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The Smugness of Friendly Divorce

I loathe the term “conscious uncoupling.” From what I can figure, it’s a smugger kind of divorce without the gluten.

On the one hand, I’m thrilled this bit of word salad is getting the snark and derision it so rightly deserves, on the other hand the notion that divorce should be free of baser emotions like grief and anger is still a solid part of our culture.

In fact, “getting over it” has become a competitive sport. Did you have one of those ugly, sad divorces? Was it costly? Were there damaging custody disputes?

Oh not me. We mediated, because we’re adults who can talk out our differences. After all, that’s what’s best for the children! Not wasting their college funds paying those ghastly lawyers. Bob and I had many special years, but life gets complicated. People grow in different directions. We’re still just the best of friends! You’re not friends with your ex? Well you need to get over that! Forgive! Stop being bitter! Invite him over for Thanksgiving! Maybe take a cruise together or double date sometime with his girlfriend! That’s what evolved people do.

Oh goody. Where do I get one of those exes who want a fair settlement and desires my friendship? Are they all on back order? I got a disordered creep who sues me pro se.

People divorce for good reasons, like infidelity, mental illness, or addiction. Who are these people who “grew apart,” wandering off like your spouse was someone you got bored with at a cocktail party? I don’t know them. I know people who got divorced because the wife was a prescription drug addict who wouldn’t get sober or a woman who discovered her husband had a $20,000 hooker habit. Or someone comes out as gay after 25 years of marriage and she learns her husband has been having sex with guys on Craigslist for years while she was supporting his self employment. Or a guy married to a serial cheater who slept with her boss and his best friend, among others.

And these are just the people I know in real life. They aren’t the people who write to me every day at Chump Lady. (You ought to see my mail.)

So some lifestyle guru wants to tell me the evolved thing to do is “consciously uncouple”? Still consider these people family, closer than before! but just without all the real life headache of living with them? No, the healthy thing to do is get the hell away from anyone who wants to play you for a chump. Let them stay mired in their self destructiveness. You’ve got better people to bless with your friendship.

Does that make me bitter? Unevolved? Not over it? Let me ask you — are you friends with the guy who mugged you? Or the person who robbed your pension fund? Would you like to socialize with the middle school bully who shoved you in a locker? How about sit next to him at a ballgame? Attend a wedding together? Meet his girlfriend?

Look, I’m sure there are people out there who have drama-free divorces, who settle things amicably, and no one’s at fault and you wish each other well. Of course I’m wondering why if you have that kind of maturity and fondness for each other, you couldn’t just work it out. But I’m quibbling. What I want to say is — could everyone just please stop assuming that friendly divorces are common or even possible for others?

Let me speak for those of us who did not consciously uncouple. Some of us are dealing with abusive freaks. Some of are dealing with children whose parent won’t see them, let alone “friend” them on Facebook. We’ve got addicts for exes. We worry every week what we’re sending our kid into, and will it meet the court’s criteria of immediate danger to my child and if so, do I have the money to fight about it?

Some of us are just simply heartbroken. We loved with our whole hearts and got replaced in the most humiliating of ways.

The best we can do (and it’s an epic struggle some days) is to act with civility. To be the sane parent. To keep the focus on our own lives, and the welfare of our children, and move forward. We have no illusions that our exes are part of our family. Divorce is the severing of family. It’s often a painful act of self-preservation, taken after years of attempted reconciliation and accommodation.

So enough with the smug “conscious uncoupling.” You’re over it? Wonderful. We all want to be over it. And because most of us would like to stay over it, we don’t associate with our exes. Thank you for your understanding.

This column ran previously.

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  • Hey folks, we’re trying out a NEW spam filter here today, which I hope will give everyone less trouble than the last one. If you hit any errors or weirdness, please email me at info at chumplady dot com.

    I appreciate your patience. I know it’s been frustrating to comment lately. Hopefully we’ll get this sorted out. The joys of WordPress blogging…

      • Thank you!! I tried to comment on Friday’s Mixtape, but couldn’t.

        I wanted to dedicate Twisted Sister’s “Burn in Hell” to my ex-wife….and AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells” to my ex-Minister who she was screwing around with.

        This Delivery Man of the Word actually banged my wife the night before he Baptized me on a Easter Sunday.

        • You really can’t make this up. That is so twisted and evil. I think your song choices are very appropriate. I’m glad you’re free of that.

          • Satan’s anus.
            What is wrong with me that I’m laugh/crying reading “up front seat to Satan’s anus” 🤣
            Right when I’m mad, reliving too much shit on here, I read Satan’s anus and I’m suddenly at peace again 😂😆 thank you.

            I can’t think of anything that would get you to Satan’s anus faster than what Superduperchump’s wife and sociopath minister did to him. Absolutely evil. Hurts to even read it. I can’t imagine.

          • Plus one for the Jesus cheater’s.
            Satan’s Anus must bea crowded place these days – maybe they can cozy up towards his Sweaty Balls…

        • Lower than the lowest- a minster screwing a married woman in his church. The absolute lowest thing possible!

          • I won’t say what church I belonged to on this blog….but believe me…I am no longer a TCU Horned Frog Fan.

            It just made my evening when the Oklahoma Sooners knocked them out of the title race last Saturday.

        • Oh wow! That seriously shocked me! Your wife with the MINISTER? I think there’s a special place in hell for people like that.

        • Your ex pastor is the reason my husband will not go to church. He said the hypocrisy he saw in his community, and in his church, made him lose total interest.

          • There are at least 2 RIC sites that I know of….both sell the “How we did reconciliation and have a better marriage bullshit package.” They are ran by Preachers who cheated on their wives…with women in their congregation. Hell, one of them offers an expensive weekend seminar. What a crock of shit.

        • thanks, I had a LOT OF brilliant and hilarious comments you refused to allow.

          I guess it wasn’t personal…

          • No it’s not personal. I spend a LOT of hours behind the scenes dealing with WordPress issues and spam and trolls and requests from readers to take down their names, give them new passwords, delete their entire profiles, answer their letters, etc etc etc.

            So you GUESS it’s not personal? It’s not personal. I appreciate everyone’s patience, but this isn’t a service industry. I provide this place at exactly ZERO cost. It exists thanks to my investment in the place, BlogHer ads (which offset the IT and hosting costs — $300 a month), Tempest’s moderating (which she does for FREE), and the very kind donations from a small minority of readers.

            It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks. I hope this new Spam filter is the solution. No one will lose anymore brilliance.

            • Thank you for ALL the you do and have done to encourage and support people at one of the lowest points in their lives, mine included. Glitches happen and it is certainly no reflection on you! In my experience, Tracy, you go out of your way to make this a safe and reliable place for chumps worldwide. You have literally changed my life, and the way I view it ; I am sure I am not alone.

              It goes way beyond coming to terms with X’s shit. With the help of you and CN, I have explored why I became a chump in the first place and why I stayed stuck in the anger of the past for so long. I am fortunate to be further on this journey than some, but I think all of us owe you a debt of gratitude!

              Is my life perfect? Far from it, but I I have gained so much insight through CN, insight that has permitted me to create a peaceful life for myself and my kids. I am now living a life true to my values and beliefs.

              So, frustration and yes, sometimes even ingratitude, aside, thank you for undertaking this important calling. I hope your book is optioned by Reese Witherspoon, earns numerous Oscars, and you receive the recognition and financial compensation you deserve for your incredible labor of love! You have helped more people than you will ever know.

      • I never got around to emailing you to ask to be despammed lol… but the new filter is working fine for me and I can finally comment on the ‘daily blog’ again. Thanks!

    • Yay!! Couldn’t comment for over a week- and I thought it was my technologically challenged brain! (And if this is posted, it means new spam filters are cooperating- DOUBLE YAY!)

    • CL

      Tried for days to comment but wasn’t able. Said “enter UBT” when I hit post. I thought it was my phone but it wasn’t.

      Happy it’s now corrected. Communicating with my fellow chumps is important to me. Thank you 😊

    • My problem is a serial concious “multi-coupler” who has had 4 subcouples (that I KNOW of) to our “primary” couple of 31 years.
      “Uncouple THIS, beyotch!” My call. MY values. MY life. I’d rather be DIVORCED and face a potential lifetime alone than spend another second with the narc who couples enough to fit in at the train depot at rush hour.

  • My dickhead won’t even attend mediation. What a joy that I’m going to have to waste money going to court for a settlement because he’s an entitled arse. Stuff the conscious uncoupling, I just want a divorce.

    • Mine wanted mediation desperately but sat there and lied so that ended mediation. 4 agreements later( that he agreed to then refused to sign, leading to legal bills well over $30k when he had already stolen our retirement savings), he finally signed. They are evil POS!

      • Mediation can definitely been used as a weapon of manipulation. It is court ordered where I live. Every divorcing coupe must jointly appear before mediator (who has been certified by the court) before the divorce case can be set for trial. Essentially, the mediator assesses the case and bluntly tells each party what “typically” happens in their particular situation. There is also a presumption in favor of joint custody in many states that most people are completely unaware they will be battling from the outset.

        Many people are totally unaware of what the law relating to custody/child support is where they live. They are shocked to learn that they will not be litigating on a clean state, or that some issue they believe to be very important will have no impact at all on the outcome of their case. The court is going to follow pre-existing law, even if that law seems unfair to you. Your STBX may be the biggest jackass in the world but, unless s/he has done something that affirmatively impacts the safety or well-being of your children, the judge is not going to vary from the standard order.

        I do not understand why anyone would want to be “friends” with the person who screwed them over. I do think it is important to try to act in a reasonable way in front of the kids. Kids are like sponges on steroids. They soak up everything they hear, and many times, seemingly small events impact them greatly. So while you don’t have to be besties with your STBX, you also need to be aware that your conduct in front of the kids can impact custody and visitation decisions.

        My point is that during divorce and custody proceedings, it is important to: 1. Leave the kids out of it, to the extent possible; and 2. Never, ever fail to take mediation seriously. It may seem grossly unfair that you are required to go through the mediation process but, in most states, it is now ingrained into the divorce process itself. If it appears your STBX is just running up the tab or rating abusively during mediation, have your lawyer shut it down and request the the mediator declare an impasse. In many states, though, you are going to be forced to go through the mediation process, like it or not. And yes, you will be required to pay for half of the mediator’s bill, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary.

        • I had to do mediation with Cheaterpants. Two hours and $200 later (my half of mediation cost) he changed his mind and said he didn’t agree with anything we’d agreed on. He then tried to tell the judge we couldn’t agree and we needed more mediation. My lawyer shut that down.

          • $350 wasted on 2 hours of “collaboration” only to have Asshat ignore ALL the mediator’s instructions. Light bulb went off and now he’s pestering me to go back so he looks good when we finally get to court. My response: crickets. He documented his bad faith effort in emails to me. I’m happy to tell the judge just how collaborative he was.

      • OMG – NewLady – were we married to the same guy??????

        My ex did *EXACTLY* the same thing! Even the amount ($30k extra!). The judge got so pissed, she threatened his lawyer saying: “You better find a way to get him to sign or I’ll give her (me) more than she’s asking for”. That did the trick.

      • Mine did the same thing, negotiated and then changed his mind over and over again… Until our lawyers had enough and told him it was our last session to come to an agreement, otherwise we were going to have to go to court. And was he pissed!

        During the session, my then-STBX lost is in front of 5 other people, he screamed and swore at me and had to be escorted out of the room. We finished the negotiation in separate rooms and were divorced a few weeks later…

        Anytime chumpy me is tempted to remember the “good ol’ times” I remember that day… And I am glad the only contact I have with him is via a parenting software!

    • Walked out of mediation after the mediator told me and my team that my X wasn’t there to mediate. Got the exact custody agreement i had drafted, on my own, with good documentation three days later. If your marriage is based on a power differential, your divorce will be too. CL advocates for hiring the best legal representation you can afford. I will never forget watching my lawyer go meet with the judge and coming out with the results….totally side stepped my X.

        • Spot on. This is why mediation didn’t work for me. Not to mention he was talking with his OW/lawyer gf (he has a law degree too) nightly for an hour during this time – paying the phone bill for months was totally worth it. Anyways, he had the balls to say to me that he felt betrayed when I got a lawyer.

          THEN I also find out he lied about his salary, lied about the down payment to our home, and just lie lie lie.

          • Unconscious coupling = no boundaries in place & the narc maintains control through ongoing manipulation. Same with mediation.
            Kibbles & cake keep rollin’ in & the chump looks like a bitter loser if they don’t comply with this “enlightened” crap that is fed to us. No contact and a narc free life is the only way to go.

    • same here. will not engage in meaningful negotiation. forcing a trail even though things will now be brought uplike how much he spent on his whore. they really are selfish delusional toddlers.

  • I hate people who say, “Why can’t you just get along?” What? I try to get along but he consistently derails that with his tirades, manipulation, lies, lies and lies.

    You cannot get along with perpetually angry people.

    • I had a long talk with a relative who is a therapist. She said there is so much info out there now about why cheaters act the way they do. They really do have arrested development. It can be anywhere from very young until full maturity. I never understood why my brother’s ex was able to desert her children. When I think about what she was like before she left I think she was about 8 emotionally. Your ex is a perpetual child. No amount of common sense from you is going to change that. Pit bull lawyers are your best defense and especially one trained in psychological issues.

      • The big challenge for me is to focus on why I stayed so long with someone who was perpetually angry and depressed. What I am doing now is looking at my childhood issues and trying to address them…instead of focusing on my exes emotional issues…issues that ultimately harmed me.

        • Good for you Freedheart. This feels like a much better use of your mental, emotional and physical resources. I’m years out from the divorce but this line of thinking still helps when I have to deal with child related issues with X – even though the children are now young adults he manages to find ways to make a fuss. When I focus on myself and what I can control and what is coming up emotionally for me, I feel much more empowered and peaceful.

    • Right now I am perpetually angry and very hard to get along with. That is how I like it. Signed final papers and as he walked away I told him to go fuck himself. Was thrilled when he said he already did. Score!

  • I really agree with this. If we could “consciously uncouple” then we could have worked it out. This isn’t ‘uncoupling’, this is demolition. I wouldn’t blow up my kids normal reality of an in-tact family and staying in their childhood home due to ‘growing apart’. Growing apart means we could grow back together. No, for me – divorce is a last resort. It is when the only option left for my own sanity, my own self-respect, to stop the abuse of gas lighting, lying, deception, and failure to keep promises means I can never have peace as long as we are married.

    Conscious uncoupling is like amputation for cosmetic or weight loss reasons. Divorce is like amputation due to cancer or a flesh eating virus that must be severed or it will continue to grow and consume the entire body.

    • There is no such thing as Growing Apart. It cracks me up when I hear that bullshit out of people’s mouths. Usually the people vomiting that out are in an image management campaign.

      • So true, my serial cheater X was big on the “we grew apart” so I didn’t tell people what he’d really done. Oops, I did.

        • Mine was telling everyone “we” decided to separate. No, I too told everyone what really happened – We are divorcing because she won’t stop dating.

        • Haha yes, @Tempest — that “we grew apart” thing always makes me think of that scene in the Royal Tenenbaums where Royal (arguably the most delightfully typical philandering jerkface in cinema) tries to minimize the fact that there’s a clear and simple reason why he’s been asked to leave the house.

          MARGOT: Are you getting divorced?
          ROYAL (gently): At the moment, no. But it doesn’t look good.
          RICHIE: Do you still love us?
          ROYAL: Of course, I do.
          CHAS (pointedly): Do you still love Mom?
          ROYAL: Very much. But she asked me to leave, and I had to respect her position on the matter.
          MARGOT: Was it our fault?
          ROYAL (long pause): No. Obviously, we had to make certain sacrifices as a result of having children, but no. Lord, no.
          RICHIE: Why’d she ask you to leave?
          ROYAL (sadly): I don’t really know any more. Maybe I wasn’t as true to her as I could’ve been.
          CHAS: Well, she says —
          ROYAL: Let’s not rehash it, Chassie.

        • My cheater said to friends: “We’re going in different directions.”

          I told the friend: “Yes, one of us is going South to Hell, the other is going North to Heaven – that’s what happens when you choose to commit adultery.”

          He also told people that we “grew apart”.

          I fucking hate cheaters.

        • My XH is still going around saying this “grew apart” bullshit to people who can’t believe we got divorced. I wonder if my XH would like this spin on reality if I had been the cheater & him the Chump?? Probs not…FUCK HIM.

        • Same here – I refuse to go along with the “we grew apart” BS narrative and Jackass is furious that I told the kids he had an affair. Obviously the real problem is my telling them, not his cheating.

          • My STBX, when I found out about his most current affair (back in July), and finally lawyered up, was so concerned about telling the kids. I actually got conned into NOT telling them the real reason we were divorcing. I “had to protect his image in front of the kids.”

            I came to my senses though, and told the kids the next day. They were going to find out sooner than later, as he was staying in the relationship with the whore. And I rathered they hear it from me, in all it’s truthful glory, than some fucked up version he’d tell.

        • My x wrote an entire sermon announcing to the congregation that we had just grew apart.

          This after only two weeks from BD and “the speech”.

          Made it sound like we were both on the same page and happily following our own paths towards happiness ( puke ).

          The members thought that was swell and I have not gone back to church since.

          Ps – my Minister husband shagged another Minister plus a few divinity students ( for good measure ). Bitch Cookie communion wafers for all!!!

      • Yes, we “grew apart” because his penis GPSed its way to homeslice’s vagina…. repeatedly.
        I’m looking forward to mediation….then court. Might need to bring popcorn; it’s going to be epic.
        Attorney: do you admit to writing these emails saying:
        1. I’m sorry for cheating on you and not using protection
        2. You’re embarrassed I left you for another woman
        3. Sex with her is fun and energetic but I cannot finish because I’m thinking about you
        4.(Email to homeslice) We should try this: mold your own willie penis vibrating kit

        Attorney drops mic and I smile.

        • Dang, those are great! I wish I could get STBX’s emails into court. Unfortunately in my state I can’t — if he won’t disclose them voluntarily, and of course he has lied under oath about having an affair with Schmoopie — he could actually sue me for invasion of privacy for reading them. But my attorney has the flash drive with copies, including the one where he tells “sweetest dove of passion” (gag — lol!) where he’s going to be leaving her safe deposit box key after he deposits all the cash he’s hiding from me in it. We are saving that one as a nuclear option, in case negotiations break down and we decide it’s worth the risk to me to produce it. The law firm I hired has researched this matter, but are there folks out there who have used email evidence and gotten away with it?

          • His attorney requested any correspondence I have between us where he admitted it. He also had his accounts synced to my tablet and it opened to it.

          • If the emails are on your shared, home computer, it’s not illegal to access them. Especially if they were written while married. I had access to two of the ex’s email accounts ( saved passwords) and located tons of evidence.

            • My attorney says definitely. That’s why we might resort to them if all else fails. But she says it’s a double edged sword, because since I read them on his computer without his consent (it’s not “shared”) he can still turn around and sue me. Plus he recently obliged us with an easier way to prove perjury. She subpoena’d his email correspondence with Schmoopie, which he declined to provide on grounds that (get this, he admitted it!) she’s his patient so it’s confidential! He didn’t realize the names on the airline tickets for all their vacations he got through frequent flyer are discoverable. He’s going to have a hard time explaining how 7 cruise vacations constitute patient care. Plus said patient’s appearance in 2 Nevada brothel ads are in the public realm. If they won’t negotiate a good settlement my attorney is set to depose her. Though that might be interesting, I hope they have the sense to skip the drama, settle, and go the hell away. Far away.

        • Yup…products used by cheaters and their homeslices (new word for the Cheater’s Dictionary) Clone a Willie

  • I may be wrong but I doubt there are many divorces where both parties are just fine with the decision, as you say there must be a reason that you just want to walk away from the person you made a commitment to spend the rest of your life. I read a statistic recently that said 80% of men who announce they want a divorce have someone waiting in the wings. I suspect it’s similar for women unless it’s a physically abusive situation. I can’t imagine ever being friends with someone who betrayed me in such a cruel way. Yesterday’s post was about friends who betrayed by not telling about the affair. I think maybe it’s a similar situation pretend that your not completely gutted by the cheater to save face or like the friend that kept quiet if you don’t talk about it didn’t happen or won’t happen to you. Of course these days sleeping around while married seems a common theme so perhaps these “conscience uncouplers” really didn’t have much reason to stay together.

    • It’s like these men who won’t call out sexual harassment because they know in their hearts ‘there but for the grace of God go I’. Many have either sexually harassed a women or thought it was a big joke when they knew about it.

    • Lyndaloo, I’m with you. I don’t think there are many of those happy-go-lucky couples out there. I DO think that many people *want* to be perceived as such and so play pretend house on social media. “With my ex at our daughter’s sweet 16. Don’t I look pretty? Too bad I’m dying inside.”

      Unfortunately, my ex uses these examples to tell me that everyone else he knows is capable of it, so why am I such a bitter, unforgiving bunny?

      Answer: I’m happy for those people. They obviously didn’t go through the trauma of being married to YOU. I’ll still pass on “being friends,” thanks.

    • I think it’s close to 0%.

      Every single time, there’s someone else, whether the other spouse knows or not. My former friend (daughter’s friend’s mother) was going through a hard time. She had filed for separation (1 yr wait) and moved out with her daughter… her husband was a loser and IS a bigger loser now. Alcohol abuse/financial waste but functional. He was much older and admitted that he never had much of a sexual appetite. She was a single mom, doing it all on her own. We all helped her out… after some drinks one night, she excitedly told me how great it was that she could now fuck her downstate co-worker at trainings without guilt. ??!!! This is a month after my DDay, which she knew all about. Bitch.

      I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it. She spoke assumptively, like he deserved it. Until I came her, months later, and CL nailed it:

      Yeah- her husband was a dick. Is a dick. Alcoholism, even functional, is a great reason to get divorced. Lack of intimacy, with the lacker unwilling to change or work toward building it, is a great reason to get divorced.

      It’s not a reason to cheat.

  • You can’t consciencely uncouple with someone who lied, cheated and just left you like a bag of trash at the curb.

    If I had known he was lying and cheating or would have just simply told me ~ hey I’m not in love with you anymore ~ can we talk about how to end this? it might have been different.

    But no, it didn’t go that way. What a coward.

    • I think that’s what is ANOTHER thing I can’t stand about these assholes: their lack of courage.

      Is that why I internally scream, ‘Grow The Fuck Up!’ endlessly when I have to deal with the asshat? My kids have more courage and a lot less life experience than this idiot.

      Short rant.

      • Oh rant away, baby!

        My cheater wife at least had the decency to blurt out “I’m such a coward!”. Well yes, yes you bloody are. I call it moral cowardice – the inability to do the right thing whatever the cost.

        Frankly, once you see it for what it is, it makes you realise what a sad, pathetic, sniveling shitbag you were with, & be glad to be leaving them in the rearview mirror.

        • One night just before DD X said, well I guess I’m just an asshole aren’t I? Said drunk after being gone most of the night with prostitute.

          Well yes, yes you are. Nothing left to work with.

          Conscious kicking your ass to the curb!

  • Ex turd is a covert narcissit, who dropped his charming, humble meek mask at the final discard. After that he wanted to be friend. All about image control with him, to let family know it was not so bad what he did, because chump and I are still friends. I went no contact and grey rocked his ass. When I see him now, which is in court I don’t see him standing. My kids are 20 and 18, so I dont have to deal with him.

  • Thank you for this. I am sick of the sitcom divorce, where everyone is now friends and they get along great. I should just get over it. I don’t know anyone who has divorced like this. He threw away 20+ years of investment in family and hard work for a fantasy. This is not conscious uncoupling. It’s just pathetic. Call me bitter. I am fine with that.

    • Artemis it is pathetic, when I think about the hours I spent looking after him, his health, his clothes buying special presents arranging birthday, retirement parties, ranging vacations, taking care of his aging parents before they died. All because I loved him and he was able tobetray me like you for as you say a fantasy. There is no way to ever forgive that betrayal or the pain inflicted on family. They truly are sociopaths that value nothing but their own desires. I’m just disgusted with this creep I thought was a decent man.

  • Ok. Here’s what I have learned from the pros:

    Mediate the child custody part ONLY if your asshat covets facades like NiceGuy, NiceGal and you know without a doubt they need their kids approval. If you choose to mediate the rest NEVER go in alone, that is without your atty. Some mediators will only work with the spouses, no lawyers present. Don’t do it. Why? Well, you are disengaging from a person who is an expert liar and this is the highest stakes arena for them.

    Also, make sure whomever you choose, the lawyer and mediator, has a lot of experience dealing with sociopaths. Finally, your attorney should ensure ALL paperwork is filed to accommodate not only mediation but also litigation in case everything blows up while consciously uncoupling from an asshole. It’s an extra step but covers the bases.

    • After father of the year left because he had the sadz (he forgot to mention the cheating, drug use, first wife and other lies about his past) I called a mediator. Although I was completely distraught and confused, I made the appointment because I finally was starting to realize he was an abusive asshole and not just grumpy and misunderstood;) I mostly thought mediation would be good because of finances…thankfully for me, he had a complete meltdown in the office and started screaming at me not 10 minutes into the mediator introducing himself and explaining the process. It was so strange because no one was being confrontational with him, he just blew up like a rocket. The mediator was appalled. X left twice and stepped back in to scream at me some more about nothing…he just kept screaming “wtf do you want from me?!” over and over and over again-when I would try to tell him I just want him to get some help, he would just start up again.
      Well, once he left, the mediator basically told me that I should not go through mediation with him, but find a really agressive attorney because there is something very wrong with him. And voila, I did (as well as finding CL and CN).
      I think with all this celebrity outing of predators it might be a nice time to out the term “conscious uncoupling” which has pretty much started with those types and their Hollywood MC’s most likely. Why have we aspirationally branded these people?!

      • So I looked it up. Apparently a celebrity therapist named Katherine Woodward Thomas coined the term “conscious uncoupling” and wrote a book about it. She also wrote…wait for it…

        “The One. 7 weeks to find the love of you life”.

        Of course she did.

  • I too hate this “conscious uncoupling” bullshit. Thanks a lot, Gwyneth, for giving it such a ridiculous catchy fucking name. I’ll never forget the day my ex came to me with this idea. It was a few days after he told me he’d been having an affair that he had no intention of stopping and he was thinking about leaving (Cue the Pick Me dance!). At this point, it really hadn’t sunk in to me at all how serious he was about leaving and divorcing. It was just unbearably impossible for me to even consider that he had already planned the entire divorce. I’d been completely and utterly blindsided.

    So he came home all anxious to talk to me. He’d been talking to his sister, and he needed to talk to me right away. He was very eager and excited. Grabbed my hand, took me for a walk around the block because the kids (who didn’t know yet) were in the house. And he very eagerly said to me, “You’re right, I don’t want an ugly family-destroying painful divorce”… At these words, I breathed the biggest sigh of relief, for a brief moment, thank God, he’s come to his senses, he doesn’t want a divorce… “We’ll have a great relationship and I’ll just come over for dinner, we can take vacations together…” blah blah blah I didn’t hear anything after the words “Come Over”… That’s the moment the terror/horror of what was happening sunk in… I dropped to the ground, crippled, vaguely aware of neighbors walking by with their dog… I ran back to the house… but I couldn’t go in because my kids were there so I jumped in the (passenger side) car in the driveway. My bewildered husband got in the car and drove me down the street to the community park where we parked. I was curled up in the fetal position. I was screaming, at the top of my lungs, a blood-curdling scream as though I were being chopped to bits with an axe or burned alive. I continued screaming for several minutes before I was finally able to articulate words… “YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING TO GET A DIVORCE IN A BOX WITH A BIG BOW ON IT? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR GODDAM MIND? YOU THINK I COULD BE YOUR FRIEND AFTER YOU FUCKING KILL ME? YOU ARE DELUSIONAL!!!!”

    Worst fucking day of my life. Worse than DDay. The understanding that he intended to abandon me. The next few months, he expressed his utter astonishment that he would lose ALL OF ME if he left, that I would not accept a demotion in his life from WIFE to someone he felt like being friends with when he felt like it. The day he left, he told his sister, “I don’t understand what’s the big deal…” After that when he would come to get more of his stuff, he would behave like he had graduated marriage and gone off to the College of Pursuing Personal Happiness. I also remember his mother, before I cut off contact with her, constantly saying that when I get a boyfriend, I will be all healed and happy and perfectly thrilled to come to family events with my new man on my arm. Fucking delusional.

    Anyway, yes file all this under “The problem is not what I did, it’s your reaction to it” Yeah. Fuck you

    • Struggling, your description and words are amazing. Every word rings true.

      Your sharing your pain (sorry to say) helps me.

    • Struggling,
      The sheer agony of the pain of that horrible day in your life is so vivid in your post.
      I am so sorry for all the pain you have suffered.
      As others, I have not been able to post, but not too long ago, I posted a reply that did not go through to a post you made. In this post I rembember being amazed at your strength and determination. I said to you that your name should be changed from struggling to VICTORIOUS. You are a hero, truly a hero.
      Fuck him in his Fantasyland. Partners with integrity will never fall for bullshit like he idealized! As if! Good for you!
      Mighty Victorious, Struggling,YOU are!

      Feelingit,
      I follow your posts.
      You and your children dwell in my heart.
      I admire your wisdom and strength, and I am so thankful that there is a CL, CN in your time of need.
      People like Struggling, Tempest, LAJ, Tessie, oh so many others.
      All CN ‘s love, understanding and guidance is right there beside you just when you need it most! Along with your strength, your morals and just WHO YOU are, well Feelingit, you got this!
      I believe in you!
      (((((((Manyhugstoyoualwaysandthekids)))))))

      • Peacekeeper, I am always so happy to see your posts. They are like the comfort of an angel.

        I am trying to calm down right now. I decided to come here which I often do to get my dose of this too shall pass.

        My senior in high school son called me a couple of hours ago upset because his fear of being served a subpoena for a deposition at his School had been realized. He was embarrassed and angry. He texted his father and said thanks for ruining his day. Do you think he showed one iota of empathy? HA! No, he blamed me and said ask your mother why this was necessary. It wasn’t. It is because his father is a disordered narc who takes responsibility for nothing and I have no idea what he hopes to gain by bringing the adult children in to testify. He is putting them in the middle. This is the son who was trying the hardest to have a relationship with him.

        And I am supposed to consciously uncouple with him. I haven’t found a person yet other than Fuckwit who doesn’t see how horrifying that would be to be called down to your school’s office over the loud speaker to be served a subpoena in plain view of all around. This is a small school. Word travels faster than the speed of sound. Gee, thanks dad.

        • I’m so sorry for you and your son FeelingIt. My son graduated in June, no longer a minor. I can imagine him getting served at school. How horrible. How unnecessary. Be sure you and your attorney mentions this to your judge at every opportunity.

          My son is thriving in college, away from his father’s ongoing ugly family dynamics. I hope your son finds some peace and enjoys the rest of his senior year.

        • Feelingit,
          I keep re reading your post about your son. I feel so angry and I am so sorry this happened to him.
          I believe fuckwit did this to upset you with no regard to how a young man in high school would feel at such an embarrassing happening, and in a smaller school where everyone knows everyone. I am sure the support of your son’s real family-you and his siblings, and his true friends is a big help to him. His father’s actions are so self serving and disgusting.
          I often think that, we, the Chump, were unfortunate to have said vows, married a cheater type person. BUT, innocent children, that are a cheater’s own flesh and blood. How the hell can they treat their own child this way?
          I know we just have to trust that they suck, but the pain and bewilderness linger, always tugging at our heart. Our children are our most precious gift in life. Not so, to the cheater. The cheater is first, front and centre at all costs.
          There is so much more I want to say about how difficult my cheater has been regarding our beautiful children, the not being there emotionally throughout life for them. The most recent being the sudden tragic death of eldest daughter’s husband. His response has been to buckle up. He goes on as though nothing happened. This girl is such a beautiful person, so strong in her struggle with two young children, working hard and having financial difficulties. I help, I do whatever, as much as, I can. I feel heart broken, also so worried, as the children are undergoing tests for hereditary symptoms.
          I am accustomed to being the sane, present, loving parent, but sometimes it is so overwhelming.
          The daily struggles that you face each day Feelingit, I understand. I feel for you and what happened to your son was so unnecessary and downright cruel.
          Coming to CN is so healing for each of us Chumps. Sometimes all we can say is I am sorry and I understand and we feel so grateful to be able to do that.
          Thank you CL, CN for allowing us to hug each other!
          ((((((Feelingit)))))

          • Peacekeeper and sunrise, thanks so much for your kind words. It is mind boggling to me how someone can be so angry toward his children. Why can’t he see it? He just has so much hate.

            Son has been accepted to college for next year and is doing well in school. He will survive but it breaks my heart to see him forced out of childhood this way.

            My older son seems to be afraid to go into work now. A group of managers is visiting his branch today because it is well run and he has to be ready that someone may come in the middle of this to serve a subpoena.

            Oldest daughter dodged the server yesterday and has a kind boss who knows the situation and says she will lock their usually open door today.

            Crazymaking!

            • Good lord your ex is a real jerk. The serving of subpoenas can be COORDINATED. I did this with my ex. Of course I had to threaten him with serving him at work if he didn’t set a private time and place. But I have his the option.

              Again, tell the judge the cruel and unnecessary measures your ex took. Even though they’re adults, I doubt the judge will be happy with it.

    • My mouth dropped open as I read your words, could have been my hub word for word. Excitedly talking about how THEY would “stop by” and he’d come over and hang out and he’d fix things around the house and it would be the same but different cos HE WANTED TO BE POLYAMORY now. An atom bomb just when you think they might have come to their senses, they destroy over and over again. I’m so sorry. For all of us.

    • Oh my God Struggling the apple sure didn’t fall far from the tree. No wonder you felt heartbroken and totally betrayed. To have his mother think all you need to do if find yourself a nice new man, and have him say, “What’s the big deal?” just shows how shallow these people are, and how trivial they view commitment in marriage.

      Sending you strength and big hugs xxx

    • I related to your description also. Exactly how I felt. And I have screamed and cried like that many times. It sucks and I felt it with your words. That awful pit in the stomach but bigger and more awful than a pit. Thank you for sharing. It helps me to know I can survive like you are.

    • It always helps to remember them just stepping over you – when you are laying on the ground, sobbing, curled in fetal position after the fatal blow of D-day
      A counselor friend told me that it wasn’t just that my cheater lacked empathy (couldn’t feel what I felt) – it was worse because he is what is called “ego-protected” which is a fancy way of saying – that while cheater could see Tired Chump was unhappy (but again couldn’t feel it) — he did not see himself as being related to my pain.
      But his behavior – essentially summarized as : “I HAVE A 28 YEAR OLD GIRLFRIEND WHO WAS NOT EVEN BORN WHEN WE MARRIED AND I AM CHOOSING HER OVER YOU AND OUR 3 KIDS” has nothing to do with him
      AGHHHH – they are nuts

    • Wow, that’s just awful.

      It’s very similar to how my cheater approached our splitting up. He said, “We’re such good friends, so I don’t see why anything has to change” except that he’ll be living somewhere else. He even suggested having keys to each others houses! He thought that would make it easier “in case the kids needed something”. He talked about holidays together, vacations, you name it.

      But no way. Those are perks as part of a package deal called “marriage”. When you leave, you lose all of the benefits. No key, no family parties, no holidays, it’s over.

      Betrayal ruins everything. That’s what these people just don’t understand.

      • Soooooo disordered! Mine can’t understand why I’m still “mad” and can’t “get over it”. I’ve been 100% no contact for 20 months. It pisses him off that he can’t “control” me anymore.

        He’d like us all to be one big happy family. Him, his prostitute/masseuse girlfriend, their tru wuv newborn…

        Maybe we can all have Thanksgiving in the massage parlor? Pass the turkey, kinky sex toys and spit up pad grandpa dad.

        They are like a piece of poo 💩 you can’t seem to get off your shoe.

        • Ugh, how obnoxious. He sounds gross.

          Mine tried to justify his cheating (oops… his words were “forming feelings for someone else”, not cheating) by saying that he’s “just human”. So when he’d question my grief and anger, I used his same words. I said, I’m “just human” and have feelings too.

    • Struggling,
      So much of what you described I experienced, too. Just some similar tidbits from my STBX:
      1. We will always be connected to one another because of the kids.
      2. I am stopping at Sam’s Club on my way to the house. Do you want me to pick up anything for you?
      3. When can I stop over to see the kids? I have this 2 hour window or this one.
      4. I’m sorry things did not work out between us.
      5. Isn’t it better for the kids to have me in their lives even if it is just a ride to a practice now and then?

      He thought that he could just pop over to the house when it was convenient in his schedule. He didn’t want any responsibility. He didn’t want any friction between us. He just wanted me to accept his choices and make the best of it for him. Clean it all up, GetMeFree…get us divorced without any effort from me, leave my side business out of the support calculations, fix the hurt I caused the kids, etc. And then put on a smile so we can sit together at their games so I am not seen as the douchbag that I am.

      • Heres a good one. He suggested twice that when his lease runs out, as he can’t really afford that three bed townhouse and child support, that maybe I could rent out the spare room to him….
        Silence of the crickets.🔃🔃🔃
        Can’t make this stuff up. Im nearly a year out from discovery and getting way stronger but I realise he is dangerous and would happily drag me and the kids down into his patheticness given half the chance.
        Feeling like the clouds are parting somewhat or that I can think straighter now Im not being blindfolded and spun in circles.

        • His lease ends next March. I expect he will up the chaos as like most narcs he has no shame.
          Still trying to come back and mindfuck with gems like ‘ it’s hard to move on when I still love you’
          Yup, sorry that’s your issue not mine. Three channel pony all the way.
          Getting myself in a good place before March as I know what’s coming.

      • GetMeFree and Struggling,

        I cried when I read your posts. I share your pain with dealing with the man who wants me to pretend like nothing happened but simply that he moved to another house. It was simply a demotion. I remember that I told him the first day that we talked that I felt like I had been given a bad performance review, was being terminated and needed to begin discussing my severance. I was right and he gaslighted me for 6 months that there was no one else.

        I don’t want my leaves raked! I don’t want you to bring me takeout! I don’t want you to try to be nice to me! That hurts worse…

        My husband actually expects me to act like nothing has changed. The reality is that he was not around before because of work and “other commitments”. Now he wants to be Super Dad. I am dealing with the 2 hour window shit and it is about to drive me and the kids crazy. Did Super Dad suddenly emerge from the ashes? It would be great for the kids, but I doubt it. And I am so fucking tired of hearing what I need to do “for the kids”. It makes me want to vomit.

        • Bales,
          I can relate to much of what you say. Both Cheater Ex-husband and Lying Ex-boyfriend want me to just sweep all their transgressions under the rug. How dare I even calmly privately utter a fact, saying, ‘You committed adultery,’ ‘You are lying to me.’ I am now persona non grata–even after congratulating (not in a sarcastic way) my ex-boyfriend on finding my replacement (which he found before he broke up with me). God, I am a chump of Olympic gold medal caliber. Sick and tired of getting kicked to the curb and feeling depressed and angry about it. Trying to figure out how to do EVERYTHING in the world on my own as EVERY partner (there have been several) has betrayed me or shown some serious character problems (sex addiction, specifically frequent sex with prostitutes, chronic lying). Will likely remain single (dateless) for rest of life as I cannot find even one reliable, unattached, willing man.

          • RSW – so sorry you’ve had such a rough time. I remember your posts in the past, and you seemed quite fragile. I hope you are a little stronger now?

            You might think I’m nuts, but maybe some enforced singledom might actually be good for you. Don’t think of your singledom as an affliction… that you’re lacking something. You’re definitely not. Maybe now is the time for you to be you. To build yourself up after the crappy times you’ve had.

            Perhaps now is the time to invest in rediscovering you (apologies if that sounds corny, but I think it’s true!). Invest in the music you love, the books you like to read, your friends and also making new friends, that hobby you’ve always wanted to try.

            Forget men for now. Now, you’re dating yourself (again, a bit corny – but it’s true!!). You need to heal, time to fix that picker of yours. But the end goal isn’t to find a decent man, the end goal is to be strong and content in yourself.

          • RockStarWife,
            I deserved better than this and you do too. I am so angry and so sad, but I believe that I will make it through this nightmare and be stronger and happier on the other side. This blog has saved my sanity – made me laugh like crazy and cry a lot too. What I learned is that I am NOT alone and the commonality of our experience has really struck me. The cheater playbook has been exposed!

            For both of us, it is going to take a lot of hard work. I keep telling myself that the only person that I can control is me. I need to take time for myself, figure out who I am and know what I want from my life moving forward. I can’t imagine looking for another partner now – that will come later, much later. First, I need to heal. You do too.

            Love yourself first. XX

          • RockStarWife – I feel the same way. I am focusing on making a life independent of a man. One that is fulfilling and a future that looks bright on my own. I am not saying that I will never be open to another relationship, but I want to get to a point where I absolutely do not NEED one. I will NEVER let someone else determine my value or happiness.

        • Just remember – everything they do is to lessen their guilt about being so horrible – but true character would have produced guilt when the affair started!

          • Is it really guilt though Tired Chump?

            Personally I think its more a PR exercise, damage control of their image. Anyone truly capable of guilt and remorse could never day in and day out knowingly destroy another person

            • Good point. Not so much guilt as a weird sense of responsibility – what they “should” do – almost like manners and being “nice” vs. being kind. I have a cheater like struggling describes who wants to stay “friends” and thinks we could still vacation as a family and tries to do “nice” things. It is super confusing until I realized that these actions were all to make himself feel better. If he cared about me at all – he would have stopped fucking the ho-worker and worked on marriage or divorced me vs. making me crazy with 2 years of lies and then a brutal discard.

              • See, I think the only reason they do it is to get something out of it. By doing a few things for us, we smooth the way to seeing their kids when it is convenient for them or at our house. And that whole idea of going on vacation together? I think that is about getting us to take the responsibility of planning the vacation and doing the parenting while on vacation. Because if they had to do that on their own, then they would be solely responsible for it all.

                At this point, I do not think my STBX does anything with altruistic motives. Everything he does is about what he can get out of it.

        • The whole ‘Super Dad’ thing? You are not alone. Prior to DDay, my ex couldn’t be bothered with the kids, even went so far as to tell me we shouldn’t have had Baby #2, while I was cradling her in my arms. Refused to take her to Accident & Emergency with me to get baby’s arm fixed – which she had dislocated whilst in his care (I do believe this was an accident). Couldn’t be bothered to get screaming toddler out of his cot after naptime, so sent a text to get me to come back from the park to deal with him – found ex sunbathing outside while toddler was screaming purple… You get the idea.

          Suddenly, I discover and out his affair, and BAM! SuperDad emerges! And the nit-picking! And expecting to see the kids around his schedule! And telling me I wasn’t to make any plans until he’d informed me of his availability (i.e. he was allowed to make plans, but I wasn’t). The hypocracy!

          It’s all about image management. Just gray rock the bastard. And no contact where you can. Not every message needs a reply. Create a schedule and make sure he sticks to it. Only have contact over email. And only the essentials. Let Grey Rock become you.

          • Crazy Train-

            I winced while reading about your child’s shoulder dislocation and you partners’ refusal to go with you to the hospital. Someone needs to help YOU while your child is screaming in pain.

            Document the heck out of that shit. Write down the facts: who was there, sequence of events. Include as many details as you can.

            Document everything, including accidents. Take pictures. Keep medical records from the Accident and Emergency visit.

            I am currently doing this. Any bruise I see, whether accident or not, I snap a picture.

            Hopefully I will never need this. BUT:
            Scenario 1: I don’t go to court so I don’t need the records.

            Scenario 2: He starts to get violent with the kids right before trial. I cannot prove anything so my children have to live with their abusive father half the time. I stand by, helpless.

            Even if the documents are not needed in court, the records help me resist the temptation to go back to him.

            Protect your children and yourself by any means necessary. This man does NOT have your best interest at heart.
            How do I know?

            When someone dislocates a child’s shoulder by accident, they feel terrible. They do anything to make it right, including coming with you for treatment.

            My mom tripped over a rock while carrying my one year old. She drove us to the hospital, stayed with us, and even paid the $200 bill. Two years later she still feels terrible and doesn’t want to talk about it.
            That is evidence of a conscience.

            Stay safe.

            • I re-read your post and realized this probably happened long ago, so you don’t need my advice.

              Here’s hoping it will touch someone else who reads this.

        • Bales,

          Had to shout out to you about “I don’t want you to bring me takeout! I don’t want you to be nice! It just hurts more” Yes yes yes yes. Holy shit he drove me bonkers with that shit in the early days. Sending the kids home with leftovers. Inviting me to dinner with them. Offering to show up with chicken soup when he’d heard (from kids) that I had the flu. No no no no!!!! You don’t get to be nice! You gave up all your rights to me! They don’t get it. They think, “Did I kill you? Oh, uh, sorry. But wait! I can solve that right now! Here’s……..Banana Bread!” Jeez, ex, for a second there I thought you the most evil destructor of my life and soul, but then you brought me banana bread, and I realized you’re not such a bad guy. MORON! It’s seriously insane…

          • My ex acted all hurt that I didn’t want him to help me move out of our house. Like helping me move after blaming, gutting, lying to me and abandoning would make him feel better. I told him to stay away from me.

          • Bales, Struggling: #metoo!
            I live the term sitcom divorce!
            Mine is doing his sadz sausage pick-me dance: lawn mowing, buying pet food,…I don’t want it! He’s not my friend, not a husband or partner. He’s nothing…at least I’m meh-bound….he WILL be nothing.
            You are SPOT ON: He has no right! Where do these assholes get their warped ideas? Sure – lawn maintenance will perk up that nuclear crater just beautifully. Won’t even notice it! We can pose for more fake family photos after the divorce, too.
            But coming apart after 31 years together is not easy. Not as easy as his chasing his fantasy and tossing a molotov cocktail into my heart & our family.

            NC is helping so much! I’ve finally filed & while he ducked & dodged, he was finally served on Saturday. Hearing is in 12 days. I know it’s just the beginning, but CL & CN are my touchstone for sanity, clarity each day to get through the days.
            I love you guys so much! You help me laugh, cry, clarify, identify. You give me courage and help me see a cheater-less future where i can find a whole new happiness.
            Thank you so much.
            SO glad to see my posts go through! Yay!

            • Buying pet food…that reminded me.

              My STBX kept offering to do things around the house after my c-section (yep…he left when I was 6 months pregnant). I did not want his help and figured out other ways to get the help I needed. And he kept complaining about how I wouldn’t let him help.

              I had the kids feeding the pets and they did not tell me we were almost out of dog food until we were out of dog food. There was no way that I could carry a bag of that stuff just 3 weeks after the c-section, so I actually asked STBX to pick up a bag and bring it to the house. He then whined about how he has offered to help and I didn’t take him up on and now I ask him without giving him any notice and he already had plans for the day (he was heading to the casino with a friend). Any offers of help are shallow.

    • wow, ugh that’s horrible. I don’t get why they thing everything’s going to be sunshine and roses after this crap.

      • Is there a psychological term for this kind of crap? I’d like to research it.

        My husband will say and do terribly mean things one night and then the next day, without apology or acknowledgement, act normally. He will do “nice” things (nice= things he thinks I want him to do, instead of what I actually want him to do).

        It’s such mindfuck. Perhaps it falls under gaslighting? Denial of the facts? As in, “I don’t understand why you are mad. I see no conflict here.”

        Then he’ll ask me why I’m mad. I’ll say, I told you last night. Then he complains that he can’t fix what’s wrong because I never tell him what it is! Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!

        His therapist believes him, too. I hate that bitch. She told him they were going to “work on his awesome”. I laughed and said “no, you need to work on your sense of entitlement”. Dick.

        • I think it’s a way of conditioning us to poor treatment. Its like smacking a dog and then giving it a treat. The dog probably wont bite you after the smack because a treat is coming. The dog lost its natural reaction and defense mechanism to use its teeth to protect itself. And its a rush for them when they have a power play to control accountability for their actions. Keeps us off balance and unsure of our reactions. It always kept me with a baseline level of stress and anxiety. They love knowing they are frustrating us. And when we do stay fixated on the bad behavior and don’t respond to the treats, they are testing us and now will either up the “mean” or up the “nice” depending, I think, on their level of intelligence. I think the term for this crap is narcissist. Normal people don’t do this. The last time I probably tested someone was my parents when I was 3 years old to see what I can get away with like all children do.

    • I swear…….your ex and his family are twins of my ex and his family! My ex told me he wanted to stay friends and share a glass of wine every now and then! My mother-in-law wanted us all to join in Thanksgiving dinners after the divorce. These are people who do not have souls. These are people who just use you and walk away.

      It is important for me to have a healthy life now that I am rid of my ex-husband. I distanced myself from his family after the divorce as well. I need to be healthy and happy. The comments and opinions of me were hurtful and untrue and were simply impression management at it’s best.

      I have PLENTY of room in my life now for the people who love me.

      • Holy friggin cow everybody, I’m blown away by all your responses. Your love, your support, you utterly deep and profound understanding… I can’t even express my gratitude.

        Don’t know about you all, but at the time I thought my ex was a special brand of crazy. Since I have discovered this blog, all you wonderful people here, and our hero Chumplady and her fucking fantastic book, I keep being AMAZED at how similar our experiences have been. It’s incredible how many of you commented above that this was your exact experience. Your responses mirrored my exact feelings and experience too. I was reading it all going “yes yes yes me too.” As per usual, these fuckers seem to be working from the same playbook. I seriously hope some idiots out there who are thinking “yay let’s consciously uncouple” google this stupid term and come across this page and read all of our REALITIES and get a big a big ol dose of “this is why that’s total bullshit and ain’t fucking happening”. Not that it ever does a lick of good to convince anybody of anything when their mind is closed and nailed shut.

        To those of you who commented above that reading about how agonizing my pain was two years ago and seeing how much better I’m doing now gives you hope you can get through it: Hell yes you can get through it! I’m so glad to be able to tell you that. I remember the HOPELESSNESS of feeling like that pain would never fade. Yes folks not only does it fade, but lucky us, we have the whole rest of our lives to do whatever we want with our time on this planet, whether it’s being a great parent, looking for love, cooking, working, doesn’t matter what it is. Put that asshole behind you, go No Contact, and embrace the gift that is your life!!!

        Peacekeeper: Sorry I missed your post, lol! I wonder what I was talking about that made you want to call me Victorious! What a wonderful empowering compliment, thanks! I don’t always feel that strong, (gave ex about a barrel full of kibbles the other day lol) but I guess I shouldn’t underestimate the amount of happiness I’ve found in my life. So thanks XXX OOO

        Bales: Yeah I’m fucking tired of hearing about what’s best for the kids too. To the point where I just want to punch people who say that, be it my ex, his mother, or whoever. What’s BEST FOR THE KIDS has been DESTROYED. We have moved on to Rebuilding Shattered Lives. Call me crazy, but I don’t think I should teach the kids that you should be friends with someone who fucking killed you. I did the pick me dance real bad, I wanted the kids to know I was committed to their father and did everything I could to save the marriage. But in hindsight, and I have told me teenage daughters this, I would NEVER want them to allow themselves to be treated the way I allowed myself to be treated. What these asshole cheaters don’t get is there is no “best for the kids” in the reality that they have created for their families.

        FreeNow: Loved your line about thanksgiving in the massage parlor with the sex toys. Funny as hell and really gets the point across how delusional and gross these people are.

        TiredChump: Your comment about “he could not see himself related to my pain” struck a chord with me. In addition to his profound lack of empathy during the whole clusterfuck, I’ve come to realize that I spent twenty-three years trying to get him to connect with/care about my feelings. I thought it was a matter of communication, like that I was doing a bad job expressing myself. Nope, he is missing EMPATHY, that’s what I understood twenty years too late.

        Love to you all! Be Mighty, everybody!

          • Lyn YES!!!!!!!! Although we’ve had to swallow Gwyneth’s “conscious uncoupling”, at least we got Jen’s “missing the emotion chip” line… I’ve thought of her a million times, what she went through, and how she came up with one great line that sums up these people’s problems quite nicely

            • Although my ex was funny and the life of the party kind of guy, very intelligent, etc., I noticed early in our marriage that he seemed to be lacking in the ability to empathize. One of the first things that hit me as being really odd was when he asked why his grandmother was so upset at her husband (of 40 years) funeral. WTF? On the other hand, I was crying buckets after she laid across his casket when they started to wheel it away. I barely knew his grandfather, but I felt so much for his grandmother at that moment. His reaction seemed so odd to me. That was the first time I began to realize my husband was missing an emotion chip.

    • My EXACT same experience too Struggling. The disordered know no bounds. Mine had it all planned in his twisted brain and explained to the kids and I that he would be a frequent visitor to our home to help with gardening and general maintenance. He even offered up his greatness to join us for dinner once a week! Oh how could be baulk at such a wonderful offer??? His image has suffered greatly since then-,all three children have rejected him and have gone struck no contact. Disordered has the sadz to his family and friends, but continues on w his baby whore. They are truly disordered!

    • Struggling…i could have written this . It was his script….take me out of the house so as not to ‘alarm’ the children and give me the speech. He was talking in terms of coming over at weekends to do yard work. My mouth was hanging open. It was surreal that he thought this would be normal. Also normal to take my credit card off me change the bank accounts and refuse to tell me where he was living. Totally compartmentalised. I thought he had a brain tumor. So the plan was i would look after our 3 kids and he would swan off for a fabulous new chapter in his life. Great I’ll get the champagne. Fucker actually thought i would cook his meals for him after that. Apparently my reaction was ‘over the top’ and couldnt believe ‘why i thought it was so unfair’ . Disordered fuckwit is now recreating his delusion with the new victim practically referring to her as the ball and chain. Because he has to play sad sausage down trodden spineless cretin . Well shes washing his smelly lycra now …good luck !

      • “I thought he had a brain tumor” lmao I think we all go through that, right? There must be something terribly wrong with him to be this crazy. Nope, just a giant asshole 🙂

        • I seriously thought mine had a brain tumor, or possibly CTE from too many concussions because his behavior was suddenly so odd.

  • Howdy, y’all!

    Two years ago today my wife of 10 years slithered her cum-dumpster ass through our front door after a purported girls’ night out. I instantly knew in my gut that she had fucked another dude. I finally got up the nerve to ask her to confess, and in response she pummeled my face with her tiny never-once-did-a-load-of-laundry fists trying to get me to raise a hand to her. I wouldn’t play her sick game, so she stole my dog and bailed. I wrote to Chump Lady after I picked my dick up out of the dirt, and she answered my letters. Spilling my guts here and seeking solace in the joyful commiserating was about the only relief I could find for the longest time. I thought I might die from the pain of my broken heart; I was absolutely certain I would die from the pain; I didn’t die from the pain.

    Wise chumps warned me the cheater would circle back – I was dubious. She circled back. Six months ago she ghosted me again after six weeks of tenuous wreckonciliation. Once I’d seen the evil in her I never could look at her the same. She told me she feared I might be too angry for us to really ever make it work. She was right. Fucking bitch.

    I spent some time this last week lurking and reading the latest posts. It’s been empowering to see so many familiar faces doing so well. It’s been heartbreaking to see so many freshly-chumped faces doing so poorly. Chump Lady never ceases to amaze me with her ability to weaponize snark for good. Believe me when I say that it gets so much better, y’all. Meh is real and it is spectacular.

    Trudge on, mighty Chump Nation.

    • Welcome back, Chump-formerly-known-as-Dubious. I hope you’re finally divorced from that skanky MG, with a good settlement.

    • So sorry you experienced that pain … been there on several occasions. But also glad you were too angry to truly accept her back, as she doesn’t deserve you and wasn’t any more committed the second time than the first. Hugs!

    • Yeah, well. Chump Lady is where I come to admit the shameful stuff. I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone if falling for love bombing.

      No, she got the dog.

      What did it take for you to learn your lesson?

      • Shes is a disgusting excuse for a woman. If you reached Meh i am very happy to hear. Sorry for your pain and struggle. And your dog. I’m gonna lose mine too. It took realizing that the pain of staying was more than the pain of leaving. I hired a forensic accountant after i left and realized he was stealing hoards of cash for years. And after years of reading everyone’s advice and experiences I realized he wants me back so he can “finish me off” on his terms since I filed without him knowing. I’m not letting this mf finish me off. No one is completely destroying me physically, mentally, and financially. I wasn’t born to be abused. That’s not my purpose on earth. I would rather cry alone in my own house bought with my own money watching Lifetime movies than let that man rip me apart for another day. When I got weak my friend locked me in her house like a crack addict. I had to go back and listen to my recorded convos and read the God awful texts and read the police reports over and over. I kept forgetting why i left. I was sick of adrenaline rushes and jumping up when I heard his boots. Had to convince myself the man i married “died” in january 2015. That’s some of what kept me from going back.

      • “What did it take for you to learn your lesson?”

        If this hasn’t already been a Chump Lady topic, inviting people to comment, then I reckon it should be!

      • Doubtless

        Good to have you back where the hope is real. Missed you.

        Hold your head high. You saw the evil. We love way to much. The journey is getting our power back and it’s worth facing the pain to finally detach. We don’t beat ourselves up over wanting to believe. You survived. That’s what’s important. MEH.

    • In defense of Doubtless, it often takes multiple attempts to leave an abuser. This is a well-documented phenomenon to any student of abuse cycles. It’s not always about “learning the lesson” or whatever, sheesh.

      Doubtless, posting this took guts. Keep the faith, brother!

    • Hi Ian,
      I am glad to see you back. You “welcomed me to the club” several years ago. I’ve missed your wit and insight. And, I am sorry that you were hurt again. (The “gift” that keeps on giving…)

    • Hey! Good to see you and as you well know, sorry about it at the same time.

      I spent 13 years swallowing my anger and trying to be ok with the mess. I’d never judge anyone for trying to be with somebody they love. Eventually the pain will help us stay away.

      I hope you hang around, I have always loved your comments.

    • Wreckonciliation sucks for sure. Been there. Done that. Eight months and my dignity were lost during that debacle. You deserve better than that cheater!

    • Welcome back Dubious-now-Doubtless!

      There are so many times in this post-Dday journey when I thought “of course my X wouldn’t do that” and then… Well, trust that cheaters suck… nuff said.

      I’m so sorry for the pain you have been enduring Doubtless and glad to be reading your witty comments again!

  • Even my friends still forget and occasionally ask, “Have you heard from your XW?”

    And I’m floored by it. At this point, I haven’t spoken to her in more than three years, except for a one-off coincidence where we attended the same professional networking function. I live 2,500 miles away from her. She has a baby with her OM, and she and I had no children together.

    So WHY would I keep in touch with her? Why would we be friends? What sort of world do people live in where they assume I’d maintain a friendship with a former cheating spouse when I have no obligation to do so?

    I’ve got enough friends.

    • I know, right? And it’s not like I enjoy knowing that we live in a world that people can “ghost” or “forget” people that they once knew and even had an intimate relationship with, but being cheated on is not the same thing as ghosting an old high school friend or an employee that you used to have drinks with. There seems to be a little spill over into other relationships that I don’t really like. I think I’m saying people are blurring the lines and in some cases total no-contact makes complete sense (as in being cheated on), yet being ghosted by someone such as a friend is unacceptable (especially if there was no argument, etc). It’s like ghosting is becoming socially acceptable.

    • lol … my ex lives in Florida and my family got all concerned about his welfare before and after the recent hurricanes. They were so surprised that I wasn’t carefully monitoring his situation and perhaps driving over with bottled water and peanut butter! SNORT!!! It would be far more appropriate for me to apologize to all those Floridians who just happened to be in the path of what I wished on my ex … a category 6 aimed directly at (BAM’s address here!!)

      • Lol. I was in that path, and you checked on me. ❤️
        I cannot even tell you the glee I feel every time you call him BAM (Broke Ass Mountain)! Those no-good cheaters underestimated us big time. We are NC masters, and we are mighty!

    • I get this, too: “Have you heard from [him]? Or, better yet, “What’s [he] up to?”

      Even after 5 years, it always feels like yet another punch in the gut.

    • The bank metaphor comes in handy here. Would you do business with a bank that took your savings of $10,000? or $1,000? $500? What about $100 or even $10?

      C’mon. It’s not their fault. They lo-o-ost it. They didn’t meeean to! Give them a chance. It was only $10. No, they aren’t going to pay you back. It’s only money.

      Why can’t you get over it? No one is perfect. You’re overreacting, like you always do.
      YOU certainly aren’t perfect. You lost your friend’s $20. And that’s TWICE as much as the bank lost.

      WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Accusing the bank!?!! You’ve got some nerve!

      Whatever.
      *bank walks away with head down. Another sad sausage browbeaten by women who expect way too much*

  • I can tell all and sundry, I will never be that smug divorce. Actually, I often check myself to determine if I am the lady who protested too much. If I knew he didn’t have a receipt and couldn’t prove ownership and it was “his,” I tore it, broke it, hammered it, gave it away, and/or sold it. You don’t get to cheat on me and then financially abandon us the day after I confront you. No. Did I spend (and owe) quite a bit to an attorney. Yes. Because I was not going to just walk away as he wanted me to. And, when I leave this upside down mortgage house (that he had to have in his name only), I’m not sure that I’m not going to leave posters in the window facing the street with words written on them such as, “LIAR and CHEATER.” Because he has the bad case of impression management. I’m blowing town and won’t see any of these people ever again. None of any of it is my shame and I’m not wearing it. I just wish that I wouldn’t stop being shocked that he didn’t pay attention to who I am for the last 20 years. Because if he had, he would’ve known I wasn’t going to protect him.

    • I am still waiting for those rare exotic diseases to kick in from his tooth brush being used in the toilet bowl for months!! Still waiting …

      • LOL! I actively looked for poison oak/ivy. I had all intentions of rubbing it all through his sheets. There was no stopping me. What prevented me was him not coming home the day after I confronted him. I was on a mission and had already prepared what face I would use when everyone wondered what was breaking him out so badly.

        • lol! I was wondering if a mushroom omelette using a few mushrooms from the backyard would be tasty. I concluded I wouldn’t look very good in orange … 🙂 Fire ants were also watching me nervously …

          • x came home the Fri before Canuck thanksgiving (which would have been that Monday coming up) and announce that “this no longer works for me, I’ve rented an apartment across the country and will be back to get my things in a couple of weeks.”
            My son talked me out of leaving the turkey to defrost in the trunk of his car (we still have to eat Mom and it’ll stink up the garage not just his car) He also managed to convince me using golf clubs on his Harley would be bad (not paid for Mom, you’ll end up paying the damn thing off).
            x trusted me so much he actually left his beloved possessions behind … I hadn’t even found out about the 2 decades of hookers, AFF, AM etc yet and I still wanted to destroy his “precious”! Once I found out he was warning me not to touch his toys. Never touched them.

      • Dixie Chump you’re so funny. Just what I needed today. Thank you for making me laugh.

        I did the toothbrush thing too but I decided to use his for my 13 year old dog first then a quick swish around rim of toilet. He’d always resented how much I loved my dogs, so I can’t tell you the pure satisfaction of standing talking to him as he brushed his teeth, knowing where his brush had been. Poetic justice

    • I poured a decaying salmon into my ex’s gym bag because it was more important for him to go play tennis the morning after DDay than to talk to about what he did. Felt good. #sorrynotsorry

      • I poured skunk scent into the heater of my ex’s prize camaro. I would have loved to see his face when he turned on the heater. people are always extra horrified by this. I seriously wonder why? People never seemed horrified that he cheated, got hookers, never used protection, exposed me to diseases, abandoned his children, never paid child support, let the house be foreclosed, and drained marital assets down to nothing before his abandonment–but my one little act of defiance (that did no permanent damage) seems totally “out there” and “vindictive.” WHY?

        • That’s awesome, Jojobee.

          Another member of CN put shrimp in her X’s car vents (can’t remember who; anyone raising their hand?). He never got rid of the smell because he couldn’t find the source & had to sell the car.

          • Here’s to stinky shrimp ! A friend appeared very classy and not crazy by packing up and leaving his cheater. Before departing,he very carefully removed the curtain rods and packed them full of shrimp shells before reinstalling the curtains. Madame Drop Trou had to move out of her apartment because of the stench ! She couldn’t figure out where the smell emanated from-not the sharpest crayon in the box !

            • I mixed Nair in with his face lotion and shampoo. I also wiped down the inside of the washer with bleach when I left. Petty maybe, but it felt good!

        • …wow…wish I’d thought of that Jojobee 🙂

          …course satan probably would have liked the smell 😀 kroger ho = skanky skunk

      • Oh man, I wish I’d done this! I had a similar dismissal. A couple of days after DDay (we’d barely had any contact, as I’d kicked him out), I called him. We’d barely had contact. But instead of talking to me, he had to “go and play football.” When I protested, given what was happening, he just said “I can’t let the lads down.” I shit you not. He let down his WIFE and mother of his kids in the worst way possible, he’d not seen us for 5 days, but a game of football was more important?!

  • Mediation is a tool specifically built for narcissistic sociopaths and cheaters. Is another way for them to manipulate the process, drag their feet, and keep cake going.

    I absolutely hate the pressure that Tracy mentioned in this article about friendly divorce is. Because now the legal system is caught up in it forcing a lot of people to go through mediation where it is dangerous for the person who has been abused. The abuse gets worse during mediation.

    • The disordered will never play fair, even if they say they will be fair. There is a tremendous amount of covert competition against the chumps by the cheater. Do NOT listen to the BS of the cheater. Get a great atty and get out of the abuse.

      Yes. I want to save money in the process. NO, I will not go away and leave my personal welfare or the welfare of my minor kids on the table to be Nice. Then watch the facade slip and the cheater venom run.

      • Any illusion that they are playing fair really just means you have them by the short & curlies.

        Mine didn’t balk at settlement (including coughing up a large chunk of his retirement) because (a) I had access to all the documentation, having thrown him out weeks earlier; (b) community property state–50/50 division, baby!, (c) state-mandated amount for child support based on his salary, and (d) any public trial advertising his adultery with students could have cost him his professorship.

        His initial attempts at mediation (read, trying to trick me into a paltry settlement) were an indication of the mindfuckery I’d have been subject to in mediation.

        • Tempest, similarly I wielded what I fondly call ‘leverage’ over my x. Worked great on image control. Several people have told me they wouldn’t want to divorce me…a high compliment!

  • Amen, Amen, Amen!!! I put this in the best column ever category. I think this needs to run on the front page of the New York Times and get lead billing on the Huffington Post. Shout it everywhere. Divorce is hell and you don’t do it unless you have been betrayed on a deep level and that causes pain.

    Gwyneth Paltro, what kind of alternate universe do you live in?

    About 5 months into separation when I finally came to my senses, fuckwit told me that he wanted to be friends and my knee jerk reaction was to tell him “if we could be friends, we would still be married”. He looked at me like he was considering but he had no response. What the fuck is wrong with these people? Oh, I know, they have been somehow programmed to deny emotion their entire lives. Their lives are run off a societal script and they can pull out whatever role they want to play at the drop of a hat. Image management. I guess that explains why Hollywood is full of these sociopathic narcs. Acting is their forte.

    “Oh goody. Where do I get one of those exes who want a fair settlement and desires my friendship? Are they all on back order? I got a disordered creep who sues me pro se.” This was exactly the role my cheater was scripting for himself but it didn’t match his actions. His idea of a fair settlement was to walk away paying Feeling it $50 dollars a month or so and friendship means feeling doing on demand whatever he wants and taking care of his kids full-time until he needs them for a publicity photo or a scene in his latest movie that is his glamorous life.

    What!, Feelingit can’t just play her role as the good little chump and go away telling everybody that we just grew apart and are divorcing better than everybody else because we are (I am) superior to everyone at everything (even divorcing). Then I am going to have to start a smear campaign that she is mentally ill and I will fight her every step of the way. I am going to Win at all costs because I am superior and I am never wrong.

    By the way, I think loss causes sadness in emotionally healthy people. When something dies, they feel the pain and then recover. I don’t believe death was meant to be a happy occasion, neither is divorce or amputation. We deal with it and move on.

  • When your spouse repeatedly tells you how he is going to violently kill you there is no uncoupling. That’s war. Sleeping in your car and spending hundreds a week in therapy so you can just barely function. That’s a crime in my opinion. Feeding your dog canned beans and threatening you if you throw out that uneaten food there will be consequences. That’s a psycho. So good for the uncouplers. I’m happy for them. They didn’t accidentally marry Satan.

  • Thank you for this post, CL, it’s exactly what I need to read today. Every instinct tells me that no contact is the only way to peace and healing for me, that there is no way to be friendly with someone who has willingly and knowingly inflicted so much pain on me. But my Jackass, along with a couple of “well meaning” family and friends tell me to “think of the children.” Guess what? I *am* thinking of the children: I’m thinking that their mother deserves to not have to interact with a lying, cheating, gaslighting, disordered Jackass!

  • I can’t imagine being friends with ex ever again. We were a normal family on New Year’s Day teaching our son how to use his scooter. Fast forward 48 hours and ex was walking out the door never to return. He allowed me to go through pregnancy, childbirth and having a newborn baby alone. His actions could have caused harm for his unborn child and he didn’t care. Yes I’m angry and perhaps I could be called bitter but I think I have enough reason to be those things..

    • Pregnant Chump,
      Your anger shows in your post! I feel even more proud of you.
      You will remember my cheater did the same as your’s, cheated when we had a tiny child and I was expecting.
      I pick me danced, he stayed, changed jobs, we moved to another city.
      There is so much more to a cheater’s type of character than the cheating side.
      The years have been very difficult. The many times my children and I have needed support of any kind, mostly, emotional, eventhough he was there, he WAS NOT there.
      When a cheater leaves, or when a Chump kicks the cheater ass out, then, I do my own personal happy dance! Oh, this is not to say that I don’t feel the pain for this Chump, the raw, full blown, knock you to your knees pain kind of thing. NO, I feel it for you Pregnant Chump, and for each Chump.
      BUT, I cannot help but believe that in the long run, in the years ahead, that life can’t help but be for the better for the Chump and for the precious, innocent children. I believe this, with all my heart.
      I pray for each day to get better for you Pregnant Chump. I see the strength in each new posting. It may be difficult for you to see, but it is there!
      Love to you, your little son and infant daughter!!!
      ❤️

    • Walking out when I was 6 months pregnant without caring about the stress that would add to an already high risk pregnancy on top of the cheating describes a person I do not want in my life…at all.

      Then try to cheat his kids financially through the divorce by hiding a third of his income through OW…well there is absolutely nothing to work with there in terms of maintaining some relationship. I am good and angry, too.

  • I’m cordial with my ex when it comes to anything involving the kids. Other than that, I’m not interested and don’t have any other conversations with her. We’ve only had a couple of arguments since the divorce – mainly about wrapping up a few loose ends money-wise. But that’s about done.

    Other than that, she knows my position on our relationship. She knows that I believe she set me up, manipulated me, and used me financially. She knows that I know a lot more about her affair than she ever dreamed I’d know. And she knows that if she goes anywhere near a discussion about “us” or our marriage, it’ll turn into a skeet shooting show with me being the gunner. And quite simply, she knows that if it weren’t for our kids, I would never speak to her again for the rest of her life.

  • I completely agree, there is a huge difference between civility and friendship. Conscious uncoupling is described as “a proven process for lovingly completing a relationship that will leave you feeling whole and healed and at peace”

    Yeah, I don’t need a cheaters love to complete my relationship. The relationship reached its finality when he chose to sleep with other women. The only thing that can leave you feeling whole and at peace when divorcing a manipulative, cheating, lying, deceiving, betraying person is letting go of the hope that you can ever have a reciprocal relationship with them! It’s seeing who this person really is and accepting that you deserve better. Do I need the cheaters cooperation to move into feeling at peace? Nope! Oh, but it might help the cheater feel better about what they’ve done so they can move on in peace… eh, sorry charlie, you aren’t eating my cake! I am supposed to hand over dignity and respect to someone who wasn’t willing to give it? Not happening! The cheater has only their own behavior to blame for that life lesson!

  • Yeah. I got that from the can of Alp-Ho’s husband when I tracked him down to talk to him about our spouses moving in together (the ink was still drying on my divorce,) but he was so “evolved” that he helped her and their 3 kids move in with my ex while he (Mr. Milquetoast) was still married to Alp-Ho. A couple weeks later, I got insurance cards in my mailbox for their vehicles stating they were married. I sent a photo of them to Mr. Milquetoast, since he was still married to Alp-Ho and he got made at me! Why couldn’t I just let people be happy!?

    Finally dawned on me he must have a lil’ sumpin sumpin on the side. Sure enough. Both couples spent the 4th of July holiday with each other and then the 4 of those weirdos with all the kids involved, watched fireworks from the backyard of Mr. Milquetoast’s parents. My kids had a front row seat to that being ‘normal’

    He has them for Thanksgiving. I wonder if they will be spending it all together again.

    Ugh.

    • OMG Sunflower 36,
      Alp-ho ( a favourite name of all of mine on CN), and your ex watching the fireworks!
      THEY are the fire works!
      🔥BAM!

      Your pain is so vivid when your precious daughters have to be with these disordered whatschamecallums.
      It is so unfair.
      Keep on being the sane, present, loving parent.
      YOU are so far above them.
      Come to CN, we are so sorry for your pain,
      We believe in YOU, we have your back, strong Lady!

  • Conscious uncoupling just seems to be way to do away with negative consequences for bad behavior as if negative consequences are uncivilized. They hurt one’s image after all.

    I don’t know how I spackled over the fact for nearly 30 years that fuckwit never had to experience consequences because mommy and daddy were ALWAYS there to pick up the pieces of his destruction and they still are. I am hopeful that he will actually finally have consequences for cheating in the divorce but doubtful because he will still inherit mommy and daddy’s money and $$$ is all he cares about so I will just need to get to Meh instead.

  • yes the smugness of “we agreed and only spent [insert minimal amount].” Oh why didn’t I think of that?
    Because an entitled vindictive narcissist focused on revenge is no walk in the park.
    (How dare i not accept there were mistakes on both sides because not meeting Xs needs totally justifies cheating.) – not.
    Thank you CL and CN for getting it.

  • Our lawyer and the world outside of CN believes that my ex and I had the civil divorce experience. No harsh words were spoken (lol … well, maybe a few …) and we shared a lawyer to just check over the settlement “we” (well … I) wrote literally at the dining table. It was a neat and clean process wherein BrokeAss Mountain agreed that he would hand over 2/3 in exchange for my relative (although not complete) silence as to what a truly shitty person he actually is. I “niced” him throughout the process and he seemed convinced we would be friends and coparents. HA HA HA. What fools we both were … me before D-day and him after. I like symmetry …

    • Let me just add for newbies that the key to this strategy working was to do it FAST. I wrote and had him agree to the settlement within a week of the final dday … he was in total shock at being found out and at his maximum level of guilt and shame and wanting to sweep it all under a rug. If I had waited even a month or two … he would have NEVER signed what he did. So get a lawyer ASAP if you can.

      • I needed this advice 5 months ago. I should have lawyered up immediately but I was too emotional and in shock and desperate at the thought of less time with my daughter. I regret not filing immediately now I’m knee deep in a swamp.

        • Losing time with our children when we did absolutely nothing wrong is the ultimate shit sandwich. Nothing ever compensates for that loss. So sorry.

        • Don’t regret having a heart, Zell. The shock and grief prevent many of us from acting as swiftly as we should have, with the strength we needed to plow through this devastation. Pat yourself on the back that you are surviving and slogging through the swamp. You WILL get out and the other side is wonderful. Hugs.

        • I didn’t find CN until after the July 4 fireworks of my head exploding. I was already divorced. Wish I’d found this place right away

      • I moved fast on my second Dday with yet another schmoopie in my 20 years with the cheater. He was so freaking giddy getting to run off with his twu wuvs he initially proposed we still share a checking account. He thought we’d be friends and coparent. He thought he’d come in the house and continue to eat meals and share family time. He thought……wrong. But as Dixie Chump states, this only works in the very early days before they feel the consequences and start seeing the reality of the situation. You must move quick and stealth like. Get that separation agreement in writing with a lawyer ASAP and have the cheater sign it.

        My now ex cheater was stunned to see me changing the locks to the family home the day after his deadline of having all of his stuff out. He was texting me afterwards asking for crap. I called my attorney and she let his attorney deal with him. Yep those damn consequences suck. He eve suggested liberal visitation for the kids since they were old enough to decide where and when they spent time, he was just flabergasted it wouldn’t be with him and his schmoopie. My daughter still chuckles and says her friends can’t believe she can decide not to see him.

        Yep move really quick for any newbies reading this. Even if you aren’t sure what you want for your future. When the cheater is high on ho and is delusional about how this will all work out, they are much more agreeable just so they can get free to run off into the sunset. If it drags out, they get more disordered and demanding.

        • My XH also wanted a quick divorce. I got ILYBINILWY and he was gone. I didn’t know about the affair until after the divorce was implemented by him. He was rather generous at first, but then whore started to exert her influence. Lucky for me, he had signed off on my pension – prompting my attorney to ask, “Is he stupid?!” and me answer, “Yes.”

          We divorced in just over 2 months. Our house didn’t sell until 9 months later. By that time, he was fighting to not pay 1/2 of the gardner’s bill for our vacant house. We’re talking a $60 bill vs the hundreds of thousands a pension is worth. The greed, when it hits…and it always does, is astonishing. Divorce ’em while they’re guilty.

          • Cheaters turn sour pretty quickly. I wised up the second time he ran off with a ho in the sunset. They are so willing to do about anything during the guilt and the discard. Or have rationalized how it will all be okay because everyone one can be BFF’s.

            The first time he left for a twice-divorced, history of being a cheater ho-worker, he wanted to sell the new house we just built during the holidays while I had a DS4 & DD2 to raise. I wanted to get through the holidays. He had moved out in October but would be sitting at the house waiting for the kids and I to get home. He would eat supper then play with the kids. I didn’t chat with him. He came and went as he pleased. He brought his family to load up ‘his’ stuff and they took a bunch of the kids stuff too. His mom argued with me about a cheap, big box store bookshelf that was in my son’s bedroom and that her precious baby boy should take that since he had it before we got married.

            The longer the divorce drug out, the nastier he became until the kids and I moved into our comfy small house. He no longer came and went. He was no longer in control. The sunset with a ho didn’t look near as fun I guess and he begged to come back.

            I at shit sandwiches for years until this latest schmoopie. When I realized he was screwing around with our DD14 assistant school coach, I knew he was a horrible person and I needed to get er’ done quickly. I was only mighty because I had lived it once an knew how it would go down this time too. One of my fears would be the twu wuvs would fizzle before I got free and I wouldn’t be able to get rid of him.

            Although it sounds clear cut and clean for me, once the divorce was final I’m trying to understand what the hell just happened. How did I spend 20 years of my life with someone like this. To know him, everyone thinks he’s such a great guy. Fun loving, joking, always smiling, generous. But this isn’t the man I knew at home. The kids and I had nicknamed him ‘the hammer’. Wow. 20 years of my life. He’s still with his young schmoopie a year and half later. Showing up at the kids’s Catholic high school as a couple. He really is that self centered and entitled. She’s one lucky, lucky girl 😉

      • Agree Dixie Chump. I could echo your comments exactly. World (except my friends and co-workers) saw a nice clean fast divorce. He agreed to everything I demanded (although I was really pretty reasonable) and gave me sole physical and legal custody. Fast was the only way for me to get everything I wanted.

  • Most of you know I am a 2 time chump. Both of my divorces were quick but not painless. They were quick because my exs each had a boyfriend waiting for them. They were not painless because my exs each had a boyfriend waiting for them. To have two marriages end with exit affairs is a special kick in the self esteem gut.
    This conscious uncoupling is BS and a mind f for children. I have friends whose parents did that and they always thought why didn’t they stay married. Yeah, that’s a real treat for the kids.
    I’m now decades out from my first divorce. I’m at meh. We are friendly to each other and attend grandchildren things and don’t avoid each other but we are not friends.
    Thank you Tracy for bringing a voice of common sense to these issues.

  • My story is just a bit different and I think it may actually be a “conscious uncoupling” not that I disagree with CL cause I never disagree with anything she says.

    Married 42 years, he was a weekend alcoholic that graduated to full-time abusive alcoholic after retirement. No desire to quit drinking and had two EAs in last couple of years that he refused to give up. Never became PA but cannot say for sure he did not cheat on occasion during marriage , just never had any proof, only suspicions.

    Our kids both grown, married, seven grandchildren. We made the decision that we could no longer live together and started separation process with him immediately moving out to his own apartment. Did the lawyer thing and he was very very fair financially. The house is totally in my name now, i kept all my pension and get part of his starting next year. I still work and need to pay off a small mortgage but I enjoy getting out and being with people and don’t mind this at all.

    It has been almost two years now and we are friends. There was grief at first for us both, but mostly over loss of what “should have been ” our future. I used to cry when I saw an older couple out walking their dog together or having dinner in a restaurant with their grandkids. But with time I have realized I still have a great future, it just is different than the one I had planned. This site with CL and CN has helped so much with the realization that I am not alone in this and so many stories are so much sadder than I could have ever imagined. I read here every day!

    We still get together for dinner and movie nights (when he is not drinking) and travel together often and enjoy each other’s company when we are together. Life is just better living apart, less stressful in every way, and I enjoy my quiet life without the triggers of listening for the “pop” of a beer can opening! Oh, and I attend Al-anon faithfully every week, something I wish I had done many years ago!

  • Just yesterday my sister said to me that I should try to talk to stbx for the sake of the children. I gave her a sharp look. Said we do speak ever so briefly regarding children. She thinks we should try for friendly conversation. I said no more. Later I reflected that at this moment she’s involved with a married man… Hmm.
    Anyways it brings me great joy not to have any ‘conversation ‘with stbx. Why doesn’t anybody want me to be happy?! Wahhhhhhh…… (my narc impersonation of I just wanna be happy )

  • “Growing Apart” is an excuse con.

    While I was at home cooking dinner and helping my daughter with her Algebra homework my cheater wife was blowing and screwing her massage therapist at her parent’s house while they were at Bible study. I was ‘growing’ as a responsible husband and father. My wife was ‘regressing’ into an animal.

      • I have always thought: who has time to cheat when they have kids because you are busy helping with homework… oh I guess that is only if you care more about your kid than yourself, how silly of me.

  • Conscious uncoupling? Have others describe it to you…. with;

    A slightly raised eyebrow.
    An imploring look, like the chump simply can not understand the “enlightened way” to divorce.
    As they give examples of how THEY did it, or their friends did it, how just darn reasonable everyone was. Almost like they apologized to the judge for disrupting their time……

    On the other hand, they are just as bad as the people who demand you “go down to the court and GET the judge to award you support, TODAY!” or restricted visitation, or primary custody, or return of stolen funds.

    They don’t understand that ALL that money could have, should have went to children’s college funds, not divorce attorneys.

  • Well from the outside our divorce might have looked like “conscious uncoupling”. Ex would certainly like to spin it that way. “Nothing personal, I just love her now instead of you”. We did work through a mediator and I think we were both pretty fair in the settlement agreement financially and in terms of custody and placement. We did work together to do what we both thought was best for the kids. Does that make us superior? No it just means that we are both conflict adverse. Do I think that makes me a better person because I put a lid on my emotions long enough to get through the divorce? Absolutely not. In fact sometimes I think I made things way too easy on ex. I had good reason to be angry and upset and not want to be civil to him. It kills me that people want to give him credit for that too. What? He had no reason to despise me. And sometimes the ease of our divorce makes me wonder why, if we can get along so well, he didn’t try to work things out with me when he was unhappy instead of going off and fucking Schmoopies?

    I have nothing but admiration for the people who have to put up with so much shit trying to divorce their fuckwits. I cheer when they get the best of their exes and I am angry for them when the exes get away with screwing them financially as well as emotionally. I know I should be grateful that the actual divorce part of all this was relatively painless for me. One less thing to deal with. In the other hand when you have a high conflict divorce, at least you know you are dealing with an enemy. My ex treated me like shit for a number of years and then discarded me in favor of a selfish self-centered slut. And yet he treats me and the kids better now than he did before the divorce. I have to keep going back and reminding me of all of the horrible things he said and did to remind myself that he isn’t my friend despite appearances.

    He keeps doing favors for me and I don’t know how to take that other than to reduce opportunity. I always have to get the trash cans to the curb early on his nights to take the kids or he will do it for me. The other day I came home and he was raking my leaves. What am I supposed to say “hey, get away from there that’s my leaf pile.” I did the best thing I could think of which was to jump in and start raking like mad myself in order to diminish the favor as much as possible. And how am I supposed to present that to others. Yeah, he rakes my leaves for me but he’s still a jerk. How is that going to make me look?

    So is all of that supposed to make me feel better? Am I supposed to be relieved that the guy I lost wasn’t as bad as everybody else’s? Aren’t I lucky that my ex rakes my leaves for me? It doesn’t make me feel better at all. It still hurts like hell that he left me for that bitch. I always did appreciate the things he did around the house, but that wasn’t the only reason I loved him and kept him around, so the fact that he still tries to help out now and again doesn’t make it all ok. I don’t even know why he is nicer to me now. It’s not like he is trying to win me back. He is perfectly happy off fucking Schmoopie instead of me. Why is it so important to him what I think of him? Maybe he just wants me to like him because it makes it easier for him to have a relationship with his kids. Maybe he just wants to convince himself that he is still a good guy. He doesn’t get to be the good guy, he’s the villain and I keep having to remind myself of that. The rest of the world might think I am bitter if I don’t sing his praises, but I know what he put me through and being fair in the marital agreement, being a better dad and raking my leaves for me doesn’t erase all of that.

    • Chumpinrecovery,
      I could not help but smile when I read your post.
      Hell, let him rake all the leaves, do nice, good things for you. Whatever. Just walk past him, go into your peaceful home, lock the door.
      Leave him and his guilt outside. He could rake forever and that nasty old guilt will never be raked away.
      He lost a true gem in you. Hmmm, maybe, somewhere inside that guilt, he realizes that! Just saying!
      YOU are Mighty!

      • Ditto to what Peacekeeper said!
        Another option if your feeling feisty – invest in a leaf blower and come out and blow his piles apart. Maybe he will get the hint to fuck off with his guilty conscience.
        Stay Mighty Chumpinrecovery! Stay Mighty!!!!

        • OMG – ‘Another option if your feeling feisty – invest in a leaf blower and come out and blow his piles apart. ‘

          I’m literally falling off my chair – thanks for that.
          It’s exactly something I would do.

    • Chumpinrecovery, yeah he’s raking leaves, but who cares about that. When the stakes are low, that’s when he puts in meaningless effort. How about being there when it mattered? when the stakes were actually high and honoring his wife and marital obligations, why didn’t he step up and act with integrity. As you said, raking some meaningless leaves don’t count and don’t erase how he tortured you throughout the marriage. And I wonder if he comes to rake your leaves, to get a rise out of Schmoopie or to get her riled up, by keeping contact with you in meaningless ways. As you know, these disordered folks love to triangulate. I’m willing to bet he’s not raking your leaves to get in your good graces, I’m thinking it’s to make Schoompie jealous. And of course, it’s always about him in the end, always has been.

      • “I’m willing to bet he’s not raking your leaves to get in your good graces, I’m thinking it’s to make Schoompie jealous. ”

        I’ll bet its a way to see what you’re doing…are you screwing the neighbor? his friend? ….can he get some video on one of the kids bumping their heads on a water spigot? Too close for comfort and, WHY?

        Rake him into the sunset.

    • Chumpinrecovery- I wonder if your ex is doing those things because he does actually feel guilty. That does not erase the way he exited his marriage through hurt and betrayal. My STBX tried to do a few of these things as well at the beginning. I ended up shutting them down. I did not want him around and the acts felt hollow when I started to uncover the extent of betrayals and that they went back far. Plus, he was all over the board…one minute trying to be nice, the next sending me hurtful text meassages.

      It came down to what I needed. And I needed him gone. He disturbed my peace. And just because your ex is being decent through the divorce doesn’t matter. You matter. So, simply ask yourself what you need. And then give yourself permission to set those boundaries.

    • He puts out your trash cans and rakes your leaves?? You need boundaries immediately.

      He’s not being “nice”. It’s merely image management. He gets kibbles from you because these favors make him feel needed, even without you asking for them.

      Does he bring his own rake? If not, where does he get it? Does he enter your property to get one? If it’s in a shed of some sort, put a lock on it today. Can you put a lock on your gate to keep him from entering your back yard to retrieve your trash cans? He doesn’t live there. He is trespassing.

      Make it crystal clear that he is not welcome. You are independent and don’t need his “help”. NC in words and actions.

      • Agree. He’s salving ego, conscience, and image at your expense.

        I am actually very much in favor of the “get away from my leaves” approach.

      • CiR, I agree with JaS. Get that cheater out of your life once and for all. As you said yourself, he is not your friend. He is using you, as JaS pointed out, for image management. He needs to reassure himself he’s an OK guy.

        Clearly, you’re not comfortable with his “favors.” Change your locks, give him the gentle message that he and his efforts are not wanted or welcome, and speak/see the jerk as little as possible.

        Just reading about him gives me the creeps, I can’t imagine putting up with his behavior.

        • Bingo. Ding! Ding! Ding! Raking the leaves is all about: 1) Attempting to triangulate you, schmoopie and the kids. See he rakes the leaves…SUCH a good guy and ex-husband. He does this to ‘show’ the kids that he is really a good guy despite being a liar and a cheat. The message to the schmoopie is that she better dance REALLY hard and faster or maybe he will be de-thaching in the Spring and FERTIILIZING or SPREADING SEED perhaps!? And of course doing all this yard work sure looks darn good to the ol’ neighbors now, doesn’t it? Oh what a wonderful guy he is! I am sure he puts the rake down to wave to all the neighbors who might wave back and think…’Hmmm just maybe’ the ol’ wife was a cold, crazy unappreciative BITCH’.

    • Chumpinrecovery,
      Is your property visible to the neighbors and people driving by ? If it is,this smacks of impression management to me. “Look what a great guy I am ! We’re divorced but I still help around the house !”

      Turn the garden hose on him the next time he trespasses on your property if you haven’t put it away for the winter yet !

    • Thanks everyone. Why is it so easy for all of us to clearly see the evil of other’s cheaters and yet so hard for some of us to see the evil of our own?

      Sometimes I think that there is one downside of CN. There are so many horrifying stories on here that sometimes it can make ex seem like pillar of integrity and kindness by comparison. I have to remind myself that it is a pretty low bar to be better than some of these asshats.

      • Some of the best advice here is don’t worry about what the neighbors think because you know the truth chumpinrecovery!

    • I definitely think you should just keep walking into the house and leave him out there raking the leaves alone. When you grab a rake and help, that just cements it in his mind (and anyone who sees it) that ‘see we still work together. I’m not a person who did a horrible thing and blew up my family’. BUT, you do whatever works for you. We are all behind you either way.

  • Conscious uncoupling is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. In cheating situations, the cheater is the least conscious of humans, if at all. If they were “conscious” they would have not had an affair, cheated, and rather stated to their spouse they wanted a divorce and worked things out in a conscious way. And most of these cheaters want to stay married while having a side dish, so there is no uncoupling for them either. So the entire term “conscious uncoupling” is the dumbest thing ever.

  • People just don’t get it.
    A. From second honeymoon in February, to his starting an affair in March.
    B. 8 weeks later, he “HAS to get out of this abusive marriage!” (to be alone!)
    C. I was told Chump was going to do everything cheater advised, including sign over the marital house to him, (or he promised we would sell the house at a loss, and I would be handed a negative equity bill at closing.)
    D. That I was going to “go along” with his Catholic annulment petition at the church. Yes, cheater had investigated it, I was going to “go along” (lie to a tribunal which included lying to a priest.) because “I would benefit, too.”

    These were the first two conditions I was presented with at the FIRST discussion of divorce – out of the blue. I just don’t understand why things didn’t go smoothly.

    • Till this day I’m dumbfounded by the self righteous, smug, bold faced lying and entitlement xh has consistently shown.

      • Magneto

        To this day you are one of the strongest, most amazing women I know! Your skill set with art, cooking endeavors, and power tools make you formidable. You were treated horribly, and you have risen far above his shameful discard of you and your beautiful children. He’s a first class ass. You are a class act.

    • Horrible what he did with the second honeymoon and his demands! Scum!
      And they wonder why it doesnt go smoothly??! I got told the same. Sign house over to him or I’m f@cking dead. Ask for one thing that he thinks is his and I’m dead. He took all the things i loved and threw them in the landfill before we even got to his requested mediation. I go and spend thousands and then he quits halfway thru. Now he wants to know why this is going to trial. Now I’m a child that can’t be civil and sit down and work this out. A weekly tantrum translated to… why aren’t you letting me take advantage of you and scare you into submission anymore😭 wahhhhh.

    • Good for you for not lying to the tribunal. Someone who would ask that is not really a believer, it is just hardcore image management. If you ever want to remarry in the Catholic church, you can file your own annulment proceedings with the TRUTH on your side.

    • Glad you held your ground on all of that BS. For many cheaters out there “friendly divorce” means they screw you over by cheating on you and then you hand everything over to them in the divorce. No way!

  • Thanks for today’s blog. My Dday was just about a year ago and this month has a lot of anniversaries of her lies unraveling. I’ve been trying to be nicer with her “for the kids sake” sometimes talking to her makes me feel better but only temporarily. I feel so sad and angry lately. Recently, I found out that ALL of her friends suspected something was up and one even confronted her. This happened before any sex too, according to her. I took some comfort that the affair happened in a vacuum I told her and myself that no one was their to be her conscious. That’s not true and now I have to rise above it? It’s over with her AP but now she’s with the guy she dated right before me 18 years ago, he’s getting divorced too. She says why should I care let her live her life. I’m gonna have this old flame loser who has no kids hanging out with mine? With all this I feel sad for her, she’s lost in a midlife crisis literally trying to relive her youth. I wish I never had to see or think or talk to her but we have two young kids. And the blame I have to own my
    Part of her affair, I’m the one who wanted the divorce. Sorry just venting now.

    • It’s different for dudes, B&C.

      The shame is a motherfucker. And any anger we show can easily be taken for violence. All the guys on here I have seen up their husbanding and child-rearing skills to compensate for the slight to our manhood. She’s using that shame to manipulate you. It’s okay to be angry with her, but you’ll have to show it only to other men you can trust. And good luck finding them. It’s going to be okay, dude. Vent here, do your thing, and don’t let her get in your head. Your part was simply trusting a liar. She groomed you to abuse you. It stops when you say it does.

    • You wanted a divorce for a very good reason and you have shown your children that one should never allow another person to treat you with such disrespect. When they are grown, they will know and understand you did the right thing. And if they ever find themselves in a similar situation (God forbid), they will be much more likely to be strong and stand up for themselves just as you did. In fact, they are more likely to avoid marrying someone with such bad character. So you have done a very loving thing even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

  • “Of course I’m wondering why if you have that kind of maturity and fondness for each other, you couldn’t just work it out.”

    I wonder who these people are too. My ex would say we couldn’t work it out because he discovered through fucking….well, everybody, that I just wasn’t the girl for him. 2 kids….17 years of marriage….like he just woke up in bed with a mistress and said “ something just feels off with the Mrs.” Like he wasn’t sure if he was coming down with a cold or not.
    Then they pull that shit where they say they are leaving you for her to spare you the agony of being in a marriage where your partner isn’t in love with you. “You don’t want me anyway Paintwidow. You’ll be much better off if I go live with schmoopie. I’ll never be what you need.”
    You mean faithful? Honest? Loyal?….you’re right, I am better off.
    Still hurt like a mothrrfucker.
    The let’s be best friends ( because it’s good to be best friends with the guy that wrecked you especially when he’s trying to settle the divorce) is seriously the most fucked up part. At the time you are crying in your wine thinking “okay, I’ll be his best friend and he’ll remember how great I am and come back.”
    It’s a trap….HES AN ASSHOLE!!
    That I can’t stomach my ex is the best thing that ever happened to me, it keeps me safe.
    I thank god everyday for Chump Nation, I’d still be dancing and he and his mistress would have all our stuff.

    • Yes! yes! This exactly! Ex wants to convince me and everybody else that he made the hard choice to do what was best for both of us. BS. He made the stupid cowardly choice to go fuck other women and find my replacement before doing anything to try and save our marriage or even just divorce me if we were so “not right” for each other.

      Thank you for putting it so well.

    • Paintwidow,
      “something just feels off with the Mrs.”
      I love your writing style,
      mostly, I love that YOU are mighty!

      • I got the unforgettable line….’you married the wrong guy 35 yrs ago”. I said, wouldn’t I be the one to figure that out? Still not sure if he was aiming to blame me for making the wrong decision when he asked me to marry him…

  • Seriously folks, get the book. I have “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” on audiobook and on a continuous loop as I drive until my first of what will probably be many costly hearings. I also got a copy for my attorney. Time to change the dialog in court too.

    Big thanks out to Chumplady for changing he dialog. Its about time.

    • I printed out some of CL’s key columns a few weeks after D-day and carried them around with me CONSTANTLY, reading each one 5-15 times a day. Best therapy in the world.

  • After years of his dickering around on the separation and divorce, I made the conscious decision to hire the best attorney I could find and sue his ass off and out of my life. I got tired of being nice, trying collaborative divorce only to be jerked around over and over again by his not showing up for those friendly meetings or bringing financial materials requested. I consciously uncoupled with him and his string of OWs. Game over. I unfriended a cheater, permanently.

  • My Ex was was so smug about having a friendship with his previous ex wife. After DDay, I got some confirmation from his mother and his roommate (who lived with him just post divorce) that their relationship was deeply toxic. He would never tell me explicitly why they broke up and just kept saying they grew apart. I always thought it was odd that they maintained this relationship so closely and tried to be so overt about how chummy and healthy they were. Tales of the abusive screaming matches between them seem to indicate otherwise….

  • I cannot tell you how many people have asked if I am divorced yet and then say to me, “Can’t you two just sit down in a conference room and work it all out?”

    I don’t even know how to respond to that without going into details about the incredibly shitty things he has and continues to do. I’m not afraid to speak the truth but I don’t want to be that person who just keeps spewing. Plus, most people just assume that it is dragging on because both sides are being ridiculous. I just want honesty and a fair split. That is impossible to do when divorcing someone without a conscience, who is morally bankrupt, and thinks nothing of getting creative with numbers to paint a different picture than reality.

        • GetMeFree – I totally understand people asking that question! It’s like – NO, you can’t get divorced! It’s upsetting the entire apple cart. You two were the most in love and a great example of a LT relationship. Give up your silly arguments and get back together…… I can’t tell you how many couples I felt like saying that to….and then, people said it to me when my time came around. It’s just so painful for the people who admired and had faith and admiration for your relationship.
          Just Sad for society in an encompassing way.

  • Conscious uncoupling? What idiot made that up? Probably a cheater.
    Who would stay friends with someone who lied to them, cheated on them and deceived them?

  • “Smugness” is right.

    I know someone who vacations with her ex-husband. She posts pictures on Facebook, as if they are one big happy family. It’s bizarre. People talk behind her back all the time, wondering if they’re getting back together. If it’s that confusing for adults to witness, I can imagine that their children are equally confused, if not more so. They probably love that both parents are there and hope it means that they’ll get back together, which will never happen with these two. And what are the logistics? Do they all share a room? Do they split costs? Do they argue? It’s just weird.

    One of the best pieces of advice I got right after my ex moved out was from a divorced friend. We went out to lunch together and had a lovely time, talking about exes and life in general. As we were leaving, she gave me a hug and said, “By the way, don’t believe anything you read online about celebrities or anyone else staying friends with their ex ‘for the sake of the kids’. You don’t have to do that. Just be true to yourself, and you’ll be fine.” 🙂

    • Gwyneth and her ex Chris Martin broke the news of their impending divorce to their kids on vacation, to soften the blow I suppose.

      Can’t stand that woman with her vagina steaming advice,etc.

    • I don’t think I would want to date someone who went on vacation with his ex and played happy family. I guess that might work if you had no intention of getting in another relationship.

  • When cheaters are doing their uncoupling the chumps are not conscious of that fact. Therefore conscious uncoupling is an impossibility with cheating.

    • Exactly Chumped! The cheaters “uncoupled” consciously- without mentioning it the chump.
      We chumps had no idea we were being “uncoupled” until d-day.

  • My divorce was NOT “conscious uncoupling.” Instead it was “conscious get-the-fuck away from a cheating liar.”

  • Just yesterday I read an article on a study that showed disordered types — narcissists and sociopaths — were the likeliest people to want to remain friends with their exes. They did this for personal gain, of course, it had nothing to do with fondness or love or friendship.

  • My STBX’s idea of conscious uncoupling would be for me to pretend that his side business (which generates a third of his income) doesn’t exist. No value to be divided and support should not include that income. Ummm….no

  • We grew apart. We uncoupled- consciously. Translation: I cheated on, lied to and deceived my spouse. But…..I don’t want to tell the truth about what really happened. So these sanitized disingenuous platitudes will work just fine.

  • I know a couple who grew apart. They are divorcing this year, after 36 years together. The wife (initiator of said divorce) is getting ready to retire and they realized they want completely different things in their last years (she-travel! he-sit in his chair and watch tv!) and she is bailing. Friendly, amicable, money is a non-issue as they both worked good jobs for many years.
    So it does happen.
    Not to me…I got the asshole.
    But it does happen 🙂

  • Fucktard spent two years on the cheater playbook mindfuck all the while unraveling our joint finances before Dday, then spent two years after that gleefully and willfully dragging out the divorce. He stole savings, dissipated assets (schmoops was a first class hooker😂),walked out on our kids (financially, physically, emotionally), vandalized our foreclosed dream home (the one he could easily afford) two years after moving out, and ran a game of intimidation through my days and our small town court proceedings. I was in fight or flight mode for about three years. Oh, and to this day he has not cooperated on that “retirement issue.” Even the vehicles he abandoned had his name only on the title, making them difficult to sell. When people talk about cognitive dissonance, going “scorched earth,” that is exactly what X did. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. I consider myself lucky to have survived and have moved far far away from Edgar. My best life now includes deep NC. Why invite the devil back?

  • Ex suggested we “stay friends” after we split up. My response to him was that I would never have friends who treated me with such content. His behavior was what one would expect from an enemy.

  • I did not “uncouple” — I filed for divorce. However, I had two young children who were going to need child support, and “some” attention from their father, and we had joint business ventures which needed to be settled. I did use psychology on their father — he was a narcissist, and was aware of “image control” and he knew that many of our friends and family members were already aware of his “weakness” in terms of fidelity. He did not want the children to hate him. He did not want to have to explain to his friends and family that he did not provide for his children to live in a decent home, and have decent clothes. He wanted to know what was going on in their lives. In order to do those things, he had to settle many things about the divorce in a different way than he would have liked, I am sure. There was a disparity in our income, and even in his most delusional state he knew he could not have primary custody of the children — he traveled a great deal in his work, and he knew I was an excellent mother. I suggested we use the same attorney/firm that had done estate planning for us, and they already knew about our assets. Because of these outside pressures, and his desire for image control, we had a reasonable divorce. It does not mean I was not angry, or hurt, or unfairly damaged economically — but I came out with the most important things to me — primary custody of my sons, and enough money and assets to live life without a great deal of disturbance for my children. If we had not had children, I am sure things would have been different, and if he had not cared so much about his image, things would have been different. It was very hard for me to be logical and emotionally detached, but that was what I needed to do in order to get the best settlement possible for me and my sons. I had to maintain basic contact with him until the boys graduated from high school, and limited contact until they graduated from college. Since then, I rarely see him or talk to him, and meh is much easier now.

    Narc # 2 was a different story, but I had learned many lessons during my 20 years with Narc #1. I really hoped I had found love and commitment, but I had not taken the time to fix my picker, and I did not pick well, for my sake. Fortunately I did not have to worry about my children In many ways, Narc #2 was harder on me, because I felt I should have done a better job, and I had had enough therapy and research time by the time I pulled the plug on this relationship to understand better where I had gone wrong. He was clearly the reason for the divorce, he had lied and cheated. It didn’t take me as long to discover the lies or the cheating, and I was not as naive or surprised as I was the first time around. But heartbroken? Oh, hell yes. I felt like I would probably NEVER be able to trust anyone again, and I still don’t know if I will ever even try to.
    I know I am better now, and I have learned my lessons and worked on fixing my picker. I have also built a wall around my heart, and it would take someone exceptional to ever be able to breach that wall. Fortunately I am older now, and my needs have changed. I have used my picking skills to find some really good friends, I have not found anyone who interests me romantically, but I have found some wonderful feelings about freedom and peace, and I am enjoying both. Meh is a wonderful place. If I have to, I can endure seeing or speaking to Narc #1 and Narc#2. They both lost much more than they gained by losing a relationship with me and my sons, and by being liars and cheaters. Neither of them appear to be happy, from what I know, but so what? I am at peace now, and I know I didn’t have to “manage my image.”

  • My STBX is one of those people who wishes to part ways amicably. And 25 years of being conned and manipulated left me at first believing that’s how it should be.

    Thankfully I found CN, and am slowly but surely implementing No Contact! Because, NO! I don’t want to “be friends!” Friends don’t continuously lie to your face, or steal money, or call you names, or talk over you when they don’t like what they’re hearing. And friends aren’t vindictive.

    I hope he and his whore (who cheated on her husband) treat each other the same exact way they treated us. Maybe one day I’ll reach “meh!” and not think about (a.k.a. hope and dream of) him feeling absolutely miserable over this fucked up choice he made. I enjoy imagining him crying over not being able to see his kids everyday, and having to deal with his psychotic, narcissistic whore, who definitely won’t put up with the shit I put up with.

  • My stbx would like me to help her pick out outfits and maybe, join her at her family’s house over the holidays, but sadly I’m very immature. I won’t even shake her hand or touch her in any way or respond to idiotic conversational texts, or do her laundry.
    These fucks can’t ever be honest partners-not in marriage, not in separation, not in divorce. They will continuously lower the bar in behavior because to them, equality is equivalent to being controlled and they only feel safe and secure when they are in control, therefore, the must maintain the power imbalance in all of their relationships.

  • My parents did the conscious uncoupling thing, despite my father’s serial adultery. They only eventually divorced so my dad could marry the OW he left my Mum for. He married her about 12 years after he left my mum. Everyone thinks it’s great that they all get on. My dad loves talking about his 2 wives when they are together. It’s pretty sickening really but there is no point in saying anything. I have learnt thanks to my own chump experience that he is a narcissists. He isn’t going to change now at 62. The positive thing is that neither myself or my 3 brothers are like him. They are morally good young men and I could never see them doing to anyone would Dad did to Mum and ex did to me.

  • Oh man, I wish I’d done this! I had a similar dismissal. A couple of days after DDay (we’d barely had any contact, as I’d kicked him out), I called him. We’d barely had contact. But instead of talking to me, he had to “go and play football.” When I protested, given what was happening, he just said “I can’t let the lads down.” I shit you not. He let down his WIFE and mother of his kids in the worst way possible, he’d not seen us for 5 days, but a game of football was more important?!

    So yeah, I wish I’d had some salmon. Well done you!

  • I caught up with an old friend and her husband last weekend and got to see a couple who have grown apart. Twenty years ago I went to their wedding, they have four children, and now can hardly talk to each other, everything has a barb to it. Both say there is no one else, and I believe these particular people when they say that. They feel trapped by their big house, have financial pressures with kids at private schools etc. I wanted to shake them, say- downsize then, sell the house, pick a less fancy school, go to counselling. I admit to feeling a bit incredulous- those are your issues? and competitive-You think those are issues? MY marriage had issues. But i reined myself in. they are very unhappy, and I’m sorry for them and for their kids

  • I know a lot of people who are divorced (who doesn’t, right?) and actually, some of them HAVE had amicable divorces. I’m not saying that one or other or both was not hurt and angry, but I DO know some who have pulled off a ‘we’re just going our separate ways’ type end. It helps if they don’t behave like arses, or lie, I admit.

    And I admit, as well, that I do feel bad about how awful my own divorce was. If not for the children I wouldn’t care either way, really, but this new situation is horrible. Not because I want him back (hahahaha no, that ship has sailed) but because the whole thing with the kids’ relationships with him, and his refusal to pay maintenance and so on, makes everything so ghastly for all of us. They feel conflicted, there are things they don’t want to talk about or hear. And there are things I don’t want to hear (not so much about his various girlfriends; what hurts more is how he manages to afford a cleaner when he can’t pay court ordered maintenance for his children and I do a long day’s badly paid work and then clean up after us…) We have not been able to both go to graduations and the like and it is painful.

    And I feel a fraud: I have just written a book about ‘making peace with divorce’ and though I have made peace with the end of my marriage, making peace with that POS does still seem a long way off.

    • Pia totally understand your feeling but I also point out that a good reason for feeling awful is because he sucks but that it is not on you the same as cheating isn’t. It is outside your control and his bad choices to be a cheater and so mean. When they grow up the children will surely take note of these priorities.

      Also congratulations on your book! Making peace with divorce is something I aspire to and I’ll look out for it. (Again the ship has sailed just struggle sometimes with the it but again it was always that way I just didn’t know it)

        • Yes I can echo that. My life is very different now and in many ways worse. However there is something to be said for not living with someone who is lying to you! And knowing how much money is in the bank. And traumatic as it has been (for me, because I had become less and less capable during the course of my marriage – and I don’t blame this on him) I am learning that having to be self reliant, while painful, is also rewarding. My unfinished journey to making peace with divorce involves examining my own part in the breakdown of my relationship.

  • Damn – this one hit a nerve like getting a root canal without novacain. I had a work colleague who I looked up to for years thinking she was such a great role model personally and professionally. Weirdly enough, she contacted me about one year after I split from LadyLiar and asked if I had any advice for her, because she had left her partner of 20 years and was about to start mediation. Then she proceeded to tell me, “I had an affair, but that wasn’t the reason we broke up,” and, “We’re going to counseling to get resolution and I don’t understand why my partner keeps acting like she hates me!” Duh. Really?? I told her I don’t have any advice because our situations are so different and have just tried to fade out of her life. SHE is bitter because her partner won’t play the “we’re all friends here” game?!? Pisses me off.

  • the term “friendly divorce” is usually trotted out as an image preservation tactic by cheaters, from what i’ve seen. see also: “it’s all good” and “it is what it is”. i prefer “amicable”, which in my case means that i didn’t serve the ap his teeth via his rectum.

  • Excellent post!!!

    Mine was amicable to a small degree. He got busted by OWhore, had to pay for our divorce and meet all of my demands.
    I won.
    He kost.
    Sucks to be him.

    Fast forward two years now, and he’s ducking and dodging on paying child support, but I’m working on that. Otherwise, he leaves me alone and out of my hair. Unfortunately for DD, he also stays away from her except for evey other weekend, what a dad.

    Im sorry for all of the nightmares my fellow chumps have gone through and sadly will go through.
    (((Hugs))))

  • My ex has been about as awful as possible to both me and my three sons.
    He however still thinks he is a lovely guy.
    He lies to all and sundry all the time.
    ALL THE TIME.
    They get away with it because nobody else digs around for the truth, nor do they care really.
    Hence the narrative goes the way of the liar. It is sickening.
    I do not believe anybody who behaves the way mine has in this divorce deserves anything but total contempt. This has been hideous un-coupling thanks very much.

  • I did the whole amicable divorce thing, but it was strategic. It’s not for everyone. It helped me have some level of control while being discarded.

    I showed him the list of assets and told him to imagine all the money gone, transferred to the pockets of lawyers. Then I gave him my very fair terms and said we can save money by agreeing to be fair and civil.

    After listening to some of other people’s horror stories of dragged out $$$ divorces, I’m glad I did it the way I did. I struck first and fast when I knew his main motivation was to get into his AP’s life asap. I put aside my emotions temporarily to make hay while the sun was shining.

    Obviously this strategy cannot work for everyone.

    • I salute you. Although I was perfectly amicable at the start, I had insufficient resolve, strategic sense or understanding of the facts to do as you did, more’s the pity. I was married to a banker who held all the cards and had been lying to me for years. And I innocently thought he would do the decent thing. I was wrong.

  • Oh yeah, I’m mother-fucking uncoupling from my lying, cheating, covert abusive turd. Fully aware (now) and CONSCIOUSLY.

    Fuck that shit, I am reclaiming ‘conscious uncoupling’. Now known as flushing a turd.

    Watch out sweet Gwyneth, don’t let the toilet water ruin your Jimmy Choos.

  • Conscious Uncoupling. Blech! How about when he decided to mentally and emotionally divorce me in his own world without telling me all while pretending to be my friend for over ten years. He couldn’t understand why I was devastated when I found proof about his affair because I had no idea anything was wrong with “us”. He tried to invoke pity by saying he should have divorced me years ago but was sad about leaving me, he decided to stay and have an affair behind my back instead.

    At this point I am done. I have been blamed as his reason for his poor character, his anger, and his ruined life even though he asked me to marry him and he’s the one who made shitty choices in the marriage. I just caught him in yet another lie when the truth would have sufficed.

    I truly wish there were funds available to help spouses who’ve been chumped get a divorce. Trying to scrape money together without the other person knowing is torture. Its taking way too long and I keep getting hurt more and more.

  • Hello, I’ve been following this website for the past 4 months and reading almost every comment about emotional affairs written here and throughout the web. I thank all of you for just your insights based on your personal experiences and I feel like I am understanding myself and my husband’s current affair more and more. We have been together for almost 10 years, married for 5. We were always the envy of all our friends and had a wonderful marriage (I thought).
    This past 2 years has been so rough as I saw him withdraw emotionally and eventually physically. He still takes care of our “financial well being” (I work part time now to take care of our toddler)… But I am still in the uncertain future part because he still hasn’t woken up from the fog after 2 years and we are separated now for 4 months. In the beginning he begged me not to kick him out, but through all my anger and disbelief that he went back to his EAP (2 years of this mess!) I made sure he knew I was angry, hurt, and wasn’t going to stand here while he disrespected me and our marriage. He started his unhappiness stage when I became pregnant and life pretty much became stressful and routine. He hadn’t prepared himself emotionally to mature to fatherhood and to mature love of husband and wife where I was too tired from taking care of a colicky baby to be his muse. His ho-worker started hitting on him and he said he felt a connection that as married man he should have for me. Wow, way to abandon your responsibility as a new father and husband! I don’t know how far he has taken the EA to a PA, but he swore that he hasn’t slept with her yet out of respect for me (he would wait until we are fully divorce). Who knows what physical things they’ve done and I’m terrified to picture it. I’m in terrible depression and have almost collapsed from the pain and limbo everyday, waiting to see if he files for divorce. I have spoken with a lawyer and am prepared to file if need be. I want him to be the one to file so he feels the full weight of his actions. So far he has dealt with our finances respectfully (since I built much of our wealth through careful savings & investments — I’m a financial advisor) but I can feel he’s got one foot out the door because he keeps saying “I want to protect you and our baby even we aren’t together.” Well, then why hadn’t he filed for divorce?! I keep trying no contact but he keeps calling me about our finances, and then asking about how our baby is doing, and sometimes adding in his daily activity and asking for a friendly divorce to save on lawyer fees. Some days I’m @ MEH, and some days I’m hoping that he will wake up and realize how stupid and selfish he is acting right now and profess his love…but I don’t think he will ever profess his love like in our first 7 years before he met his AP…if he ever comes back, it will be because all the other reasons are exhausted and he’s stuck with me. Jee, lucky me, then? I won the leftover plate of love?

  • Stuck in Limbo, your “new baby” experience mirrors pretty much my own timeline. My first D-day was when my son was a year and a half and my husband revealed he had been carrying on an affair for 8 months with his married Office Whore manager. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was wrong with him before that! He was drinking a lot, getting so drunk he would pee the bed. It was a really scary time for me and SO stressful. That all happened 22 years ago…I am still married to him. Tried to reconcile the marriage etc. Then we had our daughter who is now 18 years old. I have been so emotionally beaten down over the years trying to spackle and all. What I endured thereafter? His ridicule, derogatory narrative to his friends and family about me and to our kids. I filed for divorce in 2012, got wobbly because of emotions and financial issues and dropped the divorce petition. It did NOT bring us closer. Rather it was a means of him to just accuse me behind my back of being his crazy wife and that I was a “piece of work”. He has harmed me not only emotionally but financially as well. He is now 67 years of age and a grown-ass man- you would think? Well, our 18 year-old daughter got the pleasure of stumbling across text messages between him and prostitutes. Talk about psychic injury. These guys just get worse when you reconcile because they use that reconciliation to show to the world that they are NOT so bad…cause if they were bad then you wouldn’t be reconciling. Leave this guy. You will just suffer and never feel sure of your world staying. All for it just to get worse…

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