (cheater having indiscriminate, unprotected sex with strange and then doing the same with a loyal and unsuspecting spouse) is especially harmful when the chump is in an advancing state of pregnancy.

              As a result of of my now ex-husband’s behavior described above, I had to have an emergency c-section and my INFANT DAUGHTER had to spend the first 10 days of her life in the hospital being treated for potentially FATAL COMPLICATIONS from the STD physicians believed we contracted from her cheating father.

              In fact, the viral STD my daughter’s doctors were afraid that she was infected with is SO DANGEROUS that even after testing negative at 7 days old (ultimately we both tested negative, thank heavens), my infant daughter was still required to remain in the NICU for an additional 3 days being treated around-the-clock with painful IV treatments of anti-virals.

              My infant daughter paid far too high a price for her father’s destructive choices. How is this not a crime?

              • It is a crime, isn’t it?!? I mean, can’t you sue him for that? Especially with all the medical evidence? Scratching my head here. I’m so sorry that happened to you and your daughter. I hope you are both well away from him and healing

              • Left him, I seriously looked into the legal remedies available to me or my daughter following our medical ordeal.

                I was told that because ultimately my daughter and I tested negative for the STD we were treated for that we had basically no case.

                I was told that if we ended up testing positive for any STDs we absolutely could pursue legal damages. (Neither of us did test positive following the appropriate period for seroconversion, although my daughter and I certainly paid a steep price for my ex-husband’s infidelity).

                I believe it is certainly worth getting a second opinion. In my situation, the OW is a divorce attorney 15 years my senior. She named herself as a witness to the case in my divorce and hired her own lawyer to represent her.

                I think that my town may be small enough that many law firms simply didn’t want to burn bridges with her law firm, by pursuing damages on my daughter’s behalf. I simply don’t know much about the law. And as a single mom of 4 kids aged 7 and under, I don’t really have the financial resources at this time.

                I’m so incredibly grateful that my daughter did test negative, as the majority of infants infected with the illness/STD her team of Pediatricians thought she had do not survive. Every day I am thankful for the gift of my daughter’s health. Any day now my healthy baby girl will be taking her first steps!!!

                Thank goodness for CL and all of you at CN!!!

      • I had a dodgy PAP smear about 6 years ago. I insisted that my husband was faithful in the marriage, but certainly he’d had other partners before we were married. Wow! Was I a Chump!

        I often think back to that, since it was well before Schmoopie came into the picture. Once I learned about Schmoopie, I realized that Schmoopie was the one affair I knew about. I’d never know if and how many shorter affairs he’d had previously.

      • Chumpiest & Living a nightmare –
        put HIM out. ASAP. Claim YOUR space – HE violated the contract, not you.I understand information-gathering. I could only last 4 days before my rage spilled out and I confronted my fuckwit. I was grumpy, irritable. I refused to carry his bag of shit shame any longer – had HIM tell the children (20 & 16) or I would have. Gave that shitbag to him to carry. I know each situation is different. But trust the voices here because we are MIGHTY together. Find your mighty here.

      • Dear Chumpiest Chump
        I have the same stds as u. Please look into Chinese medicinal herbs and acupuncture for that. And lemon balm. Your body can heal! I promise u! If u get out of that stress it will heal. U gotta get away from him before he kills u. The body has an immune system which can fight these viruses. I did it. I’m also a naturopath. I cured myself. Please listen to me.
        My monster tried to destroy me. I suspect he even killed my kitty on my bday! He thought he could win. But I’m winning now.
        U can win too. Get him out for your healths sake! U will get worse and then b unable to leave.
        This is a battle ur fighting between dark forces. He’s a dark entity. Don’t let him destroy u further.
        I know it’s sooo hard. I still cry every day. I also have cptsd. But I do believe in the power of positivity and good. Light can overcome dark.
        Get him away from u!
        Trust in ur daughter. She’s pissed for a reason.

      • Oh mg. The health issues . This should be the biggest red flag of all. Literally gave me an std the first time we slept together and passed it off as gum disease …. over the next 25 years i tended to every episode of his back problems …sciatica….bad knees…blood pressure …insomnia…leg cramps. ..hearing loss… allergies…weight issues…..contact lens prob. Kidney stones….heart burn…. excema ….cold sores ….broken teeth ….constipation. …must stop incase he is identified from medical records . I forgot i looked after ALL his tragic health issues but as soon as i developed panic attacks he got stroppy about accomodating my neediness for feeling an imminent death coming so i had to keep it to myself. Towards the end i got the most horrendous rash on my neck which felt like it was killing me. But the night terrors werr the most enduring sign that this person was out to get me. The phone ringing faintly is an absolute spot on analogy except i think i needed a rape alarm going off in my ear to eake me up. By the time i was dreaming his whole family and him was out to get me was the last few months before discard ….yet no overt signs. Your body knows …so it’s the weirdest thing to think we can out think what our body is reading from the sensory input you are absorbing 24/7.

    • I have found a great network or support at my local Divorce Care. Pretty much filled with people like me who have been cheated on.

      Some things I most certainly do not agree with what is said but I have met some wonderful new friends and gained some insight and peace about my life.

      You need support from friends and a good therapist and a good physician. I took anxiety meds every night to sleep. Rest is so key to doing the next thing. Not a fan of Ambien but the anxiety meds helped.

      I think mediation would help too. Never did it but practiced breathing can help with the blood flow.

      You will get through this.

      Hugs,

    • The advice you’re asking for is CL’s tag line – Leave a cheater!!!!

      Unlike those you say know nothing, your fellow chumps do. We know every excuse in the book and we know there is only one way thru this crap.

      Get to a lawyer and then get rid of the pos that is making you sick.

      You’re daughter is right. Call her, tell her you’re leaving the cheater and ask for her emotional support. You and your son may need therapy to get thru this.

      NOTHING is going to get better until you start the process.

    • Chumpiest Chump, I’m not the best at giving advice (better on the receiving end if that makes sense), but have you gone to the doctor for meds for depression, anxiety and sleeplessness? That’s a really good starting point. Take care of your body first. My sister taught me to “feed your brain”, which meant to eat something (I had a hard time eating for a long time) and what you eat should be high in a good protein and nutritious if possible. Get a little exercise (a short walk). Do extreme self-care. Rest when you are tired. Pamper yourself with whatever that means to you. Once your body starts feeling better, you will be able to slowly start tackling the other stuff. When you feel like crap, you just have to take baby steps each day. I hope this helps. Hopefully other chumps can help or you can read old posts from Chump Lady. She has a lot of great advice from previous posts.

    • Egads, that is so much to go through. My heart goes out to you. My symptoms mimic yours almost exactly — all the way down the the migraines and insane nightmares that pretty much decimate sleeping altogether.

      You didn’t actually say whether you left or not — Just that your daughter was angry you didn’t kick him out immediately. I had a similar situation with my oldest (early 20s). She was really, really angry and she said some things will probably always be painful for me to recall. Then I didn’t see her or hear from her for about a month. She did come back — long discussion and tears ensued. So, give her some time. It may be her way of detaching from the drama and stress, while trying to wrap her head around everything. It’s really tough for the kids, at any age.

      Some suggestions (whether you are still there or not — and, if you are still there, definitely do your best to plan your escape … ultimately, that’s the best answer):

      1. Look up C-PTSD. You’ve had a lot of stuff happening and your emotional state is not in a great place. This may be part of why you are emotionally “stuck.” Getting a therapist who understands trauma and family dynamics is a good place to start.

      2. Force yourself to do the self-care. If you are anything like me, you’ll balk at the time and energy it requires to devote to yourself. Do it anyway. As others have mentioned on here before — when the plane is crashing, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first so that you are ABLE to help your kids. Your kids need you healthy. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for them (this has kept me working on self-care, even through the worst of my depression).

      3. Deep-breathing (or meditation). I thought meditation was kind of silly and “woo woo” before all of this. But after spiraling into such a bad place emotionally (and physiologically as a result), I was desperate to try anything. Everyone kept saying how great meditation was for stress … and for CPTSD … and for depression … and for everything else. So, I figured, “What could it hurt?” Guess what — it really does help!

      4. I highly recommend the book “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. (You can also watch some of his lectures on YouTube.)

      My symptoms have not “poof” disappeared … it’s been a much slower transition for me. However, my massive implosion included my STBX trying to kill himself and having to have him committed. And, all of this dredged up all of the childhood trauma I’ve been running from for many years. So, it’s a marathon for me, not a sprint. That’s okay. My health IS improving. And, I’m really, really determined to get as healthy as possible — for my kids, in particular. But now, I would kind of like that for me as well.

      Sending you strength and love. (((Hugs)))

      • The book “The Body Keeps Score” really drove home for me the destructiveness of abusive behavior that leaves no visible scars. Amazing book!

    • CCOA, post on the “General” forum frequently. We will support you all along this journey to detach and recover from this abuse you’ve suffered.
      I have a daughter who also turned on me but happy ending now (2 years 7 months since Dday). I can tell you more on the forum.

      Hugs to you.

    • Chumpiest Chump of All… I had ALL the same symptoms you are experiencing during my four years of wreckonciliation; lost 20 pounds in three weeks, all my hair started falling out, heart palpitations, abdominal pains, insomnia, etc. etc.. I am normally a strong person, but it seemed I was afraid of everything- even loud noises would make me jump out of my skin. I got sick all the time- it’s like I was susceptible to every bug out there. It was like I was hyper-alert all the time. Food tasted different (I could barely keep it down), smells were more intense, gentle touches seemed almost painful. In fact, I would argue that the cheaters didn’t actually smell bad, it’s just that our senses are so heightened after being physically and emotionally blindsided so intensely. However, it all changed after I got divorced and went no contact. I could suddenly sleep through the night again. I felt better, calmer, more relaxed than I had been in years. Slowly, I regained the weight (happy fat!), and felt much healthier overall. The only cure for your ailments is divorce and no contact. Wreckonciliation is terrible for your mental and physical health. Do what you need to do to get out of that marriage…. it will literally save your life. Your children will thank you one day. It’s hard for them to move past all of this drama while you’re still in it. Once it is truly over, you and your children can begin the path to healing and wellness.

  • My heart raced. A constant 125 heart rate. Terrifying.
    I had continuous colds – never well.
    My hair fell out
    I lost more weight than I should have
    I had insomnia something fierce

    Now cheater free since moved in April to a condo free of his memories?
    No illness at all and normal heart rate and no more anxiety pills needed
    Lonely at times but peace is marvelous!

  • Like some of you I had brittle, dull hair, ground my teeth and had the most horrendous nightmares (when I was allowed to sleep). I would be trapped in awful mazes, ghettos, mud-filled diamond mines, land-slides – always trapped, but surrounded by monsters and I couldn’t get out. Somewhere along the way I would discover a baby that I had to get out of that maze, and I never gave up on it. After the divorce, those nightmares disappeared but for the longest time the nightmares became about trying to get washed/showered (say, in a camp site or at the swimming baths) but I was never able to wash because all the showers were all taken or there was no water, and so on. The doctor said I was trying to wash my past away and I believe it. But the biggest plus of getting rid of the asshole has been not having to drink myself into a stupor just to numb myself away from feeling anything. I would get beaten up about twice a week and verbally abused about 5 times a week. I rarely got more than 3, non-consecutive, hours sleep a night because he was always high as a kite, so I started opening a bottle of wine when I got home from work ….. to be followed by another towards the end. I felt I always had to have alcohol in my veins just to anaesthetize myself from him. Now? I drink occasionally – maybe two glasses on a night out, I no longer grind my teeth in my sleep ….. and now I actually do care because I WANT to wake up from my sleep!

    • Holy smokes! I am very happy that you are getting healthy by eliminating the pox from your life. What you described is more than a nightmare and I’d bet there are other chumps who are in or have been in similar environments.

      Stay mighty!

    • Attie, you and I were married to the same kind of guy. I’m sure the sleep deprivation is intentional, just so they can keep control over us. Good job on kicking the alcohol habit now that you’re out. When I feel intense emotions, I still feel the urge to reach for the bottle. Now I go for a walk or talk to my friends. When I used to wake up in the morning, I badly wanted to go back to my dreams so I could avoid the nightmare of my life. Now when I open my eyes in the morning, my first urge is to giggle. Life without a loser is so good!

  • It’s amazing how similar it affects us. Not in any particular order

    Teeth grinding, nightmares, gall stones, hair loss, weight gain, depression, high blood pressure, lost my job due to not being able to leave the house, bite my nails, aged 10 years over night.
    To name a few.

    The saddest thing is if any one is nice to me my first thought is what do they want from me.

    • Pauline, me too! I have some major trust issues. I think everyone is trying to drain my life away like the X.

      • That lingers for me, too. Sometimes people say things akin to “wow, you’re really jaded.” I tell them “Experience made me jaded. Humans learn from our experiences.”

        • Precisely. Having experiences and NOT learning from them made us chumps in the first place. People can think what they want. I remember being involved in one-sided friendships as a kid where I was left feeling the same way (oh, someone is being nice to me…what do they want?) Better to be cautious than leaving yourself open to hurt again. Others are free to be as open as they think people should be because they have not experienced this level of betrayal.

  • I would feel panicked and my heart would race. I developed sleep problems. My blood pressure was up. I had back pain for years but it really was much worse during the last few years of my marriage. Once I ended up in the ER because of an elevated heart rate. Post divorce, my back has hardly bothered me, my blood pressure is down, my heart doesn’t race anymore. I still have sleep issues but I have seen some improvement. I do worry and have stress about some things but I can usually keep calm once I give myself a little talk.

  • Besides the panic attacks, nightmares (of stopped-up toilets or him cheating), I had no energy. Some days I could barely get out of bed, I fell asleep at my desk at work. I also had no self confidence and was very shy around people, which ended when I finally divorced him.

    I was constantly sick, sometimes doctors wanted to hospitalize me because I had such high fevers.

    I also had bad back and neck issues. I went to my chiropractor after the divorce and for the first time in years he didn’t need to work on my neck. I told him, “It’s because the pain in my neck is gone!” he thought it was funny too.

  • The first think I lost was my libido. Plain and simple, I had no interest in being touched by or touching a man who had responded to a Craigslist ad as a Bi MWM. That, of course, was turned against me as to the “WHY” he cheated during MC… chicken or egg, folks?

    Then, I developed heart palpitations. Thought I was having mini heart attacks. Wore a monitor for a weekend, nope, not a thing wrong… panic attacks. Good times.

    Sleep? What was that? I was lucky if I got 3 hours straight. And, since I worked full-time, the sleep deprivation AND being the marriage police distracted me so much that I lost two jobs (each lasting about two years).

    Now? I’ve been in the same job for 5 years and get fantastic performance reviews. I sleep a solid 8-9 hours (almost like I’m catching up for lost time). Panic attacks, gone.

    I lost 200lbs when he left (ha)… now, I’m finally going to start working on losing weight in a healthy way (I dropped and regained 70 lbs during the discard and divorce).

    It’s better in ways I can’t even describe. It’s harder too, and sometimes lonely, but I’d rather be lying in bed alone than lying next to someone who is intentionally trying to eradicate me.

    • Yep, I know how hard it is to work full-time (plus a 3-hour daily commute) on max 3 hours sleep a night. When you realize that shit went on for years it really does make you wonder how our bodies held out doesn’t it.

    • Yes, the intimacy issues being turned back on you, the timeline blurred like you were always this way or it was always your fault. He honestly thought I would still be able to love him after what he did. Like I told my aunt, “I’m not sexually attracted to liars.”

      • Beautiful, Chump On it – “not sexually attracted to liars.”
        YES! Mine pushed me away, then complained about lack of intimacy. Blurred timeline, indeed! Mine’s recent excuse was that he felt left out & abandoned. More like hke opted out of all family activities and went trolling with all the spare time he had…chicken/ egg? Blame that victim, bc it’s all about the narcs. I KNOW which came first, that’s all that matters.
        PS ~ My libido came back the minute he went out the door! Hel-lo!

  • I lost 18 pounds which actually was the only “good” thing that came of his cheating…as the weight loss helped stabilize my numbers. The emotional loss was far more damaging for me. I became this mess…I was needy, clinging on to him, begging for his love. I was suicidal, I cried for hours a day. I was constantly checking my phone for his texts. I was a complete emotional mess…someone I didn’t recognize. I still cry but it is waaaaay less…and I’m no longer that emotional mess as I’ve seen him for the fraud that he is. Each day he takes up less real estate in my mind.

    • I’m so sorry for your emotional pain, Pret. It’s devastating. I hope you find deeper peace & joy.
      My immediate reaction was primal-screaming grief. I sounded like a wounded safari animal at times. I KNEW the marriage was over (since this was go-around #3) and I had spackled so long I believed my own advertising. Reading RIC propaganda made it worse. All that rationalizing & blaming the betrayed! Made me sick to my stomach and I knew I couldn’t do that again. I cried in the shower, in bed, in the car, at work. My thinking was very disordered! (Okay, it still is…making concentration and job tasks nearly impossible some days, but I can feel that improving, too) Also, I have been accident-prone. I burned my arm pretty badly the first week, while he was still in the house. And hit my head hard, and have some bumps & bruises. I need to stop and take my time…this is all fading away, fortunately. My friend said she had the “clumsy” label slapped on her near her divorcee from another fw, and she said she got better – “now that no one was pushing me down and I stopped drinking to deal with it.” Hmm…we chumps have been pushed around long enough!

      • Thanks for your kind words Chump diva. Everyday it gets easier and in 4 days when I get in my car and head to Florida, I’m hoping to finally put it all behind me. It’s been a loooong 7 months but there has to be better days ahead. My Tuesday is hopefully right around the corner.

  • Talking about nightmares, I didn’t have nightmares during my marriage. You have to be able to sleep in order to have nightmares and I developed sleep problems–I dreaded going to sleep because I didn’t know what was going to happen while I was sleeping and I didn’t know what I would wake up to. However, on the day my each moved out, That night I dreamt that I was trapped with other people in a stairwell. We were trapped with a serial killer. As I kept going up and down staircases I could see and hear all the other people getting killed. The dream ended with me being the last one coming face to face with the serial killer and the 2 of us staring at each other.

      • Again, the sleep thing and the nightmares. Even on nights when he did leave me alone or was out whoring around with his drunken slut, I STILL couldn’t sleep because I was waiting to hear the key in the door – and then wondering what the hell new shit/chaos he had created. Actually it is so reassuring to hear other people went through this crap – otherwise you think you are going mad.

      • Talk about weird, recurring nightmares.

        Before D-Day I kept having horrible recurring one where we were excavating some kind of foundation for our home and uncovered the body we had buried years before.

        It was always the same; me thinking “WHY did we kill this man and bury him here? Did we really think we’d never get caught?”

        And then we would hurriedly cover the body back up and hope it was never discovered.

        Talk about your creepy symbolism….

    • I have been ashamed of my nightmares, because they have been so violent. I am NOT a violent person. Never have been. I was usually the one who would calm everyone down. I’ve even stopped fights between men before. Really — I hate violence.

      Yet, since the last year or so of the marriage (separated in Feb of this year), I have been having horrendous nightmares that he’s killing me, trying to kill our kids, or someone else. Full-screen, Rated-R kind of nightmares. So fucking stressful ….

      And, because it all ended with him a rage (P.O. required), because and we share a minor daughter … well, the nightmares have not yet stopped. Hoping therapy can help them to abate.

      • Jessmom, Hang in there. I had a violent ex, and the nightmares were intense for me too. The nightmares petered out about two years after his death (he did follow through on the suicide threat in my case). I had to just accept for a while that the nightmares would be there. There was certainly nothing I could do to stop them. I think it’s our minds letting us process the violence in a relatively safe way. I know it doesn’t feel safe when you wake up from one of them. I had someone I could talk with, and we started to laugh about how absurd the nightmares were. I hope your therapy helps you. Big hugs.

        • Thank you, Ali Rose.

          I like your approach … kind of a Stoic acceptance. I’ve been trying anything (legal) I can think of to at least lessen them, but nothing has worked yet. Taking a step back and simply accepting them as “it is what it is” rather than trying to mentally fight them could lessen the stress around them. I will work on this! Again, thank you! (((Hugs)))

          • JessMom, please try EMDR therapy. The last time I saw exasshole outside of a courtroom he was chasing me with a gun in his hand. PTSD was horrible, EMDR saved me. Try it. Jedi Hugs!

  • It was a standing joke with Prince Harming and me that whenever we went out my stomach would get upset and I would have to locate a bathroom with haste. So much so that I knew where the bathrooms were in our area as I had used them all!

    After Prince Harming found his one true love Sluterella and tossed his family to be with her and her two kids from two different (k)nights, this problem went away immediately. Then it dawned on me: he was deliberately making me sick. I can’t prove it but I have not had this problem in 3 years now since he left.

    I may not be able to prove that he was poisoning me (he loved to tell the story of how squeezing eye drops into people’s drink gave them the trots) but I do know this: he gave me herpes.

    Anyway, what Prince Harming and Sluterella have is real and will last forever…just like the STD he gave me. I hope that they both get run over by a 6 pound pumpkin carriage.

      • I hope they get run over by the pumpkin carriage too. You know, if he was joking about putting stuff in people’s drinks to give them the trots, I think you have solved your own problem no?

        • Yeah, that’s one of those things only a sadist would actually find funny. Best to be as far from that as possible, for sure. Disgusting.

    • Cynamon

      I love it Sluterella. Do you mind if I pinch that for my STBX own true love. At the moment I call her granny whore because he is super sensitive to the fact that she is ten years older than him. She lied about her age to him and she too thinks she is a Princess.

      I found a picture of them at some fancy hotel that was a castle and she is literally dressed up like some princess from a panto. All the other guests are wearing jeans.

      On a serious note you really did have a lucky escape from that lunatic. It all sounds very very suspicious.

      Take care

  • While I definitely had more mental stress than I do now (no more depression or anxiety meds) I was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma 1 year later – almost to the day he asked me if I was going to move out of the house so he could move the 21yr old babysitter OW in. I am truly convinced that parading his OW In front of me and my kids in my own house caused me not to sleep and take care of myself and brought this horrible disease upon me. He knows about my cancer and has never said one word to me about it and has shown no concern at all. I’m physically challenged these days but I’m so glad I’m trying to heal without also having to deal with his abuse and gaslighting

    • Hugs to you KAF – you got rid of one form of cancer – him – and you can definitely beat the other one. Sending you my good wishes.

    • Yes, Hugs to you KAF. I hope you continue to get stronger and to heal now that you’re free of the stress he created by parading OW around. What an ass.

    • KAF, I am so sorry. I was diagnosed with melanoma a week after my husband of 16 years announced that he had “met someone” and couldn’t decide if he wanted to stay in the marriage or be with her. The cancer diagnosis felt like a double kick in the gut while I was down. Two surgeries and two years later I am cancer-free and have only a few months left before I can file for absolute divorce. It has been a long and grueling road for me and my kids and we still aren’t done with all the legal stuff yet. The fuckwit’s narcissism, blame-shifting, projection, and gaslighting have reached insane levels, but at least now I can shut my phone off and hand all the abusive texts to my attorney. I am so glad you are out too – just getting out requires us to find strength within ourselves that we didn’t know we had. Fighting cancer is often the same and my heart goes out to you. I truly believe that once we get stitched back together (physically and emotionally) we will have the strength, grace, and resilience to handle anything that comes our way. Our scars are our reminders of what we went through and what we survived – wear them proudly. You can do this.

  • Pre divorce. I would eat Twinkies everyday, was constantly tired, gained 25#, was lonely, and basically wanted life to be over.

    Now. I don’t eat Twinkies (only once in a while), I have lost 20#, put on muscle, am alone but not lonely.

    My relationships with my children and my family have improved significantly. I’m happier than I have been in over a decade.

  • Myokymia,thinning greasy hair, psoriasis, keratosis, back spasms, loss of libido, 3 stone heavier, light sleeper – but I was relatively calm and very happy and optimistic for 17 yrs until the last year after DDay.

    Nowadays I look better, 3 stone lighter – regular exercise, hair glowing and my hair lasts 3-4 days before the grease monkeys get me! But I must remember to smile more – have a default resting bitch face which looks anguished/pained/sad, been mentioned a few times, must be a habit cos I seem to revert to that face even when I am happy and thinking funny thoughts.

    Worst health legacy of the whole saga – regular bouts of insomnia- in 5 years only slept avg 4-5 hrs a night – good night 6 /8 wake up at slightest noise – hyper alert – constant, paralysing anxiety attacks. OCD about back up plans – spare key for a spare key! Never relying on someone to turn up after arranging meeting/ day/night out. Never 100% trusting anyone – always waiting for the screw over, introvert so social events exhaust me more.

    I worry more 🙁 mainly about bills but never ever about finding another husband lol.

    • Digbert, I have resting bitch face too. I think we’ve earned it. It’s also a good defense mechanism. If people can’t get past it, fuck ’em.

      • I do realize the term.is meant to be funny, but I don’t like that term. A person who is resting or thinking should not have to apologize for their unconscious expressions, and other well-adjusted adults should be human-savvy enough to skip the judgment of a person who isn’t directly interacting with anyone.

        If you’re resting, then FFS, rest! 🙂

        • I don’t really like the term either, but it’s pretty apt based on how the person looks superficially…but superficial is just it. And I don’t apologize! Another handy thing for this facial expression: if someone makes an uninvited comment about how I look (I’ve gotten the whole “smile!” thing from strangers, ugh), I don’t have to alter my facial expression in the slightest when I turn my gaze to them, lol.

          • Pre Dday I was one of those perpetually smiling dopes who was positive and optimistic all the time. Reality mained her a bit. But I REFUSE to allow his mindfuckery to make me a bitter bitch. Now I embrace my inner bitch (cousin of bitter b), as I think we all should, and she has come in MIGHTY handy in taking control of my Post-Dday activities (hiring lawyer, accountant, therapist before confrontation). But she can’t have custody of my spirit. I still have faith & optimism.Wiser now, I will never ignore my instincts again, and anyone interested will have a task to get close to me. He got years, he took my youth, but my cheater will NEVER take my spirit.. I’ve worked too hard through addiction recovery, treatment for childhood sexual and emotional abuse, broke the cycle of abuse for my kids. My spirit is free, mine and will regain her joyfulness one day at a time. Maybe not eternally smiling, bc…I mean, really, WHO does that? But the new smiles will mean that much more.

  • I had such high blood pressure 200/100 – he left but it’s still a tangled mess. In the first year he came to the house left condom wrappers – doors open, toys in a prominent spot so my kids would notice. This behaviour led to waking nightmares. It felt like he had whispered in my ear in the first time and his hair brushed my cheek. I woke certain that he had touched me and then paralysed in fear. I had woken up during the nightmare but was still dreaming which is why my body felt frozen. It happened several more times. Eventually I had a stress induced heart attack. I struggle with trusting my judgement on most day to day decisions. I have scared my kids when they accidentally surprise me and I let out a howl in a terrified surprise. I thought once he had an official girlfriend I could relax but it’s gotten worse in that I feel like now he has a cover story. I have lost 15 kilos since separation and manage my daughters autism and other child completely on my own though. My self worth continues to grow. I will heal but scars are deep

    • Lizzie, I did this too. Jumped out of my skin if someone startled me. I got comments all the time about how high I jumped or that I gasped so loudly if someone entered the room and I didn’t see them at first. I think it’s a sign of hypervigilance that comes from constant emotional abuse and PTSD. We overreact because adrenaline is always at the ready for our fight or flight response. Our bodies know we are under attack.

      • .So true. I startle at every unexpected noise or if someone made a sudden movement toward me. Happens everywhere, even while teaching–very awkward. Bessel van der Kolk (as mentioned above) lists exaggerated startle response first on his list of PTSD symptoms. The punk used to say I “faked it.” The punk is a “trauma” therapist (he never bothered to get a license, though) and oh-so-sensitive to his clients’ symptomatology. Other health issues during twenty-seven-year sentence–I mean, marriage–include: off the charts hypertension, hypothyroidism, severe panic attacks, clinical depression, inability to sleep, horrific frequent nightmares, weight gain, mental confusion, anhedonia, and knees that have gotten so bad I will have to get a double replacement. I had a car accident ten years ago which initiated the knee pain. I put up with it because if I complained punk said I was “faking it.” As soon as I left him, I went to an osteo surgeon and the knees are bone on bone.
        On a karma note, I am thinner and younger-looking now, though will be on meds for life. My sister ran into the punk a few weeks ago and told him I am happier and look better than I have in decades. He has gone downhill.
        Thank you for listening to me complain! I have a great therapist that supports all that you contributors have mentioned today: leaving a liar and cheater is good for your health. Cheers to all you compassionate people.

  • Read everyone’s comments so far and ChumpedToTheMax, “stole” my line. lol. 🙂 Not really, but that’s one of the things I was going to write about.

    The back of my neck was tight and on/off sore I’ll say our entire marriage, because I don’t know when it exactly started, but it was there as far back as I can remember. My ex did/does have some redeeming qualities as he always gave me a “neck squeeze” whenever I asked him. I’d tell him “you cannot squeeze my neck hard enough, you won’t hurt me.” The muscles in the back of my neck were so tight and sore most of the time. After I moved out, I started purging stuff that reminded me of him. Well…….cheater bought me one of those neck massaging machines for Christmas. I realized my neck didn’t hurt anymore and it hadn’t for quite a few months! I threw that massager in a bag with other stuff I was giving back to the cheater and I was going to write, “I no longer need this, because I got rid of the Pain in my Neck!” I didn’t do it, because that wouldn’t be very ‘meh’ of me.

    Also, for the last I’ll say five years of our marriage, I also had recurring dreams/nightmares. My dream was the same dream each time. In my dream I was all alone in the world and was abandoned. I’d wake up each night around 1:00am, my heart would be pounding out of my chest and I usually had sweat on my chest too. I was so alert that I couldn’t fall back to sleep and I went to work so many days completely exhausted. I have not had that dream again since D-Day.

    • I had a really vivid dream one night my now XH was leaving me but would not say where – I kept asking – although not really elaborate, it was really scary and I woke up stressed. Upon wakening the next morning I mentioned it to my XH and I laughed it off – 6 hrs later he bailed!

        • Wow Digbert that is really weird.

          When you had the dream did you think he was likely to leave or was it totally out of the blue?? Just wondering if you are psychic.

          I’m into spiritulism and they believe our souls leave our bodies when we sleep and meet up with our loved ones who have already passed over.

          When I have been really stressed and in a bad way I have often dreamt I’m with my dead Mother. Sorry if you are not into all that. Hope you don’t think I’m a loony but it was spooky how you dreamt what later happened.

          • Hey seenthelight, when I had the dream I had no idea he was gonna bail, I mean I was doing the pick me dance following DDay1 5 mths earlier but this was 2 weeks before Xmas and we had been on a holiday and he had promised blah blah we were good etc. I had just put an order (and payment) down on kitchen furniture so I never thought he was gonna say 5 hrs later….. we need to talk…. I am Irish so fairly superstitious but I wouldn’t say psychic. However I have had, gut feelings probably, things aren’t gonna end well, I went jnto hospital for a fairly big, but routine op, and I just knew something was wrong, saw a magpie (1) morning of the op etc. Had a real sense of dread (would not put on my hospital gown until ordered) and for weeks before the op kept (don’t laugh), hearing crying, wailing of sorts, in my head, anyway turns out I nearly pegged it during the op – ended up in HDU had massive blood transfusion etc. Another emergency op during the night and where was XH? had to go home to rest before all the drama.
            Sometimes I think our bodies just know, same way a couple of weeks before he left for good we had his mate and a girlfriend down for the weekend, lots to drink on the night so I went to bed early and I woke up the next morning and looked at him and I just knew! Well I was told catagorically over the years that nothing happened (I was imagining things) but I found out 2 years ago officially they were (or had been an item).
            I just knew, and she wasn’t the one from DDay1 either.

            I don’t think you are loony- I told my BF that very morning and she agrees it was an odd coincidence, talking of coincidences whilst I have beeen typing this on my iPhone (excuse the typos) my wedding song has just come on the radio lol – spooky eh?

            • Hi Digbert

              That’s really interesting. It’s so weird that it’s like our very deep sub conscious is picking up on things that we are not noticing or maybe suppressing. Either that or you are indeed psychic.

              Weird also about your feelings of doom before your operation.

              Take care

  • Teeth grinding, auto-immune (alopecia in my beard… now clean shaven which is not bad, but I just can’t grow a decent beard anymore 🙁 ), Insomnia, Weight loss & gain, Stopped biting nails (wtf nice), Eczema, Rashes, Depressed.

    Hope it’ll stop soon. Going nuts. The rash is in my ears. I hate my life.

    • My Eczema reappeared, too, during the divorce. I had terrible rashes on my left side–ear, neck, and nipple–yikes. It was awful, and painful. It’s gone now, I used some steroid cream I got from the doctor, but I didn’t want to use it a lot, so for an OTC remedy, Gold Bond sells a great Eczema relief lotion. I found it at Walmart.

      Good luck and stay strong. It gets better. 🙂

    • You hate your life NOW. I remember feeling like I didn’t care if I lived or died. It absolutely will get better. Once the drama is over, you will find a better, happier life on the other side. Many of us are living proof!

  • What happened when I tried to suck it up for the next few months after his confession: I was stressed and easily angered. Definitely more tension while I slept (clenching/grinding my teeth, stomach cramps, persistent headaches). My hair turned brittle at one point…that was odd. Of course, when I decided I had to leave, I had to find a job and put my daughter in daycare, and that’s when the plagues came rolling in. Ironically, the horrible stomach virus from hell was also shared with X, who I was stuck with while the house was in the process of being sold. Probably the closest thing to empathy the bastard will ever experience. Even now that I’m free, I still find myself getting sick much more easily than I used to. Chalking it up to a shitty, stress-filled year. Not sure when it starts getting better…

    • I should say: hair brittle AND falling out. Had not experienced that volume of hair loss since post-pregnancy. It let up once I was out of the house and in my own apartment.

  • During the marriage, I slowly gained weight, and developed IBS and a peptic ulcer, and started having terrible issues with anxiety. He lost “interest” in me long, long before dday and blamed my weight gain. So I lost two and a half stone, and dropped 3 dress sizes, but he still wouldn’t come near me. Fast forward 2 years, he starts an affair – and she’s the size of the Hindenburg!

    During the few months I worked on the courage to leave him, I started to have panic attacks, lost even more weight (I was like a skeleton) and my IBS got really bad. I’ve always had insomnia, but this also worsened, as did the nightmares. Skin awful, hair brittle, terrible palpitations, libido gone.

    9 months since I booted his fat, hairy butt out, and I’m now a healthy weight, but still slim. My skin is much better and my hair hasn’t been this good since my teens (and it’s long again – he preferred it short, so I got less attention from other men). IBS rarely troubles me now, peptic ulcer gone, and I’m sleeping better (my insomnia will always plague me). Anxiety much better, though still a work in progress at times, but libido still non-existent – the thought of a man touching me makes me feel sick.

    But the real difference is my emotional health – I’m SO much more peaceful, content and relaxed. Everyone comments that I laugh, smile and I’m more outgoing – people are saying I’m a completely different person. It’s shocking the damage they do to us.

    • Their “reasons” for losing interest and breaking their agreements with us are never real reasons. They pick something they know will wound us to keep us reeling as a tool to back us off from asking more questions. It’s all just more gaslighting and toxic Narcissism.

      • Amiisfree

        Those are wise words.

        My STBX went from wanting sex with me four or five times a week to twice a year and then it stopped altogether. He told me h just didn’t enjoy it with m anymore. I too think it was a way of undermining me.

        Like you say pure narcissism.

  • Just go to the doctor. Seriously.

    If you’re anything like me, you have–at a minimum–minor recurring ailments or issues. Or you have more major health problems, or chronic conditions to be managed.

    Regardless, going to the doctor puts the focus back on you, taking care of YOURSELF.

    Not ready to pull the trigger and file? Already filed and dealing with the enormous emotional and physical stress of divorce? Divorce finalized but feeling lost as to what’s next? It doesn’t matter.

    Go to the doctor. Talk about your symptoms, whether minor or major. You’ve sacrificed enough, and been through (or are going through) one of life’s most stressful experiences. Shake hands with your doctor and address what you can.

    • I would just add — make sure he/she is a doctor you trust. When I explained my autoimmune symptoms (hair falling out, skin rashes, etc.) to my new doctor about five years ago … I got the “it’s all in your head” response, along with the look of disdain. It was an extra humiliation I couldn’t quite handle at the time. I haven’t been to a doctor since. (I DO plan to go, but even the thought of it right now sends me into another panic attack.)

      Having a jackass doctor is much like ending up with a jackass therapist during this mess. It’s just one more mindfuck.

      • I remember those “it’s all in your head” looks I used to get from doctors when I was searching for answers to my health issues. Turns out it was cancer, it wasn’t in my head. I felt so vindicated when they finally discovered there really was a problem. Even though my doctor got frustrated with me I kept coming back to tell him something was wrong. Eventually he found it. So glad I was persistent. We know our bodies better than anyone else, keep pushing for answers until you get them.

  • Daggers went through my stomach one afternoon as I headed out to do some chores. I couldn’t leave the house due to the pain. Called Xhole to help pick up stuff on his way home from work – no answer – for 3 hours. That was Dday #1.

    I spackled and pick-me danced for a few more years during which time I developed skin problems, stomach problems and even a concussion from falling (due to a stomach issue). Depression and anxiety followed.

    After he left most of the problems disappeared instantly 🙂 I’m left with low grade depression & some anxiety as the court battle continues. Weight gain too even though I don’t really eat much. I look forward to a cheater-free, healthy life in the future.

  • When cheater was here, I had trouble sleeping. I used to wake up in a panic in the middle of the night and then took a long time to fall asleep. I felt more relaxed when he was gone but even then, lots of anxiety. Got a rash under the back of my hair, it is less now but the divorce is almost at hand – maybe it will go away finally! I hated kissing him for several years. Something changed about the way he kissed – like he was trying to perform a tonsillectomy! It was so gross, I stopped kissing him. Other things changed in sexual ways (not for the better) and I didn’t let myself realize he was practicing someplace else. I never thought about his smell changing, but it did and I didn’t like it anymore.

    Mostly stress related inaction on my part. For years before Dday, I’d feel like I needed to get stuff done but just feel paralyzed. I would read all the time to avoid thinking or doing.

  • I threw him out on D day. During the first month of separation I ground my teeth and could only sleep half the night.
    Now I’ve got a mouth guard & I sleep much better. I’ve lost 15 pounds, I’m just 5 lbs away from my pre-kids weight! Meanwhile my STBX is still as overweight as he was during our marriage – if not heavier.

  • As for symptoms, hair falling out, grinding teeth, biting nails in sleep, insomnia, blood pressure spiked, diabetes.

    Well, the last year of my marriage when I started doing the digging I also started Weight watchers…lost 23lbs and then the infidelity diet hit and that number became 42lbs. The dr took me off my diabetes meds 4 days after DDay. I must say my family and friends rallied around me and took me shopping, helped me pick out new clothing and now people say I look the best I have ever looked.

    Since my divorce has been finalized, I started gaining more weight (less stress) and my teeth grinding and hair loss has stopped. Oh and because I take better care of myself, I never had to go back on diabetes meds again.

  • Panic attacks, severe weight loss, IBS, hair turning grey and falling out, the usual.
    The weird one I had was I lost my voice for about three weeks. Looking back it was actually about the best thing that happened to me because when I couldn’t talk for so long, I was forced to listen and observe, and that’s when I saw what was really happening. This is my advice to folks going thru it, especially if you can’t get to no contact right then: just stop talking for a while. Just watch and listen. See if you can see what is really happening.
    Doing much better now, two years out. Leave a cheater, gain a life is no joke. My health was so bad at the end, I am sure I would have been hospitalized had it gone on any longer. That’s your gut screaming at you to protect yourself.

  • PTSD. Nightmares. Insomnia, though Ambien allowed for three to five hours a night. One painful and intense cardiac event. One full-on panic attack. Lost 30 lbs that I didn’t need to lose. Two STDs. And a partridge in a pear tree.

    Post divorce: Occasional nightmares, but sleeping well (without Ambien). Eating well. Living well. Treating myself well. Feeling fitter than ever. Gained back some of the weight. Letting go and allowing the Almighty or karma or the universe to take care of balancing the ledger (it’s working so far). Achieving glimpses of “meh.” Feeling mighty more days than not. Appreciating life and all the blessings and good people I encounter each day.

    • Great report, Gratefully divorced dad! power to you, brother. Karma (or whatever it is) is a beautiful thing…just 2 months out I’ve already had a glimpse. Living well is the best – not revenge – REWARD! Glad you’re doing better.

  • Chest pains. Disgust with self as I started to behave the way he was behaving to try to get him to see what it felt like. General tired appearance. Uti’s. Colds. Headaches. Since he’s been gone I’ve been ill twice with flu and shook it in no time. I get complimented on how you and good I look by persons who don’t know that I’ve been unburdened. In fact I ran into a student I taught nearly ten years ago and he said he thought I was a teenager. I went to sign up for sailing club and the guy asked if I was taking the student membership.
    Sometimes I don’t feel the same inside as I do outside. I am distrustful of him and indifferent to men. Honestly I am just enjoying my children and my freedom. I have no desire for male companionship at this time since I feel very satisfied with life now. Even without a sexual partner I don’t feel a void.

  • My health problems started before I found out he was cheating. My instinct knew something was wrong and the stress triggered a lot of inflammation in my system. I didn’t have anything seriously wrong with me but felt bad all the time.

    During the period I stayed my immune system kept deteriorating. I lost a lot of weight and wasn’t eating or sleeping well. I have had HPV since the late 90s. But rarely had an abnormal pap smear in all that time and never anything more than low grade abnormal cells. And when I did, it always cleared by the followup screening. My immune system was healthy enough to manage the virus. But around this time I started having repeat low grade abnormal pap smears. My body wasn’t managing the virus like it had been.

    After I dumped him and went total no contact my health deteriorated fast. Within two months I was testing positive for actual autoimmune diseases, and then came down with two serious illnesses back to back. My immune system was in very bad shape and I was in a state of constant inflammatory response.

    6 months after I dumped him, I had a major medical crisis related to the autoimmune diseases and ended up in the hospital for treatment, tests, and evaluation. They got me stabilized and I don’t have much permanent damage but have to take a lot of medications and see a few different specialists now.

    10 months after I dumped him, I had another abnormal pap smear, then a couple of months after that a quick biopsy that showed an area of grade 2 abnormal cells. 14 months after I dumped him I was scheduled for an office procedure to remove the abnormal cells and right before that was supposed to happen, I had another health crisis that put me back in the hospital.

    They couldn’t find any one health problem but lots of things were off. My organs were stressed, inflammatory response still happening, a few organs weren’t functioning as good as they should, bloodwork was off, blood pressure was abnormally low, I was having neurologic symptoms, and I was dehydrated.

    That was in April and I’m doing a little bit better now. I’m following a special antiinflammatory diet, seeing specialists, and taking medications and supplements. I’ve just been given the clear to address the cervix cell issue and will be having more biopsies soon to see whether it’s improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same. If I need to have the abnormal areas burned or frozen off, my body can handle the stress and trauma now.

    I don’t know why my health got so bad after I removed him from my life. You’d think my body would be relieved over it.

    • The auto-immune disease commonality (which I am part of as well) has really struck a chord me and I have wondered a great deal if our immune systems may be on overload because some part of it “senses” in a way the intruding cells of the other sex partners that are being introduced into our bodies by our cheaters. Maybe I’m reaching here but if the medical world was to ever be able to attribute the onset of autoimmune disease in many cases to sexual infidelity, it, along with the infliction of STDs could be cause for bringing criminal action against the cheaters. Oh, if only!!

  • We had a toddler during the worst, so some illness was to be expected. But I caught everything the kid had, AND all the hand foot mouths turned into pink eyes. I had pink eye 5 times in the course of 3 months. I also would have stomach issues. He actually yelled at me in front of our child after I winced and touched my stomach b/c it hurt. I was driving our child to daycare, and then him to work – no change or delay in schedule for him, but the fact that I displayed discomfort annoyed him so greatly that he yelled at me.

    But I saw the texts with the OW – when she was sick, she got soup and all the sympathy in the world. It’s tougher for her b/c she has 3 kids instead of our just one.

    • That’s one of the tough things to accept in all of this. How can they be such jerks to us while being so sweet and understanding of the OW under the exact same circumstances?

  • In the last 4 months leading up to my departure, I was flying below the radar while plotting to leave and lining up ducks to prepare myself. I lost quite a bit of weight. Had zero appetite. My stomach was all over the place. Couldn’t sleep well, yet was functioning OK. I don’t know how?! I think it was the anger pushing me through.

    Prior to D-Day, I had had stomach problems for nearly 6months and doctors couldn’t find out the cause, even after many tests. After D-Day, and after I went for an STD screen and discovered he’d given me an STD, I found out the “stomach issues” were from pelvic inflammatory disease caused by the STD (which I didn’t even know I had until the screening). I had two courses of antibiotics to clear it, and then miraculously the stomach problems disappeared once the STD was cleared.

    After I left him at the airport that wonderful day and came back to my home country with the kids, I still couldn’t sleep properly at night until about 9months later. I kept waking up for no reason at 2 or 3am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was surviving on about 4-5hours of sleep a night. I don’t know why. More to the point, I don’t know HOW!! Lack of adequate sleep is like torture. It messes with your brain.

    I only started sleeping better a few months ago. I still have the occasional night where I wake up at 2 or 3 am, and don’t know why. I think because old stresses have been replaced by new ones (like, panicking about having enough money for the kids and I to survive. Worrying I’ll never have my own house/property, etc after having to start all over again).

    I do feel that my body has “aged” quicker than it should have, as a result of the stress over the years living with him. We fought a lot because he was never home, and neglected the kids. Was busy doing other things, I later found out. I’m still trying to win my body back now. It’s a slow, long process.

    • I agree, LATA, I feel like all the stress from XH has aged me quicker, but I am also trying to restore whatever I can. I am definitely able to eat better now and I make more time for self-care.

      • NoMoreEvil – same 🙋🏼 Trying to slowly restore what can be restored. It’s a long, slow road. The mental stuff slows it down. But, there’s not a day goes by I’m not greatful for having found the CL site, and leaving him. I was lucky – I found CL within a week of DDay. I read a stack of posts, emailed CL herself and was gifted with a reply. I mustered all my uppity and gumption, and plotted to leave. If not for CL and CN, I would’ve been very misguided by the RIC.

  • I had anxiety and depression that got really bad towards the end. I had cancer in my 30’s and attributed it to the extreme stress and lack of sleep I had while caring for two sick children basically alone while my husband traveled for work and had what I now believe to be an emotional affair with his boss. Had terrible allergies, sinus headaches, endometriosis, all kinds of female problems. I do believe that my body was reacting to what my head refused to acknowledge. I’m definitely healthier now. It feels good to not be stuffing painful emotions down deep so I can keep functioning. My self esteem has improved tremendously.

  • I was perfectly healthy before my darling husband flipped the switch to Narc Hell and i just get so angry when i think back to that time. When I started investigating his cheating I lost 20 pounds. Then after DD1 I developed a itchy rash with bumps all over my body. I called an exterminator thinking I was getting bitten by fleas or bedbugs. He searched our house for hours… he said there wasn’t even a gnat in the house. Went to dermatologist and allergist… umm yeah no cause… it was stress induced just like others have written here. The Dermatologist actually said omg you poor thing when she saw my skin. it was that bad. I had such bad anxiety that I kept counting my heart rate thinking I was dying. I had bruises all over my body and I still don’t know why. Hubby convinced me that it was all me just falling apart because ya know I used to be “a 10” and now I’m just letting myself go. He told me I was getting fatter but I was being told by everyone not to lose anymore weight I’m getting way too thin. After the abuse escalated for the next 2 years up to DD2 I had the same nightmare over and over. My whole body would shake like I was freezing when he raged and scared me which was probably adrenaline overload from not running away from danger. I would wake up in the morning with strange confusion and not know where i was, what day it was, and sit there trying to remember what happened the day before. I physically and mentally turned to shit being married to him. After I left all of this went away except for PTSD. I still don’t understand what happened. One day everything was fine and then my husband turned into Satan. How can an obsession with a married Howorker turn into this? The only way I can try to understand is that I had the nerve to try to “take” something away from him and then he tried to destroy me for identifying his true self… idk.

    • Yes. One day everything fine and the next he turned into Satan and obsessed with married Howorker.
      That is me too. Except now we are divorced as is Coworker and they are living together.

      I know his true self. Gosh he sucks big time.

  • I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 2 years after I got married. Now this is something that doctors assume is genetic, it runs in families (my grandmother had it). After STBX’ first affair it got really bad (mine had been fairly mild). At 5’6″ I was down to 102 lbs. and was in the emergency room with excruciating pain about twice a month. My GI doc. Told me if I lost 1 more pound she was taking me into surgery. (It sucks to be afraid of food because eating leaves you in pain 😕) I started on immune suppression therapy and had to go twice a month for 3 hour infusions (think chemo, but with immune suppression drugs). I developed an allergic reaction to the medicine, so instead of going to the doctors office I had to go to the hospital (they had all the necessary equipment in case I developed anaphylaxis ). So they’d inject me with huge amounts of steroids first, and pray i’d tolerate the treatment. I ended up switching to a self injected at home med. I was supposed to be extra careful what I exposed myself to, as I was suppressing my immune system, but I guess my STBX didn’t think unprotected sex with prositutes was any danger to him or myself … fucking douche!👈🏼 💡And I can not believe it took me that long to think about that, because I just did! It’s horrible no matter how you slice it, suppressed immune system or not!

    Ironically I haven’t had any problems since he moved out and I’ve stopped taking immune suppression drugs.

    • Wow, Got-a-brain, those are horrific symptoms/treatment. For all of your problems to clear up once cheater moved out is telling.

      • My GI doc. Of course thinks there is no correlation, and she actually called me a “little bit naïve”, because I actually listen to my intuition now.

        I’m pretty sure she’s just pissed she’s not getting paid twice a week for 3 hour injections for the medal she was pushing on me, even after I developed an allergy. (No better way to get around payment kickback laws than to offer them as a treatment). Can you tell I don’t trust much anymore??? 🤷‍♀️

        I was the one who nixed that protocol – just refused to do it and told her to find an alternative.

        • Great, a gaslighting doctor on top of it all. 🙂 These days, if a doctor talks to me like that, I generally respond by saying that if s/he wants me to have more valid information to help me make an informed decision, I’m interested in hearing whatever s/he can share, but I’m not really that interested in whether we agree about philosophy. I will manage me, and I need the doctor to manage the medical case. That’s the base nature of the relationship.

          A little bit naive. Whatever. Jerk.

    • What a complete and total asshole to know about your immune response issues and continue about his regular assholery. ASS. HOLE. (Prostitutes are also a sore spot for me…hopefully not pun intended…annual physical coming up.) So happy to hear your health is looking up and you were able to go off the drugs.

      • “Prostitutes are also a sore spot for me…hopefully not pun intended…annual physical coming up.) ”

        Hahah! I needed a good laugh! 😂. I love puny !

        • One of the things I enjoy about the folks on this site…the dark sense of humor. Glad I could make you laugh!

  • I slept really badly and had a recurring dream of being at a party and finding him in a room having sex with someone else. Prophetic….
    I also had thinning hair and hives. Really bad shoulder and a stiff neck.
    Still got the neck issue, the rest has gone.
    When I finally engineer a clean break maybe the stiff neck will go as well.

    These people are toxic

  • I have rheumatoid arthritis. In the last year of our marriage, I was seriously looking at going on disability. Dragging myself to work every day was a struggle and I was sick more often than not. I used to come home from work and pretty much lay on the couch or in my bed the rest of the night. I felt little hope or excitement for the future, knowing I’d have to rely on my husband for financial stuff and care. In the previous years, I’d also had several surgeries and ended up having a hysterectomy – which put me into menopause. I gained thirty pounds.

    And since douchebag has left? I’ve lost over twenty pounds. My rheumatoid arthritis isn’t cured, but I feel SO much better. I still have flare ups, but they don’t last as long. I exercise as often as I can by jumping on my treadmill and cranking up my music. I LOVE it. My stress level has gone WAY down.

    That was another thing that hurt so much about his betrayal – he KNEW I was sick, knew I relied on him, but he didn’t CARE. That was the worst part. And I’d always thought he took pretty good care of me – but how wrong I was!

    • Oh I’m soooo sorry! Having an autoimmune disorder myself, I know it can pop up somewhere else. After STBX’ first affair, my Crohns was out of control and I developed symptoms of RA (not uncommon with Crohns). That is horribly painful! I’ll take stomach pain and cramping any day over the pain of RA. I think it was due to the meds I was allergic to but they kept injecting me with anyway (Dr. Doesn’t agree). One thing this whole experience has taught me is, listen to your intuition! I hated when my doctor would spout scientific research data and tell me there was no way the meds were causeing that symptom. Funny, if I googled it, I could find a busload of other people who experienced the same things… but that’s not scientific, so can’t be true right! Kind of similar to the RIC saying there’s no way one person can ruin a marriage 🤔…. Once I took control over my own body and said I was refusing to inject myself with something I was allergic to, my RA symptoms magically disappeared. Kind of like, once I took control and got rid of fuckwit, my physical and mental health started improving.

      Just because someone has a piece of paper that says they are qualified, doesn’t mean they live in my head or body, and automatically know what’s best for me. That’s my job!

      Now I’m not anti- medicine, but I AM anti-know-it-all, and if a doctor does not want to explore my concerns… not my doctor anymore!

      • I had to “fire” my first rheumatologist because he was giving me prednisone after I TOLD him they made me feel like I’d been run over with a tank! I was so mad. And he wouldn’t give me pain meds – said I needed to “try yoga and meditation” instead. Uh…NO. While those things might help, when I’m in pain, I NEED PAIN MEDS.

        Honestly, I wasn’t healthy during my entire marriage. I blame it on the birth control shot, Depo Provera. I was a healthy person before that – regular menstrual cycles, minimal weight gain, no autoimmune stuff. After I took that shot, it all went downhill.

        But I got rid of my biggest stressor – the douchebag ex!!! People have told me I look better!

  • Weight gain, loss of libido (nothing like forcing yourself to have sex with someone who is never emotionally present to kill your libido), depression, etc. I also had a lot of yeast infections during the marriage. I was so happy when Monistat became available without a prescription. I haven’t had one since I stopped sleeping with him 5 years ago after DDay#2. I suspect he was carrying the infection from his stripper partners. As disgusting as that is, I’m relieved it wasn’t anything worse. I feel like I dodged a bullet there. Also, I’ve lost maybe 30 pounds just by making healthier choices and watching portions which is nice. I have a ways to go yet but getting rid of that first 250 pounds of dead weight was the hardest. After that weight loss is pretty easy. 😉

    • Beth:
      “Weight gain, loss of libido (nothing like forcing yourself to have sex with someone who is never emotionally present to kill your libido), depression, etc. I also had a lot of yeast infections during the marriage. I was so happy when Monistat became available without a prescription. I haven’t had one since I stopped sleeping with him 5 years ago after DDay#2. I suspect he was carrying the infection from his stripper partners.”

      Same, same.
      I don’t know if there were strippers (although he used to “date” them before we got together) but there were definitely others of various stripes.

      He used to complain that I *must* be giving him something. But EVERY time we were intimate (rarely, because he had “issues”) I got a yeast infection. This was during the few years that led up to D-Day #2. When he started to develop his *cough, cough* “extracurricular hobbies”.

      I know for a fact that I wasn’t up to anything.

      If it quacks like a duck…

  • Bye bye bloody gums, grinding teeth, PTSD, emaciated body, depression, panic attacks, massive exhaustion. I had bloody gums and teeth grinding for several years despite excellent oral hygiene. Kicked cheater out and divorced him…poof, next dental appointment, perfection! Got down to 111 pounds from the infidelity diet. Looked like the walking dead. Gained it back (and then some) probably because I’m happy and enjoying life now! Panic attacks disappeared. Happiness reappeared. Realized I’m not crazy. Loving life and enjoying my career, two beautiful daughters and a new wonderful man in my life.

  • Weight gain and the resultant pains in ankles and knees. I’ve put some back on; it’s been a stressful year and am now back on track. But I learned that for me the “need” to eat sugar is linked to stress.

    • And depression. Oh my God, the depression. I’m pretty much answering this in regard to XH the substance abuser since I was with Jackass a hot minute before the discard and I was into infidelity weight loss, insomnia, and the usual D-Day symptoms.

    • Good point about the sugar and stress.

      While I dropped 20 pounds during the separation, it was not a good drop. Even though, I was overweight, the loss wasn’t healthy. It was the only time in my life when I literally could not eat, when I understood metaphors like “the food was like having ashes in her mouth.” I remember making myself eat a banana or drink a glass of milk once a day for a few weeks.

      Over the next couple of years, I put the 20 pounds back on and another 40 for good measure. I was happier without him, but parenting alone (and the continuing stress of having to have some contact with a violently angry and threatening EX) was hard. A pint of ice cream is not a medically recommended treatment for tough days, but it beats drugs, alcohol, or yelling at the kids just because you are overwhelmed. Sugar did help me succeed at that stage in my life!

      At five years out, I was able to find the time to focus on myself. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and a lot less sugar in my life!

      I am now at a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and very pleased for the first time since before I was married with my physical condition.

      I’d advise any new chumps to give themselves the gift of self care as soon as they can, but be kind to yourself. I know I should have started much earlier on the self care, but I put kid care and financial stability first It is hard to say those were bad decisions, but at the same time if I were doing it again (God forbid!), I’d strive for a tad more balance!

  • My list of ailments were weird and scary.
    *lost 25 pounds, was under 105
    *extremely high blood pressure
    *chronic bladder infection (lasted 6 months)
    *a severe pain behind my ear that no doctor believed or could find a cause
    *shaking
    *brain fog
    *depression

    since leaving the scum my health has miraculously improved! bladder,ear,brain etc. All better. I feel like I lost a 170 pound cancerous tumor!

  • Migraines weekly that have disappeared. Anger at his unkindness, exhaustion from doing every damn thing. Life is simpler now and healing.

  • The most noticeable change has been with my son. The cheater was his step-dad and the toll that the “devalue and discard” took on my son from that man was much more measurable than it was for me. The constant bullying, emotional and verbal abuse toward him was horrible and coupled with numerous d-days for me, I knew “enough was enough”. He developed small plaque para psoriasis, an auto-immune disorder, which has completely cleared up in the 2 1/2 years since I told the cheater to get out. His ADD issues have decreased, his affect is much brighter and he starts his freshman year of college in 2 weeks. He has told me that he felt the stress leave once cheater left and although there have been some difficult moments, he continues to have his biological father in his life. We often say how much happier we are since the cheater left and I can definitely see it in my amazing son.

  • I had anxiety, depression and insomnia for four months. I was taking sleeping pills almost every night. Panic attacks was another major issue. One morning after a bad night’s sleep I had such a severe panic attack in the bathroom, I went straight to the doctor. He prescribed Xanax.

    Hopium was big during those 4 months. The continuous highs and lows were taking their toll.

    O why is she is not picking up the phone? Is she with him?

    Why is she not replying to the mediator’s email? Is she changing her mind?

    I lost my appetite and lost 15 pounds. The sleeping pills put me to sleep but I had dreams and would wake up often.

    If I was not having panic attacks, I would be just sad. I didn’t feel like doing anything, just lie in bed. I didn’t feel well enough to interact with the kids too.

    The proactive decision of dumping her and moving on with my life by leaving the home started the recovery process. Now I am in my own place and I am safe. I don’t have to deal with their nonsense. I am in charge. I am meeting new people and making new friends.

    I still feel sad though… at times. I miss my home, the package that came with her, the cute things we used to say to each other, the kids running around the house.

    And I still have dreams.

    I have some intel that the twu wuv was not so twu after all. I am gloating. If you all think I am evil, so be it ha ha!!

    But my pattern is that the gloating doesn’t last more than a few days if I don’t get fresh intel. I go back to being sad and the dreams come back. I should have worked at the agency. A spy feeling ‘sad’ if there is no fresh intel would work extra hard to get some.

  • I just remember always aching everywhere, especially at night. Deep down achiness in muscles, bones, sinew. Depression, for sure.

    I have–despite the ongoing anxiety of trying to divorce a narcissist–not felt or looked as good as I do now in a long, long time.

    Much of that is due to his sheer absence, but self care has also enjoyed a resurgence. Yes to manicures, pedicures, really good hair services, massages, much tinier clothes, etc.

    While he was entertaining the slut with private chefs, three hundred dollar bottles of wine, and god knows what all else, I was raiding the car seats for gas money and buying jeans and sweaters at Goodwill. I still love to poke around in the Goodwill store, but now it is strictly for joy, not out of cringing necessity, because of course even as his private parties were in full swing, my every expenditure provoked rage.

    Even though I still trip a hidden mine, now and then, on this harsh journey, I feel stronger, better, and healthier in every respect, and look forward to more of that as I get freer and further away from the trauma.

    • Cashmere, I had that achiness, too, especially at night. I’d lay in bed almost crying because my hips hurt. Or my knees. Or my shins. Every night it seemed to move to a different spot in my body (mostly my hips), but the achiness was always there. Insomnia. Teeth-grinding. Panic attacks. Nightmares. Night terrors. Hypervigilance and exaggerated startle reflex. Rumination. Obsessive thoughts and weird physical ticks (like shaking my head all the time when I’d be thinking about what was wrong). Self-harming. Constantly getting sick (flus, colds, etc.). Needing increasing amounts of wine at the end of the day just to be able to settle down. Crazy weight loss which everyone noticed except for him.

      Four years later, I have NONE of these symptoms. Not a single fucking one. Maybe CL can add a new line to her blog: Leave a cheater, regain your health!

  • I had migraines during the marriage and subsequent divorce. I remember vividly my first migraine: It was Mother’s Day and we were going out to eat supper with his mother and family. Guess who was also invited, Yes! His “not my girlfriend”

    I have only had 1 migraine since I have been remarried but I hold on to the Imitrex I was prescribed, once you have migraines you will do anything to relieve that agonizing pain.

    • Yes, I’ve had them throughout my marriage as well — and they continue even after separation. They are the “stroke-like” migraines where I jumble words, etc. Utterly debilitating.

      Interestingly, one of the things that has been most helpful is Icy Hot carefully rubbed on the offending side of my head (sometimes in the hair and directly onto the scalp when the migraine is “full-blown”). Sometimes I can catch the symptoms early enough, take my meds / use the Icy Hot — and it prevents it from manifesting completely.

  • I talk about this a lot — when you stay with a cheater, you’ll pay in ways you can’t even imagine. My first D-Day was 10 years before the marriage ended (he told me it was just “fantasy” and I chose to believe him). After that, I had ten years of raging insomnia, gained 50 lbs, my back went out a couple times a year, illnesses became more frequent, total lack of energy, I was anxious all the time, and finally I lost the ability to make simple decisions. I also developed an irregular heartbeat. When he left — even in the worst of the grief and trauma — my heartbeat normalized, my anxiety disappeared, and I dropped 20 lbs in two months.

    Now, two years out, all the health problems are gone, I’m full of energy, I’ve lost 48 of the 50 lbs and I’m training for triathlons when a year ago I could barely manage a long walk.

  • c-ptsd (hypervigilance, anxiety, memory loss, sleep stuff, triggering)
    fibromyalgia
    all my back stuff got way worse (lumbar stenosis, arthritis, disc issues, the lot)
    chronic depression -> suicidality
    um, did I leave anything out?

    basically I somaticized the whole betrayal.

  • Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for this post. In April 2016, my ex– I moved quickly thanks to finding CN– announced that she was going to cheat on me. Yesterday’s post also resonated with me. She sat on the front porch, texting prospective affair partners.

    But, yes, the year before she announced that she was going to cheat on me, she was awful. Amazingly emotionally abusive. Again, thanks to CL, I have come to believe that she has a personality disorder. I spent years excusing her bad behavior. “Oh, she is just short-tempered because she has an untreated anxiety disorder.” But our last year, she was mean, mean, mean. I somehow did not make the connection between her emotional abuse and my hives, sciatica, and teeth grinding! When I saw today’s post, I almost screamed out loud!

    My hives cleared up within a month of her departure. My sciatica got worse. Two months after our divorce– again thanks to CL and CN, I divorced my partner/wife of 16 years six months after her announcement– my sciatica was so bad that I could barely walk for 10 days. Did meds and physical therapy. Got some relief.

    Lately, I have been practicing what I call “lazy mindfulness.” Whenever I start to obsess about my ex, I repeat to myself, “You are thinking about X, and those thoughts are making you anxious.” Perhaps it’s unrelated, but I have noticed that my sciatica pain has almost disappeared.

    I am still grinding my teeth. Apparently, my subconscious is still REALLY angry at my X. Got fitted for a bite plate.

    Oh, and I have lost 12 lbs . . . which for me is good. If I could just divorce her 5 more times, I’d be at the weight I was before I fell for her. 😉

  • Over roughly 2 years (near the end of the marriage) as my EX-husband cheater berated me on a nearly constant basis for being fat, I GAINED 30 pounds from the stress. A turning point for me was when he returned home after a surgery (one of many in which I supported and cared for him over the years, although he never did jack-shit for me, no matter the situation), delighted because “I now weigh less than you!” What an ass-hat. Divorce has been final for more than a year and I am sleeping better, look better and feel better…”You look so happy now” is a phrase I hear often from co-workers and friends.

  • Insomnia, anxiety, high BP, dizzy spells, tingling lips/mouth/gums, headaches.

    I’ll sleep like a baby almost every night, the whole way through, and have cut down way on my sleeping medications. Dizzy spells are gone. Tingling is gone. Headaches are gone.

    The only benefit to the anxiety is its the least I have weighed in over 20 years

  • Depression. Shingles. Weird thoughts that would pass into my brain… which bothered me because I was convinced I loved him. For instance, I would fantasize about winning the lottery and then think of ways to get out of sharing it with him, or at least letting him have less than half.

    An overall, niggling feeling of mistrust.

    Sex drive totally bottoming out and being unhappy with certain physical attributes….ahem….blaming those feelings on the onset of menopause.

    Desperately needing a confidant and knowing he would never be one.

    Turning down sexual requests that made me uncomfortable which he insisted I would do if I loved him…. no concern whatsoever about MY happiness beyond my momentary satisfaction that served only to make HIM feel like a stud.

    There’s more. As I look back on the 12 years and remember…

    • Right?!? I look back on my marriage and I can’t believe the things I put up with. The weird sexual positions. His insistence that I climax and if I didn’t, then he wouldn’t, either, which made me feel more guilt. I had no sex drive, either. I am post-menopausal and in my marraige, I had to use estrogen cream. Now? I don’t need the cream anymore!

      Throughout our 18-year-marriage, I constantly had dreams of him cheating on me. I think it was my subconscious telling me what I refused to believe.

      I would watch romantic movies and just feel so, so sad. I know that you’re not always “in love” in your marriage, but neither did I believe it should be this hard. I would also daydream about not being with him.

      • Seemed like you and I lived in the same marriage! Gah! The sex was the same as you describe. I also watched romantic movies and felt exactly the same way. X did nothing special for me. He wasn’t even nice to me and I just kept thinking, “well real life is not like a romantic movie.” Yeah, I get that this is true, but damn if my marriage wasn’t horrific comparatively.

        • I have to be honest – my ex did do a lot of romantic things for me. He’d buy me flowers for no reason, etc. But I look back on it and I wonder if he did it just to soothe a guilty conscience…

            • Mine did the romantic gestures for everyone else to see…flowers….delivered at work….bought expensive jewelry. ..for everyone to comment on. … surprise birthday… so he looked like greatest husband ever.. ( even though he made me think we were on our way to a weekend city break complete with packing suitcases….he circled the block and came back to a bbq with family… i was crushed also considering being 7 months pregnant) there was nothing i could think of that he did for me was thoughtful just for me and it made me feel super ungrateful but so distressed at the time. Of course because as everyone else says your body knows the INTENTamd that decodes as the actions without the emotion. Body knows !

    • Oh. Forgetfulness. It’s getting better, but it was truly bad for awhile. I experienced that when my son died, too.

  • I kicked WH out on Dday, and we were separated for 4 months. I lost 35 pounds during that time because I couldn’t swallow, let alone eat anything.
    Then I became blind in one eye (separation of the vitreous humor) and was put on bedrest, pending possible eye surgery.
    I was so freaked out about this situation and how to take care of our 4 kids, that I made the mistake of asking WH to stay in the house again.
    Thank God my eyesight returned, but now it is a few years later and we are not in true R, we are just living in the same house.
    It is a mess.

  • I have unseen cuts on my feet from years of walking on eggshells. I’ve always had issues with my weight. It wouldn’t be fair to blame this directly on the ex. He was so high maintenance and wanted my attention all the time. He would sulk and be pouty otherwise. I have now taken the time for exercise, grocery shopping, and cooking healthy meals. I’ve probably lost about 50 lbs.

    I used to cut & dye my own hair at home and never felt very polished. I go to a salon now and feel much better about my appearance. I want to fix that picker and part of that is to no longer have the bleach blonde type look and attract the narcs.

    The mother of a friend of my daughter’s is a known cheater. The dad is an ex chump (heaven help him as he still follows her around like a puppy dog even though they are divorced) as he works full time as a physician and he’s the one you see bringing 3 kids to school stuff. She shows up with the flavor of the month usually years younger. She is super in shape, hair dyed, nails always done, high heals, provocative clothing. My ex would sheepishly say what great shape this mom was in (yeah nasty asshole, she’s out of your old man league). I finally told him one time, do you know how much time and effort goes into looking like that? She’s spending all of her time and energy on herself and not on her kids. He said that had never occurred to him.

    Of course these super sparkly’s like to spend more time on themselves and leave the adulting to the chumps. I’ll still gladly hang out with the kid doting, chubby mommies that are my friends any day of the week.

    • That is so funny, MJB, about the bleach-blonde hair atrracting narcs. I really believe that too. I had only been bleach-blonde for one month before I met my now XH. Even now that I’m divorced (and still bleach-blonde) I’ve noticed I am a sleaze/narc magnet. I am slowly trying to go back to my old honey blonde that didn’t have such a narc-attracting quality. Lol!

      • Good grief! Platinum hair gets you noticed in a ‘real’ way, these days? Oh, how mature we’ve become as males. (However, a male with platinum hair gets me to notice them…but they are too young)

  • Weight loss and insomnia mostly. Most of which started before I even learned of the affair. She wanted to make a show of doing things the “right way,” so she started by casting doubt on our marriage, which eventually was going to be her excuse to leave and go and be with her schmoopie. Having my marriage seem to go from stable to in-grave-danger in the space of a few days was enough to put me in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was a full time stay-at-home dad at that point and so getting up and putting on a happy face and pretending everything was okay for my daughter was particularly challenging. I didn’t even get an opportunity to take a time-out and process what was happening. Some friends of mine offered to let our daughter sleep over with their kid one night so that I could drug myself with some Benedryl and get some sleep for the night and I took them up on their offer.

    And I can’t stress enough. All of this was before I learned that she had been cheating on me and the whole gently doubting our marriage thing was a farce. It just got so much worse from there. I lost 30 pounds easily in the space of a few weeks. What was amazing to me was that even while I was literally, visibly wasting away in front of her, she accused me of being overly dramatic whenever I tried to tell her how much pain I was in.

    It took me way too long to realize that trying to get sympathy from your abuser is like trying to draw blood from a stone. And that just caused me even more distress.

    When I finally gave up hope of saving the marriage, there was an immediate improvement, which admittedly was a low bar at the time. It wasn’t like I recovered instantly from my trauma. I had a long and terrible slog ahead of me, but at least I wasn’t slowly poisoning myself with hope anymore. At least I could begin to accept what was happening and begin to grieve.

    Now I’m overweight. Go figure.

    • “At least I wasn’t slowly poisoning myself with hope anymore.”
      Love this quote. Very powerful.
      Wishing you all the best.

  • Anorexia. Shingles. Major depression, insomnia and three molars lost to grinding.

    But now I am as healthy as I have ever been! 💕

  • GERD, weight loss, insomnia (now take Trazadone nightly), very accident prone. Since I found out about affair I have broken upper arm and fell & gashed my eyebrown to the bone (which gave me a horrific black eye which I desperately wanted to blame on him!).

  • About four years ago I started having all sorts of medical issues. Neurological things, gynecological issues, allergies, you name it. I was having all of this testing done. I had a hysterectomy, and three followup surgeries for endometriosis in less than three years. I got Lyme disease. I inexplicably put on 60 pounds in a year. It was one thing after another. Two years ago when the affairs of my STBXH began to come to light, I would get sick to my stomach. But something inside of me changed….I began to get better and stronger. I started to lose weight.I started to feel (physically) better and emotionally stronger. It was almost like my body knew something in my life was out of whack, and when my brain caught up, I made up my mind that I had to prepare for the fight of my life. I have lost 70 pounds in 2 years. The migraines that I had been dealing with are less….maybe from kicking his ass out, or better treatment, I don’t know. It is almost like in the summer of 2015, something clicked in my head that said “girl, get your shit together and take care of yourself, your daughter needs you in fighting shape.” Since “Prince Charmin” (he had to have the expensive cushy toilet paper for his sensitive behind) has been gone, I have found the energy to get so much done around the house. Right now i am no longer in survival mode, I am in taking care of business and moving on mode! I still get a little nauseous whenever he pulls some stunt with the lawyer or with my daughter, but that is becoming less and less.

    • Ha, that Prince Charmin bit made me LOL. My X was the same with his TP. None of that peasant fare for his arse!

        • One of my first acts of rebellion after he was gone was to buy the cheaper toilet paper. Mind you I have some standards, you know, not the cheapest one-ply, see through stuff, but let’s say “mid grade” TP is perfectly fine with me. My Daughter thought this was so funny, picking out new TP. It was always so annoying when we would travel with Prince Charmin, having to make a special trip to a Walgreens or somewhere close to the hotel for his Charmin or Quilted Northern. Hotel TP would never do!

          • Mine insisted on Charming extra-soft and would throw a fit if anything else was bought. However it does beg the question that if they are so particular about what they use to wipe their arse then why do they always have those horrendous skid marks? Also, why aren’t they that particular about where they put their penis? Seems they don’t choose the “top of the line” measurement for that? Mine also had to have moistened wipes of a particular brand to follow up cleaning his arse! Did not improve his skid mark problem a bit! What is it with these assholes of theirs?

            • Roberta – so dang on point with the skid marks!!!! The exh ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, had this going on despite the charmin and baby wipes! Like wtf!!!?? On the bed sheets, his boxers, even would seap through to his pants and shorts! Not even our girls did that! God, I’m so glad to be rid of him!

    • Another thing i thought of when i reckon his rot set in but decided to gas light me to string things out to suit him and the lifestyle….i was absolutely bloody exhausted every day at about 1pm and could hardly get to bed to collapse until the kids needed picking up. I thought i was so lazy since i slept not bad at night. This went on for years .. i went to so many medical people but nothing. Eventually the hair loss ..panic attacks and explosive rage that came from no where in the mean time I got fobbed off every time i asked if we were ‘OK’ . … yes of course… do what do you do ? Keep on excusing shitty behavior.

  • I really appreciate today’s posts! Have lost “friends” over the years who thought I was exaggerating or even making up health issues that plagued me while living with LadyLiar. Had horrifying nightmare that I was having an abortion I didnt want but couldn’t speak to tell Dr to stop. Gained weight, engaged in daily alcohol use to take edge off severe anxiety, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, chronic headaches, neck and shoulder pain, insomnia, fatigue, blurred vision, tachycardia, IBS. I felt moderately I’ll ALL the time, and would get so sick I couldn’t get out of bed for 2-3 days about 4 times/year. I finally found wonderful physician and therapist to help me recover during the year after I left my cheater and gained a life. Needed Zoloft and xanex to help stabilize as I was engaged in suicidal ideation. Lost weight in healthy way, got monthly massage, started sleeping again…everything changed for the better when I got my life back.

  • I wouldn’t say that our relationship was toxic, since he kept things hidden for so long and changed so gradually. The relationship stress came only at the very end.

    That said, he never contributed to running the household, and I felt that was normal. Before we had kids, he was slightly more helpful, and also, there was much less work involved. But when the kids came along, he checked out, and I picked up the slack, just crediting it to feeling overburdened as a mom. I didn’t notice how little he was doing until the end, when I really stood back and took stock.

    So my stress came as a result of working waaaaaay too hard and putting everyone else’s needs before my own. My only me-time was the hour I’d spend getting my hair done every other month or the occasional massage. I was getting by on 3-4 hours of sleep per night for years, and it took a major toll on my health. But the kids were happy, fed, and flourishing. My then-husband was happy, fed, and flourishing. As long as my family was happy, I was happy.

    I eventually developed high blood pressure from the stress and lack of sleep. I started seeing a doctor, who advised me to get at least 6 hours/night. I felt selfish to cut back on my work hours to fit in more sleep, which lowered my income, but health is important. Shortly after that, my then-husband told me he was “unhappy”, and we started MC. I suspected an affair with his close “friend” from work. Sure enough, I found evidence, and we separated soon after.

    Now that he’s gone and I only have the kids 50% of the time, running the house is the same amount of work, if not LESS. (Funny how that works, when a dead-weight leaves.) I’m getting a full night of sleep, I eat better, and I exercise more regularly. I’m finally focusing on myself more. There’s also less junk food around the house. My ex eats so much processed junk, and now I don’t have to see it anymore. I just threw out a couple expired boxes of Poptarts left over in the back of the pantry from when he lived here last year… the kids and I don’t eat that crap. Good riddance!

    • Completely agree to how much less work it is when they are gone. I was butcher, baker and candlestick maker too and it was AMAZING to move in with my parents and have help around the house again. I’m expected to help, but my mom, dad and brother also do chores, clean, cook and work a job, just like me. And, for the record, my brother has severe brain damage, tho is a high functioning disabled person and does A LOT more than my X ever even thought of doing. He even holds a part time job! There were 2 1/2 years that my X was unemployed and gaslighted me about getting a job.

      It is so good to be apart of a healthy, normal, functioning family again.

    • I remember waking up and feeling completely overwhelmed with all that had to be done each day that I didn’t want to get out of bed. My ex insisted on living on property that was too big for us, the workload was tremendous. So nice to have time to take care of ourselves now, isn’t it? I have a much smaller house and love it.

  • I think autoimmune health problems are part of the fight or flight response. If we don’t leave (flee) the body fights. After only a year into my marriage a routine blood test showed I had a dangerously low white blood cell count. I had to have frequent blood tests ( and a lumbar puncture- to rule out cancer etc). Was eventually diagnosed with primary autoimmune neutropenia- with no known cause. XH was already ‘distant’ and not supportive of diagnosis or the stress it caused. After I kicked him out, several years later, blood tests showed the neutropenia was in remission. It has not returned. I’m convinced that my body (blood) was reacting to the toxic environment – a sort of marital Chernobyl.

  • He almost killed me over 35 years of abuse. Covert narc.

    I had high grade cancer I’m still fighting, although since I kicked him out and we are divorced, is now low grade.

    Besides 10 surgeries and 7 rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, I had high blood pressure, horrific nightmares, lost 50 lbs., PSTD, diverticulosis, gastrointestinal issues and hair loss.

    Looking back my body and subconscious knew. His gaslightighting, blameshiftimg and abuse was awful.

    I am so grateful every day for finally seeing the truth and kicking him out!

    Since I did, my cancer has been downgraded and I believe I will beat it. It’s been two years. Also, fewer nightmares, lower blood pressure, less gastrointestinal issues and hair loss.

    Waking up from his narcissistic spell and taking back my personal power has led me to a road of wellness and wholehearted living.

    He hates that I have been 100% no contact with him for 18 months. His attempts to hurt me for his narcissistic injury (exposing his true character) are ignored or dealt with through my attorney.

    He’s yesterday’s news, living with his now pregnant prostitute, looking old, tired, living on half his income and still spinning tales of how he’s the victim and I kicked him out. Boo f___king hoo!

    I will never allow myself to be abused again. Thank you CL and CN for being there the past 18 months.

    • You go Freenow! Sending out good vibes for you and your cancer! I know he was the source of your added infirmities. It’s crazy and amazing how our bodies respond to abuse, even if our heads haven’t caught up with the truth yet.

    • “Almost killed me” after years of abuse. Yes, and so yes. Unfortunately, the abuse continues. For f-ing years. No contact is the one thing that truly works.

  • From the beginning of our relationship, to the ending of our marriage, I had stomach issues. I was in pain every single day and as the day wore on, the pain would worsen. Pain relievers had no effect. 4 or 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with h. pylori and I did the treatment and the pain subsided for a year and then came back after DDay and the infidelity diet. I went on the meds again and it went away for awhile and then came back a few months before the separation and ultimate divorce. The day he left this year – June 3 – is the last day I’ve felt that pain.

    I had zero libido the entire time we were together. Being treated like garbage does not do wonders for your sex drive contrary to what my X thought.

    I don’t have anxiety, but I had constant anxiety for the duration of our relationship. At family and friend events I would dance around him trying to make sure that no one offended him.

    I felt that my eating habits were normal. I was razzed everyday about how I wasn’t eating this or that the right way or how I was not eating the right things for my body. He made sure that we ate beans – any kind of beans – every week because they are REALLY REALLY hard on my system. They give me heartburn and I’m in stomach pain for days (probably why I had stomach problems) and when I would mention that we really needed to stop eating so many bean dishes he would give me a frowny face and say that “beans are so good for you. There must be something wrong with you.” It was insanity!

    He was right there watching me and giving me shit when I would take any kind of medication – pain pills, heartburn meds, even vitamins. He did not want me taking anything.

    He wouldn’t let me purchase any workout clothes because he claimed that I didn’t work out regularly enough and we couldn’t waste money on that. But he was afforded $100 running shorts and leggings and vibram shoes (he was a barefoot runner and NEVER used the vibrams, EVER) because he tried to make me believe that he did workout regularly.

    When I was sick with the flu or anything that would make you stay home from work, I was treated horribly! I was expected to cook and clean like it was any other day. I remember one time, I had the flu so bad and my body was aching and would not stop and I had already taken flu meds. I had started crying and he got so angry with me. Walked out of the room and said that he couldn’t stand to be around sick people who cry.

    Anything that this man could control or manipulate he did. It was the stuff from Sleeping with the Enemy! I felt absolutely crazy by the end. I could list 100’s more here. Definitely felt like the frog in boiling water. I had no idea that I was loosing it until he was gone. Other than an ache from running or cramps at my time of the month, I am ailment free since that jerk left. Woot!

    • What you wrote about the beans really resonated for me. I think it’s a control thing. My cheater did the same thing. I haven’t eaten red meat since I was a university student, and when we first met, we went to a charity gala where he made a HUGE deal of making me try a bite of his steak. I’m not kidding. He would NOT let up on it until I tried a bite, even though he knew full well I didn’t eat red meat (in retrospect, I know it’s *precisely because* he knew I didn’t eat red meat). Not long after that, he made an issue out of the fact that I didn’t drink (I’d been sober for 17 years at that point). He went on and on about it, about how it was a social thing and I was “putting a damper” on everybody else’s good time. According to him, I didn’t have a problem with alcohol, and he’d make sure I never got out of control with it. So I started having a glass of wine with him at dinner, and then over the course of a couple years, I found myself drinking problematically again, especially after GTFO day. I’m happy to report that I’ve kicked alcohol to the curb again and have been sober for 15 months now. It’s just one more middle finger raised high to that cheating control freak!

      Seriously, though, their issues with what we do or don’t eat/drink–it’s all about control. Just like the cheating and the deception. They simply cannot stand the idea that something about our lives is not under their thumb.

  • I struggled for years with debilitating migraines and headaches that would last for weeks at a time. My neck always hurt and would also cause headaches.

    About 4 years ago, I developed a horrible rash on my face that the doctors said was rosacea. Throw in the inability to get a good nights sleep, heart issues that required just about every test in the book and it has been an utter nightmare.

    Since DD almost 2 months ago, I’ve had one headache that was sinus related, I can sleep without taking sleeping pills, my face has cleared up, the overwhelming exhaustion and chest pains have subsided and I’ve lost about 15 pounds.

    Even with all the stress and anxiety of the impending divorce, I feel like my body is handling everything so much better.

  • Mine were all gut problems, mostly stress diarrhea, which people tend to chalk up to IBD, but I could never find a food “trigger.” I’m genetically predisposed (remember it in my mom whenever she was stressed) but it was so much worse when I was with XH because I was embarrassed to be embarrassing him, spending all that time in the restaurant bathroom while he explained to the waiters I was “okay.” And then of course I couldn’t eat anything afterward, so I would sit and chat while he finished his meal and then box mine up to go. (He would have left and returned home withe me, but sometimes it was I who wanted to stay because I wanted to be near a bathroom.)

    I had a full GI work-up (upper & lower scope & biopsy, blood tests, fecal tests, food allergy, celiac test, etc etc etc … ultrasound….) and the docs never found anything.

    The funny thing is, I had a severe bout of it the first time XH left then came back after we’d only been together three years and he said he was still thinking about his XGF. After exploding out both ends, I drove myself to the nearest Urgent Care, and after a normal exam, the (woman) doc said, “You have got to get that man out of your house. Tonight. Tell him the doctor says he has to move out.” — I should have listened and never let him back in….

    Since then? I still have anxiety but I manage it better because I don’t have the added anxiety that I’m disappointing him or embarrassing him. And in fact the final time it happened, about two weeks before Dday, on our trip through wine country in California, when I came back in from the car (it was a long fancy dinner with friends, so I sat in the car) to see what was taking so fucking long (and found him chatting and lingering over coffee), he looked at me with such disgust and venom — they were probably all sitting around the table talking about Schmoopie and I was ruining the happy vibe by simply existing.

    But it almost never happens now. And I think it was, as someone said above, my body knowing there was something wrong with the marriage before my mind was willing to accept it.

  • I have always been really healthy. About 8 years into our relationship, a year married, I had an acute arthritic flare up. My kidneys started to fail, and I was bed ridden for 3 months. Eventually I was diagnosed with RA but I’ve never had anything like it before or after. I never fully recovered, and still have joint issues.
    In the last 8 years since that incident, I’ve been on a steady decline, health wise. I was never big woman, but typically healthy at 5’3/ 125lb.
    Now I weigh 102.
    During CH absence, I developed severe asthma and an allergy to my beloved dogs. I was 7 months pregnant when I awoke in the middle of the night, unable to breathe.
    I spent hours in the hospital trying to get my asthma under control. I was told it could be pregnancy induced and would likely go away after the baby was born.
    Over a year later, I still have breathing problems.
    At least the weight loss has eased up my joint pain. So there’s the silver lining…

  • Well let’s see, I lost 15 lbs after DDAy but that was caused by the stress, not the lack there of. I have since gained back 5 of those lbs and am at my ideal weight. It seems like kind of a waste, however, as there isn’t a guy around to take advantage of it.

    I have noticed that I snore less than I used to. I know this because I used to wake myself up with it sometimes. It wasn’t normal snoring, it was almost more of a groan that originated deep in the throat so I could really feel it. I might still snore, but at least it isn’t loud enough or uncomfortable enough to wake me up anymore. I also sleep more soundly because I don’t have to listen to his snoring.

    The main thing I have noticed, however is that although I am still depressed over all of this, I am more relaxed as I am not constantly worrying about what might have been left undone or not look right such that STBX might notice it and complain about it. In all fairness, I supposed STBX is probably less stressed too as he isn’t here to observe and be bothered by all of those imperfections.

  • “GONE with GUBU”

    These I Struggled with During the Marriage/Before D-Day:
    Fibromyalgia!
    Chronic, unrelenting back pain. (Caused me to sleep alone in the living room. Hmmm…)
    Sexual pain/vaginismus (Seems my girl parts knew something I didn’t)
    Depression (which I didn’t recognize as such. I thought I was just “tired”. Just doing the dishes seemed like a tremendous effort. Everything was a struggle.)

    After D-Day:
    Rapid, extreme weight loss
    Hair falling out
    Panic Attacks
    Vomiting and Diarrhea
    High Blood pressure attacks
    Fainting
    Weakness/shakiness
    Obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions about what was going on
    Crying all the time, emotionally spewing to virtual strangers
    Drinking too much, eating almost nothing
    Inability to swallow
    Ongoing anxiety
    Going through menopause at the same time

    NOW:
    Full hair almost to my waist
    Regained a good portion of the weight I lost, and it is now distributed better with better diet and care of myself
    Hardly ever drink
    Appetite is good
    Sex with my beloved is the best EVER! (I am not “broken” as I had started to believe.)
    Skin looks great
    No fibromyalgia pain
    Back pain is minimal
    Sleep better

    I still have some attacks of anxiety about my future because it’s tenuous in terms of finances/insurance, and having to make some hard choices. I don’t want to mess up this last portion of my life. (I’m 57)
    I still have trouble sleeping some times
    I still do grieve–deeply grieve–the loss of all my beloved animals which still live with him, and the beautiful place I worked so hard to create where all those rescue animals would have forever homes. That is THE hardest thing for me, coming to terms with having to leave them behind. It breaks my heart.
    (There is no way I could have made any other decision, it wasn’t my choice, and I have to live with the guilt, telling myself it’s not my fault.)

    Still, all in all, things are SO much better and I can’t believe I lived like that with him!!!

    Now…if f I could only lighten the emotional baggage a bit for the sake of my new relationship, that would be a real plus.

  • I had strep 3 times in 6 months, I lost 80 pounds in s year. That’s probably not unusual.
    The thing I found most striking was that I slept with tv’s blaring, every light on in the house, and fully dressed for quite a while…..my shrink said it was a ptsd symptom.
    I slowly stopped doing those things with therapy and self healing, but boy do those fuckers mess us up.

  • I had extreme generalized anxiety, severe insomnia, and panic attacks in the last 3 years of marriage when he was ramping up the alcoholism, drug use and verbal abuse. During his affair (which I discovered later) I would literally get explosive diarrhea every Sunday (the only day I would see him per week because of his busy work and cheating schedule). I also developed an ulcer. During his cheating I also kept getting yeast infections and BV over and over. So gross now knowing what was messing with my system.

    After I got over the d-day induced loss of appetite and weight loss and terrible insomnia and all the trauma we all know about, all my problems magically disappeared. I’ve never felt healthier in my life.

    Thank you to this amazing site for giving me the knowledge and courage to get rid of that parasite who was slowly killing me mentally and physically.

  • Hello all, chumped male here, five years out. (the penis references might be a clue to my gender). A few notes:

    During three month pick me rhumba: full blown anxiety attacks.
    Lost too much weight (45 lbs) and frightened my friends an family.

    final 2 years of marriage:
    Ex-wife did start smelling different to me
    Odd mild irritation in my penis (now gone)
    Premature ejaculation (which disappeared…I thought it was physical)

  • I suffer from eczema that had been quite bad for the past two years, to the point where I was going three times a week for total body light therapy hospital treatments. Treatments ended a couple of weeks after Dday and things were much improved, though still not quite back to my normal. Just over two months out now and the difference is stark. I feel so much better and am nearly back to my normal and while I think the treatment certainly was the cause, the removal of a stress in my life that I wasn’t even really aware was there is definitely helping.

    Sleep is the other biggie. I often struggle a bit with sleep, but over the course of the months that I now know were during his infidelity, it ramped up. It’s like the body knows before the mind knows that intimacy is being corrupted and shit is going down… I was barely sleeping and don’t know how I was functioning at work. In the immediate aftermath my sleep took a further nosedive. But now? Sleeping. Through. The. Night. Amazing.

    Migraines too… Again, always had ’em and they’d flare occasionally, but usually only had them a few times a year. Like sleep, mirroring the affair period, I was getting them weekly. I even wrote to STBX on skype saying ‘wow, these are really ramping up – I’m getting them every week these days!’ Now? I don’t think I’ve had one since he left, which is amazing considering the loss of 10 pounds, poor eating and lack of structure with the initial disruption.

    And anxiety. This is a part of me, but was also really bad recently and has abated a bit.

    The physical impact of the initial grief is something I had never experienced before. I felt out of control of my body – couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, cried my heart out. But I’ve really prioritised my health, kept up with my running (hello personal best in my 10k and 5k in the last month!) and yoga, made sure I’m sleeping and have tried to eat well (ok, sure, I’m still in a bit of a period of saying it’s important that I eat at all, so there’s a lot more sugar and fewer vegetables than usual, but what else is chocolate for if not to mend a sad soul?).

    It heartens me, the progress I’ve made in such a short time. I think when I get some distance (secured an apartment to move to in October this week!!!) I am really looking forward to feeling a lot better than I have for the past couple of years.

  • I’m late to the party, but I had a whole host of them…
    Lost 17 lbs. in three weeks
    Didn’t sleep more than 2-3 hours a night
    Acid reflux
    Muscle spasms
    Enamel on one tooth disintegrated (probably from one of the other issues or medication, but which one is still a mystery)

    On the plus side, the muscles in my back relaxed after I lost all that weight. I had apparently been slouching so much my back just permanently adjusted to the slouch. I actually “grew” half an inch taller after all was said and done.

  • I’m finding all these comments about a different smell fascinating! I have a lousy sense of smell generally, but I probably didn’t notice because he was liberally spraying himself with a new antiperspirant he’d decided he liked – I thought it smelled like a combination of stale beer and bug spray! But then again, maybe that WAS him after all…

    I’m horrified at the number of health problems that have been caused by these selfish jerks.

  • I lost so much weight whilst on the infidelity diet.

    It’s one year post divorce and I’m feeling and looking great. People think I am 15 to 20 years younger than I am, and people now think my wife looks 5 to 10 years older than she is.

    It really kills her because she was always very hung up on her looks, and used to be massively flirtatious in a totally inappropriate way.

    The X cheater bitch is actually eight years younger than me but karma has done it’s job. Ha!

  • I suffered from recurrent depression and anxiety that eventually led to a nearly fatal suicide attempt (a couple of weeks after D-Day 1, when I found out that ex narc had been having sex for years with his first cousin, 15 years his senior, in addition to coworkers, strippers, hookers, porn, the usual). In my 30 years with the monster I spent a total of 20 weeks in psychiatric hospitals (yeah, I was the crazy one and he was the hero!). I also had two STDs, fibromyalgia, pancreatitis, hepatitis, esophageal ulcers, pyelonephritis, cystitis, kidney stones, panic attacks, PTSD, but not a single one of the huge number of psychiatrists and psychologists who “treated” me (and who destroyed my liver with years of unnecessary psychiatric drugs) could ever see the psychological abuse. Sure, the narc was sooooooo charming, a victim of this unstable woman diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Endogenous Depression and… wait for it… NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER!!!!!!
    Needless to say, in the nine years since I kicked him out I’ve never had anything worse than a cold. The “endogenous” depression is magically gone and, after being a SAHM for decades, I created a foundation to help prevent child and teenage suicide (in memory of my oldest son who took his life at 20, a mere 12 weeks before D Day 1). I got two diplomas in psychology and am certified as a suicide prevention instructor. I’m not licensed as a therapist but now I train psychologists, teachers, counselors, etc. in suicide prevention; besides, I listen to and hug the kids who come to my office. And at 62, I got back my two other sons’ love and respect.
    (I reread this post and was so happy to see how many times I used the pronoun “I”. For so long “I” did not exist).

    • Wow. Your are the energy of life, never surrender.
      With your capacity to love, the world could heal itself… I hope for more people like you.

    • Tears in my eyes as I read this, Chumpiest. So happy for you that you have found peace and good health. Thank you for helping prevent suicides.

  • So I think mine have all been covered here by previous posts–I never actually knew how damn common these were, only that spouses of cheaters do get physical symptoms and there have actually been studies on that! Here are mine:

    1) Insomnia (waking up several times every night because my brain was churning and my heart was racing)
    2) Gastritis and terrible heartburn, neither of which I ever had before
    3) Heart palpitations
    4) Weight gain and lethargy
    5) Yeast infections (TMI, but true)
    6) Headaches
    7) An actual lung infection, pleurisy! Who gets that anymore??
    8) Strong desire to drink, when I’m not much of a drinker normally
    9) Miscarriage and wicked postpartum depression

    And after I left his sorry ass?
    1) Lost tons of weight because I lost my appetite for 3 months, but eventually gained it back, got stronger, and kill it in the gym now
    2) 3-6 months of brutal, re-experiencing nightmares, every night, all night, to the point where I started drinking wine at night because I was afraid to close my eyes
    3) No more stomach problems, literally GONZO overnight, even though I was drinking like a fish
    4) After my PTSD symptoms cleared up 6 months later, no more anxiety!
    5) Post-nightmare period, I began to wean off all sleep meds and am now only using melatonin and sleep like a baby

    When I did my taxes the year after my scumbag cheater, I was horrified at how high my medical expenses had been during that time (and yeah, doing taxes that year was so fucking traumatic). Never before did I experience anything like it except when I was with another disordered person some years earlier. Cheaters is bad for your health, yo.

  • Another amazing thread of stories and experiences!

    I’m stunned at all the similarities. Put me down for, “got rid of those panic attacks, the jaw-grinding, and the drinking problem.”

    You are all mighty!

  • Throat problems.
    I didn’t stay, but that’s what I experienced for about the same period of time my cheating husband was paying a prostitute.
    When I found out, had the proof and could not tell, because I was battling a custody case…it felt like I could not speak. And I couldn’t, in the true sense.

    I believe the health issues are always stemming from an emotional state. I knew but I could not speak the truth, therefore my physical condition morphed into exactly what I felt.

    Anyone else having the same revelation?

    • I got some really bad eye problems when my XH was up to all his evil pursuits, but before I actually knew for sure. I guess my eye problems could be looked at on a psychological level as “not being able to see the truth” or being “blind to the truth.” No more eye problems since I got rid of him! Seeing clearly now….😀

  • The corollary to my improved health is that my EX’s health has plummeted. His family blames this on me–ie. I “ruined” him.

    The truth is that without me to grocery shop and offer healthy meals, nag him to go to the doctor, wrinkle my nose when he claimed that brushing his teeth “hurts too much,” and generally prevent him from indulging in all kinds of bad habits, he made all kinds of bad decisions. Worse yet, his use of prescription drugs seems to have blossomed into full blown drug abuse without me to insist on following the doctor’s dosage.

    I propped him up for years. It is unfortunate that he is struggling, but he’s the one who thought the 25-years-younger woman was his “soul mate.”

  • Like many of you, stress, trouble sleeping, night terrors, and digestive problems plagued me. I had these symptoms throughout our 16-year marriage even though I didn’t learn about the cheating until the very end when he decided to drop the discard bomb on me (one week after second child was born. Nice).
    One recurring night terror really stands out. I was asleep in my bed, in my actual bedroom (both literally and figuratively). Multiple intruders dressed in all black with their shadowy faces covered in black would break into my house and come to “get” me and hurt me. It was always the same scene: my actual house. My actual bed. Me asleep in my bed. My husband lying next to me. The way the intruders broke in would change each time. Sometimes it would be through the back door. Sometimes through the front. Sometimes the window. And one memorable time: down through the attic access door just outside our bedroom door. I would awaken from this recurring dream each time screaming in terror and jumping up from the bed — one time I ran halfway across the house before I woke up. Sometimes I would wake up finding myself crying out for my Mama. Husband disgruntled at having been awakened, would say, “I’m not your mama. Now go back to sleep.” Terrified to go back to sleep lest I have the dream again, I would lay there awake and alone for hours until dawn came. For 16 years, off and on I had this nightmare. I also had another recurring nightmare that I’d had since I was a child: theme was the same but the setting was different each time. I was in the path of a tornado and trying desperately to find safety in the storm. Every once in a while it would be a hurricane instead of a tornado. I would always wake up just before the storm hit.
    Well, after D-Day and the abandonment, I was worse for a while. I had several panic attacks, I had even worse trouble sleeping and would wake up stiff and sore from “stress” sleeping. I was unable to focus on academic-type tasks at all (such as reading or writing) which really affected my job performance seeing that I am a writer. About 9 months into the divorce proceedings I got a horrible skin infection (folliculitis) over most of my body that the dermatologist attributed to stress. What’s funny is, by this point, I was actually doing better emotionally and sleep wise, but I still got this infection. Almost like all the poison in my life and body was just trying to get out. I
    But you know what I never had again since my X moved out? I have never had a night terror again. Not any of the recurring ones and no new ones. And it’s been 12 years now. I would say my mental health has never been better, and while my physical health is not optimal, I’m okay.
    I really believe the nightmares were my body’s way of telling me something was not right with my situation.
    My sister, in the meantime, recently ended a 10-year marriage to her college sweetheart. She didn’t discover the cheating that had been happening all along until after the divorce was over. But during the course of her marriage, she lost so much weight she became rail-thin and her huge lavender eyes were sunk into her head. Due to stress and also being forced by her husband to work three jobs, she got maybe 2-3 hours of sleep each night. Her dry, brittle hair was coming out in clumps. Her skin was discolored and splotchy in places. She was having heart problems. Her long-time doctor, who had known her before the marriage, ran test after test to try to figure out the problem. He finally sat her down and told her, “I’ve run every test there is. I’ve examined you countless times. I believe your problems are stress-induced. If you don’t get out, your marriage is going to kill you.” She finally got the courage to leave. Her X is a malignant narcissist so “coparenting” with him has brought its own set of nightmares but at least she has mostly regained her health. I am grateful I can be there for my sister as her cheerleader and a source of moral support.
    In fact, I stumbled upon Chumplady when I was trying to find some online resources for her when she was going through her divorce several years ago. I’ve stuck around because it is such a safe community and I feel like I have grown as a result of being a part of it. And I like to be able to encourage the “newbies” on their journey and give hope for a better future.
    Have a great weekend everyone.

    • Miss Delta, I’m so happy you were able to free yourself from such a bastard. And I can relate to being there for others, particularly your sister, because living with a malignant narcissist can kill you either from physical illnesses or by slowly driving you to suicide (ask me how I know). Big hugs to the two of you.

  • Where to start??? Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, MS and eventually breast cancer. I am 12 years divorced, cancer and auto-immune disease-free. I went back to school and teach nutrition and help others to recover health. STRESS destroys…. but hey – some people can drive through an accident on a freeway and feel nothing…. I believe the TYPE of stress is the issue. THIS stress – personal and soul- destroying is different. I lab test Adrenal Glands and hormones regularly – Stressful work environments and relationships do great damage. You cannot stay in the environment that made you sick and expect to get well

  • Oh my goodness, this is so amazing to read. I’m only three weeks from d day and already I feel better. I had worsening anxiety, hair loss, teeth grinding and was undergoing fertility tests (we were actively trying for a baby the entire time he was cheating). I didn’t know he was cheating (never suspected) but even so early on in the split I’m doing so much better. Anxiety has all but gone, sleeping better, and as all fertility tests came back normal I think that someone or something was looking out for me during the years he was having anal sex with another woman. I feel profound relief that I’m not pregnant, even though it was all I wanted for many years. I never realised the toxicity of our relationship but now I’m out I feel alive again, despite the worries and pain.

  • I had forgotten…
    The night terrors….

    “Sleeping with the Enemy”….

    When you are living with someone who pretends to be your foundation, and instead is actually someone who is actively working against you, there is such a dramatic disconnect that it has to come out somehow.

    I don’t know how people can act this way. I really can’t.

    But it’s no wonder we suffer when the WHOLE TRUTH is not only withheld from us, we are told what’s going on is OUR FAULT and we just are confused…

  • I shouldn’t say I’m shocked to see how being a Chump has affected us all…..but it still makes me sad.
    During the 20 years with the ex, Mr Runswithhookers I suffered from all kinds of medical maladies & couldn’t understand why since I had been so healthy BEFORE I got together with him. During that time I had-
    Teeth Grinding/jaw clenching so bad that my face would ache
    Panic attacks/chest pains/heart palpitations
    Psoriasis
    IBS with chronic cramping & runs
    Insomnia
    Kidney Stones
    Depression
    Nightmares/Night sweats
    Weight gain

    I became someone I didn’t even recognize!!!!!

    Now that he is gone, things seem to be calming down & I feel so much better.
    Way more relaxed, happy, and able to laugh. The auto-immune issues have settled down.
    I feel like I’ve come back to life again

  • This topic hits so close to home– I have mixed parts triggers and validation that what I experienced is “normal.”

    In the first days after shocking discovery 12/27/14 and trickle truth/lies/false remorse I was breathless, sleepless, unable to swallow, think, smile, laugh, unable to have any thoughts except “no no no no no…”. I cried hourly and fell to the ground weeping and screaming with anguish. This was replaced by a overwhelming urge to be in X’s direct presence, the closer the better, EVERY SINGLE SECOND. I could not swallow, breath deeply, sleep, or think of anything or anyone, even my children except this thought “I NEED Him! I NEED him! I NEED him!” As the weeks wore on like this (and my kids and I kept catching him in lie after lie, texting OW over and over despite lying and saying it was “nothing” and it was “over” and he wanted only me…. I lost 25 lbs (got down to my weight at age 10), had no interest in anything or anyone but X and making him choose me and our kids and stop the destruction…..

    Then he turned on me in the full force rage channel and I kicked him out– still he lied and said he wasn’t seeing OW, wanted to “get his head on straight” and choose me and the kids but he wouldn’t do anything I required. I found CL/CN. But my physical symptoms were horrible including a year-long rash on my face that my dermatologist refused to let me give up on treating, a massive sty in my eye that wouldn’t heal, a large breast cyst that appeared overnight, teeth grinding, strained hamstring, strained Achilles, constant anxiety, rushing thoughts, rumination 24/7, confusion, distraction, suicidal ideation, dizzy spells, vivid “pick me” dreams, irritation, anger, moodiness, digestion issues (bloating). Hair loss in shocking amounts. High blood pressure.

    On the outside I looked better than ever because of the weight loss but…. I felt like dying.

    Today, 2 years 7 months later and 5 months after the epic divorce battle, I’m back up 15 lbs and every one of those symptoms has gone away except for anxiety and occasional irritability. Every one. Wow.

    • I had awful mood changes, insecurity, weepiness, total loss of confidence, the same NEED for reassurance from him, which of course was not forthcoming.

      All of which evaporated mysteriously once he left.

    • MC99, Wow;just wow! Huge hugs to you. So happy for you to be on the other side of all of that. Keep going! We’re cheering for you.

    • In the words of my adult son after i cried and screamed my way though the first few months past d day…. “you dont want him back after what hes done to you mum” …. i remember that sentence every day

  • Heart pounding out of my chest, loss of sleep, worry galore, and oh yes, my fave, an STD.
    The biggest part of my HATE for him is for the latter. No more love and romance for me!
    Oh well, it’s just as well….I perpetually pick cheaters.

    • Yes, the STDs! I am condemned to single life forever by my sense of ethics since I would never want to inflict an STD on somebody else. But my ex continues to deny and refuse to even get tested, much as he was never plagued by the guilt of lying and cheating for five years.

  • Recurrent corneal erosion. In the 3 years leading up to the first D-day. The layers of epithelium on your cornea dry out and tear apart. Not really dangerous (the cornea is the fastest healing party of the body) but INCREDIBLY painful (turns out there are 100 times as many nerve endings on your corneas compared with the tips of your fingers).

    I remember my cheating ex-wife being so incredibly bored taking me to the ER once in the middle of the night before I was diagnosed. While it felt like knives were being driven into my eyeballs and twisted. 100 times more painful than anything else I’ve felt in my life. Sympathy? Empathy? None at all. Just a cold resentment that demands were placed on her. She seemed embarrassed to be with me, even.

    After I finally divorced her, the problem nearly disappeared. Occasional scratchy eyes, but I haven’t had to see a doctor for RCE in the 8-years since I left my cheater, or even had a single painful episode.

    In retrospect, I can’t help but think Someone was looking at my situation, taking pity, and telling me, “I GAVE YOU EYES! USE THEM, DAMN IT! LOOK AT THE SHIT SHOW THAT’S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!” As much as I wanted to shut my eyes to the lack of reciprocity and lack of affection, and ignore it, I finally couldn’t. And the pain stopped when I saw what I needed to see and walked away.

    • Nomar- I had lasik surgery and know kinda what you mean. I’m so sorry! What a fucking bitch! It’s SO scary and disorienting for your sight to be affected like that and hell YES the pain is unbelievable! I’m so happy and relieved for you that it’s gone. Wow. That’s an amazing amount of insight (absolutely NO pun intended) and you used it to heal yourself. Thank you for sharing. You didn’t say, so I will say, that our ability to see, our vision is so closely tied to most all of our brain functioning/processes, that it is incredibly difficult and surreal and disorienting and scary when you experience the kind of things you did! I’m so glad you’re on the other side of it. Stay well!👀
      They are all the same! The first time I had heart attach symptoms was 4-5 weeks before I actually went to the ER. I’m not a wimp and have never been to ER since stitches at age 9. But, Mr. Shitforbrains muttered “it’s kinda late, if you REALLY need to go to the ER maybe you could get a cab.” As stupid as I was I told him it would serve him right if I died – while he slept like a baby….. My chump self thinking he gave a rat’s ass? Ugh. It would’ve been way easier for him if I HAD died! Asshole fucksticks……all of them. They have no hearts, no souls.

    • Nomar, so sorry for what you had to go through! Your X is a POS. Mine was too.

      I drove myself to urgent care as he couldn’t be bothered with a weak and doubled-over-in pain wife. I had a severe UTI and as it later turned out cancerous tumors that were blocking the entrance from my kidney to bladder.

      After urgent care, I picked up prescriptions, drove myself home and collapsed in bed. X came home and yelled at me for laying in bed and that he was sick of having to take care of things around home.

      I know now he was seeing prostitutes and treated me this way to discard me. I was a thorn in his side, a cramp in his style; I had to go. No matter that I was sick with cancer and I had never had a major illness our entire marriage.

      No human being should treat another this way and most certainly not your spouse of 34 years who should have your back.

      I am so grateful now that my desire to live and beat cancer was greater than my chumpiness to put up with him, his abuse and that I kicked him out for good!

      Life is sweet now. I feel better than I have in years and am so happy to be divorced and cheater free.

    • Freenow, I just wrote a comment above about my previous eye problems while with XH, before I read yours and, yes, I was thinking along the exact same lines about the emotional interpretation of my eye problems. So true!

  • STBX’s eyes turned from a very dark shade to very light in color – almost clear. Disgust!! When I looked in his eyes, I didn’t know who he was or what he became.

  • Well, I had a heart attack and stroke at age 47……. From the horrific gaslighting and grief and stress etc. I’ve been a mid to long distance runner since college, lifted weights and rarely drink etc. The Drs in cardiac ICU couldn’t figure me out – until they did. Excessive stress, this unrelenting kind, creates a lot of cortisol (which is really bad) and I surely had plenty and causes your heart to just stop or something – called Takosubo syndrome (?) I can’t recall the exact name, but if that’s not it I think it’s close. The stress, flight or fight response, was never ceasing! It finally caused my heart to stop beating/miss beats or beat so erratically and slowly that the blood in it got sludgy and I threw some clots and had a stroke too. Thank the Lord (and karma or Mother Earth) that it didn’t stick, bc I knew what as happening (I’m a speech path and worked w stroke pts at the VA hospital, so I knew what was happening even though symptoms were dif than for what you’d think typical symptoms for heart attack would be….)and I knew what to do. This shit will kill you, literally. I nearly grieved and fretted myself to death. Fuckwits are not worth it. Low life fuckers.

    But, my kids ARE worth it – are worth me getting my shit together and getting healthy and over Friar Fuckwit and his tormenting bullshit. I’m not 100%. I wish I could say I was, but I have ST memory issues that piss me the fuck off bc it’s HIS fault. All of it. I refuse to back down at all from saying so. Stupid fucker. I’m not meh or near it. I hate his fucking guts. I can’t even do my JOB bc of HIM and his crazy gas lighting and mindfuckery. I hope to one day be better and to have overcome ST memory loss, but for now it is what it is and it sucks and I DO point fingers and say it’s HIS stupid ass fault. But I’m still working on me and working on getting the fuck out, when it’s best for ME. I’m mostly unmoved by his bullshit now and my eye is on the end result…… I can do this.

    The health issues CAN be life threatening in ways you’d never expect. One more reason to GTFO day 1. I wish I had done that. I SO wish I had done it, but now I’m here. I know what I need to do that’s best for me (and my kids) long term/lifewise, and by God I’m doing it. It’s not easy or perfect, but it will get me where I need to be and I can hang on a bit longer (even if it means I might wear out my eye muscles bc of all the eye rolling…….). The best would’ve been for me to have left Dday #1 like the mighty me I should’ve been. But I didn’t. So here I am and I’m making the best of the shitty sitch, not pretending it’s anything it’s not…….he can think whatever the fuck he wants, but I know what I’m doing for me and my kids. I might not be anywhere near Meh-ville, but at least I’m on the damn right road now. Many thanks for the words I read here and the encouragement I get every damn day to stay sane and keep going. Every. Single. Day. That’s what keeps me going. I love CL and CN and I’d surely be dead without you. 💜 We CAN do this together. Thank you all for having my back even if you don’t know it.

    • I didn’t leave day 1 either, and I don’t even have kids. The fuck was I thinking????

      I only hung around another month, but he ended up leaving me because he “needed time” and “couldn’t choose” between me and her… DICK PLEASE. You cheating on me? What about who I’m gonna choose? The fuck it aint you! I know that now.

  • Wow, stress in your marriage is a real killer, no joke! I wish true healing, from the new peace we’ve found, for all the free Chumps, and hope for a better life for all of you who still feel stuck.
    I kept telling myself, back in the mindfuck, ‘I wasn’t created, and put here on this earth, to SUFFER. Especially not at the hands of my jerky husband’.
    I decided we were incompatible.
    My skin is now clearer than its ever been, and I survived a breast cancer ordeal. Weird nightmares gone.
    How dare they? They were supposed to love and protect, and they have to answer for being abusive.
    Now, the hard part is getting over it, and letting go, but that’s a worthy goal, and time and distance help a lot! We can do it!

    • It is REAL.
      I was left with 4 large great danes, which was great – but the males didn’t get along. So, I found myself trying to fix a fence so they couldn’t get out – it was 75′ above ground on an ocean cliff. Yup, guess who stupidly tried to grab onto the wrong, very unstable blackberry bush, to catch my stumble. It pulled out of the ground and away I went. Some broken bones and whatever.. It was a slow roll on the way down, not an instant splat. A horrible shattered broken arm. And, I was in shock, all by myself…

      Then, I developed a non-bleeding ulcer. Is there a worse kind? If I had pain, at least I’d know it was bleeding, but it was a slow chinese-torture bleed so I didn’t notice it. (the death by a thousand cuts). Suddenly, my heart filled up with fluid because of the bleed, and I was pretty much dead when I reached ER. Need 4 pints of a blood transfusion and was in ICU for a week. They called it Congestive Heart Failure.

      Yes, this shit has a deadly effect on your body. I was in overload.

      GTFO as soon as you can!!

      • Prior to these health issues, I’ve always worked-out. Swimming, running dogs, fast walking, beach patrol, lifting weights….blah blah..

  • Yes FreeWoman! No cancer no nothing! I’m so sorry? Nathan’s way worse than what I’ve been whining about :(. Those fucking asshats should have ALL the cancer and maladies already. I’m baffled and saddened by how many of us chumps have suffered such horrific health disasters in the wake of these awful discoveries. Peace and health and healing to you, and to everyone suffering. 💜🙏🏻

  • Nathan? Oh boy. Your ordeal is way worse than what I’ve been fussing about is what I meant to say!!!

  • OH I just read where your nightmares are finally gone? I hate the fucking nightmares as if the day isn’t bad enough w my imagination going crazy over the shitpile already dumped on me…….

    • “OH I just read where your nightmares are finally gone? ”

      That is a relief.
      I think I’d love to see a (short?) column on nightmares and how debilitating they were (are?).
      Today, mine are reduced from murder dreams to hugely angry fights with people that I wake up crying from. But, getting better…

  • I definitely had a health deterioration prior to d-day. I had always been a healthy person with no significant challenges.

    For about three months prior to d-day, In the mornings, I would awake feeling incredibly stiff all over my body. At first, I thought it must be “age” (I was 54 at that time). Then as symptoms worsened, I could barely put my full body weight on my feet to simply walk across the bedroom. It was clear something was wrong. My hands began to ache all day, my neck was tender and I couldn’t turn my head fast.

    I thought it was some horrible chronic thing taking over.

    Then the d-day shenanigans started…triggered by the relevation of the affair to me by one of his work colleagues. Thanks to that courageous young man who told me of Cheater’s activities, I embarked on a marriage police exercise that gave me all the info I needed. I threw asshat out of the house and had an awful couple of weeks dealing with asshat assaulting me, then burgling the house and emptying the contents, then dealing with the cops, oh and the mindless hateful emails from schmoopie….then a lawyer to get a restraining order.

    Through an observant policeman, who spotted my symptoms as being possible poisoning, I had some blood tests done. Turned out I had very high lead levels (the report said unmistakeably due to deliberate lead poisoning) and they treated me with chelating meds. The doc said I would have had to be “practically chewing on lead paint” to have those readings. Anyway, I did recover my health, but I await new research to know what the possible long term effects will be

    When things finally calmed down a bit, and being alone in the house, and working full time, one Saturday morning I got up and felt “normal” again. I went out for a run and only then fully realised that asshat had truly wanted me dead. For the life insurance. So he and penniless schmoopie could live well. Lesson: keep your financial cards close to your chest.

    • Unbelievable. Who are these monsters?? What a terrifying thing to live through. Glad your symptoms got picked up and you got treated.

      • You are very early into the post D-Day stuff – D Day is trauma, pure and simple. This blog has lots of resources for getting through this terrible time.

        Right now, you won’t be seeing many benefits. This is a time for self care and survival. Line up the ducks, see a lawyer, DON’T REVEAL ANYTHING.

        The day will come when this is all over. Then you will see the benefits, like the rest of us have.