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Rituals for New Lives?

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Today’s Friday challenge comes from ChumpAsItIs. She writes:

My story is the same as many others, more than 20 years of marriage, ex-husband stepped away, did not know whether he wanted to stay with me, said he loved me but needed some time to think, you know, the usual tale. He was able to make me unknowingly dance for 2 years, when I found out that he was having a 4 years affair with one of my best friends and then after D-day I got divorced in 3 months.

I was thinking that, as for other bereavement (and the term really applies because there was more than one death in this process), closure can be reached through a ritual. I have been feeling the urge to bury or burn something physical to symbolize that it is all definitely in the past, in the other life. I was wondering if you or the other in CN have done something similar, maybe that could be a Friday challenge?

Consider it done!

When I left the cheater, the only ritual I can think of was raising a drink in a local bar, by myself — within hours of having moved out on him. But it retrospect, perhaps I should’ve done some sort of voodoo, protective spell to keep him from hoovering. Or washed oxblood on my door or something. Hmm.

I’m all for rituals and getting rid of bad mojo and welcoming NEW mojo — what’s Chump Nation been up to?

TGIF!

(And if you’re burning anything, be careful. Remember Smoky Bear — only YOU can prevent forest fires!)

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I bought myself an nice ring – one I had always wanted but couldn’t have. It wasn’t expensive, but he was too busy spending our money on fancy toys, whores and a dominatrix. The ring reminds me that I am worth better than he treated me and to never allow anyone to take my agency away again.

    • I did this too! It took a year to save up but I aggressively wanted a real and lasting symbol that my self worth was not attached to him. And that I could floss my own bling!

      • I bought myself a ring too, one that I really liked although it’s not that expensive. I put it on layaway until it was paid for and now I wear it all the time.

        I’ve always loved rings and while married I almost never took my wedding ring off. That’s why it hurt that my husband stopped wearing his. He told me that he didn’t want to get it caught while working outside, but I noticed he didn’t wear it to work either. Then I noticed that he wore his other rings, but never his wedding band.

        • Nowdeadcheater always acted like his ring was kryptonite. Early in ourmarriage, he was deployed to Japan for 6 months and I found it in the ashtray and I didnt get mad, I dismissed any concerns with spackle.

          At the end of his life, he bought himself a wedding band that he wore the last couple of years although he refused to have it blessed or to renew our vows as promised. He was buried with the ring on.

          • Mine told people he didn’t like wearing his ring because it “cut off his circulation.” Hahahafuckyou.

            When he left, he left it in the exact geographical center of his otherwise barren nightstand.

            It would have hurt more, had this been his original ring. This was a replacement I bought for him ten or so years ago after his original ring had been “stolen out of his suitcase” while he was on a business trip. He had no answer as to why he hadn’t been wearing it, and the excuse for its loss smelled funny to me at the time but I made the Chump Fatal Mistake of trusting my long-time spouse. **facepalm**

            Anyway, I sold his and my rings for scrap and financed a week in coastal California on the proceeds!

            • I like this idea, going to start looking for a ” new me ” ring …

              What finger do you wear it though, I feel so naked without my wedding and engagement rings but feel I need to do this … xxx

        • My cheater “lost” his wedding band. I was so innocent I did not notice because I never had suspicions. He called my attention to it, said he had been “twirling” it on his desk at work and must have forgotten it. Twirling….

          • Wow! I had completely forgotten finding Haggar the Whoreable’s ring in the ash tray of his car. He had some lame excuse that I bought at the time. Now I know so much the better. Also, the last time I found it in the washing machine (obviously in his pants pocket) and never gave it back to him. I still have it. Oh, what to do with it…..

            Now the ring he got me years in (I sold it and paid off my car as he left me with all the bills) and given with a multi-page explanation of what it meant and a vase for flowers…..well I copied the letter and put it in the box of his crap that went to the storage locker so he could have the utter bullcrap and the vase he didn’t take it from the locker (although how it was stacked with other items I am sure he thought he could come back for, I’m sure he was planning on taking his “masterpiece” and giving it to Ankles), well, I put it away for awhile (he made it) and then one day I was up in the storage area and came across it. This was in the top of the garage. Picked it up, looked at the cement floor and let it go. Just like our lives, shattered into a million pieces. And like what he left behind to clean up, I went down, swept it up and placed in the garbage.

            Symbolic and it felt great.

          • This seems to be a common red flag (in retrospect). Mine also repeatedly “lost” his and gave up on wearing in. As much as I would have liked to not care, it stung to see him sporting a big wedding ring for OW/wife #2 which he never takes off – though no doubt after the rot sets in, he may need to “lose” this one too.

    • Me too! Never got a real engagement ring – my wedding ring was laughable. I’m not materialistic – I thought the real treasure was his love. Years rolled on and I never got a real ring. Now, I made a lot of money – no reason that shouldn’t have happened over 20 years. Plenty of money for what he wanted though. Jeep shit. Wood whittling tools that were never used.

      Bought myself a beautiful ring with a pink stone to give to my granddaughter when she is older. It reminds me of what I am worth. And it is similar enough to a wedding ring that it can be used as pest repellent. Even better.

      • Common theme, I also bought a ring- a ruby which goes along with proverbs a good wig has a value above rubies, it is coincidently my daughter’s birthstone. I had it flanked with 3 small diamonds on either side to represent each of my 5 children and one miscarried child- (the good that came from this horrible marriage)

        I heard early after dday that people have parties to burn their wedding albums upon divorce. I am considering that. Also wonder about ideas for disposing of the dress.

        • I donated my wedding dress to a charity. I dropped in a couple of hours later to drop off some more clothes and it was already gone. Hope someone else has a happier outcome with it. I felt naked without my wedding and engagement rings on and so bought rings and now wear 5 rings – I love rings! When I look at them I can’t help but smile. They symbolize my new life as well.

      • Pest repellent- been wearing one too when I have to go to trade shows, work events or networking. People still look at your left hand a lot of times. 😐

        • Wow! Thought I was original with the ring idea. Took my wedding ring off when I found out he was cheating and brought several silver rings because I felt naked after wearing a wedding ring for 38 years. I love emeralds and am now looking for the right ring that says “buy me”. I didn’t realize so many chumps felt the same way I do. Thanks!!!

    • Ditto to the rings! I ponied up the dough for a nice set of rings with a beautiful rose quartz stone. At the time I bought it, it really was an extravagance, but every time I look down at it I remember the strength it took to walk away from a toxic relationship and the promise of a better future. What a pleasure it’s been to watch that better future unfold every single day over the last 4 years! And, as Chumpfor21 says above, it also doubles as “pest repellent.”

      Highly recommended, even (and maybe especially) for chumps who think they can’t afford it. The symbolic investment in self pays the most incredible dividends. 🙂

    • This is a great idea. My wedding ring symbolized so many awful things – the fact that he never even asked me to marry him, though he had this amazing event planned in his head for the person that he decided to marry. But I was never special enough for that. I remember when we went ring shopping and he was unwilling to purchase anything that cost more than $300. So I found a non traditional ring that I liked and went with it. His ring cost more than mine did, which seemed to be a theme for our marriage. He wore his ring most of the time, even on his dates with MOW.

      Once he packed his shit and moved out and I had moved in with my parents, I took my ring and threw it in a lake. It felt damn good to huck that thing into an abyss. It was a ritual of sorts. The name of the lake/pond that I threw it in is “Kid’s Pond” which seemed totally apropos as our marriage just seemed like child’s play. He was the biggest man baby. Wouldn’t mind if he threw himself in that lake. Just sayin.

      • Chucked into the abyss. I like that phrase. I didn’t feel the need to get rid of my ring, since I bought it and it was attached to a diamond ring that I inherited from a beloved older person in my life. The fact that cheater never got me a ring, and stopped wearing the one I got him, should have been a wake up call years earlier. He “lost” three rings, and the final one he stopped wearing because it got in the way of his work. Yah, right.

        I took our wedding album and one by one, removed every single photo and cut him out of them. Then I stabbed each of his photos with a sharp scissor multiple times before cutting them in pieces. It was a very healing exercise. I don’t give a rip about that fake 31-year history. My grown and married kids have their own photos and don’t need mine. If they want to see or inherit any of my wedding day photos, well there I am, and all the lovely guests.

        I don’t think there is anything left in my life that is cheater’s or reminds me of cheater, but if I ever find something, I’m having a 🔥 bonfire.

        Life is so much better without a cheater.

      • I was going to turf mine in the lake at the family holiday home she forced me to go to each year…. but I just left it and wedding present with a note saying the kids can have it one day. Basically… it (ie the representation of our sham marriage) means nothing but hopefully our kids will find a use one day.

        Total indifference hurts a narcissist more than rage…. she brought it up in divorce proceedings in one of her incoherent rants. She was so mad should couldn’t even say what her point was.

        In addition to some new rituals (like breakfast with my kids on each Sunday morning without having to walk on egg shells), I just kept up the old ones …. but I just enjoyed them a lot more without her. I also went to places we used to go to – this bit felt weird at first, but they were my places and I didn’t want to give them up because of the taint caused by a self centred fuckwit – now I feel great going to bars/restaurants/cities/hotels/etc where I had been with her. I just enjoy them a lot more without her.

    • Didn’t get a ring but I did buy a motorcycle. Riding it gave me a true sense of freedom. Never even considered one before, but after the split I gave it a whirl. BTW if any new chump thinks they want one, they are very dangerous. Mine experience had a bad ending but I had an awesome time until then!

    • I did the same.

      When I removed my wedding ring, (he had taken his off years before because he was “worried his finger would get hurt while working on the car…” and stupid me believed him!), I felt–NAKED.

      Over two decades of wearing a ring and I felt so vulnerable without it. It also had the effect of keeping unwanted male attention at a distance.

      So I designed my own, with my birthstone, by a local artisan. It was beautiful and I loved it!
      However, by the time I’d gotten it, I’d lost so much weight on the “infidelity diet” that it was falling off my ring finger.

      I moved it to the middle finger of my other hand, which somehow seems just as appropriate! 🙂

      Now I wear a new ring on my wedding ring finger which symbolizes my love for and commitment to my new man. It all feels just right.

      Oh. And I DID rip apart all the more stylish, flattering clothes I got for GUBU after his complaints that he was looking “old”—that he ultimately used to woo his Schmoopie. I turned them into cleaning rags.

      Cleaned his mess right up! That was cathartic.

    • Ha. The best I could come up with was that while he was spending money on dinner and theater tickets I was hoarding maple syrup and expensive olive oil. I also bought some Fandango gift cards so the kids and I could go have some fun of our own after finances were separated.

      • You have good taste, Chumpinrecovery. I hope every time you enjoy either of those two things you remember that you deserved so much better!

    • I also bought myself a ring… actually two rings! Both inexpensive sterling silver. One says “Love Life” on the outer band and “Stay Strong” on the inside of the band. I don’t wear that one any longer, because I’ve gained weight and it’s too tight on my finger now, but I wear the second ring, which has the saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” in tiny script weaving around the band.

      And I got a tattoo on my ankle of a beautiful and colorful koi fish. Lots of people think a koi tattoo symbolizes luck, but it actually symbolizes struggling against and overcoming adversity. That was actually my second tattoo. I foolishly reconciled with the cheater shortly after getting the koi tattoo, and he found it embarrassing and ‘low class” that I had ankle tattoos. By contrast, my new hubby recently went with me while I got my third tattoo — this one is on my wrist and shows birds taking flight with the words, “Don’t be afraid” underneath, and new hubby got a beautiful tattoo of his own on his bicep.

      A few small rituals I followed during the early days of separation from cheater:
      Bought myself an inexpensive bouquet of flowers each week
      Went to DivorceCare each week
      Went to as many MeetUp groups as I could

      One thing I did right after Dday which I highly DO NOT RECOMMEND was getting a big student loan and going back to school at one of those scam vocational schools. There’s a reason people are often cautioned not to make really big decisions right after a major life trauma, and I’m proof of that. Around halfway through, I realized I’d made a huge mistake and the career I was training for was totally not for me. I developed tremendous anxiety, ended up dropping out of the program, and am still paying off the student loan.

      • After D-Day #2 (July 2 of this year), when I took off my wedding rings, I started thinking of how I’ve been asking for a mother’s ring for years. Well, since I can’t afford it myself, I did mention to my girls that this is the one and only Christmas gift I want. And I can’t wait to get it!

        But I do have a question…at first, I was going to wear it where I’ve worn my wedding band for the past almost 20 years. Then I started wondering if I should or not. The symbolism of wearing it on my left ring finger would have been a dedication to my children, and being the best mom I can be. But then I started thinking of down the road, and how I will maybe want to meet someone, though quite frankly the idea of dating is TERRIFYING!!

        Maybe I’ll start of with it on my left hand, and can always move it to a different finger when I’m ready to “go fishing.”

    • I haven’t found the “right” ring for me, yet.

      My engagement ring from the Evil One had been sold for scrap metal a few years before when TEoW was yet again unemployed and we needed food.

      The “family heirloom” wedding band that was allegedly his great-grandmother, with him who knows if that was/is true, disappeared from my jewelry box months before DDay.

      Those were the only two wedding rings I ever had from him.

      He, on the other hand, frequently bought himself rings. Within months, he would find another “cool” ring. There was never any money for me to have a snazzy ring on his level

    • Me too! I call it my ‘freedom’ ring. It’s made up of beautiful blue semi-precious stones that make me feel calm, safe and suppported. And stylish!

    • Felt naked not wearing wedding band. 6 months after leaving JAMF, had a replacement band made. Dye cut, said careful. Got caught on everything, wore it for 2 years until it finally fell apart.

    • Because of everyone’s great idea of getting a new ring to wear, I just ordered a beautiful sterling silver ring (my preference to the gold wedding and engagement bands he picked) It’s got heart-shaped amethyst and garnet stones on it (my birthstone and my daughters) I cannot wait to get it in a few days and wear it!!!!
      Thanks Chumps!

  • Symbolic for me was wearing the same tie that I had got married in, to the religious divorce court session. I stumbled through that process. I cried afterwards, and threw the tie in the bin. 16 years of marriage done and dusted in a hour long meeting.

    • NC
      That’s so sad.
      For me I have a favourite skirt that has now lasted longer than the marriage. I’m fairly ashamed to admit that that makes the skirt 25 years old but hey it still fits and looks good and I love it. So every time I wear it I think about that. When people comment on it I tell them about it lasting longer than my marriage. It gets me some weird looks and extra personal space but makes me smile. I do love the skirt. Now I’m glad it lasted and he didn’t.
      I am also saving up to buy myself a ring. I had my original rings cut off as I tried them on too soon after the birth of my second 🤦🏼‍♀️ Ex talked about buying me more for the next 16 years but never did. So I look forward to the day when I can buy my own. As they say, I’ve found the one and it’s me. 💍 I’ll put a ring on it. ❤️

      • As they say, I’ve found the one and it’s me. 💍 I’ll put a ring on it. ❤️

        I love it! Thanks for that one!

      • I have a skirt like that! I can’t do up the top button now but otherwise it fits.I had never thought of it, but yes it has been more reliable than my XH.
        I can feel a quilt coming on…

      • Same here.
        For the wedding, I went to Dollar General and found a skirt I fell in love with — earthly tones, Paisley print, and a nice cream colored top to match.

        To this day, I still have the skirt. The zipper needs to be fixed, but I still have it.

        Lasted longer than the marriage, hahahahhahaaaa, so true!

      • I keep running into objects that have outlasted my marriage. Finished off the shampoo that outlasted him. Didn’t know when I bought it that it would be around longer than H.

      • I have a favorite skirt, too… I’m about to fit into it again! And that it’s outlasted my almost 30 years in this mess just amazes me. Thanks for the memory. There’s WAAAAY more about me that predates the STBX that I am uncovering every day; I’ve missed her and am excited about THIS relationship! I tell myself – and my braintrust – I WILL NEVER CHEAT ON ME! What comfort that provides.
        Found myself looking at a guy I’ve found attractive in the past today at church, then nearly slapped myself – it’s way too soon and if I’m attracted, there’s a good chance he’s not healthy! I still have picker fixing to do. This was an example of me being true to me. I’m hoping there will be a safe, honest relationship in my future, but it’s too soon and I care for me more than I’ve ever known how to in the past. Thanks to CL & CN, I am walking into a new life one step at a time. Thank you all!

    • This made me feel so very sad… Omg I’m at my OBGYN appointment and reading this I just started crying. Like ugly cry… I’m so embarrassed people are looking at me lol.

      • Newchump, so sorry that you got triggered. It happens pretty often in the beginning but gets easier as time goes by. Much love to you!

      • NC, I’m sorry you had to go through that. Reading about your tie made my own broken heart ache.
        NewChump89, I’m sitting in a coffee shop and fighting the tears myself. 🙂 Yesterday, I paused to cover my face as I ugly-cried at the grocery store. You’re in good company. 🙂 Let it all out, man.

        — HeChump

        • Raising my cup of joe to toast you, HeChump. Coffee shops are great therapy Keep hanging in there, it gets better. The ripped-out heart feeling passes, and the coffee routine soothes. Every time you get to the bottom of your cup, say under your breath, “I am worth so much more.”

          • The ugly cries are cleansing! I haven’t had one in a while, which gives me faith that I am moving in the right direction. My tears were for the loss of my IDEAS about what our marriage was moreso than the reality, but it was a painful death nonetheless. I truly thought if him as the love of my life – called him as much often & to others. Also thought he was my best friend. The double loss brought those tears. My brain caught up & has surpassed my heart in knowing that a life love and friend would NEVER do to me what he had. I haven’t found that person yet. But in the meantime I will be both to myself. Thanks to the support hete in CN! Hang in there, friends, it DOES get better!

      • Let them look the nosey bastards..my stbx did buy me a ring to replace my original one that got broken at work 12 years ago…he ordered it from Walmart for brace yourselves…13.00 bucks. Yep..he spent more money getting tape put around the handlebars of his 3,000.00$ bicycles..cheap prick.

        • Wow, just reminded me of him buying me a multicolored stone ring that said I love you in the band. Size 15. I’m a size 8 or 9

          Then he got.pissed because I took it to Walmart to see about exchanging it and he realized I found out how much he spent on it- 5.99. online clearance, size 15 was the only size they had.

          He then got pissed that I was upset at how big it was, so he told me to wrap rope around it.

          I can’t even

      • It’s okay, Sweetie. Go ahead and ugly cry wherever and whenever you need to. You will be amazed at how many wonderful, caring strangers offer you support at those times, and it can change your whole outlook on life. I snotted all over some mall kiosk guy in the early days, but he was so sweet and kind that I left knowing I would be okay.

    • OMG. This right here. The grief and devastation. A relationship done and dusted. I’m so sorry. What does it say that this story can make strangers on the internet cry at their desks, but the unfaithful spouse is quite happy to inflict this suffering?

      • I remember going to the ceramic paint-it-yourself store. It was a week past D-day and I was a wreck. I received a call from Haggar the Whoreable’s parents checking in on me and asking if I wanted to meet them for lunch (I had a box of important papers, family heirloom jewelry, passport, etc. etc. that I didn’t want to just put in the storage locker – it wasn’t important enough to him to take to the slutshack) and I was in no condition to meet them. I sat there and just started to cry and the owner came over and asked me if I was okay and I verbally vomited and she was so kind (HTW and I had been in many times with or without the kids). She bundled up my outstanding projects and told me to come back whenever I could and that HTW was no longer welcome should he show back up. The kindness of strangers, who would have thought.

  • Have a cocktail then give the social media a good cleanse, delete delete, block block.

    Have another cocktail, put al their shit in bin bags. Put it on eBay, start a “spa fund” from the proceeds

    One more drink, look at your contacts and re-connect with old friends, go on meet up and maybe make some new ones. Fill up your diary. (Don’t actually ring anyone drunk, not recommended)

    *Clink* Here’s to your new life!! Ready for bed now, new start tomorrow.

  • It’s only a week since we are actually living apart. All I want to do now is clean the house, every inch of it.
    I feel the need to get rid of every part of him. How can we really do that after 30 yrs of marriage?

    • I truly don’t know. It’s been 4 months apart in a 19 yr marriage. I figure I’ll do it when I’m good and ready. You’ll realize the further away you are from him, you truly start getting your power back. Cone here often and listen to everyone and how they did it. I suggest NC just because he can’t mindfuck you anymore. That in itself is powerful. Xo sweet

    • Do it! Seriously, start with one room and remove everything that reminds him of you. If that means new furniture then so be it. Make that your sanctuary. As you move room by room you have a safe place to go where nothing will trigger you when you stumble on something or it gets to be too much. Soon your whole house will be cleansed and you can go about repainting or reupholstering or redecorating

      • The strangest thing about my situation (35 years married), is that NOTHING in the house reminds me of him except for the things that need to be repaired and the piles of debris he left behind! In all actuality, HE was never involved in the decorating or selection of anything in the home, from furniture to paint colors… absolutely nothing. I feel very fortunate for this. (The wedding album and wedding gown? Bottle of wine and in the garbage!)

    • Lioness, I completely understand how you feel. Considering the length of your marriage, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of joint possessions. I respect your need to “get rid of every part of him” but embrace the fact that it will likely take some time. Be patient with yourself and trust the process – it will get you to where are you need to be.

      We were together for 40 years, and the cleansing is still going on. Sure, I got rid of all of his personal items right away (his side of the closet, winter coat in the hall closet, items in the medicine cabinet and bedroom dresser drawers)… all of it got put in a pile in the garage and he came to pick it up.

      But then came the inventory process for the official separation agreement. That required my going through every single thing we’d had in our large family home (when the house was sold, it all ended up in 2 big storage units). Open a box, remove the contents, separate things into small groups, take a photo, put everything back, move to the next box. All the photos were emailed to him through our attorneys, and he had the chance to request certain items. I gladly gave him everything he asked for as there was no good reason to keep them (i.e. his high school yearbooks, many jars of screws/bolts/nuts from the garage, a picture of his late father). I also packed up most of the gifts he’d given me (I kept the diamonds!) and for good measure, threw in every photo I could find of the two of us together (i.e. dating in college, our engagement, on vacations, 30-year vow renewal). He hired a moving company to take it who knows where. When I moved into my new house, the rest of our items were put in my basement and I started the process of re-opening each box and deciding what I wanted to keep. So far, I’ve donated over 20 boxes of books to the local library, and have given at least 7-8 vanloads of stuff to various charities. I’ve found this experience to be emotionally draining and sometimes, I can only get through a box or two before having to quit. It’s now been 3 years and I’m still working on “the purge” as time allows. Thankfully, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel and am determined to finish by year’s end.

      • Thank you for comments, reminded me that dismantling a long marriage takes time . I have people starting to tell me how exciting to move on and start over with new things. I am sorting through 32 years of a life where I didn’t know what I didn’t know . It’s emotionally exhausting , some days I open a box , start crying, close box up and just go sit outside. Other days I can sort , save and throw away . But I make sure I follow my new ritual of writing 5 thankful things every day.

        • I understand. 32 years here also. Right now all the stuff is in the basement, in boxes, under the stairwell. Not ready to face those memories yet. The head stuff is enough for now. Hugs to you chumpsrushin.

        • chumpsrushin, I know how you feel. I was with my husband 36 years and it’s not easy to sort through a life time of memories. I’ve still got boxes of pictures that I planned to go through in my closets but can’t bring myself to look at them very long. They just make me sad. The other day I pulled out a family picture with our kids and me posed around my husband, who was sitting in the center like a patriarch. I couldn’t help but feel sad that he never really was.

          • 33 years here. But I’m now 6 years out from our separation and 2 years post divorce and over time all memorbilia that included XH has gone. It did take time. I mailed him all pictures that he was in (a box full) and threw out things that would remind me of him. The funny thing is that now I can remember things from early years and there is no longer any pain around the memories (for several years I would wax between nostalgia and anger when I would think of the past – not anymore). So, time will make a difference. You will be creating new memories and life will just get better and better.

            • I was 32+ years too (and also went through the painful realization that the OW was a friend of mine–apparently, his too!) I did the obsessive cleaning and purging and getting rid of the bed and all traces of the charlatan… but I also did an intense cleansing smudge with a group of my closest women friends. We did the burning of the sage while walking clockwise around the house with the windows open and then counter-clockwise with the windows closed to keep the damn spectre out and away. I’m not usually one for woo-woo ceremonies but this did help me and the support of my friends was awesome to witness.

              • Been Chumped – thanks for sharing your ritual. I will be smudging, too, but there’s still too much of him here. I’m also a 32-year refugee, just 99 days post DDay(#3!). I am filing, but have been slowed by eye surgeries and a week-long evacuation. The world is also being purged while I adjust my sails to the new winds in my life.
                Thank you for sharing this. Your experience fills me with optimism.
                I would really like to have a wake service after divorce is final. I’m a peofessional in end-of-life care and have become an expert in grieving. Now I see why: to prepare me for the death of this marriage. I think a wake would help me transition from mourning to celebration, with my closest friends who get it.
                Also considering a small tattoo!

              • Longing-ForMeh-ca- did you have to evacuate for Irma? We did. Luckily our house was ok and all of our friends/family are ok. Very scary though and stressful!!! Hope all is well by you! Hugs

      • I have done the same thing with my wifes stuff and also found it emotionally draining and only could do it for a half an hour to an hour at a time. Brings up many memories and makes you wonder how she could shit all over me, her son and her family like that, I have her stuff in boxes in the basement. She also is probably going to have someone else pick it up. Because she is to chick shit to face me and her son.

        • My ex (divorced in November) started off with a three page list of the things that he wanted from the house. After stringing me along for nine months, I sent a thirty day “drop dead” letter to remove items or they are deemed abandoned. Well, the chickenshit did not respond. I guess he could not face me (as he has never admitted to what he has done) and also, the humiliation would have been too much for him to handle. Now, he has nothing from the first sixty years of his life!

      • RedSandals, my cheater did not ask for a single photo of his children or of his side of the family (I was the repository, my MIL entrusted all her photos, I was the only one who cared about these memories).

        I kept my children’s photos, sent his family’s photos to him together with his boxers and a sweater the cats had peed on in the dirtiest duffle bag I could find.

        I am selling all of the two pieces of jewelry from him (a watch and my MIL’s gold chain). I know that schmoopie got a nice ring from him. I will by my own with the $.

        • ClearWaters – “…and a sweater the cats had peed on in the dirtiest duffle bag I could find.” LOLOLOL!! That’s awesome. And these douchebag cheating bitches deserve NO less.

          Thanks for the laugh! 😂

    • You do this bit by bit. One I had that “ah ha” moment that my shitbag ex wasn’t coming back and I filed for divorce, I had such a burning desire to clean out everything he touched, owned, or left behind (nearly all of his worldly possessions, all he left with was his clothes).

      So the day I filed the divorce and figured out how much I’d have to pay my attorney, I sold wood working tools he owned–that brought me several hundred. Then bit by bit, I got rid of his other crap–sold, threw out, gave away, whatever. I even held a party with a few friends to take saws-alls and other instruments of destruction to our bed. (I bought a new one with a new mattress and box springs). I eventually moved out of the house, got into a smaller place of my own when my youngest two left for college or live with roommates.

      It’s a purge system I went through. I had an obsessive need to purge as much of his physical life out of my as possible.

    • Hard, Lioness, it’s hard. Lot’s of physical and emotional work, but I, at least, felt better doing the job. I am doing the same as MehMehMeh, making some cash as well.

    • Lioness, Go for it!
      I put all of my exes stuff in a pile and told him if he wanted it, he should take it now. I also had it written into the divorce papers that he got certain specific items and they had to be out of the house by a certain time, anything left was mine to do with as I wished. Goodwill and some local charity thrift shops received bags and boxes of his garbage. I occasionally find something of his in the attic or basement depending on my mood I’ll have our adult kids take it to him or I’ll throw it out (I found photos of his deceased father, I would never be cruel enough to toss those) or burn – I love burning his stuff! He is currently asking (our daughter, he won’t come to me) for an item that I intentionally left out of his pile. It is a musical instrument that my father went to great lengths to get for him. He never appreciated the effort while he had it so he isn’t getting it now. Next I’ll smudge/cleanse/purify my home with lavender and sage followed by painting the whole interior. After that, it goes on the market and the profits are all mine.

    • Easy bin it, burn it or box it if he asked for it and put it out on your front porch for him to collect by a precise date. If he doesn’t come and get it bin it or burn it if it’s burnable. My solution to all my X’s crap he left me to deal with. Burning their stuff is soooo carthetic. Or throwing their wedding ring into the Pacific Ocean under a full moon cursing them, while watching the lava flow off the big island while on the Hawaii cruise that was meant to be celebrating douchegags birthday with my Mum. Awesome 😎

  • I went grocery shopping and bought everything I wanted without fear of her getting mad at me. She would always give me such a hard time about “not buying the right stuff” or “spending too much money.” I bought what I that my kids and me needed. I also used the plastic bags from the grocery instead of the reusable bags. I would always forget to use them and she would go ballistic on me.

    • Big grin from me on this.

      When KK had our first, I started doing the Saturday shopping, taking the baby with me so KK could have a nap or do whatever she felt like doing. For 2 months she expressed appreciation.

      At 6 months she demanded that I stop: “You didn’t get the right stuff!! You should have gotten X — it was on sale!! I don’t care if Y was in sale, you should have gotten the other brand!! I know I said ‘I don’t care what kind you get’ but I don’t like this kind.”

      Shortly thereafter she resumed the weekend shopping and started complaining that she didn’t have any ‘me’ time in Saturdays.

      • I’ve done the shopping and cooking for the entirety of our 20+ years together. My STBX still felt entitled to kibbitz and complain, and, occasionally, to make the unilateral, unannounced decision to go to Costco and stock up on ridiculous quantities of stuff we didn’t need (and most of us didn’t like) and couldn’t easily store. She also felt free to organize the kitchen to her liking, despite the fact that the closest she got to cooking was making the occasional scrambled egg. She moves out tonight. One of the first things I’m going to do is clean out the fridge and cabinets. And I’m going to fill the dishwasher any goddamned way I want. Oh, yeah, baby. Color me mighty.

        • ” And I’m going to fill the dishwasher any goddamned way I want.”

          This definitely was one of the small immediate pleasures of no longer having KK in the house.

          • Same! disordered X would become enraged because one of the kids or I had loaded something the unspecified wrong place in the dishwasher. Yet another out of proportion, unreasonable and unnecessary stressor that I do not miss.

            • What is it with the dishwasher complaining. ??? To teach me a lesson after i had cooked and cleaned up every day of our life he would deliberately crash around putting dishes away the following morning ensuring that everyone woke up to his rage about the misplaced dishes. Dick.

          • One of my immediate pleasures was not having to walk on eggshells any longer. I could play any music I felt like at any time and the loudness I wanted. Additionally, I could watch TV or sit in the living room without feeling like an intruder.

        • Why couldn’t my ex-husband be like HeChump? HeChump did all the grocery shopping and cooking for 20 years? I remember so many time being at the grocery store and seeing the guys shopping and you could tell they were shopping for a family, because of the amount and contents in their carts. And I always felt, “that’s so nice they are grocery shopping for their wife.” In 20 years, my ex made dinner maybe ten times and that was only on New Years Day. And grocery shopping for our entire family? Never, not once. I will never understand how women cheat on guys like this! I will never understand why I was “never enough” for my ex-husband! My girlfriend said to ask myself, “Would I date me?” Well, I have asked myself many time, “Would I marry me?” And the answer is “Yes!” I tried so hard to be a great wife and do everything to make his life at home as easy and happy as possible and it was still not enough!

          • “that’s so nice they are grocery shopping for their wife.”

            Real men don’t “shop for their wife.” Real men shop because they know they are equals in the relationship and such tasks aren’t gender specific.

            Or maybe it’s just me.

            • It’s not just you. And real men clean the bathrooms too. LOL, it hit me after divorce that the exasshole never cleaned the bathroom after the first year.

              • Mine never cleaned the bathroom either and hated it when I used our small master bath. So I didn’t use it and told him that he could clean it. After he left it took me many hours and some nasty chemicals to clean that hole. How someone could use a shower so disgusting I will never know.

              • Uggghh mine never cleaned after I moved out but during wreckonciliation I went to his house before he sold it. It literally STUNK everything was filthy. Not my circus not my monkeys. 😂

            • Sorry, I didn’t mean to put anyone down. My ex never offered to help with anything that was once considered “women’s work”. I agree with you that all jobs are not gender specific. Some of us had husbands that rarely offered to help out. And in my case, my ex was always busy “working” and when he came home from work, he “had to” work at night, because he “had so much work to do.” So all the housework, grocery shopping, dinner making and even jobs that some would be considered “man jobs” like cleaning the basement, garage, taking care of all the landscaping which included using a gigantic electric bush trimmer (he bought that for me for the first Mother’s Day present he ever got me and I was already a mom for eight years before he ever acknowledge Mother’s Day for me — and I had to cry the previous year about it in order for him to acknowledge that day), oil changes, new tires, new brakes, pay the bills, etc. I did just about everything for 20 and he said to me, “You never took good care of me.” If I ever date or get married again. It’s going to be with a person who looks at me as their equal. That helps out with the house, grocery shopping, making meals, etc.

            • Right on UX.
              shared responsibilities so that not one person feels that they are carrying all the load. Fathers don’t babysit their kids. They are parenting. It’s called being a family and a good parent and as you said equals.

          • Hi Martha,
            I am with you on this one,
            I never knew there were men, who actually go to the grocery store, load up groceries and take them home, unpack, put stuff away, and then, some even cook, real food. That is truly amazing!
            👏👨‍🍳👏

            • Don’t stop there, wash the floors on hands and knees, wash and fold laundry,
              do the dishes….things I always did between working 2 jobs…..while she stayed home and mostly complained

            • I bought groceries, did laundry and folded and put away, she would fold and leave in the basement and never put it away.

              • I would do the laundry for everyone, but when he would do a load, he would only do his stuff.

                Upon finding out about his affair, he was surprised and upset that I was no longer doing his laundry.

                Good riddance.

            • Yeah, when I first came to Chump Nation, I couldn’t believe that guys actually helped out around the house, cooked, shopping, etc. When we were dating, I thought he was this very helpful guy because that’s who I saw him to be when he lived with his parents. Once we got married, he would just sit when he got home from work. I remember going to get groceries week after week. Hauled the groceries up a flight of stairs. Put everything away. He would just sit there. One day I said, “Can you please help me?” And he did. And he always did going forward if he was home. It was the fact that he didn’t notice that I was doing everything by myself and it didn’t dawn on him that he should help if he was just sitting there. And that was the rest of our marriage. Unless I asked for something, it didn’t happen. I went for 12 birthdays and never got a birthday cake or out for dinner or anything. I’d pretty much get a card left someplace for me to find (like on the computer). No acknowledgement of Mother’s Day even though I went out of my way for my ex-MIL. No Valentine’s Day. Never took me out for our anniversary. I had to cry and pretty much asked to have my birthday and Mother’s Day acknowledged. He said, “I didn’t know.” Yeah, he “didn’t know” that normal husbands usually celebrate these things for their wives. He did “know” that he should celebrate his FEMALE college friends birthday every year by going out with her for lunch. He did “know” to send Happy Birthday emails to all the FEMALE friends that he used to work with and that he was close to in some way. Anyway……I’m rambling. Tough to see what looks like really nice guys who seemed like pretty decent, helpful husbands getting cheated on. My ex never saw my value and appreciated me. I would have done anything to make him happy and he didn’t appreciate that at all. And the cheaters did appreciate their chump husbands. I know it’s been said before, but it would be nice if they had a dating site for chumps to date other chumps. But it’ll never happen, because all the creeps would show up and ruin it for the good people.

          • HeChump -that’s awesome you did that! Your wife is a shit!!! My STBX grocery shopped and cooked. In between running his “errands” he found plenty of time for quickies with his AP while our son and I waited at home for him!

            I am three months out from DDay 2 and kicking him out and filing for divorce. I know I am better off w/o him and do not want to be with him but today for some reason I am so triggered I just want to call him up and scream at him…..but I know it won’t accomplish anything bc he does not care. He is living in fantasy land with his psychotic AP/girlfriend…..ugh!!!!!! Ok rant over!

            I hate these cheaters!!!!! I am grateful for CN! Thanks guys!!!!

          • My STBX cooked most of our meals and shopped if he could when he wasn’t working. He told me before we got married that he would do all the cooking and that when we lived together the kitchen would be his kitchen. He then resented me for this later on and used it as one of the reasons to justify leaving me. It wouldn’t have taken much to have talked to me about this if it had really been a problem in our marriage.

            • Pregnant Chump, and what you said is another example how they will say ANYTHING to justify their behavior. He told you that he was the cook and it was his kitchen. You were like, “cool” or whatever you thought. You went along with what he wanted. And then he used what he wanted and turned it against you to make you look like the bad spouse who didn’t cook for him. My ex did the same thing in the end. He lied about me. He rewrote history. In the letter he gave me, I at times had no idea what he was talking about because it didn’t fit in with what I lived with him. None of what he said made sense! And that’s because he had to come up with a new narrative to fit why he was a pathological liar and serial adulterer. It couldn’t possibly be because he had poor character. No. No. No. It was Martha’s fault because she is so controlling and judgmental. 24 years we were together and the only thing I tried to “control” was him not seeing women behind my back. Besides that, I let him do what he wanted to do. And yes I’m judgmental. I think it’s wrong for married men to get emotionally close to women. To go out with women on dates. To flirt with ho-workers. If that makes me judgmental. Then I am.

              • The cooking thing is stirring me up. At his deposition this week, cheater made a point of saying he cooks for whore. He used to make a big deal about what a great cook he was. Well, his cooking was making a pot of chili about 2 times a year and kabobs for his mother on Mother’s Day and her birthday. He would grill burgers and hot dogs occasionally. The clean up was left to me so I assume whore gets that job. He would brag about what a fabulous cook he was but all I could think is cooking a couple special meals a year is a whole lot different than cooking dinner for a family of 7 every night of the year without help of appreciation.

              • Well said Martha they are great at forgetting what bad things they have done but will remember ever little bad thing you ever did. They also never remember the good stuff you do either. It always about what you didn’t do. Another excuse for leaving was I asked him to do jobs when he looked after DS but I never did jobs when I looked after him. He forgets I was the one who had him 90% of the time and also worked part time. Sometimes we did stay at home and play but we also did the food shoppping, I did the washing, I cooked DS his dinner, I shopped for every single Christmas and birthday present and card, I brought all the clothes for all of us and all the toiletries. I could go on but you get my point. I also think it’s ok to be judgemental about certain things. People quote the bible on this but even Jesus judged those who were acting immorally and asked for repentance of their sins.

              • PregnantChump, “People quote the bible on this but even Jesus judged those who were acting immorally and asked for repentance of their sins.” Amen to that. My ex-pastor said to me that he “doesn’t judge, but only loves.” He wouldn’t judge my ex-husband, only love him. Whatever! That’s not what Jesus would do! If we don’t judge other peoples character when we meet new people, we will let bad people into our lives. Or we will let people into our lives that don’t have the same moral or values as us. And with the repentance, I 100% agree. I read Divorce Ministers blog every time he posts. I have learned I do not have to forgive my ex-husband as he continues to lie and says he hasn’t done anything wrong and everything is my fault. It was thrown in my face right away by my ex-pastor that I “needed to forgive right away” or I’d be a bitter bunny. Well, I’m working on FORGIVING MYSELF! Forgiving myself for not trusting my gut 26 years ago when I first thought he was cheating on me. Forgiving myself for not moving back to my home state when he was treating me like shit when he started his first job out of college. Forgiving myself for not leaving him when he had an affair when I was pregnant (I couldn’t prove it, but all the signs were there). Forgiving myself for being fooled by all his lies when I knew deep down his was lying to me and seeing women behind my back even if they were “just friends.” Forgiving myself for letting people walk all over me so that they would “like me.” I need to forgive myself. My ex could care less whether I forgave him, because I really believe he believes his own lies and his rewrite of history. He will never ask for forgiveness, because then he’d have to admit he did something wrong and “perfect and special” don’t do anything wrong.

              • I can see why he is your ex pastor. Did you ex husband get to stay at the church? I have been very lucky with the support I have had from my church. Today’s sermon was on forgivness but their was not any mention of repentance being needed which confused me a bit. I am all for loving but the bible teaches that there are still consequences to sin. It doesn’t sound like the church treated you with very much love. I hope you have found a church that you feel welcome in.

              • PregnantChump, things were not handled properly at my ex-church. I caught my now ex-husband out with another woman (now his girlfriend) on a very late drinks date. He had been seeing her for years behind my back for coffee dates (maybe more?) before work and he’s a predator of women and he’d email her Happy Birthday every year to keep in contact with her (he did this with TONS of women I’m sure). So after I caught him, we immediately went into counseling with my now ex-pastor. We saw the pastor for counseling almost two months and I always got this feeling that the pastor was trying to take my exes side. Lots of examples that I could write about. At one time he spend a half hour with my ex just the two of them and he was trying to “understand” my ex and why he thought he needed to be “friends” with women. I felt like I was going crazy with not only my ex, but the pastor! Long story short, no I did not feel supported at all in that church. I now know my ex was lying about me behind my back to his co-workers (the narc smear campaign) all during the time we were in counseling. My ex was plotting divorce all the while he was in counseling with me. He lied to me, the pastor, the guys in the church group he belongs to, family and friends. Tons and tons of lies. He then discarded me saying he wanted to be in a relationship with someone who “trusted him 100%” and I “couldn’t give him what he wanted. Trust.” All a bunch of crap lies to justify what he was really doing. He was throwing me away to start up with the woman he is now dating. He commmitted adultery with her. They dated close to a year and we were still married that year. I told the pastor all this, but the pastor said my now ex would tell him that he was “being pure.” All a bunch of lies. So ex goes to church each week and pretends to be this big holy guy. Also, my ex pastor lied to me three times. My sister was there for one of the things he said to me and he later denied saying, so it’s not me having a bad memory. My sister said, “That church is toxic and you need to leave.” So I have, but I’m having a really hard time going back to church. It’s not God in any way. It’s just trust. I never in a million years thought a pastor and church would do all that they did! And my ex has gotten 100% away with everything. I can only imagine how many lies he told about me. He told his co-workers that I was “crazy.” I’m not of course, but now after reading here at Chump Lady that is a very common thing for cheaters to say about their spouse. Anyway, I know I need to get back to church, but I’m having a hard time. Everything seems so fake now. Like I wonder what people are truly Christians or what people are wolves in sheep clothing. 🙁 It’s so easy to fake being a Christian. Even fruit is easy to fake. I’m praying for you PregnantChump. You were me 17 years ago. I wish my ex would have left me when he had an affair when I was pregnant (he would deny this of course, but all the signs were there). I know it would have been really hard to be a single mom with babies, but at least I would have all the what I thought were really happy memories of us as a family. It’s really messed with my mind wondering what was real and what was fake. 🙁

              • I can understand your apprehension at finding another church to join. God will show you where he wants you to be in his own time. These pastors should be removed from their posts they are not witnessing and leading as Christ did at all. I agree it’s so easy to sit in church and pretend to be a good person. Friends of mine are disgusted that STBX could sit next to me in church whilst he was having his affair. During Christmas he was hugging people in the congregation who were congratulating us on being pregnant.
                I don’t exactly feel lucky that he left but I’m thankful I only have 2 1/2 years of memories with DS in them and 9 1/2 years of a relationship in total. It still hurts like hell but it’s better than 20 or 30 years. I know I was real and happy in those times the fact that he wasn’t is on him and not on me. I know I did the best I could with what I had and that’s good enough for me.

              • Yeah, I feel the same as you — I was real and did the best I could. I wasn’t perfect and made mistakes, but who doesn’t? I just tried hard not to do the same thing again. It’s funny (not funny), but the Bible tells us about wolves in sheep clothing. I just always thought it would be a pastor. More like a tele-evangelist. Not my husband. Never thought it would be someone I was so close to. This has been a huge lesson learned in trusting my gut and my first impressions of someone. When I first talked with the pastor, and this was quite a few years ago. My first impression was that he was really full of himself. But then he had this “loving” side that he shows at church each week. I should have gone with my first impression, because I was right. Even in counseling with my ex and I, he would talk about himself and his marriage most of the time. Ugh. And the deception was deep considering that one of the lies he was in on it with my ex. The pastor said something and I was there, my ex and my sister. After the meeting, my sister even said something like, “Yay! He told ex it’s time for him to move out of the house!” A week later my ex said that the pastor never said that and then my ex called the pastor of the phone and I heard the pastor say he never said that. And he did!! The pastor from the very beginning was telling both of us to not leave the home (legal perspective?) and I think the ex in him were in on the lie together so the pastor could go back to telling my ex not to leave. I don’t know why else he would have lied. It’s just disgusting. I know that pastors are held to a different standard, so he’ll get discipline some day for what he did to me and how is church back the liar/adulterer. Anyway, thanks for chatting with me. I do hope I get up the courage to head to church soon.

        • If Tracy drew one of those adult coloring books with her drawings, an image of a guy chump loading the dishwasher any which way he wanted in a truly “defiant act of exuberance” would be a great page! Color you mighty indeed! Cape billowing, muscles flexing, and a huge smile on his face!

          Stay mighty!

        • I was a teacher, so I would get all the kids off the bus, start homework, and get dinner going. She would always say “I wish you could pick up a little bit or do the laundry rather than cook” even though she did not have to lift a finger. She would also remind me that I liked to cook, so what’s the big deal about making dinner? She was so unappreciative. And I took it for many many years.

          • Right with you Scott!
            Most times I felt like the lone sock left in the dryer. Never felt appreciated, NEVER, aaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!

            Wheels are in motion, her winter is coming

            • “her winter is coming” I love it 50 Chump… Keep going…

              My divorce was finalized over a year ago, and I say of my cheater X that he went from being my significant other to being the insignificant other… His winter is here.

              • 50 Chump –
                I love “her winter is coming” too!
                I’m watching my STBX begin his winter. He has texted our daughter “I miss our family ” and plays sad sausage every time I see him, but I’m done. I miss a lot too, like thinking I could trust a cheating fuckwit. But I’m better now. Like a certain fictional character from Monty Python who had been turned into a newt: “I got better.” That’s me.

        • HeChump – Why wait?? Cook whatever the hell you want before that bitch leaves, and do your dishwasher how you want to, and then leave it OPEN for the cheater to see! This is YOUR home! When she has anything to say, just hold up the hand as you walk away. Bye, Felicia!

      • I can relate. He would complain about the way I did things (especially laundry in my case), take over the task himself and then complain that he was stuck doing everything.

        I asked him the other day if he ever considered how much getting his way contributed to his own unhappiness. He didn’t have an answer to that one.

        • So similar, except X never took over doing any work for more than a few days! After his almost one week of tidying up the kitchen AFTER the kids & I did dishes, I asked him why he stopped helping. He said, “When I do something I like it to stay done!”

        • I got one of those too! He would take on what he did not like how I did, and then expect major bitch cookies for doing “so much…” Post-separation and divorce, I realized that even at the heights of his “taking on more” he was still doing about 20% of the shared household and family chores…

          • In my case STBX certainly did his share, the problem was that he didn’t recognize all of the things I did to do my share. I was reciprocating but he never noticed and it probably wasn’t even what he wanted. He wanted hero worship.

              • Douchebag would complain to his AP that I didn’t do anything and when he came home he had to make his own dinner and clean up the kitchen ect etc. when she told me, I said what after he had been fucking you and it was 11pm. All lies to make himself look good to her. I was always the useless one but still good to have sex with even after fucjing the whore and not using any protection!!! I couldn’t even make a salad apparently.

                Interesting now he is all I still love you and you were an amazing wife and mother etc etc. hoovering much. I just ignore. But I wish he would take a long walk off those cliffs he likes visiting in the National park with his2nd AP. who incidentally he is cheating on. Seriously he is such a douche!!!

    • Oh my gosh! I did that, too! It was weird getting things that weren’t on sale, or something I just knew my STBX would think was a “waste of money.” Never mind he could buy whatever the heck he wanted, whenever he wanted…but if I wanted to buy a spinach dip full price!? Watch out! I’d hear all about it.

      Buying what I want is liberating. I love it!

  • Get laid with someone new!

    That is a great opening ritual.

    Just make sure they understand its just about the venting/releasing sex.

    Next morning you start a new life with the jerk in the past!

      • It ain’t tough. That said, it will make you hate her even more when you realize how unnecessary and cruel the sex game she played with you was. Even kissing made me hate her more because I knew everything she did, or didn’t do, was just a mind fuck intended to hurt.

      • Right, UXWorld. I’d love to sign up for this particular brand of therapy. It’s just a little tricky to make it happen. (Plus, I’m not sure I remember how.)

      • I don’t think so..I have been off the market for 23 years. I sadly haven’t been kissed since before my daughter was born she is 17…I don’t have a clue anymore not to mention I seem to have misplaced my self esteem…

        • You are somebody. I’m sure you had about 16 years without sex before your very first time and when you finally did you figured it out. In the right arms it’s always easy. I haven’t since 2015. Not as long as you. I’ve come to realise that there are more people not having sex than those who do. I’ve also realise those who obsess about it are pretty screwed up otherwise.
          Just love you! Sex never did nor will it ever define us.

          • nobody – ‘I don’t have a clue anymore not to mention I seem to have misplaced my self esteem…”

            And, HeChump.

            I can totally related to you both. I haven’t had sex for (shamefully) over 20 yrs. And, I figure the future is celibacy. Not that I want that anymore! My lack of sex life was the X. I satisfied him twice a week regularly – orally, etc. but didn’t even get a back rub in return. I have wet dreams! (not to get too weird here) . I crave a man so often it’s embarrassing when I catch this old broad oogling.

      • Easier for some women than others. I have the problem of having a hard time being physically intimate with someone I am not emotionally attached to even if I find him handsome. I sometimes wish I could be into the one night stand, enjoy the sex and not care about what happens next. I daydream about that sometimes. In real life, however, that has just never worked for me (at least not in the past, I admit that the last time I tried was over 25 years ago). STBX was the only one who could ever get me to climax because I felt safe with him. I thought he loved me. I could fake it and make it happen, but I wouldn’t get much out of it. Maybe it’s just a psychological block or anxiety issue I need to get past, but in the meantime I am torchered by desire but there is nobody who can currently quench it.

    • Amen to that. The best thing for me was my date for the night cosying up to me after the act, to declare; “why would anyone ever want anything but you!?”. This woman and I had precious little in common beyond physical attraction, we both knew the deal, but I will remember that with gratitude for the rest of my life.

    • I agree! ☺️But there is one caveat. If you sleep with someone who is terrible in bed or is just a total gross weirdo it can make you long for the monster . The cheater and I had many problems but sex wasn’t one of them. I also just loved his body physically. His smell, the way he kissed.
      It can set you up to do a comparison and you might break no contact. Ask me how I know this tragic consequence.
      In fact even thinking about it is dangerous. New ritual -no ruminating how great he was in bed. 🤔

        • Me neither in the end I found out he was on Viagra. His first AP called him limpdick when he husband confronted her about the affair. His 2nd AP put up pictures of herself on Insta with only two halves of a peach in front of her breasts. So I refer to them as Peachtitties and Limpdick now 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      • I hear you. My ex was the only person I have ever been so attracted to. Sex was amazing. I’ll never find that again.

    • I miss sex too but at this point I am so nervous about it and don’t think I’m ready for it. I haven’t been with anyone else in 20 years. I am scared of how akward it will be. I don’t generally have self esteem issues but I’m really scared about sex/dating. Hopefully as time passes I will be more into it. I do want to be with someone in the future!

      • mil 23,

        I was with GUBU for thirty years, during which he was pretty much sexually dysfunctional most of the time. Heck, he didn’t even really want me, nor could he get it up when I was a hot-and-raring-to-go twenty-something! Imagine how dismal our sex life was when he started to have physical erection problems due to age/health issues, instead of just his usual mental porn-induced garbage.

        During the discard and his last episode of cheating, I was also going through menopause. (Asshat complained because I needed to sleep with a fan on me; the night sweats were horrendous.)

        When D-Day came around, I really thought that physical aspect of my life was over. I thought the lack of desire I had for him was because of ME!
        I never put it together that it was the way he treated me that made me get to the point of not wanting him, either. Still, it was the only physical contact I got, so I did what I had to do in order to satisfy some of those needs, even if what/how he wanted it was distasteful to me.

        (Funny thing though, I found out he’d gotten Viagra to use with with Co-Ho-Worker. Guess there was a bit more to THAT story.)

        My point is this: Once I’d gotten some distance from him, and got out more, I started to learn that other men found me plenty attractive, even if he didn’t. He’d tried to convince me that it was my pathetic self that made me so uninteresting to him. Well….nope!

        Then I started to notice that I was attracted to some of the men out there, too.

        In my new relationship, the sex is better than it EVER was, with anyone, at any time in my life.
        Hot, steamy, fun, adventurous… and guess what? It’s because we are both so into each other and the chemistry is great. We adore each other. Amazing how all that works!

        Here I am, post-menopausal, and he’s in his mid-sixties. I never thought it possible.
        So if it can happen for me, it can happen for you, too!

        PS: Maybe TMI for the Man-Chumps here, but I started on Estrace Vaginal Cream asap after GUBU dumped me. It’s made all the difference in how I feel “down there” and my partner often comments on how amazing I feel… and it’s great for me too. I’m still on a very low dose of HRT because of the night sweats, and I think that helps too. I’m weaning off the hormone replacement slowly, because I need my sleep…
        But I had had pain with GUBU whenever we did manage to have sex; I assume most of that was psychological.
        But as they say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” so it’s important to “use it” however that works for you and hopefully the right partner(s) will *come* along.
        Sorry for the pun. (No. Not really sorry! 😉
        I hope you get the chance to find this out for yourself.
        Best of luck!

        • I loved reading this!!!! Thank you so much!!!! I am so glad you found happiness and hot sex with someone else!!!! That makes me so happy that there is hope I will find this too!!!! Thank you!!!! 😃

  • I bought myself a new ring–my birthstone, amethyst which I guess is a healing stone (if you believe in that stuff). I also took our large family photo off the wall, ripped it into pieces and stuck the piece with him through the shredder.

    • Ha! @ Cancer Chump
      The first year was extremely difficult as I spent too much time trying to make sense of all that had happened. After that, I went through a crazy, fun time hanging out with a friend with benefits who happened to be a chump as well. I feel stronger now and I have begun to tackle the years of family photographs cutting out the X and putting him through the shredder as well – very therapeutic!

  • After the divorce was final and the personal property was divided, I burned every last thing that reminded me of him–every picture of him and I, newspaper articles with our engagement/wedding announcements, my entire wedding album, pictures with him at my family holidays, vacation pics, mementos such as ticket & concert stubs, all the pics of me with his screwed up family, every single gift he ever gave me, cards he’d written to me, my wedding dress, etc. I poured gasoline on the pile of garbage, threw a match, & watched it go up in flames, and I raised my glass to making wonderful new beginnings from the ashes. I lkept the fire going strong until all of it was nothing more than ash. I highly recommend doing this if it’s legal to burn where you live and you can do it safely. It was incredibly therapeutic!

    • yes! BURN BABY BURN! The photos of the decade together, along with cards and letters. Because of my diagnosed PTSD (from covert abuse) sometimes I would look at photos and not be able to recall the situation of where the photo took place. Why carry these memories (if you can remember!😳) of a person who never really existed.

  • Oh Boy. My rituals are on two fronts:
    1) Getting rid of every single thing in the house that reminds me of or came from cheater and his 7 cheating brothers and family in general;
    2) Changing habits that I knew were not good, but kept to avoid constant bickering and arguments.

    The first thing I sold was his mother’s antique Singer sewing machine with cast iron legs. Ironically It went to a cheater and his schmoopie; schmoopie arrived complete with tons of makeup, stilettos and décolletage at 10 AM; they told me they were decorating their “new home”.
    Now I am auctioning a painting that I bought from ex-BIL to help him (BIL is 77 and perpetually in debt), who ripped me off on the price. Etc. The walls in my house sing every time something is sold. And I make a little cash.

    On changing bad habits, I keep a perfect balance of expenses, am building up savings, and cultivate my many friendships (all have been so kind to me). Cheater has not a single friend and would drag his feet about visiting mine unless it was an opportunity to spread his peacock feathers.

  • I started a nice cozy fire in the fireplace , had a bottle of wine that I had been saving for our anniversary and proceeded to toast the photos of Cheater as I burned them. They were the 10 year time period when I thought we were happy family; launching children, marrying off children , becoming grandparents. It was really the 10 years of his double life (crack whore, extra child, home and vehicles , you know the usual double life stuff)
    Now I pick up a pretty piece of broken glass in the desert every time I walk and put it into a container to remind me that I’m picking up pieces now rather than watching my life burn.

  • It’s been a year since he moved out. A friend going through a similar situation suggested we re-arrange my bedroom. At first, I declined thinking it wasn’t really worth it but she insisted. I’m so glad she did. Even though I wasn’t ready at the time it made such a difference to make it MINE. I found a couple of inexpensive chairs, moved my yarn for knitting to his dresser, eventually bought new sheets, & finally a new mattress. I stopped dreading going to our bedroom because it was now mine. Sometimes I will hang out upstairs at night & my teenage kids will come in to tell me something, snuggle or just stop in for a few minutes. I think they can feel the difference and that this is my room & it’s going to be ok.

  • In addition to throwing items away and making things mine again, I also did something a little more holistic. I happened to be at the shore for a vacation and was walking the beach early one morning. I went down near the water and wrote my ex’s name in the same, along with the OW’s name, and some words like betrayal, lies, pain, hurt, and The Past. Then I sat and watched as the tide came in and slowly washed it all away. I did the same thing each morning for the remainder of my vacation. So cathartic.

  • I cleaned and redecorated the whole house once he left. It kept me busy when I could not sleep because it seemed every time I slept I would jolt awake at 3 am with a new connection my brain made and hence a new D-day.

    I also took every breakable thing Narkles the Clown left here to a outdoor gun range and blew it to bits. It was a good amount of stuff. When people asked what I was doing, I told them. They were very sympathetic and some helped me with the destruction process.

    I have new rituals now. They’re small but comforting. For example, I use fabric softener. I no longer have to be concerned with Narkles theClown’s delicate skin so all my sheets and towels and clothes smell so nice.

  • One thing I did was throw my boxed and preserved wedding dress into a dumpster, along with an expensive canvas huge pic of our “family” of 6. I had moved that box around for 26 years during multiple moves for the Great One’s career, thinking maybe one of our 3 daughters would want to wear it. I was cleaning out a storage unit- a tough job physically and emotionally- to move into my new home. There was no way I would bring it, but even to lug it around to sell it seemed gross. Plus, too much bad mojo there. It was a quick decision, drove around to the dumpster and in one heave- that and the pic were gone. No tears (1.5 years by then), but I knew that toss was significant.

    Now that I am reading the burn post, SarSen, maybe I could have made it more ceremonial!

  • I had The Burning. It was supposed to be a post-divorce celebration, but as we are still in settlement I had The Burning instead. I invited a ton of people, bought two fire pits, hired a jukebox/karaoke machine and partied it up. One fire pit was to burn things you wanted to get rid of, both literal & symbolic (had paper with textas so people could write stuff out), the other fire pit was to burn wishes and lists of things you wanted to attract. Had an absolute ball. When my divorce comes through I’m going to do it again and call it The Wake.

  • We bought a Welsh love spoon when we were in the U.K. in our first few years of marriage. Its supposed to symbolize the love in your marriage. I burned it in the chimenea in my back yard. Unfortunately, I nearly burned my backyard as the grass was dry. Lucky I had a garden hose handy!

    • OMG. We did the same, and that love spoon has been hanging in every kitchen of every house we’ve lived in for 35 years. In thinking over what I’ll take when I leave (I am to meet with a lawyer next week) I had never even considered that spoon–but maybe I’ll do the same as you and burn the damned thing.

    • Hey, we had one of those! It was a wedding gift from friends who bought it in Wales for us. His dog chewed it up a few years into the marriage. I was annoyed at the time because the dog was undisciplined and always destroying stuff that the EX left lying around. Suddenly, I suspect the dog was trying to tell me something. (And why the EX took the spoon off the wall and left it on the couch was never adequately explained.)

    • Hm. We had a New Mexico ceramic pot thing that was supposed to symbolize our marriage. It broke a few years back. We got a new one. I guess that was symbolic of our future.

  • My ritual was to sit down with my kids and re-think or re-imagine every ritual/tradition we’d had during the 19 year marriage. As a result, I now do something very different and wonderful with my kids for Christmas and it minimizes stress for all of us. I totally changed up my Sunday morning routine. We celebrate birthdays differently. All those “firsts” after a divorce are tough. Actively changing these patterns has really helped the kids and me move forward into a kick-ass new life that better fits who we are now.

    • Dee – I have been thinking about the same thing. I wanted to change the way we celebrated everything in order not to be reminded of the Ex.

      For my birthday I rented one of those inflatable water slides – like you do for kid parties – and we had a blast. I really wanted the kids to have fun and just not think of their dad not being there with us. It seem to work pretty darn good. All day long we did nothing but swim, slide, and laugh.

      I have been thinking about the upcoming holidays – trying to figure out some new fun things. My kids are older – teenagers and early 20’s. This will most likely be the first year without dressing up for Halloween. 🙁

      I may start a post under General in order to get some help on coming up with some fun ideas for celebrating. I want the kiddos smiling during the holidays instead of remembering how it use to be, and what they have lost.

      • My older teens like to dress up to hand out the candies at the door! Sometimes they invite a couple of friends over to ‘help’. (And of course, I have to buy double, so they can gorge themselves, too ….)

      • Love the watersliding idea McFeisty!
        I think the trick to new traditions is to let all your pre-conceived notions go. Just let shit go. I’ll use Christmas as an example. It was always stressful for us even before divorce because we shuttled frantically between extended family, trying to get the best of all the celebrations. No way in hell was I going to fight my ex for time on a day that is always stressful for my kids. So I have declared Christmas at my house to be Dec 23. My teen/college kids are off school and they are still excited about the upcoming holidays. We invite over friends (theirs and mine) and we do appetizers and Shabu Shabu (Japanese style fondue) . It’s relaxed, fun and no one has to rush off. Ex takes them Christmas Eve and most of Chirstnas Day, and then I take the kids for the rest of the days including New Years, which usually allows me to travel somewhere fun with the kids. They love this!! So by walking away from the Christmas drama and not fighting ex for time, I have actually gained SO much. I now look forward to this time of year! Shh! Don’t tell my ex.😉

  • Cold Slab O’Meat didn’t leave much behind. He was very careful to take everything that meant anything to him. His daughter’s Christmas ornaments and cookie cutters and baby dishes? Not so much.

    He left behind a couple of shirts, some socks and the wedding ring he’d painstakingly had engraved ‘My Love Forever’ in Welsh less than a year before. He has never said a consoling word of apology to his now former stepchildren. He was encouraging his daughter to no longer be friends with mine.

    So we piled his shit on our barbecue grill and MADE S’MORES over them, mummafunka!

    The stepdaughter’s things went in the shed. I guess he thought he’d be able to swing by later and say hello to get them. Bisch you can swing by sometime no one is home and collect them from a shed. He had exactly ONE DAY to move his shit from my home. He was mistaken if he thought he’d ever cross my threshold again.

    I gave away whatever he never came for. Down to the last plate and salad tong. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t have gone into debt to replace everything with brand new. But it was cathartic to not put silverware he’d touched in my mouth. I could only use towels watched in super hot water.

    I highly recommend s’mores made over the ashes of betrayal. We laughed the entire time. They were delicious!

    • You got that right, Luz!!!!

      Same here.

      Over the first year after The Evil One left, I would find things he had left behind and would quickly chuck em into the burn barrel.

      I love the smell of campfires, lololol

      The only Christmas ornaments he worried about were these purple and gold shiny ball ornaments. Why, I have no idea. I gave those back to him, but burned the rest of the crap his mom gave me that I always hated.

      I burned our marriage certificate (I’ll spend the $15.00 to get a new one if I ever need it), put all pictures of us and his family in a box and tucked it away, just like I did with exh#1, and moved on with my life.

  • The way our custody order read the kids went to his house every Thursday night and then every other weekend.

    Every Thursday morning the kids and I went out to eat breakfast before school and work. I wanted to end our time together on a good note.

    • I have a similar arrangement in that my daughter is picked up from daycare one day a week and goes to his place every other weekend. I have trouble getting out the door with daughter in the mornings right now, but I’ve done dinner out the night before on occasion or a special dinner/breakfast food at home. Typically, I make sure I spend extra time reading (or re-reading) bedtime stories with her the night before, and give her an extra hug before I leave her at daycare that day.

  • D-day was 6.5 months ago, I filed about 5.5 months ago. It’s gonna take another year to be divorced I think. He’s fighting me for everything and the bitch wants alimony.

    I shredded our pictures together, and then moved all his stuff in the house into the spare room, including pictures, ornaments, clothes etc.

    I went through FB and deleted pictures of us together.

    All the above made me feel great! I want him gone. He gave me my kids and I guess that was the purpose of our 9+ year relationship.

    When we are officaillly divorced, I plan to have a party where I burn the wedding albun and my wedding dress. Some people say my kids will will want these things in the future and I should keep them, but to me, it’s bad juju.

    He was recently arrested for hitting me. My friend is planning the cake for the divorce party and is having his mugshot put on it.

    I feel like I can’t really move on until the divorce is over and I have as much custody as possible with my kids. But in the meantime, the above steps have been cathartic.

    • He was recently arrested for hitting me. My friend is planning the cake for the divorce party and is having his mugshot put on it.

      This right here wins the Internet for the day!

      • Yes, hilarious! And hella spunky. Though I could not eat a piece of cake that had my cheating ex-wife’s face on it. Literally. Just the thought of it is putting me off my lunch. Urp.

      • Yayyy Kelly mine is getting away with strangling me. So good for you having a mug shot! I only have his first mug shot from him hitting his first wife. My screensaver is a pic of him and ow kissing the night before she came over to give me closure. FUCKERS

    • I am so sorry he hit you!!!! What a horrible POS!!!! I am happy he got arrested! I am glad you are getting away from this monster!!!! Sending hugs

  • New bright colors throughout the house–RED!! Polka Dot rugs in the main living areas (whimsical!). Purple & gold bedroom, with an Indian-themed, sequined bedspread. I put up more art prints on the wall (Hannibal had been a minimalist). Same house, my space.

    • SO MUCH THIS! Mine wanted to believe he was this sleek modern sophisticate. Every room should be white/cream, any surface should be cold and hard, every piece of furniture an unornamented cube. Any art? If you must, it should be black/white, abstract and bare (Think framed black and white print of straight line shadows on a bare sidewalk, grey plain ceramic bowl, single black sphere on totally bare marble tabletop). My furniture became carved, my wood floors a deep glowing oak with oriental rugs. My bedroom was transformed into a feminine garden with sage walls and floral patterns. I hung Pre-Raphaelite art everywhere. I lived in my home and made it a visual feast for my eyes. I did it on a shoestring from thrifting, fleamarkets, and DIY but it was beautiful. I got to decide that “Less is not more!” He liked his environment as cold and empty as his chest with the charcoal briquet rattling around where a beating flesh and blood heart should be.

    • I love this!!!! My STBX had the nerve of buying a new house with me for us to live as a family w our son during wreckonciliation only to go back to his AP!! A couple weeks after we moved in he went back to his AP and I threw him out when she called to tell me!!!!

      We literally were furniture shopping together while he was screwing his AP!!!! We agreed that my son and I would stay here for a year before we sell bc it’s too hard to move again right now. He is helping to pay for it for the year – I can’t afford it on my own. The house feels strange but at 3 months post DDay 2 I have been here longer on my own then with him.

      I took down all pics that had him in it and replaced them with pics that make me happy! I changed the bedding and I really am having fun with my son just the two of us!!!! I know I’m better off but It’s getting over the person I thought he was, and the amazing family of three I thought we had that’s so painful!!!!

  • Ex’s affair with a family friend ended my marriage. We were the talk of the town. So the first Halloween after d-day, I ripped up my wedding dress and splashed it with fake blood. I went to our annual community party dressed as a zombie bride. It was therapeutic for me and my friends and neighbours loved it. 😏

  • When I was ready, I took down all the photos and gifts and things that reminded me of my ex and stuck them all in a box and shoved it in the bottom of a closet. Later, as the one year mark after dday approached, I really started doing major spring cleaning. I had already had two rooms repainted and bought new bedding and done some rearranging/replacing of things after he moved his stuff out. But I wanted all the last things and his tax and other paperwork OUT of MY house. All of it out before one year mark. So I bit the bullet and went through it all and gave it all to his mom to give to him.

    Then, on the one year mark, I burnt sage. (I lit it over a stainless steel sink, then blew it out and placed it in the shell that came in the kit and then smudged the house.) I had gotten the sage for my birthday a week after dday (a friend had gotten it from a reserve by their house), but I hadn’t felt ready to use it. But I was ready by the time the one year mark was approaching, and it was a healing step. I had done the research on how to use the sage and had chosen a sentence/prayer/thought to repeat throughout the smudging. I got that stuff out before and cleaned the house a lot, and it felt like the end of one horrible chapter of my life and a welcoming of the next year, that would surely be less bad than that first one. I continued to do this on key dates (our ex-wedding date, New Year’s, dday, etc.). I missed dday this year but didn’t feel a big need this year either… But I plan to do the sage again whenever I feel the desire/need.

  • When he moved out, I rearrange the bedroom and got new bedding.

    When I found out that wreckoncilation was over, I invited friends over and we used a shotgun to blow away some of the shit his schmoopie bought him.

    When the divorce was final and I was moving to my new home (we lived next door to his mom so I insisted he keep the house. I was NOT going to stay there) I bought two totes, one for each of our daughters, and but anything that reminded me of our marriage in those totes. Dishes and other wedding gifts, family pictures, Christmas ornaments, wedding photos, etc. I then left them in the basement with the girls’ names on them.

  • I actually was given a spray called “Bitch Be Gone” from a good friend when I told her my husband had betrayed me!
    She drove through three states to take me to lunch and give me some survival gifts and told me that I was way too good for him.
    I keep the spray, and a photo of a New Mexico museum sculpture “God of No Fear” by my bedside.
    Didn’t leave for another year, but having friends and family reinforce that I deserved better was the “ritual” I needed.

  • I wouldn’t say a ritual per se, but there are several ‘rites of passage’ along the journey, and each one you pass makes you realise that you’re A-OK without this person being a millstone around your neck.

    The ones that occur to me
    -Moving her stuff out
    -Sending off the divorce papers
    -Seeing someone new for the first time
    -Going to social stuff on my own (and having a good time)

    I’m about to go on holiday on my own for the 1st time since, and (deliberately timed) at the same time having my 1st birthday alone since. Christmas is the one i’m still dreading slightly as it was always a big thing for us (we would go and visit her family in Denmark) and it will be weird to be alone for that.

    • ChumpChris, don’t spend Xmas alone! Spend it with other people who care about you, or go serve a holiday meal at a homeless shelter or some other place filled w/people, where you can give of yourself.

      It’ll still feel weird, but Christmas should be about caring, and that you can have WAY better than with your ex!

      • Hi Karen, thanks for the concern. You know, i’ve never been a big Xmas person. My family is a bag of spanners, my parents bugger off to the Caribbean for the winter, my siblings are, well, my siblings. We stopped doing xmas years ago because we all argued too much.

        When I got together with my STBX, I really embraced the Danish Xmas, and it was something different and special that i’d never really experienced before. I really enjoyed it, but a big part of the enjoyment was doing it for my partner, since she loves Xmas. Last year we stayed in the UK rather than traveled, and I cooked a whole 12 course Danish Xmas lunch for all of our friends, but again. something I did because I knew it was special to her. I know I said i’m dreading it slightly but in a strange way i’m looking forward to not having to travel, not having to cook, not doing anything to make someone else happy (though, it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it), but rather spending some time with myself. I’m one of those people very happy in their own company. 🙂 I am sure I will be just fine.

        • We, the kids and I, are planning on Iceland. Something absolutely different and it will still be polar vortex cold like home.

          New life, new traditions.

    • Very similar ‘rites of passage’ here.

      – Purging the flat of all his stuff, very therapeutic!
      – learning to be comfortable on my own.
      – first holiday on my own was scary at first but then I realised I could enjoy myself and thought…it would have been waay worse if he was there.
      – turning up to parties and events on my own, pushed me out of my comfort zone and has given me the opportunity to meet new people.

      Around three months since D day but I don’t think that’s bad going!

  • I also did something symbolic. First thing after he left what is now MY house, I bought a new recliner chair for my living room. It is one he NEVER would have approved of or allowed because the fabric is patterned and mostly a rusty red with browns. But mostly reds! He would have hated it, but I love it. Every time I look at that chair I feel happy and remember how much better life is now I no longer stress about what he will/ won’t like. No more walking on eggshells!

    I also cleaned all his crap out of the house, sold a ton of stuff on kijiji and eBay ( made a good pile of money) , and gave a truckload to Value Village. Rearranged the master bedroom and took over the entire walk-in closet for myself and both dressers!

    Bought new dishes too and kitchen towels and accessories ( cause he took his 1/2) but bought everything new in RED, my happy freedom color!

    • Doing stuff I know he would have hated me doing was so freeing…I spent 26 damn years trying to make him happy it was SO good to do what the fuck I wanted

  • I drew a picture of X on a flat rock then threw it into the ocean. My sister and I picked a spot of water that was next to a freeway, so it was loud. The pier we threw it off of is in a part of the city that isn’t particularly clean. The view from that stretch of water is industrial and there are a few oil tanks off in the distance. At low tide, the area smells pretty badly. I love to think about how much X would hate that spot. I took a picture of the view and that is what appears with his name on my phone.

  • My ritual started early. When reconciling I had 2 redlines. 1) No lies of any kind 2) No seeing or communicating of any kind even “accidentally.” She made it 4 months. I lawyered up, got a plan together and began implementation.
    My ritual was a hobby. For me an athletic one. It brings new people into my life and gives my day structure even when it’s been hard at home (in house separation, fucking ducks).

    • Yes! I forgot about that in my comment above, but I’ve started hitting the gym religiously. During the first month, I would often hit 5pm feeling wretched and insecure, go to the Gym, and leave feeling awesome, and that feeling would carry me for the next couple of days till the next visit.

      • Thanks for your agreement. I think this can often be triggering for many here because it reminds us either losing weight or whatever pick me type of shit we did, but getting over that was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s about me. It’s really my time and something I bond with the kids over too as they participate in kids versions.

        • Exactly that, it’s not about my shape and i’m sure as crap not doing it for her, it’s about the release of endorphins from exercise and the help focusing the mind. I personally found physical activity gave me a mental break from the self torture, and a nice little positive uptick of brain chemicals.

          • The Gym absolutely.
            I started to crawl into a bottle after DDay, decided the hell with that.
            Hit the gym 6 days a week, nice to be around other people even though I just listen to podcasts while work out, but I always leave centered and grounded.

            And after a month of that feeling great and getting some tone back.

            • Podcasts also utterly invaluable. I would listen in the gym, take long walks and listen on those. Listen on the bus. Lots of stuff to just have some voices around and to fill the void left by not having another person around. +1 for podcasts.

              • “The iron never lies to you. Friends may come and go but two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” – Henry Rollins

  • I did not keep the house as he brought his girlfriend to play in our house with while I was on vacation. He didn’t understand. I moved to an apartment and took only the spare bedroom some of my family pictures and some kitchen appliances. I left all his memories behind. I bought new furniture for my apartment and decorated my way. Ex would never spend any money on new furniture as ours was 20 years old so I left all the old stuff behind including him. Everything in my apartment is mine and I love it!!

  • We had one of those frames at our wedding that everyone signs and I had our engagement photo mounted in it and it hung in our bedroom.

    The morning after he announced he was moving out, I took it down from wall and put it out to the curb with the trash while he was showering for work. He saw it as he pulled away from the house to go to work and texted me “WHY?”… I responded… “WHY NOT?”

    I still picked me danced for almost a year, but looking back, it was an early sign of my burgeoning mightiness. Sometimes we have to fake it – or just take ultra bold moves to ignite it… but we are all mighty on the inside. It is in there. We have to give ourselves permission to get angry and let it out.

    Since then, I’ve burned sage in every room. I’ve changed the furniture in 3 rooms, redid a bathroom, installed a patio, bought a new car (over 3 rooms) and I take the kids on great annual vacations. Funny thing, always felt broke when I was married. I have less household income now, but seem to have more money than ever. Funny that.

    • Love it. I had a similar thing with all the emotional stuff we’d collected over 6 years together – photos, cute little notes, presents, etc. Even a fucking cushion with ‘married in 2016′ (yeah, we lasted a year of marriage – she started an affair the day before our 1st wedding anniversary – I caught her 3 weeks later).

      I gathered it all up under ’emotional stuff’ and told her, if you don’t take it, it’s going in the bin, because I sure as shit don’t want it.She started to get upset and told me “I can’t face taking these things knowing that i’m the only one who this stuff means anything to… but please don’t throw any of this away”.

      Seriously? This stuff represented our shared past, our bond, our love, our happy memories. Lady, you effectively chucked it all into the bin the moment you planned to cheat. You can’t suddenly start crying about me not giving a crap about it anymore! That is what the betrayal of cheating means – you turned your back on all of this already (that is more or less ad verbatim what I told her).

      Like, if all the artefacts and happy memories of the relationship mean so much to someone, don’t destroy the relationship to begin with?

      • She wanted YOU to keep it … because it meant so much to HER?

        Uhhhh ….

        Yeah, she wanted you to keep it, so she could revel in thinking it would upset you ever time you saw that shit.

        They love to still be important to us, after showing clearly how unimportant we were to them. And they LOVE DRAMA!

        • Our 4th anniversary was 2 days ago. Been separated for a month or 4 now. Struggling for 1,5 years already after I found out dday1. 5 months ago was dday2.

          Of course I got a message 2 days ago. That she had mixed feelings on the anniversary. I wanted to say: Well F U. Don’t bring that shit up. You ruined it forever.

          Of course I didn’t, but yeah, now that I read what you just said @KarenE, it feels like she could’ve just did this to spite me. I was doing fine until she mentioned it.

          I eventually replied with: Yeah, officially it’s our anniversary, but that’s all it’s been for a while now.

          • OneDaySomeDay, your first reaction was awesome and I think you should lean into it.

            I mean:
            “I have mixed feelings about our anniversary”

            “I don’t, you’ve ruined that day for me forever”

            That shit is great.

            One thing from my own experience; don’t be afraid to offend your X. I mean, for a start, what value is this person? Then, what is she even trying to achieve by telling you she has ‘mixed feelings’? Mixed feelings could, by definition, mean anything. It’s as ambiguous as a cheater’s empty gesture could possibly get, and that’s saying something. All she wants is to keep you emotionally engaged, so she can feed off you like the emotional vampire she is. I would shut her down at every turn.

            This shit is painful, I know. Me and my STBX wife planned our wedding for the anniversary of getting together. The day before our 1st wedding anniversary (or our 6th overall anniversary), I was due to be away for a job interview in her home country – trying to move us back closer to her family, something she had been telling me she wanted for years. You can guess the rest. I didn’t catch her till 3 weeks later, but now I know that next year, when my anniversary swings round, I have 2 days to look forward to. Day 1, the anniversary of my wife starting an affair. Day 2, the anniversary of us getting married. Thanks STBX wife!

      • They are so amazing, how could you not want the memories? Fuck is wrong with you?

        These people really think they’re starring in a fucking romcom.

      • Right? Like we should keep a shrine to their awesomeness and all the “love” that we felt. Like you, my spouse was never faithful. I even spackled over his getting “crabs” while we were in Mexico (said they came from the bed linens)… unbelievable.

        I’m glad you packed it up too. We both (and all) deserve something genuine, not a freaking Hallmark “sorry” while their actions show they are anything but sorry. (And they went in the trash too… all the cards filled with “I’m sorry”… “I want us.”… I know I need to be better at )… but never the actions. Must’ve thrown out 100 cards.

        • Don’t we just? But of course it never comes… all that we ever get is whatever the cheater calculates is just enough to keep us engaged, but not enough to let us walk away satisfied. So I say screw ’em and just walk away, chuck all their stuff, and show them how little value they hold to us since they showed themselves to be a screw up of a person.

          The whole shrine thing; what fucking planet are our exes living on to imagine that we would possibly want to live out the rest our lives surrounded by painful reminders of our relationships with them?

        • Agree! One of my ‘friends’ advised me not to be so quick at throwing stuff out, as I might want to treasure the memories in years to come. Is she having a laugh? I don’t want to re-live this shite!

          We’re not such close friends anymore…

      • The only perhaps real tears I ever saw X cry were after he found all of the photos of the two of us that I had removed from the picture frames and cut my face out of (it was therapeutic for me, and I could then see not what I thought we had, but what really was). Why he was crying, I’ll never know. Precious memories? Please. He cut my face out of the picture way before I physically did it.

        • My daughter removed a family photo with him in it from a frame that was in the living room. The frame was decorated by the kids. I think it was a father’s day give a number of years ago. When he saw the empty frame, and asked about I had no idea what had happened to the photo. Daughter said “I removed it, it wasn’t accurate”. He looked sadly at me and said “I’ve bene erased”. I said nothing but what I thought was “no, you erased yourself”.

      • Wow that is super messed up of her!!! You are so mighty for doing that!!!! It’s like the artifacts of your marriage meant more to her than your actual marriage. Crazy!

  • I did several things but i replaced the birthstone ring he stole as my Christmas gift to myself. I also found a nice silver crown ring to remind myself to treat myself like the queen that I am( chumps need reminding sometimes). Because I was upset about having to give up the cottage that I loved, my counsellor suggested I make a menory jar–it had a dried flower from my garden some birch bark and stones from the shoreline–I made one for my daughter too. ( and I felt it was rather telling I was more upset about that then the loss of the marriage after a while)

  • A year after the divorce was final I legally changed my last name to something completely new to me. The name was originally inspired (seed planted) by a movie from 1991 (which I didn’t see until 1994). When grappling with the decision in 2015 to make the change, I one day out loud asked God for a sign. That sign appeared several days later in a Hudson News in Orlando International Airport. I took the sign and ran with it, digging out my birth certificate and Googling “how to change your name in [home state]” as soon as I arrived back home later that evening. Twelve days and a 5 minute court hearing later I had a new identity!

    Shortly thereafter I decided it was also time to rid myself of the bankers boxes of paperwork I had accumulated during the divorce. I borrowed a friend’s shredder, poured some wine, and spent an hour shredding my past life. Seeing it in shreds was cathartic but still not enough, so a few days later, with the help of another friend’s fire pit, we watched it all turn to ash. Seeing the smoke rise upwards and blow into the distance was finally the release I needed!!

    I am so grateful for those events!

    • Same here, both me and my young adult eldest son picked out a brand new last name. We did it as a family. If we could have figured out how to change my youngest son’s name posthumously we would have done it in a heartbeat.

      We also had ourselves a little fire out in the backyard the day after my youngest son’s funeral. I cut cheater ex out of every family picture, made a nice little pile, handed my eldest son a bottle of lighter fluid and a box of matches and he torched it. He said it made him feel a little better. Then I swept the ashes up and into the garbage they went.

      I also had scanned every picture into my computer before cutting them up, and using a photoshopping program, erased cheater ex from every single one. That felt good. It was like I was vanishing cheater ex, bit by bit.

      There wasn’t any of cheater ex’s shit to toss. When I took my boys and left, I only took our things that could be packed up and moved in a single afternoon. When we moved back into the house, cheater ex had taken all of his shit with him.

      My ring came off the day cheater ex announced his affair with schmoopie. Wasn’t worth anything, a cheepo he’d promised to replace with something much nicer when we had more money. He never did, big surprise. Haven’t worn a ring since. I am giving some thought to wearing a fake wedding ring though. Want to make it look like I have a hubby traveling with me as I hit the road this week for a year long walkabout (driveabout?) in my motorhome. I’m thinking of it as camouflage. Don’t want to call attention to me being a lone woman full time rv-er.

      Think I’ll name the mythical hubby Bubba. Bubba is going to be a big teddy bear man who likes to spend all of his time taking naps. And hates to socialize. And really hates to have anyone hitting on his wife. And has a really bad temper about that stuff. I’m thinking I might just be having a little fun with Bubba.

      • Tessie – I am so sorry you went through this and for the death of your son. It sounds awesome that you changed your last names and your trip sounds awesome!

        I like your idea of Bubba! That made me chuckle! Hope you have a nice time traveling! Hugs

  • I fully intend to burn my ‘decorative’ marriage license. It was not the legal one anyway (I found that out when I went to the social security office!) Just the one where you sign after the ceremony. I think it will feel cleansing and GREAT to do it.

  • No ritual for me. She moved out while the kids and I were out of town. We got back and it looked like we were robbed. I was shocked but not totally surprised.

    I was initially pissed, but then I calmed down and just set my mind that I was going to keep everything stable and make the kids’ lives as normal as possible when they were with me. Just keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road. I wanted to keep my house as the base to which they could always return and find normalcy. As a plus, it turns out life is immensely less stressful without having to worry about somebody screwing you over behind your back.

    Now piece by piece I am replacing furniture, re-purposing empty rooms to make them more usable, re-painting, re-decorating, and forging ahead with life. It’s been a process, but that’s been my “ritual” I suppose. I like my house better now, and more importantly, I like my life better.

    • 100% this!!

      “Life is immensely less stressful without having to worry about somebody screwing you over behind your back”

  • I went to a witch for advice.She told me that I had to buy a small pot,and every evening for a month write on a piece of paper a different thing I was angry with my ex-husband about and put it in the pot.Then at the end of the month,when the moon was waning,I had to spread out a tablecloth,light a blue candle,read out each slip of paper and burn it,putting the ashes in the pot, then smash the pot and bury the ashes and broken pot at the furthest corner of my property. It was quite fun and spooky to do,but didn’t really get rid of all my feelings.Time, creating a new life, and reading this blog have had the best long-term effects.

      • It cost £30. She was quite a charming impoverished white witch,living in a small tumbledown rented cottage in Cornwall with a broomstick and an amazing cat (which had such an expressive face it resembled a puppet).She’s called Cassandra Latham.I made a small amount of money from writing about her so felt if anyone had been ripped off it was probably her. She didn’t seem like a charlatan- the local vicar used to get her to step in if he didn’t know how to help a parishioner. (She was a trained therapist and nurse as well.)

      • Planning on starting a career as a warlock, UX? Who knows, a little extra income in retirement might come in handy …. And chumps in general have plenty of good sense to share!

  • I have a good sized collection of love letters STBX sent me the first time he abandoned me out of the blue, 29 years ago. (We have been together 31, and 28 years married…yeah, I know, shoulda dumped him upon first abandonment instead of waiting for the last one this spring…sigh…but that is why the box of love letters exists. No Schmoopie back then.)

    When he was 5 hours away back then, getting away from evil Me who was ruining his 19 year old life, within just a couple weeks of his departure he was desperately in love with me, missed me so much, and began writing letters. Three a day once, written on paper towels, little note pads, whatever was handy. My marriage proposal is in those letters, all our plans, his undying love expressed over and over. He was gone for a year then, and came back right before we got married. 30 years later he again is 5 hours away, getting away from the evil Me who is ruining his 49 year old life, after screaming at me that, he “never EVER loved me!”

    Our incredible life, the objectively incredible life we have built was not enough. Our memories, our wonderful daughters, the troubles and triumphs and trips and adventures and my unending support of every wild hair dream he had was not enough. He is a leaky bucket. I can never fill him. No Schmoopie can ever fill him. He will devalue and discard everything that should matter.

    My ritual, after the divorce is final in 2 weeks and after I move into my own little house this fall/winter, will be to read those letters a final time and then destroy them one by one. I read them last month on my 28th anniversary, crying my eyes out, as well as reviewed other notes/letters he had given to me back then. Now I can see in them that the leaky bucket was there all the time. He was depressed, had anxiety, and had crappy life skills. I can really see that his life is not my fault.

    I will keep just one of the letters and put it with my wedding rings in the safe deposit box where I don’t have to look at it–it is one where he is so strung out from a terrible day of a car breakdown, horrible long bus rides to get to and from work, bounced check stories and straightening things out with the bank, hate for his buddy roommate’s living habits, and a desperate and passionate declaration of his love for me. I am keeping this one because it sums us up really well– he was a mess, and will be a mess on his own again. But mostly that he did love me, and perhaps his love was a clinging, weedy vine seeking something to make his life good. Upon simple reading of it–when my daughters or grandchildren one day clean out Grandma’s stuff when I am dead–they will know that he loved me, he really did say it. They will wonder why the hell Grandpa is so stupid, and likely recount how many broken trails of relationships he will have from now until then, and how dumb he was to let me go. And they will know how happy Grandma finally was that he did let her go.

    • We had a pretty big pile of letters from courtship and his military deployments. I decided the kids might want the stuff he wrote since he is dead, but the letters I wrote to the person who I thought he was, nope…I dont ever want anyone to read them, so I threw them all away.

      • Yes, I am not keeping any of the ones I sent him. I read them now and see my rah-rah cheer talking throughout them, they are so thick with spackle I want to vomit. I had no idea what spackle was then but I was already setting myself for a long life of propping that douche canoe up, only to be tossed away like trash.

        • For reals…”propping up douche canoe” is quite apt.

          After I got the “Im divorcing you because you are a terrible wife who forced me to get married against my will” speech, I was so scared to ever read an old letter from him for fear it would “hurt” (I think I was already maxed out on pain, so that likely wouldn’t have mattered) more,

          BUT

          I found, instead, that reading the letters was reaffirming to me that he was engaged in this process we had to plan a life together…he was likely “future faking” to keep me on a string, but real or fake, he said this stuff, which I trusted and believed.

          I think my deadcheater was a man ahead of his time…here in the 21st century, “netflix & chill” or Tinder sex creating babymommas & babydaddies is a thing…I really dont think he ever wanted a wife, he wanted a compliant babymomma. I wanted a real, actual marriage.

    • I.C., your post made me cry. I had a ton of letters like you as our relationship started as a long-distance friendship that turned into more. I cherished those letters for years. He had his own box of letters from me. I remember him saying to me that “when we are old and gray, we can read the letters to each other.” I now realize all the things he said to me were just bs to tell me what I wanted to hear to fall in love with him. He said so many things to me that I thought he truly meant, but I now know they were just words to get me hooked.

      When my ex discarded me via a “divorce letter.” I got out the box of letters and started reading them, looking for what? Something to make sense of what was happening to me. Like I said, our relationship began as a long-distance letter writing friendship. In the letters he said to me that his girlfriend at the time didn’t like that he would go out for dinner or see his ex-girlfriend “as friends.” And she would cry about this, but he said to me that he should be able to do what he wanted or something like that. RED FLAG! I didn’t see it at the time, but he was telling me who he was even before we started dating. And he did the same thing to me when we were dating. He would go out to dinner, etc with the girlfriend that used to cry when he would go out with ex-girlfriends! And I didn’t like it either and I told him that it bothered me, but he said to me, “everyone in college does this”, so I just thought it was me not understanding what “everyone” else does! I should have trusted me gut right there and then, but I didn’t.

      I tossed all the letters and cards in the recycling bin when I was packing to move out.

      • ((hugs)) for us and our letters, and the disposing of the rose-colored glasses we wore. We see those words so differently now, and realize the phony parts were there.

        I got an e-mail kiss-off when he abandoned me this spring, I came home from a work trip with all his things gone. The last letter.

        • I’m so sorry, I.C. I cannot even imagine what you’ve gone through. Have you read the book Runaway Husbands? That was one of many books I read that was very helpful.

          Chump Lady tells us not to untangle the skein of fuckupedness which was very hard not to do. I’ve spent many hours wondering what was true and what was false in what he sad to me. I know what I wrote him was true from my heart. My intentions were true. I meant my wedding vows. I stayed true to him and to who I am. There’s something seriously disordered with men who can do this to women. ((((hugs))) back to you.

          • Yes! I got that one right away and I also bought a copy of Runaway Husbands for each of my daughters within the first week. It helped me get off the floor with the idea that I had to accept he was well beyond caring for my welfare, and I was never, ever going to get an apology. The part about people being capable of enormous deceit has hit home more and more, since at first I thought of his deceit as the daily lies of omission in his staying and giving no hint of his unhappiness, and then the new deceit in realizing there is an OW#2. Too bad her web site is such a mess, but it led me to continue the search and stumble across Chump Lady. This metaphor of the ‘leaky bucket’ (thanks Luziana!) has really helped me to clarify why it would never, ever be enough for him. It isn’t me. Really, it isn’t.

            Thanks for the kind words- my compassion goes out to you, too.

            • Also, I was stunned to see in her book that I was the rarest of rare— not only did the shithead leave 100% while I was gone, super-poof sneaking out while I wasn’t looking, but I got an e-mail as my notice that the life I had known was now over. Apparently that puts me in the horrible, tiniest percentage of sorry-ass cowardly cases of runaways. Yup, I married that. WTF was I ever thinking.

              • Yeah, to leave while you were gone and an goodbye email too. I’d say for sure that is rare. I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine. I like the leaky bucket analogy too. I never could figure out what I was lacking or what more I could do to make him pay attention to me. I always felt like I was competing with his “work”. At one point, just a few years ago I said to him, “I’m jealous of your job.” Little did I know I truly was competing with lots of other women. My gut was telling me something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know what it was. He’s a leaky bucket for sure. Besides my kids, I’ve never poured so much time, energy and love into one person and it was never enough! You are right! It’s not us, but them!

              • The leaky bucket is the concept that even though we filled our lives with wonderful things: our initial poverty-stricken struggle of putting each other through school, the birth of our children, almost losing one child to pneumonia when she was 6 (weeks of intensive care and a life flight helicopter ride included), strong in-law family bonds, career success- I bring home a big paycheck and keep a clean home and cook from scratch– financial independence, amazing trips and adventures, early retirement on the horizon, and my complete rolling over to any and every toy, motorcycle, concert, gun, guitar, food, sex play, anything he wanted, it wasn’t enough. He hated me.

                There are men who are doomed to be chained to spendthrifts and lazy harpies and nags who have prayed for a fraction of the effort I made, but it wasn’t enough for my fuckwit. No matter what we put in that bucket together, or what I poured into him at my own expense, he never attributed the same value to those things that I did. He never gave a shit. There was always some mystery Rubik’s Cube emotional lock to which I was not allowed the key. If I got close to a true bond, he changed the colors on the cube. His bucket leaks while mine overflows. His always will leak, with any Schmoopie it will eventually. Grabbing ahold of this metaphor has really helped me see that there is nothing I could have done differently, it is not my bucket, and I can never fill it. It is the same idea of the rocks-through-Tiffany-windows, that some people just don’t assign value to things like others.

                It sounds like I am some kind of saint but actually he is just that broken. So now I will pour myself into a man worthy of it, and as CL always says, I know I could swing a dead cat and find a better one. My MIL was the same way (his mom), she gave and gave and gave and in the end died 13 months after her very rough and gruff husband of 54 years. She only felt his love in the last 10 years or so when his health declined and he realized how he had shat upon her for over 4 decades at that point. She said she would have left him years earlier if she had a way to make a living, but in the end she died as the most saintly and kind woman I will ever know. She truly poured her life out for her family and husband. Funny, the fuckwit pretty much hated her, too. What a horrible life.

              • Wow – thank you for this explanation!!! This is so true!! I realize no matter what I gave I could never fill the empty core that I realize he now has and always had. He just never told me he was unhappy- he just had an affair instead! What a coward! I now see how I was always the one fighting through some of the difficult challenges we faced while he was emotionless! He did seem to enjoy the fun times though. These guys are creeps! I’m happy I threw him out!!!! And I’m happy you are rid of your ex also!!!!

              • You explained that so well, I.C.!!

                When my ex and I were in marriage counseling with my now ex-pastor (we started counseling with him after I caught him out on a date with a whore that is now his girlfriend). The pastor told us each write down a list of things that we could do to improve our marriage. Back at home with paper and pen in hand, I tried to think of more way to be a better wife. This was very hard to do, because I had been doing this for 20 years! I actually wrote down as one of my things, “learn how to make more fish meals” as my ex would always order fish when we went out to eat. I just couldn’t think of anything to write down! And not that I’m perfect or a saint like you said, but I was trying to please him for all those years. Pouring my life out for him and our kids. And he was just a big leaky bucket. And he saw no value in what I did for him all those years. I wrote this somewhere on this blog today, but I have asked myself, “Would I marry me?” And I always say “Yes!” I’ve made mistakes over the years, but I’ve learned from them. I think I got better as a wife as the years went on just by learning from mistakes and trying to improve myself. It just would never be enough for him. He’s a big leaky bucket and he needs constant “supply” to keep his bucket (himself) from getting empty. He said in the Divorce Letter that we didn’t have “the same values”. I couldn’t believe it! I thought we did all those years. But we don’t. I value honesty, commitment, family, God, friendship, integrity, and he does not. He would say he does, but his actions shows he values himself and anything that will give him a new thrill or attention.

              • Good thought- I would marry you Martha! Ha! Seriously that is a good way to think of it, true empathetic vision. I know there were things he didn’t like about me, but I wrote down 6 pages, front and back, of irritating habits and crap like that I put up with ~besides~ the nuclear discard. I was talking to my oldest daughter about that list, not giving all the details but just a few, and she said she couldn’t think of any little annoyances I had like that. I am sure I must have something that he didn’t like, but man, cleaning shit stains out of his underwear, or having yet ANOTHER quart full water glass get tipped over by the cat where he left it by the bed, nope, I didn’t have those sorts of irritating habits. I didn’t block the TV when others were watching. I didn’t turn on every bright overhead light and bang every cabinet door when I had an early flight out of town and the spouse was still sleeping. I didn’t come into the bedroom to eat fish sandwiches at 11:30pm while he slept, munching and and stinking up the bedroom. Shit like that, he constantly did that. I haven’t even touched on my shaving his back and his hours in the bathroom doing #2.

                Anyway, I ramble on. 6 pages, front and back. Schmoopie will have a ball…. have fun with that kids!

              • Six pages of irritating habits?! Yikes!! My ex did a few things that were weird or gross, but not six pages. I’m sure I did stuff that was annoying, but hopefully not gross! I think everyone has quirks, but not six pages! I’ve thought about that too with my exes schmoopie — have fun with what you wanted! She has no clue who he truly is. I’m sure there is a ton of stuff my ex did that I don’t know about, but what I do know is enough to know he sucks. If she knew just what I know is the truth, if she was smart she would run for her life. lol. Good luck with that, schmoopie!

    • Hey Now I.C.

      You know, I understand this fully and have a similar thing. I have lots of little cards and sweet little love notes. I have a ‘book of awesome’ that she filled out with all the things that she found awesome about me. The last note was from February this year, telling me I was the love of her life, soul mate, etc etc, all that bollocks. She cheated in April. 8 weeks later.

      Now, somehow in that 8 weeks, she went from declaring in letters that she would follow me anywhere and do anything, if only she got to be with me, to… declaring to her family (after being caught, and being told that I was NOT going to keep this a secret for her) that she ‘was unhappy in the marriage, and that then she met someone else’. Now, the thing about my STBX wife is that she went to a top business school and got the very top grade, her thesis in…shaping and controlling narratives.

      So i’m keeping the cards and letters. Just a few, just the last ones. Not because they have sentimental value, no. But because, when faced with a STBX who is prepared to lie to her own family to protect her own image, who is prepared to trash my image with her family for the same, and who is a pro at controlling the story… I feel like I should keep some solid proof. Whatever she says, she was still writing me happy love notes, right till the end.

      • Our end-timelines are very similar. February 27th of this year while on vacation, he said to me, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” April 6th was the day he left. September 28th should be the date of the divorce decree if all goes smoothly, which is exactly 9 years after D-day #1.

        D-day #2, with an unnamed but pretty obvious OW#2, was in July– the evidence was mounting even with him gone. He still lies about her so the detail will come out as STBX introduces her to our afult daughters at some point and tries to pretend like it was all innocent right up till September 29th, it is just a pure coincidence that she has worked with him for 2 years at an offsite construction camp.

        • Yup, in April he was talking a ton about our future retirement (at least 10 years away), where we could live, etc, and telling me he loved me when heading out of town for work (after having had sex 8 times in the previous 5 days). By the end of May he was cheating.

          Another one w/a charcoal briquet instead of a heart – love that image!

      • Wow about her thesis, ChrisChump. Controlling the narrative. That’s smart on your part to keep some evidence. Most of my exes evidence was words he said to me, so I could not prove at all that his narrative was not true. However, I know what he said. Just a couple of years before he discarded me he said to me, “I will never let you leave me. I will follow you if you do.” We weren’t fighting or anything. It was just something loving he said to me at the time. He said it with a smile on his face. And then after D-Day, he switched the narrative and said he hadn’t been happy the last ten years of the marriage. And who knows what he all said to his family, friends and ho-workers?! I’m sure more lies and rewriting history. I gave him our wedding album, honeymoon albums, all the albums with our great family vacations and our two trips to Europe when we backpacked together. All those happy memories where he was looking very happy in the photos. His schmoopie can look at them too someday when she comes across them. And one day she’ll realize she’s involved with a pathological liar and cheater. And then she’ll remember the photos and realize that he was happy in our marriage. He just needs constant women on the side. He wants everything. Beautiful wife that does everything for him. Nice kids. House. Family. Work-whores. Job. He’s a black hole of constant need of attention.

      • I just wrote a post about his love-letters above and like you, reading them affirmed my memory of him freely planning a life with me vs the “you forced me to marry against my will” narrative that he developed later for his own convenience.

        The fact that your XW actually wrote academic papers about controlling narratives is chilling.

        My nowdeadcheater, for the record, was a war seasoned US Marine who reminded me occasionally that he could snap my neck in an instant…yet he insisted that my tiny little self (a kind pediatric nurse) could “force” him (from 5 states away) to marry me against his will. I was not pregnant nor desperate nor threatening self-harm in any way…I just said that if he didnt want to get married after a 3 year courtship, we would break up and I would pursue other options. All he had to say was “No, I don’t want to get married. Have a good life”. This, as it turned out, was later used as one of the strongest pillars of his “I deserve to cheat” narrative. Cowardly asshole he was.

        • unicornnomore,

          I got the same. I “made” him marry me.
          Um…no. I basically said what you did; either he wanted to move forward with our relationship after six years/living together for four, or I was out of there.

          So he “proposed”, sort of.

          But apparently, he was “NEVER happy”, he “NEVER loved” me, and I forced him into it.
          Funny thing, that. I was completely independent from him then, had a good life, a good job, and was doing quite well.

          I wasn’t pregnant, nor pressuring him, nor desperate to keep him. I simply said, “if you don’t want me, then I need to stop wasting time here and find someone who DOES.”

          Boy…if I could take that whole scenario back, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
          So I married the jerk. My own fault.

          • You and me..the problem being that in doing that, I would wipe my children off the face of the earth, and I just cant do that, but I totally get the struggle.

            I now think that I was doomed from the moment I fell for a narcissist…there was no good way out of this except the one I got (he dropped dead). He knew exactly what buttons to push and when to throw me a bone…he made promises and seemed to be devoted just long enough to give me hope and draw me back…he was a master at it.

  • I am waiting for this never ending divorce to be final. I have my wedding dress, pictures, and my 100’s of “save your marriage/have a better marriage” books all ready for the fire pit. I’m planning on gathering my closest girlfriends and we are going to ring in my new life with a bonfire and burning. 2 years and counting …

  • I actually started mine before I moved out.

    We had bought, when we got married, a nice set of all-clad pots and pans, and a set of Wusthoff Trident knives. While I wasn’t a good cook back then (better now), I enjoyed using sauce pots that didn’t have hot spots and cooked the food evenly and well without a lot of stirring.

    So, during the divorce process, when I had a move out date set, and my new apartment lease signed, I ordered (online) a small set of all-clad factory seconds pots, but the upgraded copper core pots (better than the ones I left behind, for less money), and a pair of Mac knives (Japanese steel, a brand that professional chefs use because they are great knives at reasonable prices). When I moved in, my new pots, pans and knives were in a box by the door, and that night, when I made pasta, I knew things would be all right.

    So, not so much cleansing ritual as a change in items, and I knew that the food I put into my body was prepared with implements that she had never owned or used.

    Oh, there was also a bamboo cutting board, a nice one, thick, with little rubber feet. Eleven years later, I and my new wife (a much better cook than I am, someone who really appreciates the good cookware) still use the copper core, Mac knives, and I oiled the cutting board last night. Also this week, we added a carbon steel saute pan, which should be a really nice addition to our cookware.

    Finally, tonight my wife is away on business, but her brother and his wife are coming up tonight to spend the weekend (wife returns tomorrow). I’m making a paella for the three of us, in my paella pan. I’ve come a long way since the divorce.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    P.S. – I fully realize that this post is doused in the psychological (food = love) idea. And that’s all well and good.

    • Newhusband and I honeymooned in Europe and on the trip found a great pan that we wanted but didnt want to lug around for the whole trip. I ordered it online to give to him the first Valentines Day after we were married. He is loaded but super thrifty and would have bought himself a cheap-ass pan …it was fun for me to spend part of the money I earned to get him a really nice pan. Like you, its sort of symbolic of our good, healthy marriage.

    • I love this Aeronaut!!!! It’s the little things and it is so cool you still use these items with your new wife! And Paella is my fave!!!

      P.S. You have commented before on my posts and I always think your posts are so insightful and helpful 😃.

  • Walking walking walking. I bought a new pair of tennis shoes that are also more like hiking boots. I lay out my walking clothes the night before. I set my alarm very early. I don’t even think. I throw on comfy clothes and my dogs and I -we head out to the woods. I walk until I am so tired that I almost can’t take my shower when I get back.

    I have found this helps me burn off negative energy and it drains off that frenetic feeling you have after so much drama and trauma.

    I talk to myself -plan, dream, talk to my dogs. Aside from helping me mentally I also have been able to come off the medicine for depression just by naturally raising my serotonin levels by walking.

    I don’t think there any negatives to it. A new ritual I will keep for life -fingers crossed.

    • I love your new ritual, LoveDay, I have found long walks really help me too. They are so therapeutic. My next new ritual is that I am looking into buying a mountain bike and finding great places to use it that have bike trails and paths.

    • Love day if you read this, when I was in the worst of it right after d-day and he moved in with schmoopie, I took a job walking dogs. I did a lot of crying and raging on my 2-3 hour walks every weekday and the dogs were great healing energy in between the grief. It really did help, and got me out of the house when I could have been a grief stricken zombie all winter…

  • Not a ritual, but it felt good: I threw away *all* my lingerie from my marriage. Probably $900 worth, at least. Slammed it all into the big dumpster bin.

    • Me too, the day he poofed all that scratchy shit went into the trash. No more “costumery” for the fuckwit, another symbol of my 9 year pick me dance on the trash heap where he also thought he left my soul.

    • Me, too. The lingerie was the second thing I threw out. The first thing I threw out was the rose petals that I saved for over 20 years. I preserved them in a decorative glass. Down the toilet they went. All the pretty and sexy lingerie went right into the kitchen garbage can. Just another reminder of everything I did to make him a happy husband. I even had a few cute Christmas themed lingerie outfits. And all this was purchased during the ten years that he said he was never happy. He sure fooled me!

      • He will fool Schmoopie too, that is what I keep reminding myself. STBX will love bomb her, then devalue her and keep her guessing about his feelings, and then run from her, declaring he never loved her at all, and blame her for everything. Declare that she is Controlling and Judgmental. Disordered fuck.

        • You got “controlling and judgmental” too? He wrote that to me in the Divorce Letter. I thought to myself “I am?” The one and only thing I asked him to not do our entire marriage was to not see women behind my back. I never once told him he couldn’t do or go somewhere. He controlled our entire marriage with his “work”/job. I had no idea how I was controlling and judgmental! And now I realize he didn’t like that I was onto his double life that he lead for the 24 years we were together, so he had paint me as some horrible wife. I wasn’t. Funny thing is that I always was a people pleaser and wanted people to like me. Now I AM judgmental as I look at peoples actions over a period of time and then decide whether they are my kind of people. I judge people character and I think that’s a very wise thing to do. But I’m not controlling at all. I control myself and my choices. I help guide my kids to make good choices, but that’s it.

    • Same here. Right in front of him as he was trying to comprehend that I had just told him we were done. That was the first drawer I went to and emptied. Hella yeah was that liberating and the look on his face was priceless.

    • This was the very first thing I did. Tossed all the lingerie, and bought all new pretty things. There is significantly less of me, now, so more new clothing has followed, and starting fresh has helped.

  • The day after he left to be with his “special bonding partner” ha! I shredded 40 years of photos of him, took almost the entire day! Our wedding album, honey moon trip, cruise photos, every Christmas photo, kids weddings, every single photo with him in it and his family too. Plus every single card he every gave me. There was something very cathartic seeing his face being torn into shreds.
    Not that this has anything to do with the subject but today I’m converting a garden shed into a “She Shed” just for me. Lots on fun projects on the horizon! It’s wonderful to do what you always wanted to do but didn’t because someone “poo pooed ” it. I think I’ve ‘Gained a Life’.

    • Oh, that reminds me. I tore into tiny shreds the recipe for his special birthday cake I made for 30 years and left it in a pile in the kitchen before I moved out.

  • I took up yoga to deal with the heartbreak. It was easier as I had dropped the kgs with stress. 6 months on and it has become my oasis. My mind and body are sharper and clearer. I go to classes 5 times a week at the local gym which is insanely cheap, works out at $15 Aus a week and have made my spare room into a studio. Getting biceps and tone and love it.
    Always knew yoga would come back into my life, the only good thing to come from the shit storm.

    • That is awesome Lady B! I am dying to get back into yoga! I started training with a personal trainer and joined an adult kickball league that is starting next week. Trying to do fun things that make me happy 😃

  • I sold the main stone in my wedding ring and had a paver patio installed in my new backyard!! It’s gorgeous! I love to eat outdoors when it is nice and it’s a great place to entertain my friends and family. My daughters love it too! I plan on taking the remaining stones from the wedding ring and wedding band and having matching rings made for my daughters.

    As far as purging 20 years of marital assets……it wasn’t easy and it was VERY painful. Sometimes it was so exhausting and emotional that I just found the sofa, laid down and slept. It was very cathartic though. My budget was very small when the house was sold and I purchased my new place, so I kept all of the old furniture and moved it into my new home. Over the past 3 1/2 years I have parted with a few pieces and bought new to try and detach from the old life. Soon I will be surrounded by things I love and that represent who I am now. I LOVE my new life and hope all of the newbies here gain hope reading this, that you too will flourish in your new life and become so much happier!!!!

    • I went a little nuts after poof day….less than 3 weeks after he abandoned me I had an auction house pick up 31 years of accumulation from my 5000 sq foot house. Everything that I could not lift on my own was auctioned off, except for one recliner, my favorite chair that he never sat in and probably hated simply because I liked it. All the tools, camping and sporting gear, rooms of furniture including the master suite, a grand piano, all gone. I kept some dishes but a lot was sent away. I kept pictures and sentimental things from my kids but all of the rest disappeared. In the end I got pennies on the dollar from it all, which had to be split with the fuckwit, but at that point I felt like lighting a match to all of it and don’t care. In my new home I will choose pieces I like and I won’t be imagining him sitting on any of it, or laying in that bed, or drinking from that glass, etc. I am starting to feel excitement for the future, just a little bit.

      • Now, this sounds amazing! And I totally understand the impulse to start completely afresh. A friend of mine who’s in an unhappy marriage says she spends hours day-dreaming about going to IKEA and getting EVERYTHING new!

    • Love this post!! I am a newbie and love to see that you are happier. I am sad/hurt but already feel happier in a lot of ways! 😃

  • Did a sage cleansing. It is an old native tradition where you burn sage or it’s incense (found in Whole Foods or herb stores). Walk around house with sage smoldering and repeat sentence asking bad energy to leave the house and for good positive energy to be there. It does feel cleansing and sage has a nice fragrance that permeates the house. I did take all his clothes out of MY bedroom and replaced all sheets, bathroom Stuff ,curtains with very feminine stuff first. It is impossible to get rid of everything that reminds me of our 30 yr life together but I felt I could stmbolically cleanse his energy. Sounds silly but works for me

  • Okay this may sound a little hippy dippy, but I did some release work to help me break the energetic bonds. As part of this I also burned pictures of us together and love letters and cards he had given me over the years. Once I moved back into the first house we bought together (which I loved in spite of the fact that he and howorker contaminated it in the months that he lived here post separation while I stayed in the second house we bought together) I had a friend come over and smudge the house with sage.
    I’ve also created new traditions for me and my boys which has been really great. I love being able to plan vacations, concerts, outings, etc with them and not have to consult/convince exhole to go along with us, or have to take into account his 2 f’d up hips that limit him physically. 😉

  • Mine is perhaps a bit different.

    Right on DDay I decided that I needed to find a single thing to feel Joyful about / grateful for each and every day. Some days it was tough. I don’t do that consciously any more but I do try to appreciate the good and beautiful all around me. I was slightly annoyed when Princess YogaPants told me later that she had started to do the same thing but struggled with it – trying to get me invited to her pity-party I suppose.

    I also started buying myself fresh flowers every week. I love flowers (being very macho) but Pre-DDay the Princess always presumed they were for her, locked them into a room away from the pets and left them to rot 🙁 so I stopped. Now I have fresh flowers on my bedside tables all the time and when the cats are in the room they get put up. And it turns out that the lady at the flower shop is single and that she thinks that I have a “nice guy butt” – at least that’s what she told me when I asked her out 😀

      • Well – actually she didn’t go out with me. The phrase” nice guy but” – was part of her answer. “You’re a nice guy but I don’t want to go out with you.”

        Doesn’t matter. I still see her at the shop and she’s a very nice lady. We chat about our kids and flowers and the challenges of single parenting. I think it surprised her that I kept coming in to the shop but it’s a nice shop and she’s a nice person otherwise I wouldn’t have asked her out.

        • Oh! But, not butt. Got it. At least she said you’re a nice guy, right? Onward, with fresh flowers in hand after a friendly chat with the nice flower shop lady.

    • Flowers are great. After the Traitor left I started making myself a fresh bouquet every week for the dining table. There is a bank of daffodils near the old homestead. Every spring Traitor would come back from his beat commenting on it, and how he’d caught people walking along the trail on the farm pinching some but it wasn’t a big deal. He NEVER picked me any. So now I think he was making a point of not bringing me any but reminding me they were flowering. Just to hurt me.
      Whatever the season, I make sure I give myself this little gift, even if I am just cutting pretty seedheads from weeds, or just some native foliage. Anything I find pretty, just for me.

  • My circle of support anointed the foundation of my new townhouse with oil and prayer and then, when the home was complete, 40 people who knew the truth of my story gathered for a wonderful house blessing. His name was never mentioned.

  • My ritual was the big delete. I deleted all electronic ties to him, all the contact information, all the photos, unsubscribed from any internet communities we both belonged to, changed my phone number, changed my friends and family email address, deleted all my social media accounts and created new ones with locked down privacy settings, deleted games we played together, got a new phone, threw away every gift he’d ever given me and every physical memento from our relationship, donated all the clothes he liked me to wear, threw away the perfume he liked on me, traded in the car we always took drives in, moved to a new neighborhood where I wouldn’t be around places we used to go together, donated dvds of movies we liked to watch together, threw away everything he kept at my place or that I kept on hand for him, and canceled my membership at the fitness center we both belonged to. The only thing left of him in my life is a bad memory.

  • Found out about his affair with a howorker late on a Saturday in July of last year. The next day I kicked him out, on Monday I dumped all his clothes in the garage and changed the locks. For several weeks he would still come around to cut the grass and take of the trash (I put a stop to that). One weekend I had put a framed wedding invitation and a framed cross stitch picture with our names and wedding date that someone had given us 37 years ago for our wedding in the trash (frame and all). He saw it and said I’m not going to throw those away. I took a hammer, placed the items on the granite counter and broke them in a million pieces. I just looked and him and said “now you can throw them away”. I shredded every picture of us together, deleted any pictures of us on social media, threw away every card he had ever given me and really pissed my family off when I went through the photo albums at my Dad’s and destroyed any pictures of him. After 37 years of marriage it was amazing how none of that stuff meant anything. Still have a lot of work to do to get anything reminding me of him out of my life but I’m getting there.

    • You are mighty ihatehim! And breaking the wedding invitation that was framed with a hammer into millions of pieces made me laugh, it was so awesome!. You are so strong. And it’s true, it’s unbelievable after all that time married, how none of that time means anything to them. You are very mighty!

  • I did a purge that got rid of TWO NARCS’s detritus recently.

    (1) When preparing for my recent move, I burned all the hate filled divorce related missives the abusive narc ex husband had sent me which was quite pleasurable. Wadding up/taping into a bundle my wedding gown and putting it in the dumpster was cathartic because even our wedding day/night/honeymoon was filled with his rage filled tension causing behavior.

    (2) As I unpacked, I came across some attempts by POP to manipulate me into letting him stay/fake love notes that I had no idea still existed.

    Watching his hand written words inch down the shredder as they got closer and closer to the ‘teeth of death’ was very gratifying 😉

  • I’ve been thinking that when the divorce is final I’ll dismantle our bed (the only one we’ve ever had). I’ll store the frame in case my daughter wants it when she’s older. She was conceived in that bed and spent the first several years of her life sleeping in it, and has good memories of snuggling in it with Mom and Dad. Then I’ll burn the mattress in the back yard, maybe with some photos as kindling. Since mattresses burn slow and gnarly, and since I live in a city, I’ll probably get a ticket and annoy some neighbors. So be it. Death to the conjugal bed.

    • If you buy a new mattress the company that delivers your new mattress will remove the old one. I know it’s not so satisfying as burning the old one, but it’ll save you a ticket!

    • Maybe you could defile the mattress and graffiti it or write fuck off missives in Sharpie all over it before the New Mattress man drags it away.

      Just a thought. Try to keep it legal and classy here at CN. 😉

  • No rituals for me. I suppose writing down the things I want to say to him and then not actually saying them or giving him the written output is a sort of a ritual. Getting it out in one way or another helps me to move on.

    Otherwise what helps me most is just moving on with the rest of my life and keeping things as normal as I can for my kids. Just knowing that I can take care of things around the house without his help makes it easier to move on. Continuing to live my life without him there to complain about how I do that is empowering.

    Just some of the things that have helped me to move on this past summer:

    1. I separated my finances. I have my own bank account and am paying my own bills. I am living within my means while still finding ways to go out and have fun with the kids.
    2. I took the kids to the usual vacation location (family property in ME) by myself. Me, three kids and a dog driving cross country for two days each way. Having a great time and doing all of usual things while we were there. It even helped that there were a few hiccups here and there, because we got them sorted and had a great time without STBX there to complain about the imperfections.
    3. I got my kids to the eclipse in August. We landed in a great location (nature preserve) where it was busy but not insanely crowded and the sun was completely unobscured for the 2 min 33 seconds of totality. It was awesome and totally lived up to the hype. I made that happen for my kids and for me. Meanwhile, STBX had planned to take Schmoopie off to see it in the Cesna but he was grounded by mechanical troubles, reservation only landings at the airports and T-storms so ended up watching a partial through the clouds. Am I a bad person for feeling some satisfaction over that?
    4. I lost a wheel on the lawnmower and couldn’t find a replacement wheel anywhere that would work on my mower. I tried to order from the factory, but it was on indefinite backorder. One of my neighbors then saw me mowing with three wheels and let me know another neighbor had put a lawnmower out to be junked and maybe I could use one of those wheels. It was just slightly large, but I decided it would work. I figured out how to remove it from that mower and attach it to mine. I couldn’t get the cotter pin in because of the difference in wheel design, but I was able to rig it with a paper clip and it is secure and it works. The grass may get mowed slightly crooked because of the slight difference in wheel size, but STBX isn’t here to complain about that either and I doubt anybody else will ever notice. I love it when I can be resourceful.
    These weren’t rituals, but they were all reminders that life goes on without STBX, I am a capable person and life is still good because I am me and not him. I can be content with the life I have and don’t have to go off chasing rainbows to be happy.

    • CIR – Good for you! My lawn has been a challenge, too. It’s too rocky and steep to consider a riding mower so I had to learn to push mow myself for the first time at age 51. My daughter’s boyfriend taught me how to start the mower and gave me some basic tips, then off I went. When I got the first portion done, I stepped back and looked at what I’d accomplished and genuinely cried. I had my daughter take my picture with the push mower and the freshly cut rectangle. Later I told a girl friend that I left like I’d learned to fly and she said, you did!

      • I sure wish there was a “like” button on this blog! Good for you ChumpInRecovery and NewHere. I too have completed some projects or figured out how to make something work and it’s very rewarding and a prideful moment! Pat on the back to all of us!

  • My wedding anniversary is rolling up here in about a month or so. Sigh. October is my favorite month of the year too. I am planning a little outing with myself on my wedding anniversary and I’m going to go burn my wedding photos, all the love notes X gave to me, anything that I have that was his or has his ilk on it. I’ll probably chant some incantations and mumbo jumbo, shed a tear and let it all go. By that date, I’m determined to have my name changed over in all places and make room in my life for new hopes and dreams. Letting some of these memories burn to ash and releasing it back to the universe so that it can be morphed into something else sounds like a great send off to my sham of a marriage.

  • Oh, I loved doing this. It’s probably a little scary. Where to start?

    I found a box of pictures of the first AP she had saved (she is a serial cheater).
    Into the fire pit in the backyard they went. It was a beautiful bonfire.

    I found a bunch of awards (plaques) she won at work when she was into affair #1 & #2, as well as some of her published work from that period. (She was a reporter). Not hard to get stories when you’re that “close” to the sources! They were in the same container as the small box of pictures. The sledgehammer took care of the awards. Then, all that stuff went into the fire pit. The fire from that crap kept me warm for more than 2 hours.

    The wedding dress was delivered to Goodwill with a note. “May the next wearer keep her vows more faithfully than the previous one.”

      • Love the note. Have hesitated to give away the dress because it is so clearly afflicted with very bad vibes. Almost burned it, but then did not. Now, thinking I will once this thing is officially done. Any minute, now . . .

        • For the women who don’t know what to do with their wedding dresses — there’s an organization called Angel Gown that uses wedding dresses to make burial clothes for babies that never make it home from the hospital.

    • Ah, the awards. Stbx said I was so mean in not supporting his hobby of taking pictures late into the night. He needed it to relax after working his high stress job! How could I be so cruel!!

      Turns out the hobby was really his coworker. His other accusations that I was imagining things and was insecure over his being gone so much – more lies. Imagine that.

      So I’m cleaning out the garage and here are all these awards and trophies for the hobbies I supported him in like racing RC cars and racing boats – not RC boats, but real boats. A very expensive hobby, that one. All those awards went into the trash.

      Wish I’d had a fire.

  • I had a pyre, too. Burned every single thing with his and The Downgrade’s name or image on-she was in the picture for ten years at least. The only things I kept intact were Kiddo’s baby books, now packed away for future reference. Not sure how she will feel looking at them in future knowing her dad was screwing her aunt way back then, but all in all she has done ok, is now 18 and very much in hot pursuit of her own life.

    I think the best rituals eliminate or identify triggers. Not sure if visualization is a ritual, but a 3″ Mr Fab, with pot belly, beard that won’t quite hide his quadruple chins, receding hairline/ponytail combo, now lives in a tightly corked jar, somewhere down a hole in the basement of my mind palace. Thinking of him spewing all his bullshit and venom as the jar fills up and he drowns used to make me chuckle. Pretty sure the bottle is all dried up, leaving only a mummified homunculus rattling around.

    Maybe next vizualization should be pouring concrete into said basement….

    Love to all Chump Nation!

    X-Meh.

    • New here has it pegged. Ritual is about things that have symbolic meaning, that move one’s soul in a disproportionate amount to their actual import. “Rock Grey” cleansing is very ritualistic for you, I think, UXworld.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.
      aeronaut

  • PURGE! Given the current legal process, I can’t do anything. But I PURGED everything of his personal shit into a spare closet. I’m talking clothes, boxers, belts, ties, suits, shavers, shaving cream. He has been gone 7 months and has never taken more than two suitcases of clothes and his toys (fishing poles, coolers, bowling balls, and golf clubs…..you know the priorities lol). I already have a list of things I want to burn. I’m a country girl so burn piles are easy. I plan to burn anything he leaves after the divorce is final,wedding dress, panties I bought because he liked them, lingerie from our honeymoon, crystal vases from the wedding, suveniour glasses from 1st anniversary trip, and his whiskey.

    The only thing I recommend to CN is that if you have children PLEASE do not destroy wedding photos. My grandparents divorced when my dad was an adult. My grandmother destroyed all the photos. My dad and I wish she hadn’t because that is part of our history as a family. They did love each other at some point (well….maybe). I already have the wedding albums in a plastic bin that I have stored away for my daughter one day. I know I loved her dad. He claims he loved me at one point. I want her to have them as part of her history.

    As for the other shit that reminds me of the POSH, BYE FELICIA! Its going up in flames.

    • IIWII,
      Thinking of your daughter is a very kind act on your part.
      One day she can decide if she wants to keep the pictures of her Mom and her Dad.
      You are the present, sane loving parent.
      This is very noble on your part to keep the pictures for her.
      She might even decide she does not want to look at them. That might depend on how he fulfills his role as her Dad.
      So far, not so good, it sounds like.
      You are mighty, dear lady, you are much stronger than you think!

    • I agree, IIWWII, about saving photos for kids if at all possible. My parents’ marriage ended after my dad cheated on my mom, and I still love seeing old pictures of them together. It helps that after many years of strained relations, they are on good terms, but even if things weren’t quite so rosy I still would’ve liked to have seen them.

      On the other hand, DO destroy any angry letters. When my stepmom died I helped clean out her belongings and there were tons of the angriest, ugliest letters to my dad in her stuff (they had a lot of hard times, as you can imagine). It was no fun. I’m just glad it was me that was doing it and not her own kids, who would’ve been horrified. Why she kept all that stuff, I’ll never understand. It was a great lesson to me that someday someone I love will do the same thing for me and I don’t want anything they find to be so upsetting.

  • Every day I park in the exact center of my driveway, such that it’s plain-ass obvious I’m the only one living here. (For years there was lots of nitpicking on exactly how I parked in that drive so he wouldn’t chip the doors of his pwecious car). My big SUV takes up the whole driveway. (It’s a financial downsize after he moved out, it’s many years old, no payment, and I love it.) When STBX comes to drop off kids he has to park his own fancy-ass car around the corner. And every time I pull into MY spot, for some reason, it makes me smile.

    • Everyday I park in my own garage! 38 years of marriage, the last 32 in a house with a 3-1/2 car garage, and I was never – NEVER! – allowed a garage space. It was “his,” for his “projects.” It was so full of crap that there were only sorta aisles through and I didn’t go out there as you’d get snagged on jagged car pieces, or greasy from trying to squeeze through to just get a screwdriver. It was downright dangerous.

      So now I park in my tidy, organized garage of MY very own – it’s awesome!

  • I’m going to sound so boring compared to all you cool people!

    1. I changed the color scheme in the great room from green/brown to blue/tan and in the bathroom from blue/yellow/pink to red/white/blue. Every time I walk into either room it’s a reminder that it’s new and I’m new.

    2. Had my wedding and engagement rings made into pinky rings for my daughters. Each ring got 3 diamonds in a channel set and I told them they represented that I loved them yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    3. Went back to driving my normal routes!!!! I had changed the way I drove to work by 3 miles in order not to go past the AP’s house. Also, changed the way I drove to town from home in order not to drive past his new apartment and changed the way I drove to town from work in order not to drive past her work and see the car xh helped her get because he was so proud of blah, blah, bullshit. On the day the divorce was final, I went back to all the normal driving routes and just said FUCK THEM. They are not in charge of me anymore. Merrily I roll along!!

  • I invited my girlfriends over for food, drinks, and a bonfire in my back yard! (every single Hallmark card he gave me in 10 years)! We each had a small stack and threw it in the fire as we muttered pleasantries (not) about the cheater fuck!
    After the card extravaganza, we did the smore’s thing! Drank spiked hot cocoa too!
    I videoed our great time!

  • My ritual is to appreciate my freedom each time I have a beer. I’m not a big drinker, but x was a dry alcoholic and addict, and had told me that smelling beer on my breath would be a temptation for him, so of course I gave up something I enjoyed but it wasn’t a big deal for me because of our twu luv.

    It took me several purges over several years to feel like everything in my new life is untainted by his con. At the start I couldn’t afford to rid myself of things I needed. As I had the energy I would grab another box from storage and go through it. The boxes of photos and memorabilia was the hardest to go through because I found a stash he’d kept of cards he’d sent to other women, where he’d written verbatim the phrases he’d used courting me. The hardest emotionally and the most freeing also, once again I’d seen who he was and another layer of understanding that it wasn’t about me or us.

    • Uugh… Once when I was cleaning the family room, I found a notebook of his old drawings/writings/etc. left out, and I figured he’d been going through his stuff, feeling nostalgic for the past. Not so much. A few days later, I found out about Schmoopie. Turns out, he was just recycling his old “material” in emails to her.

      I have to laugh… he’s a horrible writer. During our courtship, I had to really bite my tongue when he’d read his poetry to me. I’ve taught poetry to high schoolers, and his was not even that good.

  • I changed my bedroom to another room in the house because it was so bright and cheerful. Also changed all the bed linens, etc. Went back to doing yoga, and gave myself the gift of going to the opera in a nearby large city. (He’d never wanted to do anything with me.)

    Ahhh, peace and quiet.

    • SO, Good for you!! I’ve moved to another state and started my new life. Last weekend I attended the Symphony, All By Myself! I had a wonderful light dinner afterwards and a glass of champagne. Enjoyed every blinking minute of it!!! 🙂 I’d gone once with him when we were dating (back in the 1800’s 😉 and hadn’t been since, because he didn’t enjoy it. (I’ve played the flute since I was in 4th grade, lessons for 12 years, and many awards at competitions) Sucks to be him!

  • Highly recommend: changing the locks, boxing up all EX’s clothes, personal and shared items AND moving them into his new place (yes I did this when he was on holiday), donating wedding dress to charity, putting all lingerie into the trash, repainting, and most importantly getting rid of EVERYTHING in bedroom (if possible). I wish I had done these things immediately after DD#2, but there wasn’t CL back then.

    As far as a symbolic ritual, I took a long walk down to the lake and threw my inexpensive eternity wedding band into the water. It was both cathartic and somewhat comedic as it only dropped a few feet in front of me because it was so light. (Tip, tie it to something heavy and chuck that mf.)

  • I’ve suggested this here before, but one helpful thing I did after Dday was making a glittering turd to remind me that was all my ex ever was and ever would be.

    I bought some brown Fimo clay at the craft store along with gold glitter glue. I shaped the clay like a turd, hardened it in the oven, then covered it with the glitter glue. I kept that shiny shit near my bed for a year or more, and it helped me remember reality when I’d start feeling nostalgic about ex cheater.

    Eventually, I didn’t need it any more and I threw it away.

  • Took a picture I had of us plus a letter I wrote to him where I poured out my anger and how I felt. Went into the backyard and burned them both. I sat there and cried. And I felt much better afterwards.

    And on a slightly passive aggressive move, before he came to get his stuff, I found our wedding album. I took out the photo of the two of us together and hid in one of the drawers of his crap in his garage. Let him explain THAT to the whore.

    • Keepin Calm……..You are not alone, I did that same thing!!! It felt great and I hope he looked at it and said “what the hell have I done?”. Probably didn’t but I somehow feel better knowing he had to look at his past.

  • After CheaterEx moved out, I threw myself a birthday party. We used to entertain a lot, but CheaterEx always had to be the one in the spotlight (surprise, surprise) while I was Cinderella, sweeping the floors and washing the dishes. I invited my closest friends, put on a nice dress, and had a blast. Turns out, I’m not the wallflower he always made me think I was.

    Next day, I drove 2 hours to meet a guy Chump I’d been emailing and talking with on the phone since DDay#2. We hit it off and have been long-distance dating ever since. I’ve discovered that I’m not a lot of things that CheaterEx always made me think I was.

    • Omg, Cinderella, yes! That was me too. Assholio loved to entertain so he could be the center of attention, but left the planning and execution up to me. He always made himself scarce when preparations were underway, and skittered off when it was clean-up time. I finally quit inviting people over because I was sick of doing all the work.

      • Mine used to find the most ridiculous projects to begin before the party, even though I needed help with other things! Like, we’re hosting a 6-year-old’s birthday party and he suddenly MUST build a pergola out back! LOL. God, I’m glad he’s gone… 🙂

  • My ritual is to come home turn on the music real loud; I just smile at the incredible sense of joy that I feel. I can hear the music I want to hear and loud! No rushing home going straight into the kitchen and start cooking. I can do whatever I want to do without getting disapproving looks.

    • OOohh yes! Coming home without rushing to the kitchen to get his food ready without even stopping stopping for a wee until he’s sitting in his lay-z-boy with his tray frowning at the food! I come home, I greet the cat and the dog, I have a wee, make a cup of tea. I cook when I want and eat what I want. I work on the farm through lunch because it suits my body clock. I was always asking for a work plan for the day so I could arrange my work and cooking around him. I would always say “Just tell me so I can work around you”. Couldn’t, wouldn’t tell me, or would give me a plan and then change it. Sabotage all the way. I am no longer his servant.

      • Yes, it feels so great being able to eat and cook what I want to and enjoy buying my healthy, organic food without hearing unsolicited, snide remarks about it.

  • I sold all my jewelry and bought a labrador puppy and paid for a kick ass atty, it was money well spent.
    I kept only one ring, it was a diamond anniversary band that I now wear on my right hand. I keep it to remind myself that I survived him and to never allow myself to get played again.
    Him leaving me was the nicest thing he ever did for me, her getting him is my gift to her….enjoy, bitch.

  • My current ritual is fixing my deck. The year before STBX left, he insisted that we paint the deck rather than stain it (I wanted stain). He played this whole victim role of how I always make the decisions and he feels left out and ignored, etc. I gave in for “the good of the marriage”. So off he went to Home Depot and bought gallons of Deck All (worst product EVER). It was like painting with applesauce. He helped for maybe an hour, and then I ended up doing the whole thing. Took weeks. Then it started peeling within 10 months.

    I have looked at the peeling deck for 2 years and this summer I decided to fix it. Product is so bad, they have pulled it from stores. And even though it peels, it does NOT come off cleanly (pressure washing, stripping, sanding, scraping, etc). I don’t have the money to replace it so I have spent the last 2 months when I get a chunk of time, pulling boards up, flipping them over, and nailing them back in. It was the only solution that worked.

    Every time I looked at that deck, I would get pissed and it seemed to represent so much more than just a bad paint job. It is like therapy to rip a board up (without breaking it) and then nail it back in on the clean, unpainted side. It is still the same board but now looks like new. I have about 3-4 more hours left before I will be ready to put STAIN on. He is being wiped out and I am going back to what I want.

  • I took index cards and wrote down everything that I wanted to say to the cheating fuckwit and his AP. It was a painful process putting everything that was in my head and broken heart down on paper, but ultimately therapeutic. Once I was done sobbing and writing, I lit up my firepit in the back yard, and sent those papers up in flames…then I popped a bottle of champagne and changed my thoughts to what I wanted my new life to be.

    I’ve actually done the same process with my kids when they are having a hard time with friends at school, are frustrated with something, or just overall had a bad day. They write it all down, burn it, and we celebrate with a treat!

  • My closure was more like an opening. I had given up so many things to keep the marriage happy. The house was filled and decorated with gifts and castoffs, we never went anywhere, and I was made to feel guilty for every cent I spent, since I was a SAHM. We always did without, but (I thought) happily, and cheerfully, because we had each other and great kids and we always had the future.

    Threw the bum out and the next day went out and opened a saving account and named it Scotland.

    X was afraid to fly, didn’t think the idea of BUDGETS made sense (so we were ALWAYS broke), and had no interest in Scotland, which is my dream. So screw him.

    Every week, no matter how little, I put something in.

    I’m taking my own ass to Scotland. Alone if I have to. Because I’m mighty 🙂

    Life is better.

  • I wrote our marriage vows, they were based on hand fasting rituals, must of done a good job as the officiant had tears rolling through half of it and she asked if she could pass them on to others.

    When it was clear we were done, I wrote an ‘unwinding’ of the vows and sent it to exasshole. That was the beginning of my purge of him from my life

    He stole the hard drive and backups of my old computer when he realized there was evidence of his infidelity so I don’t have the original vows, just the unwinding. I cannot find the original printed vows, though I had them with the ribbon we used for the ritual hand fasting. I think he took those.

    I don’t associate things with him all that much. I did paint my living room purple after he was gone.

  • CN you are collectively Inspiring as always.
    I cleared and cleaned. Redecorated ready to sell (but it’s stalled). Shredded stored love letters. Let the kids choose photos they wanted.
    Planted cheerful flowers in pots (ready to move one day).

  • My wedding dress, pictures that have him in it, letters and cards he sent over the last 22 years are in boxes awaiting the funeral pyre of our dead marriage. Looking for a small cheap wooden watercraft to give it all a proper Viking send off. Bottle of my favorite Meade is patiently waiting for the right moment. Haven’t decided if I’m going to set them ablaze before or after the divorce has been finalized.

  • I entirely redecorated my bedroom within 24 hours of d-day. Got rid of every sheet, blanket, curtain, bed — anything that could have ever touched cheater’s body. I burned sage all over the house to exorcise his bad juju. Since then, I ripped up all the carpet (he walked on it!) and installed hardwoods, demolished out and remodeled the master (now mistress) bath.

    Mine. ALL MINE. And it’s gorgeous. And mine.

  • This was a memorable Friday for me! Not only ChumpLady posted my letter (and what a honor this is), but I got to read all those stories of mightiness and recovery. I was emotional reading them, you are all so true and brave.

    Thanks for all for sharing, I got some really good ideas! I specially like Lothos’, but have not been able to find someone with whom to hum.. implement it. 😀

    Happy Friday CN!

  • You chumps are giving me ideas. I just bought a nice old rimu toilet seat to go with all the joinery in the house which is rimu. When we moved here, we replaced the broken toilet with a good second hand one and installed it ourselves. Traitor and I did this job together, it was quite enjoyable and would be a fond memory if he wasn’t a lying cheating bastard. Yes, I was always a cheap and cheerful date.
    So now I have the dingy old plastic toilet seat and am thinking of using it to frame a lovely photo taken of us in 2007. I looked deliriously happy in that photo; we both do. I was pregnant with what would become my 4th miscarriage and thought it would stick this time. And I believed in him; little did I know…
    Not sure where I would put it after framing it. Maybe send it to him at the Whore’s grandmother’s house.

    • Kiwi, hugs, sad story. Now photoshop a large (possibly sparkly) turd where his head is in the photo THEN frame it in the toilet seat and send it to him.

  • Didn’t chuck his lay-z-boys, plural, one in the dining room, one in the lounge. The cat has claimed the dining room one, the dog sleeps on the lounge one. They’re happy so that’s ok with me. As soon as he left I let the pets reclaim their favourite spots and do things he wouldn’t allow them to do. Like doing the dishes for me 😉

  • The first thing I did was buy a gorgeous deep green tourmaline ring from my home state, I had looked for years and never found the perfect one. The first time I went home on vacation I found “the” ring.

    My Mother promptly named it my “Freedom ring”. Oh how true!

    I started going on trips, amazing restaurants by myself, doing things I’ve never done before.

    If my doesn’t my heart sing I don’t do it or buy it.

    Before I moved back to my home state, two yrs post divorce, I tossed every letter and momento in the dumpster. When I saw that the dumpster had been emptied it was like a wave of calm came over me. I was not carting that stuff around to torture myself. Any thing that I looked at and felt sad went to a charity!

  • I bought myself an expensive pair of prescription coach sun glasses after Dday. When the Limited saw them he was pissed and asked where I got them.

    I sold his wedding ring, the scrap he left behind, possessions I accumulated over the years and burned every single picture of him including his childhood photos.

    I found a bunch of his hats in a closet and burned them in the fire pit.

    I carried a stone I found on the beach to remind me that he was a cold calculating sociopath. I finally threw it in the ocean this year.

    My glasses were eaten by my friend’s dog this week while I was staying over. I’ve ordered Aviator glasses.

  • I bought some expensive black knee high boots after discovering he’d given thousands of dollars to his mom on the sly. I wore them to every mediation reminding myself I was powerful and worth it.

  • Not intending to hijack the thread, but a side bar: OK, is it just me, or do the lady Chumps on this board also have a very positive mental image of the men Chumps that post here? I always picture strong, intelligent, faithful men on the other end if their posts, and it makes me lament the slimy, cowardly weakling that dumped me even more. I know the idea of a Chumps dating site has been hashed out a lot already, but the mind still says “hmmmm….” There are good guys out there, the fact they are in Chump Nation already says a lot about their character. You, Manly Chumps, are building hope for me!

    There is a guy that I sort of knew in passing and used to work with, and have learned that his freak wife cheated on him (for sure that was the story, she also worked with us and both she and her AP boss got fired for it and for sexting on their work cell phones. Idiots.). I need to get in touch with that Chump, just at least to get some coffee. Who knows what God planned for me but it is nice to imagine this one fellow being nice to me, he is the exact opposite of STBX by all accounts –OK, I FB stalked him a little…I admit!

    • LOL to the FB stalk. I did that to a guy I had a crush on last year for a bit, but he turned out to be a career criminal, and now I am so afraid of dating I have stopped looking.
      I love the idea of a chumpy dating site. I get the issues with the idea, but I too read the posts by the men here and often wish I could meet some of them. YES N.I.C. they seem strong and often kind and hurting and who else could possibly understand how we feel the way someone who went through this crap can???

      Hey men! You’re mighty too!
      Just wish any of you were within 100 miles of me 🙂 😀

      • Hey – you never know. Maybe you were the nice lady that complimented my red bow tie yesterday in the shops.

        I’ve discovered since I’ve been open about what happened to me how so very many chumps there are out there which sadly means that there are lots of cheaters too.

        So – if you see a cute guy who maybe perhaps is stylin’ a nice bow tie (I have a fair number – beyond red) and not wearing a wedding ring, say hi. You don’t catch a fish by waiting for them to jump into the boat.

        • Will do (but that wasn’t me unfortunately). It would be great if we all had some easy signal that alerted our tribe that we are part of the good hearted CN community. Red bowties, something for the ladies. I have seen on these boards enough wishes for a tattoo on the forehead of our Xs with some warning sign–beware the narc– so it would be nice if there was an invisible mark that only CN could see, like an excalibur test; you must be pure of heart to see it. Until that happens I guess I will poke around very carefully and see what comes of it, and make my single life great in the meantime.

    • Yes! The male Chumps here are wonderful and restore my faith that there are good men “out there” beyond my brothers and DS.

    • Yes, we all seem to have a group-crush on all the manchumps here…I am happily remarried, so I percieve them like chump-brothers rather than potential lovers, but I think they are wonderful and also give me hope that my sisterchumps will find great guys like them.

      I married a man who was (stupidly) dumped by his wife because she wanted to date again. Even though she is a giant bitch, from what I know, she at least had he decency to move out of the house before she started dating, which is much better than most here. I consider him a chump of sorts.

      Now I.C. there was a guy who I also admired from afar, a college classmate of nowdeadcheater who I considered QUITE a catch (rich, handsome, charming) were I ever to be single again. I sought him out after NDC’s death and if he had been willing, I would have dated him in a second, but he had a GF. One day, I read an article that he was going to Federal (pound me in the ass) Prison. OH MAN, bullet dodged !!! He actually contacted me after he got out and I told him I was engaged and that was it. If you had ever told me that I would be single and turn down interest from him, I would have stated that there was no possible way. Life is CRAZY.

      • “Federal (pound me in the ass) Prison” is not meant to make light of sexual assault, it is a movie reference from “Office Space”.

  • Looking back at early days with a few years’ hindsight, these things gave me the most comfort:

    1. Having a small sanctuary space in the home. A total home reboot takes time – so having a small space (my bed, with new linens and nightstands) made me feel safe and calm as I thought about all the work ahead of me.

    2. Sleeping on the other side of the bed. Instantly changed my relationship to the room, and poof went that achy feeling that something was missing.

    3. Cleaning out the garage and finally parking in it. The garage. It was a long, loosing struggle while I was married. It gave me such a sense of accomplishment to pull into it the first time (could never use it when he was there because it was filled with crap). Plus, it gave me a greater sense of privacy. Knowing that he/the world couldn’t drive by and tell if I was around or not. It made home feel more like a sanctuary.

    4. Get them out of your phone!!! If you’re like me, your phone is a butler/secretary/accountant/assistant. I look at it all the time. It had to feel like a sanctuary. I did whatever it took to get anything related to him out of my line of sight as I used my phone. I changed names to initials in any sensitive contacts (that way you know who’s calling, but don’t have to see the names. Seeing the names can feel like eye stabs straight to the heart.

    Though I couldn’t have understood it then, these sorts of activities served as a ritualistic No Contact for me.

    Am years out now, and totally Meh (except for maintaining boundaries), and these things really helped more than I could have known.

    • Oh, you just reminded me, NoMore Narcs, that I started sleeping in my guest room once XH was gone and the energy was so much better in there that it has become my actual bedroom and what was “our” bedroom has now become the extra room.

    • What the heck is it with narcopaths and filling up the garage with junk? PreyingMantis was one major illness away from being a professional level hoarder, and I could never use either the garage or the basement because of all the boxes and assorted stuff in storage. And all the junk in the backyard! I was giddy with joy when PreyingMantis finally exit affair’d on me – that meant all the crap left too! It’s so clean and empty now in the garage we can waltz in there.

      • Yours too?! My Ex used to make snotty remarks about my housekeeping (on top of 60 hr workweeks), but I couldn’t walk from one end of the garage to the other. When he departed, I emptied that sucker out. It was nothing but discarded boxes, etc. I couldn’t believe his act.

  • I celebrated the evening that my divorce was final by going out to a local distillery and buying cocktails for the friends I’d invited. That’s not a ritual, of course.

    The most consistent ritual is that I sit down at the table when I eat a meal. Every. Single. Time.

    CheaterX used to take me out to dinner on Friday nights. It was the weekend. Fridays were also the only evenings he liked going out. However, we’d go to the same restaurant over and over, and he’d order the same thing over and over. He wasn’t interested in going to any of the other places in town. Also, he used the occasion to talk at me. Silly chumpy me thought he was merely decompressing from work, and that’s why he wasn’t interested in listening to my day.

    When he claimed he was too tired to go out, I suggested he see a physician for depression, as he’d been under stress. He’d refuse, and then come home with some kind of take-out, which we’d eat in front of the television set. We ate every single meal in front of the television set. Oh, and did I mention that I paid for the cable, along with the additional channels?

    Now I’m by myself, I don’t have cable at all. I stream my shows, if I watch anything at all. I listen to NPR and read the papers for news.

    And I eat at the table every single meal.

  • I have not thought of this in a while, but on the way home from the “prove up” to finalize our divorce, I stopped by the chapel where we were married 20 years before. It was in the middle of the day on a weekday. No one was there.

    I sat in a pew in the quiet of that chapel for at least an hour, thinking about and reliving our wedding day and how perfect it was. I could see us there like yesterday in my mind, and remembered everything I had felt.

    I thought about our lives, the birth and raising of our two magnificent children, all the Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, ballgames, recitals, times with family, and intimate moments that had meant so much to me. All the things that made up the fabric of our lives.

    Then, I put my wedding ring in an envelope addressed to “God.” I wrote a letter and put it inside. It said something to the effect that I had worn that ring faithfully for 20 years, had not always been perfect, but had always considered my marriage a privilege. I told God that, with my heart breaking, I was giving her back to him in the place where he’d given her to me 20 years before, and apologized for not being strong enough to continue in the marriage under the circumstances.

    I gave the ring to whoever found it, and told them to do with it as they wished. After a while, put the envelope on the podium in front, and I left.

    Looking back 2 1/2 years, it seems kind of sappy and dramatic, but it was symbolic in a way I needed at the time to honor what had been, and make the end real in my mind.

    (BTW – I discovered my ex-wife had been a serial cheater over the course of our 20 year marriage. Multiple men. Years long affairs in some instances. At least one man brought to my home. My children taken to meet at least one of them. Almost certainly at least two of my close family friends. Nightmare).

    Leave a cheater, gain a life.

    • This really made me cry! Not sappy and dramatic at all. A beautiful testament to what you thought you had. Am thinking I might do the same with my wedding ring. Hope you are at peace now. Always remember it is their loss!!!!.

      • Me too, crying now. See my post above on Manly Men.

        JK, God bless you. You will be happy again, there is a plan for you. For all of us!

    • I broke down bawling at this. This is magnificent and , I would say, a testament to *who you are*.
      You get to bring that radiance into your new life!

    • JK, I think you shared this story with us before? Made me cry again. I like when men chumps write, because it reminds me that there are decent men in the world with real feelings, real love, value marriage, value vows and their hearts are not made of stone.

      • I did, Martha. Seems like a long time ago now. CL’s post brought it back to the front of my thoughts. What I did helped me, and I thought someone else might get some use from it. I appreciate your kind comments, and those of the others who commented.

    • JK that is a beautiful thing to do. I can see the Church we were married in 25 years ago, straight across the river from my office window. A peculiar feeling.

  • I never got rid of any of his stuff. I am just too lazy or too busy. Other priorities. I am too busy keeping up with the rest of life. For the most part I am not triggered by his stuff, photos or whatever. I will note that somewhere between DDay and when he moved out, our wedding photo fell off my dresser and landed between the dresser and the wall. I never bothered to dig it out. It’s still there to this day. It might trigger me someday when I move, but I hope to be at meh by then.

    What triggers me is the thought of him with Schmoopie so I have done my best to purge her from my thoughts. I stopped going to the pool STBX insisted on because I can’t get in or out of the parking lot without driving past her house and there is always the possibility she will be there. I avoid her neighborhood altogether. I refuse to meet her friends. I avoid the international night at the middle school (STBX met her volunteering for that). I will need to ask my kids if they have classes with her kids (a possibility) so I can avoid those classes on the parent’s back to school night at the high school. When my daughter brings her up, even negatively, I change the subject. I don’t talk about her with family or friends when I am venting about STBX (ok, I am making an exception right now) and if STBX brings her up I either change the subject or just tell him flat out that I don’t want to hear it. Some people and I am certain STBX may think I am being petty trying to erase her from my reality, but that seems to be my final hang up and if it gets me to meh, I am fine with being petty.

  • I did lots of stuff initially but have gradually not felt the need anymore.

    Some of the most memorable ones were:

    I bought a pair of divorce boots (got lots of compliments- they made me feel powerful in the very early days) even more satisfying that they were paid for with birthday money in cards sent from the hyena – in- laws who were so OCD they would send cards mths in advance and as XH walked out just before Xmas and as I am a Xmas babe (give a few days) they were already mailed so I got them, well XH actually flung them on the bed and did a dramatic “there’s your birthday stuff – I don’t expect you want/ why would you blah blah” ……

    2) I spent 3.5hrs in 38C heat (in Oz) shredding 6 boxes of love notes/cards/photos/love tokens/ doodles …….everything bar some wedding stuff 2 years post DDay

    3) In recent years I took my original wedding cert back to Vegas (where I originally got married) with my BF when I went to visit her in CA for Xmas. We used that marriage cert as a drinks napkin for the 2 day trip starting with Chardy time at the airport to Margarita time at lots of bars on my birthday – I have kept it and love the stains – we laughed every time we plonked a glad down – happy memories that I can laugh at now and not feel sad at all.

  • Burned her photos and buried with a cat who passed away to guard the bitch. I am sick in the head. Didn’t work, I remained angry.

  • Dance every morning.My daughter asked if I knew the guys in the the band because she thinks they wrote this song for me. So every day my daughter blasts this song 1st thing in the mornig rain or shine. We dance like fools…For the last 2 years every day we dance in the new day….
    The band: Default
    The song: Sick and Tired

  • Ive made a ritual of not having him in my life.

    When he left I packed his shit in three black garbage bags. Told him if he didn’t take them they’d be dumped. Cut him off like a gangrene leg.

    I’ve made a ritual of catering to me. I’m far easier to please.

  • My XH asked me the other day if I had his recurve bow.Here, in this house that he has never lived in. He thinks I would be faithfully storing something he hasn’t used in at least 3 years. He didn’t really believe me saying no, either. He somehow still thinks that i give a shit about his possessions, or his multitudinous, time consuming, expensive hobbies. I should have said- Mate, if I knew where it was, I would have burned it- it’s been a cold winter and extra firewood would have been a bonus

  • When LadyLiar and I got together, it wasn’t legal for two women to marry. We had a domestic partnership agreement, but I had to do a lot of things individually that automatically come with marriage (such as putting her name on title of my car, naming her power of attorney, insurance beneficiary, etc.). Although we both agreed to do these things for each other, I found out that she had signed her forms to designate me, but didn’t have them notarized, so they weren’t legally valid. Said she “forgot,” didn’t have time to go to notary office, blah blah blah excuses. So when she finally left our house 9 months after starting her third affair in less than a decade, I got incredible pleasure from removing her name from every document.

  • I bought a tungsten band w Celtic knots on it for my left middle finger (i felt naked without my wedding band). I bought matching rings for my daughters to wear on necklaces so we would always be reminded of our strength, family & love. We did a de-ringing ceremony & we all put our new rings on.

    Every time I look at my hand it’s a big FU to my SAXH and I am reminded how much I love my daughters. Boom!

  • The only thing I’ve burned (so far) is a sage smudge stick to clear away the negative energy in my house. while on my way to a health food store to get one, I finally called my dad and told him what happened. I really didn’t want to ever tell him. He’s 79 years old and pined for my mom for years after their divorce.

    So, I got the stick and abalone shell, my daughter and I opened up all the windows, doors, drawers, and cabinets in the house. The night I smudged my house just happened to be on 3/31, 18 days after I discovered the affair 3/13- we were married for 18 years. It was very calming.
    Don’t get me wrong, I felt sad and angry again since it was soon after finding out. I’ve come a long way. I’m not interested in knowing about how my stbx and his church-going whore girlfriend are doing. I have to share this planet with other bad people. They are lumped in with all the people who do selfish things that hurt others. Good people don’t hurt others. I am free to only include good people (aside from whomever I have to encounter at work).

    My dad has comforted me and I feel so lucky I grew up knowing he loved my mom. I could walk proudly into any room with my dad knowing he never lied and cheated. i feel bad that my daughter doesn’t have that. My dad couldn’t teach me about business, investing, or how to do my taxes, but he showed me how a man of integrity acts. He never pissed away his blessings by wanting more and more. He appreciates what he has now.

    My husband never gave me flowers during our 18 year marriage. This year, I bought myself flowers on Mother’s Day. I plan on buying myself a sweet little bouquet on my birthday, Valentine’s Day, maybe even my anniversary, discovery day, and divorce day. I don’t want to be sad when certain dates come up. I want to celebrate the fact I’ve lost a cheater and gained a life on those dates. I will never buy myself some generic, expensive bouquet of red roses, though. My stbx bought his girlfriend one of those. (well I helped pay for it too, since it was from our joint checking account- this chump got her money back)

    • “I don’t want to be sad when certain dates come up. I want to celebrate the fact I’ve lost a cheater and gained a life on those dates. ”

      THIS!!!
      Very well put, Happy. This is what I want. If I’m going to be miserable, I should have just stayed with him, right?

      • Celebrating my 37th wedding anniversary this week. 10 months post DDay- in the middle of high conflict divorce. Sold the family home- on anniversary they are pumping the septic tank and inspecting it. How appropriate- pump the shit out!