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It’s Taking Up Another’s Place

So, there’s this terrific early Aretha Franklin song you should all listen to (yes, I’m that sort of pedantic person who wants you to listen to her playlist, and control the radio dial, and the flipper, and… LISTEN TO HER GREATNESS!) It’s called, “You’re Taking Up Another Man’s Place.”

You don’t want me
And you don’t want nobody else to want me
What kind of man
What kind of man are you?

You don’t need me
And you don’t want nobody else to need me
What kind of man
Are you trying to send me to?

Now if you’re not gonna take care of business
Then you ought to stop taking up space
‘Cause you’re just taking up, that’s all you’re doing
You just taking up another man’s place

Aw baby, you don’t even
You don’t even want me to go to the store
What kind of man
What manner of man are you?

You run over me
You run right over me trying to answer the telephone
Tell me what kind of thing, what kind of thing
What kind of thing you think you gonna put me through?

You keep me wanting
You keep me wanting the one thing you never gave
Well, right here right now
You can stop taking up another man’s space

Baby, I been faithful
And you know I been true
But if you’re not gonna love me, baby
Tell me what do you expect me to do?

You keep me wanting
You keep me wanting the one thing you never gave
Well, right here right now
Right here right now

You can stop taking up another man’s place
If you’re not gonna love me baby
And you know I need somebody to love me
You’re just taking up another man’s place

If you really don’t need me, baby
If you say you just don’t need me
You just, oh, stop taking up another man’s place

I love it when Aretha sings “What MATTER of MAN are YOU?” — the fuck off dripping from every note.

Which brings us to the point of this weekend’s exercise — If you haven’t left a cheater, or the mental baggage, or their shit in your closet — it’s taking up valuable space. Space that could be better spent on, well, ANOTHER MAN (or woman). Or happier thoughts. Or a Konmari-ed closet of zen-like tranquility.

So why are you hanging on?

For those who are rid of cheaters and their attendant toxicity — what did you replace it with? You can answer this anyway you want to.

I threw out all the reconciliation books I bought on Amazon, and replaced them with Agatha Christie mysteries!

I dumped all my Switzerland friends and made new friends!

I took all that mental real estate I was leasing to untangling his skein of fuckupedness and filled my brain with astrophysics instead!

And of course, those of you further along on the Meh-Mobile, may have another partner in the cheater’s place. (Or maybe you adopted some really great dogs.)

Tell Chump Nation what you got rid of, and what you got that’s better.


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  • My daughter has moved in with me. We are headed out to Atlantas best fabric store. The exh dumped her off here because she was a lot of trouble and took off on another vacation without either of my daughters. He’s special and it’s his birthday weekend.
    I’m repairing all his trash he’s done to her. I showed her your colum and she laughed. I told her how they were all the same.
    I look forward to today and all we will do but mostly hanging out and getting to know her again.

      • Thank you. It’s been three years and when I was gone from his life he proceeded to mess up the girls with leaving them home, no money and going on yet another vacation. The girls couldn’t understand the change in him.
        I’ve also got to take my daughter by his house and get her nice sewing machine. He was letting his girlfriend use it.

        • ???? Sewing machines are sacred!
          I hope your daughter makes herself some beautiful clothes! Or pillows for your house together! Maybe you should smudge the machine with some sage, or at least wipe it down with bleach.

    • Beetle
      Daughters, I cannot possibly say enough good things about them!
      Love to you and your’s and BIG HUGS!
      Have fun, you deserve it!

  • Just yesterday my STBX requested the weight bench. Well, he had purchased this bench for my birthday a few years ago. I had asked for a weight bench (a simple one, since I had a bar and free weights already). But, not — STBX insisted on buying this huge bench with a pulley system for lats, etc.

    At the time of the purchase, he was giddy — because it went up to 200 pounds. After a few days of listening to his excitement over the 200 pounds, and me thinking “I lift light, so why does he think 200 pounds is so important?” Yeah, it really took me a couple of days to figure out the obvious … he was buying the bench for himself, but playing it off as a gift to me. Asshole.

    I called him out on it just before it was delivered — and I never touched that stupid bench that takes up a ton of room in the garage and oozes negative vibes to me every time I see it.

    So, I told him (via phone) I was cleaning out the garage and that he needed to get his shit out (he’s hoovering and leaving stuff … because he has convinced himself he’ll be coming back … hahahahaha!). So, he said he’d like to take the weight bench since I don’t use it.

    Here’s where today’s exercise came in … I said “No. It was a present to me. So, I’m offering it for free to our daughters’ friends. If they don’t want it, I’m dismantling it and putting it in the garbage.” And I meant it. I want it GONE. I want the negative crap GONE. I am reclaiming that space in my garage as much as in my head.

    (I know this doesn’t really seem like much, but it was a huge step for me … I am a bit proud of myself today.) 🙂

    • You are mighty, and this is a great story! With a wow finish –he is no doubt BESIDE HIMSELF over that weight bench being given away!

      • Thank you, CleotheFormerChump! 🙂

        His response was pretty funny … just “oh” … for once, he didn’t quite know how to play his hand. I’m confusing him with my newfound strength. LOL

        • “I’m confusing him with my newfound strength.”

          Keep it up!

          This is new to me as well – I’m loving it. I’ve rediscovered a strength that I knew long before I allowed his needs to reduce my own to nothing. My girls (19, 21, & 23) are watching me blossom into a strong, assertive, no sh*t-taking woman. My son (14), is watching and learning how to be a good man, one of good character and kindness. Their father doesn’t understand why they won’t have anything to do with him.

          I’ve banned him from the house and told him his things would be set aside for him in a safe place. He wanted to go through the house room by room to get his stuff. The old me would have been accommodating and would have given in. Instead, I stood firm and said, “You cannot come inside, you can get your things from X.”

          The awesome power of setting boundaries…my new superpower.

          • “I’ve rediscovered a strength that I knew long before I allowed his needs to reduce my own to nothing.”


          • I did this too… told Mr. Sparkles that when he left anything he left behind was “abandoned property” and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted with it. Told him to take me to court if he wanted.

            Then, after divorce was final, I told him he had to have the rest of his crap gone from basement/garage by month’s end. He complained to anyone who would listen (flying monkeys). I have never felt mightier than watching him pull away and my stepsons rolling their eyes in embarrassment (he has no friends to help him, needed them).

    • Hmmmmm. This is a good idea. Asshat gifted himself under the guise of a present to me a pair of super duper expensive noise canceling headphones that I have never seen since I unwrapped it at least 12 yrs ago.

      Thanks for the idea.

  • I got rid of him and replaced him with a 100 lb black lab. Or as I refer to her as “100 lbs of love”.

    My a-Ha! moment was when one of my work friends asked me if I wanted her; she did not really have much room for her to run; I realized I did not have to ask anyone.

    She is the best dog ever. She is my protector. She despises my ex, tries to chew the tires off his truck when he has come to the house. She loves everyone else, including the mailman, UPS, Fedex, my parents, kids and my new husband.

    Dogs know.

    • “She despises my ex, tries to chew the tires off his truck when he has come to the house.”

      My first laugh of the day! 🙂 Your dog is awesome.

    • I’ve heard the phrase “dog of my heart” used to describe such a friend. Would you say that’s true?

    • Sold my engagement ring and bought the now 100lb yellow lab my ex wouldnt let me have.
      I love, love, love that dog….as do my kids, my new boyfriend, everybody.
      Best thing I ever did.

    • GoneGirl aren’t they the best? Got myself one of them too, a far better snuggler than the cold fish cheater ever was, and I don’t even mind if she hogs the bed!

    • We had the sweetest little dog for 6 years at the time my ex left. She had never shown aggression toward any living thing in those 6 years. I only allowed the jackass back into the house one time after I discovered his affair. Our sweet little angel dog immediately started growling at him baring teeth and hackles up. It was amazing! She sensed just how evil he was. He stood there slack jawed staring at her. This was many years ago and she has since passed on. The kids and I talk of her often and we all agree she was the best dog ever????

    • Umfortunately, my dog recognizes the ex as a member of the pack, and doesn’t understand ‘exile’ or ‘banish’. Ex was always rough with my dog, yet he’s always so happy to see him whenever ex comes around.

      • Our dog loves STBX best even though he walked out on her as much as the rest of us. Shortly after he moved out he came by one night to say hi to the kids. When he left, she refused to leave the back porch. She kept waiting for him to come back in again. I just looked at her sadly and said “he isn’t coming back”.

        Now she still gets excited and goes nuts every time he comes by to get the kids. I still love the dog though. I know how we are supposed to feel about “Switzerland Friends”, but she really truly doesn’t and can’t understand the current situation.


        • ChumpInRecovery – The X left behind 4 beloved dogs, his choice.
          From then on, since I thought it was very unfair for the dogs to keep getting their hopes up by seeing their human, that it was best if the dogs were put away anytime he had to come to the home. I would not allow the dogs to see him
          It was best for the dogs.
          The old dog he abandoned when he left sat in front of the door for 3 wks after he left and it broke my heart. And, when that dog passed shortly after, the X wouldn’t even come and visit him before I had to put him down.

    • Got rid of a lying, cheating, miserable dud and was reluctantly talked into rescuing a beagle by my youngest son. In turn, our howling ball of fur and fun rescued me, too. We adore him, and he has brought us more joy and laughter than Dreary Old Dud ever did!

      • I have been considering getting a cat but haven’t done it yet. I have had cats before and loved them, but that was a long time ago and they do have their drawbacks. Kitty litter isn’t free, you can’t train them, they don’t stay on the floor and if they pee outside the litterbox, you’ll never get the small out.

        On the other hand, the advantages would include making my daughter extremely happy (for the one more year she has at home before she goes off to college), they are comforting when they sit on your lap and purr (we would have to get an affectionate one) and STBX can’t stand cats so it would send a pretty clear message to him.

        • Get a cat! My ex was allergic to them. My cat is great company, snuggles with me in bed, and is very easy to take care of!

          • My daughter and I just had to put her cat down this afternoon. We just cried and being there when she stroked her beloved to sleep was priceless. It was a moment that I don’t think we would have shared except by way of infidelity and divorce. I have replaced a cold fish for a very rich and deep relationship with my daughter and I’m grateful for that gift.

            • He would never have valued the life lessons that I taught her today. But MY daughter knows how to love, have compassion, and grieve. He can have his Craigslist and workplace ho’s. In our house we do real.

            • Sketchyokgirl,
              I am so sorry for your daughter and your loss.
              Being with a beloved pet when they leave this world is a great privilege. They know that we love them right up to their final heartbeat.


        • Get the cat! You can totally train them. You just have a smaller window than with puppies.
          Oxyclean and an ozone generator can get the smell of cat pee out.

          • I have a cat who will lie down on command. And they all know to keep off the tables and counters, at least when I’m home. That sort of thing is true of dogs and kids…

            • My 3 cats are trained to sit while I am preparing their food. Females pee outside the litter box less than males. My STBX’s favourite cat also sat by the door for a couple of weeks waiting for him to come back.

        • Do you eat citrus? You can put orange peels, brown sugar and water in a bottle for 3 months and make a basically 0 cost enzyme cleaner that destroys cat odor. Google orange enzyme cleaner to get more details and snuggle down!

        • Having a pet is committing to a years long relationship, but it’s so worth it. No relationship is work free. I don’t know what your position on indoor/outdoor cats is, but mine is so happy and mellow. He doesn’t rip up my furniture bc he has tons of room to play outside and he’s incredibly friendly and sociable with people. You can try adopting an older cat where their personality is set, as opposed to a kitten which is more initial work and their behavior can change quite dramatically.

          Besides, cats have the least amount work involved when compared to a dog, a rabbit, a ferret, etc. Maybe considering fostering first to see if you like having an animal around the house. Whatever you decide, I hope it works out well for you!!

        • I can’t offer any suggestions about the cost of kitty litter, but if you can find a piece of old linoleum to put under the cat box, you can sweep up the little that falls outside off their paws and you can easily wipe it down. I had an older cat who had litter box issues after she developed lymphoma–she would pee in the area but not in the box. The linoleum helped. My box is in the basement and what I wanted to prevent was cat pee seeping into the concrete in that damp area. I have zero problem with odor. Most cats won’t urinate outside their box; it’s usually stress or sickness.

          Polly is right- relationships, including ones with human, require work. I have two set-tramatized cats. It took a lot of time to help them adjust to my quiet home. If you take your time and look for a cat that fits you and the vibe in your home, things will likely go very well. That’s one reason why an adult cat is a good pick. You can better gauge the kitty’s personality and there may be information on why the cat ended up homeless. If working with litter box issues worries you, be sure to avoid a feral cat in favor of one who had opportunity to learn “litter box” in a human home with the rest of the litter.

        • Chumpinrecovery – Get two cats, so they can keep each other company when you’re away… It’s amazing how much I enjoy mine, they purring and cuddles are priceless… And that is of course on top of the peace that comes from gray rocking my Danny Downer of an X!

    • I have a wooden sign that sits on top of my windowsill over my kitchen sink that says “The Best Therapist Has Fur and Four Legs”. A few months after my ex moved out I met a little dog at a local event where our local animal shelter had a booth with some of their animals who were in need of homes. It was my 20th wedding anniversary that day and every ounce of my being felt sad, broken and hopeless. I have always been a cat person and never really got why people were so crazy about their dogs. Something made me go over to that pup that day. I knelt down to pet him and he put his front paws on my leg and licked my face. He made me smile. I knew right then he needed to come home with me. My 2 kids and I already had 3 cats and I thought adding a dog to the mix might add more chaos to our lives but I ignored my rational side and adopted him anyway. I am so grateful that I did. He has been such a gift, a positive diversion, so therapeutic and such a loyal friend. He gets me out walking every day which is so good for my mental health and he greets me with the same over-the-top enthusiasm every time I walk in the door whether I’ve been gone for 15 minutes or all day. I have no doubt that he was meant for us and that we met for a reason. He’s my guardian angel. Now I am one of those crazy dog lovers that I used to wonder about. My “personal petting zoo” of 4 furry friends has gotten me through some of the darkest moments.

      • Blindsidedinboston, I feel the same way about my furballs. No mater what I look like, no matter if I’m crying or smiling they are always by my side. My pup greets me with kisses and love everyday. He and my kitty are my constant companions.
        Maybe they are my true soulmates not my cheating ex that I always thought was.

        • We had one older dog and after cheater left kids talked me into a puppy. I have always been a dog lover.

          My mom never let me have one growing up and my dad who was a total dog person wouldn’t cross her. They finally got one when I was in college and she fell in love and never fully recovered when he died.

          The kids say the new puppy is pure because cheater has never seen him. He makes us laugh.

          I know from social media OW has cats. That will be interesting to see how that goes as cheater is allergic and has always hated (not neutral, hated cats- should have been a red flag.). When I met him he had a favorite t-shirt with a cat in a blender that said “cat daiquiris “. I know- how did I miss that-?

          So we will see how that goes for them with the cats. My good friend and our former neighbor had cats and every time we went over he would complain about the cat pee smell. I never noticed it but my friend would always make apologies for it. I think she didn’t believe me when I said I couldn’t smell it.

          I am sure the OW’s cats are special and don’t bother him until they do.

          • Feeling it,

            MEOW on that!

            I have cats and dogs!

            Love your dog story,
            Love OW cats story,
            Ah choo many times over to your cheater!

            • Thanks peace keeper, narc may morph to cats temporarily for mirroring but I think his hate for cats is part of his pathology and won’t go away. I even saw a post where OW mother posted I bet cheater won’t like that when she got a new cat. Granted cheater has a common name but what are the odds?

              I am sure he is cutting her down about her love of cats albeit subtly.

  • I am new to this site, but have been an avid reader for months. Have got the book, and now just need the T shirt so to speak. Reading your posts gives me hope and strength- thank you

    • Hi Breathe:

      I’m so sorry for the circumstances that led you hear — but you definitely found the perfect place to “land.” This site and its many wonderful community members have been a life-line for me and my daughters while getting out of a horrible situation.

      Keep reading and posting! You will find a great deal of love and support here.

      Sending my best,
      Jess’s Mom

    • Breathe,
      I love your name.
      Welcome to CN, as Jess Mom says, you have found “the perfect place”
      There is so much strength here, so much love and understanding.
      This is my happy place and I am so happy that you have joined us,
      but of course, I am so sorry for the circumstances.

      • Welcome, Breathe!
        I’m glad you’re here with us. I’m new, too…just nearing a month. This is the single most helpful site for me in staying sane facing fuckwit’s insanity. Great experience, strength and hope are shared here…with a lot of laughs, too!
        Jump in, the water’s healing!

  • About two months out I can’t quite answer this yet, but will watch the replies for ideas.

    I’m interested in more music anthems as well. I’ve been directed to Kesha’s praying from here (woman is also fab). What else can I add to my playlist for listening to on full volume to sing along with mightily while I work on being mighty myself?

    • There’s a part of the forum devoted to sharing songs. Might want to check it out? Otherwise we could threadjacked with music suggestions. Or I can promise to do next Friday with song suggestions/sharing/show and tell?

      • I suck at getting to the forums. I’ve registered, but cannot figure how to access them to post, etc. I am self-taught in computers, in a bad way. Thanks!

        • Violet, I really hope you’ll keep trying with the forums. We *need* you over there, man. lol

          Seriously, though. Keep trying–once you register and log in, the forums will appear at the top right of the page, right above the CL banner. Hope to see you there soon!

        • Violet,
          Try as I might, I goofed at that also, don’t even think I managed to register, so you are one up on me.

          Untechy Peacekeeper,

          I remember actually crying at work when having to learn to do so much work on a computer, ( nursing, and I hated it as it took me away from my purpose there – caring for people)
          However, not too long after, I was charting on the computer chatting and laughing with my co-workers, and patients were wondering where the hell we were!????

          Sorry, off topic,
          Damn techy world…..

      • Ok. I’m going to make a Spotify playlist with all of these songs on it. Once I do, I’ll post it as a public list and call it Chumplady.

    • Keeping in mind that my “angst” music tends to be a bit harder … I’ve gone a bit “throwback” recently and have been listening to Meredith Brook (I’m a Bitch), Alannis Morissette (You Ought Know and Ironic). But I also like Pink (You and Your Hand).

      When I need to just relax and not feel the angst, I listen to Chopin. 🙂

        • First 3 weeks on endless loop: Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive”
          Next few weeks until I filed: Scandal’s “Goodbye to You”

          “Jar of Hearts” was appropriate (X was a serial cheater); Billy Idol and Ramone’s “I want to be Sedated” when I needed energetic dance music.

          • Tempest,

            Sorry to be off topic, but go watch the movie “Young at Heart”. It’s about a choral group at an old people’s home, that sings edgy stuff. The video of elderly people singing “I want to be sedated” is hilarious beyond words (sorry if I spoiled it for anyone).


            • “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin, “Already Gone” by the Eagles, “Go Away” by Gloria Estefan, and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Oldies, but goodies.

        • It didn’t get me through, but Kesha’s new video “Praying” has helped me in a fundamental way, that is difficult to explain. It turned a corner for me.

          I am one of the “veterans”, like so many wonderful people here. I have survived the initial betrayal, the attempted reconcile, and ultimately, the divorce and its after shock. I have done everything possible to move forward in my life as I enter my 60’s.

          There has still been a hurt though, a feeling like the bad guys won. I stumbled upon Kesha’s video, and it was transforming She clearly has been through the hell of abuse and come out on the other side.

          Her song helped me realize in a profound way that I am not just going to be “okay.” I get a new beginning! I am free and the two people who hurt me still have pig heads! I feel lighter than I have in years.

          If you get the chance, check it out.

          • Thank you Violet!!! I just listened and you are so right! What an amazing song, and I vote we make it Chump Nation’s theme song! ❤️????????

          • Violet

            I just watched video.. almost made me cry

            I would like some justice in being abandoned after 34 years married. He & the whore are
            living together traveling the world while I’m just barely getting by

            Hugs to U ❤️

            • I’m going through the- 36 years of marriage, 3 boys I stayed home to care for while my husband grew his law practice. After youngest left for college, I found husband had an affair for 5 years! Now he’s happy and traveling with his whore! I have to sell the family home, and dealing with the screwed up boys. But I know I will be happy- this song I play many times a day!

              • Wishing you strength, Mocham. May your EX find bedbug infestations (after he’s carted them home) wherever he and the whore travel!

            • Kathleen, Mocham,
              “Traveling the world” – sounds like their attempt to escape reality & prolong the fantasy!

          • I love this song. Heard a few weeks ago and shared it with one of my IRL BFF chump friends. Love those moments where Kesha screams, and where she pushes the pig heads out of her way. I can’t listen to it without years but also vindication and Justice.

          • Violet – someone did post this song in the forum but I have just watched it again and it is truly amazing. She has to know to be able to have written this. So moving. I am very bad with computers but I have managed to use the forums. If you are logged in (which you must be to post here) I think you can automatically look at them and post. I could be wrong though. X

          • I agree completely! I am a new chump 7 weeks out and filing for divorce. I listen to this song on an endless loop. And I love the video! I am praying for him that he makes better choices for our son in terms of a future mate. His AP is a supposedly reformed drug addicted escort who is illiterate and was arrested for drug posession less than 12 months ago. She is 12 years younger than us and dresses like a complete whore! Not a good role model for our son! This terrifies me and there is nothing I can do about it. I also like the ending of the video where it says “beginning.” I want my new beginning too as I move on and get through this sickening roller coaster!

        • Pink and Bif Naked are wonderful! I also found my kids song from the movie Trolls, Get Back Up Again really good.

          • That is one of my favorite songs ever! When my dad and I saw them in concert, the opening bars started and I told him, “This is my favorite!” after the song ended, he said, “I can see why!”

    • I have a few great songs for you. Just do me a favor and keep an open mind. God uses many different ways to tell us he is here!
      Disturbed- The Light-this one is my Mantra. Nickelback-What are you waiting for, Avenge Sevenfold- Nightmare, Pop Evil-Go higher, Daughtry-I got over you and of course, Gloria Gaynor’s I will survive!

      • I Hate You So Much Right Now by Kelis when I have my rage on.

        Let It Be when I’m nurturing my recovery.

        I’m Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister when I’m feeling righteous and drawing a line in the sand.

        And like you Living, love listening to I Will Survive when contemplating my future and strengthening my determination.

        PS Thanks CL for the above recommendation – Aretha freaking nails it!

      • Since I did three years in wreckconciliation, Daughter’s “No Surprise” was my anthem in the beginning of 2013. I used to practice how I was going to tell cheater ex that I wanted a divorce. (Which is like the first line of the lyrics of that song) It took me 7 months to get the lady balls but I finally did it and I used CL’s site and that song as my motivators. Whatever works right?

    • I have a few great songs for you. Just do me a favor and keep an open mind. God uses many different ways to tell us he is here!
      Disturbed- The Light-this one is my Mantra. Nickelback-What are you waiting for, Avenge Sevenfold- Nightmare, Pop Evil-Go higher, Daughtry-I got over you and of course, Gloria Gaynor’s I will survive! Remember they just suck!

    • Phil Collin’s “I Don’t Care Anymore” got me through quite a few difficult months. My narc XH did the whole smear campaign behind my back even before I knew what was coming, so this song had a lot of meaning to me.

    • Chris Cornell with Murder of Blue Skies. I love the line: I can’t wait to never be with you again.

      • CrazyDogLady, THANK YOU for this recommendation. This is my new theme song. I already love Chris Cornell, so it’s perfect all around.

        • “Thanks For Nothing (Kiss My Ass)” by The Downtown Fiction and “Gives You Hell” by The All American Rejects, for a couple solid but more abstract choices.

          • For the strong of stomach only — very, erm, earthy — Margaret Cho’s video “Eat Shit and Die.” Only wish it had existed back when everything happened, but still a great help years later when I need a hilarious angry anthem. (And by earthy, I mean it has dancing turds. No glitter, though.) On YouTube in all its glory.

      • @ANC – this “Fuck You” – played on loop when he was forcing us to co habit…. It really irked him.

      • Bartender-lady antebellum
        My way-limp bizkit
        Knowing when to leave-Kristin Cheniwith
        All woman-Lisa stansfield
        I’ll survive you-BC Jean
        Album- love, marriage & divorce- Toni Braxton.

  • I did get a puppy. A gorgeous black cockapoo.
    So sweet, everyone loves her, she is a teddy bear, warm, furry and cuddly.
    Reliable, affectionate, always bouncy, makes you get out of the house for walks.
    Perfect .

    Also, nothing to do with ex. I am sure she would have been a completely different dog had I not divorced him.

    Rules everywhere, probably kicked and controlled, and now be all snarly.

  • So far, have filled the space where his diabolical energy used to be with

    –Blessed peace and silence. Nobody has yelled at me since last time I spoke to him.
    –Relief. So. Much. Relief.
    –University teaching position, which starts this Fall semester.
    –A very good lawyer, and determination to get this thing done.
    –Much more open, relaxed, and healing relationships with my kids.
    –Lots of writing and learning on CN.
    –Skinnier, happier, healthier me.
    –Skinny jeans, rocking little skirts, several pairs of kick-ass boots, and all new underwear. Never underestimate the joys of satin and lace.
    –Manicures, pedicures, massages, and great hair. No more erasing my needs. Self-care is back.

    The cheater is still not wholly eradicated, which is annoying and anxiety provoking, but the relief that was there even on dday has grown, and things are improving, bit by bit.

    • Your list is wonderful, cashmere! Just reading it gave me some ideas (thank you!).

      And, congratulations on your new, university teaching position! 🙂

    • Seeing the list here, cash, did your ex try to exert financial control over you? You talk about getting nice things for yourself nowadays and not sublimating your needs, and what I hear is “My husband was willing to spend on himself but not me.”

      • Yes, Vulcan, exactly right. Once the affairs began–especially the last of them–every penny I spent was a problem. I was buying my clothes at Goodwill and paying for gas with change so I could keep DD and DS from feeling it, but of course they noticed.

    • Cashmere,

      “–University teaching position, which starts this Fall semester.”

      Congrats. Welcome to the fraternal order of underpaid professors. I’m sure your students will learn oh so much. Good luck with it all.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • Cashmere – that is fabulous! Congratulations on the new job. All about honouring yourself – including the feminine goddess aspect! So easy to start to believe we are the sexless frumps we have been treated as, wonderful to embrace the fact that, actually, we are not. Good on you – it really does sound as you are on the way to Meh – and better. X

    • I love it. You are such a smart, kind-hearted, talented woman. I’m glad you know that. And congratulations on the job! Teaching college kids is like the fountain of youth. I swear.

  • I’ve replaced my ex with a more educated me. He is an IT person, so naturally, I left all the computer related “stuff” to him. In the last few months I’ve taught myself to backup my photos on an external hard drive and flash drives. I learned how to scan personal documents for safe keeping, how to scan and email, categorize all the divorce emails into a folder for future reference etc. It’s quite empowering and I get to model to my ten year old daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to. My ex would be shocked if he saw what I could do now…little by little it helps me be mightier.

    • This is awesome, Pret! I work in tech and I always hate it when people say things like “Eh I’m just not good at computers” or “I just don’t understand this stuff,” because they’re selling themselves short. Some people may be a little more predisposed to tech than others, but there is no magical boundary between the “non-tech-savvy” and technical proficiency. All of us had to start somewhere — most of just just by mashing all the keys ’til you figure out how things work. All the skills you listed are incredibly practical, and a great place to start. One of the things I love most about tech is that anybody can harness it, and it helps you be more independent and less reliant on other humans. Good for you for being mighty!

      • And it’s not even correlated with intelligence or experience. I did my Ph.D. thesis in physics by doing simulations of granular flow on supercomputers, writing C code and shell scripts to to the experiments. Despite this, sometimes I still have trouble making my iPhone do what I want. Get online, figure out what you need to know to do what you need to do, and do it.


        • That’s what kids are for. They can show me how to do anything I might want to do on my iPhone as well as many things I have no interest in doing on my iPhone.

        • Aeronaut,
          You are always a very encouraging and knowledgable person.
          Thank you!
          You are right and I will keep on trying to be more techy!

          Hugs to you!

  • Chump Lady, I love the playlist! Keep it coming.

    So many changes. But the one that stands out is, “went from being a casual bike rider to a cycling maniac determined to ride every day and to bang out the occasional Century.”

    Absent him, the bike became my favorite traveling companion, accompanying me on so many adventures! My best and happiest substitution.

  • Oh!yes! So much yes!

    Well I first replaced the space in my head with the legal process. I replaced that with the therapy process.

    I replaced that with a positive, reciprocal, amazing relationship with PTSD Guy.
    Keep moving forward chumps. It gets better. I promise it gets better.

    • I love this progression. Therapy will be next once the divorce is final. DD’s very good therapist tells me that it is pretty common for chumps to wait, since a nark would not hesitate to use that against us in divorce. Will be very happy to get that started.

        • It’s pretty shallow and petty, but some exes will claim that the chump is in therapy because they are mentally unstable or unbalanced, and that’s part of why they had to divorce, when the reality is almost always that the arrow of causation is exactly the reverse of that – the chump needs to be in therapy because of what the ex did to them. May do nothing, but might spin a mediator or judge to change custody balances or other parameters of the separation and potential child care arrangements.


  • I have a beautiful baby girl and her big brother to fill up my time. I will never understand why he chose to leave his family, but I appreciate what I have and I’m going to make the most of my time whilst they are still so little.

    • Pregnant Chump, your posts are always so close to my heart and I feel for you greatly. My ex almost left me (us) when I was pregnant with our second child. Mind you, this was over 16 years ago. For sure he was having some type of affair with a ho-worker. All the signs were there. I was devastated and cried every single day throughout that pregnancy and months after our daughter was born. I didn’t know what was happening and why he turned so cold, angry and mean towards me! It all makes sense now after reading CL and CN posts — they act this way when they are having an affair!! If I could turn back time, I wish I would have left him. I didn’t deserve to be treated the way he was treating me. I was just so scared and I didn’t want to be a single mom. Fast forward and now I’m a single mom. I have no doubt my ex cheated the last 16 years. Even if it was EA, he was still cheating. I don’t want to tell you this is a “blessing” you found out so early in your kids life that you husband is a lying, cheating jerk. I hated when people said that to me. No one wants to be a single mom. I would have been you. A baby girl and big brother. That was me too 16 years ago. You have such a good attitude and you go out and do exactly what you said you are going to do — ” appreciate what I have and I’m going to make the most of my time whilst they are still so little.” I look back and say the same about the time when our kids were little “why would he chose to leave his family.” In the end he didn’t chose to leave at that time. He was thinking about it as he one day coldly said to me (this was over 16 years ago), “You and the kids will be fine financially without me.” So he had some type of plan and he was already thinking about. I couldn’t understand how he could even think such a thing! We had a beautiful little family. I think a lot of guys would love to be blessed with what we had. But not my disordered XH. He needed new and sparkly all the time to fill up the empty part of him. He wanted to throw us all away for new and fresh. I wish he would have! I could have been young (early 30’s) and I could have moved back to my home state and be closer to my family. I could have started over at and earlier age. I’m now starting over and I’m 51 and it’s not easy. I know this is incredibly hard for you, but trust me if he didn’t do it now, he’d do it in the future. These cheaters just don’t change!! (((HUGS))) to you Pregnant Chump! I’m rooting for you big time!

      • Thank you Martha I never expected to be a divorced single mum at 31 but reading the many stories on here I do feel kind of lucky. I really feel for those of you who are starting again in there 50’s and beyond. The downside to being younger is that we have to share our children and attempt to coparent with our cheater and the OW.

        • I agree that most normal guys would be very thankful to have a loving wife and family. These selfish disordered cheaters think they will be able to find something new and better. I thought I was a pretty good wife and I thought he felt the same. It was all a lie and as soon as I had given my body up to have his children I was cruelly discarded. It’s sickening that they are able to just do that to people they profess to love and care about.

          • Hi. I’m new here. But I desperately need everyone’s wisdom. My cheater moved me across country to have our baby. As soon as we moved in together he became violent. I was 7 months. I was terrified day in and out. I have no family or support system so I was stuck with him. I knew he was cheating again and every time I asked even a ? He went insane. He totally used me for $ made me pay for everything. He never even bought our son one thing! I didn’t “deserve flowers in the hospital”.
            The past year has been absolute hell. He was abusive and played so many games with me. I had him arrested 3 times. First time was 3 wks after baby was born. I was scared to death with no money or help. I stuck it out and begged. I really still love this monster and hoped he would just stop. The pathological lies and shady double life was obvious.
            I’m so devastated over this.
            I got him arrested again in April and he had his ow come to my house and take everything while I was gone! All legal. Then his evil sister made false reports on me to have dss take my baby. All I did was protect my baby from abuse. He tried to get restraining order in me. Judge didn’t give me one either. He took his manipulative side. Cops judge neighbors all believe him.
            He’s a sick monster who didn’t even want to feel my baby kick. Now I’m living in a strange state with no one. I’m absolutely miserable. Can’t escape the thoughts. It’s been 4 months since we left my beautiful home. He got it all. Nice home nice neighborhood $ sex from every waitress. Etc.
            people act like it’s common. They minimize what I’ve been thru and don’t understand the trauma bonding/brainwashing. Luckily he’s not on the birth certificate. As I think he may even have pedophile tendencies. So I get no child support. Just herpes and hpv. And nightmares.
            I just need help. My baby is one and he is a gift but with a mom who is so depressed and alone everyday. I’m not a good mom.
            I feel like god is punishing me. I feel like I shouldn’t have gotten him arrested and I would still be in my home. After all, like he said, “u knew I was a liar”!!!!!
            He’s cheated on me with hags older looking than his mom. Screwed young girls, homely ow etc. the variety is amazing. It’s fucked me head up. Everyone always says how great I look for having a baby. I weighed 120 a week after he was born. I looked great but he says I was fat. I’m 43 and do look young for my age. But he didn’t want me and chose hideous immoral low intelligence whores to cheat on me. So it leaves me thinking I must b horrible.
            Sorry to go on. I just can’t take it.

            • My heart and love go out to you. That is an awful situation. I am sure some chumps here could advise you better than me as I am in London and am unaware of your state laws and resources.
              There must be some resources for domestic violence and help for you. Is there anyway you can go home or somewhere safe.
              Just please keep posting here and someone I am sure will help even if it is just to send huge hugs


                Devastated, you need professional domestic abuse help. Contact the hotline above. Do NOT be embarrassed about the other PFAs you’ve had on him. It takes a woman an average of SEVEN tries to leave an abuser. PLEASE decrease that average, because it doesn’t get better. It gets worse. Reach out to family, friends, and people back in your former life, and make a plan to escape. If he’s not on the birth certificate, great.

                Also, check out Lundy Bancroft’s book “Why Does He Do That?” — it will explain exactly the kind of sick fuck he is. And why there is nothing here to save — just yourself.

                You can do this! Get on the forum here (register on home page) for 24/7 support from other chumps. I had temporary PFAs on my ex. I know how scary and mortifying this is. You CAN get free. Keep reaching out.

            • I second CL’s suggestion, please please please contact a domestic violence organization in your area. They will provide you with the support and connections you need to get started on your recovery. Including a legal consultation: if your X is not on the birth certificate, ask an attorney about leaving ASAP and returning to your family for support!

              Please read “why does he do this?” by Bancroft, as well as “women who love sociopaths” from Sandra Brown, both have websites you can access lots of great content for free if you’re tight on money right now.

              You got this Devastated, you were smart enough not to add him to the birth certificate, cut and run as fast as you can to your support system.

            • It took me a very long time, lots of reading and therapy to understand my situation as abuse. Yelling, intimidation, belittling, cheating… those are all things it’s easy to blame ourselves for. Most abusers stay within the boundaries of the law, but just because you are not beaten, does not mean you are not being abused. The thing about emotional abuse is it’s hard to prove, and it’s even harder to recognize. It took me a really long time to understand how intermittent reinforcement keeps us hooked to hope that they will change. The worst part is, when you stand up for yourself, they accuse you of being the abuser. Staying in a situation like that keeps your mind spinning, “is it him? Is it me?” Once you go no contact and put all your energy into fixing you, the abuse becomes so clear. Once I got away and empowered myself with knowledge and self-worth, I can see his abuse for what it is ( we co-parent). I hope you follow CL’s advise. Let someone qualified to help you help. looking back, when I was at my lowest of lows, I didn’t believe there was any hope, and people telling me there was, seemed way too optimistic. I felt like no one understood; but we do understand! Not to sound cliché, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to fight for yourself to get there!

            • Devastated – please listen to CL’s advice. I know it must feel like a very scary and dark time. Please get help and please keep coming here to CN for support. We are all here for you. Sending you hugs

            • No one deserves to be treated this way. You are not a bad person. He did this to you and your child and you have a right to be safe. Please reach out and get help –from the domestic violence hotline or local shelter and from religious and social service organizations. The Salvation Army has a needy traveler fund that can help people get back home if you prefer to return to your home state.

              • Thank you everyone. I guess I wasn’t clear. I left him in April. I don’t have a support system as I came from an abusive home. That’s why I was stuck with him. He’s def a psychopath. I’m still living in a foreign land miles from where I know (shitty) people. I’m extremely depressed. I go to a D.V counselor but it’s not helping. Even tho he put his hands in me repeatedly, the thing that’s hurting me the most is the cheating! How fucked up is that?
                I’m well versed in trauma bonding, gaslighting etc all the tactics that psychopaths employ. I have a psych degree! It’s shameful. I get it but I don’t. I’m so wrapped up in the family we had. I didn’t sign up to b a single mom down south alone.
                All I do Day in and out is think about him. I can’t take it anymore.

                I live in fear of him taking my baby. His family making false reports on me! They saw the videos!!! Of him attacking me and our baby! They know who he is. They want to destroy me. They talked about my baby’s penis! He said its sexy!!!!!!
                I reported it and no body fucking thinks that’s a red flag!!! Wtf!!! I couldn’t even get a restraining order. Judge acts like I’m the problem. I’m no good at faking things. I was crying n court. He lied and wore a great persona. Different persona than b4. Now he’s manly all of a sudden. His smear campaign is making me look “unstable” cuz I’m so shell shocked.

                Nobody cares he gave me 2!!! STDs. Cheated on me with hags. Never held my hand. Yelled and was violent when I was sick. Wouldn’t take me to hospital when I was in labor till the next day! He had a headache!!!! He Screamed during labor! Then left us there.

                I believe he killed my kitty on my birthday! Yelled as he was dying in my arms.
                He’s evil. I’m fucked up from it. I still miss this monster.
                I’ve talked to several counselors. Keep getting narcissists there too! They minimized abuse. Won’t validate me worth a shit. That’s why I’m here. VALIDATION.

            • Devastated, I am so very very sorry. I hope we can give you the strength to change how you’ve been coping with this abuse. Huge hugs.

        • I’m with you there pregnant chump. On my way to divorce (I think) and a single mom at 35. Not exactly how I pictured life. Still finding it hard to figure out.

          • It’s crazy most of my friends are only just getting married and starting to think about having babies. I have two kids and I’m getting divorced. Mine was also the only Christian marriage in my family and friendship group outside of church. It really is crazy but I finally know now that there was nothing I could have done to change what he chose to do.

        • I’m 54 with a 12 year old. I’m looking toward my amazing, beautiful peers and those a few years older, as my personal inspirational guideposts. My divorce has been dragging on since DDay2 (last Nov, exactly 3 years after DDay 1), but getting shit done and feeling less scared. I have a sister chump (not biologically related) who has become an awesome friend (pretty sure we were separated at birth!) and STBX and I are actually finding our footing in new found civility. I’m still working my numbers from my side and that’s creating fresh anxiety – but I’m also tired of the nit-picking going on in my head as I convince myself I should get this or demand that. I’m kind of done feeling so anxious about that and mostly want at this point, to sit down and do a split…I’m thinking 60/40. I’m sure he’ll balk but…I may have an ace or two up the sleeve. I have to re frame my thinking about how my life ours – can – WILL be, moving forward. Ditching a lame cheater has to be a win. Maybe not the “retirement win” I’d had in mind – but then again, cheaters suck.

          I love the hearts and minds of my fellow chumps here on CN – my tribe. No day goes by without my feeling grateful that Tracy created something so beautiful, born of such pain.

          I only wish I could meet you all in person.

          Until such time, love and hugs.

          • Jademuse,
            Your post brought tears to my eyes.
            Your strength resonates in your writing.
            All that you say about Tracy and CN is so true.
            CN is a “tribe” of caring, loving hearts, open to each other 24/7.

            Hoping every day keeps getting better and better for you and your precious son.
            With your outlook on life and life happenings, this is sure to happen.


          • Welcome Jadedmuse and sorry you are here. I lived through 2 Ddays separated by 12 years. I think there were probably other attempts by him that didn’t pan out as well as a porn habit when the family was asleep at night.

            My ex is Mr. Personality, the life of the party, but it’s superficial. We have 2 Godchildren with different couples because of him!! It seems to be intense bonding types of friendships and then he finds fatal flaws with them and it tapers off.

            We work in the same large company and many think he’s such a great guy. I would also see glimpses of that great guy but mostly that miserable guy. Ultimately I just realized he is who he is. I can’t quite reconcile how someone could do what he’s done to his wife and kids. Once I went through the stages of grief and found comfort and kinship here with CL and CN, it has helped me let go of the dream.

            Now I’m 16 months out from Dday #2 and divorce was final last fall. He’s not happy as I guess schmoopie dumped him. He’s texting alot. He just bought a huge house. None of it is luring the kids and I so he’s withholding money. Not child support, but he doesn’t pay a dime for anything for the kids–says ask your mom, I just paid her.

            I make a 1/4 of his salary. I thought child support was supposed to cover basic expenses and we should split all of their other expenditures. I used to think he was a good father. Now I trust that he sucks in all areas of his life. I think he’s using money as a control for all of us. It’s not working for him!

            I think you are on the right path. Sounds like you are done with him. Just don’t be surprised if he sucks with a the divorce settlement.

  • The best part of getting rid of the cowardly liar was that even in the devastating war zone of grief in which I resided (my brother had just died horribly days before I packed the liar’s moving truck and closed the door behind his cheating ass), nobody was going to lie to me in my own home anymore. My home became my sanctuary and solace. Nobody judged my feelings or any other part of me there, so I was able to be authentic for the first time in years.

    So, the first things I got back were myself and root safety in my own home.

    Over the next few weeks, I discovered more and more and more things that just went better without him. The toilet was clean and the place was never permeated with the smell of colon because nobody took dumps with the door open, ever. The cats were calm and didn’t beg for table scraps (he always swore he didn’t ever give them scraps, but it became crystal clear that his lies extended there, too, after he left.) The stove was never filthy. He took everything and my dad refurnished me with stuff from storage, so I had cozy, sweet furniture and decor again.

    So, the second thing I got back was a home that provided comfort for me and my cats.

    After another couple of weeks, a neighbor in the complex moved out and I moved into her studio flat. It was a better space that wasn’t permeated with memories of him and our last months together. I created a new home that was only mine, one I didn’t have to coordinate with him to set up and decorate based on his outlandish expectations and tastes.

    So, the third thing I got back was a home that brought me and my cats true pleasure. It was an enormous relief.

    Now, many years later, remarried with two different cats and several more years under my belt, I see looking back that I did, indeed, replace a horrendous relationship with a much better one – not with the new husband (though that is better, too), but with my self. I was afraid to be alone because I didn’t yet realize that alone can actually be a pretty great place, and much better than being with an abuser.

    Now I know.

    • “Over the next few weeks, I discovered more and more and more things that just went better without him.” I always wish I could surgically implant this truth into the mind of anyone who’s waffling about dumping a cheater. From the inside, it’s so hard to see anything but bleakness when you imagine life alone. But almost within hours or minutes of expelling them, I think a lot of people on this site would agree with me in saying the difference is surprising. All the things, big and little, that revealed themselves to be easier without him (and I had an infant on my hip at the time), made such a joyful next few months. Outside of legal stuff from the divorce, my worries were few ever since he walked out the door. Cheers to that.

      • Absolutely. Chumps do all the work. I was amazed how much less household cleaning I did after X left, and I had teenagers in the house.

      • Amen, chump-tastic. I have so much TIME now that despite working full time I now have the leisure to develop a social life, read, write, pray, exercise – or just be, if that’s what I want. The grief is deep and real and sometimes devastating, but the upside is also there from the beginning of separation. I have 50% custody of my 14 year old son and the other children are young adults who are living out of home and can navigate their way to their own relationship with both their father and myself. It is hard that they haven’t cut him off, even though they saw the cruelty and escalating verbal and emotional abuse focused on me – but if that’s how they want to play it that ‘s up to them. I keep cordial relations with them but will not apologise for being the one to leave. But the peace of being away from the constant fear of explosions and anger and able to once again live authentically as myself (as I rediscover who that self is) is worth the cost. 7 months postseparation.

    • So much truth to this. Once they are gone, it’s like the peace after a very long storm. Every single thing is simply easier to manage. Even the usual crises that life brings are simpler to cope with because we don’t have to put so much energy into nark management.

    • “nobody was going to lie to me in my own home anymore. My home became my sanctuary and solace. Nobody judged my feelings or any other part of me there, so I was able to be authentic for the first time in years.”

      So much this!

    • Ami,
      I am so sorry for the sad loss of your brother.

      Your posts, Ami, to me, they tell a story, vividly, so clear.
      YOU come out on top. It was not easy for you girl, but you did it. You don’t look back.
      You are always encouraging to others.
      Just want to say, I love you girl,
      You and your cats rock!

  • I replaced KK by reconnecting with every close friend and family member whom I’d let “fall away” by catering to her need for attention and centrality.

    And by creating a home environment for my daughters where there’s no walking on eggshells or wondering whether there’s a sudden rage or self-pity party waiting around the next corner.

    If I never have another romance again, those things will have made it all worth it.

    • People forget how invaluable true peace of mind is. If your daughters don’t understand that now, believe me, they’ll thank you for it later.

    • Eggshell eradication is glorious. I feel the same about romance. Whatever happens, happens, but for now a healthy home, a healthier me, and a calm and stable relationship with the kids are things to treasure.

    • So well said UXworld! I always felt like my life with cheater ex was off. I’m sad to say I couldn’t really understand it at the time, it didn’t feel normal, but I tolerated it and told myself I should put my spouse first. I let his need for centrality push me away from my friends and family. I wanted an open door for family, but he didn’t care for my sister and her kids so I became distant with them. I will always regret that as I can never get that time back. This was my fault and I am now trying to make amends to those I’ve lost touch with.

      We saw cheater ex’s revolving door of friends only (always coworkers). Again I knew it wasn’t normal but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I got to the point of not getting too close to any wives because I knew when his friendship with the male was over, I wouldn’t be friends with the wife any longer. I suspect he is a covert narc. My only knowledge of narcs were of the overt type.

      Cheater ex always came around to complaining about everyone he was around whether it was work, his family, or his hobby people. He never had a boss he liked and not a single one ever gave him the kuddos he thought he deserved for being the smartest, best in his field, etc… He was always a misunderstood, underappreciated victim in his life drama. Now I know I was in that same boat of mistreatment of perfect, misunderstood him. I hope Schmoopie is enjoying him now!!

  • I took a roll of $2 bills he left behind (generous stripper tipper?) and bought the Cadillac of vibrators.

  • The kids and I got really close after X left. I also filled it with yoga, school, and a boyfriend who is so amazingly sweet and devoted that I can hardly believe it.

  • I replaced him with happiness. I didn’t realize how oppressing he was until he left. It was like a cloud lifted. And the house feels so much lighter. The kids and I have so much fun without him around. ☺️

  • My favorite song is Oo Child sung by Beth Orton. The video is amazing but I don’t know how to post it here. I heard this at night when I was in my car around Christmas of my first few months after the divorce. I had tears in my eyes as she was singing and I knew it would get better on down the road. It was something I needed to hear at the right moment.

  • I met and remarried a wonderful man and had a healthy baby at 42. Not a day goes by where I’m not astonished at how undone I once was and then how sweet things are now. Nothing is perfect but I’m well loved and have a functioning family.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Joy! I recently remarried as well, and at 39, we are discussing the possibility of children. I am scared of the risks and of becoming a first-time mom this late in the game, but each time I hear of another success story it helps me feel better about trying.

      My main mom years were spent in a marriage that was more of a college roommate situation, since he was in pharmacy school and I was in art school and we both worked full-time. Then I was alone for six years after the divorce, with one terrifying 3-month relationship with an undiagnosed BPD guy. That was crazy!

      I thought I’d found the guy to love me forever when I spackled my way into a marriage with Deadfool, the fun, comic book-loving Cheater in Nerd’s Clothing. After a devastating D-Day followed by counseling and policing, I finally figured out he wasn’t going to give up OW or his Backpage hookers.

      Now I’m truly with someone loving, stable, AVAILABLE, and dedicated to being a real husband and all that entails. I’m trying not to feel like the others stole my chance to be a mom. I’m pursuing foster care, which was my plan before my new husband came along. Whether we have a baby or not, we will care for kids who desperately need some love and attention.

      I guess I answered today’s question in my reply; I’ve filled the giant space once taken up by his indifference to my pain with the love of a real man, and the promise of a child (mine or otherwise) who needs me.

  • I replaced an aging, self-entitled bully with – me! And I’ve discovered that I’m actually good company. I have so much more time to “live” now I no longer have to run around after that fat, miserable slug.

    I’ve discovered a love of gardening and the outdoors – and opera! I get to spend loads more time with my pet rats (honestly, they’re fab pets, great company and they HATED him).

    I watch Disney films, chick flicks, and nature / science DVDs and I’ve started doing loads of on-line courses. I’m tracing my family tree, and reading anything I can get my hands on (I love books). I’m re-connecting with my friends, going out more and spending lots of quality time with my mum, who is the best woman alive.

    I finally have a life of my own after 18 years of drudgery. And it’s fab! ????

    • Oh, yes, I forgot about that one! He liked REALLY offbeat music, movies, etc., and hated anything “emotional”. Once I lived alone, I watched inspiring movies any time I wanted and saw loads I had missed over the preceding several years. That was awesome.

  • I’ve actually been around ex a lot the last few days supporting our daughter while she competes at an important sporting event, and it’s given me a chance to think about how much my life has evolved.

    To sum it up, when I walked away from ex, I was finally able to become a lot more of me. My natural attributes are on full throttle after being suppressed for so many years. I get to be as talkative as I want. As witty as I want. As powerful as I want. I feel like I am now authentically me – in my strengths, weaknesses, and everything else in between. I would have never chosen for an affair to end my marriage, but it is a such a relief to have traded in a lack-lister relationship for a chance to be the real me.

  • Who gets to buy their food shopping and put it away in the cupboards any which way they f@cking want? Bean cans stood next to pasta – heaven forbid!

    Who gets to sit on the couch Friday eve watch crap tv in their PJs with a glass of wine and not worry if I don’t have dinner in?

    Who gets to stroke a snuggle hairy chest every morning ? Boris, my rescue cat is the only person genuinely pleased to see me, and he’s got my back!

    Who has more disposable cash to pamper themselves now the leech of 18 years has to take care of himself ?

    Who alway puts their needs and requirements before anyone else? (other than animals)

    Who can spot a Narc a ten paces?

    Who is slowly figuring out their original identity again after nearly two decades living with a fuckwit?

    Who has a better fitting and more trendy wardrobe than before (when living with cheating boring fuckwit) ?

    Who regularly and happily attends shows/comedy/music events etc. on their own because they want to, and they can?

    Who has more empathy and appreciation for the simple things in life?

    Who can spot unicorns?

    • I love this list!!!!! I’m with you on the Friday night, wine and pj’s!! And if I want to eat nachos out of a bowl 5 nights a week, so be it!!!! LOL

  • Every day of the battle made me into a better, stronger version of myself. Now I know my worth. I know this is not the song post, but…My daughter played Keith Urban’s “Blue Aint Your Color” for me a few months ago- awesome! Also, Sara Bareilles “King of Anything”, and “Used to Be Mine”…Rachel Platten “Fight Song!” and Little Big Town “Better Man” because I did miss the good days. Thanks for the Kesha “Praying” suggestion yesterday. What a powerful song. I felt God speaking to me in Plumb’s song “Exhale”….and so much of Kelly Clarkson. There are so many, but thought I would share something. Thanks to all of you for sharing. Happy Friday!

    • Speaking of Kelly Clarkson…”Catch My Breath” is one of my favorites and so empowering!!! I also love the song, “So What?!” by Pink.

  • Hm, what did I do with the space freed up from his million expensive guitars and amps, custom-made suits, and kegerator full of trendy craft beer (all things I financed either directly or indirectly because I am a chump)? I made a very comfortable and clean guest room for friends to come and stay, I took over the whole closet myself with gusto, and I got a cute little mini fridge that now holds beverages and fixings that *anyone* can enjoy (wine, champagne, soda, fruit juices, simple syrup flavored with herbs from the garden, citrus fruits, cherries, etc.). I can make a wide variety of cocktails, both alcoholic and non.

    Only thing about the closet is that I may have stuffed it to the gills with dresses with a little *too* much gusto…now my new husband has nowhere to hang a single shirt. Fall project: purging, at least a bit, to make room for a very welcome roommate.

  • Once the initial survival mode, legal crap and actual divorce was finalized, I found peace. I knew it would be there, I just didn’t know when. I sold the house we lived in that he built. It was so bittersweet to leave. I LOVE where i live now. my home is cozy and colorful. It’s all mine.

    I sleep better. I joined the local gym and I exercise on a regular basis. I eat what i want, when i want. I do NOT cook every night. I no longer have to perform the “good wife duties”. I plan fun stuff for me and my son. I have a social life. I enjoy my own company. I found ME. I started enjoying alone time again.(that took some time). I am reading books again.

    The best and most fulfilling thing I did was go to the range and shoot with a friend and fellow chump. OMG. I bought a rifle and became a member at the range!! I freaking love it! I never would have done that while i was married to cheater energy suck. I have found friends and a talent I didn’t know I had. Let me tell you, most gun enthusiasts love to see women and children learn the skill. I got all sorts of encouragement and it has been so rewarding. I do long range or precision rifle shooting. It’s very meditative. Weird, I know.

    I replaced stuffing down my feelings to sitting with them, really feeling them and dealing with them. I accept ALL my feelings and take responsibility for how I express them.

  • I replaced STBX with…

    Tranquility – no more walking on eggshells wondering when and where he will start raging

    A sense of my own beauty – no more competing with plastic porn actresses, strippers, and watching him ogle other women.

    Confidence- no more second guessing my intuition, being told my perceptions and feelings are abnormal

    Retired my FBI badge – no more spending hours looking at phone bills, internet history, wondering why his phone is lighting up at 1:00 am and sending me into a tailspin of policing

    Self-worth – realizing I can not control another persons behavior (though scary at first), left me one option, knowing how I’m willing to be treated. Treat me badly … there’s the door!

    Boundaries – Modeling to my children (2 teen girls, 1 teen boy) that they should never allow themselves to be treated disrespectfully merely to preserve a relationship.

    Self-compassion – I evicted his voice from my head telling me I am (insert any insult you can think of). Hey I’m not perfect and I’m okay with that.

    • Oh and it’s weird that I’m starting to get compliments from complete strangers about how beautiful I am. I can’t ever remember hearing that when I was married. I just got back from vacation with my kids , and they were someonewhat annoyed that people kept saying that to me (at least 5 people within that week stopped me to tell me I was beautiful). I guess beauty truly does come from the inside out.

      • Got-a-Brain,

        I experienced this too. It’s like his leaving me took the black cloud away from over my head. I felt like I could breathe again. He was no longer sucking the life force from my soul.

        I think I had never felt more beautiful than when I realized how wrong he was when he insisted that I was unattractive and that no one would want me. HE was the ugly one, with his ugly thoughts and behavior.
        I thought quite a bit about the most “beautiful” people I knew. Without exception, it was about how they carried themselves, how they radiated kindness, how they treated other people, and how they experienced joy in their lives that made them beautiful.
        (Case in point–my Beloved is not a classically handsome man. But he is the most beautiful creature that ever walked into my line of sight. He often asks why I’m staring at him. And of course, gets bashful when I tell him “Because, you’re beautiful.”)

        So when GUBU went on his campaign of explaining how his cheating was due to my unattractiveness (among other things, like having too many canvas shopping bags by the front door–environmentally conscious, so sorry, really I am…), I decided that whatever my age, I wanted to be like the “beautiful” people I knew; kind, warm, and giving.

        It’s been a few years since the verbal assault on my flaws, and I still feel more beautiful without him, although I know the pain of the experience is forever etched on my face and body.

    • Oh yes 100% dead on with the intuition. It is very active and accurate. And I listen to it even when there are no words to explain the response/reaction.

      And the knowledge that we can NOT control other people bring peace. I control ME and only me. I control my reaction. I do not control others. You’re right. It’s freeing and scary.

      Love your list!!!! keep going!!

  • Ha! Perfect timing.
    One of my daughters friends is staying with me for a month or so and in clearing out the space for her we found a box of plaques and things my ex had been given during his time as a firefighter. He never did anything crazy heroic, it’s more ” thanks for the 20 years of service” kinda stuff. Since he’s so self absorbed we call it his box of dreams….a delicious box of shit that affirms he’s special.
    I sent a text that said I would put it on my driveway so he could collect it on Saturday. I picked Saturday because it was a day when all of us would be away from the house and since all of us are NC with him it was a way to return his stuff and not deal with him. My school of thought was that he’s an asshole, but if he came across baby pics of my kids or something I would want him to return those to me, so…
    He let me know he had plans and that my time didn’t work for him and in his follow up text told me how he was at the busiest station at the county because he’s “that good” and that now he loses a day when he gets off shift because he has to sleep… recover from being “that good” I guess, and his time is limited.
    My response?
    “We all know you’re awesome. Your shit will be with my trash on Monday. Have a nice day.”
    It was awesome because where anything out of him would of crippled me before, now it’s just a lot of me shaking my head going “Jesus Christ….really???”,????

  • I left the house. There were too many memories. I have my own little place now. Not furnished, but I will work on that this weekend.

    The kids come and stay with me overnight once or twice a week. I try to take the best care of them as I can.

    I talk to my sis everyday on the phone.

    I am making new friends. I have joined several local meetup groups for divorced and separated people. I have made a couple of friends that are in similar positions and we talk a lot and vent.

    I went on dates twice but I didn’t find any connection. I am not sure I should be doing that.

    I am focusing more on work, improving my skills.

    I dyed my hair for the first time in my life and bought a new shirt.

    I am far from meh. Untangling the skein of fuckupedness and hopes of wreconciliation consume my thoughts. I try to remind myself ‘it happened’. I try to get news of what is happening between ex and OM from common friends. What I am hearing is not encouraging (for her). OM seems to be in the mood to dump her.

    I need to do more… hit the gym, more social life and friends, more furniture, better cooking skills…

    • You are doing great chumpaedat19. It’s slow going at first but you are taking all the right steps. You moving yourself forward. you are mighty even if you don’t feel it right now. Don’t worry, You will. Hang in there. ((HUGS))

    • You’ll get there and do more when you’re ready.

      I’m a bit behind you I think. I just started looking at apartments this week and can’t wait now to line up a space of my own and get out of this house. I want to go on a date just to remind myself there is another life after all this and I can still do the whole dating thing!

      I hope you enjoy picking out furniture for yourself without worrying about a second opinion and that the space becomes more and more one of peace for yourself and your kids when they’re there. x

  • I remember once during the monstering phase when H1.0 had loudly declared his intent to leave and because he was so horrid, I started to like the idea…I made plans for the closet and bathroom space he would vacate. But Unicorny me kept spackling enough so that when he left, I allowed him to leave everything in place like a shrine or delusion that we had an intact marriage. At wreckonciliation, he easily swooped back into that spot. (cue me hitting my head against a wall)

    When he died, I didnt make the same mistake…I had a few sentimental things I struggled over but mostly I got rid of his stuff and took over the space. In what was part laziness and part generosity, I spent massive cash to ship boxes of his stuff to his brothers to go through.

    The most dramatic change was to the office…a large room at the front of the house. He had been very territorial and made it clear I was to bother NOTHING in there…I hung nary a frame on the wall nor curtain on the window. It was a “going-through” moment of emptying out his desk that revealed a CD rom of pictures of OW & a gift from her…they were no longer a couple (supposedly) when we moved here so why was this stuff here? (cue red flag).

    A “going through” of documents stored in the basement revealed their affair was planned, unlike his claims of spontaneity.

    I opted (for a lot of reasons) to stay in the house and cleanout the space he took up in my life where a truly loving and devoted man might have lived…enough so that a loving and devoted man moved in 2 years ago. He owns a house which he rents out which pays the various costs on my house, win-win !

    The office I wasn’t allowed to touch? Now painted a lovely shade of dusty jewel blue with custom made 9 ft high linen drapes. All of the previous office furniture was given to my coworkers who were shocked I refused payment for it,”just come get it”. New husband bought me some amazing antiques to fill out the room…one is a lovely eastlake victorian glass front bookcase – it had an Agatha Christie novel hidden in it that revealed clues about its original owners.

    I have reclaimed my space to make it a place where a good loving man would, in fact, feel at home.

    • Oh, the spot in the basement where I found the incriminating documents? That shit is all gone and newhubby and I use that space to refurbish antique steamer trunks…they are about as practical as CL’s pinecone elves, but we do it together and it makes us happy.

      • Unicornomore,
        You are amazing!
        I read your above post twice.
        I needed something uplifting today,
        Thank you for giving me a feel good, light and happy, moments!

    • unicornnomore, this is all just fantastic. It’s not the time it took, but the results that speak loudest. Way to reclaim your life!

  • I replaced him with a bigger, fabulous house in a bigger town near the city I work in. I call it my “fairytale house” because it actually looks like it’s from a fairy tale to me (it’s a Tudor). The old house was in a small town 50 minutes from work, and didn’t have enough rooms for all the kids. In my new house the kids each got to decorate their own new rooms, plus we now have a play room and a craft room, and a great backyard with woods and a creek like I always wanted. I had been wanting to move to this town for a long time, and he always refused, even though we had no ties in that small town, and the schools are much better here.
    I also replaced his ultra conservative church where I never felt comfortable with one that suits me perfectly and I am building real relationships there. It makes my soul happy every time I walk in that door.

  • After surviving the initial trauma – or finding a place where it no longer dominates my soul, unpeeling the destruction in a desperate bid to understand, and then reaching a point of clarity, I listed the things that were important to me and how I wanted to live my life.

    From that place I met my new partner. A decent, caring, well-balanced joyful human being who is a “grownup”. A good man. Almost two years on we are still in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in, being kind to each other and just enjoying each others company. He’s just moved with me to my home country. My children love him and love that there Mother is in a place of calm again.

    When my husband left, or moved into the back bedroom while having an affair with the Mother of a child in my son’s class, I packed up my children and moved across the world returning to my old job. I’ve rebuilt my career and now hold a leadership position. I feel strong, much wiser and clear.

    The rawness is still there. But I keep it in a separate ‘track’ in my brain. My ex still refuses to agree to a fair settlement and still wants to engage. I still actively challenge my own instinct to respond knowing now the importance of boundaries and that I’m the one who needs to enforce them..

    I don’t read this blog much anymore but come back to it from time to time remembering how important it was to my daily struggle in those early years.

    There is a good life ahead. Just keep walking forward. Life with a sense of self worth returned is an awesome thing.

    • It is so wonderful to hear your story of success Kiwi Anne. I stumbled upon my ex pursuing our 14 y.o. daughter’s 20-something year old assistant soccer coach. It leaves you with shock and disbelief they could not only do this to their spouse, but to their own child. The entitlement and justification in these self centered asshats is unbelievable. He left when my kids were little to pursue a howorker and we work in the same corporation. Again it’s one thing to shit on me, but to your kids? I am a year out from this now, divorce is final. I am finding ‘meh’. I am so glad to see posts from others who have gone through the storm and are clearly on the other side. I think I will always have a scar. But his shitty actions will not define me or define my kids.

    • “I listed the things that were important to me and how I wanted to live my life.”

      This is what I need to do. I feel a bit rudderless at the moment. I moved countries for my partner, so my family is all quite far away. I’ve been here five years, so have some roots here and love my job. But I’m left with little to guide me. It feels like a position of amazing freedom and privilege and at the same time it is terrifying and paralysing. I know that two months out I don’t have to have all the answers, so for now I’m planning to get my own space and continue in my job while I figure it out and start thinking more about what really is important to me and how I want to live. Thank you for the reminder that there is this to look forward to.

  • I am young in the process, but I am seeing some of the same things. I oddly have more $$$ as I am not funding shopping habits and constant eating out. I am still learning to survive but am more comfortable in my own skin. One of the songs that has helped me to survive – Michael Buble’s version of Cry Me a River. I hope to have the opportunity to tell her this. I also think this should have been an opening song to a Bond film in this guise.

  • My daughter (nearly 2 now). It was a real adjustment becoming a stay-at-home mom, then a total 180 after DDay and fallout scrambling to find a full-time job, place her in a daycare, and not being able to see her all day. I love to take the time (when we’re not rushing through to make it to dinner/bath/bedtime during the week) and just do simple kid stuff with her, like swing on the swing set at our apartment complex. I don’t have to worry about feeling like a failure wife neglecting her selfish husband, I just get to be Mom. I remember this when I’m feeling lonely for the life I lost or romantic company. Her sweet nature gets me through a lot of bad days. And when she’s in bed, I take all the me-time to do whatever I want (this introvert needs her me-time to unwind — single parenting was not exactly in the game plan and it can be really exhausting).

    I am also taking the time to visit with friends (two of whom just had babies of their own, others of whom I haven’t seen in years) and family (including my 92-year-old grandparents) — no permission required!

  • I replaced my cheater with a wonderful fellow chump who gets me. Added bonus, he’s quite intelligent so it’s refreshing to not have to use smaller words he understands in conversation. We got married in Key West last August. (Hearts! Sparkles!).

    I really thought it was the end of the world when Cheater McLiarpants betrayed me, but it sort of cracked open my life and all these new things flooded in. Ditched the asshole friends and family, better people came in. Learned it was ok to be vulnerable and bummed out for awhile and then rebuilt. If you’re going through this right now, it’s ok to lay low and nest for awhile. I spent the whole winter binge watching Game of Thrones and when spring came, I got on my feet. I don’t regret any of it. Don’t feel like you’re in a race to get over it. While you’re getting on with your life, it eventually just happens.

    • Game of Thrones got me through my breakdown too 🙂 It was a necessary time, I really appreciate the advice to slow down and not race through it.

      • A lot of people would tell me to “get out there!” But early on, whenever I did I’d end up leaving whatever event I was at, driving home in tears. Then I said fuck it, I’m going to do what I want. So I bought the biggest squeeshie blanket at Target (my daughter and I called it the Therapy blanket), and I literally slept on the couch all winter. Couldn’t bring myself to sleep in my bed cause that’s were “we” used to sleep.

        I basically went to work, and that was it. I gave myself props for managing to keep my job even though I cried A LOT in the bathroom. I was so wiped out by the whole thing I figured maintaining my job was quite an accomplishment so if I wanted to fuck off all winter watching what was going down in Westeros, so be it. I kept Kroger in business buying cold chicken drummies. Bought a ton of games for my iPad too. And I kept a journal on my PC. I could tell I was starting to get over it when the length of my posts dwindled. :). That’s when Meh was approaching.

        • Oh I forgot! I had the best therapist ever. I managed to keep those appointments too. And I had CN! Even my therapist loved this site. 🙂

    • Thank you for saying this, RumbleKitty. It has been 21 months since D-day and next month will be my 1-year anniversary of divorce becoming final and I have just been working, saving money, and stabilizing myself emotionally by embracing my new-found peace. But sometimes I feel like I should be doing something to find love again, although I don’t even know/feel if I’m ready yet. Thank you for reminding me that it’s not a race. Congrats to you! ????

      • My road was a lot like Rumblekitty’s. Keep doing the things you love and maybe “love” will find you. That worked for me.

  • 1) threw out every single “save your marriage” book I owned and bought self-esteem building self-help books, as well as some books on how to build NEW healthy relationships.

    2) deleted all social media and built new accounts from the ground up. New rule: anyone who is friendly with the ex, or his mistress, or publicly lauds their relationship in any way, is not allowed in my life. Period. I lost friends this way but they weren’t real friends to begin with.

    3) mentally went back to when I met the cheater and started doing everything I had been doing before I became lost in him — working out, making art, being a passionate feminist, picking up all my little old obsessions and hobbies, became very concerned with my appearence, self expression, and self care again. ????

    4) went no contact. Strict. Didn’t answer phone calls. No texts. Blocked on social media. Didn’t stalk him. Never responded to the bile his mistress was putting out there. Refused to retaliate, refused to comment, refused to respond.

    5) picked friends who would be real with me and hated his guts and weren’t afraid to kick my ass if I thought about going back to him. We had a rule that we would never discuss him unless it was about how close my divorce was and how happy we all were that I was going to be free. Planned weekly dinners and friend dates. Went out to socialize every day.

    6) the last time we spoke, I told him I forgive him and thanked him for his many kind words but, no, I still wanted this divorce and to please stop calling me behind his new girlfriend’s back.

    End scene. ^_^


    • I’m pulling this out because this is such a powerful way to re-set: “Mentally went back to when I met the cheater and started doing everything I had been doing before I became lost in him — working out, making art, being a passionate feminist, picking up all my little old obsessions and hobbies, became very concerned with my appearence, self expression, and self care again.”

      If we’ve spent years married to a disordered person or a substance abuser, chances are very good that we lost a lot of ourselves along the way. And just living in the social world often requires us to give up parts of ourselves. When I was in grade school, I was deeply in love with baseball. I’d go from “pitchers and catchers report” to listening to the games on the radio at night to playing ball in the yard. But at the age when kids play Little League, I was told “boys only.” And as a pre-Title IX female, I had no chance to play in high school, and so no instruction, no practice, no game experience. At age 62, I ran into a former student in my yoga class and she recruited me for her co-ed softball league. Those people welcomed inexperienced me–many of them on my first team were nearly young enough to be my grandkids. I had the first truly happy moments after D-Day on the ballfield. I’m still playing today and have a bunch of new people in my life, some of whom have become friends, others just folks I share softball with.

      We loose lots of things along the way. Some things (like cheating Xs and miniskirts) have an expiration date for good reason. Other things are part of our essential selves and we can find a way to recover them.

      • I love that you started playing ball again!!!! I was an athlete growing up and I am thinking of signing up for a local kick ball league ????.

    • Decaf— you are totally mighty. That list should be included in the “Do” column for fresh chumps.

  • I appreciate it is probably heresy to edit Saint Aretha, but..,,

    I got the house
    I got the car
    I got the rug and I got the rat
    But I ain’t got Jack
    And I (don’t) want that Jack back

  • As simple as it may seem, I have better dates! Ben and I go do much more interesting things than I ever did with Rhys or Mac

  • I’ve been painting my woodwork for the past week. Over the past two years my son fixed the faucet, screen doors, and organized the garage. We completed the patio my son was building with old chimney bricks. It was his Father’s Day gift back in 2013.

    I’m planning on renting out a room in my home this fall.

    Now what runs through my mind is that he didn’t value ANYTHING about our life together. It’s such a relief to have my own space to enjoy.

  • I replaced the fuckwit with a badass BED.

    I flop all over it like a fish and have never slept better since I threw his sorry ass out.

  • So Limp Dick and his whore are living in our beach house. I got him to sign power of attorney for the beach house to me as I have all the money and pay everything. Put that beautiful place on the market and am selling it. He and she have to find another place to live. Getting that pain out of my life! Gonna buy another more beautiful place for me and the family!!!

  • I got rid of tons of stuff before I even moved out of our home with our kids. I thoroughly enjoyed setting on fire the contents of the shadowbox my ex-MIL (she’s a liar, manipulative and fake — looks like I found the source of where my ex learned his behavior from!) gave us after our wedding. It held our wedding invitations and our “Martha and Assbrain are the perfect match” MATCHES. I set the entire contents of the shadowbox on fire with the matches from our wedding reception! That was AWESOME!!! I have gotten rid of everything that reminded me of him, except……the dresses I bought for our 20th anniversary trip we took six months before I caught him out with the whore, Tim Horton’s Coffee Snatch.

    You see, our entire marriage I was waiting to go out on dates with my husband. But he was always too busy with “work.” At one point he was working seven days a week. I did just about everything at home, because I thought if I did, he would be able to find time for me and our family. Nope! So……when we finally went on our anniversary trip (Sandals — we always joked around when the kids were acting goofy that we’d go to Sandals just the two of us and “have the time of our lives.”), I was so excited to go out and buy dresses and cute shoes. I didn’t spend a ton of money, because that was me. Trying to make sure the money went towards the family and our “future” that my ex always made a priority of saving for. I totally bought into all our future plans — lots of vacations for the two of us and “our dream” of buying a camper and taking the future grandkids on vacations to all the National Parks. I happily went without for our future plans!

    So, when we went to Sandals, I happily bought cute dresses and shoes for our trip. Naturally I didn’t spend a lot, because I always felt guilty spending money on myself. So, I’ve been holding onto these cute dresses and shoes, because frugal me knows they are nice and shouldn’t be tossed out. Last week I got aa big bag and loaded it up with all the clothes that reminded me of the cheater, including my Sandals clothes. I even bought a bikini for that trip (and I looked hot in it with my 47 yr old body!) and I tossed that out too. I gave it all away! To me they are a reminder of accepting crumbs of his attention for 20 years. I thought we were at yet another positive turning point in our marriage after the Sandals trip. We had so much fun being a couple again without the kids with us. It was fun to date and get all dressed up and be beautiful. Even when we got back from our trip, my ex kept saying, “We should go to another Sandals next year!!” And then six months later I catch him out with the whore. And then our marriage was over, because I started exposing him to family and friends as to who he really is (his double life of over 20 years). If I ever date again, one of my new boundaries is that I won’t accept crumbs from anyone. I gave a full cake for over 20 years to him and his family, but they gave me crumbs in return. Never again!

    So what am I doing with all the time I used to spend taking care of Assbrain? Well, when we were on a “date”, supposedly “working on our marriage” and the cheater had already started the narc smear campaign behind my back (all lies to his coworkers — what a nice Christian guy he is!) — I said to the cheater, “I’m thinking about going back to school.” Cheater just shook his head ‘no.’ Now mind you, in all the previous years he always said I could go back to school if I wanted to. So with my cheating/lying/gaslighting/blameshifting free life, I have LOTS of time now to do what I want to do and I’m going back to school to become a nurse! And he’s supporting me while I do it!

    Next thing up is all the photos. I gave the cheater our wedding album, honeymoon and all our trip photos. I threw away every single photo before we got married, because I finally realized that he was cheating on me during that time. Probably mostly EA’s, but those memories are all tainted and fake too, so in the garbage they went! I am planning on redoing all the albums of when I was pregnant with our daughter and the months afterwards. I spackled those albums trying to portray my ex as this great dad. He wasn’t. He was never home, always “working”, had an affair during this time, was abusive towards me and wanted to leave me and the kids for a ho-worker. I’m redoing that album to portray the truth. No more spackling. I may give the cheater all the photos of himself and his fake Christian family too. We’ll see. Stay strong, Chump Nation!

    • Martha,
      You will be a top notch nurse, kinda like the old fashioned, bedside caring nurse.
      You have been through so much yourself, that your caring nature, your good heart, well all of your good cahacteristics Martha, they will NOT go unnoticed by your patients.
      ( I think now days patients are called clients – but not to me).
      I was blessed with over 40 years in the nursing profession, the old fashion, bedside nursing, favourites were labor and delivery and palliative. From the beginning of so many lives to the ending of so many lives. It was my privilege to share these times with others and their families.

      Top notch, Martha, your “patients” will be comforted by you!
      A new life, a new beginning.
      You are mighty!

      Sad loss for whatshisname, that tiny spec in your rear view mirror!

      • Thank you, Peacekeeper, for your kind words, support and encouragement. I have the heart of the nurse I’ve always wanted to take care of me! I hope I make a good nurse someday and can make a difference in someone’s life. I just started clinical and sadly I’ve already seen some insensitive nursing. We are with the elderly or others that need long term care and I keep thinking, “This is someone’s mom/dad, sister/brother, etc. I’m going to care for them if they were my family.”

        I poured out so much love and care to my ex and his family and it wasn’t appreciated at all. My ex even had the nerve to say to me after us being married for 20 years and me trying really hard to be a great wife (not perfect); “You never took good care of me.” I KNOW I DID and that’s all that truly matters. And God has seen it all too and that matters even more!

        • Martha I think the cheater said that to you because he was either projecting how awful of a caretaker he was for you or because he knew it was so untrue it would get to you (the mindfuck).

          I’ve been a nurse for 25 years and it is absolutely a wonderful profession. I tell anyone considering this career path it’s the only degree where you can completely change jobs without going back to school. It’s so variable–hospital bedside, outpatient clinic, teaching, case management, etc… My first clinical rotation was on a unit where the nurses hated each other. It was awful but hang in there. You will rotate through some wonderful areas. I used this experience for my entire career of how I didn’t want to be!!

          • MJB
            I didn’t know you are a nurse also.
            That explains your kind, caring heart.

            Yes, to treating patients as we would want our Mom, Dad, any loving person, to be treated.
            At times I taught bedside clinical nursing and preached that a sick person lay in bed staring ( if able) at the same 4 walls and ceiling, 24/7. Their needs must be met with love and respect at all times. When a student was out of the patient’s room, well that was the time to let go of their feelings, their pent up emotions, but NEVER, on the job.
            As MJB, I often worked with people who should NOT be in this profession.

            I want to add that when my Mom, then my Dad passed away, I was so rewarded as they were treated with compassion and a great love. My 2 daughters and I remained with them for days up to the time of their last breath. This is a privilege we remain so thankful for.

            Cheaters are incapable of love and compassion, especially in times of great need. They always put their wants and needs first.
            In time, we see and we will see, they will be very alone.
            ….sigh….if we even care.


    • What a wonderful thing to do for yourself and the world. What a wonderful way to “begin again.”

  • I spent a huge chunk of time the first couple of years inside my own head. I had a lot of stuff to process, make sense of, etc. I needed to find a way to change the narrative because everything I thought I knew about myself, my husband and my marriage was based on lies. I joined a support group (Sisterhood of Support), got a therapist and of course, came here to Chump Lady, and those were fantastic resources but I had to do some really hard work inside myself. I’m talking hours and hours of staring at the painting over the mantel in the family room trying to make sense of my life and what happened and where I wanted to go from there, keeping the focus on me and not him. This was an incredibly important part of my healing – not trying to figure out the skein of his fuckupedness, but instead figuring out where I had been, where I was then and where I wanted to go. I found MY story, MY truths and MY life through that process and realized that nothing he said or did or any story he told about me mattered because I knew the truth of my life and I will tell it to anyone who cares to hear it.
    I rescued a dog who ended up being pregnant AND heartworm positive so I delivered, bottle fed and raised six puppies with the help of my daughter. I got that dog expecting to have three dogs and ended up with six since I kept three of the puppies. I ignored my ex who told me I needed to get rid of all of the puppies and never looked back. My house is always covered with dog hair, my dog food bills are astronomical (they are big dogs), and I’m pretty sure I put my vet’s kids through college but they make me happy every day.
    I divorced the Edgar Suit, sold the family home, got rid of anything in the house with a negative association (bye bye evil ex MIL’s 60’s dining room furniture – still makes me giggle), downsized the hell out of my life, bought myself a much smaller house on acreage, filled the house with family pieces that I love and new things (my bed) with no memories of the ES. Now that no one is funneling money to support a stripper habit, I have money for books and gardening supplies and helping my kids get launched on their way and of course, dog food.
    It’s funny how many of us mention walking on eggshells. That’s how I remember my old life. I was constantly trying to keep everything smooth in our house, keep everyone happy. Now I don’t have to try. As long as I remember to wear my slippers (with six dogs, you gotta wear shoes), I never have to worry about stepping carefully through my life.

    • (You gotta know I’m gonna love a dog story! 🙂 )

      This was true for me, as well, Beth. The first year or so, I admit I was kind of a spaz. I was willing to do just about anything to stay out of the morass of my own thoughts, which were twisted, confused, disorganized, and so very painful. I joined meetups (some good, some bad), played wallyball (like volleyball but in a racquetball court), went to Hawaii with a friend & her husband & two of her friends… Basically, I flailed around trying to remember the me that was me before I met XH (after all, I’d been single 32 years before I met him).

      Over the following year or so, I was able to carve off the bits I didn’t actually enjoy (wallyball, some of the meetups, zumba…) and, like a sculptor, I was finally able to see signs of the final product of Me. I am now in my own new house, with my two dogs who I love more than anything (and probably always loved more than XH, tbh). I’m a little overweight but only care for me, not for “him watching me.”

      I’d like to think there might be another man in my life some day, but in truth maybe the reality of that is something I don’t actually want. We’ll see, i guess. But I also carved off the idea that I *had* to replace him with another man/relationship, which does seem to work for a lot of people here.

      Essentially, I realized, as Aretha said, I was dumping a WHOLE lot of love, energy, effort, care, concern into someone who didn’t value it. So now I can put that energy wherever I like — I’ve got loads of it — so I can put it toward my job, AND volunteer groups, AND my friends (I mowed the lawn of a friend recovering from knee surgery and took her dog for a walk), AND my dogs, AND myself, with plenty left over.

      What did I replace XH with? Myself. And I deserve that energy a whole lot more than he ever did.

      • “Essentially, I realized, as Aretha said, I was dumping a WHOLE lot of love, energy, effort, care, concern into someone who didn’t value it. So now I can put that energy wherever I like — I’ve got loads of it — so I can put it toward my job, AND volunteer groups, AND my friends (I mowed the lawn of a friend recovering from knee surgery and took her dog for a walk), AND my dogs, AND myself, with plenty left over.”

        So, so true. My therapist asked me, “If we had a pie chart, how much of your energy did you put toward your ex?” I said, “Three quarters.” “And now? You have ALL of that energy back.”

        Damn right.

  • On 5/20/15 after 6 months of pick me dance frenzy I kicked X to the curb, fought an epic divorce and custody battle and won everything. I’m 6 months post Freedom (divorce) Date. I’m completely and totally NC– tricky because we have 4 kids – one a minor but it is doable.

    I replaced all that nasty with:
    Owning my home and all my assets in my own name solely;
    Buying a used SUV with AWD for mountain hiking adventures, and a roof rack for my new passion: paddleboarding;
    I got a beautiful blue fiberglass Jimmy Sykes paddle-board at Costco and go out on the lakes several times a week;
    A belief in myself and what I can achieve as a free person, mainly peace in my life;
    Daydreams about what I like and how I might want to live the next 50 years;
    A new appreciation for values– integrity, kindness, loyalty;
    Boundaries– I no longer tolerate any abusive narcs – no contact or grey rock works to protect me from not only X but in laws, sick sisters, so-called friends ….peace rules my life now;
    My boyfriend and his kids and dog (we met at the Y and spend almost all of our dates doing fitness-related activities);
    My career– I took a bar exam in another state and got a new job and a huge promotion and commute there every 2 weeks (fly so often now I get free upgrade to 1st class almost every time) and the rest of the time I work at home;
    A new perspective– this is probably the biggest thing I’ve replaced all the nastiness with. I’ve educated myself these past 2 1/2 years about the abuse I suffered, the character traits that acts had as a narcissistic borderline personality disorder her and I understand enough about what happened to know that it was all on him.

    Happy Friday my dear friends!
    Life is good at “meh”! Come join me all in good time.

    • Wow you rock!!!! I am a new chump and you give me hope!!!! Filing for divorce and the horrible pain I am going through feels unbearable!!!! Trying to stay strong and can’t wait to get to meh!!!!

      • I am a new chump too. Your post is so inspiring! I am a bit scared to divorce, and yet, how can I stay married to someone who has lied to me a million times? I just have to take a deep breath and walk through this fire, knowing that the other side will be such a better place for me.

        • So Done – I am with you. It’s terrifying!!!! I am plowing ahead with divorce but I feel broken into a million pieces. This is definitely the hardest thing I have ever been through!!!! And some days I feel so much worse for no rhyme or reason. Want to skip to meh!!!! Hugs

          • Mil23 — It IS terrifying, but many people before us have gone through this and are better for it. I keep reminding myself to keep my eye on the prize. The prize, for me, is a life of peace and honesty. I don’t want to ever be lied to again. I cannot take any more lies.

    • Just finished a year of the pick me dance on August 1st and am spiraling in grief at the realization that it was all for nothing and that I’ve lost 20 years of my life to a covert narcissist.

      Your post gives me so much hope and inspiration that Meh and my Tuesday will come soon. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      • Seachump – I am in the same place as you. It sucks!!!!! Except he’s not a narc – I think he has BPD. My psychologist has known him and about him from me and she says he is high functioning BPD – he finally dropped the mask completely after 20 years. It really sucks!!!! Hugs!!!!

  • Replaced that stupid fucker with a deluxe gym membership that I use all the time (and am fitter than ever!), several amazing trips to beautiful places, and cooking classes so I can share my joy of food with the people who now populate my world. I did a friend cleansing too after I got rid of his sorry ass, and honestly, the friends I have now fit the new me so much better. They don’t spackle, they don’t cause drama, they are kind and considerate, and they’ve been instrumental in helping me create a new life and new hobbies (like climbing and hiking). My life is less cluttered in every way. I also gave away or threw away any stuff of his I had, which felt great. I’ve also found a wonderful new partner, though that took some time and a couple more frogs as well. There is not a second of my life now that I wish he were here, and I’m truly grateful I unmasked him before he did any more damage. Every. Damn. Day.

    • You are an inspiration, K!!! I moved, revised all of our routines, reconnected with old friends, switched gyms and subscribed to audible (listen to all of Brene Brown’s books). My 17 year old daughter is happier, my dog is happier and, most importantly, I am happy! Cheers to a happy life!!!

  • Im not completely meh yet but closer every day.

    Found out june 2013 about the whore. Threw him out in august 3013 he moved in with whore he was already planning which holidays the kids would visit who cause he said so. Proceeded to ruin our credit. July 2015 begged to come back stupid me i let him within days i knew bad choice. Finally i started divorce proceedings he wouldnt do it and whore offered to pay for it. He wouldnt. I did. He never asked fir a divorce mostly refused to talk about it and only took some clothes the whore and i repeatedky told him to get his shit out of my house he refused she even bought them a house to out his shit in he refused. I took everything he owned and put in his office. And kept the door shut. Painted some decorated some and tried to make it mine. The whore threw him out four times as he did not want to break the triangle. I did break it. After divorce started the slow nag for him to buy the house or let me sell it. It was awarded to me in the divorce he kept his business worth way more than the house. I just wanted out!!!! Nov 2016 he closed on it. Three weeks later i was in my own cozy home five hours away. Triangle done!!! Bitch can have him. Hes worthless. Im not. So getting to meh rediscoveribg myself with my dogs. And getting a little better every day. I got rid of all the shit everything he ever gave him burned wedding clothes and pictures divide up some pictures for the kids. Destroyed every picture of me and him.

    My songs i played over and over at mach volume

    Megadeth trust
    Metalica Nothing else matters
    Phil collins I dont care anymore
    Black sabbath Black sabbath
    Rage against the machine Killing in the name of
    Limp biskit. break something

    And my favorite narc song of all time

    Rolling stones sympathy for the devil

    • “Rage against the machine Killing in the name of”
      Yes! Nothing like yelling out “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!” over and over 😀

    • He begged to come back two years after DDay? Ack. I thought I was safe from that because it’s been over a year and divorce is on track. Even though I think I don’t want him back, I fear that if he did show fake remorse I would probably fall for it anyway. Maybe by another year from now that will no longer be true. I need to get the point where I will be glad he’s still happy with Schmoopie.

  • I replaced my cheater bitch with:

    Worked on myself for five years, i’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

    Sold my family home and moved to a place that I love with one of my sons as my roommate.

    Started a new successful business.

    I do all the things I love anytime I want.

    Have an amazing super hot new girlfriend

  • I replaced Jackass with … me.
    My yoga practice.
    My softball league.
    My yard, my flowers, my birds, my deer, my chipmunks, my groundhogs.
    My screen porch.
    My loyal family.
    My loyal friends, old and new.
    My work.
    My TV shows and music playlists.
    My idea of what’s good for dinner.
    My writing.
    My dreams for my own life. My piece of mind.

    • I didn’t forget the cats! But they were here before Jackass and they (or the next generation) were here after he discarded us. Lesson learned: no one was as loyal and comforting as those cats.

      • And here are two short line from Wiz Khalifa’s rap on Maroon 5’s “Payphone”:
        “Now it’s me who they want
        So you can go
        And take that little piece of shit with you.”

        I listened to that song thousands of times. “You can go and take that little piece of shit with you” was my letting go mantra.

  • The most important thing that has replaced the ex is quiet. My house is quiet and peaceful. After being the site of epic showdowns, numerous temper tantrums by ex, loud noises (ex hitting the wall or throwing something against the wall or breaking something), it is QUIET. Calm. Relaxing. It is my sanctuary.

    My mind is much quieter, too, and I have a feeling it will become much more quiet when I get to ‘meh’ and stop thinking about the ex and his whore.

    I’ve lost 20 pounds and have another 20 to go. I’ve gone out with friends numerous times and have started doing new things. I went to a Willie Nelson concert! I started crafting again! I eat peas! (ex HATED peas and wouldn’t eat anything if it had peas in it). I completely redid the basement and it’s now my writing and crafting room (used to be ex’s “man cave”). I sleep in on Saturdays and don’t feel guilty!

    My health is better (I have rheumatoid arthritis). I don’t have weird people over at the house all the time (ex ALWAYS had people over to 1) drink; 2) work on cars 3) make deals) and believe me, that is INCREDIBLY nice.

    My daughter and I have grown extremely close. I am the sane, stable parent! We love to hang out together – and she’s 17, so that’s pretty awesome.

    My life is a million times better. As soon as I get to meh, it will be absolutely amazing.

    • Lol about the ex and the peas because my XH hated peas, too, and just today I made a huge pot of delicious split pea soup and thoroughly enjoyed it with plenty left over to freeze. Feels so good to be free! ????

  • I had a bed where I kept to my own side. If, out of half-asleep habit, I would put my hand on his back, or arm, he would coldly remove it. When I would snore, he would wake me up and demand what my problem was. When he would snore, I would lie silently in the dark, waiting for morning. This has been replaced by the same bed all to myself, with new sheets (pure linen in the summer and flannel for the winter). It’s glorious.

    I used to spend a lot of time listening and trying to “manage” (figure out how to say no without bruising his fragile little male ego) to his far-fetched dreams of how he wanted to “invest” (squander) my money – flip houses, resell high end cars, etc. Now, I am making room for some of my own fun, silly daydreams.

  • My kids are now getting the attention they deserve as they no longer have to share with the greedy one who complained that he didn’t get enough. I no longer have to feel conflicted about who to give my attention too when STBX and daughter both needed it. Daughter gets my attention and I am the winner. Of course I still need to be careful to make sure the boys (and the dog) get some too.

  • Broke the wedding picture hanging on the wall and burnt his manuscript of his book supposedly on kinship!!!( claims he does not have a soft copy, but i doubt)..

  • I just bought a bike!!! I haven’t rode one since I was in high school, but some friends were going out biking this afternoon, so BOOM I bought one! I am so excited to do new things!!! The beautiful blue bike is still in my car, but just savoring the moment before I have to put on those tight tight bike shorts with all the padding in them. After 35 years of marriage its my turn to do stuff for me instead of someone who never deserved me when I was 22 and certainly not now when I am 57 years young.

  • That’s part of the controlling ruse, isn’t it? Trying to convince Chumps that Cheater is not taking up another man (or woman’s space) because nobody else would want Chump. Chump simply could not “do better”.

    But many a Chump has done better, and many a Chump will do better.

    • I feel and hope most men are better than Mr lying pants. I refuse to give him any points because he didn’t beat me or that he had a job. That is just normal grown up behavior. He told me twice I should be glad he didn’t beat me. Honestly I wish he didn’t have a job because it was his best excuse to get out of doing anything. He had such a stressful job, home life needed to be easy. He was always too “tired” for helping around the house or going out to dinner with me. His job made him too tired to have sex and his back hurt too much to even sleep next to me in bed, needs to sleep in the family room. This is a man in his 30s. Doesn’t matter that I worked 50-60 hours a week or just got home from a 12 hr night shift, he asks me to do the dishes or vacuum on his day off.

      Guess I really need to vent today .

  • I threw out a whole lot of dust dirt and grime. Even though I’m sure she’s re-written history to make her out to be June Cleaver’s twin sister she wasn’t much of a house-keeper but would freak out at me whenever I would start cleaning or worse – tidying up the piles of stuff that were everywhere.

    When Princess Yoga Pants left the building she left behind a lot of debris. Being a Wonder Chump and a heck of a nice guy I did resist the urge to pile it all up on the front lawn with a sign saying “come and get crazy ex-wife’s stuff”. Instead I carefully boxed it up except for the stuff that was already in boxes like her wedding dress and piled it up in the front porch where after about 8 months she finally came back and got it.

    This included the box of mementos from before we met when she was sleeping with married men. I also included each and every card she had given me where she was ever so appreciative of me and loving – put in a box marked “important papers”. All the family pictures that her in them – replaced with ones without her. The crappy 25th wedding anniversary glasses and plates she got at a yard sale etc.

    I do wonder what Señor Moneybags thinks of all of this stuff since the Princess is a hoarder I’m sure she still has all the boxes. Not my problem though and the house is so much better with all of that stuff gone and the best part to me is that if she wants to remove it from her life, she has to do it since it’s now in her apartment. I’m still cleaning and purging (why did we need 8 pickle dishes?) and have a ways to go. I haven’t gone so far as to redecorate the house in “boring guy” and probably never will and there is a feminine touch still but I like it that way.

    And now, I can eat in my dining room without moving boxes off the chairs and table, all the cleaning supplies in the laundry room are ones that are actually used and are safely behind doors and if I trip over something in the night it goes meow rather than bang.

    • Trying to come up with a good name for garage sale. Divorce sale? Gain from my loss? Cheater stuff, selling cheap? He left behind his pricey “toys” that we (me) bought to help him feel happy. We got a nice expensive tent that we have used once in 5 years, tools for him to fix up things around the house he used once. Home repairs made him feel sad and depressed we didn’t live some place nicer. In the end he took what was really important to him. The bigger newer tv and the leather couch for his lazy ass. Plus his precious phone of course. He needs to search Reddit all day to pass the time. Who else will argue with strangers over issues that aren’t important? He must be some internet troll superman saving ignorant Reddit users by night.

  • 1) Turns out Mr Lying pants didn’t do much or take up much space. I don’t have very much empty space after being separated 2 months. Life is oddly almost the same. I enjoy sitting on the couch some times since there is no lazy “man” sitting there arguing with people on Reddit for 5 hrs a day. I take my dogs for a walk in the evening instead of hearing him complain every evening. I have tried to reconnect with friends and family that ex felt he was too good for. It’s hard to stay close with friends and family when you constantly have to make excuses for missing husband. I don’t have to make excusing for him at all. Somehow I have more energy to do the few tasks he did like take the garbage out. Big deal.

    2) I really like having the close connection a relationship and marriage brought. I try really hard to not focus on replacing my husband since that seems like it would draw another loser to me and I would probably fall for it just to fit another man in my heart and bed. Hoping that if I am happy alone I will not be desperate for attention when I start dating. The idea of dating make me want to vomit right now.

    • StaryEye, I like what you say.

      I am happy the way I am, but my recent attempt to date saw me fall into the desperation trap with a narc. Thankfully he lost interest quickly, but it made me aware of how vulnerable I still am. I came out utterly shattered just after a couple of months.

      I have a lifetime pattern of abusive romantic relationships, and that shit don’t heal itself, and it also doesn’t go away with the passage of time. I have to do the work on it – which I am – and I think it’s safest not to date at all while I am healing.

      I may never date again, let alone marry, but the best thing is that I am ok with that. I have a huge amount of good love around me – family and friends – because that is what we all need: GOOD LOVING. Not romantic loving, necessarily, but GOOD LOVING.

      Here is my musical proof of this well-known medical fact:

      • Hang in there. It will get better. I havent experienced it yet but have faith that it will eventually get better.

  • I got rid of/left behind and got:
    The old mattress I always hated and bought a new one.
    A new cute little house
    “Full custody” of my two furballs which I adore and they adore me.
    Most importantly
    The respect of my two adult daughters for being a badass and not staying with their dad <3

  • I replaced mine with a charming cattle dog. He’s the perfect running partner and sleeps snuggled at my feet or on the pillow next to me. Yeah, he’s a little hairy, but he doesn’t snore, and his breath is way better!
    I’m also trying to dive back into my writing (I write romance novels. I’m not kidding. Ask me how fun it is to write about two people falling in love and finding happily ever after while going through a divorce from a serial cheater). So now instead of being tormented by visions of cheater pants and twatwaffle, I’m tormented by people in my head who keep asking me what they’re going to do next. Even though they stress me out, I like these people a lot better.

  • OMG. Life can be so good on the other side! Once my ex- finally left the house, I started eating what I wanted (no “starch” at every meal as he insisted) and dropped 40 pounds and felt much healthier. A year after I filed for divorce, I had lunch with a friend from long, long ago that I’d kept up with on Facebook and in the middle of lunch she said, “Oooh! I have the perfect guy for you!” She was right: I hit it off with him right away, and next week is our third anniversary. So I got: a husband, two adult stepsons, a dog, a new place of residence (we both sold our houses and bought a new house in the seaside town he’s long lived in), fantastic new relatives (though I miss the old ones – the cheating wasn’t their fault) and a much happier outlook on life. I was walking into a store the other day and an older gentleman commented that I looked like I was having a happy day. I didn’t feel different from any other day, but I guess that means every day is much happier. And for all of this, I am exceedingly grateful.

  • After he moved out, I took inventory, got rid of some stuff, deep cleaned, burned a lot of sage, white candles, etc. to clear out any “bad juju”. I’ve had to do yard work myself, and I’m still finding various things he threw into the bushes rather than throw it in the garbage can- oil drip pan, empty containers of oil, car wax for his shit-erado, old books, various wires and car parts that I sold to the scrap yard.

    First Christmas, I burned “our” ornaments

    After about 6 months, my DS and his dog moved in with me and DD, by then I was used to being on my own, but it does make some days easier

    Love that song, Tracy!!!!
    I am going to add it to my playlist, “Songs in the Key of MEH”

  • I have done a lot of work to heal from the betrayal and abandonment by my cheater in the last nearly six months but found he was still taking up space in my head. I was sad about what we had lost (we got on well and had a great lifestyle) and grieving the future I had expected to have. Just began reading a book by Meshel Laurie called Buddhism for breakups and will look into Buddhism further. The part so far I like is about accepting your thoughts and then letting them go. It also looks at fear, lonliness and grief. I will give it a go to get him from taking up permanent residence in my head.

  • My STBX walked out when I was pregnant. I can’t claim that I have cleaned out all of those closets, but the main ones have been replaced with loving my sweet baby and my two other kids. I no longer have to worry about limiting our plans to those things he MIGHT enjoy but just doing what the kids and I enjoy. Life is still hard but it is sooooo much better already.

    Also, I have replaced thoughts of what the OW is getting to do in my place with “Thank God that is no longer me.”

    • GetMeFree, I like your attitude. It is so wonderful to not plan around what Mr Lying pants might be willing to enjoy. He enjoyed so little and my world without him is bigger.

  • ….. > burnt a lot of sage — guffaw< <… it would be a brushfire the size of Yosemite to waft away THAT bad juju.

  • I left behind the following:
    -worrying about my weight, especially immediately post-pregnancy,
    -worrying about being blonde enough, beautiful enough, well-dressed enough, subservient enough,
    -worrying about doing all of the above without spending any money,
    -worrying about being too smart or too opinionated,

    I found:
    -a Ph. D. in psychology,
    -a great career,
    -the respect of my children,
    -a partner who appreciates me for who I am, in short, a life.

      • Yes, that worrying takes way too much energy and is soul-leeching. In the end I discovered that I, as I am, am ENOUGH. And so are you!

  • Newbie here (4 months since I found out)…but what I left behind was my own self doubt.

    Music has definately been my ‘therapy’ as well as writing (people…if u havent journaled…you must do it!).

    The best realization was this past week when he asked for our spare bed…the thought of him and his ‘girl’ sleeping on our old bed made me burst into laughter (sloppy seconds ????). Also the realization that she isnt getting the man she saw when he was with me….she got the SELFISH BA$TARD who now makes her cry cause he yells at her all the time. They are each others KARMA!

  • A few days after d-day my Amazon purchase was: a dog crate, a push lawn mower, and a vibrator. I thought for sure I’d start seeing divorce lawyer pop up ads soon after.

  • I am having a very hard time letting go.After catching and confronting her I tried for 4.5 months to reconcile but looking back she never tried and I don’t think she even stopped, just went further underground. The AP is a real loser which I’ve read is common and she’s still with him but won’t admit it. I filed for divorce, house is being sold in days, custody settled, we’re getting separate apartments I’ve even started dating but I can’t/won’t let go. She makes me feel this is all my fault, yeah divorce is the only option I have but that’s because she treats me like a doormat. Even her mother said I should have just gotten over it, stop talking about the affair and move into the basement for the kids sake and maybe things would improve in a year. I didn’t do that, and I won’t go back but I want to her her apologize, she has literally shown no remorse the best I get is “is should on have done what I did it was not a good decision” I’m trying to move on, doing all ththe move on things except letting go.

    • So Sorry, Broken, My situation was exactly the same. I have been No Contact since the end of Jan and this has worked to help let go. I did the IHS for 4 months and it was a living Hell. Get away as soon as you can. I can now go perhaps half a day without thinking about her. Remember that this person is not the person you married, and this person is not your friend. She will hurt you in any way possible to justify to herself that she deserves the affair. You will likely never get an apology or see remorse because she has no concept of how devastated you are.
      It takes time to grieve over what you have lost. You (and I) are still near the beginning of it all but I can see that I am getting better every day. Come here often and read the wisdom that the Chumps ahead of us impart. Be gentle on yourself and we will both be Mighty one day.

    • Oh honey, I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’re not ready to date yet.

      You have no skin on, right now – you’re just a big bunch of broken heart and exposed nerves.

      Maybe give yourself some breathing space? Otherwise you are medicating with people, and that doesn’t help in the long run.

      • I have to echo what Lola said.
        4.5 months is not very long, and you are grieving.

        I think all of us have been there when it seems like meeting someone else will make everything feel better. But that poor person often ends up either paying the price for our emotional instability, or we are such a bad place that we experience pain from perceived slights/betrayals/misunderstandings.

        I think many here would agree that it’s best to take a good bit of time and focus on yourself as an individual and do the healing you’ll need to do before you get involved with someone else.

        I know you didn’t ask for advice; just trying to help you avoid getting hurt all over again.

        Wishing you all the best,


    • You are on the right path. Don’t take any detours! She will not accept fault so therefore she will never apologize. Once you realize she’s entitled and feels justified to do what she wants to do because she thinks she deserves to be happy, the behavior starts to make sense. I kept waiting for my ex to come to his senses. I lived through 2 Ddays separated by years and 2 different schmoopies.

      Whatever issues she has that makes her think doing this is okay, she will continue to do for the rest of your lives. It sounds like you trust that she sucks. It does take time for the heart to catch up with the brain.

      I had this overwhelming urge to date when I first discovered his betrayal each time! I’m not sure why really. I think partially it’s to save face? Don’t do it. You are not ready. You can’t stick a person in to fill a void. I have kids so I am the sane parent. They have been through enough crazy in their lives.

  • Music, appropriate DDay and cheater music!!!
    Reminds me, after DDay I could not listen to music.
    Music froze me!
    I used to play electric guitar and sing in a little band as a teenager and I would sing at weddings.
    Music meant so much to me.

    I noticed cheater taking albums to work, said he was making copies.
    It was “our” favourite stuff.
    I can’t, to this day, get Olivia Newton’s, “Home ain’t home anymore” out of my brain and my heart.
    Yep, that was one of the songs. ( must have sounded better to him in OW’s arms).
    Funny, to this day, music never holds the same meaning to my ears and to my heart.

    Thank you CN, I do get a chuckle out of many of the songs listed in this post topic.
    My sense of humour remains intact, thankful for that!

  • I got rid of all the bedroom furniture – PreyingMantis had had affairs in there, and I could feel the bad juju rising up off every piece. Replaced it with cute cheap stuff off craigslist. Same with the nasty living room furniture PreyingMantis insisted we have. It was as ugly and tacky as PM. GONE. Got rid of over a dozen minivan loads of furniture and odds-and-ends. Donated so much to Goodwill that over a 2 year period, got almost 8K tax credit from the donations. I was shocked at how it added up. I try not to think about how much money PreyingMantis wasted over the 6 years we were together if that’s what I got for the used stuff. Got my entire bottom half of my house back. The laundry room. I can park cars in the garage again. (PM was a borderline hoarder.) Added two rooms to the house where all PreyingMantis’ crap used to be. I now have a halfway decent office space, even! I got rid of all my Switzerland “friends”. In the past three years, I’ve met the coolest, most awesome CN people – and I’m so aware that these people wouldn’t be in my life unless I’d grown a pair and shown that asshole the door. I signed up for darn near any meetup group I could, and have met a bunch of cool people that way too. I’ve been going to the ballet, concerts, the symphony – all those things that PreyingMantis wouldn’t attend because they were “too snooty” or “boring”. I can watch all the BBC I want without being told I’m “watching the History of Lint”. I’m not being made fun of, cut down, or lied to 24 x 7. Life may be boring at times… but boring is good! Every single day, I go to the FB “On This Day” feature, and search for any mentions of PM. Then I systematically remove them. Photos, comments, things in which PreyingMantis was tagged… delete, Delete, DELETE! Like you never even existed, you weaselly little chickenfucker. Got rid of all the saved texts and voicemails. The photos. My life is so much cleaner and calmer. It’s peaceful, drama-free, and I don’t have to worry about being betrayed all the time. Or ever again. I got out of the computer field and switched to something way less stressful. I’m not sure where I go forward from here, but it’s a cheater-free life and I’m happy. Everything just feels better.

  • I have held on for 6 years. I discovered my husband’s affair in 2011. He claimed that it had been an emotional affair; I don’t believe him, but whatever. I was devastated in 2011. I did everything I could to save our marriage, primarily because my kids were young and I did not want to have them only 1/2 of the time. He cheated — why should I be punished by getting to spend less time with my kids? Anyway, I scheduled us for marriage counseling, I read a million books, I highlighted the books for him, and on and on and on. He continued to lie to me and gaslight me. One time, when I asked him why he lies, he told me that he only tells me what I can handle. Anyway, after years and years of his lies, etc., I found (last week) text messages between him and his affair partner which confirm that they have been in contact and that their affair was more than emotional. I still cannot wrap my mind around how he can lie to me so much and how he has so little regard for my feelings.

    My kids are older now, and so I am done. I have to stand up for myself and set boundaries. His cheating is a deal breaker. I have to take a deep breath and go through this fire, knowing that there is a better, more peaceful place for me on the other side.

    • So done with this nonsense. So can relate. Mine also claimed it was EA. Similarly I did not want to only spend half time with kids at the time. Too many years later turned out it wasn’t just EA and that he has serially betrayed trust. The validation here “didn’t cause it, can’t cure it” helps to move on. Even now it’s tough but worth it and it gets better.

      • So, Onwards, where are you in this process? Do you have any wisdom that you can share? I am just starting this process. . .

        • So Done with this nonsense just saw this After much hope, pick-me dancing, marriage police, late last year a DD…
          Here,s what I did, Got my ducks in a row (copies of financial info a safe place). ! saw a counsellor, told trusted familyand friends included the historical aspect “cheated again” (I had had been too ‘loyal’ they were indignant on my behalf and supportive’), got my own bank acct), Consulted a lawyer. (On legal advice moved half funds into own acct, told and emailed that I was separating -that’s when I found out the EA wasn’t just that) Official separation end of last year. ‘kids’ chose to stay with me full time, He lives elsewhere (moved in someone in less months than decades we had been together). Life is much better. Home is a place of relaxation. No more walking on eggshells. After finding CL I went NC. Read CL avidly So many helpful insights and validation. Hope some of these steps can help you. Best of luck. One of my supporters said iwhat took you so long? Still working through the details. It’s much better and it keeps getting better. Peace and Authenticity rock.

    • So sorry for your pain So Done. When I discovered the 2nd Dday, I initially called him out on it and told him I was going to a lawyer. I moved his stuff into the guest bedroom and told him if he couldn’t stop with our daughter’s 20 something coach he needed to move out. While he was pursuing his twu wuv and going out to meet her (he didn’t know our phones were synched and I knew what he was up to), I was getting my ducks in a row.

      My only advice is to get your ducks in a row. I know you feel like you are smothering in shit, but it is worth it. I knew I was done and I could no longer 1) give any more to the marriage as I felt like the only one who ever gave, 2) continue to always wonder where the next schmoopie was going to pop up even if he gave this one up. Once I realized he could and would do this to me and the kids, I started the mentally done. The very first thing I did was secure my most prized possessions in life—my pictures of the kids.

      If he’s been doing this since 2011, he’s feeling pretty smug and secure. He doesn’t know your mighty. Don’t expose it until you’ve lawyered up got your ducks in a row. Make a list of what’s most important to you and go from there.

      • I have a question, and I would love to hear from anyone else on this. Two weeks ago, I discovered text messages between my husband and his AP, and I confronted him. We had an ugly few days, but then I adopted the no contact rule. My husband is now behaving as though nothing happened. Does he actually believe that, if he acts like nothing happened, I will forget that he had/is having an affair and has lied to me a million times? Has anyone else’s cheating spouse tried to pretend as though nothing happened? Why do they do that, and how are they able to do it? Thanks for your insights.

        • So Done,

          Turdd, my STBX, always pretends nothing he ever does happens. Why do they do this? In Turdd’s case, it is because he can’t deal with confrontation. Pretending it didn’t happen also turned into his “things were going so well, I am trying so hard and all you do is bring up the past”. I am not kidding.

          My best advice, is NEVER let them pretend anything. Refuse to live in their pretend world at all costs. It was one of the worst mistakes and caused some of the greatest harm I did to myself.

          My first DDay was 12/18/11. It was the day we decorated the Christmas tree. My daughter was home from school abroad. The pictures from that day haunt me and serve as a reminder of what I allowed myself to suffer through. I will never get rid of them lest I forget.

          My STBX, Turdd, does as your does…constant lying sums it up best and quickly. Horrible, heartbreaking wreckonciliation. A DUI with a hooker in the car. Finding another affair when he was in the hospital from the DUI (over 100 stitches, flayed his scalp from his head and ICU) and more attempts at wreconciliation. So much online crap, there are not enough pixels in the universe to cover it all.

          We have been safe since 09/02/16. We moved out in three days over Labor Day weekend. The five of us, two wonderful kids and two wonderful dogs are the other four, are doing well. Quite well.

          He is not doing so well. He drinks more than ever. Went back to jail for another 10 days for not meeting the conditions set forth due to his DUI. He has not had a driver’s license since the DUI, over two years, and recently wrecked the new car his father purchased him in spite of it. He is taking a bus to work now…over six hours a day of commuting for him.

          Right after us leaving, he knocked the crap out of my son for lying over his homework. My son’s teacher reported him to CPS. He refused to do anything the social worker asked of him.

          He rarely sees the kids and tells everyone that I am keeping him from them…not even close to the truth. He does skype with them several times a week and has been drunk on three occasions. On one occasion my daughter saw his AP’s (the one discovered when he got his DUI) written in sharpie on his chest while on skype. Yes, a 42 year old man wrote a woman’s name on his chest and let his ten year old daughter see it. She asked who Amy was. He covered up and said he had no idea what she was talking about. She pushed it and he snapped at her. They no longer have video calls.

          I filed for divorce almost ten months ago. He refuses to respond. The final paperwork for the default was sent off last week. I am so looking forward to finalizing that.

          I gave Turdd almost five years of chances and I received nothing but Hell on Earth. I even went to jail when I found a hidden email account and he lied to my face about it. I was voted least likely to ever go to jail by my entire world. I begged, I pleaded, I took meds to cope, I raged and my soul died daily. Nothing was ever more important to him than him.

          So Done, run for your life. You are worth saving. Your “marriage” is not. I swear to you that you will never regret it.

        • So Done,

          He may be hoping, as many do, that you will be able to sweep it under the rug and you both will carry on as though nothing has happened.

          (He gets–CAKE! You get–the Shit Sandwich! It’s all good! NOT!!!!)

          They can do it because they are adept at lying and compartmentalizing. They can do it because they WANT to. It will probably never make any sense to you or any caring person.
          He probably doesn’t like conflict, and perhaps you don’t either.
          But I’ll bet you he has a fall-back plan in place if you DO decide to get up on your hind legs.

          Like they say here: Best to get thee to a good lawyer ASAP, get your ducks in a row, PROTECT YOURSELF from this man, while telling him NOTHING.

          Let him think whatever he wants. It’s not your problem what he thinks.
          It sounds like you’re in the stage we all go through where you’re trying to “figure it out.”
          Chump Lady calls it “Untangling the Skein of Fucked-upness”. And she’s right.
          That’s about what it amounts to.

          You might think about focusing 100% on yourself and what YOU want going forward. We can’t control or even understand other people. It’s really hard to do, but getting that focus back on yourself and gaining control of your life is energy well spent.

          All the best to you,


          • SSG,
            Thanks for your insight. I think you are exactly right — he can do it because he is adept at lying and compartmentalizing. He has definitely done this before (i.e, pretended that nothing happened) when I have confronted him, but the difference this time is that I have concrete evidence of his extracurricular relationship. I have a text message from his AP to him telling him that all she wants for her birthday is to have his arms wrapped tightly around her and his body smack up against hers. His explanation for this text? He told me that she likes to sit close to him. (??!!!!). Anyway, after I confronted him 2 weeks ago: (1) he called his AP to apologize to her for dragging her into this (!!!!), (2) he defended her to me, saying that she doesn’t want an affair; she wants a real relationship (!!!!); (3) he changed his FB password without mentioning anything to me; and (4) he told me that he still has feelings for her. And so, I told him to leave. . . After all of that, he is now pretending like nothing happened. He is is being so pleasant to me. I have not engaged with him (because of the no contact rule), and he is acting as if I did not just discover his affair. It is just so so so bizarre.

            But to your point, I have backed down in the past, and so I’m sure he thinks that I will do so again. Why can’t he just man up and get out? Why do I have to be the one to force this issue?

            Thanks for listening.

  • Read every comment on this one. I needed this today – a reminder that the difficult period of growth I am in is making room for better things. It reminds me of this poem by Rumi, which has probably been shared around CN spaces before.

    “Sorrow prepares you for joy.
    It violently sweeps everything out of your house,
    so that new joy can find space to enter.
    It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart,
    so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.
    It pulls up the rotten roots,
    so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.
    Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,
    far better things will take their place.”

    One thing I’ve noticed in myself, which might sound strange, is that I’ve made room in my shoulders. STBX used to comment that I walked with my head down, but I’ve noticed lately that my head is held higher now and my shoulders are away from my ears. I go for sports massage and my masseuse remarked at my last session that I was carrying less tension and seemed looser in my upper back, which is usually quite tight. It’s a small thing, but I think my body has more space to stand tall and I’ve let go of a large cause of stress in my life that I didn’t even fully realise was there, letting go of this person who I now realise often made me feel small.

    • Magic. This post resonates for me. I can’t look at photos of me back around D-day without cringing … I looked frightened and gaunt. There was so much I couldn’t see about the impact on me over time of criticism and judgement. The environment I’d been living in was corrosive to my spirit. That weight has gone now and light has been let in.

      Standing tall is a good way to put it!

  • I wish I could report differently but I know The Sprout still takes up way too much space in my head. Our house settled on Friday – a mammoth job both for me to prepare for sale and to move out of as it was on acreage, had huge outbuildings, we had had horses there and had moved 4 times in the last 10 years so a lot of things that had never been unpacked. I have had to continue going to work, taking my children to appointments and do it all at night, often into the early hours (Thursday night all night) but it is finally done and we are in our new rental. Minimal help from The Sprout and didn’t even follow through on what he sad he would, surprise, surprise – no change there then.Although the new rental is much smaller and less prestigious than we have had before I am happy with it. It has a nice energy and it is Sprout-free.
    It is a huge step to being free of him but I am still not in my head. I guess that is my next job and it will be done by finding my own new direction in life. I have to say, the last couple of months of moving have made me think that it should be about embracing minimalism – and experientialism! I am half way through listening to “Stuffocation” which is essentially about experientialism, and just started reading “The Joy of Less”. My life is overstuffed – with things but also time-wise, and simplifying is very appealing. Focusing on that rather than The Sprout who I don’t miss remotely, just wish he would fuck off more both literally, and inside my head. Keeping boundaries (can’t avoid any contact as 2 children, both of whom have special needs and we work in the same organisation) and finding my own new direction, I think will help.
    As always, great to hear from you guys who are further down the road in this journey – you are an inspiration!

  • I replaced my 55 mile commute (while living with the cheater) with a 12 mile commute to work.

    I replaced a job in which I never traveled with a new job (in the same company) that gave me the opportunity to travel 5 times this year. I could have never gone for this job while I was still married because I would have had to deal with 1) worrying about what he did while I was gone since I had a new non paying job in the marriage police force and 2) His projection. He pretty much accused me of cheating our whole marriage. I thought he was insecure so I let him routinely go through my purse, go through my phone, show up wherever I worked to embarrass me.

    I replaced hearing him whine about how much other people had and watching him squander money on ensuring he was keeping up with the jones’ or trying to impress them with having plenty of money to pay my bills (early in most cases), save and invest and still have enough to enjoy myself.

    I replaced my relentless pick me dancing with earning myself a MS and just generally focusing on me.

    I replaced feeling less than all the time with feeling like I am worth more than his cheating, lying, cowardly ass and treating myself accordingly. I am not shy about flushing any hint of narcissism out of my life because it’s way too short to spend it on less than quality people.

    I replaced his whacked out, drug addled, entitled family with my own. We may not be perfect but we care about one another and we don’t feel entitled to the world owing us anything. My parents laid a solid foundation for my sister and I and I turned my back on that to be with cheater because his values didn’t align. Nothing and no one will ever get in the way of my family again.

    I replaced his shallow work gatherings that I attended (while he never attended any for me) for genuine friends; old and a few new as well (some from chump nation).

    Overall I replaced my crappy ex life with a genuine new life and for that I could not be happier!

  • Chalk up another one who replaced stbx with an adorable puppy. Turns out the space where his gun safe had been(we built the house around it with reinforced floor joists) was the perfect size for a kennel. The kids begged for the puppy and I gave in telling them it would be their therapy dog.

    I am on a vacation with 2 of the kids this week- so relaxing without trying to please stbx. The stress came though when I read an email from the lawyer that showed stbx had sold 24 of his guns for a low price. This is definitely an attempt to keep me from getting half of their real value. No doubt it is a scam and just means more cost for lawyer to dispose gun dealer etc. He can’t just give me half and let me go.

    Two youngest met with a therapist just before vacation for the first time. Stbx requested this. It will be ongoing but it was encouraging. When they were telling me about the session they said they thought the therapist thought their dad was crazy. When they told him what he did for their birthdays, he said, excuse me for saying this but that sucks.

    Today when we passed a restaurant my 15 year old was commenting on my adult daughter eating alone there when she was in this city for work and I said that’s fine you have love being with yourself and she said Mom you sound like one of those empowered women. I hope so!

  • Puppies the greatest antidepressants. I got 2 last wk. Two silver Aussie Blue Heelers. Thelma and Louise. :Thelma decided to get into my huge potted tree and dig for “Down Under” this morning. She dug up a large sea shell. They keep you moving that’s for sure. I’ll have to enlarge a picture of my X and tape to their puppy piddle pads.

  • Ok ladies — search chumplady on Spotify — 40+ songs from this blog post.

    I’m new to Spotify so I’m not sure if it’s open to add on to…

    I’m out of time now, but I’ll try to make my way over to the forum and add others…

      • Sorry folks. Just figuring this out.

        So… playlist is either public or collaborative — it can’t be both.

        Btw, if you choose Radio, Spotify will autogenerate a station based on the playlist.

        If you want to add to this list, I’m willing to update it. I’ve subscribed to this post, so just reply with your suggestion.

        Rock on fellow Chumps! Hugs and love to all.

  • I replaced him with nothing. After the giant turd left I’ve been enjoying my freedom and autonomy. It sucks doing 100% of the household chores, but it’s only 10% more than what I used to do before. So, whatever. Getting a life for me has meant getting MY OWN life.

    I’ve been single for a while now and I think this is it, I think I am “the one”.

  • Got rid of Mr. Porn-Webcam-Can’t Get It Up Because You’re Just Not Attractive Loser
    and upgraded to a
    Smart Funny Amazing Hot Sexy Loyal and Loving Drummer Who Makes Me Swoon.

    I’d go to the ends of the Earth for my new guy.

    GUBU just sits in front of his computer… looking for “love”. Or that’s what I imagine he does. If I imagine him at all, which I almost never do.

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