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Divorce Hacks

So yesterday, my blogger friend The Happy Hausfrau remembered a column I’d written “Divorce? Hey You’re Doing It All Wrong!” where someone took her to task for cut and pasting Tom Cruise’s head on to a family photo (in place of her ex). I thought it was funny. Some awful commentator, who we will call Sniffy Lady, did not. Apparently, Happy Hausfrau was Doing It All Wrong. You know, scarring the children with her humor. That kind of thing. (You can read my defense of mockery here.)

(And before any Sniffy Ladies and Gentleman comment here, I point out that ridicule has its place before you get to Meh, and you do it in the confines of your support network, not in front of your kids.)

Anywho, this whole kerfluffle got me to thinking — so what is the RIGHT way to divorce, anyhow? Who better to ask than a bunch of chumps who’ve been through it, or are currently going through it.

So, today I want to know about your divorce hacks. The whole process sucks donkey balls, of course, but how did you endure it? Photoshopping celebrity heads on to your ex? Regular massages? Voodoo dolls?

Got any advice for the divorce newbies out there?

TGIF!

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  • In hindsight I should have encased a pair of his shit-filled underwear in a sealed glass container and placed it on prominent display in the house, in order to to remind myself daily of exactly what I would never have to see in the hamper again, or launder, or smell, or have sitting on my couch leaving a lingering poop scent wherever his ass had rested.

    That would have been truly helpful.

    • Yep, the poop stains are definitely a sight I don’t miss……along with everything else about the rage filled narc ex husband.
      To his credit, the Predatory Opportunistic Parasite, whom has generally been the subject of my comments here, had IMMACULATE hygiene.

      Except for the lovely STD he left me with.

    • My ex left behind a nasty pillow that he sat on while online gaming and trolling for dates on Craigslist. Is was revolting. It had…stains. Clear, yellow, and dark brown. I sent him a photo before tossing it in the trash.

    • OMG! I bought “laundry tongs” to deal with Prince Charmin’s underwear! I refused to touch them. I can now safely reach into the hamper with my bare hands without cringing. You would think a “man” that insisted on using the fluffiest toilet paper and wet wipes for his delicate behind would not have skid marks, but wrong! He and his dirty drawers are out of my house…..My house smells so much better now.

  • Don’t waste your time crying and trying to get your Cheater to see the error of their ways on Day! Put yourself to work packing their paltry trash in plastic bags, copy all the financials and file for divorce! Place all of your happy family photos in a large box and put it in a dark closet. That way if the kids want them then they can go through them at a later date. Get a fair and equitable divorce settlement ASAP!! Life is too short to waste on a Cheater! Let them go!

    • I agree Roberta, the quicker you act the better. Let your anger and hurt and pride propell you to make a new life for yourself. I disposed of all family photos, wedding albums etc. any photo that had him in was shredded. Got myself to a lawyer, put house up for sale,and relocated to a new town.
      Wasting time trying to figure out what happened serves no useful purpose except to keep you stuck. I read somewhere it can take 3 years to recover from a betrayal/divorce. I decided I didn’t have 3 years to waste on this idiot and his nonsense. Six months out and I’m doing fine. I’m strictly n/c and the divorce will happen through lawyers. There is no good way to divorce you just do it.

      • I might add that I was moved into my new house in 2 months from DDay. Cheater was stunned that I acted so quickly there was no pick me dance crap. It took him off guard and it as he was feeling guilty he didn’t fight me on anything. So I think getting out as quickly as possible can be a financial advantage. It sure helps your self esteem as well! Forward is forward!

          • Thanks miss D. I was pretty devastated on DDay and the first 2 months were pretty tough but I vowed he wouldn’t have the last laugh and that energy drove me to action. I still have days were I ruminate all the shit but more and more I am believing the truth about cheater and he really does suck. I feel like meh is pretty close at hand most days. When we act on our own best interests it’s amazing how good it makes us feel. We are no longer the victim. Lots of hugs! ????

        • I’m with you Linda lol. 6 months out and closes on the first house and he has agreed to sign over the main house. Not sure where I want to land but looking for that perfect new single abode! Divorce final in 2 months. This all sucks and I have lost me shit a time or two but nothing that is not material as my lawyer says and she also says “shit is meant to be lost”. Love her. She is a rock! Hugs to all!

          • Thrive, good for you, isn’t it great to know we can do this stuff for ourselves, I was so pissed that he could do this to me and our family, I just vowed I’d get on with life. He was a stupid idiot and threw away the best thing that ever happened to him and I suspect your cheater was the same. They are to be pitied for their stupidity. Glad you got a good lawyer and your moving on. I’m sure you’ll find that cute single abode I did and I’m just chuffed with it!
            All the best to us chumps!

      • great advice Lyndaloo, I am 4 months out and striving to do what you are doing, I don’t know where I will be at in another 2 months but I also don’t want to wait 3 years to recover from this trauma that my idiot stbx gave to me.

        • Dave, just know you aren’t alone, there are loads of folks men and women on this site trying to put their lives back together. It isn’t easy it’s damn hard. Today I was thinking about cheater and I realized once again how much he really does suck. He was never there for me ever and I just accepted that! Geeeez I may be on my own now and it’s a bit scary at times as I’m an older chump but guess what, I’m here for me! You’ll make it, just remember all the shit she did and find new interests and people to fill your life. All the stuff you wanted to do but didn’t because she didn’t want to! Good luck!

      • Roberta and lyndaloo…… your words inspire me- I allowed to let myself get sucked into an emotional manipulation whirlpool by my cheater wife all under the guise of “we need to do it for the kid”. 5 months later I regret not lawyering up immediately. I’m half way through reading Chump Lady’s book. I wish I had read it first and saved myself a lot of grief.

        • Zell, don’t “should’ ve” all over yourself. Who knew these assholes would pull this shit. You sound like a good guy, sticking around for yout kid. Just finish the book and keep your resolve to move on with your life. Keep reading here and posting. This stuff it isn’t easy, this was my cheaters 2Dday, I gave him a second chance too bad I hand to chucked him out then. I’m not sticking around for #3. Hugs to you!

          • I suggest not pursuing “fair and equitable” in the divorce. GO FOR AS MUCH AS YOU CAN GET. I went F&E even though I’d been a stay at home for 10 years and then 3 weeks after the final decree my ex brought his first of several motions to reduce child support, get me to pay this or that expense, pay back the spousal piece with claims I was living with my fiancé even though our kids told him my guy NEVER slept over before the wedding. After seven years of shit treatment I can’t share with the kids, thousands of dollars in legal expenses for flaky claims and realizing I’ll never get my career to where it could be if I hadn’t left the workforce, I wish I hadn’t been so nice.

            They didn’t give fair and equitable in the marriage, they don’t deserve fair and equitable in the divorce.

  • I don’t have any hacks, but for all gods I would not want to be in Sniffy Lady’s family. She seems like my mom: “I appreciate X -here family pictures-, therefore EVERYBODY appreciate X”. They are just fucking snapshots of a world that never existed! What sense of family does she think we -remember I am the daughter of a cheater- can get from that? We know they are fake! At least our moms can get a better looking partner.

    • I have no problem with anyone hacking up a photo of a cheater but my biggest wonder is what message was happy hausfrau sending with her choice of Tom Cruise to replace her cheater. My first thought is he is one of the biggest Narcs in Hollywood, talk about idolize and devalue! Jumping on a couch to discard of Katie Holmes who seemed to handle herself quite well in that case.

      If she was equating her ex to that jerk, I get it. If she felt he wanted her to be a fantasy girl like Nicole Kidman but he was no fantasy like Tom Cruise, I get that. If however, she is putting him up as a better choice, I think she needs to work on her picker- no offense, I do too.

      • As a regular reader of the Frau and a true admirer of her, personally and professionally, I dare to say that she just picked a pretty man head and used it to illustrate her point. I’m pretty sure she is not pining for Tom Cruise or at least not as a substitute husband. However, Idris Elba, Josh Lyman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gary from Thirty Something and even Bill Nye the Science Guy have all been mentioned as potential pretend boyfriend material at one time or another so her tastes are pretty eclectic. 😀

        • Agreed. And really, back in the day Tom Cruise was not as jerky as he seems these days. Plus he’s in the realm of celebrity and therefore completely removed from a reality that could actually exist. I say it’s just about a pretty head too.

          But then I also have to say that maybe she might be saying something like – Yeah, even Tom Cruise with all his crazy/rude/narc qualities would be better than the crappy man I married. Just sayin. Somedays that’s how I feel.

      • For the most part I agree with your comment, with the exception of one thing: Cruise was jumping on the couch to demonstrate his excitement about Katie Holmes when she was in the idolization phase. But other than that one small correction, I agree that he’s a certified narc-nut!

  • THE LIST

    My “getting through it all” hack: I have a written list of every selfish, crazy, hurtful, narcissistic thing he’s ever done, from when we were dating through today. It’s several pages long now, and I still add to it occasionally (two years post d-day). I have found it to be an incredibly useful tool. How easy we forget. Whenever I got at all melancholy, feeling sorry for myself, questioning my complicitness in his decisions, crying for my marriage, missing him personally, I pull that sucker out. And I think “Oh yeah, he’s a terrible person I would never want, ergo divorce is a GOOD thing”. Regretting marrying him in the first place is something else, but hey, we do have the whole rest of our lives. Anyhoo,

    My list contains little gems like this:

    – Made plans to retire early with my inheritance money from my grandmother (On a spreadsheet, without once asking me what I’d like to do with my own grandmother’s money)

    – Told me that wanting AP is like wanting another child to love (“Just because you love your firstborn doesn’t mean you don’t want another one”)

    – Mocked me for wanting a Christmas tree (No respect or feelings for my sacrifice, when it comes to religion, his way or the highway)

    – said “This isn’t fun for ME” when we went shopping on my birthday

    See how helpful this? Divorce this asshole as soon as possible!

    When we’re up to our eyeballs in spackle, it’s very easy to bury these memories of awfulness. I mean that’s exactly what spackle is, right? Burying these horrible flaws under spackle of flawed perception. A written record of it all really helped me keep an eye on who that person really is.

    I can’t recommend it enough!

    • What a good idea!! I did something kind of similar – I wrote a timeline of our relationship down, piecing together when he was with this woman or that, and I read it again whenever I miss him. Reminds me that there was never really a relationship with just the two of us in it.

      • I also keep a list of things to remind me of how messed up my marriage was….during this time I was the Queen of chumps:

        Mom had just died from cancer. My second child was born and my Dad had cancer and Alzheimer’s.

        We went to Niagra Falls for our Anniversary ( always his choice ) and he wanted to get romantic in the jacuzzi tub.

        I asked that the lights be dimmed. I hadn’t lost the baby weight and was not feeling overly sexy.

        He refused. Got out of the tub, got dressed and left the room in a huff.
        Came back about 6 hours later very drunk and I think he had paid for sex ( gut feeling ). Very angry and abussive towards me.

        The next day he acted like nothing had happened and refused to talk about it.

        Why I stayed married last that weekend is beyond me!!!

    • Struggling, great words of wisdom to list all the shitty things they’ve done, as chumps we’re so used to spackling and sugar coating that we have a tendency to focus on the fantasy of what we thought we had not the glaring, ugly truth of what was.

      • Agreed! This is a great technique for coping with the shit storm and trusting that they suck. I would add that writing things down commits it to paper, so that you can finally release it from your mind. The horrid details can poison you if you continue to stew and stew about them. Writing is therapy for some people.

        For that reason, I have a binder full of stuff. It’s still locked in a box in my closet. Because it was in my best interest to play nice while I negotiated my divorce (I got a great settlement), it gave me a safe place to say all the things I wish I could say. It also contains all the emails and photos of ex and Schmoopie found as I did detective work and confirmed the affair. It contains my rage comments, but it also contains moments of humour. I can really step back and see the entire cheater playbook in one binder. The writing process really propelled me to my new life.

        • I have a folder of his creepy emails to women and swingers groups that I pull out occasionally to remind myself of his wormy side.

          • Yep, me too. On a flashdrive in a place he can’t get to. As well as emails between him and Schmoopie conspiring to hide the money after I filed. Those will be the nuclear option, if the settlement negotiations go sour.

      • So true Brit, ” the fantasy of what we thought we had” and it was a fantasy when I think of the number of times he was always absent when I needed him most, like when our grandson died and he was more worried about getting in touch with his traveling buddy, of course he was trying to seduce her at the time. Christ, I was an excellent Spackler! Only one of many many abuses over the years, it’s good to remember reality!

    • I completely agree, Struggling. Memory has a way of smoothing over the crappy things that the cheater did. To get me through the divorce without sentimentality, I carried around (a) X’s notes preparing for his sexual harassment hearing about an affair with a graduate student; (b) our text exchange from the Worst Night of My Life when he refused to tell me gradwhore’s name and used every triangulation tactic (“[mutual friend] told me not to tell you”) and manipulation strategy in the book (“apologize for asking or you and DD will never see me again”).

      While I cried plenty during the 4 months from D-day to Divorce, not once did I ever think I was making a wrong decision. Those printouts confirmed I had to get that toxic human being out of my life asap.

      • Tempest, struggling and all posting Chumps.
        YOU all are so mighty!
        I love each one of you and am sorry for all you went through.
        You are a shinning example for Newbies, your shared wisdom speaks volumes.
        Just can’t help but say I admire each one of you!
        MIGHTY crowns for ALL.
        Looks good and fits perfectly!
        Every one of them!
        ❤️
        Peacekeeper

    • Yes, Strugglings advice is EXCELLENT and a Youtuber that I love, Dana Morningstar “Thrive After Abuse” says to make a “For When You Miss Him/Her List.” I have never sat down a made that list, but it’s a long one and it’s in my head. But I don’t even need to run through the list. I just pull up the first lie/cheating that he did to me — after he got me to move 650 miles away from my family by saying to me, “You are the love of my life. You are my soulmate. You are the woman of my dreams. I want to grow old and gray with you. I want to marry you.” What did he do after I moved here? He was writing love letters to a “friend” who went into the Army and got stationed in England. And then he went to visit his “friend” in England with a guy friend. When he was gone, I read letters from her and she said to him, “If you come visit me in England. We can spend the whole night together and have sex.” I was a wreck and when he came home I asked him about her without mentioning the letters, because I knew I did something wrong by reading his private letters. And he lied. Said she was “just a friend” and even said she got married when he was there (I bet that was a lie too!). And stupid chumpy me believe him, because he’s soooooo good at lying and he’s such a nice, charming guy. And fast forward 24 years. I told him I read the letters and his usual ruddy red face went bone white when I told him. And then he lied again and said she “probably said that because she was lonely.” All a bunch of fucking lies!! So I just have to remember that first major lie(s) and cheating and then I know he sucks and I don’t need to go further, because the next 24 years is more of the same.

      • …”because I knew I did something wrong by reading his private letters…” hit me right in the gut! I felt sick about going in LadyLiar’s FB account and email and going through her “special memories” box because I believe in honesty and trust. I tried 1,000 times to have an honest discussion with her about her strange behavior, and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I planted a recorder in her car so I could hear her phone convos with the AP, I beat myself up for being “just like her,” i.e. lacking integrity. And when I confronted her with the evidence, she threw MY violations of her privacy in my face. It’s part of the mindfuck.

        • CurlyChump, you didn’t do anything wrong or violate her privacy!! You did what you needed to do in order to make sense of her behavior. You said it yourself that you “tried 1,000 to have an honest discussion with her”, so when people cannot be honest, we have to take matters into our own hands, just like you did.

          I was a dumb chump who had evidence even before we got engaged, but I believed him. He’s very believable, charming, “nice guy”, “Christian”, etc and I sooooo wanted to believe him so I did. That’s on me.

          A few years back, my ex forgot to log off him gmail account. I just went on the family computer and there it was, right in front of my face. A email to one of the members of his harem. He sent a “Happy Birthday” email to a former ho-worker. It was innocent at first. She responded back to his email with a “thanks” and just some basic catching up info. He then wrote back to her “I MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!!” My blood went cold and I started shaking. I went downstairs and immediately confronted him about the email. As usual, he was CALM AS A CUCUMBER. He said, “Don’t you miss people you used to work with?” Ummmm, yes and no. But I don’t email male co-workers and wish them a Happy Birthday and tell them I miss them so much!! And then I logged onto his Facebook account and saw pages and pages of messaging to a former ELEMENTARY SCHOOL former classmate that he told me years before was his first crush. Guess what? Lots of flirtations in those messages and he even went so far to tell her, “I was thinking about you at work today. There!! I said it!!!” And when I caught him out with the whore he left me for. What did he do before meeting her? He sent out the annual Happy Birthday email message to her (they hadn’t worked together for nine years and he kept in contact with her and I’m sure many others with a Happy Birthday email message. What a “nice” predator he is!).

          CurlyChump, we didn’t do anything wrong by “invading” their privacy. I know I shouldn’t have looked at his letters before we were even engaged. But I had no problem looking at his Facebook account or looking at the email staring me in the face. Yes, it’s a mindfuck when they throw it back at you like you did something wrong. But you didn’t. She did!

    • Im going to start this right now! It may take years to remember all the crap he fed me – hey theres a lot of it in 23 years!! 23 wasted fucking years for some cheap thrill with an entitled whore
      I think that statement might be number 1!

    • I wish I’d done that. I didn’t need to write down the past when he was giving me regular reminders why he sucked. I have some unfinished business though, and it might be therapeutic for me to document some of the things he did over the years.

    • I was mocked for a Christmas tree, too. I wanted a real tree every year. You would have thought I was torturing him. Except to help me bring it into the house and then take it out, he did NOTHING to help me decorate. I never understood why it was a big deal. Seems to me if something simple like that brings the one you love joy, then why would you not support that.

      • I always liked to put Christmas music on have treats and decorate the tree as a family. Always took a picture of him and the kids putting the star on. It always seemed he did it begrudgingly and was a chore. First Christmas out he was upset we did it without him!!!

        • First Christmas out, he bought him and AP matching Christmas stockings (that looked eerily like the first ones I bought us 20 years earlier) and then demanded his Christmas ornaments (which he couldn’t find but had been boxed up with every thing else I put in the garage and he took months earlier).

          At least half of his ornaments were bought on our vacations together. Seriously, did he really think that his AP would want those little reminders on their tree?

    • I’ve always kept a journal so when DD #2 happened and I kicked his ass to the curb, I kept kept four lists and a calendar. The calendar was a countdown until I was legally able to file for divorce. The lists and a sample are as follows:

      Random things I wish I’d said to him
      1. Turn off the TV and get your lazy ass up.
      2. You’re not a great lover. Pay attention to all of me.
      3. Yes, you are aging. Get over it or die so you’ll stop aging,
      etc.

      Random things I wish I’d said to me
      1. Quit putting up with his crap.
      2. Don’t compromise your values, EVER.
      3. Don’t forgive infidelity, it’s the ultimate betrayal. Move on
      etc.

      Douchebag things he’s done (From a Chump Lady post)
      1. Texting his whore on our anniversary
      2. Tempter tantrums instead of adult conversations
      3. Telling me he cheated because I went back to school to get my degree
      etc.

      My accomplishments since I booted a loser and gained a life
      1. Learned to use a chop saw and finished the carpentry work in my front foyer.
      2. Fixed drywall, changed locks, snaked pipes, and fixed dishwasher, then replaced the dishwasher because, there are some things that can’t be fixed (like cheaters).
      3. Travel, travel, and more travel.
      etc.

  • My divorce hack was to be laser-focused on helping my (fabulous) divorce lawyer by digging thru every email, bank and credit card statement and photo looking for anything and everything that could be used against him.
    It was worth all my energy!
    When the 3+ year divorce was done, I didn’t care about the photos anymore.

    For newbies:
    I learned that every ATM, drugstore and any chain (such as Dunkin Donuts) has a code number. That code number was used to track where and when the cheater was!
    He was really careful about not charging hotels and restaurants but didn’t think about ATM or drugstore locations in her neighborhood.

    • That’s what I was going to say: save everything. Screenshot text messages, print emails, phone records and bank statements, enlist your brother-in-law to buddy up and get information, whatever. You can get the divorce done more quickly the more information you provide your lawyer up front, so she/he is not waiting for you to gather it. Also saves you money if you’re not paying for someone else to do the digging.

      • One more documentation tip: if you expect that your ex may battle you on custody issues in the future, try this: take a photo of your kids on every day that they spend with you. I knew someone whose ex took him to court for full custody five years after their settlement. She claimed in an affidavit that she had been the primary parent of the children for years. Though he hadn’t kept a written record of their parenting schedule, he had countless time stamped photos on his phone, which proved that the children were really with him when she claimed they were with her. Needless to say, his ex looked like a complete idiot. Document, document, document… even if you think you don’t need it right now.

    • Me too Rebecca! I turned all my energy into spreadsheets and making copies of bank records and calling businesses on credit card statements to find out what they sell. I couldn’t sleep so I got a lot done.

      I handed my 3 inch thick 3 ring binder of highly organized facts and documents to my attorney. She used it as prepared in the divorce process, easily flipping from section to section to cite information.

      My hack: compile and organize your info for your attorney and ask how to redact your own documents. This will save you many per hour charges. Also be the nice and happy person who comes to your lawyer’s office. Bring coffee for morning meetings or snacks in the afternoon. Always remember your lawyer is not your therapist. Keep meetings to facts and how to keep your case moving forward. I pushed my divorce, involving a child, from D-day to divorced in under five months.

  • —Focus on what the law says; not what you think is fair (none of this is “fair” if you live in a no-fault State).

    —Let your cheater do her impression management. She can claim that she’s agreeing to XYZ because she’s “above” arguing over it, even when you know it’s because the division of XYZ is clearly laid out in the Family Code, subsection 211.

    —Ger er done!! Push ahead with each form, each serving, each filing. Don’t “do it three weeks from now when I have more time.” Do it now. This is divorce. The sooner you’re trough it, the better. Seriously, what price can you put on gettting this person OUT of your life? It’s worth more than you think.

    • At the end of this month, I will be 2 years from D-Day. About a week after D-Day, I, thankfully, found The Happy Hausfrau (and from there it was a short hop to my tribe: CL and CN).

      What helped me was:

      1) Getting STD tested immediately – getting the all clear on my physical health meant one less thing to worry about when I had so many other (financial and emotional) things to deal with

      2) As JC and others have said, get the divorce and financial settlement process moving quickly while the cheater still feels “guilty” (they don’t really feel guilty, it’s all image management for narcs). The longer the process drags on, the more likely they will dig their heels in and fight you over every point. Moving fast works because as Tempest said the other day, “they never think we will leave them. Until we do”. Cheater x really thought I would call the divorce off at the last minute so agreed to everything I asked for. The rage from him came post-divorce when he said I had taken his money (not true, I’m a stupidly honest and moral Chump).

      3) I knew that it would be a while before my head and my heart were in sync again. So I decided to think of the divorce process as a job/business transaction. I did the research, worked out what documentation would be needed, created many, many spreadsheets and promised myself that if it was humanly possible, I would respond to all requests from my lawyer within 24 hours (at one stage, I posted documents through their letterbox at midnight so they would have what they needed from me first thing the following business day). The mantra I lived by during that time was: “he has devastated me emotionally, I will not allow him to devastate me financially”.

      4) The List – I got this idea from Over and Out on the CL forum (which I copied and referred to frequently on my many sad days): https://www.chumplady.com/forums/topic/5-years-post-divorce-lessons-learned/
      “Break the habit of ruminating. It helped me to write down every shitty thing my ex did and another list of the things I don’t miss about him. Then put those lists away (keep them just in case you need to remind yourself later). Make a 3rd list of things that make YOU happy — positive things — things that have absolutely nothing to do with your ex.”

      5) I got a therapist immediately after D-Day but within a short time, I found the wisdom and humour of CL and CN far more effective in helping me on the road to meh.

      Sadly, I didn’t meet any chumps IRL until months after the divorce. If you can get to the local CN meet-ups, I highly recommend it. The support you receive from other chumps is phenomenal and very healing. If you can’t meet IRL, use the CL forums (the Forum link is at the top right of the screen). There’s always someone from CN around to listen and empathise. Tracy – thank you for all you do.

      • “they never think we will leave them. Until we do”. Cheater x really thought I would call the divorce off at the last minute so agreed to everything I asked for. ”

        Yes, Saorsa!!

        My wife never thought I’d divorce her. Ever. During the divorce, she asked for numerous second chances, including after the day we met at the notary to have the settlement agreement and final papers stamped. She just never fucking believed I’d stick to my decision.

        And soon after that day, when she finally realized I wasn’t changing my mind, her OM confessed to his wife that he’d been having an affair the whole time. In other words, my wife never wanted to commit to him as long as she still saw me as an option. Once she didn’t see me as an option anymore, she realized she’d better start locking him down.

        And he thinks she “chose” him. Bwahahahah!

        • Their (cheaters’) entitlement is totally delusional and completely gobsmacking.

          Cheater x hoovered on a number of occasions too (he was particularly desperate after the Decree Nisi was granted). After the lustre wore off his latest “Sparkletwat” (thanks CL – that one was gold), he arrogantly told me that I should “take responsibility for [my, the chump’s] decision not to get back together and try to salvage our marriage”. This from a “man” who, it transpired (and no, I had no idea and was completely blindsided) was a serial cheater throughout our entire relationship. Their delusions know no bounds.

          I chose to adhere to Madea’s wisdom rather than stay with a cheater:

          I’m delighted you chose freedom.

          • That’s a great monologue!

            Yup, my XW was a branch. Tricked me into thinking she was a root.

            And she cheated, and I said it’s hurting me. And she didn’t stop. So, I let her go. Simple as that (although it took me several months to get through the lying and finally make the choice to let her go).

            Thanks for the clip!

  • I made crudely Photoshopped memes where I put Bellatrix LeStrange’s Head on the body of a Crow posing with Alfred Hitchcock. The captions were gaslighting quotes from him. I didn’t distribute them widely, but they were eerily visually accurate and made me LOSE MY SHIT laughing every single time I looked at them.

    I gave them similar revolting code nicknames that have trickled back to them. It’s not very Esther Peter, but thank god I’m not very Esther Perel.

    I can’t think of anything more healthy and powerful than reducing their mystical teenage middle age teenage dream to the crass backseat fuck that blew apart half a dozen lives it was.

    • And the real work Rebecca and JC said. He was GTFO of my house within 17 days and the marriage ended less than 3 months later.

      I gave up some things and got stuck with a few bills. It was worth it to not file taxes with him or to be aware the OW was pregnant and due far sooner after DDay than made sense. They lead people to believe they never touched each other till after I asked him to leave.

    • Man, did I need to read this today. In fact, I cut and pasted it into my never-ending “tips for survival” list. Thanks.

      –HeChump

  • Wasn’t married (engaged, though), so no divorce hacks, sorry.
    But we were together 10+ years and this just makes me think of how he was always reluctant of taking pictures together. I couldn’t figure it out, then it dawned on me that it was easier for him to keep the single façade with less proof circulating of us being together. Although it started in unsuspecting days (before Facebook days, etc.), so I don’t know… but I always found it weird. It wasn’t a self-esteem issue on his part, he’s good-looking. Who wouldn’t want the memories? Especially since he always seemed more invested than I. As a result, we have very few pics of us, and they were all initiated by me.
    One more thing I probably will never understand. Asking him directly always resulted in slightly annoyed, non-sensical explanations.

    • Jgirl,
      My STBX did the same thing. We were married for 21 years. For at least the last 10 years, he avoided posing in any photos with me, and he would never post any photos of him and me on Facebook. He posted plenty of photos of himself, himself with our children, himself with his mother, his friends, but he would never post a photo with me. Why? I’m confident that he did not want to post photos with me because he did not want to advertise my existence to his FB community (and particularly to his AP). When I accused him of this on multiple occasions, he responded with denials, gaslighting (“That’s ridiculous. My profile says that I’m married!” or “You’re crazy! You don’t even like pictures of yourself!” etc., etc.). Even as I write this, I am once again stunned by the extent of his disrespect for me and by the length of time that I allowed myself to endure it.

    • He wanted to like a single guy to all the women out there. You are wise to realize you gut was telling you something wasn’t right. My gut was telling me something wasn’t right when my ex put up for ONE DAY a beautiful photo of us on vacation in Maine as his Facebook profile picture. After the one day he switched it back to the photo of him and our son. And we have two kids, so I’m not sure why that photo either for what up for years and years. And what I thought at the time — he doesn’t want women to see him happy with his wife was true. And the whore he is with now was his Facebook friend. I have no doubt in my mind he was sharing tall tales about being the poor, unhappy married man. Putting a photo up that looks just the opposite wouldn’t jive with the lies he was telling about me. Photos are one of my boundaries now with men that are on social media. If someone can’t put me up as the girlfriend or wife, then I’m gone like the wind!

      • I think they don’t even want the other women out there to even know they HAVE a wife. From the time we were dating, even when he was in full love-bomb mode, I could never figure out why when in public, he’s always walk 3-4 steps ahead of me, like he was embarrassed to be seen with me (not a problem I’d usually had with a man, back then when I was young). He continued this throughout our marriage, and in fact would be really uncomfortable when even his guy friends took a picture of us together. Now I realize that he was such a horn-dog for strange pussy that he didn’t want to have the “deterrent” of being seen with a woman attached, even out on a public sidewalk.

      • Spot on! I remember when Facebook first became a thing here (around 2009) and how we/he commented on how pathetic those couples were, that must always have both partners on their profile pic (seen as “she’s got him on a leash”).
        As the chump script goes, I was trying to be “cool girlfriend” and he was being “undercover player”. We were in our 20’s, so being “cool” was more of a thing, but I’m not surprised to see my peers now in their 30’s ALWAYS have a picture of their wife/family, unless they’re single. I can see it being quite the code/standard and that feels right.

        For the record, when he was fishing among coworkers he didn’t even have his own photo as a profile pic, but instead an image of a sad teddy bear. True to sociopath puppy-man form. Just one of the many things that portrayed him as endearing, rather than the social predator he is.

    • So Nowdeadcheater mastered the “do something really nasty and hostile while excusing it as a joke” manner of functioning and it went into over drive when someone went to take a photo of us together. I would lean in and try to get close, he acted like I was a stalker with an easily communicable disease and literally recoiled away from me, but hey, it was a JOKE, right ? haha and all that…

      except he did it 98% of the time…almost every photo of us shows him trying to extricate himself from me.

      and all he had to do was fucking LEAVE

      • Unicornomore, X did that shit to me, too. He got off on humiliating me in front of others.

        One night we hosted a party and one of the couple’s wedding songs came on. My husband found the songs for the rest of the couples and we played those, too. But when it came time for the song we danced to at our wedding, and while I was telling everyone it’s an obscure, beautiful, English ballad, he put on a polka about being forced to marry a fat broad.

        I didn’t cry, but I was heartbroken and humiliated and CRUSHED. The guys told him to turn it off and the women were pissed at him. The party ended after that scene, and we never hosted another.

        He was always an epic asshole.

        • chutesandladders that is horrible. I’m sorry that happened to you. No one should have to be treated like that.

          Not funny. Not even a little bit. Why didn’t he just leave?

          I’m seeing red on your behalf.

          • What Fern said. You know it’s incredibly bad when it’s the other guys who were telling him to turn off that song. Your ex sounds sociopathic. I am so sorry you had to experience that.

  • No witty comment here, but the practical things I hope that the practical things I did while leaving my X after DDay #1 will help other chumps:

    (1) Starting to look at his actions over his words
    (2) We were renting so I forced both of us to move out of our place early, and I only took with me the pieces of furniture and decorations I wanted… I took copies of all your financials while we were married, and moved then taking a day off work while he was at his work. I used our savings account to buy all new furniture for our kiddo and me. By the time I told him I was through, I was 90% moved out and he did not realize I had taken all our financials until the day the moving company was there. If you can afford it, it was really healing to have all new things around me to start my new chapter.
    (3) I wired 1/2 of our liquid assets to my own account, when he asked why, I said “to feel safe again.” He had not response to that and was ashamed enough to not make a fuss about it. Later on in the divorce he repeatedly raged that I had taken his money… That was shut down every time by the lawyers as I had taken exactly 50% (in hindsight, I should have taken 65% of our savings and call the 15% the adultery penalty)
    (4) I stopped talking to my then-STBX a month after moving out, having everything on email and text really helped stop all his paltering and turned off the three channels of mindfuckery, which was super helpful to my healing. My attorney fees went up because of that, but I believe I got a better divorce decree then I would have otherwise. The mindfuckery is strong with that one…
    (5) I told our elementary school kiddo that I was divorcing her dad because he lied to me about big things that are grown up things I’d explain to her when she would turn 18. I stuck to this until my X married his mistress and insinuated to our kiddo that he had no idea why I did not like his girlfriend. I then explained why I could not trust the two of them in an age appropriate way to our kiddo that people dating while married was a big no no and that these two had been dating for at least over a year before I found out.
    (6) I facilitated calls and sent pictures to my in-laws about our kiddo’s milestones to stay in touch. I never went into why I was divorcing their son, and they were smart enough to never ask. So we keep it civil and I take them out to brunch when they are in town, my kiddo loves that, and I can show her that modeling being civil with family is possible, although that does not with her dad who I still don’t talk to almost two years post-divorce.
    (7) I made a commitment to travel, even small weekend road trips and staying with friends work.. Building new memories with my kiddo slowly but surely have been erasing memories about how drama-filled any vacation with my X were.
    (8) I keep reading CL and CN… Gallow humor helps, and helping new chumps leave their cheater and gain a new life is healing to me as I keep gobbling down the shit sandwiches of shared custody with a cheater x.

    Forge on chumps, you can do this!!

    • that sounds amazing, you are an inspiration. I am fortunate to be very happily married, but this is, in my view, the ideal way to get through a really crappy, undeserved betrayal and pain of the worst sort. You are modelling functional, warm relationships with relatives, even when you don’t HAVE to, but you are also demonstrating deal breakers and firm, fair boundaries to your child AND living your best life while doing it. You are winning.

      • Thank you Caroline Bowman, “a really crappy, undeserved betrayal and pain of the worst sort,” I can’t agree more.

        I hope you are done with your divorce and well on your way to Meh!

  • Sorry for the typos and weird sentences CN… Not enough coffee in the system yet… For instance…
    “No witty comment here, but *I hope that the practical things I did while leaving my X after DDay #1 will help other chumps:”

    :)…

  • before d day I was in counseling for all my people pleasing and family of origin issues. That counselor didn’t recognize that I was actually being gaslighted by a narc serial cheater – so after the ex left, i chose not spend even more money on pointless counseling and instead spend it on things I liked and that simply made me feel really, really, REALLY happy. So I got beautiful yarn (I’m a knitter), some really pretty antiques, a Roomba vacuum… I got the pictures framed that ex had insisted we couldn’t afford to do (we could.) there was a day long ago where I would have spent that money on cigarettes or beer anyways, so I figured if I need a crutch today, why not pay for stuff I actually like. It’s been six years and I still enjoy that stuff.

  • My divorce hacks included.
    Printing out all the shit I found (Craigslist,Adultmatchmaker, Ashley Maddison, Prostitutes, facebook messages to random women he’d met, browser history info) filled a large folder. I would re-read it to remind myself he is nobody that I know.

    Lists of all the reasons he sucked as a human being, husband and father.

    Deleting every picture of him from my facebook photos-False memories. (and guess what I found…. a photo of his hand on one of my friends boobs smiling at me at the 40th Birthday party I threw for him…I must have spackled right over that)

    Running…..running….running. (it really helped and I would never have thought I would ever do that!)

    Having different friends…one that wanted to help plan his murder, another that would just listen, another that would give kind advice.

    Saying to myself “I love them (my kids) more than I hate him”.

    Deciding to have a love affair with myself…massages, pedicures, cocktails…whatever made me feel good.

    Youtube meditations.

  • Well I’m not through the process yet, it’s been 2.5 years with no end in site. Ironically I was reading this article yesterday …

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2012/12/11/financial-strategies-for-divorcing-a-narcissist/

    when googling “can my spouse close the bank accounts” because of course he did!

    I will tell you he’s pulled every single one of these stunts plus some. It started out with your typical Cheater fake nice “let’s just be amicable and get through this as fast and painless as possible.” The it progressed to him buying his own house “cash” with marital funds, to him showing up at my home and baiting me into arguments, and then video taping me once I’d lost my temper. To taking every opportunity when I wasn’t home to breaking in (making the kids let him him, which technically isn’t breaking and entering since his name is on the mortgage) and stealing all financial documents and references to them, vehicle titles, and yes, even my pick me dance journals from reconciliation where I found fault with myself in order to try and save our sham of a marriage.

    My advise, believe the horror stories and stop smoking hopium. THEY WILL NOT BE AMICABLE!

    • In my triggered anger I realize I didn’t give any of my own practical advise.

      One thing I did from day one was set up accounts for OFW (our family wizard). A parenting software (not free) often used in high conflict divorces, from what I understand. I had its use written into our parenting agreement. I originally started using it to force him to be a parent, because he was running around with his new found smoopsie after I filed and refused to take part in any child care. I wanted him to know his time with the kids was being logged. At that time there was no parenting agreement in place and he knew it would play a role the determination of custody. Forced to be a parent, but of course in his mind it was my lack of organization that spured its use. Whatever… it was effective.

      It has a journal feature that you can make private, documenting issues and providing time and date stamped records. It’s been invaluable since there is no disputing black and white evidence so your asshat can’t claim you screwed them out of parenting time (yep, that’s happened). There’s a place to put all the kids vitals (ss#’s, account #’s, shoes sizes, Dr.s contacts, etc.) That’s invaluable if you were married to someone who believes their time is valuable and yours is not…expecting you to drop everything to answer their question. All you have to say is “it’s in the parenting software” they have to actually do something for themselves, you can’t be accused of withholding information, and it cuts down on unnecessary communication for information your asshat should already know. For those married to someone who loves last minute changes, the software won’t let you submit changes less than 24 hours in advance – also invaluable since all schedule changes are to be through the software, written into our agreement. I also post a picture of it on the fridge at the beginning of the month so the kids know where they’ll be when, and plan there schedules accordingly. Since his job requires travel, the schedule is always changing because even though he can mostly control traveling during his parenting time, he doesn’t! Just like any software it’s not perfect and a spouse intent on being an asshole can try and manipulate it (yes, that’s also happened), but everything is logged, so ultimately you can prove the truth.

      • This is excellent advice and should be implemented by every person who has to parents with a high conflict X. Worth every penny and the judges absolutely love these kinds of systems because they eliminate the BS.

    • 2.5 years and counting- ugh! I am 1 years 4 mos. since dday and 7 mos. into divorce. My Stbx is doing all the things in that article.

      The one positive thing that I can say for pick me dancing and ric was that it kept me from doing regrettable things while I was getting my ducks in a row. As much as I wanted it to work after dday, deep down I had the instinct to see a lawyer and get educated. I had the presence of mind to collect evidence and play it cool no matter how much I didn’t want to divorce.

      I did slip and put some screws in the driveway late one night when he was bringing son home. First thing next morning, he called me and told me to ask son if he could bring him a plug kit because he must have picked up a screw somewhere. I think I can still hold my head high for that being my most evil action.

      While I was pick me dancing, cheater made sure to tell me several times that we were divorcing better than others. He said I am not trashing you. Finally I said what could you trash me for? His reply was “I could Lie! Fuckwit- it comes naturally to him.

      Don’t know if I am qualified to give advice but I would echo: keep calm, keep reading here, get a good lawyer, find a trusted friend or family member to lean on if you can. Gather evidence and don’t trust anything the cheater tells you. Go easy on yourself if you slip, no one can be prepared for this nightmare. It is worse than death sometimes because there is no protocol.

      For me, it has increased my faith in God because even though I want people to talk to, I have learned that when no one is available, I can talk to God and he is always there to listen and support. He is far greater than all this and POSH Stbx.

  • We earned roughly the same amount. I insisted we both opened separate accounts at the same bank to put our salaries in, while keeping the joint account and each depositing the same amount to cover bills until the divorce. He didn’t want to do this – why couldn’t we just keep the joint account until the divorce. But I insisted we separate our finances. I now lie in my beautiful, calm bedroom with my bank statements scattered all around me and keep shouting “I’m still in the black, I’m still in the black”, and this despite both our kids still living with me and my taking care of them financially! Aaah, bliss!

    • Yes Attie! Yes! I am in the black every month. I kept the house and my car and made no big changes. After constantly being worried about money year after year after year, while Narkles the Clown made three times my salary I never thought I could keep my lifestyle. Now here I am in the black, every month, sometimes only by $75 but still in the black! And I have a savings account and I’m back to saving for my retirement account.

    • I hear you Attie, I hear you.
      It is so good to not have to hold your breath for every bill that has to be paid.
      With Mr. Sparkledick we were always in the red, and he would huff and puff when asked for explanations

  • I think Chump Lady has listed all the right things to do in this blog and in her book (where all the guidelines are organized).

    So I can list what worked for me.

    First and foremost, DIVORCE the cheater.
    Do not rationalize with “foolish to throw out 40 years of marriage for a ‘just once’ slip”. If there exists a study on this “just once” thing versus several or serial episodes, I bet ‘just once’ is the least frequent situation, very rare. Ask me why I would now bet this way. It is foolish to stay married to a cheater. I’m not at Meh yet, but divorce has lifted the weight of humiliation and stupidity off my shoulders.

    NO pick me dancing. And after D-day it’s just giving caviar ego-kibbles.

    Remember, no matter much a judge despises your cheater, he/she must follow the law, whatever it is in your situation. So avoid going to trial and push for an agreement. For this you need pitbull lawyers, NOT nice ones who want to try and “not aggravate” the cheater. I wasted time and money on this “not aggravate” strategy. Remember, our cheaters are NOT our friends.

    You MUST be mean and ruthless without being immoral, unethical or breaking the law. This is to help your pitbull lawyers. So get all the evidence you can. Swoop down, work like a tiny ant, whatever is best for your situation, but collect evidence, including bank, credit card statements, on debts and/or spending on flatterfucks. In my case this evidence made a HUGE difference, I got a much better deal than if a judge had to decide who kept what: my deal included NOT having to split cheater’s idiotic debts since they were made on flatterfuck and superfluous things (like six professional guitars, as though he were Brian May) and not in the family’s interest. His lawyers must have told him it was a lost cause, this evidence was a turning point.
    This evidence also helped my pitbull lawyers request that the judge freeze his assets. Once frozen, debt collectors started calling my house… His balls were in a vice and cheater had to give in. He even paid 70% of my legal fees with the final death rales of his savings (savings with debts? Please do not ask me difficult questions).

    No contact.

    Stay away from all mean relatives and false friends.

    Follow this blog.

    Send off his crap wrapped in paper with pictures of latest flatterfuck photoshopped onto a cow’s and a baboon’s rear ends (my belly still hurts); cheater gave up collecting his crap after he found out that it would be on the sidewalk at 12 pm with the gardener taking care of the pile, so our son had to pick it up.

    Above all, work hard on this new life you have gained: next week I sell my house and am buying a small farm, will raise free range chickens and eggs and plant hardwood trees. In 15 years I will have nice savings for my children, with a wonderful and useful challenge in the mean time.

    BTW, cheater used to be an agronomist. I’ve figured out he abandoned this profession when he started cheating, or vice-versa: cheating coincides with working for a high falutin think tank (which Tracy has described as bull shit factories). I still will stay at my job, which I love and has become extremely exciting.

    Leave a Cheater, Gain a LIFE.

    • My ex narcissist cheater is using the “just once slip” pity story with everybody.
      He’s so sure I won’t show the embarrassing evidence of his simultaneous affairs, prostitution and massive financial abuse. I have strong evidence and he’s so sick to tell lies to everybody.

      • Oh, I also have all the same on my STBX. when I told his family the truth, he slapped me with a gag order. claiming my behavior wasn’t in the best interest of the children and was I was creating a hostile environment for everyone, Even though my kids were not involved in those communications.

        • Dear Got-a-Brain, thank you for understanding; is there anything worse than dealing with a person who’s unable to face the truth and throws others in a parallel universe full of evil and chaos?
          Despite all the sincere efforts and painful struggle I faced to make the marriage work, he always kept on lying because he never wanted to things to work, he never cared.
          At least now that I packed his stuff out of my house a year ago he should admit the serial cheating and what was going on behind my back.
          If I show the embarrassing evidence he sure has some revenge-plan prepared to never end the pain. He’s Mr. nobody in my mind. He can do and say whatever he wants. People know me, even if his cheating sounds unbelievable at first.

  • Wise up FAST and get a pit-bull lawyer and let that lawyer fight for YOU. Your ex isn’t sad or confused he/she is cheating you out of everything you worked for, so no hand wringing or guilt! Do not talk to your ex any more than is absolutely necessary, especially in the early months. Later it is easier to be emotionally detached, but even then only talk about the kids and only important matters. Remember they only do what benefits them, so beware, everything is a trap.

  • I had a little bonfire in the kitchen sink, burning the marriage license and wedding pictures. Then I let my children put my wedding dress in their dress-up box and got the immense satisfaction of watching them wear it while playing in the muddy yard.

  • My bit of advice isn’t about going and doing something. It’s more about how to approach the divorce, and it is admittedly very hard. It only became easier for me maybe because I spent over a year in limbo, so I had time to do it — but my advice is to do your best to drain any emotions that you have for your STBX as you go into the divorce. You need to have a clear head and not get emotionally tied to the outcome to the greatest extent possible. No more love (easier), no more hate (harder), or at least temporarily pack the anger away as best you can, and look at it like a business transaction with a scam artist. Do not trust this person to tell you the sky is blue.

    Go in assuming (knowing) that they are hiding money or other valuables. They had time to plan, so they were probably doing this way before d-day. So do not try some “do it yourself” divorce. Use an attorney, and ideally, an attorney with a business or financial background. Most divorce attorneys have seen it all, so they can help you sniff out hidden assets.

    Once you’ve done your best to identify all of the assets, then you figure out what your STBX wants the most and use that as leverage to get what you want (and more). This usually isn’t too hard to do because this will be the aspect of your divorce that they’ll spend the most time complaining about losing (house, retirement, boat, whatever).

    Don’t be afraid to give more up front (cash/assets now) for things you’ll recoup of greater value in the future (i.e., retirement accounts, pensions). My spouse really wanted money to buy a house now but has a public pension worth way more than my IRA, so I front loaded the divorce settlement and will recoup all of that and more in about 10 years when she retires.

    So my advice, try not to be emotional, treat it like a business transaction, and don’t trust your ex – AT ALL.

    • This:
      “Don’t be afraid to give more up front (cash/assets now) for things you’ll recoup of greater value in the future (i.e., retirement accounts, pensions). My spouse really wanted money to buy a house now but has a public pension worth way more than my IRA, so I front loaded the divorce settlement and will recoup all of that and more in about 10 years when she retires.”

      My ex was so concerned about his ability to pay his bills that he let me take his two major loans (truck payment, personal loan) in exchange for me keeping the house. He also didn’t get a dime of my retirement, but I think he still hasn’t thought of that. (He thinks he’s so smart that he didn’t need a lawyer, so he represented himself!) I have already paid off the truck, and I will have the loan paid off in a couple of years. I own the house and all of my retirement, so I think I win in the end.

  • Compartmentalize into two sections: “How I Feel,” and “What I Must Do.”

    Make sure “What I Must Do” takes priority, as there’s a lot to get done and a lot of potential pitfalls along the way. Get a list together of everything you need to get your ducks in a row (there are so many great suggestions on this very site) legally, financially, professionally, etc. Work on this list and get as much done as quickly as possible, before cheater has time to react. Create a timeline of all relevant events in a Google Doc, share it with your lawyer, and keep it updated. If dealing with custody / visitation, create a spreadsheet for logging all visits and how they went, down to the exact details of what time they showed up, anything weird happening to the child, etc. (and again, share with your lawyer and keep it updated). Create an email folder for all your communications with the ex, and save everything (even historical emails going back years). Take screenshots of any online activities (many cheaters are sloppy — get the photos of him with the new girlfriend, drunk party photos, unsavory hand gestures, you name it). My lawyer said the one thing she could really use from most people is MORE documentation; you can never document too much. In this compartment of your life, you’re cool as a cucumber–and if you slip, don’t worry, you can’t do anything about it. Just get back on track. Be professional and (outwardly) respectful and calm. Remember that the internet is forever. Remember that narcissists are amazing at false narratives, and they will do that with or without you giving them extra ammo (so don’t!).

    Take time for the “How I Feel” part, too. Here’s where you get to be real and raw and yourself, and give this experience all the guttural outrage it deserves. Spend an adequate amount of time lying face-down on your bed listening to Radiohead. Wallowing is okay. Allowing yourself to feel these feelings now and deal with them in a healthy manner is better than shoving them down and dealing with them later. Journal, journal, journal. Some people are musicians or artists, but for me writing is how I purge the bad feelings. Having it out on paper (or on a private blog) is one way to really start processing and getting it out of your system. And sometimes it takes seeing the story written out in plain language to remember why you’re going through this horrible time and need to keep pushing through. Talk with a therapist and get some basic tools for coping with panic, anxiety, and all the things that come up from a situation like this. Talk to your family and friends, get their support, and hear their love for you. Finally get around to all those Pinterest crafts or DIY projects that looked so fun / productive but you never had time to do them when you were the Chief Caretaker for a high-maintenance relationship. Take long baths if you feel like it. Go on solo hikes. Stare at the ocean. Slowly remember that in the grand scheme of things, the cheater is a pitiful little spider. Life (and you!) goes on without ’em.

  • What a great topic… survival tactics for divorce:

    – Good wine and good, tireless listeners
    – Journaling
    – A great pitbull lawyer
    – Using visitation weekends to get away and recharge (or stay in my pjs all weekend)
    – Fuck scrapbooking… I created a binder with copies of all his emails to Craigslist hookers, copies of his online profiles on dating sites, phone records, credit cards records… LOVED walking into mediation sessions with and slamming that bitch down on the table 🙂
    – Faith (got back to church and close to God again)

    And… I kept my traditions… things I enjoy(ed) doing with my family, we kept on doing… just minus one fuckwit. Cutting down a real Christmas tree, yup, don’t mind if I do. Going to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze, race you there. Fancy dinners out for my birthday, hell 2 the yeah.

    And frankly, when our court date finally came (and he and his lawyer didn’t show up until the Judge called their asses and demanded they appear)… it was a bit anti-climatic. As soon as the papers were signed, I had to dash out to get to my son’s school for a parent teacher conference. Life goes on.

    Newbies… hang in there. It sucks, no way around it. Put on your waist-high waders and trudge through it. You can do it.

  • I took a screen shot of the only two letters/notes he wrote me post the final discard and read them whenever I self doubted he was a big shitbag and, yes, he did indeed treat me like an ‘optional extra’ in the marriage.

    I photoshopped Gerard Butler to replace my XH ( tastefully) in my fav wedding photos so I could celebrate my anniversary – I was so happy on that day and he ain’t taking that from me.

    I filed for divorce (had to – he failed to do it twice – despite wanting the f@cking divorce originally and 12 mths had passed since the XH ran out on me) and timed the serving of the papers to near enough the same week (albeit a year later) he walked out without explanation just before Christmas.

    For the 2 years post initial decree nisi I had to contribute 50% of the mortgage costs before I eventually had to sell my marital home. I was abroad at the time ( I moved the other side of the world) I referenced each monthly bank payment ‘Narc Payment’ month/ date) or XLump payment (‘cos he described me as a useless lump in bed). When I read my annual bank statement it made me chuckle to see a summary of 24 mths of paying a shitbag.

    • For “family” pictures with the ex in them, i just went and bought a sheet of Smiley Face stickers to erase her. Still doing the purge of things (donating to charity, not trashing) that I really never wanted but ended up with. After moving into my own place a year and a half ago, I am almost done erasing all traces.

  • Large quantities of alcohol.

    ALSO

    Find yourself a fuck budy that understands that commitment is not an option at this time.

    That would be my advice for someone going through the early stages of this craziness!

    • Personally, after doing the pick me dance a fuck buddy was the last thing I felt I needed.

      I’m 5 years single and the pick me dance made me feel cheap and desperate, casual sex (for me anyway) is not something I am comfortable with and I knew that I would be too vulnerable in the initial aftermath.

      The more I read about Narcs and realise the full sexual exploits of my XH – I don’t regret my decision to stay more or less celibate. I know my worth and I’m comfortable with that. No more ‘pick me’ dancin for me – even casually.

      • Completely understand

        Ever person is different. I did not have a “Fuck Buddy” but I did have casual sex with someone. What it did do was help get my self confidence back when in that setting because my former spouse did a good mind job on me to make me think very critical about myself in that department.

        In short it helped with self confidence and to emotionally dis-attach myself from my former spouse and the mental abuse that I was under for 13 years.

        • I understand. I found a lover, when I wasn’t looking for one, but he was at a volunteer site I was at, we clicked, and he kept calling and inviting me to events. It turned out to be just the medicine I needed. My esteem was pretty much gone from the X’s very public cheating, but this guy thought I was the bomb! I slowly realized- there wasn’t something wrong with me, I could love, and be sexy, and I was just fine. It helped me a ton.

      • Just flirting can fit the bill. It’s shallow but just realizing that someone finds you attractive helps after so many years of feeling otherwise.

  • Print out the emails etc & keep them in a safe place. Whenever you feel sorry for them, whenever you doubt yourself, read them, look at how much of YOUR money they spent. Note how they disrespected you with their words, their lies, how they lied to the other women/men. Anytime you feel yourself softening, or they use charm or self-pity on you, read their words.

    Here is an example of the drivel my STBX wrote, spelling and grammatical errors are his:
    Hello baby I was about to sent email
    How are you thinking about
    Thinking about our special nite you are special
    My queen

  • I think that our social norms are slowly changing in a positive direction when it comes to being “real” about what people will do. When I was growing up, people’s beliefs about behavior, and what was acceptable or not, seemed to be tightly defined, and (in my opinion) mostly false. This was the time of the Cleaver family, where June cleaned house in heels and pearls, and Ward came home cheerfully from his well paid job, to a home cooked meal, and the biggest problem they faced was whether or not the boys had washed their hands before sitting down to dinner. The house was always spotless, and no one worried about losing their job, or being hungry, or not being able to see the doctor if they became ill. It was a fantasy world, just like the fantasy in old fairy tales where everyone lives happily ever after.

    My apologies in advance to those who use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, and to those who enjoy putting together an annual Christmas Family newsletter — but in my circle of family and friends those of us with “hangman’s humor” always laughed about what was left off Facebook, or out of the newsletter, Only good news, exaggerations, and happy pictures were posted, and any sordid details were glaringly left out. That’s why we renamed it Fakebook, and had to get a stiff cup of spiked eggnog to get thru the Christmas newsletter. They were all about image management, and not about the truth, too.
    Even though it is sad and embarrassing that the news is full of stories about politicians who lie and cheat, and the truth is coming out about the long whispered secrets of Hollywood casting couch moguls, it is a good sign that the abused are coming forward and telling their stories. The people who prey on others and use them and discard them at will deserve to face the harsh glare of the public spotlight. They should not win awards and public acclaim when they are ruthless predators. For these folks in power to be exposed for who they really are, is a good thing for those of us who live in a world where husbands spend the children’s college fund on trinkets for Schmoopie, and drug, alcohol and porn/sex addiction wreck the lives of the addicts and their families. We don’t need to smoke hopium and help these monsters control their image. They don’t need to be considered “good” folks in public when they destroy lives by living their corrupt lives slithering through the dark. If we use humor to dethrone these Monster Majesties, then so be it. If someone doesn’t like our humor, or our way of coping, in my opinion they can go home and mind their own business. If they want to pretend the ex is a wonderful person, in order to delude the children and the neighbors and the co-workers that the home was paradise, and somehow inexplicably the ex just “drifted” away — they are guilty of complicity as far as I am concerned. Don’t participate in putting sparkles on the turd — let it look like a turd, smell like a turd, and be called a turd. After all, it is what it is.

    • Portia,

      I really enjoy reading your well written posts and your opinion of Christmas newsletters had me laughing. Whatever happened to celebrating baby Jesus or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa ?

      My older sibling determined our narc father’s carefully crafted version (with the help of his current fellow narc, wife #3) to be “smug and self-congratulatory” and the year sib married we both said “Gee, I wonder how Dad is going to share the news of the event when he wasn’t even invited ?!”

      Such a ding dong…

  • Here’s a good one, use “trust that he s—-” for his text name. Every time he sends me a text, I’m able to run it instantly through the bs translator. Funny you mention voodoo dolls, I’m thinking about making squishie sbex* dolls.
    *soon to be ex, see my new word on urbandictionary.com???? Going to court today, need prayers!

  • I was the husband and father who worked overtime, did nothing for myself, and always made sure everyone else was taken care of.

    My divorce left me busted….but, the day after my divorce, for some reason, I didn’t feel any guilt:

    I went down to the boot store and bought a new pair of Tony Lama boots.

    Beautiful, expensive Tony Lama boots.

    And they sure felt awesome on my hard working feet.

      • I tipped the college girl working there $20.00 for helping me pick out the “Perfect Pair.” She said I reminded her of her Dad.

        She thanked me with a warm smile and said it would buy her half a tank of gas in her car.

        So, I gave her another $20.00 and told her to just fill it up.

  • I’m in the process now. Others have stated many of things I’ve found helpful, so I’ll just add a couple that I haven’t seen yet.

    When Woody cried and claimed undying love and regret begging to stay together rather than separate upon my discovering he’d been fucking my niece Bazooka Jane for 16 months, I agreed to attempt wreckonciliation on the condition that he agree to a post-nup agreement with an infidelity clause that I wrote. So it included everything I wanted. The post-nup was needed and became our separation agreement, which my lawyer is now turning into the divorce agreement. This will make for a smooth divorce. But…

    Yesterday I was on the phone with my mortgage banker. What a headache! We own three properties jointly, and it’s going to cost a lot of money to refinance them and disentangle mortgage liability. I owned two properties myself when we married, but over the years (since I thought we were in a loving marriage till death do us part), I refinanced with joint mortgages and put his name on the deed. I wish I had takebacksies on that one — I would have never put his name on the deeds and in fact would have insisted on a pre-nup agreement because I brought assets into the marriage, while he brought grad student loans.

    Lesson learned: If I ever marry again (and even if he’s the most faithful chump in the world) I will keep separate ownership of every asset that I bring into the marriage and take care of him in my will.

    My other tip is on the emotional side — just doing everything possible to reclaim my Self and work toward a happy future. My Road Trip to Meh (visiting friends and family from Maine to California) is doing its job amazingly well. My heart is healing with the love of others, and I have even met three amazing chumps who are enriching my life even more. But hugs to Beth, JeepTess, and Desert Guy!

    Besides the Road Trip to Meh, I’m ticking things off my “Breakup Bucket List” daily and planning for a new life in a new place. In fact I’m hoping to hear today about a dream job I interviewed for — several states away so I will never have to bump into my X and my niece together at the CVS.

    The flaming dog turd made my life miserable long enough. I’m putting him out of sight, out of mind. I think I may even wear my wedding gown to the divorce decree and carry a bottle of clique veuve champagne.

  • No hacks exactly but I just try to keep living life as much as I can without him and try to appreciate the advantages of not having to live with him anymore. I made an effort to connect more with former acquaintances who are now friends. I have some friends with whom I don’t talk about ex and the divorce and other with whom I do talk about it. I joined a hiking meetup so I can make new friends while doing something I enjoy. I keep my married friends and make new divorced/single friends. I do more fun things with the kids. I took the kids on vacation without ex and had the pleasure of knowing that we all had a good time even though he wasn’t there to help out. I fix things around the house when they need fixing. I keep doing the things I always did before, both chores and things I did for fun. I also make a point of noticing the advantages of not having him around. No more walking on eggshells trying to make everything, including the kids, perfect around the house so he wouldn’t have a reason to complain. No more protecting the kids by trying to solve their issues before he found out about them (well, ok, there is still a bit of that going on, but it is less with him not living with us). No more twisting myself into knots trying to live up to ex’s standards. No more listening to him complain about everything that is wrong with me and/or the kids. No more feeling like I am an embarrassment to my husband no matter how hard I try. I grieve without letting it stop me from living my life and enjoying the things I always enjoyed even while still sad about this one aspect of my life that didn’t work out. Meanwhile I am rediscovering that I am a capable, competent, independent woman who is not inadequate and never was.

  • Get it done. Make a decision and then put it into action FAST. You spare yourself the indignity and more lost time that comes from carefully considering every angle, lining up a never ending number of ducks, and worrying about all the many bad outcomes that could (but usually don’t) occur. No amount of upfront planning is going to make it a wonderful and fair experience. But being free of the person who treated you with such callous disregard has more value than you think. And the real healing happens AFTER the divorce so don’t put it off … you are only drawing out your pain and hurting yourself. Be kind to yourself and just do it.

    • “And the real healing happens AFTER the divorce so don’t put it off … you are only drawing out your pain and hurting yourself. Be kind to yourself and just do it.”

      Yes x1000

  • A friend of my mom’s took one of my wedding pictures – one that has my dad and grandparents, who are all now deceased, in it and photoshopped my ex out of the picture. It is awesome! There I am in my beautiful dress, surrounded by my beloved family and no ex to spoil the picture. It is so well done you don’t even notice there’s no groom. Just a lot of happy people around a bride. It seems like the perfect metaphor for the marriage. Everyone still in the picture believed in the sanctity of what was created that day. The one who didn’t was removed.

  • Chump Lady – it is amazing how your blogs can resonate with me each day. This one especially. Two days ago I had mediation to finalize the divorce settlement. I knew it was going to be a battle that would probably be a waste of time and money and end up in court. I’m proud to say its DONE! While I feel I could have gotten more bc I deserved more, spending the legal fees to go to court would have far outweighed the property I could have gotten. The bottom line is I got the exact stair step custody arrangement for my 8 month old that I wanted and felt comfortable with. That is worth him demanding to have the Ninja blender that he knows I use to make his daughters baby food with. (yes true narcissistic greedy bastard only wanted the Ninja to hurt me and his daughter).

    Anyways back to my divorce hack. Mediation are behind closed doors in a law office. No reason to get dressed up. However, I made myself put on my suit. I work with lawyers a lot so I had to give myself the mentality that I was going into a typical business meeting in hopes of keeping emotions down.

    Yesterday I took a mental health day. I took my daughter to school and then vegged in front of the tv. Mindless thoughts. Today I am exhausted. Can barely even stand. Thought about calling in sick to work again. But I made myself get up, get dressed, and drive to work. I feel better now that I am here. (granted not terribly focused but at least i’m not laying in bed crying).

    Another hack – write down some of the nasty awful things that he did during the divorce and map them to similar things he did during you relationship when you were “happy”. Odds are the behaviors were there you just spackled. I know I sure did.

    Example: less than 24 hours after we signed our divorce settlement I started getting the emails about the custody arrangement. Its a very weird complicated stair step becuase she is so young and he refuses to disclose his home address (its his gf that he continues to keep a secret…so weird) but he didn’t realize what he was signing. When I explained it to him, he started in on me about how stupid I was and that I didn’t think things through. Which in all truth I know what I did and there is a method to the madness I promise. But he use to do that to me all the time just in a “lesser” form. When we moved into the dream house we built, we realized we didnt have many drawers in the kitchen, it was mainly cabinets. Yes we knew this when building but it was my first home and I didn’t think about the fact I might want drawers in my kitchen. He told me “it makes sense you aren’t a very good cook since you didn’t even think about how you would want to store all this kitchen stuff you rarely use”. Once again, my fault. Because I was responsible for everything. It also reminds me that people dont change. Least of all him. So just becuase this was the first affair, he would do it again.

    • IIWII,
      Wow,
      You are amazing.
      Your Grandfather would be so proud of you.
      It is what it is!
      You feel exhausted, that is so understanding, but my dear girl, You are MIGHTY along with Amazing.
      Let him keep the blender. He is missing, and will forever miss, the most prized possession that goes along with that blender, YOUR Precious Daughter!
      YOU are the present, sane, loving Parent.
      Ignore him when he tells you that you are stupid.
      CN knows you are brilliant.
      I doubt he will maintain much cantact with your young child. Sounds to me he is just sore about losing power.
      Little children require a lot of time, devotion, dedication. True 24/7 love and care, they are always there. (ask me how I know)
      I am blessed with two beautiful adult daughters. They know I was the present, loving sane parent eventhough their cheater Dad stayed, ( changed jobs, we moved away).
      They do not know of his cheating, but they know his unpleasant personality………..his character traits….
      But, for you, IIWII, things will be different. You are moving forward every day.
      Stay strong, focused.
      Remember, always, YOU are Mighty!
      ( I am so proud of you. You made my day).

  • Hack? no hack… I had a post nup done, and it included the language that in the event of divorce it would form the basis of the separation agreement. Crapweasel was in his self-pity/guilty phase (makes a covert narc look good), so when I moved to divorce, I was in relatively good shape regarding support. Of course, Narcissa California, the gazillionaire cheaterbitch, got involved and told him not to provide me so much support, because…reasons? But I battled it out, because it was that or living in a cardboard box.

    Also–I pulled all the baby pictures and videos for myself (VHS, har har), and tossed the ones of Crapweasel and his crappy weaselly family in a pile in the basement. It’s a good thing I did too, since he just jumped on an airplane and flew off to Twu Wuv land, leaving behind or throwing out any of child’s handmade Christmas ornaments etc. That, to me, really says it all.

    Well, and when he said, “I just didn’t want to be a suburban dad anymore.” No problem, he’s not, and has lost all contact with the only child he’ll ever have. Asshole.

  • I packed his shit up out of our closet, he took all of his big stuff and was pretty much moved out within a month of his deciding to go. Meanwhile, I had a box where I tossed the random stuff of his that I ran across… DVDs, trinkets he gave me, funeral cards from when our son died thatvwere from “his” people,odds and ends, a pair of amethyst earrings he gave me to “thank” me when I had our son…. all of it. And then on the morning of our divorce hearing, I waited until he left his house and I dumped the box on his back doorstep. Every bit of it. I wanted NOTHING that he gave me or mementos that we shared together. Except the wedding album and pictures. I haven’t been able to part with those yet

    • (((((((Sunflower36)))))))

      …your son died…oh honey…I have no words…just don’t know how to convey my sorrow at your loss.

      …we were all coupled up with monsters…your’s will dwell in hell…

      Now you, and your son, and Tessie and her son, are always in my prayers……I wish comfort and peace to both of you. …your children are beyond their cruelty…and, I believe, always with you…

      …what a horrible man… 🙁

    • Lol! My STBX’s is a picture of this quote.

      When a narcissist has lost control over you, they try to control how others see you.

  • I don’t know if there is a “right” way to divorce. The only way is your way. And for anyone going thru it, it just sucks. It isn’t happy. It isn’t stress free, in fact it is the opposite. No matter how you do it, it sucks the life right outta ya. My only advice is to keep your eye on the finish line. Keep moving forward until you are free. AND…….although it was very difficult to do, I did keep my wits about me (mostly) when speaking about my soon to be ex in front of my two daughters. That’s not to say I didn’t slip a few times, but mostly I kept quiet. My therapist gave me very good advice regarding that topic. She told me that if my teenage daughters asked questions that I should tell the truth and keep it age appropriate. My girls were very appreciative of my candidness and they were able to deal with what was going on with their lives too.

  • 1. I ripped our family portrait out of the frame and left the empty frame hanging crooked in its place on the wall until after the divorce. I had trouble getting angry (he left us) and seeing that on the wall every day was a visual reminder of what he had done to our family and helped propel me to action re: the divorce homework. I had originally planned to replace it with a portrait of just the kids and me after the divorce. I ended up replacing it with a picture of my fiancé (now hubby of almost 10 years) and the kids and me. I guess I “took back” my picture frame. Hahaha.
    2. I pinned a photo of OW on my bulletin board at my desk. I know it sounds odd, but it helped me accept that was who he wanted. She was my former intern at my job, so she used to work for me. I was completely blindsided by X’s discarding me one week after giving birth to second child. So having the picture there during the first six months helped me stop the pick-me dance and then helped bolster me against the temptation of future pick me dances.
    3. I did something fun with the kids every week or two. Simple things like going on a picnic or to a free art museum or baking cookies. Even though I was broken hearted inside I was determined to create happy memories with them. Eventually the broken heart faded and the joy took over.
    4. I made a gratitude list every day, both alone (on paper) and verbally with my kids. On the way to day care each day, I would take turns with my daughter naming something I was grateful for. My daughter would also take her infant brother’s turn, saying things she thought he was thankful for (milk, blanket, pacifier etc ). We would do this the whole way there. Great positive start to everything single day and a reminder that no matter how crappy my life was there ware always many things that were wonderful.

  • I’ll pass on one of the best pieces of advice a successfully divorced friend gave me when I started my journey: stay busy. (And there’s a lot of excellent advice in the posts above about what with–financial ducks, getting rid of STBX’s crap, exercise, developing new social interests/ friends, etc.). Sounds overwhelming, but just do a little every day, and include finding something fun for just you.
    The next great piece of advice was from my attorney: stay vigilant. As Tracy once said, anyone capable of screwing you over sexually is capable of screwing you over financially. Be alert and ready to quietly document that stuff for court (in my case, I discovered a beer cooler filled with cash in STBX’s car, which I photographed with my phone, copies to my lawyer. Turned out he was transferring it to Schmoopie, of course. He looked like a fool in front of his own attorney when we were able to produce the time-stamped pictures from iCloud ). Now, we have a much better settlement offer all of a sudden…

  • My divorce hack is for chumps that don’t even know they are chumps yet.

    I “like”, comment on or “share” Chump Lady’s posts to my Facebook wall (not every day as I don’t want to annoy my friends with too much of one thing). I still don’t know how I found Chump Lady. She showed up in my “page suggestion” on my Facebook wall, so think she found me. 🙂 I want to help others find Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Finding out what I all know now about cheaters. Chump Lady would have saved me 14 more years of doing the Pick Me Dance if she would have been around when he had an affair when I was pregnant with our second born. I want to help ALL chumps out there, so this Facebook thing is the only way I know how to right now. 🙂

    • Oh, I forgot to mention that Chump Lady’s posts I shared a “public”. Maybe I’m the only person who does this, but I click on peoples profiles once in a while. I figure people do it to me to and maybe someone will find Chump Lady that way. Paying it forward like someone out there in Facebook land did to me!

  • When Dday strikes and you are contemplating filing for divorce, remember the following things:

    ** Most important is that the minute you file, the marriage is over and this is a business negotiation. Emotions MUST be put on the shelf until after it is done.

    ** Your Ex is the adversary NOT your friend. If they were really your friend and acting like one, you wouldn’t be getting a divorce.

    ** Go and consult with the best divorce lawyers in the county. Once you do, they can’t take your Ex on as a client.

    ** If you find evidence of cheating, SAY NOTHING !! Put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and get every bit of information and evidence that you can and then secretly get it out of your house to a place he can’t go. A close friend, sibling or parent’s home hidden somewhere will do.

    ** Set up your own bank accounts ahead of time and slowly move money into it. Keep track and never take more than 50%. When Dday and divorce happens if you have no more than 50% of money, you’re fine.

    ** Once Dday happens, file immediately. You should already have your lawyer ready to go.

    ** If you suspect that he has hidden money, have your lawyer bring in a forensic accountant. Their job is to find hidden money and assets.

    ** Go No contact and if he persists have restraining order filed. Along with this make sure to see to you and your kids personal safety.

    ** During the divorce negotiations, realize how much your attorney’s bill is. It is usually hundreds of dollars an hour, so rather than argue about a $500 tv, it’s cheaper to let him have it than argue and pay the lawyers more than $500.

    ** Realize that your divorce settlement is a legally binding contract between you and your Ex. It is basic contract law, that’s why if you go back to court the first thing the judge wants to see is the divorce decree and child custody/visitation agreement. With this in mind, follow the divorce decree like it is the 10 Commandments and have proof for everything. If you go to court after, you’ll win every time.

    I of course only did half of these because during my Dday and divorce because I was devastated emotionally and financially. This list is what I would give my younger self if I could. Close friends and family with a shoulder to cry on are the best coping mechanisms.

    • Wonderful advice, Laughing Gator! And with regards #4 above, take photos of the evidence with your smartphone, copy to a flash drive and put the latter in a safe secret place, like a locked file cabinet at your office, etc. — and send copies to your attorney.

    • Great list Laughing Gator. No. 1 above is paramount. New Chumps – take note!!!! I was still so very emotional at first — that’s when I made my worst mistakes. Once I contained my emotion I was able to better protect myself and my children.

  • My best divorce advice: don’t be afraid to insist on what you believe to be right. Don’t worry about looking like the bad guy, because your ex will likely strive to make you out as the bad guy no matter what you do. (We are talking about cheaters, after all, and cheaters cheat in more ways than with their bits and pieces.) Learn to say no and mean it. It feels damn good.

  • How did I endure going through a divorce? I had been 3 years separated and XH wanted to always be married. Why, I don’t know. When I finally thought enough is enough and I felt strong, I filed. Then he started daily emails – threatening, pleading, charming, poor meing. I don’t know why, but at that point to me they were funny. I didn’t take one seriously and didn’t answer any. (I hadn’t yet found Chump Nation – but now know this was the only way to go). Then he got a lawyer and had her email my lawyer also with threats of taking my house (we had already split everything). I instructed my lawyer to not respond – it was all nonsense. So, she didn’t. This went on for 6 months and when nothing came back from my side, I guess he gave up because he agreed to the divorce on Dec 18th and by some weird happenstance, the judge signed off on Dec. 22nd. So, I have now been divorced for 2 and a half years. I am still no contact. That is absolutely the best advice from CL if you can manage it. Over time, things start to fall away and the day comes when you don’t think of your Ex and you didn’t identify yourself in relation to that person. You are just you. This website is the best for helping folks going through this experience. Wish I had found it sooner – but glad I can read it now!

  • Give yourself permission to do what you do, fell what you feel, react how you react.

    Other than going and staying no contact–truly the best (and only) way to recover from the steady poisoning that contact with a cheater entails–that’s my best advice. Forgive yourself for being a quivering heap of tears and pain early on, let go of regrets about the things you might have done then (such as seriously trying to engage with the cheater, believing anything the cheater said, or being willing to accept any of the blame the cheater tried to heap on you), and stay focused on living cheater free. It is a relief, and eventually that relief will carry the day.

    From moment one–yes, even in that space of blazing pain–some part of my soul knew that this truth was a gift. I was certain to my core that I would never go back, and the relief was palpable. For years, I had failed to understand his steadily increasing rage, and tried hard to carry on in the face of it, but I knew right away that I would never have to own any part of that ever again. He could rage on, hide, lie, cheat, and generally live his messed up life in any fashion he chose, but not my problem.

    I still have a ways to go here, but the relief that was there from that first moment is the thing that is carrying me through.

  • FREE
    1) Shelf the ‘forgiveness’, focus on your anger.
    Culturally, we are all taught to practice forgiveness as a way to heal. Shelf that until maybe year 3 post divorce. Harness your anger positively. Once there was a fire in me, I became ‘unstuck’ and got a lot of sh** done and started establishing healthy boundaries.

    2) Go for a walk outside everyday for a least 30 minutes. Unplug your devices. Don’t respond to text messages, etc.

    3) Pack up X’s belongings and deliver it.
    When my XH moved out (in the period before reconciliation and then DD#2) he didn’t take anything with him but his toiletries. Every day he’d come back home, change clothes and use his home office. It was so weird. Post DD#2 and separation, he took his clothes and office but that is it. He kept delaying and delaying until I’d had enough. (See #1) One long weekend, I packed all of his stuff and divided our possessions and loaded into his living room of his new home while he was away.

    4) Create your ‘elevator speech’.
    I found it useful to create a few short answers to explain what is happening in your life. Practice them. Use them. And do not elaborate.

    5) No contact.
    There wasn’t CL for me, but I gradually started to do it. It helped me create strong boundaries.

    6) You aren’t friends.
    There is no need to ‘be friends’ with your X. There isn’t. Sure be cordial, but don’t spend any f***g time with them.

    7) Recite this mantra ‘there is nothing wrong with me’.
    Seriously, there isn’t anything wrong with you. Keep telling yourself this. I felt so flawed and broken after DD#. When you’ve lived with so many lies and been gaslighted — you think you are crazy.

    INEXPENSIVE
    1) Redecorate your bedroom.
    Get rid of all that bad mojo. Start with new sheets and, if the budget allows, replace absolutely everything. Create a sanctuary for yourself.

    2) Replace the locks.
    I did it myself one weekend. Yes, by myself.

    We shared ‘custody’ of the dog, and XH liked to drop him off/pick him up whenever he felt like it. After I changed the locks, I created a real schedule and started creating strong boundaries.

    INVEST
    1) Lawyer Up.
    Get professional help. Think of it as investment in your future.

  • Don’t expect the ex to be any more rational or reciprocal during divorce or post-divorce than they were when married. They do not see it as a business transaction.

    There are mediators that specialize in high-conflict divorce. His high-profile, expensive attorney arranged one for us and I realized it was a slick way for her to get the divorce done and the ex out of her office without actually firing him. At that point she’d realized he’s crazy. He’d had her give my attorney and I ridiculous offers at settlement then would retract them. The ex had written his own version of a custody agreement which had all sorts of bizarre conditions. The mediator, a retired judge, put us in two separate rooms and worked on us for ten hours straight, about one hour in my room and nine in his to get him to comprehend he was going to have to split custody and assets no matter what, particularly since I’d raised our children and contributed over half those assets. By the time it was done my attorney and I gave in far more than I would have liked but his attorney made some large mistakes. I do wonder if they were unintentional.

    I could have fought to get 60/40 instead of 50/50 custody (at most) but I read all these stories about divorce taking years and hundreds of thousands of dollars and decided that getting out quickly was worth the sacrifice. Sometimes I regret it since he so blatantly uses the kids to mess with me despite my precautions to avoid contact. He uses our children as props to attract and entertain women and it is really hard on the kids to realize he does not want them around otherwise.

    I got the retirement, he wanted the house. His (big!) mistake but he’s certain he’ll find someone to financially support him in retirement. I stupidly thought we could go through the house and decide who gets what but that never happened. A lot of things that had sentimental value to me were thrown out or given away, but they were just things.

    Every asset he was supposed to turn over has come with an email/phone temper tantrum and he has not split some accounts even months after the date stated in the decree. He still thinks they are negotiable. He is just starting to monkey with visitation, dropping kids at random times, taking them when he’s not supposed to, constantly “forgetting” sports gear and instruments.

    • Ca-chump, I know the tightrope that you are walking. On one hand you just want him to do what he agreed to, don’t want to stoke his crazy and make things worse as well as pay a lawyer to go to court.

      On the other hand from your description, he is a disordered narc who has his own view of reality. My ex is the same way and the only way she learned long term not to mess with me is that I followed the divorce decree and custody agreement like they are the 10 Commandments and have proof of everything. Thus every time we went to court, she lost and almost went to jail for contempt. After 2 times of this, she became more reasonable and pretty much did what she agreed to in the divorce decree and custody agreement.

      Good luck but do not let him get away with too much because he’s testing you right now like a little kid. He needs to hit a brick wall with consequences or things will just get worse.

      Good Luck !!

  • So many hacks:

    1) read CL and general forum every day and throughout the day– post for support on the general forum;
    2) read just enough of Dr Simon and Odwalla, Lundy, to know the futility of the situation (stop if your trying to untangle the skein of fuckupedness);
    3) visit every top divorce lawyer in town- even if you have to pay a small fee, you’ll conflict out those so that X can’t hire them;
    4) hire the best lawyer there is – worry about how to pay later (my situation involved a long term marriage, a lot of assets, custody, a valuable business, and SAHM years, earning differential, etc.);
    5) listen to what your lawyer tells you is reasonable to expect in outcome and then do not back down from that out of fear- I went all the way to a 10-day trial because the offers from X were so unreasonable- I ended up getting WAY more than 50% and full custody- if X is a sociopath with money, it is better to let the judge decide than to accept the paltry amount X may offer;
    6) go NO Contact;
    7) find a chump buddy here who is in the same phase of this shitstorm and text, call, email etc 24/7 whenever you want to contact or need extra TLC (Tempest can hook you up if you are both amenable) — normies do not understand and cannot give you the support you will need;
    8) do not rely on therapists (unless they have highly specialized focus on helping spousal victims of narcissist BPD/sociopath) or anyone who isn’t “in the know” for support through this — this situation is unique and not well understood by most and does not call for “conscientious uncoupling”, amicable divorce, mediated divorce, etc.;
    9) exercise for at least 30-60 min to a sweat 6 days a week- try to get outside no matter the weather every single day – even a brisk walk around the block for 30 minutes will help your health;
    10) eat nutritious foods every day;
    11) practice good sleep hygiene and get at least 7-9 hours a night — the exercise outside will help;
    12) volunteer somewhere, anywhere to get out of your head and be of service to someone who has their own challenges; and
    13) meditate: On you tube I found a great meditation on abandonment, which is kind of funny, but it really helped — I listened to it in my car, in bed, while walking, probably 20 times a day on bad days. I also like ones on fear of finances, overeating, fear of being alone, etc. there are thousands of free, 10 min or less guided mediatations…. they really helped.
    14) start letting yourself dream about how you want Life 2.0 to be– what kind of partner do you want? Where do you want to live? What do you want your activities to be? What kind of home do you want? What kind of friends do you want?
    15) treat yourself like the precious human you are and like a sick person recovering from a grave illness. Love yourself.

    Hugs! Meh really is wonderful! Promise!

  • As someone who stayed for 3 years pick me dancing, my advice is follow your instinct. FILE the minute you feel that “I just don’t think I can do this” feeling. Granted, I will say that in those hyper vigilant 3 years I was able to see the creature in it’s environment and in a sort of twisted way, it was good for science and all. But I could bypass all that now. It just ends up messing with your brain more. Get out and get on with that meh thing and your new cheater free life.

  • Kind of like replacing his pictures with Tom Cruise (which is awesome!)… My divorce hack: I just told pretty much all his secrets to my girlfriends. I have a LOT of girlfriends because I am super active in our community. So it is probably good that he moved to a different community – ha ha!

    We laughed our asses off that he thought he was “polyamourous” and that he was willing to “visit” after the divorce if I was ever lonely – as if! He was a tremendous source of comedy, he provided a ton of material and he HATES being the source of any humor.

  • So many great tips!

    Here is what I did, and yes, it’s similar to many other people’s.

    1. Screenshotted, uploaded text messages and love letters between CheaterX and Schmoopie. Read them whenever I started to feel complacent. This fueled my anger enough to keep me going.
    2. Went to a lawyer before confronting CheaterX. I learned the law, how my state divided things, etc.
    3. Analyzed where I was at that time, what I wanted at the time of the divorce, where I wanted to be 6 months out of the divorce. Then I created different strategies in order to get me at the long term goals.
    4. Went Gray Rock (I didn’t know this is what it was called) so I didn’t freak out and give up long term goals for short term feels (i.e. I didn’t allow myself to get into an argument with him in which I’d blow up my long term strategy).
    5. Planned ahead, planned contingency plans, stuck with the plans. My state is community property, equitable distribution, and no fault. Insofar as it’s possible to take someone to the cleaners in my state, I took him to the cleaners.
    6/. Rented a storage unit and started moving my stuff out well in advance. I moved all the bits and pieces that were truly mine. I removed a whole heck of a lot of stuff without him noticing anything. Why? Because the affair fog=Cheater centrality. I did NOT want that fog to lift so that CheaterX would start to notice that a lot of stuff wasn’t around.

    • Wow, Kb, you were smart and self-controlled throughout this process. My initial reaction on D-day was to tell Hannibal Lecher we were over and GTFO. I did have enough wherewithal to take pictures of his sexual harassment notes with my phone and email them to myself (he later deleted them off my phone, thinking I had no further copies. ha!). Hannibal also left for a conference to China 3 days after D-day. The 10 days he was out of the house, I started copying every document I could get my hands on so he had nowhere to turn during negotiations in a community property state. Fifty/fifty, baby!

      But I admire those of you who can act as if nothing happened after D-day as you line up your ducks. I mostly tried to keep sharp objects out of my reach while Hannibal was still in the house.

      • It took me a long time, Hell, I’m still trying to get my head to match my heart….3 years out and 7 months after the divorce.

  • What helped me? No contact. That was the first thing I had to learn. I had to let go of “convincing” him he had hurt me, etc. (Forget it, they don’t care.) But it was a process. I finally learned that he enjoyed my suffering and with no contact I got distance, space and clarity. I wasn’t friendly, we didn’t go to get ice cream together, we exchanged information on text and emails. When I absolutely needed to see him (and trust me, that’s about twice a year at school events) I was civil and that’s about it. I learned not to share personal information with him or any reactions to his bat-shit crazy life. I did that with time and support from a good therapist, friends and family. I am never alone with him in a private space, ever. Not in a car, or my home or his. Ever. I don’t do coffee or share celebrations or anything of that nature – there is no silence 99% of the time. And yes, my daughter is ok with it because she knows that cheating is not ok and why would her Mother want to befriend her betrayer.

    Time heals and believing in yourself, as cliche as that sounds. Do the things that scare you and you’ll find they aren’t that scary after all. One day at a time and there will be a day when you wake up and know that life is better for you, and that you’d never go back.

  • Photos seem to be a big thing in these posts as is “Save them for the kids”. My kids have never opened a photo album in their lives I don’t think and even grey and wrinkly that I am, I rarely did.

    What I did – especially when I expected Mme YogaPants to gut the building and run off “any day now” was to scan in all of the photos I could put my hands on and stored them up on Dropbox. It was a lot of work and took quite a while and I did find a few troves of photos that were very important such as ones of when my son was little that had been stuffed into a cupboard and forgotten. He believed that we had taken no pictures of him – just his sister.

    After she left, taking all of the collectible plates with pictures of kittens on them and leaving the photo albums, I packed them up and put them in the boxes of “her stuff” which she eventually came and got.

    The kids now have the photos for their posterity in a format that they can access and not have to dust, I have clean largely tidy shelves (relatively dust free), and as far as I know Mme YP has an apartment crammed with boxes of memories. From what she said yesterday during what I hope is the last time I’ll see her, it seems that she’s still not unpacked the boxes as she asked about one of the larger items I had “gifted her”. Perhaps one day she will and find those pictures, and all the loving cards she ever gave me that she insisted I save etc etc and realize what she left behind. Perhaps not. Given her history – once it’s in a box it stays in a box and she just gets more boxes.

    Oh – and if you were to walk through my house it would appear that those two wonderful children were spontaneously created by their father and there’s not a collectible plate in sight.

    I do read about people throwing the other person’s stuff out and / or destroying it but I come back to both my nature and some good advice that my lawyer gave me – “Don’t be an ass”. My lawyer’s advice was so that I couldn’t be accused of arbitrary damage or disposal of marital assets which could have complicated the case. During all of this, there is no place where she or our kids or anyone else can point to me and say that I acted with anything other than respect and dignity. To me, that’s more important than any amount of petty revenge. Mind you the possible “non-petty” revenge of her and maybe her new guy dealing with that history of love and devotion does make me smile. She does hate to throw anything out.

    BT

    • BT,

      On behalf of your descendants, thank you for doing that. It seems a shame to destroy family history because one of the members chose to behave like an entitled turd…

    • I advise EVERYONE to scan the photos that are meaningful to them–not only because of divorce but because of fire, flood, wind and other natural forces. If these are in Dropbox or any cloud, you will never lose them. I still have all of XH the substance abuser’s stuff and I put it all on on a digital photo frame for his son’s wedding–including photos of the DiL. Don’t be an ass is good advice. But what people mourn for most after disaster is their history.

      And while we’re at it, once the ducks are in a row, pdf all valuable lifetime papers and store the paper copies in waterproof containers, especially if you live in an evacuation area for fire or hurricane. Keep that box with your “bug out box.” And if you suspect you might need to evacuate (hurricane warnings, fires spreading) keep pets (especially cats, those tricky, hiding little devils) in an area where it is easy to find them. Have the carriers at hand so you don’t have to leave them behind. I don’t like in any weather danger zones, but I have a “bug out box” and a case of water in the basement in case of wind damage or a chem spill on the highway near my house. Plan ahead.

      • Good advice, but, just an FYI, dropbox has had incidents of permanently losing files before. Best to back up in two places since you can’t always rely on these companies to do it for you!

        • Good advice on backups. When I go to visit my daughter who lives quite far away I take a portable drive that has all my financial information, these pictures and scans of important documents with me and copy it to her computer. I also have the most important documents scanned in and on a memory stick that I’ve hidden in my car. If something were to happen to the house, those key documents are all still available. I’m looking forward to the time in the not too distant future when I can add my divorce certificate to that.

          I was looking for a picture of my mother the other day and came across lots of pictures of STBX. I started deleting them and then thought – no – and restored them back. Just because she is gone from my life doesn’t mean that I have the “right” to erase her completely.

          Perhaps that’s a good topic for Tracy and a blog post. What to do with the “stuff”? After living more than half of my life with this woman and since I’m still in the marital home, there’s little that I have that wasn’t in some way connected to her. I’m largely confident that they never used our bed – I did check for damp spots a couple of times. My wedding and anniversary rings, the cuff-links she gave me as a wedding present and the silk rose I wore that day I put into a small box and gave to my daughter. She’s thinking of having the rings turned into jewellery for herself.

          • I think you are doing the right thing, Bow Tie. I recently heard about some research on war-related PTSD. They were surprised to find that the folks most resistant to this, all other things being equal, were those who could remember their good memories of military service (friends, camaraderie,etc.) as well as the bad. That’s why I’m a little hesitant after a 25 year marriage to just say “everything positive we experienced together must have been fake” and delete all memories of those things. In my case at least I don’t think that’s accurate. I’m more like: OK, here’s all this bad stuff that happened, and here’s all this good stuff, but at this point, the bad stuff is outweighing the past good, and it’s only gonna get worse, so divorce is the only rational decision. The good memories are just as much mine as the bad ones, so why deny myself those? Maybe that’s not true for everyone, I realize, and for those still going through emotional hell, at least packing all that memorabilia out of sight makes sense. But trying to erase every memory from your marriage, even when it’s over, may not be what you always want to do. Just sayin’.

  • Just a few things I did, not that badass but it still makes me smile:
    Tore up our marriage certificate and left the bits and pieces in the security box I had left behind (he found it months after I had moved out – he told me it was a sad to find it torn up). I guess he never thought about how sad it was that he tore up our 32 year marriage and our family.

    Left a matted frame that had 4 road sign photos with each our our names. Took out mine and our 2 daughters road sign photos and left just his in the frame with the three empty spots were his “girls” names used to be. Doesn’t sound like much but it was a powerful message.

    In my phone his name became Evil One, then dickhead. Now it’s just “dick”.

    3 years since D-day, and some days I still struggle with it all but for all the newbies it does get okay, then better and then………………… hopefully we all get to MEH.

    • There is one reason to keep the marriage certificate intact if you’ve been married for at least 10 years–if your X’s social security payments will be significantly higher than yours, you can choose between your own Social Security or half of your X’s payout. However, you’ll need the marriage certificate & divorce decree to claim this, & cannot be married at the time you start claiming benefits. It does not affect the X’s full soc sec payment at all.

      • There’s more! If you have been married 10 years, at 66 you can defer your own Social Security and collect on your spouse’s, whether divorced or not. It’s a great strategy for those, like me, who can work to age 70, at which time I can switch and collect under my own number. The difference between waiting from 66 to 70 to collect under my number? I will get an additional $1000 per month. Meanwhile, as I continue to work, I will get, after taxes, about $700 per month from SS.

        My therapist is a full service therapist, full of wise advice like this. I urge all chumps to make an appointment with the local Social Security office or to call Social Security and take a look at the numbers. And don’t forget–you can collect full Social Security at age 70 regardless of whether you are working. You must pay income taxes on most of that money. But it’s cash you can save or use to pay down bills.

        • LAJ, I could be wrong, but I thought they got rid of it this year. I pray I am wrong, because that was how I was planning my retirement. (fingers crossed)

        • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you can no longer switch–you’ll need to choose EITHER half your ex-spouse’s (or spouse’s) OR your own. Relatively new development (2 years ago, I believe).

      • And one more thing: Chumps need to investigate whether divorce impacts eligibility for STBX’s medical insurance for medical insurance or, if approaching 65, eligibility under Medicare Part B. That was an issue for me in timing my situation with XH the substance abuser. This is just as true for male chumps as female, especially if Male Chump spent time as the SAHP or was not the high earner in the marriage. Don’t have a pride thing about it. This is your future.

        Sometimes separation with a full financial settlement and a timetable for divorce is key to chump financial survival, especially for older chumps or those re-entering the job market. Sometimes we are the ones who need to slow-walk the divorce. Sit down with a financial planner. Call Social Security, Medicare, your HR and anyone else you need to talk to. We don’t often talk about this, but planning at this level is part of getting your ducks in a row. And turning your attention to cash flow and insurance is an antitdote for pining after STBX. Nothing like seeing that someone doesn’t give a flying f*ck if you eat cat food in your old age to learn that he or she sucks. Kudos to XH the substance abuser for doing the right things on this end, up to the point where I filed for Social Security, at which point he felt like I was robbing him. Last point: filing under X’s or STBX’s number will NOT change that person’s benefits in any way.

        • @Tempest

          Maybe we need a main blog post about this sort of advanced financial duck lining up. Just a thought.

          • Agree!!!

            And the main thread should be refined by country (or by state if divorce is state and not federally regulated). Also by topics within the geographical region (for eg, custody, recommendations for lawyers, stratagies for overcoming divorce delays, difference between arbitration versus mediation, medical insurance, superannuation/retirement funds etc et). The whole thing can be overwhelming and it’s difficult to know what you don’t know!

  • Strategically, I let him have 95% of the “things” he wanted, I knew I was moving into a rental room and a small storage unit, and I’d likely be in that situation for at least 1-2 years and didn’t want to pay rent on a bunch of stuff that reminded me of him. He wanted everything I wanted, like those seagulls in “Finding Nemo”. He demanded the old food processor I had from before we married, he’d never used it, and I kept the instructions because he sucks. The plastics were cracked, the blade was dull, and it overheated when used for more than a few minutes. I found a brand new, same brand, food processor at a thrift store for $10, and am still using and smirking a little.

    I also agreed to about 10% less of what I estimate my share in a contested 50/50 divorce settlement might have been, so we were surprisingly able to fill out the forms and do it ourselves. I never knew of course whether he’d follow through on it, but it worked out OK.

    Our real estate agent set up separate signings in different towns when we closed on our house sale, that was very nice for me, more work for the agent, and a kindness.

    • When I left XH the substance abuser, I gave him everything, down to the dirt in the kitchen junk drawers, except for the random reclaimed “antiques” I had when we married. (I was a stupid chump and gave my own furniture away). It was nicer to start over, albeit with less expensive stuff, but it was my own. And over time, I can change out inexpensive pieces as I find “keepers.” I wrote the settlement agreement, gave him 3 scenarios and showed him how that correlated to what we brought to the marriage. Told him to take the document to his attorney and get back to me. I found a Super Lawyer who drew up the deed transfer and other paperwork for me and walked me through the process so I didn’t have to pay him for filing. (He’s a hero to me, for sure.) I found him after the lawyer my banker recommended didn’t call me back. I followed CL’s advice to look for a Super Lawyer and it paid off. My advice? Keep things that have real meaning to you–for me, it’s all the prints and objects I’ve collected over the years that make a house my home. XH didn’t care about that stuff at all. I did keep one pottery vase of his (Ikea) because it is awesome.

  • I moved about 1300 miles away. Before the kids and I left, I donated all of our furniture (aside from a tv stand) to the local battered women’s shelter. It went to a woman who had gotten away from her abusive husband and was rebuilding her life with her kids. Giving helped me feel at peace for the first time in a long time.

    The other thing that helped was for me was just staying active. Play with the kids. Go out and just walk. Call a friend. It helps so much more than sitting around and wallowing. I actually found myself enjoying activities and events for the first time in years, because I didn’t have a shitbag following me around at them and texting his ho-workers on his frequent bathroom breaks.

  • No divorce hacks…

    Wait… maybe “no contact” (almost) and “grey rock”, grey rock conversations early on freaked him the hell out and soon led to no contact because he was so weirded out by my lack of emotions (after very extreme emotions naturally around DDay which was 2 months before our (mine!! I almost got full custody settled) daughter was born.

    thats it for hacks…

  • Well, one thing I just learned: include in your divorce agreement some language about who gets to claim the kiddos on your tax returns. Of course, the news I got was that she had claimed both our kids, and I had to find this out by having the extension that I filed rejected. And it’s one thing to have to suck it up and pay more, but here’s the rub for me: I asked REPEATEDLY, for her to just TELL ME who she claimed, and she REFUSED. I was trying to get her info so we could file jointly and save us both some money. She had every opportunity in the world to just tell me what she did, but no. She made me go through the whole process, for nothing. It’s that same old feeling of being lied to, cheated, having the truth withheld from you. I fucking hate it! Argghhh.

    • The first thing I realized and it hurt like hell was: my X was not my friend! He did not have my back!
      This was the first shift I had: realizing that I am alone, not partnered. With this realisation, I eliminated a lot of frustration of trying to cooperate with him. I just knew it doesn’t work!
      From then on I tried to protect myself against him as much as I could.

  • In the beginning, the need to focus on my children’s well-being is what got me through some awful times. I was keenly aware that they needed me to be strong. If I fell apart, so would they.

    In time, as I began to accept what my “new” life was going to look like, I began asking myself why I was so willing to sacrifice my wants and needs for so long. Part of my sacrifice was necessary for the good of my family and I do not regret that sacrifice at all. Post-divorce, though, it was incumbent on me to decide what I wanted my future to look like.

    My divorce hack has been to allow myself to take time for reflection. I have grieved the past, acknowledged the anger I feel toward X and OW, but I have also to focused on my future, and who I want in it.

    I have the right to insist on a content life, one free of people who create crisis and drama as a way to make themselves feel alive. By allowing myself to process what happened to me, I believe I have opened the door to a future that, in good times and bad, is one that I can look forward to. Yes, I still get angry and discouraged, but I am a warrior, not a victim anymore.

  • File first and set the pace.
    In my situation, he wanted to wait 2 years so we could divorce on those grounds. But I went for adultery, and he really didn’t like that. I’d done my homework and interviewed a couple of recommended lawyers, choosing one who was great. He just walked into the nearest lawyers office to his work and ended up with someone who disappeared from her job part way through proceedings. His original plan had been a diy divorce, coached by yo-yo knickers who had divorced her ex that way, so told him how to do it. All would then be sweetness and light because look, we’re doing it by mutual consent because of 2 years separation.
    I did a lot wrong, and it was a horrible and long drawn out process, but filing first helped.
    Also, and this is in the UK, so might be different elsewhere our house had been in joint ownership. Under this system the house on death passes automatically to the other person, you can’t leave your half to someone else. I changed that to tenancy in common [60/50 ownership, and you can leave your half to someone else or put it in trust] and made a will leaving my half to the children., as well as everything in my name and my half of joint assets. Using a solicitor, who made sure that it was good for the circumstances I was in, it mentioned him and explained why he was left out, and once divorced I was delighted to know that it was still valid. I doubt he made a will, probably still hasn’t, so had he died before we divorced, it would all have come to me anyway. I hope he doesn’t so everything he has comes to the children when he goes. I certainly hope that he does not mingle his finances beyond his share of things, so she does not benefit at all
    So make a new will too

  • I wish I could have used all of the adultery proof I had but I live in a no fault state. I would check first before going through the emotional turmoil of collecting cheating evidence if it is not going to matter, once you yourself are satisfied. Other advice? I always waited to respond to him if I felt emotional, and inevitably, my mood would settle down and he has no good angry wife stories to tell. On the other hand, I always silently cheer those that go all out on the lying Cheaters and/or their slut whores.

  • Funny thing I did: I got a nice treat for myself and my lawyer from the bonus points he had gathered each time he bought her coffee.
    I closed the loyalty cards 🙂 Heck, I even know what he bought for lunch at Ikea! hotdogs and a juice!
    The OW got a cheapo, while she plays the home appliance!

  • One other VERY important divorce hack is that if it becomes overwhelming and you start getting suicidal thoughts, get a therapist you like and trust ASAP !!

    It’s not something any of us like to discuss but after my Dday, divorce and end of a 15 year marriage, Ex moving with my kids 500 miles away, her putting my dog down, losing my house and most of my money and being forced to live in my RV eating Peanut butter sandwiches it was too much and I started thinking that way and began to plan and give things away. Luckily my Mom spotted the warning signs and helped me get a new therapist that really helped (the old koombaya guy we had for MC was terrible).

    Going through what we have all gone through is the most stressful thing that you will ever go through and if it gets to be too much for you to handle, get professional help.

    • Gator, I’m glad your mom realized what was happening and that your new therapist was more helpful. Anybody who is giving things away and planning is in a very dangerous place.

      I hate how much these cheater assholes hurt people. But chumps are strong and resilient people, like you!

      • Thanks KarenE !!

        This was all now almost 6 years ago and I’m remarried to a fellow chump and very happy.

        I mentioned the “S” word because no one likes to talk about it and I had never contemplated such a thing before or after my Dday & divorce. What all of us chumps have gone through could almost break the toughest person, so all of you watch out for your friends going through this and if you are yourself get professional help if needed !!

  • Mine isn’t a divorce hack but it’s an Infidelity Recovery Hack. Find a great blog about being chumped, with lots of people who understand narcissism and kibbles and the benefits of no contact. Make your screen name “Loved a Jackass,” thus getting to call the emotional terrorist a jackass every time my screen name pops up.

  • Please help me. I love this community. But I am buckling.
    D-day was over 4 years ago. Revelations were staggering. 20 year marriage, 2 daughters. I thought he adored us. After exposure he got nuts.
    I am not doing well in the divorce. We’re collectively on our 5th attorneys and 3rd judges. We’ve been court-ordered to 4 mediations now to achieve precisely jack-shit (at HUGE cost.) I’m being bullied and bitch-slapped all over the place.
    Our circumstances are unusual. But I am getting ROLLED. I want to be mighty. I always kinda thought I was. This entire thing is just breaking me. It’s so much more complicated. I need to get out of this hell! I’ve never felt incapable of ANYthing until now. Your divorce hacks etc. seem beyond me or something. Seriously. I’m not a hack. Nor an incompetent. This has stretched the bounds of my capabilities and resources.

    • Wendie, hang in there, love. Sounds like one of those divorce-a-narcissist nightmares! Can you tell us more about the unusual circumstances? Maybe CN might be able to put our collective heads together and come up with more concrete specific ideas to help if we knew more.
      Hugs to you right now, girl.

    • Are you trying to WIN or to END IT? I know some people get a good settlement after divorce, but I believe that every minute you have to continue to have a nasty narcissist in your life is a LOSS. You don’t have the same choices if you have kids, but if you do not, maybe it would help to reevaluate your goal. he’s going to move on to another unsuspecting chump and drain her, so he’s set up. But you are going to start your life over, possibly without much left in the way of finances and material possessions. Do you have a way to support yourself? These fuckwits get pleasure from emotionally torturing you. Sometimes they’re willing to keep spending money to drag it out just to see you suffer. They often have elaborate stories in their heads about how you wronged them, so they’re out for revenge. You are under attack. You’ve tried fighting back. It may be time to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. My thoughts are with you.

  • No good tips here other than try to get to meh asap although 1.5 years after I’m still trying to get there. Realize that the Chester is a lying cheater. I confronted the other woman (after I was gone) and she was adamant he didn’t cheat because we were broken up (we were not) and he had dated someone else before her…. how many times did he cheat? I will never no.

    Accept you will never know the true depth of the the cheaters lying ways.

  • I had a few things I think I did right that might help some.

    1- I spent a fair amount of time gathering the evidence and financials and understanding the picture of what I was dealing with. I had all this information, but I did know what i needed it for. I live in CA, so no fault and all that. One of the best pieces of advice I got was “your goal is that get this done without ever having to discuss any of this.” It really helped me focus on my end goal which was to get divorced. I created several settlement goals ranging from everything I wanted to walking away empty handed. The idea was that for each step I had to take away from what I wanted, another layer of bullshit would be litigated. In the end, I did just that… I barely mentioned his cheating and financial shenanigans. I got what I wanted and walked away.

    2 – know what you are fighting for. I didn’t have kids with my Exasshat, so that is challenging in its own way. I did know that he was definitely hiding cash. I did some back of the envelope calculations and thought I might end up with some amount of moment that would be nice, but wouldn’t be “never work again” money. I realized that there was no reason for me to fight for that money. I didn’t need it, so I just dropped it and moved on.

    3 – accept that you cannot control his version of the narrative. My ex is crazy and genuinely lives in an alternative reality. His version of events is mostly incorrect and often just crazy. But more to the point, he believes his version to be true. They think nothing of lying to the wife and children, of course they are going to lie to other people…and more to the point, it’s not lying in their twisted brains. They believe the narrative they have created. Just accept that you are being painted as horrible thing X and try not to let it bug you. I would love to call my former father in law, who is a nice man, and tell him about the piece of garbage his son is. I know that he isn’t telling him abou that cheating and hiding money. But it doesn’t matter. In fact it just makes you look crazy. Just let them spin their insanity, be calm and sane, and get to no contact/gray rock asap.

  • That’s awesome! I’d choose someone other than Tom Cruise of course – but the sentiment is there – and it’s awesome! That pic is hilarious too, btw. In a tragi-com kind of way that we get.

    About 10 months ago, I ghosted MYSELF out of two family photos (and when I say “family” I vomit a little in my mouth, as really, it’s stbx’s kin populating the shots for the most part). Just a silhouette of my personage, with his arm around or sitting closely next to him. I studied that for a moment then it dawned on me, I wasn’t just “invisible” (though I AM and have been treated that way since the beginning of our Beginning) —- I was (am) being REPLACED.

    So I took to Facebook and found two pix of OWhore (aka ho-worker aka AP aka Whorseface aka jadedmuse beta [can’t call her a 2.0 version of me as that implies improvements made and upgrades and clearly, she is NOT an upgrade], printed them out, and then carefully taped them into place (my place).

    I put the two frames back on the shelves of his downstairs office, and felt giggly. I felt good! Was it puerile and obnoxious on my part? Some of the former, sure – not really much of the latter. I understand and accept that one of my primary coping mechanisms is the employment of self-deprecation (often accompanied by snark and its cousin, sarcasm). I was also simply curious as to how long it would take Uncle Dad to notice…and whether I’d get called out on it. (<–the latter, probs the chump in me still clamoring to be noticed? Whatever.)

    I enjoyed the hell out of that little act of…rebellion and mystery. It was sophomoric, but no more so than the wuv notes I came across between these two losers which at that time, hurt to read – but thanks in large part to my fellow chumps here who UBT'd some of the verbiage of one such note, the hurt has turned into…I don't know what to call it now – ridicule? Calling all snark, calling all snark….Yeah. Ridiculous to think grown-ass adults communicate in such a low level way. Shallow and selfish.

    Anyways, I'm down with whatever gets you through the day on this Journey Through Hell. My kid is 12 years old and she doesn't pay a second glance at any of the photos but I was prepared for that, should it have been the case.

    I really like the idea of swapping heads with a favored celeb or athlete. Humor is required during these Dark Days.

  • I’m not proud of one of the things I did, but here goes…We had a tropical island anniversary trip planned, but because I left him, I wouldn’t be going. He contacted me to get some of his personal items, including his wet suit. By this time I had a pretty good idea of who the main OW was and was beside myself with grief. Anyway, before I put his items in a box, I painstakingly picked as many fleas off our dog as I could (dog getting fleas is a whole ‘nother story) and put them inside his wetsuit and carry on computer bag. Like I said, although it felt good at the time, it was not my proudest moment, and it took me a long time to get to meh.

  • My D-Day was in early 2016, and after 3 weeks of planning, I confronted and threw him out. The narc did not go quietly, and tried his best to destroy my reputation, take full custody of my son (with the help of the OW), and squeeze me out of the home/ community financially. It was like a movie – a scary movie – and I was not prepared for it. With some hard work, support, and super courage, I was able to get fully divorced with shared 50/50 custody by the end of the year.

    There is a BBC show on Netflix called Doctor Foster, and it inspired me to be strong, because what happened to me was similar. I’ve garnered what to do and what not to do. I just binge-watched season 2 and wow – my son is 7 and (spoiler alert) I will make sure this does not happen to me.

    So — IMO, the above-mentioned show is how NOT to get divorced.

  • My BFF and I divorced our spouses within a few years of each other. I had a photo of our X’s together on one of our group family camp outs.

    I composed a humorously insulting fake story about the subjects in the photo (our X’s) and gave it to her with the photo. It was entitled “The X Files”.

    She laughed her butt off!!
    After a few weeks she returned the same photo with a story of her own, a newspaper article about two loser crooks!

    We kept this up for a few years. Hiding the photo in each other’s home where our kids would never see it. She hung it inside my bathroom medicine cabinet, I put it in a book I lent her etc.

    It sure let off a lot of anger. Just making fun of him lightened me up.

    When the need for such humor subsided we stopped. One of has the photo somewhere. It’s a reminder

  • 1. You NEED lawyers. You really, really do. Why?

    2. Because they read numbers like novels, investment portfolios and see where money is missing. (The biggest, biggest biggest advantage my SHL and her senior partner who does not like abusive men, gave me).

    3. Because they know all the tricks of moving money and future bonuses suddenly all being in equity shares and all the rest of that stuff and shut it down.

    4. Because they play hard ball.

    5. Because then the corporate guy sees he isn’t up against a naive trusting little chump, he is up against other corporate guys.

    6. And they don’t buy his rules or how he says the world should go.

    7. Messing with them, lying, gas lighting and all the things he does to us with them, crosses all sorts of Court, professional regulations, banking laws and other career jeapardising lines.

    8. So he magically starts co-operating.

    YOU NEED A LAWYER. A LAWYER SPECIALISING IN FAMILY LAW.

  • Oh – and that lining up your ducks and collating all the information you can possibly get? Very very very VERY important.

    In UK, there is a form called Form E where all assets and debts have to be listed. It is an offence to lie on your Form E and you can be (and some rich man have been) jailed for contempt of court.

    But get all that information, and a credit rating. Trust.

  • Emotionally for me, the pain has to be endured, one day at a time. I didn’t do anything bad really (a lot of fantasising though!)

    I was very sad at the breakdown of my marriage that happened without my knowledge or my consent.

  • My divorce tactic was interviewing multiple attorneys to find the nastiest, grumpiest, mouthiest one. I pit 2 nasty personalities against each other. The attorney I picked was close to 80 yrs old. He had seen every piece of work in his career. He now only handled women who divorce because he hated dealing with men. He tore my husband up like a pack of hyenas on a small rabbit. priceless!

  • I felt like the end of my relationship with LadyLiar was going to finally be the thing that broke me, but I was determined not to give her the satisfaction of thinking she’s so great and important that she accomplished that, so I committed to self care. I got a mani-pedi and a monthly massage, I saw my Dr. and found a great therapist, I journaled, and I walked at least one mile and often more every day, even if I felt like crap. I walked slowly some days and I walked fast and hard other days, but I walked, and I still do. I cried A LOT. Every tear helped clear the poison from my system. I didn’t try to hold back those tears. I HURT and I needed the release. I gave my coworkers the heads-up that I was going thru separation and may need a few breaks behind closed office door during the day. I asked one colleague (who is also friend outside work) to be my backup person in case I spaced out and missed info at a meeting. [I was in a fog for months.] I lost 24 pounds (not on purpose…) and my wonderful mom sent me money to “buy new school clothes” when Sept. came (5 months after LadyLiar moved out and 2 months after my daughters and I had to move because I couldn’t afford the rent by myself at our old house). I will not let this destroy me.

    • Good on you mate.

      Similar story here. Looked myself in the mirror on DD+1, trying to drag myself into work….. looked myself in the eye & told myself; “well, you sink or swim on your own now, so it’s 100% up to you”. I was determined not to let it break me. And it hasn’t.

      And I did much of what you did. Therapist. Lot of crying. Long walks. Self care.

      Stay strong.

      C

  • Here are my hacks.

    (1). Hire a lawyer. Even if you are not at the divorce stage yet, it may have dawned on you that your cheating spouse does not have your best interests at heart. Time to find a professional who does. Check with friends who have been through a divorce to get the lowdown on who would represent your interests fairly. A good lawyer may be expensive but they are worth it.

    (2). I am sure that it is important to start seeing a therapist, but I have gotten more from CL and CN than I have from my therapist. At least try to find one who is in your insurance plan and a good person who is paid to listen to you cry, whine and complain, rather than burdening friends and family with your Cheater issues on a continual basis.

    (3). Have your attorney hire a PI. You should be able to convince your spouse that just talking to an attorney is an acceptable and prudent exercise given the state of your troubled marriage. If your attorney hires the PI, the PI’s bills are incorporated in the attorney’s bills, which should be legit and paid out of marital funds, and bonus – the PI’s observations and reports are protected under the attorney client privilege, should you choose to exercise it. The cheater helps to pay for your PI this way, which has a certain poetic justice to it.

    (4) Create a written narrative of your life and marriage. Where you were born, where you went to school, where and when you got married, facts about the kids, where you have lived and contact information for relevant people. Include the time line for when your cheater started to behave in ways that you finally couldn’t explain away. Provide it to the attorney and the PI.

    (5) Figure out how the “scan to memory stick” function works on your copy machine and use it to scan all your financial documents to a (large) memory stick, even documents that you think will not matter. Small copy machines are not too expensive, or borrow a friend’s or see if there is a way you might be able to do this at the library

    (6) Run a background check on Schmoopie and get the contact information for her ex husband or ex husbands. Talking to them may yield a treasure trove of information. This kind of background check can be done online as long as you are willing to pay around $20 or so.

    (7) Run a credit report on your spouse via one of the 3 main credit check providers and have a look at it.

    (8). You should be able to obtain telephone, joint credit card and joint account bank records back several years, without having to pay your attorney to discover these records as part of the discovery process. There are really two flavors of discovery (1) quantifying the marital estate and (2) digging up the dirt on him. You should be able to do a lot of the (1) quantifying yourself. This will allow you to propose a settlement that favors you. I live in a no-fault, “equitable distribution” state. One factor that a court would use to determine what is an equitable distribution would be marital conduct. Ideally, I will have a fairly accurate quantification of the estate, a proposal for how to divide it that favors me, and a backup plan for the nuclear option (using discovery to dig up all the dirt that he does not want the world to know, making him and Schmoopie testify under oath to demonstrate his abysmal marital conduct, bring in other people to testify to break down his carefully cultivated image) if my proposal is not accepted.

  • Aaaahhhaaaa! This is great. I remember seeing that bumper sticker that says, “I still miss my ex, but my aim is improving!”
    To which I took an old photo of his face and tacked it to my dart board and then proceeded to send a picture of it to my bestest friend and confidant, (many holes later,) with this caption as the title! That got a laugh.

  • One really good bit of advice my divorce lawyer gave to me was to come to a settlement quickly with the ex. She had moved out was showing zero signs of reconciliation. My lawyer said the ex would be feeling less guilty day by day and making her plans on the basis of her being with the new guy. This financial assumption might not last. So I was to negotiate quickly. Difficult to quantify but I’m sure I would not have got the same deal out of her if I had negotiated later

  • Because I’d moved halfway around the world to be with him 20 years earlier, pretty much all my photos were digital rather than hard copy.

    I deleted every photo of him I’d ever posted on Facebook, so that I never had to look at his pathetic face again.

    I took all the digital photos I had (which was quite a lot over the 20 years) and put them in a folder called “asshat”, just in case there was some odd reason to ever see those photos again. To-date, and it has been 4 years since d-day, I have never had occasion to access that folder.

    Two years after d-day, and after having moved back across the big, blue ocean, finding myself with a new fiancé, and with a mother who didn’t want to take down the large wedding portrait in her house, because she’d have a big, gaping hole there, I went over to her house to find my ex’s face in the wedding photo had been pasted over with my new fiance’s Face. Luckily my new fiancé is a good guy and we all had a laugh about it.

    That portrait has since been replaced with a real one of the two of us.

    Speaking of Tom Cruise, I actually had a shot of him atop one of the tallest buildings in the world, in Dubai, where he had a helicopter drop him one day, while he was over there filming a Mission Impossible movie.

    Yes, he’s a crazy Scientology narc, BUT, at the time he had made some comment about being you and always being true to following your dreams. Not many people have the opportunity to fulfill a dream like being dropped by helicopter on the top of the tallest building in the world. And he said it was scary, but he still had to do it.

    Divorce was scary too, but I still had to do it. That photo was a constant reminder to go for it and not give in.

    I left it in my little pokey room in the marital house when I finally left the country, along with half a dozen photos of me and my ne fiancé, for the ex to find and clean up, when I left. Hope he had fun with that.

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