Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Chump Lady Slouches Toward Another Year

Well folks, today is my birthday and ever year I rerun the first birthday column I wrote here. It’ a meditation on craptacular chumpy birthdays, and what a difference a new life makes. Enjoy! And excuse me while I lounge in bed a bit longer in my PJs. — Tracy

Well, I try not to blog about myself too much, because God, how narcissistic and dull. (Mommy blogging anyone? Does anyone want to know about my son’s travails with geometry?) But I’m going to make an exception today, because today is my birthday. (Cue Leslie Gore… “It’s my birthday! And I’ll blog if I want to! Blog if I want to!”…)

I’m 46, if you’re curious. Fairly ancient. [Editor’s note. I am now 51. Officially ancient.]

What does my descent into middle-aged decrepitude  have to do with infidelity? Well, my 46th birthday is a nice reminder of my fortieth birthday, which sucked epically. And I thought I’d tell you about it as a little example of how different life can be post-cheater.

When I turned 40, I had just moved to a new state with my then husband for his job. I’d been married four months. We bought a 100-year old fixer upper house (with my money) and it had been badly neglected. A widow had owned it and hadn’t done yard work since her husband had died years ago. But hey, you know what they say about codependents, right? Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things. I was still a flaming codependent. I loved the potential of this ancient pile of house and I was resurrecting the garden single handedly.

It was the day of my fortieth birthday and I ordered myself a truck load of cow manure from a local farmer. He delivered it, dumped it in my yard and I spent the day ankle deep in shit, shoveling cow flop around.

At the time — swear to GOD — I thought “I’m ankle deep in shit on my fortieth birthday. This must be a METAPHOR for something!”

My metaphor called me about six weeks later. It was the Other Woman phoning to let me know she existed. Turns out — surprise! — my husband had a mistress spanning 20 years and three marriages.  No, I had NO IDEA. Remember, I’m a CHUMP. No clue. None. Zip. Zilch.

I had just moved to a no fault divorce state, financed a serial cheater’s career move, and bought a 100-year old fixer upper with this fucking sociopath.

How I got out of that mess is another story for another time (many miracles, many blessings, a lot of idiocy on my part — idiocy I share with you as trial-tested results of What Not To DO). The point was… my birthday.

My fortieth birthday sucked. I literally spread shit on my fortieth birthday. My cheater husband’s gift to me was a pen. (Admittedly a nicer gift than the tie-dye motif license plate cover he presented to me that Christmas). And during that weekend, unbeknownst to me at the time, he was off screwing his mistress. Cherry on top of the shit sundae.

What a difference six years makes.

Today I am so blessed. I’m remarried to a great guy who is truly my better half. He’s nerdy and kind and super smart. Verbal. Bright. A mensch. A wonderful father to his kids and a rock to my son. He eats too much popcorn and loves polka music. His quirks fit my quirks. I marvel every day at my amazing fortune that this is my life and he is my husband… and I will shut up now before you choke on my treacly, heartfelt, love goop.

My husband has been pestering me for the last week about what I want for my birthday breakfast. He is a master at French toast, and tragically for him, I do not care for French toast. (“It’s JUST LIKE BREAD PUDDING! You love bread pudding!” No, it’s not the same. French toast is a pale substitute because it’s not drenched in Bourbon.) I got a sweet roll and coffee and roses for breakfast. Swoon.

He took me out on a date last weekend and gave me a ridiculously extravagant gift. He put a pressed shirt on, and the man hates to wear all things dry clean only. He opened my door. He bought the fancy dinner.

I’m not writing this to make you hate me. I am writing this to you to say  — YOU ALL DESERVE THIS. Everyone deserves to have someone in their life who delights in delighting them. Who gets honest to God pleasure from giving to them. Who  will go to whatever effort just to PLEASE you on your birthday.

You know what’s sexy? EFFORT. Effort is sexy.

I didn’t know this until I was 42 and met my husband. I spent a lifetime in my relationships shoveling shit to one degree or another. I’m not saying <sniff!> no one loved me, no one bought me a pretty present. I’m saying — I didn’t know what reciprocity felt like. What it was to love someone who loved me back just as hard, maybe harder. Who if I lobbed the ball to him, picked it up and lobbed it right back. Who threw it further into the green, past me, so that I had to run to catch it. Who (damn him) is ahead on this birthday celebration thing. But I have a few things planned… his turn is coming…

Betrayed folks — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.

Going to go celebrate some more. I’ve got a sugar coma now, between my prose and the birthday cake… maybe I’ll go take a nap… Happy birthday to me!



Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Happy Birthday Chump Lady.
      I found this blog 5 years ago in November, after Dday.
      I was literally guided by you to get through the very depths of despair that ensued.
      I’ve watched the blog grow in numbers, but it has always continued to offer the best advice.
      I hope you have the most wonderful birthday, for you are truly deserving.
      Enjoy every moment!

      • Yes Yes! ditto! summer of 2012 was my end of marriage moment. My M-day, if you will. I found this place some time in the fall, and whoo-boy, has it ever kept me sane. I’m pretty certain I’m at Meh–most def with regard to the wasband. New life is a bit more of a challenge in your late 50s and bad health, but at least I don’t have a 175 lb millstone tied to my neck anymore. Rock on Chump Nation.

        • NotAMeanGirl

          I know what it’s like being in your 50’s and starting over. But the choice is not between a happy working marriage, or a horrible divorce. Lest se forget.

          I think my choice was between a spending my life with an increasingly nasty guy who had checked out long ago (before I knew), and a divorce from a bastard WITH a future of peace. There are decent men our age who want partners, some of whom are funny and smart.

          I was married so long, I’m not sure I want remarriage at all. I know I do not need it.

          But it’s very lovely to know I don’t have to have DOCTOR Narkles sniping at me the rest of my life.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! You deserve a beautiful day and a great year. Thank you for providing this site to help all the wonderful men and women who find themselves in a very hurtful and painful situation, I am 4 months post divorce and I come here everyday to read the great advice you give and it has helped me immensely. I have a way to go to get to Meh, but I know I am so much better alone than with someone who created so much drama and chaos in my life. Who treated me like crap and was never going to change. I am 58 years old and maybe someday I will find love again, but even if I don’t I have the respect of my friends and family, I have a sparkle in my eyes again, and I am beginning to find the person I lost being married for 35 years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your advice and for creating Chump Lady. Happy Birthday!!!

    • Lost Wishes…I’m so glad to hear the sparkle is back in your eyes! Many of us here can relate to that, and owe so much of it to Tracy and Chump Nation. It’s hard for me not to gush, but her impact in my life cannot be overstated.

      Tracy, from thousands of miles away behind your keyboard, you have dramatically improved and changed my life forever. This will trickle down into the lives of my children, who will understand what it’s like to have a mother who doesn’t shrink from the hard things, who held her head high and her spine straight, and who unequivocally demands fair treatment (at minimum) and shows them how to do the same.

      The strength of your readers was always inside of them, but it took the right mixture of your inarguable logic, witty banter, sarcastic hilarity, and warm encouragement to unlock the badass that lay sleeping within. You have a gift. And instead of keeping that gift to yourself or relegating it to a journal, you have displayed it to the world…and the world is grateful. Happiest of Birthdays, Chump Lady!!

        • Chump Lady,

          My post was weirdly placed here, and it’s very strange. My MAC does not work properly on this site. (WTF?) I mean, seriously. It’s only here that it’s insane.

          Maybe THE DOCTOR fucked up my computer. totally believable except he’s married to Schmoopie now.

          Anyhow hell yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

          You are important to me and to us. “Thank you” seems insufficient. So, let me say


          the DOCTORS1stWife&Kids (but not the last)

      • I second that enthusiastic “happy birthday Chump Lady”! And add that the gift of having the Imperial March play when I entered divorce wars instead of the sad trombone song made all the difference.
        Darth Vader striding into negotiations is much more entertaining than Debbie Downer.

        • That just gave me the most outstanding visual ever, Ugh No! Black robes flowing out behind you…it’s best pictured it in slo-mo with your ex shrinking in his chair.

          Not that ANY of what we’re going through is funny, but in laughing at its absurdity, we take back our power.

          I told my mom the other day ‘You know what, mom? 3 years ago, Honey stole my dignity. But I’ve taken it back.’ She got teary and said ‘Oh sweetheart, I can tell.’ 🙂

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! Enjoy your day, get pampered by love and attention and know that we all here at CN love you.

    Mine is coming in 5 days. Cheater always sucked at saying “Happy Birthday” , let alone any gifts or pampering. I grew to not expect anything from him. I grew to ignore my birthday. My last celebration was in a karaoke bar 13 years ago with family and friends right before I moved to another country with him. It was a fabulous birthday filled with so much laughter and fun. Since then I dreaded every birthday and just wanted this day to be over with. I had calls from overseas (family and friends), I received cards from others and whenever I brought it up with cheater he would say for him this is just another day. Stop fussing around, LTC. Last year I learned he took his main AP onto a 2-week adventure trip on her 40th. Ha!

    I still have not planned anything for this one but thinking girls night out will do. Something. Anything is better than sitting and waiting that maybe, just maybe, the person that is supposed to love you would want to make this day special.

    I was not covered in cow manure last year (although figuratively I was) but it was on my birthday last year when I firmly decided enough is enough. Enough of this pshyco abuse I endured for years, enough of lying and enough of Naugahyde reconciliation shit. Once I decided that amidst of non-stop crying and feeling sorry for myself yet again, I found you and CN in a week after that. Since then I have been moving forward only.

    Have a happy birthday, ChumpLady!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!! I hope you have wonderful day. 🙂 I hope everything positive you put out there to help us chumps comes back to you tenfold this next year. 🙂

    And my 40th birthday sucked too. I wrote about it in the letter I sent you about a year and a half ago. My ex never did anything for my birthdays. No cake. No presents. No going out to eat. No flowers. He’d just leave a card someplace lying around for me to find. Yeah, he couldn’t even be bothered to hand the card to me and say Happy Birthday. However for all his birthdays, I always went all out with a small family party, nice homemade dinner and cake and of course presents. My 40th rolled around I and thought that maybe he’d do something? Nope! He went up to Target around 11:00 and got me a card. No presents. No cake. He did take me out to dinner at Quaker State Lube (romantic, hey?). I was so defeated and depressed by the end of dinner, that I just wanted to go home. But instead we went to the mall and bought him work pants. And then we went to church and when a friend asked what we did for my birthday, I said we went to the mall to buy him pants. As soon as I said it, he tried to hush me up as soon as the words came out of my mouth. He knew that was wrong or selfish since he tried to shut me up. And all of my exes previous birthdays, he made it a point to go out to lunch with a “friend” from college who’s birthday was the same day or close to his. Funny how he knew to take his “friend” out for lunch, but when I cried after my 40th about how he could never do anything for my birthday, he said, “I didn’t know.” He knew. He’s just a self-absorbed narc who needed to devalue me to keep me “trying harder” to win his love and approval. How I’m treated in the future when he comes to special occassions is my new boundary. A woman shouldn’t have to cry and tell her husband that special occassions need to be celebrated. Yeah, he never celebrated anything. Anniversaries, birthdays, Valentines Day, etc. Never, not once. Not putting up with that shit again! Happy Birthday again, Tracy! Thanks for teaching me so much these past almost two years. 🙂

    • Happy Birthday T!

      I too just turned 51 a few weeks back. I used to enjoy the birthdays, now I hate them thanks to “the wife”.
      Looking forward to when the become fun again.

      I am so glad I found your book, found this site, and found there are many others in this world who are going/ have gone through what I am. You and all the other Chumps have helped me keep my focus and just to understand things that are happening.

      Thanks so much Tracy!!
      Thanks so much Chumps!!

      Happy Birthday

      • Happy Birthday! I too, hit 51 this year and had a much better birthday than 50 which was just before dday. This year was simple, going to a restaurant with my kids but it was full of laughter and love. I was worried about pleasing fuckwit on my 50th and of course couldn’t do it so it was miserable. This thanksgiving I am taking all 5 of my children to an island which doesn’t appear to have been too hurricane damaged sort of a makeup. After our last vacation with all of us, cheater announced he would never do that again. Good for him, I think we will have a fine time. Much better without having to worry about his happiness.

        Your post makes me hopeful Tracy that there may be someone out there who would do something for me some day that is just for me because he loves me and not feel the need to laud it over my head for years that it was awful. Isn’t that what love is? Being happy just to be with that person.

        It came out that cheater bought schnoopie a $1600.00 pendant for Christmas. It sounds nice but anybody with money can walk in to a jewelry store and buy something pretty. He did that for me a couple of times. There was no special meaning behind it.He hasn’t changed, there is no thought behind his love bombing. It is payment for services rendered. If the $$$ disappeared, I think she would too.

        Oldest son’s birthday was last week, he got a card in the mail with a $15.00 fast food gift card in the mail after hearing stbx tell a friend that is what the children who reject me get. At deposition he said his therapist told him to get small and meaningful gifts. Hmmm, what is the meaning of that? He said in the card I am looking forward to picking up our relationship. Son read this and said “from the point where he cussed me out on the phone and hung up on me?” This was their last contact.

        Stbx also texted him a picture of himself and son when son was a toddler and captioned it better days. Enough said.

        Chump lady, thanks for giving this place to journal and vent and once again know that I am not alone in this craziness.

        • Ha! 51 here too! What is with cheaters? Do they all work from the same play book?
          Gift cards in an envelope for the kids Christmas gifts…..after he worked so hard out every night shopping for Christmas. Seriously?
          He went all out and got me 5 gift cards for my 50th birthday…..and a 6th for the OW cause it wouldn’t be fair to leave her out.
          Holidays were horrible. Spending time with your family meant venting…. Yikes!
          I’m nine months gone!
          Happy Birthday Tracey!!

    • This reminds me of what the Ex did to my daughter on her 14th birthday. I had to work but he was a SAHD at the time. We had just moved (because he wanted to) and she didn’t know anybody in town so had no friends to hang with that day. Did he take her off on a fun adventure? No. He took her along to the barber to watch her brothers get haircuts. That’s it. Then he got upset with her for getting upset with him. When I got home, I took her to dinner. We are not the only ones who have to deal with the insensitivity. When the Schmoopie glamours wear off, they will be treated just as badly.

    • Mine have a damn at the very beginning. I don’t remember when it became “circle the stuff you like and I’ll surprise you with which one I buy.”

      The last Valentine’s Day before DD#2, he came home with the shittest flowers ever. Ever. A perfect metaphor for how he felt about me and our relationship.

  • Have a Giant Piece of Birthday Cake Today! In fact, EAT THE WHOLE CAKE!!!!!

    Our Birthdays might be the only time us chumps really prefer to be cake eaters, but you ROCK Tracy – enjoy your special day!!!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Thank you for this site that gets me through this horrible process of having the rug pulled out. It is my birthday as well and like lost wishes I’m 58 and have 32 years into a marriage with grown children and grandchildren. I woke up in middle of night, alone , crying thinking wow it’s my birthday and I’m feeling really chumpy. My Husband had a long term affair with a drug addict half his age ,
    he’s 68 and they had a 6 year old child hid out when the mother died . He fought for custody and is raising child but after much soul searching I moved out; knowing I was just out of spackle and it wasn’t fair to innocent kid. Some people just couldn’t believe I hadn’t caught on earlier but like you said, I had zero, zip clue, I’m a trusting loving chump. Fast forward 2 years, I’m in my own home, gaining respect back of myself and adult children and grandchildren. I’m still dealing with financial infidelity, being betrayed , and all the knee deep pile of manure that comes with this twisted tale. But today, your birthday article is my birthday present of hope for a better life to come. Thank you for giving us chumps a place to be validated, a place to share and that life can be better. Now for some cheater free birthday cake!

  • Happy birthday Tracy!

    At forty I was in my last year of graduate school and the Limited moved to Florida promising a new life leaning me and two children with no money.

    He moved I with my brother, got a part tinme job and never sent money. I lost my 100 year old home to auction and was forced to move to Florida.

    The Limited informed me that he had supported me and now it was my turn to support him. When he came home from his pet tine job and told me a girl kissed him I packed up my truck with rotting floors took my son and left him sitting in the beach and drove back north with a job yet homeless.

    I went through menopause at 41 was losing my hair and lost much weight from the stress. I should have filed then however months later took him back.

    Thanks to CL and this nation I filed in 2014. I’m dating an amazing man who treats me like a person. I never thought it was possible. Now I know the difference! Much thanks to you chump lady.

  • Happy Birthday!
    My D-day was on my birthday. What a mind fuck! Gonna have to live with that forever.
    But you know what makes it so much less intense?
    Having someone who cares for you do more for your birthday than a cheater ever did. Of course a card and a grocery store gift are not hard to beat, but the man I love now, he loves me back and he bought me a little something for my birthday and I wear it every day. It’s not horribly expensive, but it took time and effort to pick it out. It shows he listens to me. I never asked for the thing he gave me, never said I wanted it, I did however months before comment that it was really nice. He listened. He paid attention. He remembered. He took action. You’re right. I deserve that. We all do. May every chump who stumbles onto this site find that.

    Thank you for giving us all hope and something to strive for, every day!

  • Happy birthday, Chump Lady. It looks like you have everything you dreamed of and you worked hard for it.

    I love the way my life has turned out since ditching my abusers. Many times I doubted if I deserved it, wondered if I should have stuck it out, and I really had no understanding of how their minds worked. Love didn’t work like that by my definition. I didn’t think it went with cheating and lying, physical and emotional abuse.

    Despite all the information out there about abuse, it seems too clinical to apply to real life. Chump Lady is where the rubber hits the road and I’ve learned a lot here, not just about cheating but the related behaviours that are just as good a reason to leave. I stayed stuck longer than I should have because anything “less” than cheating didn’t seem to be on the list of things worth leaving someone for without getting blamed for it myself. Cheating was the last straw, even when only my body knew it. I sensed something wrong and couldn’t live with it. The cheating, in my case, came to light later. Everybody knew I was a fool. “Don’t interfere with the marriage” was the rule in my community.

    Here I’ve learned that the world can be against you because the cheater is so charming, so connected and so powerful that nobody believes you, and here we are – so many of us are living it knowing the truth alone. Here, knowing I am not alone, I can grow stronger, quicker and more sure. Thanks for helping me be mighty! I’ve had to learn to toughen up a lot.

    • >>”Here I’ve learned that the world can be against you because the cheater is so charming, so connected and so powerful that nobody believes you, and here we are – so many of us are living it knowing the truth alone. Here, knowing I am not alone, I can grow stronger, quicker and more sure.”

      This was precisely my experience as well. This blog (CL / CN) saves lives while breathing life into the parts of us damaged by the abuse (clarity, confidence, etc.).

      • Jessmom, exactly, X is cunning and manipulative, has charmed everyone making me look like a liar. It’s easy to feel defeated, I come back to CN to find myself, take a deep breath and realize I have value. I’m tired of trying to prove myself to people who believe X and doubt me.
        I know the truth.

        Happiest of birthday wishes to you Tracy, you deserve every happiness and more.

  • Happy birthday and many more! I bet you get great gifts now too! I got pots and pans, vacuum cleaners, rug scrubbers, and a mini shop vac last year so I wouldn’t hurt my back sucking bugs out of the window sills…yep…I am one in a million for sure!

    • This could be its own post — crappiest gifts you got from your cheater. We’ve run something similar at the holidays.

      I’ll trade your shop vac for that tie-dyed license plate cover!

      • It doesn’t get any better if it’s a nice gift but one selected without thought or love. Every year my WS would buy me a nice piece of jewelry. He always went to the same store, and always picked out the same kind of thing. It took no thought on his part at all, and he never gave it any. It was a nice gift, so why shouldn’t I be grateful?

      • I feel like a celebrity! I am so glad you took the time to respond I am almost in tears! The license plate reminded me of the window rain guards I got 2 birthdays ago..he was ignoring me back then but broke the silence long enough to hand them to me…what a POS he is…

      • How about a mushroom growing kit or can opener from the grocery store? Pretty special huh?

        Happy Birthday!!!

        • My birthday was yesterday. Many years ago, RonBurgundy bought me soap printed with the initial of my maiden name as a gift. That should have been a clue, right? Nope, hung in there 10 more years.

          • I can’t even.

            I hope you’ve got that soap in a glamorous dish in the guest bath.

      • My dear mom received only one Mother’s Day gift in almost three decades of marriage to my psycho-abusive, highly probable cheater father.

        It was a TOLIET BRUSH.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. I cannot begin to imagine this world without you and your light. Thank you for creating this safe harbor called Chump Nation. Thank you for finding your voice and sharing it with us.

    We all know that narcs and sociopaths love nothing better than to ruin a birthday, or any holiday for that matter, because they aren’t central. EVERY birthday with Mr. Sparkles sucked and I spackled. Last year, while I was waiting for the divorce to be final, I took myself to Hawaii for my 50th. There was a catamaran taking hour long sails along the coast (rum cost extra)… I took 5 tours that day! BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.

    I’ll admit I was sad that he couldn’t even take our son to get me a card, but that only served to remind me that I’ll need to raise my son to be a man. Mr. Sparkles lacks the knowledge.

    Celebrate you today and give that good guy a kiss. He’s a keeper.

  • Happy happy birthday Tracy! You absolutely deserve to be treated like a queen this day, as do all those in chump nation who have been dealing with shitty character partners for so many years! You have been an absolute inspiration and life changer for me and so many others, hope this day is just filled with one joy after another for you!

    My birthday is Boxing Day and for all you fellow chumps who share this day (or Christmas Day) as a birthday let me join you in sharing that I know this day truly sucks! As a child, it was horrible. My parents were exhausted with pulling together Christmas and could barely make an effort the very next day to do my birthday. My cake was always 1/2 a log roll, a leftover saved from my fathers birthday which was December 23rd. No kid parties ever, it was open house day for all the “old” aunts and uncles etc. to drop by. Boring!! My gift was just one present that I had not been given the day before, dinner was turkey leftovers!

    Fast forward to my marriage of 42 years. Until I found the Chump Lady site I had no idea that I had been married to a Narc and that this was why he was so terrible at gift- giving (totally devoid of empathy). He hated all the gift giving holidays – Valentines, Mother’s Day, anniversary, Christmas and ESP. my birthday. Hated gift giving, but sure loved receiving heaps himself!

    My worst was my 60th birthday. We were on our way to our final separation with him retired and sitting at home while I still worked full time in a job I loved. His alcoholism was consuming him and he had several EAs going that I knew about and had discussed, but he refused to stop as they were just freinds. The week before Christmas he had been drinking daily and Christmas Eve my mom came to stay and when I arrived home with her at 4:30 p.m. he was already drunk, but had gone to bed. I told my Mom he was not feeling well ( spackle spackle – had no idea THEN this is what I was doing) and we had dinner alone, played some cards, hung our stockings (which I then filled hers and now-X’s, leaving mine empty) and went to bed. Christmas morning I woke up X who asked me what day it was? When I told him it was Christmas he was stunned, truly had no clue, jumped up and ran down to shove a couple of unwrapped items in my stocking and a couple of gifts I had requested months ago under the tree. It was a horrible day! Dinner at our daughters later but he was so ill he couldn’t eat and wouldn’t even sit at the table. My 60th birthday the next day? Still ill from all his boozing, no card, no gift, no cake, dinner and not even any remorse……..truly just did not care!

    Now he is out of my life and I have my own home and my own life and I choose what I will do on my birthday. Last year was awesome , went to a movie with daughter, SIL and three grandkids then out to dinner after, best ever !!! This year, who knows, but it will be awesome!!!

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Your story is so similar to mine. I was 48 when I accidentally discovered my perfect husband, of almost 11years, had a mistress. She spanned 40 years and 3 marriages. At the time of discovery, we were living in the house I had purchased. I also owned the business he was employed at. For my birthday, just a month before Dday, he brought me a few rocks he’d found off the side of the road. He and his twat had laughed about it. All of a sudden, he wasn’t perfect anymore. I stayed 4 more years trying to wrap my head around it. Over those 4 years, 4 other women came forward. I am now 53, on my own and going to college full time. I’m glad you found someone wonderful. I don’t ever want to try again. I hope your future birthdays are all terrific! Thank you for all you do!

    • Hi SoManyTears
      I wondered if you could tell me what happened during the four years you stayed, how you made your decision to go? I am three years after D-Day and he’s being really nice, swears he’s not seeing anyone any more, but there were so many women throughout the thirty years of our marriage, most longterm affairs, some one-offs. Now I’m thinking I suppose I should just stay and accept he’s changed, but I can’t stop thinking this man slept with other women all through our marriage and it’s put me off him, emotionally and physically. As you say, it’s difficult to ‘wrap my head round it’. What decided you to go? Did he keep on with the others? Mine is faithful now – he says – but he says he did it because I wasn’t making him feel loved and I wonder if that means he’ll always have an excuse to do it again once he feels secure. (I’m 63, he’s 59).

      • After so many affairs over so many years, curious to know why you believe he has changed? Cheaters lie, cheaters rarely change, they just start hiding it better after discovery.
        Is he totally transparent with everything? Phones, emails, devices? No hidden burner phones or hidden email accounts? Have you done a credit report to check for other bank accounts, credit cards. Sorry, maybe he is a true unicorn and I am too sceptical by far, but I spackled myself for so many years and believed so many lies. I am just now starting to realize how well he fooled me in every way and I am sure now that many people knew what he was doing but never told me.
        I don’t believe in unicorns……..

        • Thea: Ashamed to say that one of the reasons for believing him is that I think he may be getting too old to do it and there won’t be so many women interested…but I can see that makes me really pathetic – ‘Oh, now that no one else wants him I can have him, soiled goods that he is. Lucky me.’ When I think about it, I know it’s not acceptable but I am so scared of doing the wrong thing. If he left me and there was no choice, I think I’d be relieved, but it’s being made to make the choice and I don’t trust my own judgment.
          Thanks so much for your reply.
          This site and CL are amazing because it’s the only place where people understand how important this stuff is.

          • Defeatedchump,
            You deserve better than an aging cheater who ruined your best years and is now keeping you around to push his wheelchair or change his depends and keep him financially stable!!
            I know how scary it is though, I should have done it years ago but I was afraid of being alone, homeless and broke. Terrified !!!
            But you know what, I LOVE the peace and quiet, enjoy every minute of my days, kept the house and redid it to suit just me, and at 65 I will get 1/2 his pension to add to my own. He got a small buy-out and thinks he did great, gonna be a different tune in a year and a half when his income drops by half.
            My point is, I wish I had done it much sooner, but I feel “mighty” for finally getting the courage at 61 to stand up for myself. It was NOT acceptable to be treated that way and I did not need to let it continue any longer. He did not deserve me, never did actually, but i have two wonderful children and seven grandchildren and lots of really wonderful memories and a great future ahead!

          • Honey, you can’t trust him. You don’t trust him. Believe me, you’re so much better off without him in your life. Once trust is gone, you’re done.

            DTMFA. (Dump The Mother F***er’s A&&) Make your life sooooo much better.

            He’s just sucking up to you, and he’ll be a rock around your neck until he dies.

            • I second what Soldiering On wrote…DTMFA Dump the motherf*cker already ! Leopards don’t change their spots. He’s older now so probably doesn’t have a lot of takers on the schmoopie front and what better person to have around than his dear devoted wife appliance ?

              You deserve so much more during the years you have left on earth.

          • Defeated: I am younger and with only 13 years under my belt. But I wanted to share this so you can see they are all made from the same deficient material. When I confronted the cheater a few days before DDay (when my gut was screaming but I did not have any evidence yet) and I told him I didn’t feel he was committed to me his answer was this: “Of course I am committed to you and our family. But family is just one important aspect of my life. It’s not THE MOST important though. I have my work, hobbies, friends, projects….And I need a few years to mellow down.”

            I wish I listened. These were golden words. He said the truth one time in his life. Yet, even after DDay rolled and a few more, I was still hopeful that family was important for him. Because he said so! You see I only heard what I wanted to hear: family was important. I chose to overlook the rest: not as important…or that he needed more time to mellow down…

            Now, when I lawyered up, he pretends nothing is wrong. He keeps trying to convince me that all I need is to wait a few more years (he is 48 now) until he mellows down and then he’ll be mine! And you know what? There was a time with all his lies and gaslighting that I also, like you, did not trust my judgement. He actually made me believe that all the right decisions in our family were his. I just followed his majesty. And I willingly repeated this bullshit after him to just please him. So in the end I believed that I was not capable of better judgement and that I was making a big deal out of his EA’s and PA’s and that it only happened because I never loved him enough and unconditionally and so, if I only continued to wait, just a little more (10-20-30 years??) Then he would have changed. And we would be that happy couple I always dreamt of. And I thought that the cheater, however shitty he was, would be mine! I would win over all these other shmoopies and he’ll be mine! They will all see that they lost and I won! He chose me! The cheater chose me! The chump! Right.

            Until I found CL and CN. The rest is history.

          • DefeatedChump: my STBX did something similar after dday#1. Professions of love, regret, counselling, changed behavior. I thought I finally had the husband I wanted. It lasted a year and a half before cracks started to show. 2 years after dday#1, everything fell apart again. I started to play detective and discovered most of the past 2 years were an act and lies. Yet he had reeled me into believing him and starting to trust again.

            Even the counselling which at the time he told me was bringing us closer and helping us rebuild our marriage was revealed to have been torture to endure for him. Anyone capable of the deceit it takes to cheat and lead a double life is incapable of transparent honesty. They cannot be trusted. They are masters at conning and impression management.

            What does your gut tell you? Are you at peace or is every day bringing you a knot of confusion and questioning? Listen to it. I have found that it is usually right.

          • Defeated chump I totally understand and have the same thoughts in the middle of the night. I think how it would be easier if I didn’t have to make the decision . I was 59 yesterday and he is 68 and we have 32 married years. I think he’s too old and he’ll behave now and I won’t have to be alone. I moved out almost a year ago and am struggling so I am hanging on to CN for wisdom and support. My story is more complicated and twisted than I’m posting here but the bottom line is that tomorrow is not promised . A year after my DDay my friend was shot and killed in a murder suicide by her husband because she was leaving him. I think of her and how she almost made it, how she dreamed of being gramma in her own happy home , free from pain and strife . Her memory gives me strength to live out whatever days I have left on this planet with some pride and dignity, to show my children and grandchildren that im mighty. It’s lonely as hell, I’m angry because I don’t want to be in this club, I second guess because I had to make decision of what I could live with but we are all worthy of happiness . I’m sorry you are going through this and I’m sending you hugs for whatever you decide.

            • I got the biggest red flag of them all if I’d bloody well listened…out of no where sitting watching tv midweek. … “im not who you think i am” . Why the F didn’t i say WHAT the HELL are you talking about . Because i had spent the last 25 years seeing him through my the lens of my ideals. My bad

      • Defeatedchunp, it was the amount of deceit that I couldn’t live with. In those 4 years, following Dday, he became someone I didn’t recognize. All the other woman had been my friends…he introduced me and encouraged the friendships. I recorded him on the job doing damage control and bashing me. He physically assulted me on more than one occasion. He continued to lie, in spite of hard evidence. He bragged that he was a good liar and was surprised he’d been caught. It became evident that he was a sociopath. I contacted many of his ex’s and most were living with PTSD from their encounter with him. This was after 11 years of a perfect marriage…not one argument…ever. I found myself in hell and had to get out. I sold my home and business and left behind all I knew and loved to start over. I miss his grandchildren and my cat. His family and our friends turned on me because of his smear campaign. That still hurts. He is now an online predator. He is on several porn “dating” sites begging for sex. I made the right choice. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I couldn’t live with someone that claimed to love me yet treated me that way. Good luck to you!

        • SoManyTears: right, that’s pretty clearcut. Well done and I wish you every happiness -without him. Thank you for your reply.

        • So Many Tears – I am so sorry you endured this horrible treatment by this SOB!!!! I am so happy you got out!!!! Sending hugs

      • Defeatedchump
        I feel much empathy for you. I too have been stuck for four years since DDay. My cheater also says he doesn’t want us to part. Never did. I have been with him 40 years and I now know he went to hookers since the beginning, with years in between. I suspected from the beginning but I spackled and was addicted to the hopium pipe.
        Chumplady and CN have completely turned my head and made me see the reality of it all. That, no matter how much someone says they care and want to stay, they don’t love and respect you if their actions don’t match the words.
        You have to live authentically, we only have one life and now I understand through CL that we deserve so much more than a cheater can give. They will never change. It is who they are.
        I know I have to leave, I can’t stand it any longer. I will have no assets and be supporting myself, but it will be worth it.

        Tracy, you are truly amazing. Have a wonderful day.

        • BeTrueToYourself: thanks so much for your advice and kindness and let’s think of each other through this difficult time of change. We must be similar ages and it is so hurtful that they cheated through all our best years while we didn’t even think about it. I will lose out financially (but so will he – and yes I can see that could be why he’s hanging on to me). Mine has done so many vile things but insists it’s all past and that he didn’t mean it to hurt me but at the very least that means he’s not taken on board how badly he’s behaved and is minimising.

        • Be True to Yourself – you are right and I am so sorry you are going through this!!!! Sending you strength and hugs!!!!

      • DefeatedChump:

        My marriage was more than two decades … It took a LOT for me to wrap my head around reality (I had lived so long in the fake-ass world he created for me to think I was living … and the subtle, prolonged abuse … all took their toll.)

        What really got the ball rolling was me honestly thinking through the moments in detail … what his cheating entailed, how many lies there HAD to be, how he was so thoroughly while I was investing all of myself into our marriage and family. I had to honestly think about the times he must have come home and kissed me on the lips … had sex with me … after having unprotected sex with other people. I had to think about my pregnancies and how he was having sex with me while cheating — threatening the safety of our child (STD risk). I had to think how vulnerable I was during three fragile pregnancies and how he didn’t even care enough to be committed — as he had promised … and as he swore he was.

        He did all of this with (mostly) a smile and full of “I love you’s” …. and this continued throughout the marriage. Not once did he think “Wow, I am doing something really shitty and I could lose my family, maybe I should stop.” He only talked about stopping when I busted him. And, of course, that proved to be a full-blown lie as well.

        People who lie throughout a marriage will not stop lying. Cheaters who cheat throughout a marriage will not simply stop. Human nature doesn’t work that way. Ingrained behaviors are extremely tough to change — and impossible for people who don’t really think they did much wrong (regardless of their tears and apologies … if it’s not bone-deep, it won’t stick).

        Everything, my entire history with him, was a lie — because the relationship itself was a lie — because he was a liar throughout the ENTIRE marriage.

        The next big step was realizing that this man was not a person I would choose to befriend — let alone allow around my children. His horrendous lack of human decency; his choice to be immoral — to shun real attempts at integrity (the fake “image” integrity just does NOT count in my book) … this is not a person I would want to be around.

        Had I known he was like this when I met him, I would never have pursued a relationship with him. He knew that, which is why he deceived the hell out of me for so long. I helped to provide a veneer of decency to an indecent human. I’m not okay with that. I’m not okay with that for my kids (two of whom are young adults already).

        It’s never to late to model strength to your kids. No matter their ages, they need to see that being treated like shit is never acceptable in a relationship.

        Wishing you the best as you sort through the nightmare. (((Hugs)))

        • *how he was so thoroughly disrespectful

          (missed an important word there — apologies!)

          • JessMom: thanks so much for your kindness. When I do what you say, go through all the lying, deceit, it is disgusting, you’re right. For instance, he admitted he had unprotected sex with other women, but used condoms with me in the marital bed to ‘protect’ me. I asked if he wasn’t afraid of the other women getting pregnant and he said no, he ‘trusted’ them and selected ones who were not looking for that kind of connection. He never wanted a third child with me – now he says he wanted to ‘protect’ me (again! I’ve been so protected) as I’d had caesareans for the first two births. He went on holiday with an ‘ex’ girlfriend when I was 8 months pregnant with our first baby. There is so much I could go on for pages. Interesting that you talk of ‘veneer of decency’ and image’: this strikes home. Mine gained respectability and status by being married to me.
            Thanks again.

            • Same here. Condoms with me under a justification to not have another child (I fought for our only son for years) and unprotected sex with others. He also later admitted condoms were to protect me…

              • And he went ski’ing in austria with “friends” during my planned c-section…came home 10 days after son was born.

      • DefeatedChump,

        Sorry to say that I don’t think he needs an “excuse”.

        This is who is is; a liar and a cheater.
        If you think he’s going to change at this late age when what he’s done up until now has come with zero consequences, please think again.
        Because he has no REASON to change he’s gotten away with everything.

        I am sorry that after so many years you find yourself here.

        I know how hard these decisions are to make; you deeply want to believe that they’ve seen the light (because they *said so*) and therefore you won’t have to face the hardship of leaving them.

        But, in my opinion, if there is a lifetime of deceit and cheating, THIS IS WHO THEY ARE.

        You don’t treat someone you “love” the way he has treated you.
        He may say he loves you, but his actions contradict that. We chumps tend to put way too much emphasis on what they say.
        The fact is, he’s been emotionally stabbing you in the back for many years.

        It really doesn’t matter why. Whether he says it’s really all your fault, or he’s broken in some way (this is a common one), or he has childhood issues, or an addiction….whatever. He’s making a conscious choice to hurt you rather than give up his fun.
        And that’s what it is. He ENJOYS what he’s doing, and he doesn’t value you enough to put a lid on his good times.

        This will sound harsh, but if he has done all this to you, (and probably more you don’t even know about), he doesn’t respect you and he sure as hell doesn’t love you.

        Not the way most of us here define “love”, anyway.

        I believe they only “love” us in the sense that they like having us around, we’re useful for various reasons, we keep them company, make them feel good on some level. We give them credibility. We make them look good, help fulfill their needs, take care of those pesky details in life.
        WE ADD VALUE TO THEIR LIVES. Is that “love”? I don’t think so.

        But they wouldn’t go way out of their way for us, and they sure as hell aren’t going to give up the things they like (other relationships/conquests/hookups/emotional and sexual congress) just because it causes great pain to US. Especially if there are no consequences for their behavior.

        If they were of a mind to do so, we wouldn’t find ourselves asking them to STOP HURTING US.

        What kind of person knows he/she is causing tremendous anguish, but finds excuses to keep doing what they’re doing—for FUN????!?!?!?!

        The kind of person we’re better off without, is what I say.

        Hang in there… with time you’ll be able to see him more clearly.

        In the meantime, DON’T LISTEN TO ANYTHING HE SAYS.
        Simply watch what he DOES and draw your own conclusions.

        As they say, “Words are cheap.”


        • After re-reading this, I realize that to say to someone “He doesn’t love” you is an awful thing to say, and an awful thing to hear.

          I am so sorry if my words hurt you further.

          But there is a benefit in realizing sooner rather than later that you’re dealing with someone who will not ever change and who is very likely to continue hurting you as long as you allow it to go on.

          I wish I had a few decades of my life back, the years when I was living with a liar, a cheater, and a fraud—basically an Emotional Sinkhole.

          Although it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch to get discarded, to be treated like something which got stuck on his shoe that he couldn’t wait to get rid of so he could start his “NewLife”, (Idiot used that as his Dating Profile moniker while we were still married, but stupidly, he spelled it wrong!), my only regret now is NOT GETTING AWAY FROM HIM SOONER.

          There is a better life on the other side; one without someone who doesn’t care enough for your well-being to stop screwing around behind your back.

          Many chumps here talk about what a relief it is to get away from someone who was toxic and causing them ongoing pain.

          Leaving him will create a space for someone better, even if that someone is just you–living life without his poison.

          Best of luck to you!

          • Thank you Star Stuff Goddess – I needed to read this! I am having one of those really sad days and I needed to see this.

          • StarStuffGoddess – don’t worry, it’s not hurtful to hear he doesn’t love me – it’s clear that his idea of love is completely f*ked up. I realise we Chumps often feel sorry for our abusers because they claim to love us in their own way and we make excuses for their f*kedupness. Even if they can’t help it, it still doesn’t mean it’s good for us to put up with it.
            Thanks again for your advice and empathy.

            • I think a lot about “love” these days.

              I read someplace yesterday that “Love is selfless.”
              I think that’s part of it.

              Our cheaters are not selfless where we’re concerned.

              WE are expected to be kind, understanding, loving, giving, true blue and loyal. We’re supposed to forsake all others, make them feel loved, give them kibbles, stroke their flaccid egos, help support them, be there when needed (and in my case, be gone a lot so they could play around in our absence.)

              We’re supposed to keep sex exciting.

              Don’t get me started on this one, where it’s the woman’s job to “keep her man interested” because they’re “wired for multiple partners”–and what? We’re NOT? We’re supposed to like the same old boring thing???!?!? Arrrggghhhh!
              I can’t remember ANY time when my ex ever made an effort to put any thought into what I might like in the sex department. Never. Ever. Happened.
              It’s still rare for a man to think “Gee, what can *I* do to really turn her on/make this exciting/interesting/new for her.”
              (No offense to the guys out there that do, it’s just that we women always get the “dress up in lingerie/act like a pornstar/do this that and the other” while they put in zero effort, except for complaining that we’re not trying hard enough to keep THEIR interest…Stepping off soapbox now…;) )

              We’re not supposed to question them or call bullshit when we see it. We’re not supposed to criticize or call attention to their poor behavior or mistakes.

              There is totally separate set of rules for THEM, of course.
              They want everyone to THINK that they are like we are, but they really have no intention of actually doing the work to achieve it. That’s OUR job!

              Sorry, but it ain’t “love”.

              Anyhow. DefeatedChump, I hope you are able to extricate yourself from your situation. It’s so much better to get away from people who treat you like garbage.

          • Sorry to ask, but I am really curious: How exactly does one misspell “new life”? It’s two words made up of less than five letters each. Wow. Smart one there.

      • Defeatedchump,

        “[H]e says he did it because I wasn’t making him feel loved and I wonder if that means he’ll always have an excuse to do it again once he feels secure.”

        There’s a lot in this one sentence. First, he is blaming you and not accepting responsibility for his choices. Second, he is inviting you to “pick me dance” harder for him. These are not indications of remorse or change.

        Was he making YOU feel loved during those years? My guess is he wasn’t.

        Were you already dancing really, really hard and receiving no acknowledgment or appreciation? My guess is you were.

        My experience has shown me that, yes, cheaters will cheat again and manufacture an excuse once they feel secure that they have reeled their chump back in. Any excuse. There’s always an excuse.

        How to make the decision when you so desperately want this all to go away and so desperately want to believe he has changed and will behave differently? For me, it was insisting on the steps recommended in Chump Lady’s Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse article and seeing how the cheater could not be bothered to follow through on those. Also, it took listening to my gut, paying attention to a visceral feeling.

        If you are posting here, my bet is that your gut is telling you your husband is insincere and will backslide at the first opportunity. Your mind and heart are telling you he’s changed, that we (actually, you) have fixed the things that caused the cheating, but your gut is telling you his character hasn’t changed at all.

        It’s hard, and I am not by any means a poster child for working this stuff out in a speedy and clear-cut manner. I’ve been a serious, serious back bending limbo chump, and I’ve learned that I move through the grieving process like a turtle stuck in molasses.

        If you’re not already in the Forum, I recommend joining and posting some more specifics about your situation. Chump Nation is always willing to help you find clarity.

      • Defeated

        I’m sorry to say serial cheaters who lead a double life don’t change. EVER. The man you are living with is more than likely a covert narcissist. So very cunning these con artists convince us they are sincere with just enough ‘nice’ to keep us hooked.

        Believe me I know; I smoked that hopium pipe for 41 years. Mine, like yours is a malignant selfish sociopath that cannot lead an authentic life or love anyone.

        It’s scary, the unknown. Age doesn’t matter. Money doesn’t matter. You matter. Make a plan. You deserve to be respected. RUN

        “Betrayed folks — do not settle. Good people who make effort exist. Go find each other.”

        It’s hard to believe I first happened upon Chump Lady three years ago after yet another Dday. NOTHING is worse than tolerating abuse. I decided to leave him and file. I no
        longer settle. You don’t have to either.

      • Defeated Chump – please leave your husband!!! You are so much better than him and deserve so much better!!!! I took my husband back after DDay 1 (1 AP for 6 months). He showed remorse, told me I was his soul mate, he could not live w/o me, read books, went to counseling, even convinced the counselors he had a break down and could never cheat again. He also said she meant nothing to him!!!! He acted so happy and grateful that we had another chance. We even bought a new house together and had furniture on order when his AP called 8 months later that they started seeing each other again.

        I honestly believe he wanted both lives and was able to compartmentalize in a psychotic way to be the perfect husband/family man. I threw him out, and he is staying with this supposedly reformed drug addicted escort who is a horrible person bc he can’t be alone!!!!

        This site has been my lifeline. Please believe me when I tell you reconciliation never ever works. Even if he no longer is cheating (which honestly is doubtful), he’s still the same person who treated you badly, made awful decisions that could have impacted your heath, lied to you, gaslighted you, etc. You deserve someone who loves you and respects you. Please please leave him!!!!

        Sending you hugs and strength!!!!

    • SoManyTears,

      I always wonder about these long-term cheaters. He obviously had a relationship with her from childhood. Why didn’t he just marry her from the beginning? Or after his first marriage ended? Or after his second marriage ended?

      As far as the rocks…I’m with CL. Unless they were diamonds, I would have pitched them at him.

      • Azkadelia
        Sociopaths use certain women for certain things. They love NONE of them and always use several at a time. There is ALWAYS a harem. Some are wives, some are girlfriends, sidechicks, whores etc… He would have never married her. That’s not what he needed her for. Many years ago, the woman I caught my ex sociopath with, had moved to town when she was 18, he was 17. They both hung out in the bar his parents owned. They had many drunken sexual encounters. She was always a morbidly obese woman (350+lbs). That’s what he preyed on. He told me he didn’t think “anyone else would want the fat ugly ones”and it made them “easy to trick into having sex”. He is VERY good at love bombing. She introduced him to his first wife and when he and his wife would have a fight, he’d go to the cow for revenge purpose sex. Then she introduced him to group sex with other men. Eventually, she couldn’t handle his alcoholism and married someone else and moved far away. He carried on having many girlfriends and 2 more wives (I was #3). Whenever she’d come to town, they’d find each other. He had everyone convinced that he hated her. Everyone knew she loved him. He was sober when I met him and had been for 19 years. When he and I got married she lived in another state. Then her husband died and she moved back to our town…one block down the road. It was inevitable. I had no idea of any of this before Dday. She was someone he loved to use, a great source of supply. It was convenient and a sociopath loves no one, so it didn’t matter that I was a good wife. He told her he wanted her and always had. He told her I annoyed him and they discussed killing me for insurance money. For over 40 years, not once did it dawn on her that she was being used. He’s THAT good. Now she’s dead. Wanted her ashes spread ant his favorite fishing hole and his family approved (while I was reeling from betrayal) She died of anal cancer caused by HPV. I have the same HPV now and so do several of his ex’s. Some have died. He has no symptoms and there is no test for males, but I know in my heart he’s a carrier. I will never understand how cruel these types are. He will continue to hurt people and change lives. I hope someone takes him out one day. The world would be a better place without him.

        • SoManyTears,

          Wow. I read your comment and I’m sitting here, absolutely stunned. You’d think that such messed up people would be easy to spot. You’d think it would be easy to protect yourself. But I know from experience it’s not. You live with – literally sleep with – these people every day, and they’re so good at maintaining the facade , at being chameleons, that you miss it. Not because you’re stupid, or naive, or not looking. They’re just that good. It’s horrifying.

          I’m sorry you have gone through so much, with such lasting effects. I wish you strength and the best of what life has to offer from now on. Just the fact that you go on is a testiment to the strength inside you.



        • You are such a survivor! I’m so glad that you outlasted the treachery, the scheming, and the intended annialation of yourself. I’m amazed at the strength you have to still help others.

    • ROCKS??? Yikes! But I do know how it feels. One of my Narc boyfriends was also a terrible gift giver. One Christmas (in front of my grown children no less) I got a new cheese grater . . . because mine was rusty, a plastic plant watering can . . . because (I can’t even remember now why). I received 5 of these crappy ‘gifts’ all with an explanation of how he was ‘helping me’ because whatever he was replacing was ‘my crap’. I, to this day, cannot remember what the other ‘gifts’ were because I was just so stunned. But because I am a nice person I tried to be thankful and appreciative of the ‘gifts’ when the whole time in my mind I was thinking ‘what is this??? what is going on??? plus add the factor that I knew I had to try to be thankful/grateful otherwise I would be screamed at or given the silent treatment because I was so mean to him, yada, yada, yada. Thankfully these years later and because of this site, I now know that was typical Narc behavior, but at the time it was one of the most bizarre things that still just leaves me shaking my head at the power of the Narc. Then to have a conversation with my kids these years later and see it from their prospective is just mind blow and yet shameful, because I should have known better. I had taught my daughters not take that kind of treatment but didn’t require it of myself. But, as we all know here, I was manipulated to believe I was the ‘bad’ person, the ‘ungrateful’ person, the ‘mean’ person. It is a family joke now but that the time it was just so surreal I couldn’t get my head around what was happening. The Narcs can definitely make you doubt your own sanity and that is hard to overcome. Also another example of why NC is important as it helps you see through the crap they heap on you.

  • Happy birthday, Chump Lady. I hope you have a great day!

    Having said that, this post made me cry. The big conflict I am having is that the Asshole looked like your husband. The one who cared. The one who cooked (I hate it) and did his half of the house chores. The one who took everyday a tray with breakfast to my bed. The one who took care of me during my endometriosis crisis and surgery. I did not spackle. I was conned. He was doing what he saw his grandfather do. I don’t know what is real anymore.

    • Hi Gato – I understand what you’re feeling. Mine can be lovely – or horrible. Now he’s been found out he’s trying really hard and is nice from day to day. But what does it mean? Does it mean anything? He seemed nice before (some of the time) but was seeing women behind my back for 25-30 years. I’m still with him because I don’t trust my judgment any more. I don’t trust what I think or what I feel as I was so wrong for so long. Whatever I think I decide now, hours later I wonder if I’m making a mistake. He says I’m making a big deal of the sexual and emotional infidelity, that it wasn’t meant to break us up and I’m still The One and he’d forgive me if I’d done it. Is this at all acceptable as an argument? Would I be giving up a decent husband after all if I forgive him? Problem is I can’t stop thinking about all the others and it makes my flesh creep – as if I can smell them on him still.

      • Defeatedchump

        Identical problem for me. He said ” sex outside marriage shouldn’t be a deal breaker”
        That it didn’t mean anything, that he thinks I should have an affair ! WTF.

        I now realise he can say all this because he’s not really into me. The truth is I don’t mean enough to him. He’s only into himself.
        The niceness of them is just manipulation, when they suspect you are turning away from them, they try the charm offensive.
        I used to think ” he loves me really ” . Now I think he’s a manipulative creep and yes, after four years I just can’t get the thoughts out of my head of him doing things to other women, the last of whom was half his age and a sex goddess. Yuk.

    • I’m sorry Gato, that sucks. Every single creep has hooks, otherwise why would ANYONE stay? But some are better than others. The post “Nice vs. Kind” might help.

      I often mistook gestures of “nice” for kindness, when really it was anything but. Good people exist. Not just as romantic partners. The key, IMO, is reciprocity. Find the people who want to do for you as much as you want to do for them. NOT love-bombing, but just basic kindness and reciprocity. Hang in there.

      • When I read the story about the expensive tea your husband got you when you felt cold? That was the asshole I’m divorcing. Obviously, I know he is just not into me. He left me and then let me go without a word. He never bonded with me. He is somebody I need to expel from my heart. But if I use reciprocity as the threshold and test for non assholes, he would have passed with flying colors. And many days I can’t stop crying because I feel like I am blind, this is going to happen again if I allow somebody to get close. I don’t have any way to protect myself.

    • Gato, I think half of the cheaters that sent us here are “nice”.

      My XH was nice, he washed dishes, fed pigeons, played with our dog, was a good handyman, helped clean up his brothers’ chronic shit (so did I), cracked a lot of funny puns, always brought some nice things from his trips abroad. It turns out it’s is part of his impression management scheme of sparkles and my spackling about the really important things: his inexplicable debts (now it’s crystal clear where the $ was going), disciplining our children instead of disqualifying me and my orders in front of them, keeping silent when his brothers were rude and mean.

      Nice is not the same as good and honest and kind. All swindlers are nice and many are funny.

    • Gato,

      I had a “nice” one too. On the surface, very caring, very ethical.

      At the time, I mistook his niceness for something deeper.
      The sad fact is, there was no “deeper”. Superficial interactions and displays of caring were all he had to offer.

      When it came to meaningful intimacy, and trying to meet MY needs, he was sorely lacking.
      I even asked him to do certain things for me that were meaningful, but in his own words:
      “I don’t WANT to.”

      I was newly married and that was the end of that discussion. I lived with it for almost 30 years.
      He busily “niced” me while he carried on behind my back.

      I don’t miss him at all.

    • Gato, I can completely relate. It’s hard trusting what’s real after being conned and duped for so long by someone who seemed to be so kind. My ex and I NEVER fought. Seriously. We had disagreements here and there but that’s it. We just genuinely got along great. Aside from my gut always telling me something was wrong, he was just great to me. To find out after over a decade it was all lies
      — how do you trust again?

    • If the cheater is saying what they did was no big deal then tell em you are going to try some strange. See the reaction to that. It’s no big deal if they do it, but woe if you do it.

    • Happy Birthday Chump lady! ????

      I had the same reaction with Gato. He bought me everything I wanted, breakfast in bed, did whatever I wanted, etc. just to make me happy because “your happiness is my happiness”. That was until he changed using reciprocity as one of the reasons he left to be with her. It makes me wonder if I didn’t reciprocate enough for him, that’s why he seeked it somewhere else.

    • I know it’s difficult to believe I’m not spackling. I can assure you I’ve dedicated 5 months to dissect every memory I had, trying to find where I closed my eyes. I read the Infidelity Help Group site, and they even have a list of examples of assholery to help you. There wasn’t any of that. No excessive spending, not mistreatment. He seemed to respect me intellectually. I never had any gut feeling about anything, until he came back from the trip where he fucked his cousin-whore. His aunt told me, when I said goodbye to her, that she thought he loved me more than I loved him. Another cousin asked me “are you sure we are talking about X?”.

      After DDay, he was nasty with me. He told me horrible things. So I KNOW he is not kind. It’s just that many times I can’t sleep thinking about how I’m going to protect myself. I just can’t see a way but being a cat lady. But I don’t want to be alone. I just don’t dare to do the opposite.

      • Gato,
        I don’t think you are spackling – I had the same sort of husband. Narcs care mostly about their image and sometimes they work hard to create that image with you. He cooked a lot which I appreciated. But really, he wanted to eat it too! It took me a very very long time to wrap my head around the difference between his carefully crafted image and his real self. We were in counseling and I really thought I was the problem in the marriage. That’s how good he was. I would glimpse it when the mask slipped, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. He still writes me emails telling me how grateful he is for what a good mother I am and what good person I am and for being so generous with him (yes, I pay him alimony), but it is ALL bullshit. I feel like it would take 1,000 pages to write my bizarre story which is why it is important to come here to CL. Everyone gets it in a short paragraph. The outside world does not. You don’t need to dissect your memories – you were probably just living your life and projecting your feelings of love and loyalty onto him. But they never existed in him in the first place which is HIS problem, not yours. You are normal and it didn’t even enter your mind. Things will get clearer and you will be able to see a different way than just cat lady.

        • I know the man I loved is a fiction, KathleenK. That’s why I left and filed. I’m not looking in his direction, trying to get him back or understand. What causes me pain without end is that I did what I was supposed to do and got a monster. How will I dare to try again?

          • “I did what I was supposed to do and got a monster.”

            I hear that. It’s just another giant shit sandwich we have to choke down.

      • Hey, you know, cats are quite good companions. Once they get you trained, you’ll never feel lonely again. There’s nothing like a warm bundle of fur purring in your lap to make you feel wonderful.

        And you don’t have to worry about them dumping you for another cat!

  • Happy Birthday, and thanks for all you do with this site.

    As a kid, I watched “Quantum Leap” with my father. In the series finale, a character makes the point that Sam has helped so many people, and those people have, in turn, helped so many others. It was a “pay it forward”—not a new idea, but sticks in my head because it was the first time I was mature enough to fully understand the concept.

    And that’s how I see you. You’ve helped so many through this, with lessons based on logic and dignity. And all of us continue to use these tools to helps others.

    Enjoy your day!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! Though, I heartily disagree that 51 is ancient! 😉

    I have also had a life-long affection for “fixer-uppers” … homes, furniture, whatever you can think of. I like the work that goes into it; the satisfaction of a job well done; the visible proof I accomplished something. I’m still like that — and I kind of enjoy that aspect of myself (it burns so much stress!!! Haha!).

    Because of this blog, I now realize how I applied this to a thoroughly disordered person who had agency. Work ethic is beautiful until it is misapplied to humans with agency and absolutely no desire to change. Then it is self-defeating, which is not okay. Not in this one, precious life we have.

    Thank you, Tracy — For being the mastermind behind the blog that (literally) saved my life — and likely the lives of my children. You and Chump Nation have been absolutely integral in keeping me and my girls on the path of safety and light … and the path to finding ME again after more than two decades of abuse.


    • I, too, love a good fixer upper. In fact, old stuff is my career. But here’s the difference: an old building will not blame you for its crumbling foundation. It will not expect you to transform yourself to magically make its knob-and-tube electrical system meet code. It will not hold you accountable you for the ghastly avocado green wallpaper that covers the lovely underlying beadboard, nor will it blame you for the last heartless owner having ripped out the beautiful original kitchen to install a yawn-worthy Home Depot kitchen in its place. (No insult to Home Depot kitchens intended, unless you ripped out a vintage kitchen, in which case…YOU MONSTER.)

      I still love a good material culture challenge. But when it comes to people? I prefer turn-key.

  • Happy Birthday! mine is this week too:) I will be a mighty 46 as well!
    I will be celebrating with my mom and super brother who drove for days to help me move out of the house I lived in with XH and into a cute much smaller but adorable rental home! I am so freaking excited!! I feel like it is going to be such a huge bridge to Meh!! I cannot wait to make some new memories in this little house and I think I will start with blowing out candles on my birthday cake!

  • Every day I drive by a nasty-ass used car lot…it was also a “Wings To Go” food place but prior to that it was an Italian restaurant… it was the site of my 40th birthday celebration. Suckfest.

    Like much of my marriage, my insides were screaming at me that SOMETHING was wrong, he was disinterested and disconnected and I DIDNT MATTER….but when he saw me get to the end of my rope, he would bring out a very tiny bag of kibble and give me just enough nuggets to keep me hopeful and in-line. Fuckity-fuck. Dday was a few months later.

    When I turned 50, I had already been dating a person who I would describe as a fellow chump (not sure if he would, but most of y’all probs would) …his 40th birthday sucked too. The month before my 50th birthday, we went on a trip to Asia/Europe …got engaged in Ephesus then sailed the Aegean in a yacht (with a cook)…then onto Istanbul to the Grand Bazaar…there was a moment when I was standing there choosing which silk scarf I wanted to buy and it was SUCH a moment of clarity.

    So yea, different details but same story as CL’s…you have to be away from the suck in order to experience the new.

    Happy Birthday Chumplady !!

  • Happy Birthday! May you have many more happy ones in the company of your faithful loving husband.

    And don’t worry about being over 50–on my 50th, a friend’s daughter said I was now an antique. And then she said that when old things reach 50 they become antiques, and antiques, unlike old things, have value. So now I think about myself as a fine antique, and so should you!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! Your blog is a conduit of love and healing for so many weary souls. May your blessings continue to multiply!

  • Happy birthday Tracy. You are much appreciated. I am so glad you dumped the narc ex and moved on to wonderful Mr. Chumplady. You deserve an amazing birthday as do we all chumps. Sending you hugs and hoping you have a fabulous day.

    Just got to the previous thread. I am on the road and internet is a bit spotty. I thank everyone for their kind words and thoughts. It is a great comfort to me that my story helps remind people to opt to stay safe and not underestimate the cheater’s capacity for evil. Blessings everyone!

  • Needed this today. I’ve been trying desperately to rebuild this life after finally getting out after 12 years of his cheating, lying and deception. Have been living on my own with my teenage son for 5 months and it’s not the dream I was expecting. My son has taken the sparkly cheater’s side, who isn’t even his biological father, I’m swimming in debt after paying cheater’s way to build his business, we didn’t marry so I’m left with nothing, not to mention my hair is falling out from stress so there’s no way I’ll find that wonderful new man now. And how at 39 do I compete with bubbly, bouncy, drama-free 20-somethings? The loneliness and realization I’m slowly losing my son, the cheater living his dream, the dream that he promised would be OUR future, and now is living that with a new girlfriend, and just losing MYSELF, it feels most days to literally be killing me. Obviously, these things take time, but every morning it’s the same tears and hopelessness. This forum, Tracy and CN, it does help. It helps to hear others who have achieved meh and finally seen Tuesday. It’s just getting there…

    • I sent before wanting to say Happy Birthday to Tracy! You’re the only light left to some of us. Please know what a difference you’re making in the world! You truly deserve the husband you have now and all happiness!

    • Hang in there, Paddington. Sometimes it really does get worse before it gets better. What I’ve seen over and over on this site (and what helps push me through the ugly reality of the fallout from his bullshit behavior) is that one determined step at a time will pay off … we WILL get to “better” and even better after that. But only if we keep pushing forward.


      • Paddington,

        I’m 39 also. What is all this about us having to compete with 20 year olds?
        Girrl, we are so much better!
        (No offense to 20 y.o.s reading this. Hang on, little sisters, you’ll get there in 19 years) 😉
        39 year old me would eat 20 year old me for breakfast. Sure, I was thinner, had more hair, and less overall body saggage. But I didn’t know my head from my butt back then!
        There is a priceless beauty that comes only from wisdom and life experience. Find it in you and haul it out. I know it is in there somewhere!

        • Paddington, you are going through a rough time and it will get better but it is a process that takes time. Mornings were one of the things I found very hard at first. I found it helped me greatly to get into a routine. I now follow a ritual; every morning have my coffee,read chump lady, watch morning news while I have my breakfast, shower and dress by 9:00 am. Then I plan my day if I don’t have plans already made, there are always garden chores which I love to do. Having a daily morning routine gets me up and moving I don’t allow myself to wallow in memories of what happened to my marriage. It’s made it much easier by establishing a morning routine, small steps but they work. Hope it helps! Big hugs ????????????

    • There is a very trite but true saying,”It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” This was my mantra for a very long time. You are going through the darkness now, but the light will return, and your life will get better. Now, it may not get better in exactly the way you envision, but it so important for you to keep moving forward. “Swim toward the light” (Finding Nemo)

      I am much older than most posters here. One thing age has taught me is that bad things are going to happen, despite our best efforts. I am watching as one of the kindest young couples I know struggles with the fact that their newborn child is profoundly disabled and will probably not live to see its first birthday.They have been handed an unimaginable shit sandwich, one created through absolutely no fault of their own. And yet, they continue on with love.

      You also find yourself in an untenable situation, and are struggling to find your footing. Be kind to yourself. Find a way, no matter how small, to do something each day that brings you peace. For me, it is listening to classical music (which you can do for free if you don’t mind the commercials on Pandora). Understand that many preteen boys begin to act differently because of the changes caused by puberty. Do not beat yourself up for decisions that you made based upon what you knew at the time. Above all, be good to yourself, be kind to yourself, and know that you too will rise above your current circumstances.

      As someone who is practically ancient, I now understand that infidelity is but one of life’s many challenges. Don’t get me wrong; what happened to me is truly the most traumatic experience of my life. But bad things did not stop happening to me just because I divorced. In fact, I have experienced more tragedy in the last seven years than I have in my entire adult life. What have I learned from those events? I have learned that the most important survival tactic of all is resilience. I have absolutely no control over many things that happen to me. I do have control over how I respond to those bad things. I have also learned that life is a series of joy and sorrow, accomplishment and loss and I am obligated to embrace it all.

      You are walking a path of sorrow and I am so very sorry for what you are going through. Do not forget that you are not alone. You have all of CN rooting for you. You will survive this and you will be an even stronger person when you come out the other side. You will be a warrior, not a victim. I wish you much strength and perseverance, as you walk this path not of your choosing. Post here, seek strength here and please know that better days await you.

      • Violet, from one ancient to another, your words are truly inspiring. A very happy birthday Tracy thanks for providing this forum of wisdom and support.

    • Hang in there. My Dad was a sparkly cheater, too. He discarded me not long after he discarded my Mom. If your son isn’t the cheater’s biological son, the discard will likely be soon. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve realized how much crap Mom put up with. The cheaters fooled us, grown men and women with life experience. A kid with little-to-no understanding or experience is an easy target.

  • Massive blessings and warmth to you on your birthday, Tracy! I’m so glad you were born, and have made such a positive difference in so many lives. (((Hugs!!))) xoxo. ????????????????

  • Happy Birthday, CL. Thank you for the gift of this place. It was the only light in the darkest of times, and gives me strength every single day. Forever grateful.

  • All my birthdays sucked! But the last birthday he had that we celebrated during a very shaky reconciliation I went all out! I got tickets for his favorite baseball team for opening day. They were mega expensive in the Hank Aaron section. Also it was a three hour trip to the city where the stadium was. I didn’t know at the time that he was supposed to go see his MOW to discuss their future together. He lied to her and told her his son was taking him to the game. She was actually trying to get a ticket to the game to meet up with him! I was livid! We did end up going and it was a great game, but I was preoccupied the entire time wondering if she was somewhere in that stadium. It cast a shadow on an otherwise well planned birthday celebration. For my birthday he threw a card on the counter, left some incredibly ugly PJ’s hanging over a chair as a gift and was out mowing the lawn when I woke up. Then his MOW sent an e-mail to him saying she was “praying for him” to get through the day! Seriously? I had to beg to go out to dinner, but he insisted on picking the restaurant. Surprise! It was my least favorite cuisine, but his favorite of course! I ended up “drinking” my way through my birthday dinner and then crying myself to sleep. Talk about shit sandwiches! His MOW was privy to every special day in our marriage and would manage to ruin every single one! Anniversary, birthdays (even my adult children’s), she was a pro!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!!! My daughter’s birthday is today too (she turns 2), so a good day for sure. Your story fills me with hope (nerdy/kind/genuinely present/appreciative husband whose quirks fit your quirks — swoon-and-a-half!). Even as I struggle through this first year, I can feel myself getting stronger because of the rock you have placed here for chumps on which to lean and become rocks to other chumps. Many, many happy returns to you, dear lady!

  • Happy Birthday, CL!! May you have many more filled with all the happiness you deserve. You will never know how much this site and fellow chumps have helped me move forward.

    My 1st Dday come shortly after my 50th birthday. That birthday sucked! Later when I found out about howorker, I discovered he had been texting her all that day (and of course many other days). 2nd and final Dday was about 6 months later shortly after our 30th anniversary. The anniversary was worse than the birthday because by that time, I knew in my heart that he hadn’t given up the howorker. Not that we should expect any respect from cheaters, but there is just a little extra twist with that knife in your back when you discover that NOTHING is sacred.

    Birthdays now are spent with my beautiful children enjoying our time together and the anniversary is just a passing thought when the calendar rolls around. Life is not perfect, but it is better when you don’t have to worry about it being ruined by a cheater!! Hugs to CN and especially to the newbies who are just beginning this journey.

  • Happy Birthday, CL!!!???????????? I am hoping I can find a good one, too! How/where did you meet Mr. Chumplady?

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Thanks for being such a gift to Chump Nation, hell, thanks for creating Chump Nation! 😀

  • You share a birthday with my dad, who passed away in April.

    Now I have two heroes to celebrate and be thankful for on September 25.

    Thank you for everything, Tracy.

  • After DD 1, 12 fucking years ago, I sat with my kids and her in a restaurant the day after my birthday (which wasn’t acknowledged) when she starts giggling. She looks at me and said something about “striking again.” Confused I said huh? Her response, throughout high school and college she was known as the “heartbreaker that destroys men’s lives” and here she “goes again.” Did I mention she was giggling?

    Happy birthday CL.

    • That’s a stone-cold sociopath right there. Please tell me she’s far, far away from you! ((hugs))

    • Holy crap … the cruelty never ceases to amaze me with these disordered freaks. I’m so sorry you had to experience that.

    • Taking delight in other people’s (or animals’) misery is all you need to diagnose sociopathic. I’m sorry you’re still in the same house with her, DunChumpin. I hope you can get rid of her soon.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day getting spoiled rotten by your family and friends. ????

    I’ll never be able to fully express what it’s meant to me to find your blog and all the great chumps who post here. Today’s “before/after pictures” really show how great it can be after you take the leap of faith and leave a cheater. It really does begin with that one step. Thank you!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! You rock!!

    Thank you so much for having the balls, insight, and desire to help the rest of us chumps. As many have said, you are truly a lifeline and we love you!

    You have made a mosaic out of the entire process for me. It’s very hard to see the forest for the trees for us chumps. The life we shared, our children, our home, our friends and family—how could throwing that away again for a dumsel in distress ever be worth it? I will never, ever be able to understand it. Now I know this is who he is and always will be. I didn’t cause it, I can’t fix it.

    I recognized the other behaviors individually as the crap they were. He would run by the grocery with the kids and get flowers usually for my birthday. But his birthday always had to be a big extravaganza or he was hurt. I knew I was the giver and he was the taker in our relationship. I did most of the adulting and he did most of the funning. Why the ‘f’ was that acceptable?

    You have pinpointed it to it’s a character flaw, well maybe not to them. But they need to quit trying to fool us chumps and normalize their shitty behavior. Leave you timid forest creature and thrive in the herd of your kind. You are no unicorn. Take the f’ing peel and stick horn off your head and let those ears down to show the ass that you are to the world.

    Enjoy your cake CL and blow out those candles. May all your dreams and wishes come true.

  • Thanks for all the birthday wishes, and a big shout out to all the other September and September 25 birthdays out there! I love all the stories of overcoming crappy, cheater birthdays. Let’s hear it for new lives! And the GOOD kind of cake. 🙂

  • I am pretty sure you can drench French Toast in bourbon. 🙂

    Happy Birthday, Tracy … Thanks for everything!

  • Happy birthday Tracy- Thank-you for all you do.
    I am also have Boxing day as my birthday,
    Have got used to sharing, putting up with, not expecting,….
    On my 53 birthday he gave me a wedding ring- had no money when we married 19 years earlier. Trouble was, he was having an affair- I discovered this 4 months later.
    Still can’t get my head around why anyone would do that.
    All about him I guess

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! It’s been well over a year since D-day, and it’s still a struggle. Yet when I am on the verge of tears in the middle of the night mourning who I thought was my best friend and the love of my life; when I choke on the shit sandwich hearing about the AP who has finally come out of hiding and is now trying to beguile my kids, when I can’t stay No Contact because I bred four times with a fuckwit whom I stupidly allow to upset me and blow up the road to meh, I go back to your book, and read over and over. I devour the stories from the mighty heroes and heroines here at CN, and it helps so much.
    Here’s to that future Tuesday! Thank you Chump Lady! Have an awesome B-day.

  • Happy birthday to you! May all the love, laughter, happiness that you have given to others be returned to you today & all year long. You are truly a blessing!

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! I hope it’s a terrific day!

    I am so thankful for the education and support I’ve gained here at CN. Unfortunately, I came to the party quite late in the game; I read one of your columns on FB just last year. My only regret is that I didn’t have you in my life a lot earlier. I went through 40 years as a first class, rock star CHUMP before XH dumped me for a much-older married coworker. In a just-for-show attempt at wreckonciliation, XH found us a MC who he’d already pegged as a pushover. Thankfully, MC turned out to be anything but – he was an expert, quite skilled in dealing with lying, cheating POS narcs, and he got XH to admit to a long string of affairs with our friends’ wives, his coworkers at 4 different jobs, our babysitter, the Team Mom for our triplet sons’ soccer team, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget the porn addiction he also copped to… that admission blasted to the surface like a pyrotechnic blast worthy of Pompeii.

    If I’d known about CL and CN sooner, I could’ve spared myself years of blind loyalty and misplaced trust. But I suppose that’s what makes my “recovery” all that much sweeter. I’ve been Zero Contact for 3 1/2 years now and it’s been incredibly helpful in moving me forward; I can’t forsee a time when I’ll ever want or need to speak with him again (though we still have 1 more son’s wedding to go through, and I’m sure we’ll run into each other in at least one maternity waiting room as grandchildren come along). XH is legitimizing his affair with coworker/AP #14 by marrying her in less than 2 weeks; apparently, she was so enamored with my blue ribbon prize of an XH that she divorced her own chump a few months ago and now they’re prancing off into the sunset together, totally ignoring the collateral damage in their wake. Have fun, kids!

    Many people have said to me, “The best revenge is a life well-lived”. And I’ve tried my best to embrace that in all of its fullness; my life today is drastically different – BETTER! – than it was 5 years ago, and I am happy and free.

    With that said, maybe someday, I’ll cross paths with a really good man like Tracy has, and I’ll have the pleasure of experiencing what a truly loving, caring, respectful marriage was designed to be. I don’t think there’s much call for a 62-year-old bride, but I remain hopeful that it could still happen. When he asks what I want for my birthday, I’ll say, “I’ll have two slices of French toast please!”

    • I love the strength in your post MRS, and I hope there is, indeed, such a man out there for you.
      When he does find you, a lucky man he is.
      I am wishing all good happenings for you. You deserve them!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy???????? You rock and this site is my rock.

    ‘Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things’

    Oh dear this explains why I had such a love of restoring old furniture, that and it was quite profitable. Yes definately was hooked on potential. Thanks for this insight, sometimes things on this site stop me in my tracks for a minute to reflect.

    My Birthday in July was spent on my last day of a temp assignment with a social services agency. I had been there a month and the people were wonderful. A lady I barely knew came and hugged me and wrote me a beautiful card about inner strength and gave me a bunch of flowers. It was wonderful. I was back to being unemployed the next day and still am unemployed???? but it made me feel valued and cared for and I will always remember her and her generous kind spirit.
    Im still trucking along, my mortgage is getting paid and Im living on fumes, looking for work and healing my broken spirit with alot of yoga at my local community sports centre. Cheers to the open hearts of this world.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! You have been such an inspiration to me this past year and a half while I was pushing through my shit storm.

    I really thought my cheater ex had damaged my soul and I feared I wouldn’t ever trust again! So nice to say, I have been able to trust and open up my heart and I am beyond happy and appreciate everything kind this new man in my life stands for. So strange how elated I feel being free from my past relationship and to know there is good out there. I cry with happiness at silly things… beautiful clouds in the sky, enjoying things I couldn’t again after so long and with such a great appreciation for life!

    It is out there if you make your hearts available! Thank you, Tracy! You and CN have been a daily dose of healing…

    Hope you have an amazing day and year!

  • Have a Happy, Happy Day Tracy/CL!

    Thanks for all that you do to support this wonderful community.

  • Happy Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful one this year. Truly, all of us chumps are so lucky to have you as a cheerleader. I would still be married if it weren’t for you and your site and just the thought of that makes my stomach turn. You’ve done so much good work for chumps and their livelihood. Thank you!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy 🙂

    I wish you many MANY more! 🙂

    Thank you for being there 🙂

    xxxooo 🙂
    Jeep and Beau the Monster Biter 🙂

  • Very Happy Birthday to you, ChumpLady!
    We all deserve the sweet attention of our loved ones on our special day. (I always like to call my Mom and thank her for having, and taking care of me!) Your story is always heartwarming.
    Not that gardening, and spreading manure, is a bad day! It’s one of my favorite things to do. We also need the effort, like you say, some caring and planning feels so good.
    You are a Goddess for real ❤️

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!! to a great lady that has helped myself and many other people more than she could know.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!!! I am so inspired by what you’ve done – to leave a cheater and gain a life. You have helped SO MANY chumps – including me! THANK YOU! Have a fantastic, wonderful day!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy
    And thanks for helping to change the social norms around infidelity.
    Because if more ordinary people can get to zero tolerance around this…. then cheaters can’t use it as part of their ‘mating strategy’ any more.

  • I’m sorry Unchumped Chump. It’s important to be with people who let us be ourselves, and who want us to fulfill our own dreams. Current boyfriend is not it.

    Grab your life by the horns, find a way to make the money for that plane ticket and GO. Travel is one of the main joys in life; don’t give it up for someone who returns your birthday present. Hugs!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy,

    I am so happy you now live with a great guy who truly loves and appreciates you (like all of us do). Not funny at the time but on my 40th I got a “hand cuff” charm. TRUE!! there was no chain so I really just wanted to loose it which it eventually did. He was a cop so I suppose it had more meaning to him. But I had been married to this serial cheater for 13 years, 3 kids, lots of LIFE stuff and like you I wondered what the METAPHOR was to a fucking charm of a pair of handcuffs. Later on when I caught him in a long time affair with some married slut he met on a call, he scrambled for forgiveness and admitted he had given HO AP a charm just like mine, WTF!! I did stay with the AH for 20 more years, Yep, the double life he led makes me still SMH and I am grateful to YOU for your site that helped me see ‘cheaters suck and don’t ever change” AND they give horrible fucked up gifts!! Last year I turned 60 and celebrated by sky diving …. now thats a gift!
    Hope your day is awesome and blessed <3

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! As I move ever closer to getting away from my cheater, your story gives me hope.

    As far as birthdays go, I’ve never been big on them. Mine’s on a holiday, so when I was a kid, they usually ended with both my parents in some state of inebriation and screaming at each other.

    I would always try to come up with the perfect, thoughtful gift for my cheater. I’d bake him cakes from scratch, wake him up with a card and an enthusiastic BJ. For years, I thought I was really shitty at celebrating birthdays because his reaction ranged from, “Oh, that’s neat,” to “Well, let’s send it back and use the money to buy something i really want.” Now I realize that’s part of the abuse and control.

    He would buy me things I wanted for my birthday if I hinted pointedly enough. This last birthday, we were false reconciliation for both of our birthdays. I got him a nice gift, took our daughter to buy him a cake and balloons. I have a picture I took of him grinning in front of the cake with our daughter on his lap. Afterwards, he hugged me and cried into my shoulder that he was so sorry for everything and wanted to be “100%” in for making the marriage work. Less than 12 hours later, he sent Schmoopie the birthday picture of himself and told her he loved her and wished he could’ve spent his birthday with her.

    He actually got the most thoughtful gifts he’s ever given me for my birthday that year. I realize now it was because he wanted to impress Schmoopie with what a sweet husband he could be and make her dance a little harder.

    So, I guess my birthdays have nowhere to go but up from here on out.

  • Unchumped Chump

    Write you own story, dump this dude he’s not IT! Don’t let him control you TRAVELING is good for the soul my dear. Don’t be me and stick around for something you’re never going to get from him. As the saying goes “when someone shows you who they are, Believe them”!

  • Happy birthday Tracy! Thank you for continuing to give US the gift of clarity on YOUR birthday. I think I can safely speak for all of Chump Nation when I say that we are grateful for another year of your wit and wisdom.

    I had a sweet roll this morning in your honor.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! I’m so happy for your new life.
    Your story made me remember a couple of birthdays I had put behind; now I understand why. For my 42nd he took me out to lunch AT A CAFETERIA near his office, where I actually had to stand in line with my tray in the basement of a hotel, with a bunch of office workers in their lunch hour. I told him I was going to meet him at his office but he wouldn’t let me, so I had to wait for him at the hotel lobby. Of course he didn’t want me going to his office; his howorkers would have found out that I wasn’t the crazy, obese woman he’d described to them.
    And my 50th was one of the saddest days in my life. I traveled to another country for our summer vacation with my oldest and my youngest sons. The ex narc stayed behind because he couldn’t leave “work” and had to wait for our other son, who was away at camp (he was 17, there was no reason he couldn’t fly on his own to join us). My oldest son was already deeply depressed and wouldn’t go out of the hotel, so I celebrated with my youngest son, an old friend who lived there and his children. My sick baby took his own life just four months later. A few weeks after my son’s death I had a multiple D-Day, and one of the horrible things I found out is that the ex-narc had taken one of his whores to lunch at an expensive restaurant (which we had visited before with our children, including my sick son) to celebrate HER birthday four days before my own. I pick-me danced for two and a half years before kicking him out and it took me another seven years to really go meh, but I live in peace now, at 62, doing the best I can.

    • Just wanted to send you a (((hug))), Chumpiest. You are amazing for having survived. I wish you many, many years of peace, love, and good things in your life.

    • Hugs Chumpiest. You have indeed walked through hell, and come out on the other side with meh. Losing a child is so painful and changes one’s life forever. That feeling of peace and an absence of drama is a blessing after the chaos of life with a cheater.

    • Hang in there, Chumpiest! So sad to hear your story, so glad you pushed your way through and away from that horrible toxic cheater. So sorry about your son, I hope healing and happy find you soon!

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Tomorrow is my birthday and I consider you to be the best birthday gift!

    I believe I have mentioned that my timeline is similar to yours. What’s with 40th birthdays?

    After Labor Day, my XH announced that he was going to move out because he needed ‘space and time to think’ but would wait until after my 40th birthday because ‘that wouldn’t be fair’. I recall hiding my pain while I sat through the birthday dinner he organized with a small group of close friends. He (and I believe some of the friends) acted like there was nothing wrong. (I’d live in limbo for another year – including reconciliation – until DD#2 where I discovered he had bought a house with the 25 year old OW.)

    Recently I’ve been reflecting on my 10 year milestone (divorce). Today, I see how profoundly cruel this was and also wonder why I would ever agree to submit myself to such obvious torture. This tells me how much I have grown.

    Finding Chump Lady a few years ago was instrumental to healing 2.0. You’ve helped me really see my XH for who he is and to ignore the pervasive cultural views that consider cheating to be a path to enlightenment, better sex and/or as a result of the flaws of the chump.


  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady!!
    So grateful you are here, so grateful to your parents and your family for raising such a wonderful and generous lady. Thank you for everything you are doing for us chumps. Hope you have the great day you deserve.

  • Happy 51st!!!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart – you literally have changed my life. I hike with a long-time best girlfriend who was chumped by 2 X’s. She’s now a CSAT. I’ve been trying to indoctrinate her into the mighty CN narrative— she has the capacity to lead a lot of traumatized partners here. Doing my part 24/7 to carry your message!

    Huge virtual b-day hugs!

  • Happy Birthday! Just love “Codependency is the addiction to the POTENTIAL of things.” THAT is sooo me.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy,

    I knew there was something very familiar about you.

    I was born on the 23rd. Virgo / Libra cusp if you follow horoscopes.

    Thank you for all you do.

    Have a great birthday.


  • Happy birthday Tracy! I am so glad you finally found your real prince who knows how to make you feel special.

    I always got a gift for my birthday, usually something he thought I should have or want (A $300 coach purse when I don’t use a purse and we really couldn’t afford it). It had been years since he had really made me feel special, thought about, or cared about on my birthday. He never thought to throw me a party (he didn’t want them on his birthday so why would I want one), although he did let me throw myself a party on my 40th. It was the best birthday I had had in years, so this past year (47 and I don’t care who knows it), which occurred several months after he had moved out and just before we actually got around to officially filing for divorce, I threw myself another party and it was a blast. It was a great party because I let the kids invite their friends too so it was really three parties. My boys and their friends in the basement, my daughter and her friends in her room and the adults on the ground floor all having a good time. I cooked the food and cake myself which may be a lot of work, but it leads to lots of compliments so definitely worth it. The only problem is that I ended up with too much leftover beer and I don’t like beer. My birthday is St. Patrick’s day so I figured it would be required, but it turns out most of my friends don’t care for beer either. Oh well.

    • Of course the sad thing with the 40th was that I knew enough to plan and execute the party myself because he wouldn’t think to do it. Sometimes if you want something done right you just have to do it yourself. At least I know I can take care of myself on my birthdays and don’t need him around for that.

      • I asked for a birthday party for my 40th. I even said, if you don’t/can’t plan it, then I’ll do it myself. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but it’s my 40th, and I hadn’t had a birthday for myself since I was 18. Maybe had one in between somewhere, but just can’t remember it. Anyway, my STBX said he would do it. So I sat back and wondered, to discover he didn’t do anything. Said I didn’t give him enough time. (Insert sad, party-horn sound here.)

        Wasn’t surprised. But it did hurt a little. Oh well…live and learn, right!? From now on, I will plan my birthdays myself, because like you Chumpinrecovery, I don’t need him around for that.

  • Happy birthday Tracy. Heartfelt thanks for sharing your wisdom and starting this inspiring blog. Wishing you many years of happiness and health.

  • HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dear Chump Lady.
    You do so much for others. Thank you for each and every thing to do for us Chumps.
    It is so deserving that you have found someone who loves and respects you for the wonderful person you are.
    You could never ask for anything more.
    Enjoy this special day, ( and many more), together.


  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. Thank you for this blog.

    DDay was nearly 4yrs ago right around this time. In time for asshat to celebrate the MOWs 50th in a Fairfield Inn in Ohio and then my bday two wks later. What he didn’t know at the time was that I found out about the LT Mow when I discovered the skype conversation after his lovefest at the Ohio Fairfield Inn. How weird and devastating it was to not let on that I knew, per legal advice, and watch him lie to my face and my kids on my birthday.

    Now I celebrate by taking myself, alone and with friends, to see Dave Sedaris who comes to town at the end of my bday month. Can’t wait!

  • Happy Birthday, CL! You are a shining beacon in the RIC darkness, and have helped so many people come to the light! Thanks for all you do.

  • You are in a bad relationship. You need to get away from this guy. Your post has some red flags that you’ve spackled. This guy sounds like a pit of need.

  • CL, Happy Birthday!!
    Can’t say how happy I am to have found your blog. Like, seriously happy. And the book? Best “Post D-Day #2 (sort of #3)” gift I could have given myself.

    THANK YOU!! Sorry you had to go through “chump-land,” too, but because of your experience, it’s making my journey through shit sandwiches, etc, a hell of a lot easier.

    Anyway, enjoy your day! (Oh, and thanks, again!!)

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy. Thank you so much for bringing chumps together. This website and your book have been a life saver. Yes, you should really do a post about the half assed gifts cheaters give to chumps. I was endowed with a cheap box of chocolates that he got last minute for my birthday. No cake or no nothing. No wonder I found out later he was sexting with his whore for hours and sharing what they wanted to do to each other on my birthday.

  • This post reminds me that the cheater never celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, etc. He would take pride in saying that he just didn’t care.

    When we were first dating, I spent a lot of time on finding the perfect present for him, which turned out to be baseball tickets to the playoffs. I jumped through hoops for those tickets. When my birthday came around, I was treated to dinner at a fancy steak restaurant. I don’t eat steak. It’s where he wanted to go. For the next few years, he took me out on my birthday to places he wanted to go. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but as I look back on it, it shows that he never cared enough to put any thought into my presents.

    It was the same thing for Christmas. It started out as diamond earrings from a department store, then gift certificates to an online jeweler. After a couple of years I mentioned that while I liked the gifts, I did not need any more jewelry from that particular place. I never received another gift again.

    I never ever received an anniversary gift. Our daughter was born days before our first anniversary and he joked that he would never have to remember it, because her birth topped it. Yep.

    I eventually gave up celebrating his birthday or expecting anything for mine. For my 40th I planned a brunch with my girlfriends because I knew he would do nothing. He left me 7 days before my 41st birthday. I was in the middle of weekly chemo treatments. It was the shittiest birthday ever. For some reason though, he decided to get me a card and some cupcakes to celebrate with our daughter. Made it even crappier.

    Today’s topic reminds me that at his core his is a crappy person. The new OW can have him. I hope she doesn’t like celebrating things because if she does, she is in for a lot of disappointment.

    • I am so sorry, Cancer Chump. How are you doing now?
      Isn’t it so true that the cheaters are crappy all around and they don’t care enough to celebrate any special day other than theirs. I also heard that narcissist usually abandon the significant others either when they are very happy or need the support the most. I don’t think your ex’s timing was coincidental. Hugs and love

      • I’m good! My first 3 month checkup is coming up. I feel great and lucky to have gone through chemo, surgery and radiation with minimal side effects. I’m also on my way to meh.

  • What is weird is…. for first 20 years, she would do really good at gifts etc….. last moment of greatness was my 40th bday. We had both lost jobs…. we were together and supportive of each other during those hard times. She still threw me a big surprise party etc…. few years later she hit 40. I became evil and the root cause of all that was wrong in the world. No cards and maybe a 20 gift card. I made a few mistakes very early on in the gift giving but learned the art of effort and surprise over the years. Never missed any special occasion even when I wasn’t getting shit!!!
    Never saw DDay coming!!!! Never saw the pure evil and crazy she became. Now I know she was always off. She just covered it well. My last DDay was Christmas Day!!! What a shit day that has been since! May be rambling but for 20 years she was spot on in gifts and events….. weird how people can hide their true selves that long!

  • Chump Lady,

    5 years ago in Feb. 2012 I had my d-day shitstorm hit, and a few months later discovered your blog. Shit plays int a lot of the infidelity descriptors: shit sandwich, shitty spouse, shitstorms and you were ankle deep in shit. Awwww shit.

    Thank you for the laser focus you have on the fundamentals. Infidelity is a crime against telling the truth, empathy and simple being a solid human being. Should be obvious, right? That’s why we need you.

    Happy birthday my dear.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy. You deserve every wonderful thought and deed headed your way today. You have given so much, to so many. You truly can’t even fathom the amount of gratitude that we all feel for you and this site that you keep open for us to share in.

    May all the rest of your days be blessed!

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy!
    Nearly every day I come to ChumpLady to hear the empowering stories and sage advice of fellow Chumps. As many have said, it is an invaluable lifeline. Without it, we would forever feel alone, trying to make logic out of illogic, beating ourselves up over the whys and wherefores, and repeating the same mistakes perhaps once modeled by a parent, and then ourselves. The idea of fixing my picker after 60 years is daunting but it’s a road I am resolved to travel. Thank you!
    Many Blessings today and always.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy, I hope you are having a fabulous day with Mr. ChumpLady. You are amazing, I believe I have reached Meh, because of you, but I read your blog daily with my morning coffee. I laugh, I cry, at the stories here and how blessed we are to have found you. I cringe when I go back to RIC websites, and how horrible it is for some chumps to still live their lives being the marriage police. Thank You for all you do for Chump Nation

  • Today I woke up with a feeling that it was someone ‘s Birthday but I couldn’t place who exactly it was. I tried to look thru my cousins and close friends but no one!

    I was ecstatic when I came here and found that it was your birthday! Happy Birthday Tracy, you are trully my guardian angel.. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I hadn’t found Chumplady.. God Bless u and thanks for saving all of us.

  • I didnt go to Paris until I was 46, and it unlocked the inner adventurer in me. There are lots of ways to make it affordable…check Orbitz and book a trip staying at a hotel on the outer part of the city to save money. You take the Riossy bus from the airport. Walk or Metro everywhere. Food is cheap, just get ham sandwiches at a bakery. The Louvre is closed Tuesdays. I have other tips…if you want to chat about it, start a thread in General on the Forums and I will look for it.

  • My ex purposefully “forgot” my birthday every year. I didn’t even get a verbal “happy birthday.” He snickered when a friend sent me flowers. I am still dealing with the fact that I was married to a sociopath for 40 years before I figured out what was wrong. How could I have been so dense?

    • Shame on him, Suzy. You had an extreme bastard on the bastard scale. That jerk put the passive in passive-agressive. I can only hope that you can “forget” he existed as easily, and laugh about it as much.

  • Happy, happy birthday Tracy! Hope it is as outstanding as you are!

    After years of receiving coasters every year for my birthday from the Fucktard X (yes, you read that correctly; coasters every birthday for 16 years), the current and much more lovable Mr. Survivor and I now have a different tradition. We do dinner and gift tickets to a concert or play we’d both enjoy, or we deposit some cash into the vacation fund for a special treat later. Experiences over stuff. I’ve got no problem with a card and flowers, a good dinner, and more fun later. There is a little known rule: Your birthday isn’t over until you’ve received all your gifts. I like it. I also like the better known rule: On your birthday, feel free to eat your cake (or pie) first.

    Thank you for all you do and passing on your wisdom.
    I have so many more living skills and a much better life
    From Australia x

  • Happy Birthday Tracy! Chump Lady born day – what a momentous occasion! Perhaps one day it will be a holiday! 🙂 Pamper yourself and enjoy your day!! Wishing you all the best, today and every day.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!!!

    I hope it’s the bomb, yo!!!

    Thank you for everything you’ve done for us Chumps! Thank you for sharing your story, your knowledge, your humor. You’ve really helped me move on and be mighty!

    Stay awesome!!!

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! hank you for the snarky, funny, witty direct and supportive kick in the butt you have given us! It is not easy waking Chumps up, but you understand our every flaw of toogoodness like no one else. Your contribution has been epic.

  • Happy Birthday Tracy!

    You share a birth date with my grandmother who has passed and would have been 96 today, but she was the smartest, snarkiest individual I have ever known – before snark was a thing. Example, upon returning from a first date with the most coolest guy in school (hey I was 16), my grandmother looked at my date (who I really liked) and asked “Tell me young man did you leave her as you found her?” Well you can guess what she was asking, I was horrified and quickly gave my date a kiss on the cheek and a thank you for a nice time and closed the door (hard). As I stated I was horrified, my grandmother not so much. I think she laughed for a week, or at least every time she thought about it.

    Thanks for all you do Chump Lady, hope you have a fabulous day! Oh and fabulous was my grandmother’s favorite word.

  • Happy Birthday to you Tracy! Thank you so much for this blog. Have a wonderful birthday.

  • Happy Birthday, Tracy! At 51, a mere babe. I’ve heard that all cake eaten on one’s birthday magically has no calories. Please test the theory and let us know the results.

    This thread is heartbreaking with broken, forgotten holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Let me add a few: how about trolling for dates on Craig’s List on your anniversay? Bonus points if your reply emails mention boners and boobs. I think Cheater #2 never made it past twelve, maturity-wise.

    How about having birthday outings with the OW? Both Cheater #1 and Cheater #2 pulled this crap, unbeknownst to me at the time. Once again, cheaters illustrate that they have absolutely NO originality.
    I now spend my birthdays with my son, who appreciates me and even if we do something free, simple or silly, it creates memories and has meaning.

  • Happy birthday, CL. So thankful you were born 51 years ago. Your life has touched, and probably saved, so many.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy! Thank you for what you do here. I appreciate your courage and tenacity.

  • Happy Birthday Chump Lady! I have told so many people about this site. You have taught me how to verbalize my experience and speak up for myself with confidence. I speak the truth and I feel empowered out in the world. Thank you!

  • Happy birthday Chump Lady! You are doing so much good in this world and I am so happy you have found the happiness you deserve!

    My ex also sucked at birthdays. It never ceases to amaze me how similar all our stories are.

    “A woman shouldn’t have to cry and tell her husband that special occassions need to be celebrated.” Yes!!!! Every year I would cry, tell him how much it hurt me that he couldn’t be bothered to make any effort, and he would just give me that blank look like he didn’t understand or care. Same shit every year, every birthday. Good grief what the hell was I doing married to that asshole?

  • I want to chime in with my Happy Birthday and huge thank you as well. It was reading your book that, along with providing me the 2×4 I needed, reminded me that I have a sense of humor (you are hilarious) and caused me to file. To find a community of people who understand what I am going through and respond with love and wisdom is priceless. I am 51 too. And you are a hero to me.

  • Happiest of Birthdays! I want to say until I read your book I thought I was batshit crazy. Seriously. I am reading your book and nodding my head and agreeing with so much of it.

    Thank you for sanity amidst dealing with a cheater and all the worthlessTRULY WORTHLESS RIC crap I had to endure that about ended my life.

    Bless you woman!

  • Happy birthday Tracy! May you have a day filled with merriment and delight!

    Previous years, my cheater-now-ex would go out of their way to make my birthday abundantly special… in the lead up: “What would you like to do? Shall we go away for a few days? Do you want to have a nice dinner with friends? What can I make you for breakfast?” etc etc etc. We were poor but I felt so rich, so precious. Of course, this was reciprocated when it was ex’s birthday: the whole “treating each other as we wanted to be treated” thing. Was bliss.

    This year, amidst the ongoing cheatery, ex made plans, on MY birthday, to spend the day with another friend (not affair partner, who thankfully for her in this instance, lives interstate). I don’t give a crap that said friend was just out of hospital – there are other days on the calendar. There was none of the usual planning or suggestions or effort. I had to beg/ negotiate with ex to spend any time at all together: “how about we do brunch together before you go see G?” – “Fine, ok…”. Sorry for the *inconvenience* of wanting to acknowledge I exist. The 180 on effort and care was beyond horrifying and still wounds me deeply.

    By the time ex’s birthday rolled around 6 months later (and after ex kicked ME out for revealing the affairing truth to our “friends”), I was (and am still, partially) in reconciliation mode…. so of course I asked ex if they wanted to do something, if I could go see them on their birthday. What had been a fairly relaxed conversation between us suddenly became hugely tense and vague: “I’m not doing anything, birthdays don’t matter to me…”, me: “but if you’re not doing anything, why can’t I see you? You’re important to me, we’ve always done something, etc etc”. Round and round in circles. Nada. On ex’s birthday I thought, well, I’ll at least call. So I did. Half a dozen times. Nothing, no response. Given that in the last year of us being together, my ex spent vast *hours*, every day, on the phone, to affair partner… but wouldn’t even answer ONE call from long-term, still-faithful me – well, that was a new level of horrifying. I guess my discard, my humiliation, my demotion was complete.

    I am starting to see the cruelty, power-plays, control and manipulation for what it is. God have mercy, for cheaters certainly do not.

    So… here’s to we who are surviving – and especially those who lead the way like you, Tracy… thank you for gifting us with your wisdom and love and honouring of the hard things, and urging us towards better. Much love, glee and “onwards-ness” to you. xoxo

    • Oh thoughtsoffluency!

      “On ex’s birthday I thought, well, I’ll at least call. So I did. Half a dozen times. Nothing, no response. Given that in the last year of us being together, my ex spent vast *hours*, every day, on the phone, to affair partner… but wouldn’t even answer ONE call from long-term, still-faithful me – well, that was a new level of horrifying. I guess my discard, my humiliation, my demotion was complete.”

      This is why we have a wonderful technique called No Contact.

      You need to learn it. That’s probably the only way you’ll get OUT of false-reconciliation and still-faithful.

      Here you go – from the birthday horse’s mouth!

  • Happy birthday Tracy!!!!
    You and this site (CN) are inspiration. Reading and seeing I’m not alone has been a comfort in the darkest days. I only wish I had found this site sooner and been the one to walk away from my cheater instead of being abandoned.

  • Birthdays! My first b’day with hubby was right after we got married. I was 21, he was 22, and we were driving away for our honeymoon an hour away to a lake we met at. I was in totally awesome shape, physically, but without any money, I had not bought a new bathing suit for 2 yrs. We had a whole bunch of cash for wedding gifts and mentioned I’d like to stop and get a new bikini. He said, we can’t afford it, and I almost jumped out of the car right then and there. 35 years later, I wished I had done it. He never made a deal out of my b’day at all.

    Happy Birthday, Tracy.
    You are well loved.

  • Wishing you the happiest birthday!!!! You have literally saved my life by starting this site and bringing all of the beautiful chumps together here!!!! I draw inspiration daily from all of you!!!!

    My first birthday w/o STBX was a week ago. His was the day after, so we always celebrated joint birthdays for 20 years. I had a nice night out w my son and parents! On Saturday I enjoyed a nice night out with friends. I thought it would be harder – I’m 3 months out from DDay but it was ok. We each took our son shopping separately so he could get the other one a present from him (he’s 9).

    However this roller coaster kills me!!!! I know I am better off without him, and I actually do not want to be with him at all but I am so emotional! I am usually a happy/positve person and this is for sure the most traumatic experience I have ever been through!

    So I want to thank you Tracy and everyone else at CN for your support every day! I have read your book so many times and all of the archives and they are so helpful!!!!

    May we each have better birthdays and holidays without these disordered jerks and may we all find meh soon!!!

    My birthday is actually on a Tuesday next year ????.

  • Happy Birthday Tracey, from another (but slightly older) September 25th birthday buddy. I spent my day doing something I have always wanted to do and would never have done if I was still with ex.

    I am grateful to you and the Nation for showing me the path to a better life. You all have my profound thanks.

    Happy Birthday!

  • Happy birthday Tracey – belated because I am in UK – and thanks for this wonderful site which really acknowledges the damage infidelity causes.
    Many thanks also to all those who posted such thoughtful, kindly and inspirational responses to my dilemma.

  • Happy birthday, Tracy!

    You’re not getting older-you’re getting mightier!

    Thanks for everything you do on Chump Lady.

  • I turned 42 yesterday. It’s now been 4 months since I found out my wife cheated on me. A day before her 46th birthday she decided to have sex with her 24 year old massage therapist- without a condom for extra specialness. It was also 1 month before our 14 year wedding anniversary (17 total years together). It’s now been 1 month since I found out it wasn’t the first time. She now admits she gave him full oral sex two other occasions. The marriage therapist diagnosed her as having Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s been hell wading through all of this with a 12 year old daughter. I just ordered the book- to try to begin the journey to reclaim my life.

    • Best wishes, to you, Zell.
      I remember how painful it is finding out and the months after realizing it’s not a bad dream.
      I tried to see the situation in my mind as a movie, that’s how I detached from the covert narcissist in my life for 24 years: serial cheater, multiple affairs, financial exploitation, emotional and sometimes physical abuse. He was aware of the damage, he just didn’t want to stop.
      I felt better when I started throwing out of my mind all the details of his evil behavior and I gave him a new name: Mr NOBODY. You’ll reach this point too.

      • Mr. Nobody – perfect name. They are truly nobodies, no souls. In my experience, each passing day that I am NC diminishes the power that STBX had over me. Before, I remember I would feel this horrible fight or flight reaction whenever I have to confront his abusive behaviours as he was quite adept at manipulation and uses my feelings for him against me quite well. Now I am almost a year NC and he doesn’t live in my head anymore. For me he is a 2 dimensional cardboard imposter without capability of being in a true relationship. A nobody.

  • I hope you had a fabulous birthday celebration yesterday, ChumpLady. I love this blog and am grateful for your continued dedication to the cause of educating and encouraging all of your CN readers.

    Special thanks to Mr. CL for supporting (and, as I recall, nudging) you in the creation of this website. You two make a terrific team!

  • Happy Birthday Chumplady. Thank-you for being the voice of reason in this insanity. I first came to your site in 2012. I must of felt at home because I’m still here.

    The best gift I ever rec’d from my X is gone. He got himself a metal detector and went on the hunt. He used it around an ancient one room schoolhouse. He found a gold brooch with many semi-precious stones. He had it cleaned and gave it to me as a gift. The day he packed up he also packed up the brooch. He is an expert re-gifter. It now belongs to the OW. He also gifted her his drug and alcohol addictions. Lucky her. I got the greatest gift of all. Freedom from abuse and the chance to live life the way I wish.

  • 40 today . 3 kids under 7. He cheated with his sectetary . Left me 9 months ago . But wants to make things work ???? . Whilst she works for him . No house. I work 100 hours a week and am sitting major exams . All I see is GNIR. Am finding it hard to pull the plug as the children are so young . Not a single gift in 10 years . He earns huge amounts . I give every penny I earn for the children . He has never given me a penny. He has not shown one shred of evidence of remorse . 40 . No card . No gift. No sorry . Wouldn’t spend time with with children so I could study . He had to go out drinking with a friend . Typing this I know what I have to do . But I really need a push in the right direction . Refuses to talk about things , plan for things , berates and critisizes me. I am a trainee doctor and he has ruined everything including my career . An alpha at work but emotionally abused at home. How do I move on . To walk away will mean an appalling standard of living for my children , less opportunity and a bleak future . The real thing holding me back is that I will lose them . Every other weekend. And more . Having lone parented them from day 1 in a practical sense . He cheats . He takes everything . Leaves me destitute . I can handle all this . But I can’t handle the possibility of losing my children every other weekend to a sociopath who cares little for them and is a danger to their wellbeing but knows it’s the only way to really hurt me . And the OW is a filthy tramp with a child . Help . Please. Am very alone. No family supports . No friends because I work and parent.

    • I know how you feel. I’m very alone, I’m worried for my three children, I’m working my ^*% off to provide for my children. He’s manipulating my family, intoxicating my whole environment. I come here, reading all these stories helps. ((Hugs))
      Also researching about law of attraction has helped me.

  • Holy shit, just found this site and Sept. 25th is my bday too! I celebrated being a free woman not having to uphold my commitment, because 7 years ago is when the father of my child (and reason I’m on this site…) proposed to me, 9 months pregnant, on my actual bday and we tied the knot right then. My bday gift to myself is that I’m finally changing back from my married name!! Whoo hoo! Hoping you had a splendid Birthday as well!

  • Birthdays with cheaters suck. I almost killed myself on my birthday, not long after D-Day #1.

    Only a couple days before, I told him I would only sleep with him if he ended it with her. He told me it was over. He lied. I slept with him based on his deceit.

    Once I learned it was a lie, the PTSD hit me like a truck. I couldn’t stop the panic attacks and violent flashbacks of walking in on them and that he lied to me for sex. On my birthday, I was alone, he was with her, and I came the closest I ever have to killing myself.

    Birthdays with cheaters suck.

  • I may be a tad bit late to the party, but I would like to wish you, our Dear CL, Happy Birthday! 😀

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: