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Tell Me How You’re Mighty, Holiday Edition

Hey, it’s time for a Chump Nation mightiness check in! To the newbies, about every 6 months or so I ask CN to tell me how the “gain a life” thing is going. The holidays can be rough, and maybe you don’t feel as if have any Christmas-newsletter-above-the-fold sort of achievements to report.

We’ll take anything! 30 days of no contact. 30 hours of no contact. 30 shots of egg nog and a very ill-considered text message. Everyone can play, wherever you are in the chump journey. (Leave a cheater? Everyone’s a winner!) Chances are you’re ahead of someone else, so offer some encouragement.

I hope the further along folks here can compare their Holiday’s past to their Holiday’s present  and give the newbies hope.

A little holiday story, I’ve shared here before, from the Xmas after my D-Day (it seems like a lifetime ago. It was 11 years ago…) Cheater gave me a tie-dyed license plate cover as a gift, announced he had to work, and so my son and I drove to Ohio without him. It’s all a blur now. Just later, during the brief idiotic reconciliation period, I called him out on where he was on Xmas and he said he “forgot.”

If you’ve read my book, you know what comes next. My shrink Janet — the tiny, potty-mouthed truth teller called him out. “BULLSHIT! I’M A JEW. EVEN I KNOW WHERE I WAS ON XMAS!” She wasn’t kind or subtle, but she was effective.

Fast forward to today. I don’t waste time on fuckwits. Mr. Chump Lady and I are headed to the Midwest for X-mas and the biggest drama is that my mother wants to make a low-fat turkey tettrazeni for dinner. (All cooking with low fat cream cheese and frozen vegetables comes to a bad end. DON’T CUT CORNERS! Turkey tetrazzini needs whipping cream and sherry. So stage an intervention with your full-fat recipes if you’ve got them.)

Life gets better post-fuckwit. Promise.

Tell me how you’re mighty! Happy holidays and Love to Chump Nation!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This is our first Christmas alone.
    I am mighty. Although I am a differently – abled person I made the decision to leave the chaeter/ liar and yes I have. I lost many things/ friends along the way. My daughter seems broken but I intend to help her through the hard times.
    Thanks to CN and CL I know that we will make it through with our own new traditions. We will heal together.
    Love and hugs to all.

    • My daughter was broken too, and diagnosed with PTSD from his abuse. A few years down the road now and she is doing better than ever.
      There will be better times ahead. Give her time and love to heal.

      • quicksilver, your note reminds me of what my doctor (Internal Medicine, not a shrink) told me – some cheated on partners go through an intense grieving period which can and has led to PTSD in both men & women chumps. I think I had a touch of it just after my D-day because in the immediate aftermath I dated and dumped several women, just to somehow get even (sick mind rationalization). My anger was misdirected, I know, and I wish I could find & apologize to those I treated badly back then. I can’t even remember their names anymore. I still think about my ex occasionally, but I don’t pine away for the “good times” we had anymore. I realize now that I had built her up in my mind to be somebody she wasn’t in reality. She wasn’t the cute loveable sweet little tart I wanted to marry….she was an evil self-centered bitch. I definitely developed the “trust that she sucks” attitude, but it took awhile. These unhappy events leave a scar, but it feels good to be free!

        • I’m glad you recognized how disordered your behavior was and I hope you went to therapy to address your issues with women. We aren’t targets for your rage or “tarts” (lovable or otherwise).

    • No mightiness here. Yet! 2nd day on Thanksgiving. Wine and me putting on the “everything is okay” mask for the kids. Trying. Hugs to everyone out there who have the misfortune of being dealt this shit hand of cards.

    • I was in your shoes last year and now a year later, nearing meh. I woke up one day feeling better and smiling at the realization of the strenghth i never knew.
      The cheater? i threw him out of the house november last year after 17 months of pick me dancing. He took shelter in his aunt’s house brought the ‘ soulmate’ there for a secret rendezvouz. They took pictures in bed and dumbly saved it in the hardisk. I found out about it, sent it to his relatives. After a month, the aunts and uncles told him to leave and take everything he owns there. Not invited to family gatherings and ostracized.
      Thats karma face to fAce times 2.

    • I’m in the middle of this already. I can’t do it. My Xmas wish is that he be hit by a truck. What do I do with Xmas anger?

      • Spoon…. use the anger constructively. I boxed up all his shit and his mother’s ugly furniture, and moved it into the garage. (He was a border of shoes, coats, and expensive crap that he never used). I painted walls, laid a tile floor, redid tile backsplash. I bought new bed, pillows, comforter, and towels new shower curtain. I felt very mighty, but also proud to make it my space, just mine. For my future anger, I bought a boxing bag, and taped a cartoonish version of his face on it. My point is find a positive way to get rid of your anger. And remember, karma will hit him someday.

        • Thank you- good to be remind of this even now. I am two years out and just got hit with such anger. Thanks to your comments I will put it to good use!

        • Oh yes! Gotta pack the hoarders things and put them in the garage. Only after months turn to years, the boxes of belongings are never picked up. Who ya gonna call? Why a group who can use the items! That’s what I did and I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted when the boxes of hoarded belongs left the garage!

      • Anger is useful. It spurs action. Let it propel you to positive action. Move reminder crap out that you no longer wish to see. Take a walk. Make a list of things you no longer have to put up with now that cheater is gone. My personal favorite was not having to deal with his irrational road rage any longer. It gets better. Promise!

    • It just occurred to me that after this Christmas there will be many more newly minted Chumps here. Very sad thought that in a few days we’ll be seeing more newbies.

  • I am mighty in that I am relying on God, myself, and my kids and thriving. No desire for toxic, judgemental people or drama in my life…too much to be thankful for and enjoy! The realization finally hit that I deserve better and am truly stronger than I ever imagined. Karma will eventually kick in…not my problem!😊

  • Well today is my 16th wedding anniversary, 8 months past dd2, first Christmas separated trying to make myself do all the divorce paper work. Since Christmas morning was my ex’s only holiday request I am now spending Christmas without my son. The upside is how much easier it is to see and spend time with my family. My life has much less drama and is less stressful in surprising ways. My ex was a dark cloud always there just to make life harder and complain. I love giving him nothing for Christmas. He had high expectations for gifts and would be insulted by anything I got him. He didn’t contribute much to my life so I don’t miss him. I miss the idea of him, of what I thought he I was maybe. Better to spend time with my family than with my ex.

    • StaryEye,

      You mailed it. “My ex was a dark cloud always there just to make life harder and complain.”

      Bravo for you. You got the toxic out of your life. Stay strong.

      • I’m in same situation. I found out about all the cheating and lies this past April and I’m smack in the middle of a divorce. Unfortunately my cheater and I share a business so no contact is almost impossible. However, I do enjoy a more drama free life for sure and our son, who’s six, seems to be ok for now.

        • I am in a very similar boat. Middle of the valuation of the companies right now but we still have jobs together, so there are really bad days when the communication we need to have for work purposes makes things work. Trying to just stay professional and make it through. Hugs and reach out if you ever need to, it’s a rough road trying to separate a marriage and a business…

    • Yes!! You have so much more time/energy/happiness to give to people who actually deserve (and return) it when you leave a cheater. I’m experiencing the same thing and it’s just the best. Merry Christmas 🙂

    • This: “He didn’t contribute much to my life so I don’t miss him.”

      Hang in there, Stary. Things get SO MUCH BETTER. <3

      • Very true….the past few years with skankboy he did not contribute anything of value. As a matter of fact, it only made my life harder. Hasta la bye, bye, idiot!

    • StaryEye, we’re you married to my ex? Totally the dark cloud…. AND he would repeatedly say he didn’t want any Xmas gifts, then if we got him something anyway, he would judge and complaIn about it ….unless it was super expensive. How could I not have understood who he was, far earlier?

      Much more peaceful Xmases since I kicked him out.

      • He used to tell me how he would eat anything because he isn’t picky. It doesn’t matter how many times he said it, it wasn’t true. After 16 years I can say there isn’t anything he is happy with. He is unhappy eating out and unhappy if I cook. Even if I cooked and cleaned up it was no good. Did he cook? Once a year. I have to feed my kid so some choice is required. It’s like he makes it so no matter what I choose he can attack me for it. No one wins. Except now I can do what want and no one attacks me if the sink has dishes in it. Mind you I was the one primarily working to support the family.

    • “I love giving him nothing for Christmas.” Me too!!

      I gave and gave – time, effort, planning, cooking, cleaning, shopping wrapping, planning, baking – I cared because I loved – to get an uninterested, surly, asshole who had to be cajoled into turning off the TV to join the kids and me in holiday events. And I cared enough to research, hunt down, and buy gifts that were meaningful and exactly what he wanted while he shopped at the auto parts store. Really. One year the kids and I got flashlights, spray ice melt, and latex surgical gloves (so you don’t get gas on your hands when you’re at the pump).

      This year, my 3rd without him, is good. It’s still not perfect as DD will be hosting him and OW Christmas morning and I’ll miss her and her husband and my dear granddaughter at Christmas brunch, but I will have Christmas Eve with them and the rest of my family.

      I (evilly, I think) kinda revel in the fact that adult DS will not have any contact with Shithead (son is completely NC and has no problem enforcing his boundaries) and will spend Christmas Day with me – DS wants nothing to do with Shithead and his (as DS told Shithead) “adulterous trophy.” Love that kid.

      We’re having friends for brunch and planning a fun day instead of the tense, miserable days of years past and I’m so looking forward to it!

      I am happy and content – hang in there, new chumps, it DOES get better. LOTS BETTER!

      • Geekmom,
        I (evilly, I think) agree with you!! Whenever my adult daughters communicate their distaste at my Shithead’s actions, I’m sorry (not sorry) to say that my heart glows a little (which I recognize is not exactly a healthy way to think/feel). I try not to revel in it too much…but after what he did, he deserves to lose his family. And I also try not to think too much about my desire that they would ALL go NC with him, and totally write him off. But I know that won’t happen.

        And I’ve mentioned (ad nauseum) in many other posts, how I wish my 16 yr old daughter wouldn’t desire to spend so much time with him. Just wish she saw past his image control crap and saw him for the true person he is.

        But oh well. At only 5 months post my 3rd and final DDay, I’m doing pretty well, and am looking forward to Christmas dinner with all 3 of my daughters, because, as he put it, “I do have plans throughout Christmas Day.” So he’ll get them first thing in the morning for presents and breakfast, and I’ll have them Christmas Eve AND the rest of Christmas Day.

        Hope you enjoy your festivities with your kids!

        • I feel my ex wife doesn’t deserve a relationship with our son after what she did. I also feel a bit guilty about feeling good about my son going no contact with her after she left us for another man.

    • This is exactly how I feel. This is my first Christmas without him. We were divorced 2 months ago after 25 years together. I am still realizing all the lies. Thanks ChumpNation for all your stories. It truly is therapeutic to know you are not alone, and that you will survive

      • This is my first without Cheaterpants, and I also just “celebrated” my 25th year with him (20th married). Although, he’d already moved out and spent it with his whore.

        Anyway, here’s to many more Christmases without his mood swings and lies! Gosh I don’t miss having to deal with him every day.

        • 25 seems to be a significant number. This is my first Christmas without cheater and it would have been our 26th together. Need to harness the mighty from others now as I am literally enroute home for the holidays. According to FB posts, cheater is there with side piece OW. She posted that this is “The Best Holiday Season Ever” followed by one about being there for “Family Christmas”! (My husband and I are still married!) Praying I won’t cross paths with them although he will surely take her to all of our favorite places as he has done with the other adventures they’ve had. Disgusted that my inlaws have apparently accepted all of this if they are sharing Christmas together.

          • Still I Rise,
            I know how you feel about the in-laws…just after DDay (July 2), when she found out her son had been in a relationship again with the whore, MIL and the whore were chatting it up on FB, liking each other’s crap. I FB messaged MIL about how horrible I felt. Not necessarily mentioning the FB crap, but just in general how sucky the whole thing was. And she messaged back: he’s my son, what do you expect? I was shocked. I don’t know…I was sort of expecting a little bit of support after TWENTY-FIVE YEARS together. Even the whore’s own mother let her whore of a daughter know how horrible her actions were! I’ve since unfriended MIL and haven’t spoken to her since. Not that we talked much anyway. As the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and my narc STBX definitely is his mother’s son.

            Hope you have a nice Christmas and don’t run into cheater pants and his whore. YOU ARE MIGHTY!!!

            • GoWithYOurGut

              I had a similar experience with my in-laws. I was still hoping to put the marriage back together, but their response was ‘He’s our son, we have to support him.’ I thought I was part of the family, but the OW was just immediately taken in.

              • but remember, she can be cast out just as quickly, and undoubtedly will be. If they have no loyalty after 25 years to you, then how will they be when Schmoopie wears thin?

                And probably all before next Christmas. You were probably the best thing ever to happen to their worthless son, and one day you will be held up as an Ideal Wife, to the fury of him and his various new schmoopies who traipse through.

              • After 24 years together and my ex wife cheated and left I called my MIL soon afterwards, she pretended she didn’t know who she was talking to on the phone and said May I ask who’s calling even though my fucking name pops up on the screen..I knew right then how this game works, hung up and never spoke to her again. She immediately called back and left a voicemail but I never responded. I’m not playing that shit. That was almost 4 years ago.

              • Funny thing is…Schmoopie is almost EXACTLY like my MIL. You know…narcissistic. And as Schmoopie used to be my “best friend” years ago, MIL and her have known each other for years, and always got along. They’ve always had so much more in common than me and MIL.

                And KBChump…WOW! That’s so low!! Good for you for not responding to it. You’re so much better off.

          • I also found it horrendous with my in laws. I found out they had been friendly with the OW while he was having the affair. My mother in law met them for lunch and went out to dinner with them several times, my then 9 year old ran across a photo in grandma’s photo album and brought it to me at her house last summer and wanted to know who was hugging on daddy…we were visiting her as a family. Now it’s all out in the open though “daddy” does not want his kids to know he has a girlfriend. My MIL always says “he’s my son, what am I supposed to do? You have sons I hope you are never put in this position.” Well, I hope to hell I will have raised better men than that and I can promise you I wouldn’t be meeting an affair partner for lunch while the unknowing wife was home with the kids. Hang in their “Still I rise” I believe there is something wrong with the parents who raised these fuckwit cheaters to begin with so their behavior is not that shocking after all the cheater learned this from someone…

            • Right after my final DDay in July, my MIL (who lives a couple hours away) came for some work, and I found out that she went to lunch with my STBX and Schmoopie. I admit that it hurt my feelings. But I’m over it now… going NC with my MIL was easy-peasy.

            • Try to be mighty, I hear you. When I found out about my husbands affair 2 weeks ago, I went through his phone and read all of the nasty things my MIL was saying about me, a MONTH ago. Encouraging him to dump me and the kids and move on. Saying I’m fake, a mean mom, lazy, on and on. That he should find a “rich girl” next. She knew of his affair and his apartment hunting and was a-ok with it. I’ve been in this woman’s life for 21 years and thought we were close. We talked on the phone a few times a week for years and I can’t even count all of the ways I bent over backwards over the years to help her. Finding out who she is too hurts. I’m NC with her now, ignoring calls and texts and figure it’s her loss. Hang in there. I think it’s better to see who they really are then try to continue some bs relationship for the kids.

          • Hi, Still I Rise, I also found it horrendous with my in laws. I found out they had been friendly with the OW while he was having the affair. My mother in law met them for lunch and went out to dinner with them several times, my then 9 year old ran across a photo in grandma’s photo album and brought it to me at her house last summer and wanted to know who was hugging on daddy…we were visiting her as a family. Now it’s all out in the open though “daddy” does not want his kids to know he has a girlfriend. My MIL always says “he’s my son, what am I supposed to do? You have sons I hope you are never put in this position.” Well, I hope to hell I will have raised better men than that and I can promise you I wouldn’t be meeting an affair partner for lunch while the unknowing wife was home with the kids. Hang in their “Still I rise” I believe there is something wrong with the parents who raised these fuckwit cheaters to begin with so their behavior is not that shocking after all the cheater learned this from someone…

          • To Trying to be Mighty and anyone else still sharing social media with their cheaters here is my advice: unfriend the cheater and anyone else that thinks the cheater is friend-worthy. There is no time for these losers. I admit it was hard so not judging if you can’t bring yourself to do it yet but I was much happier when I finally did.

            I was with my cheater for 22 years (married for 19). Cheater’s OW must have really low self esteem if she agrees to go to all of your old haunts the narcissist cheater can’t help but share. What a heel! Sounds like they both got the boobie prize. She probably won’t say a word because OWs know deep down that they will eventually be traded for the next shiny thing and think being easy going will somehow change the cheater. Karma is a bitch. My cheater recently brought his OW on his own “best ex-wife ever” tour of my tiny quaint town. Then sent me a nostalgic note of all of the great times we had. I enforce no contact and luckily had no kids with this toe rag but I forwarded it to OW. Like I said, karma is a bitch.

            As for the outlaws, they made themselves clear and helped build the character of their cheater son. Ditch them too.

    • StaryEye,
      You for sure nailed it!!!!
      This is my third Christmas minus exh2/The Evil One, and life is so much better for me and our Autistic daughter, and my two adult sons…
      I don’t have to worry about the sulking, the bitching and whining about how not-perfect things are…
      Peaceful holiday!!! Yay!!!

    • Oh, yes! I can be with my extended family on holidays now and relax and enjoy myself! No stress worrying about walking on eggshells around the abusive narcissistic assclown. No stress anticipating his embarrassing self-centered behavior or conversations.

    • I swear you just nailed it. Mine didn’t contribute, but thinks he provided the world and more. He made all holidays stressful even with his own family when there was NOTHING to be stressed or angry about!

      All of my family events with my children as exhausting at 3 and 5 years old have been so much more enjoyable without his presence. My children are actually better behaved without him around. Unfortunately the ex doesn’t believe the behaviour is better.

      Like for instance Christmas Day my 5 year old told my ex that his Grandpa (my dad) didn’t know my ex… and my ex took that as we (my parents and myself) are trying to erase him from my 5 year olds life (which is completely untrue, although it would be lovely I’ll admit) instead of being concerned about WHY the 5 year old was questioning it, he was more concerned about what was being said about him and how it made him look.

      Ugh…

      Although this Christmas was much improved over last year, even though I haven’t seen my children in 2.5 days and I am missing them dearly.

  • I blocked him in EVERY way and am having the best Christmas I’ve had in years… relaxed, with MY family. No put downs from the in-laws while cheater scurries away with his tail between his legs. That was always attractive.

    The further back he is in my rear-view mirror, the happier I am (in more ways than one)! I haven’t been dating (DDay from a 5 month relationship was less than a year ago), but even my vibrator makes a better boyfriend than cheater. Hell, becoming a nun would be more sexually satisfying than being with him, lol.

    Not really accomplishments (yet), but a few months after cheater left I applied to law school (currently waiting to hear back)! I’ve also just finished semester one of an MSc 🙂 [Cheater hated that I was in school because it took attention away from him, in all his unemployed, drug-snorting glory.]

    As for cheater, I got a voicemail from him the other day. He was hoovering, asking me to call him, all sad-sounding.

    No thanks. You can keep your misery to yourself.

    Hang in there, Chumps!

    All the love & merry Christmas ❤️

  • My personal view is (nearly 5 years split) there will be tinges of painful memories. If someone cheats on you they don’t love you. It is not about you its about the cheater. My ex tried to dump me on Christmas day!, I think you have to make life easier for yourself. (easier said than done). I always put myself second, now I don’t. He put me though some terrible experiences, but life goes on. Don’t waste your life on them.

    • SD, “I always put myself second, now I don’t. ” This statement is powerful!

      For me it is a slow process but small steps compose a long journey. I have noted the little things in my head and given myself a pat on the back when I don’t apologize for not always being there for everybody else. Eg. I was out shopping, came home late and had no dinner plan. I made no apology (twice)! My kids are old enough to fend for themselves and so what if we don’t have all the food groups and a sit down dinner 365 days a year. Best part is no-one complained and and I didn’t feel like a failure because Fuckwit wasn’t there to covertly berate me give me the cold shoulder.

  • I am coming up on one year since DDay #2 where I kicked him out and filed for divorce. He had a long time affair with a ho-worker. I’m so much more peaceful and spending the holiday season the way I want to. I have participated in church events he never wanted to go to, visited friends and family, and spent so much less time worrying about all the gifts and materialistic aspects of Christmas. It feels great! Fuckwit has the kids for Christmas morning. My only hope is that he can finally feel one bit of all that I used to do to entertain his family, cook, wrap, and clean. I’ll be lounging with my sister and her sweet little girls drinking coffee on Christmas morning. I survived the hurricane that my asshole ex caused and I only plan to keep rebuilding but stronger. CN and CL propelled me forward this year and I’m forever grateful for this community. A little Kesha helps too (“Praying”). Stay strong CN! It really does get better.

  • Nearly 9 years after leaving to gain a life and losing my home in the separation process, I have just purchased a house again for me and my children ☺ So happy I won’t be renting anymore!

  • Wishing all Chumps everywhere a cheater-free holiday season. Tracy is correct that getting the disordered out of your life makes it better.

    After 30 years of marriage to a lying, verbally abusive cheater, I am now 2 plus years post-divorce. I can say that the joy of the season is back. The Christmas concerts, cookie baking, sending cards all gave me joy once again. I can even concentrate enough now to read books again. I have read 6 this week. I’ve also met a ton of new people, and am learning a new language. I am delighted that the effect of the trauma, grief, and shock were temporary. My goodness, it’s great to feel energetic and joy-filled once again.

    Take heart, Newbies. It does get better.

    • Good to hear it gets better. Even though life is less stressful and drama free I still have a hard time reading novels, listening to music or watching movies. Forget Christmas cards. This happened after DD1 also so I know it won’t last. This is the last time I am getting over a broken heart because of my ex. Not going to give him the option to break me again.

      • This is been one of the biggest losses from the whole thing—the lost ability to enjoy literature. That had always been my passion. I have a degree in English literature and I used to read at least two novels a week. I couldn’t even get through a chapter after D day one. Three years out and I can now read short stories. Progress!

      • I just noticed that I stopped reading novels etc after d-day. I just got absorbed in “save the marriage/ cheater books.” Ill be getting back to reading more interesting stuff now!

        • I stopped enjoying novels with romantic interests because I’d heckle. “Oh, hun, you know he is a narcissistic fuckwit and bad news. Don’t try to fix him. You can do so much better!”

          • Yes, exactly this 2nd gen chump. I had started writing romantic fiction too, in the last few years before leaving stbx; now I can’t. And my novel that was published makes excruciating reading for me now – it is full of all the abusive manipulative behaviour used on me for years. And saddest of all, I wrote the happy ending that I didn’t get – an abusive man who changes his ways because he loves the heroine.

      • My cheater had stated when we first started dating (25 years ago) that he hated when one of his ex girlfriends read, and he’d prefer if I didn’t. I kept right on reading because it was impossible not to, and I didn’t take him seriously. But there did come a time, YEARS later, that I let his petulance get to me, and I slowly stopped.

        Over the past year or so, I’ve begun reading again, and after DDay, I felt a little giddy when I actually splurged and bought a brand new one! Not a used one from the library.

        And I now realize that the reason he doesn’t like anyone he’s in a relationship with to read is because reading takes away from his egocentricity.

        • A man who is threatened by reading? Reading??? Wow. That is off-the-charts insecurity. That is going to be in my Top 5 most memorable CN things.

          Unless they are being hurled with great speed, books are not threatening.

  • I kicked the loser out last Christmas Eve. The few days after that I refer to as the Epic Meltdown of 2016. I destroyed the Christmas tree, every ornament we had collected over the years, and a few other decorations. #noregrets

    My anger fueled me through last year. This year, the anger is gone and it’s replaced by nothing but peace. I’m going away the week between Christmas and New Year’s with a friend. I wasn’t going to decorate, but I bought a little tree anyway and hung the stockings.

    I’m sure him and schmoopie are all cuddly and sweet during their first Christmas together. But I will always have the upper hand. Because I know the truth, how he cried, how he told me it meant nothing to him and it was a stupid mistake. What she’s getting for Christmas is a lowlife, losing cheater coward, a hoarder and a borderline alcoholic, who cheated on two wives, and who likes erotic massage parlors. And I got peace and quiet, a better life, more closet space, and to keep my pride and dignity.

    Happy Holidays, Chumps! We are on the path to a better life.

    • I love your story and I am envious of your closet space. : ) Your story is inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I believe things aren’t as rosy and wonderful with the unfaithfuls as we imagine. You have the most wonderful Christmas gift ever and schmoopie got coal in her Christmas stocking.

      • I was so worried about this Christmas. I had a fabulous time. Stayed up Christmas eve until three in the morning with my girls. I laughed so hard I could not sit up. Can’t remember what was so funny but it was awesome!! We all got up early to watch 3 year old open presents. We took naps today. Now we are making convince store pizza and playing leggos. Thanks Chump Nation for giving me a place earlier to express my anxiety over what the holidays might bring.

    • I got all of his crap out of my house and garage as well as his stink. One day, I walked into my house and thought about how good it smelled and realized it was because HE was gone!

      And the more closet space? YES!!

  • Divorced 6 months after a 35 year marriage. I know this Christmas is going to be difficult, but it will be minus the chaos and drama my ex and his mother always brought to the holidays. I worked so very hard to make everything perfect for my children during the holidays and somehow, it was never enough. He would come in around 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve after being at the bars and lunch with “friends while I worked my butt off to pull off a great party for his 50 plus family members for 25 years. Not once did he help, not one single year, not one single thank you. For the last 4 or 5 years on Christmas morning after opening presents he would leave the house with bags of boxes and wrappings to find a dumpster, he would be gone for at least 2 hours finding a trash bin. My gut told me he stopped by the co workers house, but of course, he never admitted it. This year, I am going out to lunch on Christmas Eve. Yes, this is the first year in 25 years I can relax and enjoy my friends even for a few hours without the pressure of hosting a huge party. I am having my daughter, son in law and new grandson over on Christmas Eve and I know it will be peaceful and filled with new beginnings. My wish for all of us this holiday season, is not to look back at my old memories, but to live every minute in the present, to be grateful for what we have, and to share with others the goodness of this wonderful season.

    • Lost wishes, I think we were married to the same person! Every Christmas Eve, he would stroll in after hours in a bar after I had been cooking, wrapping, shopping, cleaning, assembling toys, etc. He’d tell me how tired he was and go to sleep while I stayed up all night making sure everything was perfect. Prior to Christmas the kids and I would go pick out the tree and get it set up. He would sit on the couch and tell me I should move ornaments to different places. God, what an asshole. This is my 4th Christmas without him and each one gets better!

      • It does sound familiar that we all seem to have been married to the same person. All his holiday traditions came from me and I used to call his family “holiday challenged”. No traditions for ANY holiday as his NARC mother escaped early November and returned just in time for Mother’s Day to “hold court” (pay homage to her for being such a good mother!) Married 35 years….a Catholic girl and after having recited the Lord’s Prayer a gazillion times, I have found new meaning in “deliver us from evil, Amen”. God has answered my prayers! One year post divorce and I find that a lot of my Christmas spirit is gone. So is the stress and exhaustion of all the work and having to deal with in laws. One irony is that they can no longer have certain “recipes” which were my specialties. I am working on my new reality but am at peace.

        Merry Christmas to all us Chumps.

        • NotMyFault, I had the same epiphany with the Lord’s Prayer too. The folder for all my divorce paperwork is called “Delivered from Evil.” Three years ago I was talking on the phone with my sister who lives out-of-state. And I was telling her that I was afraid of my ex. And she asked why and if I was afraid he physically hurt me. I said that no I didn’t think he’d physically hurt me, but he just scared me and I didn’t know why. Now I know why. Because deep down he’s really evil. He truly is the mean, cruel, selfish, lying cheater that I thought he was even before we got engaged. He’s not the “nice guy” that he presents to the world. Once you see someone for who they truly are, you cannot unsee it.

    • Best wishes
      I know what it’s like after 34 years of being abandoned & left for a white trash OWhore.

      I discovered his long term affair, kicked him out then divorcing him. This is my 2nd Xmas without the dirtbag. Life is hard now especially financially but my son & I are doing better. The Whore he left me for died few months ago…Karma hit them .

      He’s now living in his cousins basement. But I have no compassion or empathy for him.. he treated me cruel & humilated me.

      This holiday i am more content being on my own. So many years of living with one you thought loved you then discovering he never did hurts.

      We chumps are all Mighty for what we’ve been through but rising again to live a honest life.

      Happy Holidays to everyone here on CN 🎄 ❤️

    • LostWishes

      I love that it’s no longer your job to do all the heavy lifting. You hit on a number of things he lacked namely appreciation and respect. You described a very selfish entitled Asshole just like the one I divorced.

      Great new beginnings for you! Enjoy the peace!

  • I don’t miss him- not one bit!
    I am spending this Xmas overseas with my sisters and parents.
    My new life, the new confident me- I am loving every moment.
    Took 3 yrs to get here.

  • Rhys and I were each other’s summer flings for two summers, and Mac and I had only just started dating a few weeks before Christmas the brief time we were together. On the contrary, Ben and I got together in April of last year, and we’re now engaged.

    We’ve made a tradition of going to see the lights and having eggnog afterwards, and we’ll use tonight to wrap presents and tomorrow to build a gingerbread house. It’s from a kit, but I don’t think that matters, do you?

      • I second that motion – the decorating is more fun than the baking/cutting for me. 🙂

        I guess that’s sort of an analogy for chumps — we don’t have to bust our chops trying to make perfect gingerbread from scratch. We can use what’s already made to do the job and just have fun with the people with whom we love co-creating a beautiful home. 😉

  • I left the STBX in August and headed off on my Road Trip to Meh. Since then I’ve driven by myself from Maine to California and back to New England, visiting with loved ones and meeting new friends along the way (including chumps). I have always wanted to experience Christmas in jolly old England, so I at this very moment I am in the UK visiting friends who live in London. We are just back from a few days’ holiday in Ghent, Belgium, where we enjoyed the Christmas festivities in that beautiful old city. In a few moments we will be out the door to see a Christmas pantomime play.

    I have no idea how Woody and my niece are spending Christmas, but it certainly won’t be in the bosom of my family!

  • My daughter and I will be moving tomorrow- out of the house we’ve had for 14 years (and the only home she can remember) and into an apartment.

    My 17 year old daughter amazes me. She is wise beyond her years. Her bullshit detector is fine tuned and she knew it was best to go NC with her narc dad on her own.
    She will turn 18 in a few weeks and is already mighty. She found a better paying job, picks up milk when we are out, and took her bunny to the vet on her own. I’m so proud of her.
    I hope all those years she saw me put up with bad behavior, and the behavior she endured with her dad (and I shamefully had no backbone to intervene) won’t turn her into a chump.
    I hope she will never turn out like me- an adult who was financially dependent on a man.
    I will keep trying to be a mighty role model for her… She saw me kick him out of the house on dday and was right by my side for some serious adulting and taking care of business which will help her for her own independence when the time comes.

    2018 will be the year in many that is toxic free!!! I look forward to reading CL and all the mighty comments here.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • I am also moving in the next week from our home of 25 years. I made the decision to get the crazy roller coaster of lies and deceit in Sept. Since then I’ve filed divorce papers (16 days and counting until it’s final). Sorted, packed and moved 25 years of family stuff to a storage unit. Worked on getting the house ready for sale (still needs some paint). And rented an apartment to live in until I can find another place to buy.

      My children and family have been so supportive. Particularly my mother who is living with me and helping me with the transition (she and I will be living together in the future.)

      I still sometimes have a hard time believing that he really sucked, and could have led a double life of cheating and lying to me for 25 years while I applied lots of spackle! But then I remind myself that he didn’t even put up a fuss when I said I was done – he is just moving on with his life. He really is toxic and I can’t to settle into a better place in the coming months.

    • Happy,
      It made me happy to read your post!! I understand your comment about putting up with bad behavior from cheater pants, and hoping it won’t affect the kids negatively.

      Sad you have to leave the house…I’m doing everything I can to keep mine. My 18 year old daughter suffers from anxiety and back when I couldn’t take seeing the whore (my neighbor) drive past my house anymore (before DDay#2), I cried out that we were moving and started checking out houses on Zillow. Hours later, I found her up in her room, still crying over the thought of leaving her home. Broke my heart.

      Merry Christmas with your babies, and keep on being Mighty!!

      • Thanks for all the love and support!

        New Beginnings- congrats to you and the next chapters in your life, written only by you!
        My daughter and I plan on moving in with my sister after she graduates. I’ve lived away from my family for years now and cannot wait to have them closer, especially since my daughter is an only child.
        I’m glad you have your mom. I hope you both have fun doing things together!

        GWYG- I’m trying not to break down and cry about moving (instead feeling control by staying focused on the move keeping me busy and realizing how great a new place without narc ex memories in it)

        My daughter is feeling sad too. We look around this house- memories of movie night on Fri, slumber parties, the starry night view from the backyard with sad finality.

        You and your daughter’s sadness makes you GOOD PEOPLE who feel, who appreciate the years you’ve had together, who are grateful with what you have and cherish it.

        Good luck in keeping your house. But if you can’t- try to see the positives in letting go (remember all the old places holding memories you’ve moved away from in the past? – you take those good memories with you!) and starting over in a new place. Look forward to all the experiences you will create with your daughter in new surroundings.
        Sending you good vibes and much love! xo

        • Happy,
          You aren’t kidding about the memories!! There are good and bad, but currently, even the good ones seem tinged with bad feelings. I try to push those away and focus on just the positive aspects.

  • This is my fourth Christmas alone after a 23 year marriage, and the first one when I am officially divorced. It is the first Christmas in a looong time when I feel happy and not stressed. The kids are happy and so am I.
    I was a stay-at-home-mom while I was married and only had a part time job at the time of separation. Now I work full time at a fulfilling job (I work for the library, bringing books to people in assisted living/nursing homes).
    The cheating ex always made me feel incompetent, but I have found that I am good at my job and a very good mother. He is a loser and my life is good. He actually did me a favor by cheating, because now I am rid of him!

  • This is my third xmas after DDay#2 after over 27 years together.

    Chuckles the embezzling cheater always insisted on staying at home for xmas so he ‘could be near our girls’ – I believed him. Our two daughters had died (2002 & 2007) and we had their ashes at home. I believed he needed that although I didn’t think to question the year we went to Australia for xmas to be with friends. So when another friend always invited us and our son to spend the day with them he always used the girls as an excuse not to go.

    xmas#1 4m after DD#2 I stupidly let him come for the day. I basically left him and our son to it and just hoped he wouldn’t ring Slaggy-Anne and upset our son. A tortuous painful xmas but I did enjoy not removing a couple of dog hairs from his plate before putting the turkey slices on it. OK OK I put them on there…

    xmas #2 – I was strictly NC for the previous 10m (once financial separation signed) and he had abandoned our son for the previous 6m so my son and I went to the friends and had a good time

    xmas#3 – we expect to have a good time at the friends again 🙂 Son still abandoned btw even though we have been at the same event a couple of times and abandoned by the XMIL for some reason? Apple/tree etc.

    Funny thing is he doesn’t give a crap about the girls since he left. He hasn’t been in the house since xmas#1 and didn’t even want photos of any of the kids NICE

    Using dead children to get his own way was added to the list of reasons to be cheerful he left. The trash defo took itself out.

    To newbies out there – the first xmas will suck but after all the firsts are out of the way it will be just fine. Trust they suck and trust your life is going to be fine without them

    • Love your story (sorry it is sad but it has a good ending).

      While the first Christmas can be sad, you remind me that it isn’t necessarily. I also want to update any interested chumps on a situation you all helped me with and it turned out well.

      Last Christmas was 6 mos. post dday and I was moving from shocked pick me dancing into knowing I was done and divorce was the only good option. Fuckwit had had nothing to do with the kids for 6 months but was suddenly inviting them to dinner and wanted a Christmas celebration with them. They were not interested and stood him up for dinner one night. This angered his mother and she abruptly uninvited us for the usual Christmas Eve celebration with them, Aunt and Uncle and Cousins. This was a standing event since fuckwit was young. Not only did she uninvited us, she cancelled the party with Aunt and Uncle.

      Not having to go under the circumstance was a big relief for me. The kids were highly offended and determined to have a good time alone. We went to the Christmas Eve celebration at our new church and opened presents Christmas morning. After, we went to a movie: Sing which was surprisingly inspirational. It was a great Christmas.

      This fall I reached out to CN about how to handle invitation to cousin’s wedding that fuckwit was also invited to and made the decision to not attend but sent her a nice gift and wished her well. We did go to the rehearsal dinner where he was not invited and had a nice time. All good decisions.

      The beginning of December fuckwit’s cousin calls me and says Christmas Eve is her favorite holiday and she was so sad last year when it was cancelled. She said she did not want to go through that again and wanted to do Christmas Eve with us. She had never heard the full back story of why it was cancelled last year and when I told her about the kids standing up their dad for dinner, she said I wasn’t going to mention this but: it turned out Fuckwit had stood her up for her wedding. No call, no nothing. (He lives only a couple blocks from the venue.). She was livid. She proceeded to tell me it was nice to hear the other side of the story and said she does not think fuckwit’s parents (her aunt and uncle) are handling this well at all.

      So this Christmas, we are hosting Aunt, Uncle, cousin and her new husband at our house. As for Fuckwit, we have no idea what he or his parents are doing and happy they are silent for now.

      So thanks CN for good advice and here’s to another happy Christmas!

      • Just read your post Feelingit,
        Awww, you make my heart sing.
        Truth, it always fits right in where it belongs.
        I raise my glass in a toast to you and your loved ones this Christmas.
        Your post is upbeat, like you!
        Stay Mighty!

        Wishing Christmas Blessings,
        Peacekeeper

  • For the past year, my little sister, Southern Chump, has been going through a terrible custody battle with her cheater first husband and his Owife, SC’s former friend and next-door-neighbor. I’d like to add that rarely a week goes by without some type of drama being incited by one or the other of them or OWife’s henchwomen, her middle school-aged children. In the midst of all this stress, SC was verbally and, for the first time, physically attacked two weeks ago by her brand-new sparkly second husband, a handsome businessman she had met through work. During the attack, he threatened to sabotage her custody case (thank God the children were at her exes that week). He also took her car keys so she couldn’t escape and smashed her iPhone so she couldn’t call for help. When she tried to escape through the garage, he stopped the door with about a two foot opening, and she dove head-first through the crack while he started dragging her back in by her feet. Somehow, using only the strength in her arms, she managed in one last effort to propel herself forward and break her legs free and escape, running down the street covered in blood. She managed to call the police and had him arrested. Upon my advice, without changing her clothes, she went to the local domestic violence shelter, in our town that’s the YWCA, and had photos taken and gave an additional statement to the one she had already given the police. She took out an order of protection and got her injuries Xrayed and treated at the Orthopaedic urgent care clinic. The next day she found a dog-friendly apartment in the kids same school district. She was fortunate to have the help of a couple of family members, plus a beloved fellow Chump friend (you know who you are!!!!!) come help her pack her things, and in a Christmas miracle my cheater ex-husband also came over at my request to also help pack and slept on her sofa overnight in case her husband showed up in the night. On the third day post-attack, her coworkers showed up with a Uhaul and had her moved into her new place by 6:10 pm. She celebrated by going to dinner with a close friend and fellow survivor. She spent the weekend getting the children’s rooms set up before their return. Monday she returned to work and hit the ground running to start making up for her lost three days the prior week. She arranged to take off early so as to pick her kids up early from school (before they walked/took bus to the wrong home) and break the news to them in the comfort and safety of a close friend’s home. She held them let them cry and express their disappointment and when they felt ready she took them to dinner and then to pick out Xmas lights for their new place and finally to see their “cozy” new home. The rest of the week was fairly “normal” with getting into a routine and working hard at her job (which I might add is a fairly new one of about 4 months). She did get a new cell phone and got her lawyer going on the divorce paperwork. On Friday her boss called her into the office and informed her that the big boss from “corporate” needed to meet with her Monday afternoon. She worried all weekend that she was going to get fired. This past Monday came and she apprehensively attended the meeting. She was told they were so impressed with the work she was doing at her local office that they were promoting her to the corporate level to provide direction for all of their locations nationally. She is spending this weekend soaking in epsom salt baths and finishing setting up the rest of her apartment. Southern Chump, You. Are. Mighty. I love you baby sis.

    • OMG Southern Chump, I am so sorry you have to endure so much!!! You are in my thoughts, and I wish you and your children (as well as MissDeltaGirl) a peaceful Holiday Season and best wishes on your new job opportunity! Stay strong!

    • MissDeltaGirl,
      BEST Christmas story ever!
      Thank you for sharing at such a busy, hectic, “Merry Christmas” time of year.
      I believe in miracles.
      I believe in your amazing Sister and in all the Angels who helped her in her time of need.
      Mighty, Mighty, Mighty!

    • This brought tears to my eyes. Stay strong, SC, and here’s hoping your STBX receives a heaping helping of prison time for Christmas.

    • Holy Crap. Where to begin. So sorry that Southern Chump is and has been going through such hell but what an inspiration of a human being. Wishing her the most amazing New Year possible.

    • Rock on SC!! I’m sorry he turned out to be a psychopath, but YOU are mighty. Hit him back hard through the court. Do what has to be done, then get on with your life.
      👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    • This is an amazing story. So much mightiness on the part of Southern Chump herself, and so much mightiness from those in her corner. When people stand behind those who stand up to abusers it reminds me just how much goodness there is in this world.

    • Southern Chump, wow, win for the mightiest! I know the special heartbreak that comes as a single mom, when you marry the sparkly guy and he turns out to be an abuser. That’s how Chump Lady came to be. That moment when she had to break it to the kids? OMG. Been there. Please tell SC it works out. My son was *relieved*. We loved our new home. I home SC’s family has a very happy holiday in their new place. And DeltaGirl — way to mobilize the troops! So much mightiness!

      Oh and may her STBX spend the rest of his holidays in jail, the motherfucker.

  • Funny, I was just laughing at fuckwit last night as I crawled into bed because he’s such a loser. My house is peaceful and beautifully decorated for the holidays. I get to binge watch Hallmark Christmas movies whenever I want. But best of all, my son came home from college last night. We had dinner at our favorite sushi place and are going to try the newly opened Mexican restaurant later this weekend. When he wakes up this morning we will share coffee and laughs. He will be here for a week of FAMILY Christmas activities. And I am blessed.

    So, I laugh at fuckwit and all he’s missed. Does he even know? Does he even care? This will be his 7th Christmas without his son. I hope Schmoopie was worth it. Merry Christmas to me!

    And merry Christmas to all of CN! I come here everyday and you all are the very best!!!

    • His loss which he truly deserves! Can’t understand how someone could give up being with their child…. oh only the truly disordered can do that. Well….you guys rock on without him because life really does go on…happier with no bs.

  • Six years from day and soon to be five years divorced.

    My first Christmas post d-day was a nightmare – just too much misery and cruelty and humiliation to detail. But even in the midst of that anguish, I knew that as humans, our number of Christmases are limited. Somehow I felt determined to carve out a gentle and memorable Christmas for me and my (then 14 and 19) kids. So after 26 years of marriage and all the associated traditions, I switched up EVERYTHING and made it a holiday for our new family of three.

    This year, although both my kids and I have very significant and wonderful people in our lives, we are holding our new traditions sacred and honoring them by circling into our unit of three. It has become the sweetest time of the year and I am grateful and humbled by the universe’s generous offering of redemption and healing after unimaginable heartbreak.

  • The best part of being a long-time member of CN is that I don’t even remember how many years post divorce I am! OK, I do know that my one and only DDay was September 2010, BUT the great news is that I would have to think abut when the divorce was final and I don’t even care enough to waste my thoughts on that.

    Life is so much better. The holidays are now wonderful, surrounded by my amazing sons and daughter-in-law. We have created many new traditions and memories; so many happy photos to wipe out the old ones. We laugh, love and grow together. It is amazing!

    Recently someone asked where my ex and OW work…I couldn’t remember! Not that it isn’t public information or that it is a secret but because I don’t care! How great is that?

    My kids were 18 and 23 and I told them every single detail. They have been my rocks and have gotten me through some very dark days. I was hospitalized twice and am on anti-depressants; now on a low maintenance dosage. I decided to be very public about my situational depression because it was the result of things a horrible person did to me. I’ve been interviewed, had my photo in newspapers and made a video seen on the internet. I am proud of how I clawed my way out of the many, many dark holes that his choices put me in. It wasn’t easy but now I am a warrior.

    To those who are in early days, imagine that someday you will be the hero in your own story, have people admire and respect how you survived what was done to you, have the respect of your children because you have survived and lived to tell the truth and can stand tall and move forward one step at a time.

    It WILL happen; be strong and mighty will follow.

    May 2018 bring each of you peace and strength.

    • Great story Rebecca! We have a similar timeline in that my dday was also in 2010. I stuck around for three years of wreckconciliation so I didn’t rid myself of the cheater until 2014 but it all seems like a distant memory.

  • I’m almost 6 months out from DDay#3, almost 5 months since he moved out, and about 1 month since he moved officially out of the house next door to me. (WOO HOO!! Him and Schmoopie aren’t LITERALLY living dab-smack in the middle of the two chumps!)

    My mighty moment for Christmas is to standing strong and saying NO to his suggestion that he could come over Christmas morning to watch our daughters open their presents. While I didn’t say it, I thought the following: No, you don’t get to come here for Christmas morning. You CHOSE your whore over your family. You don’t get to do “family” moments anymore, because you shit all over your family.

    Whenever I end up talking to him (only for kid or divorce related stuff), my anxiety level goes up to infinity, and I try to say as little as possible (Gray Rock!!). But because of his master ability to manipulate, I spend the entire conversation on heightened alert, trying to decode/decipher his words, because I don’t want him to inadvertently con me into anything.

    But I am SO MUCH HAPPIER without his toxic presence in the house. I am getting the house in order bit by bit (he had a wonderful habit of bringing construction supplies he had for jobs into the house and just left the stuff EVERYWHERE!).

    I decorated very little this year, but enough that it looks like Christmas. And I’m praying that my divorce can be finalized in January, so I can tackle getting the house put into my name and just be done with it all.

    Wishing everyone on here a belated Happy Hanukkah or Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  • Four years ago just weeks after D’day I was a shell of myself, I felt invisible. Little did I know that my world was about to be rocked to its very foundations on new years day with the diagnoses of leukemia for our then 9 year old DD.

    Four years on and DD is in remission, has been for two years and just completed her first year of high school.
    Eldest child Son now 18 who exposed his fathers porn addiction a week before D’Day is now an apprentic grounds keeper and doing well.
    Cheater is now someone else problem and I can actually stand within a few feet of him without my heart wanting to bang out of my chest. Everyone from my old church just acts like I died and I am ok with that, because leaving the cheater in my case was not enough I had to leave them too, to gain a life.
    ME!
    I am two assignments and 40 overall clinical hours away from achieving my Bachelors in Counselling and Psychodynamic Therapy.
    This year I have also returned to being my creative self engaging in a small drama group that has lead to a few small film projects and even clowning at a recent Christmas event with an audience of 3000+ people at each show, six shows in total.
    My goals for 2018 is to find a job now that the home front is stable and even possibly start dating, because I am no longer a shell, I am a whole person.

    • Beautiful, beautiful story. Prayers for your daughter’s continued good heath and for your studies toward your new career. Just think of all the people whose lives you are going to touch in your new role. The world needs more people like you.

  • Last night I rolled home around 2 am after a great evening out with friends who’d flown in to the UK from far afield. I didn’t have to fret about moodiness from the ex. I didn’t have to justify myself to anyone. I just had belly laugh fun. It was bloody awesome in a relaxed way. I cannot believe that I used to ask permission for him to have the daughter so I could go see friends occasionally. There is a very happy life on the other side of the rainbow.

  • My D day was Dec 1, 2016. I kicked him out that day and filed for divorced a few days later. I’m very proud of myself for doing that! And for never doing the pick me dance! I cried everyday for 2 months though. Being discarded REALLY hurt.

    With the help of YouTube, I’ve been learning how to fix things around the house. I’m also going back to to school (degree undetermined) in January at age 42.

    I found this site this summer, and it has helped me SO MUCH!! My life is so much better without the narcissistic! He immediately moved in with shoompie when I kicked him out. She has an OWI, lost custody of her daughter, got fired this year, (& obviously was fooling around with my STBX), she sounds great on paper, huh? He’s no prize and neither is she.

    • Iowachump, We have similar story, DDay Dec. 4 2016, kicked him out that day and I filed on Dec.8. So second Christmas since DDay. I am still in a lot of pain but not paralyzed like last year. Grown children and grands spend time with both of us, I encouraged that in the beginning, when I thought there was some hope, but now it just pisses me off. He is living life like he is Yertle the Turtle, the king of it all, and not moving the divorce along. Christmas will be calm ,dinner with the children, no drama. I have hosted a small gathering of girl friends ,who are supportive. I am talking to a builder , about a new town home, and reconnecting with old friends.

      A better life waits. I will be 62 in June and married 40 years, unless he allows the divorce before then. You Tube is awesome, the first month I repaired a leaky seal on a toilet, truly a high of accomplishment. So glad you are 42 , with so much life to live. Try to find the joy of Christmas, and keep it all year.

  • Merry Peace-filled Christmas to all Chumps!

    4 Years of A Better Life for me.
    I am mighty in that I’ve built a life I never thought possible. Bought a home faster than I ever imagined after the financial devastation wrought by ex, and renovated much of it. I take care of my dog family (Thunderpaws and Trailer Park Guy – Love at first sight for both of us), and I am spending a quiet Christmas with the people I love (My granddaughter is the sunshine of my existence). I do what I want with my money, go where I want on vacation, and spend time on hobbies that I have always wanted to do. This year’s new hobby is learning to snowshoe.

    When I read the new chump stories, my heart breaks. It’s still ok to devastate a family and lives. For sex or ego or just because. So much abuse in the name of “love”. No wonder I only want dogs.

    This blog saved me. Started my healing. My Christmas prayer for all of you is that you find your real life, without drama and abuse. Without Tracy, this wouldn’t happen. Thank you CL and CN.

    To all New Chumps – it doesn’t feel terrible forever. Read that again. It doesn’t feel terrible forever. You will have a life again. You will forgive yourself for the wasted time and the missed or ignored signals. And from the wreckage you can recover and thrive.

    Merry Christmas to you all.

  • For a little over a year, I like cheater come in my house for his parenting time. In February, I kicked him out after he threatened to tell the kids things I did when I was 19 to try and disillusioned them against me. I haven’t let him back in the house since.

    But here is my current dilemma… He lives with the OW, my two older kids refuse to go there, and the youngest is medically disabled and cheater has never bothered to get training to care for her which means he cannot take her. Bottom line is that he has nowhere to share even an hour with them to give them their gifts. Only my oldest daughter is even willing to go anywhere with him. Do I let him come in for an hour to have a Christmas with them?

    • GMF, he’s using the prospect of presents to bribe some kibbles from your kids – like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This is a teaching moment for you as the sane parent to say, we don’t let a Wolf into our house just because he is holding a few video games.

      Their father can always mail the presents or leave them at the door, but that is his problem to fix – NOT YOURS. His relationship with his children is his problem, too – NOT YOURS.

      (((hugs)))

      • Second this. At my 18 year old son’s deposition, fuckwit’s attorney asked DS what fuckwit would need to do to restart a relationship with him. He first answered that was a million dollar question and when lawyer looked confused he replied “he would have to do a lot of things.” “For starters, he needs to man up and be an adult.” He went on (by the way, fuckwit couldn’t be there as he was taking boat to Florida. Priorities)”Why am I here, I am 18 years old and in high school. I am missing 2 tests today.”

        My point is that this is not going to be fixed by showing up with a gift on Christmas. A package arrived in the mail for my other son from fuckwit yesterday. I assume is a gift and it is under the tree. Maybe more will arrive for the others. He has not initiated any contact with any of the children since the end of September. Any real attempts at reunification would mean continued attempts no matter what day of the year. I can’t imagine waiting until Christmas and holidays to express “love” for my children. Inlaws are the same way. Phones work 365 days a year. Kids aren’t holiday props.

        If he doesn’t know where to start or how to fix this, it is not your problem. He really does know what he needs to do though, he just chooses not to do it. He doesn’t want the responsibility

        I don’t know what kind of gifts your fuckwit gives but mine does not even come close to the category of bribe and kibble is a stretch. It feels like some sort of shirt. Whoohoo! He says all the time he is not going to buy their love. No doubt.

        If he can’t adult, I say too bad, so sad. (And it is for the kids but unfortunately that is their reality and we are left to teach them not to repeat it.)

        • P.S. If he was even close to serious about wanting a healthy relationship with his children, he would get the medical training and say Merry Christmas! but he is a sham, he is making a poor attempt at image management and I’ve no doubt he will just blame you for alienating the children. Stay strong, he lies and you know it.

          • Exactly. He does not want any responsibility. He does not want to make choices to put his kids first and consider what they may need or want. I knew this blog was where I needed to come to reinforce why I shouldn’t try to make this better. Thank you.

        • He spends a lot. Lovebombing is one of his specialities. He refused to help pay for the kids’ sports fees but then will turn around and spend twice that in Christmas gifts.

          • Same here. Bills unpaid, I have to get scholarships for school tuition and rely on the church and other nonprofits.
            In the meantime- tons of Christmas presents. Why? He desperately needs to see himself as a Good Dad. He cares about that far more than he cares about his kids.
            It’s disgusting.

            • I think it is because those other things involve us. Either he has to give us the money to help pay for those things or they are for things that we have signed the kids up for. Even though the final recipient is for the kids, they cannot separate that from seeing it as giving us money.

              Where Christmas gifts go directly to the kids and usually fulfill what the kids want (and not just about what they need). And that is impression management.

        • I second Feeling It: “Phones work 365 days a year. Kids aren’t holiday props.” Yes, kids need their parents on Mondays and test days and game days and skinned knee days and nightmare days and report card days.

          “Kids aren’t holiday props.”

    • Is there a third party residence that would be willing to help (a family member, maybe)?

      Honestly, I would avoid letting him in after what he did. Holding your boundaries is as important for you as it is for your kids to see.

      So sorry you have to deal with such a jackass. Here’s hoping the rest of your Christmas is happy and relaxing!

      • Seven eleven, open 365. 🙂

        Seriously, I love the option 3 presented here, I just think a public non-residence might make more sense (because nobody else needs the drama, either) and maybe it’s not on the actual day (because why change your plans at the eleventh hour?) Just thoughts to ponder.

      • He hasn’t asked. Truth is that he hasn’t even said a word to me about making arrangements to see the kids. He instead sent a text to my older daughter asking when he could stop by to give them their gifts. I hate that she is in the middle. And she hates it, too. She desperately wants peace but I have refused to fix what he broke or arrange play dates for him.

        But I am a chump and it’s Christmas. And staying hard on boundaries is not easy for me especially when I want to make things better for my kids.

        My oldest hasn’t seen his dad since February. He doesn’t seem to have my issues with boundaries. He will not go anywhere with his dad. But if his dad is at the house, he would probably come down to see him.

        And my youngest doesn’t go with anyone unless they are trained in CPR and emergency seizure protocol. He only sees her for 5-10 minutes in the garage when he comes to pick up my older daughter for dinner twice a month. So, finding a third party to host their Christmas is not an easy task. And organizing that would fall on me which is a lot more work than letting him in for one hour.

        Just sucks. And I come across as the one not being generous and caring by not creating a way for him to have with them. I KNOW that it is not my doing. I KNOW that if he really wanted to have that time, he would get trained, find a place to live on his own so the kids had a safe and comfortable place to visit their dad. I KNOW a lot of things but it doesn’t completely squash my desire and need to make things better for my kiddos. And it’s Christmas…

        • Classic chump. Evaluate your motivation. You don’t want to be seen as the ‘bad’ person. Fact is you aren’t. Whether you make overtures or not. It is his circus and his monkeys. Let him handle how he will deal with this. He’s probably happy to avoid the kid hassle. Do your children seem bothered? Have a talk with them and see.
          You do your part.
          Sounds like you are trying to placate etc. Not your job.
          If God forgives cheaters He sure can forgive you for not orchestrating a gift exchange. Cut yourself some slack!

          • “No” is a complete answer. Let him find an open coffee shop or someplace public. That’s his problem, not yours.

            Do the kids go to visit his parents for any Christmas activities? If so, he can meet them there and give them the gifts.

            NC is the way.

            • His family visits us (as in the kids and I). There is very little cross over between his family, the kids, and him. Partly because he cannot take my youngest daughter. Partly because my son won’t go with him. And partly because STBX doesn’t even try to organize.

        • I know it’s super tough. However. Here’s two cents from me.

          Children do not decide when people visit your home. The parent(s) in charge of the home decide. Any person who wants to visit your home needs your permission. If everyone understands that your child doesn’t make the rules, including your child, then your child doesn’t have to truly be in the middle anymore, at least in terms of owning the planning. (Sounds like your cheater is going to triangulate as much as possible, anyway.)

          Any person who shows up unannounced is uninvited and you have no obligation to allow any non-resident to enter.

          Your house, your rules.

          Setting boundaries is hard. Not setting them can create challenges that are even harder to handle sometimes.

          Easy for me to say, I know. I’m rooting for your empowerment, but I can’t know better than you what’s right for you. I fully support whatever you choose. This is just two cents to consider.

          • Thank you. And I agree. I am just beyond tired at the moment. The last 2 weeks have been rough with new job, sick and seizing baby, prepping for depositions, and getting ready for Christmas along with sole parenting. Some days it is just hard to keep those boundaries. You all save me from caving!!

            • Getmefree, you do have a lot on your plate right now! I am praying for you! A sick child tops the list of high stress events. For me, you don’t even realize how much those depositions take out of you until after they are over.

              Your fuckwit did you a favor when he fired you from the stressful job of being his wife so stick to your resolve and don’t do it anymore. He can solve his own problems or not.

              Much love to you!

              • Love to all of you, too. I was struggling over not fixing the situation. I normally do better with those boundaries. Just seemed harsh with Christmas. But you are ALL right. He has it in his power and control to solve this on his own. He is choosing not to.

                With that, I am going to start my Christmas holiday. Merry Christmas, everyone!!

                We are all stronger together.

            • (((hugs))) (((hugs))) (((hugs)))

              GetMeFree, you are so Mighty and this shit is sooooo hard. I remember those days, I was a total Chump back then – it did not end well. Your kids are so lucky to have a sane parent who has her head on straight.

              Don’t doubt yourself

        • You know what, if he really wanted to he could have arranged to pick them up or meet them at a restaurant or hotel that he had booked for the occasion and exchanged presents/spent some quality time with them. But he is using your boundaries to pull the sad sausage routine and as an excuse for his lack of motivation/organisation. Where there’s a will there’s a way as they say. He’s quite happy putting the ball in your court to make you seem like you’re being difficult. Steve it back to him. Merry Christmas!

        • This is no longer your circus and he is no longer your monkey. In other words, you are only responsible for what is yours.

          My son called me and said his dad was texting him asking if I got another phone number because I wasn’t answering his texts or phone calls. My son knew damn well that I blocked his father and haven’t spoken to him since the divorce was finalized. His father told him that he wanted his name off of the mortgage. I told my son that he needed to set boundaries with his father. He needed to say that he did not want to be put in the middle and that he could try and email me. Your daughter needs to say the same thing. She needs to tell her father that she does not want to get in the middle and if he wants to come over he needs to contact you for permission. Then have her no longer comment on the matter.

          As far as Fucktard goes, he did email me that he didn’t want to go to the lawyers, but I needed to cooperate and get him of the mortgage. Fucktard was too stupid early on to realize that the deed and mortgage are two separate things so he signed the deed over to me without understanding he is still financially responsible if the mortgage is still in his name. I’ve been paying it since I booted him out, but he whined in his email he wanted to buy a new house and couldn’t if it showed he already had a mortgage. I really wanted to reply something nasty, but after making him wait a few days for a reply, I emailed him I was happy to cooperate. He just needed to fill out the attached forms, pay the fees and I would file the paperwork. When I threw the ball back to his court, I got crickets. I was married to him for over 20 years and knew that he would not take the responsibility to do anything necessary to make it happen. I don’t know nor do I care what excuses he’s giving his new wife, aka cumdumster, but it’s not my circus not my monkeys.

          P.S. I don’t have to pay him his 1/2 of escrow from last assessment until DD#2, an amount set at a no more than figure which is very low, until I sell the house and there will be no interest and no penalties. I have no plans to sell the house. I may even rent it out when I no longer want to live here. He really is stupid.

          • He sounds just like my STBX. He wanted the divorce but has done nothing to make that happen. I have had to take every legal step. He loves to accuse me of dragging it out and wasting money but his side has not proposed a single thing and he turns in everything late and incomplete. It boggles my mind.

            • Yep. Of course it (whatever it may be at that particular time) is always someone else’s fault. My son told me after his wedding that his Fucktard father borrowed his vehicle to make to 6 hour drive for the wedding. Fucktard’s vehicle doesn’t get good gas mileage that if they had married locally he would be fine, but since they decided to marry elsewhere, he needed to use his son’s vehicle. And cumdumpter’s vehicle has a lot of maintenance issues and will never make the trip. They have three after-all, so what’s the problem. I left teeth marks on my tongue from biting it.

              The upside is during the same conversation my son told me that after the wedding Fucktard was driving in the snow and rolled his truck (not my son’s truck) on the highway. Again, biting my tongue to ask why I wasn’t contacted so I could get out a chair and some popcorn and enjoy the moment.

    • Oh hell no. HELL NO. He can take them to a local restaurant (even McDonald’s or some other cheap chain) and do Christmas there. He fired you from your job as “supportive parent.” If he can’t even do the training to take his disabled child, he’s despicable.

      Don’t be chumpy about this. You cannot manufacture a dad for your kids. The very kindest and most loving thing you can do for them is let them face reality at a young age, rather than gaslight them about dad caring. Why do people lose their minds about Christmas? You aren’t alone in wanting to manufacture some idealized vision of their lives. Love them, have a tree and a nice dinner, do some family stuff, get them presents. Your XH hasn’t even asked? Good lord. He’s hopeless. Your kids will not be the first or only kids with one parent who is a selfish fuckwit. You can’t “parent” for him.

      • Yesterday, I told my daughter that I would not be reaching out to their dad to make arrangements for him to spend time with them at Christmas. That was his to do. Nor was I going to open my home after all of the disrespect he had shown me.

        Then last night she tells me that dad is coming Christmas Eve (today) at 3pm. When asked when this happened, she said yesterday. It appears that he had already communicated that to her when I told her I wasn’t going to let him in. She hates being in the middle. She is only 14. She doesn’t want to do much with him but she does want to see him every so often. He is content taking her to dinner for 60-90 minutes twice a month during his weekends. He never actually takes the kids. And my daughter is good with that amount of time.

        So, now he is coming today at 3. It is pretty cold outside So his visit probably won’t last long. I’m sure that he will portray it as my being a bitch and unwilling to foster a relationship and time with his kids. But seriously…if he got training, tried to have a conversation with his son besides a quick text message a few times a month, and made reservations at a restaurant, we would not have this stupid drama.

  • 3 years post-Dday and 2 years post-divorce, I am proud to report that I am no longer as triggered by his drama and I can stay Meh for longer stretches as I navigate shared custody with my cheater X.

    I am on more solid financial footing, making progress towards my certification, and my kiddo is doing fine. We are flying out to see family today and I know I’ll enjoy the peace and quiet that was never there when he was around…

    Here is to less drama in 2018, thank you CL and CN for being there to provide an amazing place for solace and support to recovering chumps everywhere!

  • It is 10 months and my first christmas alone in 19 years. I was enjoying our relationship, there were no arguments and last year’s christmas went like all the others. But then in Feb he just walked without warning or explanation and I have not heard from him nor seen again. So …. I am not expecting a present. I have had a few passing thoughts about … “oh I don’t have to worry about him”. This year I did not do an 8 hour steamed pudding for the first time in over 25 years. Stuff ’em. I am tired of being taken for granted. A very close friend, lives near my sister, and so I staying Christmas Eve with her and she wants me to stay for 2 nights – saying that staying only 1 isn’t enough time for us. I can’t remember when someone explicitly expressed a desire to spend more time with me. that’s my christmas present.

    • Bless you. It’s so hard to endure a true discard, the no explanation type. (Been there, so I know). But how wonderful that you have plans with a friend like that!

    • There is nothing like true friends during our darkest hours. Please spend as much time as possible with them and let her and let this be the first of many new traditions. It gets better, I promise. I was married for 26 and still remember standing in the grocery store the week after crying at the milk because I no longer needed to buy a gallon and got the quart instead. Now I hardly think of it at all. I’m wishing you and all Chumps Comfort & Joy.

  • There’s a song for this: Hard Candy Christmas on an album by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, modelling beautiful strength in sadness over the holidays.

  • It’s been 4 years now since that terrible discovery that the man I married had a very active secret sex life with prostitutes. It happened just before Christmas — right around this time. I am doing much better, but it takes time. My advice to fellow chumps is to be patient. The healing process is slow, but you can trust it. You WILL feel good again. You have been traumatized by the shock of discovering that your life was not at all what you thought it was. Recently, I have begun sleeping well and having moments of real happiness again. You will begin to experience so much gratitude for all of the small things in your life that you may not have noticed before. It will feel really good.

  • 13 months since the sprout left. Last Christmas I was still in the dying days of wanting to do it all Gwyneth-style so had him over for Christmas Day with the kids, although he had a massive temper tantrum when I told him he couldn’t do the same on Boxing Day. This year me and my children had our Christmas celebration with my mum who had flown to stay with us. It was absolutely lovely – and so nice not to feel stressed about having to do Christmas on Monday. We played games and laughed – the sprout was so uptight, you could never do anything like that.
    The sprout’s parents are staying with him and his new wife (married her 5 months after departing, we were together more than 20 years but not married) currently. My younger daughter is going to spend the full day with them on Monday (fine by me as we have had ours already and I can take another year when it is more important to me then) and my elder daughter, who after everything he has done towards the children over the last year has now refused to go to his house for the last few months, is going to spend a couple of hours in the morning at his house as an exception. I am pleased not to have to see his awful mother – who was a bitch to me both during and following the end of our relationship (fed by him too, I now realise).
    I don’t always feel mighty but I guess I am. I am still standing! Better than that – this year, as well as supporting my 2 special needs children both generally, and through having their father leave and marry someone else within 5 months, I have rehomed 4 horses (to good homes), sold a large rural property, carried on working (more hours) at my relatively high-stress job – and just bought a new house which we are due to move into in mid-January! Also in the last couple of days, all of the paperwork for the financial agreements has at long last been finalised.
    I am feeling a little worn out – and definitely in need of the 2 weeks off over Christmas, but I am so content just to rest and think about 2018 being a year of peace and rebuilding. I’m not sure what exactly but with the sprout as far as possible in the rear-view mirror.
    This Christmas I’m definitely in a much better position than last Christmas – and I hope that next Christmas that will be more true again. It is good to hear the stories of the longer-ago chumped on here!
    Merry Christmas – and, most of all, a wonderful cheater-free life in 2018 to all at CN! Xxxx

    • Dear OutOfSparkles,

      Congratulations on everything you’ve been doing! Wow… especially with buying a new house – that’s just incredible 🙂 I am so sorry to hear about how that train wreck of a person treated you… feeding his mom lies about you – what a cowardly way to be. Mine would do very similar things and then scurry off with his tail between his legs when his family treated me poorly as a result.

      I’m sure the feeling of being discarded for someone so quickly was awful (((hugs))). Just give it some time. These people love to create their own misery and in a few years sprout and shmoopie will be very busy dividing their time between divorce hearings and STI-testing (have fun splitting assets, bitch). Of course, you won’t care because you’ll be so happy in your new house, with your new life 🙂

      You were just too good for him.

      All the love and merry Christmas!!!

      Janet

  • (Copy/pasting my post from the forum a few days ago.)

    My D-Day was one year ago today, less than a week before Christmas and two weeks before I was to be Matron of Honor in my best friend’s wedding. Needless to say, those events were some of the most difficult of my life. The sadness and disbelief was bone-deep as a trudged through them. My clearest memory is of having to climb up into my attic (a task STBX had always done) to hunt for my toddler daughter’s Christmas stocking on Christmas Eve and being so incredibly sad and beaten down and not believing what was happening to me. I wept in that attic, but I eventually found our stockings. Even though I had begged him to stick around the house for the holidays to take care of our daughter while I did my duties for my friend’s wedding, STBX had abandoned us to spend the holiday with the OW three states away, so not only was I going through the most horrific event of my life, but I was also solo parenting our daughter.

    Well, I made it through those excruciating holidays, even though I was a zombie with tears running down my face for much of them. I made it through the following dark and lonely weeks and months. I made it through the torture of “My husband doesn’t love me anymore,” running through my head on a loop from dawn until dusk. I got two jobs to support myself and pay the mortgage on my own so my daughter and I could stay in our home. I solo parented her when STBX disappeared to visit the OW for days at a time. I went on YouTube and learned how to replace the pane of glass on the front door after he slammed it in anger. I raked the leaves, I shoveled the dog poop, and I went up into the attic many more times – all things STBX used to do. I filed for divorce. I paid all my bills and kept my daughter fed, clothed and happy. I saw my therapist and did the work of grieving, accepting and even becoming excited by my new reality. I started to realize how hard my marriage really was once I was out of it. I made a lot of mistakes in the past year and will probably make many more, but I also feel a sense of peace and power I’d never felt in our 17 years together.

    My STBX is now living with a roommate and isn’t a terrible co-parent (so far). His relationship with his “soul mate” OW who he was “in love with” has crashed and burned. Recently he begged me to take him back, promising that he could make me happy and that he realized his mistakes and what he gave up with his stupidity. (It was a hard “no” from me even as I felt a new rush of sadness for what was lost.) I even have a little crush on someone new who is so different from STBX; I don’t know if anything will come of it, but just the idea that I could meet someone reliable, kind, empathetic and honest is an amazing feeling.

    I’m so grateful for this blog and forum. I know I would not be where I am today without reading everyone’s stories and messages of support. The site has kept me angry when I needed to be. It has given me hope for my future when I needed hope. I’ve still got a long way to go but thinking about how far I’ve come in the last year is truly astonishing. To anyone in those early days, weeks and months, IT DOES GET BETTER. Things you wouldn’t even dream of are possible. I realize how lucky I am in many ways: no STDs, no financial infidelity, no narcissism (just a regular old selfish shithead), great family support and – so far – a 50/50 co-parenting relationship that allows me the freedom to do what I want on the days my daughter is with her dad, who loves her very much and is a good father. I am lucky. And, best of all, I am excited for my future, whatever it holds!

  • My husband was a first-class “Moment Ruiner. Picture having a newborn, three- and five-year old on Christmas morning, running to the tree to discover that “YES! SANTA CAME!!” It was magical!

    Until I noticed their father wasn’t in the room. When I called upstairs to tell him to hurry so they could open their gifts, he barked, “Christ! Can’t I shave and take a shower first?!”

    So I made my kids wait for their Dad. By the time he came downstairs (had to blow dry his hair, too), all three were in tears. Spackle Queen tried to salvage the moment, but Dad spent the rest of the day giving me the silent treatment for “rushing him.”

    I no longer have to deal with that fuckwit. Holidays are festive instead of scary now! 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Chumps! I adore your strength!

  • I am not very mighty. But I made a promise to myself last night that I am done trying to beg my STBX to pick me. You see, I am incredibly angry at him for destroying our marriage, but for some reason I am having a hard time letting go. A REALLY hard time. I am sending him cute selfies daily of me and showing off my slimmer figure, I have even invited him over for Christmas if he doesn’t have plans with his Schmoopie! (who the fuck does that?!?!- I am off my rocker!) I guess I just didn’t want him to be alone on Christmas since he was only home on R&R for two weeks… but chances are he DOES have plans with the old cum dumpster, he just hasn’t found the right words to let me down yet. (He’s probably saving that rejection for Christmas day I guess). Last night was the last straw. He will respond to my texts, emails, and calls with vague friend-zone type compliments and then say “Ok, have a nice night.” Which I assume if I put that through the UBT it would spit out, “Ok, fuck off now.” So I need to take a BIG hint and leave this dude to make BIGGEST mistake of his life which is leaving and divorcing me. Happy Holidays CN!

    • I may need to mention that I am only 6 months out from DDay #4 (the final DDay as I like to call it. I really lost count as to how many DDays there were). So I am a rookie Chump and not very good at letting go. Call me a people hoarder if you will.
      🙁

      • Chumpin,

        You have a sense of humor even while in pain.

        Give yourself a break today. I may very likely be the queen of the Pick Me Dance. After years of all types of abuse, I reconciled with my cheating husband numerous times. THEN, I went on to tolerate repeated dishonest, invalidating, disrespectful cruel acts from my boyfriend, who I thought had been my friend for decades, and reconciled with him after he left me for multiple women. I am nearly 100% certain that I will not hear from again as he seems to be in love with the current replacement (he left me four months ago for the last time) as she works with him, makes a hefty salary, and had no kids (so lots of fun to him!) and he has blocked me from communication. His cruel discard of me, in a way, may help me recover. If he gave me an ounce of hope, I would very likely still do the Pick Me Dance. I am letting myself become an unimpressive blob because I know that he has blocked me and I am exhausted of Pick Me Dancing for decades. I have literally done Pick Me Dances. I was a member of the dance team of my/my boyfriend’s uni, so last June I, in my 50s, practiced doing our school cheerleaders’ dance routine in preparation for our anniversary. I also learned to play our school’s fight song on the keyboard to make him happy (as he was a rabid fan of our school). After tons of preparation, all I got from him in response was, ‘Has it been two years yet?’ He did NOTHING for me to celebrate. Ungrateful, self-serving liar!

        This year, I am abandoning the pursuit to impress others as last fall, I tried to do so, meeting six out of six life goals, an amazing thing for me, and my just turned ex-boyfriend either did not notice or did not care. I am just literally and figuratively ‘letting it all hang out.’ I will never again try to ‘win’ a romantic partner–way too much work for no gain or even self-harm.

    • Chumpin, I can relate to what you’re going through, but you will do such much better when you go no contact with him. It’s very hard to let go when you’re still in communication. What you’re experiencing is similar to the way people feel when they’re trying to kick a drug habit. In some ways, you’re addicted to the relationship. I went through this too.

      I always tell myself my ex left me a long time before he ever told me about it. That’s what makes the process of detaching so hard…you are expected to rush through the shock and grieving process in record time compared to the time they’ve already invested in their new relationship.

      Instead of wondering what he’s doing, or caring whether he’s alone or not on Christmas, focus on doing something kind for yourself. Spend time with people you care about and who care about you.

      You can learn to give yourself more love than you ever received from him.

      • I agree with Lyn. I do understand, it is very difficult to let your former life and partner go and accept they aren’t who you thought they were. HOWEVER, what you have probably learned from this site is that this scenario probably won’t ever work out the way you are hoping it will….even if he dumped the OW and came back to you saying he loves you and made a mistake, at some point it is highly likely it will crash and burn at a later date.

        My recommendation is for xmas you should buy yourself the book ‘Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life’ and start there. If you read the book, start taking steps to enforce your boundaries, I’m guessing you will start to see all of the ways your ex has continually ignored your wants/needs, etc. and you may naturally start to lose interest in him being a part of your life. It doesn’t mean you will have no pain, sadness or feelings of loss associated with him but you will start to also see how the relationship probably wasn’t serving you in a variety of ways and he was probably sucking up all of the air in the relationship and ignoring your needs a lot of the time!

        • KH- Thank you so much for the book recommendation! I will get it ASAP. I need all the help I can get to get over him. I am feeling like such a helpless looser. Like I am begging for my cheater to come back and it shows my weakness for him and he knows there will be no consequences because I am a SUCKER CHUMP.

            • Yes I remember feeling very pathetic. And knowing people around me must have been surprised that a reasonable, somewhat confident person could stay with my ex after his 3 affairs were discovered. I was a HOT MESS. It took me 8 months to finally get to the point where I knew I couldn’t try to keep the marriage together anymore. And he was barely trying on his side, which made me feel even more unloved, pathetic and hopeless… and it still took me 8 months to finally end it. Well, it also took me a mild prescription of anti-anxiety/depressants! The crazy thing was that within 1 week of starting that prescription (I was very thin after losing 30 lbs from stress so Rx kicked in quickly apparently), and suddenly I saw clearly that there was NOTHING that could fix this. And after that point I truly have never looked back or ever wanted to be with him again, although it doesn’t mean it’s not still sad and painful sometimes.

              But you shouldn’t beat yourself up too much, you wouldn’t be a normally functioning adult human if you didn’t have these feelings! It is a process and don’t add insult to injury by feeling ashamed of yourself for loving someone and being attached to someone in an NORMAL way. That is the piece the narcissists lack, so we should celebrate that difference between us and them!! : )

              • You are so right KH. Thank you for the pep talk as well. I really appreciate it. These are normal feelings and I have to learn that they are a part of the process and not to beat myself up over this. It isn’t my fault. And I am glad that we are nothing like narcissists! Whew!

      • Lyn,

        I think you are absolutely right, I am addicted right now. And I agree that just like your ex, my stbx checked out a while ago from the relationship. I need to reiterate that to myself over and over. It is done and it is for the best. Easier said than done, but I will make it.

        I am going to visit some family on Christmas and then volunteer at the local soup kitchen that day just like I did for Thanksgiving. Helping others helps me cope.

        • It comes down to: What is acceptable to you? Why is this unkind, dishonest, and checked-out man good enough for you?

          By all means, work on your slimmer figure but please stop the pick-me dance. It just feeds him kibbles and keeps you stuck. No contact! It’s tough to let go but you have to decide to do that. You made need a therapist (not a marriage counselor type) to help you in the process. When you live with a cheater, you set up a cycle where he cheats and lies and you try to win him back. You can break the cycle. You can figure out how you ended up with an abusive man. And you can fix that so it doesn’t happen again.

    • You’re not a people hoarder, you’ve been gutted by the person you thought loved you.

      No cutesy names here. You have to call it what it is. It is you wanting to not hurt SO much. You want the person he is to be the person you think he is.

      He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t care what weight you are or how many selfies you send. If anything, they just make him feel more powerful and make you look (and you probably feel) pathetic.

      I’m sorry to be harsh. Everyone here knows how you feel. But I can promise you that there isn’t any photo you could take or anything you can do to make him really love you the way you want him to. That is a fantasy and will only cause you more pain.

      What would you tell a friend with a drinking problem who just wanted a sip of alcohol every day? What would you tell a family member who had a drug problem but wanted one more hit? I would hope you would tell them that they needed to STOP IMMEDIATELY!

      That is what I’m telling you now. It is called no contact and it is fucking hard!!!

      You have to do this (or at least try harder than you are now). NO CONTACT means just that.

      I promise it will get easier every day. There may be slip-ups but then you have to start over again immediately. You’re drinking a little bit of poison every day, willingly, hoping that you’re different and the poison won’t kill you. If anything you are doing worked, Chump Nation wouldn’t exist. It doesn’t work.

      Step out of that darkness and join us in the struggle towards a light, fulfilling life.

      • Rebecca can you be my new best friend? Thank you for the tough love. I took a screen shot of what you just wrote me so I can reread it every time I am feeling a moment of weakness (which is like every hour). Thank you so much and to the rest of the CN for the thoughts a prayers that you put out in to the universe for all of us other Chumps. With people like you for support, I know one day I will be a stronger more independent person, but most importantly I will be HAPPY AND CHEATER FREE! xoxo

        • Chumpin, we all know that feeling. Someone you have given your life to has just thrown it away, told you that you just aren’t good enough. They have become someone different than who you thought they were. Don’t put up with it. I’m having a hard time with it too, but my STBXW asked me, “why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t love you?” I don’t know if she realized just how much she could hurt me with a very simple question.

          You will get through it. It’s his loss, protect yourself and do things you like to do!

          • CanadianDad,

            She actually said that to you?!? Wow, these narcs have no filter or compassion for other peoples feelings. But she’s right, why would we want to be with someone who doesn’t love us. I am trying to remember that the next time I feel lonely, which is every minute of the day LOL. I need to get a cat or something!

            Like you, I gave my heart and soul to my spouse. He was supposed to be it for the rest of my life. Actually I saved myself for marriage, and this loser stole my innocence in every way a person can. He stole my heart, my soul, my youth, and he stole the happiness I once had, and now I don’t think i could ever love another man as much as I did him.

            Best of luck to you this holiday season. I plan on seeing some of my family Christmas day, then pouring myself a glass of wine later than evening and cozying up by the fireplace as I watch my favorite Christmas movies.

            • Enjoy, take care of yourself. I am lucky to have my kids around for at least part of the holiday. We will make our own traditions. I feel much the way you do, I grew up with my wife andI know I will never be the same. I think we all will carry the scars, but on the positive, we can grow and be happy again eventually.

              • Thank you! I wish the same for you and your family as well!

                We will always carry those scars for sure. I hope that this lesson has taught me to be more independent and stick up for myself and my wants and needs.

                I gave up a lot of who I was and what I wanted… to be a devoted wife to my husband and work towards the hopes and dreams that HE thought was important. In doing that I lost 12 years and some of my prime reproductive years (TMI,LOL). I could go on and on.

                So for 2018 I promise to work on myself and make myself happy for a change.

                Thank you for your reply! Best Wishes!

    • Please give yourself the best Xmas gift of all and go no contact with him. Seriously, do ANYTHING other than contact him or see him. Read everything in the archives on NC, stay on the forum 24/7 if you must, chew a leather strap, but do NOT give him one more ounce of priceless, lovable, wonderful YOU.

      There are a bazillion holiday goings on. Churches that need help, charitable organizations, frazzled friends with small children, elderly relatives who need to prattle on to someone about the Chicago public transit system in 1943 — ANY other investment of your time, including picking lice out of your hair, is better than pick me dancing for your cheater.

      Fuck him. Deck the halls with bows of fuck him.

      Stop this madness.

      • Dear Chump Lady,

        I am completely and utterly indebted to you. It was recommended to me in another forum to get your book. I bought it on Amazon and literally read it one day. I have actually read it twice. It sits on my nightstand as a reminder to stop being so fucking weak.

        I log in to TheChumpLady.com every morning to read the latest post, and I read everyones replies to get the stories and perspectives of everyone on here. I guess because I am looking for more strength. I also have read each post in the Archives from the conception of this blog. I have just recently found the forums and they have helped me too.

        Since the final D-Day in August I have been volunteering with my local Salvation Army. Kettle Bell Ringing, volunteering at the VA, and I even worked in the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving and I plan to so the same for Christmas lunch.

        Thank you so much for replying to my post. I hope i didn’t make you roll your eyes too much with my naivety and weakness. I was with my STBX for 12 years and this is the first Christmas I have ever been without him or his family and it is tearing me apart. The thought of him sharing Christmas with another woman or her children hurts me to the core. I’m going to quit my bitching though! You are a badass and your satire and wittiness is just what i need each morning to get me through each day a little more empowered.

        • Chumpin,
          Another thing I reminded myself of which helped me avoid contacting my ex-boyfriend both times he dumped me was by staying away from him and improving myself (I was slim but lost nearly 20 pounds the first time he dumped me) and looking happier made me more appealing to him. I had/have virtually no chance of ‘winning’ my ex-boyfriend back, but doing the Pick Me Dance lowers the probability even more–and is hard, often humiliating, work!

          • RockStar,

            Yes I have been “improving myself” ever since he told me I was not adequate several years ago.

            I noticed that the more I reach out to him the less and less he reaches out to me. If I leave him alone for several weeks, he starts trying to reach out about random things just to talk to me. I guess I make myself look pathetic and desperate just like you say. Thanks for helping me notice that!

            • Classic narc behaviour on his part.

              RSW, I don’t know if you are interested, but there’s a book called ‘Don’t Call That Man!’ which really helped me to get to the bottom of my pick me dancing and emotional pursuit of men. The written exercises are really helpful.

              I had a nasty breakup earlier this year, and this book helped get me through it.

              • Lola,

                Thank you for sharing this resource. I hope that you feel much better now than you did at break up. I wish you much happiness.

            • Chumpin,

              I don’t think that you need to improve yourself now or needed to in the past, especially not for your jerk cheater. I want you (and the rest of us genuine chumps) to feel the happiness that is long overdue! I am just sharing my story of repeated Pick Me Dancing for various partners at various times to show you some of the different potential outcomes–not to make you feel worse.

              Another thing I try to keep in mind to maintain a more balanced perspective about the S–t sandwich we face is I miss not my partner but the person I THOUGHT my partner was or might be for me. We unwittingly fell in love with and committed to people who have S–tty character, or what some chumps call Pod People. Those of us who truly care about others and have been clumped, and especially those of us who hold the ‘I’m going down with the ship’ and ‘I won’t quit the Pick Me Dance until I drop,’ really do appreciate you!

            • Chumpin,
              Just want to make sure that you didn’t misconstrue what I said as implying that you should feel humiliated for doing the Pick Me Dance. I was trying to say that I sometimes felt humiliated looking back on ME doing this dance. Really, NONE of us should feel bad (humiliated) for doing this as we truly love(d) our partners. We were just performing for an audience that could never be pleased. It does help, though, to also remind ourselves that WE DESERVE BETTER! And there ARE people out there who would appreciate all the work we put into Pick Me Dancing–who are worthy of our efforts because they are loyal, grateful people who truly love us.

  • Hmmm…mightiness check:

    -I’m finally in a full-time job that I love

    -Drove myself to and from emergency appendectomy this past summer (30 hrs in hospital start to finish-best possible outcome)

    -Managed to get my son for overnight on Christmas Eve by texting ex that it was just the logical thing to do

    Still need my dose of Chump Lady every day, it’s my supplement to stay strong and aspire to mightiness!

  • Have a merry and fuckwit-free Christmas, Chump Nation!

    From the land of meh…it took me a few years to get here, but I am enjoying the view!

  • Ten years post separation here (divorce would hurt me financially); 30 years of covert psychological abuse; 2.5 years of pick-me dancing after D-Day; strippers, hookers, howorkers galore. This week I baked cookies with my grandnieces and grandnephews, and on Sunday my two adult sons and I will cook our own, delicious Christmas Eve dinner.
    This year I saw Two-Legged Rat twice: MIL’s 90th birthday (my bad, should’ve stayed home) and my youngest son’s graduation as a licensed psychologist, in a beautiful ceremony where he was valedictorian, and I cried and cried because I was happy and proud. After the ceremony, my sons and their partners went to a restaurant with me, while Rat had to go home alone (I got dibs on the celebration).
    My best Christmas gift? After Two-Legged Rat’s systematic abuse for decades convinced me that I was too emotional, too sensitive, too intense, too lazy, too fat, too whatever, my “baby” told me the other day, out of the blue: Mom, you’re the most rational, hardworking, methodical person I’ve ever met!
    The teen suicide prevention foundation that I created in memory of my oldest son is growing, and my own work is being recognized among psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, etc.
    To the newbies: There are no limits to how mighty you can be. If I was able to see who I am for the first time at 60, you can do it! We’re here making nets to contain all of you each time you fall. Merry Christmas!

    • Chumpiest, you are mighty! So wonderful that you’re making such a difference for others through your foundation. One of my favorite sayings is, “I love when people that have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire” by Stephanie Sparkles.

    • Yes, congratulations on all accounts! But especially on the good work you are doing and for the tremendous achievement of your youngest son. He will help others too.

  • I am not even 11 weeks out from receiving an email from my partner of 15 years informing me that he was done with our relationship and with me and that I needed to move out. I now know — although I’d only suspected it (and been told I was crazy for even thinking it) that he’d been sleeping with his boss (and likely other women) for (at least) two years. I don’t have all the details nor will I ever, nor do I really want to know it all; it’s hard enough scraping myself off the floor with what I DO know. Four months earlier, we bought our first house together. Although he earns three times my salary, he could only come up with half of the downpayment. I still don’t know where his money goes, but I emptied my savings to come up with the other half. Yeah, that’s gone too, due to some very clever paperwork on his part and chumpiness on mine. He and the boss lady (12 years younger than me) are now living together in my house, with all my belongings, trying to get pregnant (possibly already there). My cheater refused to have kids with me. I have not heard from him in 11 weeks, so no contact has been easy. I am a long way to meh, a very long way, but this blog keeps pulling me out of the abyss, it truly does, this community of chumps who reach out and support each other. This blog has given me courage to try to be mighty. So, as I take stock of what has been the worst year of my life (lost my dad and my old black lab too), I can say that I feel mighty about the following: I got a good job in another state and I am starting to rebuild my savings, I get myself to therapy at least weekly, I am taking horseback lessons, something I’ve always wanted to do — and for the hour that I am astride Archie, I don’t think about anything but being on that big old horse. A whole hour once a week without obsessive thoughts! That may not sound like much but I think it’s BIG, because I am drowning in them right now. I am so grateful for the friends that have reached out to me repeatedly in all of this, including my wonderful sister. I am terrified, furious, desperate, and shocked, but I come daily, sometimes multiple times a day to CL and CN and am starting to understand that things can get better, and that at 51, my life isn’t over. May all of you have a healthy holiday season and may 2018 be a beautiful year for all of us.

    • Unicorn, you are doing great considering everything you’ve gone through this year. How wonderful that you are connecting to your passion for riding again. Working with horses is so therapeutic. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things to heal and start building your new life. Pat yourself on the back for being such a strong person. You are amazing!

    • “ I am terrified, furious, desperate, and shocked…”

      Those feelings do dissipate! I experienced those for four years of false reconciliation. I am so thankful that I no longer have a relationship that creates so much anxiety. This Christmas I will not be subjected the criticism of “doing it wrong”, walking on eggshells, random rages, cleaning up his messes, and having that constant fear in the back of my mind that he could be in the next room texting his next hook-up.

      Once you realize you lost a looser, you will see the blessing in disguise.

    • I remember that phase, it was pretty awful : ( I will say I temporarily went on a very mild dose of anti depressants after 8 months b/c I couldn’t break out of the rumination and cycling between anxiety and depression and sometimes both together! I was on them for about a year and had no problem weaning off, but it made a big difference. Not that that’s the answer for everyone, but just saying it’s worth a look….I had 2 friends tell me I should look into it b/c they could tell I was stuck in that place, even though I couldn’t see it clearly.

      I am 2.5 years out from D.day and it does get a lot better over time. Although I just spent an hour on this site trying to comfort myself with the fact that other people have been in the same place I am, so obviously I’m still moving through it!! It’s a process ; ) but it does get better!!!

      • Thanks for everyone’s kind remarks. KH, I agree, and I AM on antidepressants. I was going to wind up in the emergency room or morgue if I hadn’t gone on them. I’ve only been taking them for four weeks, and although I still am ruminating, depressed and angry, I’m…better. I’m functional. The drugs take the edge off this nightmare I can’t wake up from, but they don’t, of course, fix what actually happened. No amount of drugs will fix it. Nothing in the universe will fix it; that’s part of the horror. Time, acceptance, CN…I am hopeful these will help me get through it but nothing will fix it. The meds seem to give me breathing room.

    • Unicorns, what he did to you was evil. He totally planned to buy that house for her *with your savings money*, and that is really, really sick and heartless. He was playing a long game.

      Since you are only 11 weeks out, I recommend seeing an attorney about that house down payment and your belongings. Just get at least one consultation, especially if it was a large sum you put down, and/or if you left a lot of possessions. Or, you could sue him in small claims court to at least get back your personal property.

      But perhaps these things aren’t as important as preserving your energy and focus for your new life, so you know best. But these cruel creeps often count on devastating their victim to the point of incapacitating them so they can’t fight the injustice being done.

      • Hi Wildflower,
        I was so chumpy when we were buying the house together that two months ago, when I consulted an attorney, she said I had signed stuff I shouldn’t have signed and basically I was screwed. He also is claiming he’ll pay me back…although his poor money management skills suggest otherwise. He did indeed buy the house for him and his boss lady, and simply needed a loan from the Bank of Chump.

        As far as getting my belongings out, I’m scared I’ll trigger if I see stuff that I associate with my life with my cheater. I’m having a lot of PTSD about everything, so it’s just easier to replace the little things, and stay away. My cheater doesn’t even think he did anything wrong and actually sent me an email inviting me to visit (the email he sent, said “I know how much you loved the house.”) Can you imagine? Me, cheater and boss lady, all sitting in my kitchen, having a beer, laughing about good times; me telling them what a great job they’ve done redecorating my kitchen. I realize that if cheater really doesn’t think he did anything wrong, he is a monster, and if he does have a vague inkling he did something wrong, and did it anyway, and is continuing in this manner, he’s still a monster, so it doesn’t really matter. NC is the best I can do in either case.

        • Unicorn – Your situation makes me furious!
          Please talk to a second attorney. Even if you “gifted” that down payment you may have options. Maybe you signed under duress. And I’d take your belongs away even just to donate them.
          I also understand walking away for your own mental health.

          I used to horseback ride. Very therapeutic!!

          Keep choosing you!

          • Unicorn,
            I can relate to a LOT of the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you have mentioned. One thing you might consider adding to your tool kit of self-care is guided imagery and meditation on YouTube–free, and can be done alone in the middle of the night when the ‘rumination monsters’ most noticeably rear their horrific heads.

        • Unicorn, I’m so sorry you were duped by that Asshole. I had a similar experience with the Limited in 2014. My mother passed away and a few months later he was seeking out a loan to buy a home with urgency. Being self employed he needed my signature. He wanted to buy a two family home for an investmentt.

          Years earlier I worked three jobs to get up a down payment for a two hundred year old two family colonial. While in my last year of graduate school he moved out of state, didn’t send me money and I lost my home.

          I called him on it in 2014 and asked why I’d want another rental property when he didn’t do any of the work on the last one and walked away from the payments.

          Within a month he told me he wanted to downsize, was getting a studio, and I could sleep there.

          Then I was told he’d found someone, wanted a divorce, and don’t ruin it for me.

          Yes you were with a con man. I’m hoping you can seek out an attorney and at least put a lien on that property. Luckily, my gut told me to put him off for a year.

          He moved in with her within months and was booking a vacation. These are sick fucks.

          The karma bus hit him when he had to pay mega taxes and had to take out a three year loan on a credit card.

          Do what you can to recoup your losses. I’m wondering if you are both owners?

          Some states allow a special form of co-ownership of property called tenancy by entirety. Each spouse has an equal, undivided interest in the property. A married couple is considered as one legal unit, not two individuals, and the property belongs to the unit. You will need to check with your state’s property ownership laws to see if tenancy by entirety is recognized”

    • Oh, what a story. He was a most purposeful con man. A monster, indeed. I truly admire that you’ve walked away from the personal property and got away from these people. It’s wonderful sign that you have started horseback riding–that you are recovering things that matter and old dream you lost along the way. Keep looking for that stuff; it’s out there waiting for you.

      Give some thought to asking the CheaterConMan to sign a promissory note if he is “promising” to repay you. Don’t let him off the hook for the money. The attorney is saying you don’t have a court case, but if he signs a note, you can take him to small claims. It may not be worth it to you. Jackass walked with $3000 of my money but I just wrote it off. An expensive lesson. But look at it this way–it would also cost a fortune to divorce this guy because you know he’d fight over the house.

    • You are navigating this shit storm like a champ. I hope you have a kickass attorney and that you recoup some of your losses with that house.

      This is the shit Esther Perel never talks about when she extols the exuberant aliveness of affairs — the lost investment of chumps. The stolen time. The stolen resources.

      You sound like you’re already on a strong road to recovery. As my husband the Texas trial lawyer says “Some money is just too expensive.”

      It’s a loss. But losing him is a win.

    • Oh no!!!! Unicorns I know how it feels to invest everything you have (and then some) and then be traded in for coworker, with their plans having carefully been laid for months in advance. Only in my case I did have the kids – a three year old and a one week old – which I was left to raise on my own.
      Mr. Chump Lady is so right. Some money is just too expensive. As horrible as this is, better now than later, with every month you are sinking that month’s salary throwing good money after bad while exponentially increasing your chance of catching VD.
      Chump Nation has your back. You will make it!!!

  • Got my divorce finalized a week ago today! Merry Christmas to me!

    My daughter has to go to Prince Charmin’s house on Christmas day (for a week), so we are going to cook our Christmas Turkey on Christmas eve this year. This is the first time in years I have been alone for more than a day or two. I am normally good on my own, even content, but i am starting to freak out a little. Last weekend I had a really bizarre dating experience, so that ended (and left me even more freaked out…). Last night an old friend from college invited me to drive up there and hang out with him and some other old friends next week while I am off work. I think I will…I need to get out of the house, and it will be nice to see old friends again.

  • Show me how you’re mighty posts are my favorites because it was one of the earliest posts entitled “The Walls in Your House Sing Again” that pushed me into action to leave a cheater and gain a life. When my ex cheated in 2010, there was sadly no Chump Lady and no Chump Nation. I found a few RIC sites and diligently worked on saving the marriage that I had no part in destroying. I was such a good little dancing chump, looking for that elusive unicorn.

    One fine day at the beginning of 2013 (still with cheater), an unpopular poster on the RIC site I frequented posted a link to the Chump Lady. It was hard to read at first even though my rose colored glasses were slipping and the spackle was getting harder to lug around. I read but rarely contributed because I hadn’t left the cheater yet. All of the things that I couldn’t put into words about why my wreckconciliation wasn’t working for me were right here on these pages. It wasn’t my fault he cheated. He had other options but he was selfish and entitled and it didn’t matter how many times he cheated or didn’t cheat. The only thing that mattered was my agency. Wow! Powerful messages but not quite enough to get me off my keister.

    I started reading archives and stumbled upon the walls singing again post and that’s the one that helped me turn the corner. It helped me see the life I could potentially have without the cheater. It made me realize that people do go on and get better lives. I had my first conversation with ex about divorce in July of that year and I was moved out by December, divorced in January.

    So it is my hope that one of our mighty stories will help our newly minted chumps and maybe push one of them into leaving a cheater. Here is my message to all of you: There is a much better life on the other side. You can do this. When the goal posts aren’t moving at a constant pace while trying to please a narcissistic, selfish person you will be amazed at how much time you will have to focus on your goals and yourself. Since I left the cheater I started a new job in a different side of the business I have been in for almost 20 years; I’ve been promoted, the chance to travel; gotten raises, earned my MS; eliminated my interest bearing debts (car loan, MS student loan, debt from marriage). I’ve also learned a bit about investing so I’ve got an investment account that will help me buy a house some day.

    This past year I was a huge part in getting my boarder-hoarder parents out of their old home and getting it ready for sale. That was a stressful year! Recently I also found a nicer place to live and although it’s not a house or a condo, it is a much more deliberate move from the one I made 4 years ago when I was escaping the cheater. I just moved this week and though I’ve been busy it’s been quite a great experience knowing I did it all on my own.

    Finally, at the beginning of this week I learned the ex and his wife (former other woman) are building a house. My eldest son told me with sadness that his childhood home was being sold. I commiserated with him that even after being out of my parents’ house for 3 decades, it was weird to put it on the market this fall and I could relate to what he was feeling. The best part was the only feelings I had was that I felt bad for my son since he felt sad. The fact that they’re building a new house barely registered as a blip on my radar. When I told my sister last night, 4 days after I heard the news, she asked me where they were building and I laughed and said that I didn’t know. I didn’t even think to ask.

    That is what living in the great state of meh looks like new chumps. When your life becomes so much better that it eclipses your old life and you no longer care about what your ex is doing is when you have arrived. It takes time, but if you limit or eliminate contact and focus on your life instead of untangling their skein, you will gain a wonderful life.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    • It’s my Aunt Joy who is the writer of The Walls in Your House Will Sing. I will tell her how much her post meant to you.

      She’s still with her high school sweetheart/fellow chump/husband Matt, who sadly has Alzheimer’s now. My Aunt is a heroic caregiver. He still lives at home and does all the (we hope) familiar things, especially at Xmas, with all their grandkids.

      Your story will be a real boost. Thanks!

      • I am so sorry to learn your Aunt’s Husband has Alzheimers! I just loved her story, particularly that she found love again. He is very lucky to have her by his side. I know this probably takes its toll on your Aunt but she is a true caregiver if he is still at home.

        Thank her for me. I credit this site and her story for giving me the much needed chutzpah to finally leave a cheater and gain a life! You both helped me change my life!

  • I don’t really have anything spectacular to share. It’s been a little more than 3 years post D-day, and so this is my 4th Christmas without a cheater.
    Thanks to custody schedule, I didn’t have time to get a tree with my kids until last weekend, and the tree lots had very little left to choose from. We decorated our little ugly. crooked tree, we put up the lights, we listened to Christmas music…all without anyone wondering if Mommy was out with her “friends” or not. At night, my daughter and the puppy fell asleep while we watched “White Christmas.” It’s not Martha Stewart, but it was so nice.

  • Ten months since the implosion of my 23-year marriage. As bad as it all has been, there has been some truly wonderful stuff along the way:

    1. My kids are safe — and thriving. The four-girl family bond–minus asshat–has grown beyond my wildest dreams!
    2. My middle daughter and I repainted the entire interior of the house … one room at a time. We had a blast — and it looks fantastic.:-)
    3. I’ve begun drawing again (an old hobby that I find very relaxing). My little one saw me drawing one day … since then, she’s been drawing almost daily. Egads, I love her artwork! The fridge is covered. 🙂
    4. I have fully (and finally) accepted that I was in an abusive marriage. Owning this reality has been vital as I work my way through therapy. It’s been a bumpy ride, but I’m definitely moving forward and getting healthier.
    5. Over the years, I lost all interest in holidays. I still went through the motions for the kids, but I hated the holidays and I ignored my own birthday and even Mother’s Day. NOT THIS YEAR! I have actually shocked myself by my enjoyment of the holiday season. I’m almost giddy with anticipation for Christmas. The girls and I decorated the house together last month — it is brimming with color and joy! And, we have an entire Christmas Eve planned out, followed by Christmas morning … and some interesting food just because we feel like trying something new. 🙂

    Some of the downside still exists for me at 10 months out. Asshat has been a massive sad sausage trying to hoover … even buying me a gift, which I refused (it’s exhausting to deal with). He will have supervised visitation Christmas evening for a couple of hours. Then there is my little one — she doesn’t like the idea that her “whole” family won’t be together for Christmas. The older two girls are determined to help their sister through this (*fortunate mommy) — as am I. I’m trying to stay focused on the good stuff so that maybe I can lead by example. We are going to be just fine — better than fine, even. I just need to make sure that my kids realize it.

    New chumps — hang in there. It’s a really tough road, but there IS a light for you to follow. You’ll read it here, in the numerous posts outlining the varying stages of this journey. You’ll also start to feel that light inside of yourself … it may come as a small laugh when you hear a joke (stunning yourself that you can still smile); it may be that you have a delightful dinner with an old friend (forgetting, at least for a few moments, about the pain); and the light will grow as you forge your way forward. Keep holding on to the light. You will be fine — better than fine, even.

    • JessMom, I like what you said about feeling the light inside yourself. One of the most helpful things my counselor told me was to notice when I felt even the smallest spark of joy, and to fan the flames like crazy when I did.

  • I am 8 years out and will spend Christmas Eve with my sweet mother in law and my family on Christmas morning. That is it. No hopping to this place and this place and my family getting the shaft. I will not have to spend any time with his asshole family, making snide comments about the very nice gifts I bought them. Hey! If you went to college and got a real job you could afford nice gifts also, just saying…
    AND the big thing is… I do not have to put up with “she’s just a friend “ howorker lingering in the sidelines because “she really doesn’t have much family and we’re her family “ bull.

    Hope my older teens eventually get this.

  • This is my 4th Christmas post DDay. Two weeks before Christmas 2013 was the last time I talked to my Ex in person. Looking back with all I know now, I realize that I was a hopium-crazed, traumatized wreck who was addicted to an abusive narcissistic gaslighting liar. I’m not that woman any more.

    Each year that passes he gets smaller in my rear view mirror. I’ve lost Switzerland friends along the way and my whole inlaw family who ghosted me. Besides losing my sixteen year “relationship” with the Cheater, several dear loved ones have passed away and I still sometimes am very sad about what was lost, but I see it for what it really was, now. It was a toxic, one-sided, dysfunctional relationship.

    In the meantime I’ve made major changes and minor changes to my home and my work situation, and have improved greatly with putting myself and my needs before those of people who don’t really value me.

    Instead, I have a small circle of new friends who get it, old friends who stuck by me, and my three grown children who are all glad that the loser (he’s not their Dad) is out of my life. I own my home alone now and though I had to put a mortgage on it when it was almost all paid off, my grad school debt is finally paid off, my 401k is smaller but still okay, and I’ve remodeled the house and made it sellable, which is what I will do when I *choose* to retire. Thank god I never married the cheater or he would have taken even more of my assets that I worked so hard for the last 30 years!

    And I no longer walk on eggshells trying to please a selfish bastard who never valued me. Yes, lost a cheater and gained a life. Thank you Chumplady and everyone else, this site has been part of my healing and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.

    • Hi TheMuse-glad to hear you’re doing well. It may take a few years, but Switzerland friends and bad relationships all gone here too. It makes a big difference. Happy holidays!

  • This is my 6th year past the worst Christmas of my life. I’m going to be celebrating with my parents and sister’s family this year. My kids will be with their dad and their inlaws’ families this Christmas, but I’m doing okay. I’m focusing on the fact that I already celebrated the holiday with one kid’s family and will see the other the weekend after this. I’m not falling apart over not being with my kids on the 25th and that is a big accomplishment for me. LOL.

    In the past 5 years I’ve bought my own small home that I remodeled and am very proud of. I joined a Toastmasters club and learned to speak in public, I even won a few humorous speech contests. They are an incredibly supportive and inspirational group. I’m also completely out of debt except for my home, and for the first time in my life I have been able to build up substantial savings. I’m hoping to buy a new car and pay cash for it in a couple of years. It feels so good to be in charge of my finances again!

    I’ve thrown several parties in my house and have attended many concerts and plays. I love to dance and am blessed to have a companion who enjoys dancing too. We follow a local band around the area and have a great time. We spend weekends doing things together, but during the week I’m busy with my own activities.

    I’ve also started practicing yoga and find it incredibly helpful. We have a new studio in town and I’m starting to make new friends there.

    There are things I miss about my old life, and the hardest part is I’m not able to spend as much time with my grandkids as I’d like. But I’m learning to focus on the things that bring me happiness and let the other stuff go. Once you come to a place of acceptance and admit that you can only control yourself, you start to get a whole lot healthier.

  • I’m laying in bed in a luxury hotel in Hudson NY reading all your stories of accomplishment and mightiness. I drove here yesterday with my beautiful daughter who just arrived from the UK. We are just about to go for breakfast, then drive to other beautiful daughter’s home to spend Christmas with her and her family. We’ve made plans to go to the Downton Abbey exhibit in the city and to a Broadway musical. What more could any Mum ask for?
    Last year at this time, I was baking, cooking, cleaning, hosting Christmas parties while Doughboy as usual sulked and complained and generally sucked the joy out of every Christmas we ever spent together! So a very Merry Christmas to all us chumps and a brilliant 2018!

  • I am Mighty because I did not hide in his yard and throw a gallon of industrial strength th lye in his face last Christmas Eve.

    After I had carefully and beautifully wrapped an iPad for him I had to charge, had my hair blown out, and made him a from scratch Red Velvet Cake- he never showed at 6 pm for our Christmas Eve Supper.

    When he finally answered his cell phone- he had taken bicycles to the children of an OW who had actually discarded him repeatedly before he met me. Whom he had stated he had no contact with. Where he still at her home at 6 pm.

    That he is breathing, and not a victim of an acid attack- I am Mighty.

      • Yes!!! And do you know he self righteously demanded his Christmas gift?
        That incident was the least of his horror show- it was our first Christmas he ruined. He was just getting warmed up with his sadism.

        The next Christmas he gave me some chocolates that you can buy at any convenience store, but they were rolling around loose in a wet cardboard box.

        The mind rejects that someone can behave as they do.

  • This is my 3rd Christmas season without MVM and I finally have some mojo back. The first after the separation we tried to do all the “family” things like always. Christmas Eve at his mom’s house. I walked in the door and she asked me to put up and decorate her fake tree. Umm, no. The 2nd year, I stayed home and the DS’s went to Grandma’s. I finally put up my tree- without any true spirit. My twin had just died in June. Woke up Christmas morning and went to run an errand and found a little blue bag of dog shit tied to my son’s truck. Hilarious prank from his uncle-not!

    This year, I’ve gone out to 3 Christmas parties, learned to make candles and put up not 1, but 2 trees in my house and decorated them according to the kids color preference. Next year, if DS #3 is home- I’ll put up a tree decorated in Star Wars stuff for him.

    It’s finally my way. No more accommodating for MVM’s family. No more cooking, cleaning, decorating – not only my house but his mom’s. Christmas Day will just be easy. The 3 of us making breakfast and then, later, dinner for what’s left of my family. We will watch silly movies, play cards and board games and just be together. And the very best part – we won’t hear MVM say “bah humbug” not even once! He always claimed it was because he couldn’t do for people the way he wanted to. Huh? He never bought a gift, cooked a meal, decorated, or cleaned in all the years we were married and he’s saying “bah humbug?” In 25 years together, he bought me a total of 2 Christmas gifts.

    So, yep, super excited to just chill Christmas Eve while the kids are at grandma’s. Take a long soak with a glass of wine and a good book. Get up and lounge around being lazy on Christmas Day. That is MIGHTY.

    • What the hell is it with the expectation that a woman will be the charwoman-in-chief in her own home and then gladly do the same at her in-laws ? Boggles the mind…

      From now on,the only toilet I scrub is my own!

  • I am serving him divorce papers TODAY! Merry Christmas asshole!!

    It feels like the first step in moving forward after a year where I discovered his affair, and then pick me danced, making sure to not judge him, apologize for what he told me were my faults and treat him with extra special kindness all while I went through chemo treatments without so much as a kind word or any household help from him!!!

    I made it through 16 rounds of chemo (did not take off any work and drove myself to every appointment), a surgery (my mom came to help and I took 3 days off of work) and 7 weeks of daily radiation (again drove myself, didn’t take off any work) all while taking care of a 7-year-old. I kept track of appointments, packed lunches while the douchebag went out to bars, helped a longtime friend (that I had only met the year prior) and attended multiple going away parties for that friend.

    I have lost 25 lbs (thanks cancer!) and am a size smaller! I joined a gym and actually get to go on a regular basis because no one is here to complain about having to watch my child while I work out. I joined a pilates class and have been going weekly for 5 months–I am stronger than ever! If the house isn’t perfectly clean no one complains. If the elderly cat makes a mess I no longer have to hear about it for hours. I leave the house ON TIME every morning because no one is here to distract my daughter or sabotage my efforts.

    I get to live my life free of him! I am no longer weighed down by his burdens and expectations. I still have my sad days but since I am not constantly reminded what a terrible person I am, I am able to recover from them.

  • I am a new chump, so currently I can only focus on small victories. But the other day I had a meaningful one.

    I used to live in our newly purchased, modestly sized home with my fiance, a beagle highly fond of howling, and an incredibly needy and vocal mother-in-law whom cheater always prioritized above us.

    The other night I caught myself in a brief moment of consciously enjoying the quiet and peace of my new condo rental, rather than being sad that I am the only creature here.

    #babysteps

      • It was, and would take me a book to explain :-). Suffice to say she had major issues, and my therapist says constantly that their mother/son relationship was not healthy, nor did it give me a healthy living environment. Happiest of peaceful Christmases to you, too!

    • You might think of a pet. Cats are awesome. They don’t howl. You can leave them alone when you go to work. And an older cat (or two) would give you a chance to help out another critter (or two) who has lost a home.

        • Most people also do not realize that a cat will alert you if someone is prowling around your property.
          Or your new peaceful retreat without Norman Bates and his mother.

          My mother has a very large Maine coon cat. One night he went to the window and became agitated. He paced back-and-forth and looked at my mother with earnest intensity. When she went to investigate they were two men trying to break in her lawn mower shed.

          You can’t outsmart a cat.

          • I have a Maine Coon, too! He’s my little buddy, and I don’t know what I would do without his constant companionship. He sleeps at my feet and I never have to worry about unannounced visitors- he alerts me if anyone is even near my front porch.
            I highly recommend pets for times for trauma! They are so good for your soul.

    • Definitely take the small moments like that and mark them (either in your mind or on paper). I know they are tough to come by early on. But, I promise, the frequency of small joys will increase.

      Sending a big (((hug))).

      • Thank you so much, and hugs to you, too! I am so grateful to have found CN. Reading everyone’s experiences, advice, and encouragement is so helpful. I come here every time I feel forlorn about what happened to me.

  • Christmas 2014 – Mr. Sparkles (already moved out to pursue twu luv with OW) asked to sleep on the couch so he could be there when our son awoke on Christmas morning. I said yes and then subsequently had to feed/entertain him until 5:00pm when he BOLTED for the door because the OW had just dropped off her kids to her X and was “free”.

    Christmas 2015 – Well into grey rock and no contact, just filed the divorce papers. Mr. Sparkles and OW full-on Christmas spectacular as he took her and her kids (with our son) to all of our favorite Christmas light houses and went to all of her family parties in the camel wool jacket I bought him the year prior. Good times.

    Christmas 2016 – Divorce finalized on December 22. He and the OW broke up earlier in the year because she found out he was still seeking sex with strangers online, funny that. Seems she wasn’t the special snowflake. No bother, he found another victim at the gym – this one doesn’t have kids, so I was able to keep my son for all of the holidays as a “prop” wasn’t needed.

    Christmas 2017 – Looking like nothing but PEACE, LOVE and JOY with my son and my step-daughter.

    It has been a hard slog… but me and my kids are in a much better place without the daily mindfucks and disappearances for “work” or “shopping” or “happy hours with friends” while I was left home to make dinner, do wash, work full-time, and be Santa and the Elf.

    For the newbies, it does get better. Give it time.

  • This will be my first Christmas in my new home. My marriage of over 20 years blew up around Christmas time last year. After struggling through Christmas last year, this one will look a lot different.

    I have to admit that I am still overwhelmed with grief over the loss of my wife. I loved her and the family with all of my heart. I was told that I wasn’t enough. I know that I tried, and that this is more on her than me, but it is still something I find crushing my spirits every day. Knowing myself, this is something I will never really get over, and I’m not sure I really want to. She is the mother of my children, I promised my life to her, and that is what I was doing. She obviously doesn’t feel the same, and I will have to deal with that and, over time, I’m sure that I will be able to reflect on this with a little more clarity.

    In the meantime, I am making sure I have the best Christmas I can sharing time with my children. I am having Christmas dinner at my new home for just us. We will be together for part of the holidays, and they will spend time with their mom as well. I know they feel just how much I love them, and how I am always there for them. We are going to start our own traditions this year!

    • CanadianDad, don’t believe the BS that you “are not enough”. It is obvious that she was never the person that you thought she was and she did not reciprocate your feelings. As CL says “trust that she sucks” !!
      Read my story below and I was at the same place that you are at the 1st Christmas post Dday. Five years later I am very happy with my new wife and grateful that I don’t have to deal with my toxic Ex anymore. Work on you and make yourself happy and the future will get much better for you.

    • Yes, CanadianDad, I recommend you do the required reading of Chump University, which is to study up on narcissistic types and how they operate. The wife you “love” is probably largely a projection of your own values and dreams onto a person who reflected those back to you until she decided to show her true self. That’s the woman who blew up your family. She’s the real one. It takes a long time to recover from living with and being discarded by a disordered person. Reading and learning will accelerate your healing. And it’s OK to honor her ROLE as the mother of your children. But separate than from the person whose behavior landed you here on this blog. Understanding what she is (and how that differs from your loyalty and decency) will help you heal.

    • CanadianDad, I could have written much of your post, from the being told you’re not enough to the grief to the difficulty in letting go because you were all in. Sounds like we are at similar places in our respective journeys. As a fellow dad, I just want to say, “well done” for all you’re doing for your kids. It’s huge. It matters. Some people would use the pain and upheaval as an excuse to check out from parenting. You’re not. That’s mighty. Wishing you many well-deserved moments of joy (and a deep knowing that you’re enough) over the next few days.

      — HeChump

      • Canadian Dad,

        I was repeatedly told directly and indirectly by more than one former partner that I we not enough. My abusive cheating husband used to daily rate me on a scale of 1 to 10 to determine if I were worthy of being HIS spouse! Then HE filed for divorce. That was over three years ago. Now I am working on recovering from the sense of ‘not good enough’ brought on by the Idealize-Devalue-Discard cycle dine by my last boyfriend (‘friend’ of 30 years who is really NOT even my friend) I am still working on convincing myself that I am good enough. Psychotherapy and meditation can help. You don’t deserve the loss of your self-esteem. I, for one, think that you are mighty!

    • Canadiandad, Hechump and all you other chump dads,

      My mom sucked as a human being and mom. I was raised by my dad and later stepmom, and thank God for it. Don’t for one damn minute believe you are less. It is them that are less and unworthy of you. Visits with mom were painful at best and I cut them off when I turned 18. Your kids will always need you to be their dads so keep up the good work. You are the most important person in your kids lives and you matter.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Chumplady, welcome to the Midwest, the solvers of the problems kicked up on the coasts, the reservoir of common sense, holder of the Nation’s heart, birthplace of innovators and contrarians.

    Breathe in the fresh air, relax in the decency.

  • His affair started this time last year, so I’ve been gentle with myself this month. Last night I sort of lost it and cried, thinking that on New Year’s Eve, I won’t get to kiss him, but then simultaneously hating him because on New Year’s Eve last year, he left our daughter alone after promising to spend the evening with her (I was visiting family) and instead was with his whore. This year, my daughter and I are spending New Year’s Eve together eating junk food and watching Marvel movies.

    These last few weeks have been SO much better. The jerk will pop into my mind sometimes, but it’s not nearly as often as it used to be. I’m getting so close to “meh” I can smell it. There’s been a few episodes of karmic justice – he’s in the hospital for the third time this year with a staph infection. As I went through that twice with him, I’m celebrating that I do not have to run myself ragged going to the hospital and trying to keep everything else afloat while he’s gone, plus worrying about how we’ll pay bills because he’s missing work. That is the whore’s fate now. Hahahaha! Have FUN with that!!!

    Our daughter ignores his text messages. Yesterday he asked if she was going to come visit him in the hospital, that he was all by himself. She didn’t respond. It’s sad because he did this to himself. His children don’t respect him.

    I don’t contact him. He rarely contacts me, and when he does, I give him one word answers. He doesn’t deserve anything more.

    I look back on how he blatantly lied to me, how he said he was committed to the marriage even when he was secretly screwing his whore, how he said he was “man enough” to tell me if he was cheating on me WHILE CHEATING ON ME. It still boggles my mind how he can lie so very easily. But you know what? It’s no longer my problem!

    I have days where I am almost giddy with happiness. I didn’t know life could be like this! Free of drama and lies and trust issues, things that went on for 18 years! It’s amazing to me how wonderful my life is now. I am looking forward to the future, excited for the possibilities. There are a few bad moments here and there (no longer bad days anymore, just moments, a few hours or so), and I am finally recognizing how extremely fortunate I was to get out of this horribly toxic relationship.

    To all those struggling to get out of bed in the morning, to go to work, to take care of your children, know this: I was in your shoes ten months ago. It WILL get better. Trust me!!!

    • Keeping Calm,

      These liars’ propensity to lie and the ease of their lying, upon Reveal, can feel like a tidal wave hitting, don’t you think? I thought that my ex-boyfriend was the most honest man (Chump) on the planet aside from my father, so I was completely flattened when I realized that my boyfriend was not only leaving me for someone else but had repeatedly lied to me and was continuing to lie to me.

      Thank you very much for sharing. I have struggled to get out of bed, work, and raise children every day for four months. Glad to hear that people who have experienced what I am experiencing have gotten much better.

      • RockStarWife, I was right where you are now. I never thought it would get better despite everyone telling me it would. But they were right. It does, thank God. Just take one day at a time and remember that healing is not linear. You will have good days where you think, oh, I’m fine! and then the next day, you’ll get flattened on your back again by something that triggers you. I do better in those areas now – I don’t follow the ex and his whore on social media and when they pop into my head, I just try to blast them out as soon as possible by focusing on my own life. Knowing that they suck, that they are truly awful people, that the ex is reaping what he’s sown, makes it better. But my ultimate goal? Indifference. I don’t want to care one way or the other what they choose to do with their lives.

        Stay strong! You got this.

  • Ahhhh how I don’t miss my days of spending Xmas with a narcassistic whore fucker.

    My ex-husband’s family lived about 6 hours from us. I didn’t like the long car road trip and he didn’t like to fly, so we came to an agreement that each xmas, he would get up early, pack the car with gifts and start driving. About three hours later, I’d head to the airport and meet him up at his family’s place. A weird arrangement, maybe, but it worked for us. Our last X-mas together (before D-Day), I made a last minute decision to drive with him instead of fly. I wondered, at the time, why he started petty fights with me in the car before we were 15 minutes down the road.

    After D-Day, after I found out he was a very active whore fucker, I found an email exchange between him and a prostitute that lived about halfway between us and his family. He had been making plans to fuck this prostitute on his way to his mom’s house on x-mas. He was willing to overlook the fact that she didn’t take it up the ass because she was going to have breakfast waiting for him so they would “have something to munch on besides each other”.

    Apparently, I cock blocked these jolly festivities by changing my plans to drive with him. Hence, his starting fights with me all the way to Grandma’s house. Merry fuckin’ Christmas.

    Whatever I’m doing on December 25th, it’s guaranteed to be a million times better than the days of Christmas past.

      • “No anal sex?!” Dang! Well, that’s OK, because pancakes! Thanks, hooker lady!”

        I am not a fan of male bashing or generalizing, but, really, sometimes I just have to apologize for my dumbfuck gender.

        You sound strong, GiveTimeTime. I’m happy for you.

        — HeChump

    • I am so sorry. Anyone capable of this level of lying is dangerous and a threat to your life.

      It is a Christmas gift you found out. Leave him to it. His future is bleak and yours is rich with promise.

      • Ya know, Gilley, I never thought about it that way. That my husband of 20 years could have been a threat to my life…. but you’re right. I mean yes, he gave me HPV, which luckily is curable and was cured, but with the people he was associating with, I guess yea, it wouldn’t have been a stretch to think his lifestyle could have dragged me into something dangerous.

        As a matter of fact, after D-Day, when I served him his divorce papers, I also had my lawyer serve the whore/john web site with a subpoena to get more details about my husband’s financial transactions with the web site, at least. Whore fucker ex husband at that time asked me why I kept “kicking the hornet’s nest” and I told him it was because he brought that hornet’s nest into my life.

        It could have ended up worse. I’m glad it didn’t.

  • I’m up to 22 months of total no contact with the cheater. That includes no social media snooping. The last straw really was the last straw.

  • 6 years ago I was in tears with my ex on the phone on Christmas eve at 9 pm as he yelled at me that if I wanted to have a Christmas gift to just shut up. I had made a fancy Christmas dinner and the kids were waiting.

    5 years ago my ex left Christmas afternoon to “go work out, because I deserve some me time on my birthday”. My daughter and I had prepared his favorite cake, throwing out three until we got it right. He was 3 hours late, started swearing at me because “you can’t give me a fucking break” after his shower he was throwing things around in the kitchen because “I told you not to over cook the meat, you don’t know what you’re doing”. I told him, in front of my kids and my MIL to “go fuck yourself”.

    4 years ago, my best friend and I traded with our ex husband’s (best friends and partners in crime, those two horrible people) Christmas for Spring Break. On Christmas day my gf and I got on an airplane and flew to Cancun to a cheap, all inclusive resort. When we checked in, we were confused because we had gold bracelets, not blue. It was explained that we were in the ‘honeymoon suite’ area. So confusing to the hotel staff that we were not lesbians, but we met the nicest lesbian couple across the hall and all got a great laugh. We also enjoyed the free, ‘honeymoon booze cruise, rose petals sprinkled on our bed each night, and watching the cute cabana boys’. We also sobbed many days, lonely, missing our kids. At Spring Break, two divorced women took 4 kids on the trip of a lifetime: trekking the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls. An epic, empowering trip.

    3 years ago the kids and I stayed in our pajamas and made homemade bread and pasta and planned our next trip; a back country trek at Yosemite

    2 years ago I got the kids at noon and we hung out in our PJ’s cooking and planned our summer trip.

    1 year ago, I had the kids for Xmas Eve and 1/2 Xmas day. We had another laid back dinner in PJ’s, watched movies. When the kids were returned to me at noon on Dec 26, we flew out west, to visit my family and hang out.

    This year, I have my kids for 24 hours on Dec 25 to Dec 26. The kids went shopping and bought everyone “Christmas PJ’s” for our low key hang out day. They will go back to dickhead’s on the 26 and have a short vacation with him. I will get them back on New Year’s eve and since they are teenagers, they have plans. We will then attend a ski camp for my DD and I am the chaperone.

    About year ago, my daughter asked if her friend could live with us for awhile. Her parents are divorced and the situation wasn’t working for this child. My house has been enriched with the presence of this your lady and my tribe of 3 has grown to a tribe of 4.

    Life gets better. Happy Holidays to all the Chumps!

      • LAJA

        Thanks. You were one of the very strong narratives here when my life was imploding. It was the members of CN that gave me courage.

    • Fan-effing-tastic OutWest!!!!

      This year, my two older DS’s will be with their dad CE and CD— they are now 24 & 18, exh1 is a long haul trucker, and is only home once a month, so it’s all good. We’re football fans, so we’ll have Christmas on New year’s day watching the playoffs.
      DD will go to fuckwad Evil One on CE and be with him until New Year’s Day. She’s Autistic, so we’ve had to have mini-Christmas every day!
      Enjoy!!!

  • Here I am today bawling my eyes out again, a few days before Christmas, not because of this demonic habitual liar but because of what could’ve been and should’ve been after 20 yrs. Feeling really low again during a time which should be filled with anticipation, excitment and overall happiness. Just found out that SOB has a picture of a botox injected skank and her phone number on his phone. Her facebook page plastered with her two kids and how much she loves her husband. Is this normal? Maybe i should be sending my picture to married men and give them my phone number. I know these fools fall for cheap shit spewn out of his asshole and they are a match made in HELL. Confronting him with it on advise of my mom, of course he denied it. I slept in a different room that night and next morning he awoke me with his fake kisses and asked if i was mad at him and that he found her on match.com because we were “supposedly” dating. Something he told me he wanted to do…a final chance for ME to trust and love him. In two months we went out once for our aniversary. And he also went out by himself to a bar and met up with i’m guessing another whore, a fight show with a trashy female co-worker who married 5 times & her son (which of course he hid from me) I didn’t know that after 20 years we would date and he would have the excuse of “matching” up with whores….to make our relationship work. “I tried to create a loving environment ..doesn’t work” he texted me the next day. A loving environment with all the sluts you can pick up and stick your d… in? He is a bus driver and in this city maybe 99% of it is filled with low life garbage who ride his bus and are desparate and want to ride him. It’s all perceived in your brain he keeps telling me. He’s done nothing wrong. So here I am bawling my eyes out, how i could keep this dumbfuck doing this to me. How do i get over my dreams of a united family (I do have kids) with two parents who no one could divide, a husband whom i wanted to love me more than himself and vice versa. Someone to grow old together with and have a long happy history. I’m over 50 and can’t even imagine living with someone else…let alone date. I don’t want to be alone although i’ve felt i’ve been alone all these years. I don’t want to get to know anyone else (I feel young at heart and can’t see myself with people my age). I just wanted to be with one person my entire life. How do I overcome all these notions? How do I stop that terrifying, soul deep fear of being alone the rest of my life? Yes leaving is the answer to stop all the mind games and manipulation but how do I stop my brain with dealing with injected nightmare? How do I look forward to Christmas?

    Still alone and screwed up.

    • Lena,
      You deserve better !!! You now realize that he was never the man you thought he was and all of the pain and change from a divorce is terrifying.
      However, read the stories today about all of those who were mighty and did leave. I’ll be honest and tell you that it is as painful as burning out a cancer and it is extremely painful while going through it.
      BUT once you are “a̶s̶s̶h̶o̶l̶e̶ cancer free”, your live will start getting better and quickly. You will no longer have a toxic person constantly draining your joy and making your life a hell. You will also find that there are good men out there in the same boat as you who would make an excellent partner for you.
      Have faith and courage, get a lawyer, file and get out of there !!

    • Oh, honey. You’re young. I’m 66. You can start over. Your kids would have 2 parents, just note in the same house. What they can have then that they don’t have now is a happy mother. You can’t “look forward to Christmas” or anything else as long as you are living with an “habitual liar.”

      Don’t be trapped by the hopes you had of spending your whole life with one person. The person who needs to love you more than anyone else is you. I understand when you say you wanted a man who would “love you more than himself,” you probably mean a man who isn’t selfish, who can put other people first. But if that is your standard, and you “love HIM more than you love yourself,” you can see the problem. You need to love you FIRST. Not more or less–FIRST. You must love and care for yourself. That’s your base. Your foundation. The sturdy ground on which to build a life. If you love yourself, that’s not “selfish.” That’s not about ignoring the needs of others. Loving yourself mean that you make good choices, that you protect your physical and mental health. That you don’t ignore your own needs or accept abuse.

      You can waste more weeks, months and years pining for what you wanted and what should have been and what won’t be in the future. Or you can kick this “habitual liar” and abuser to the curb and spend a couple of years rebuilding yourself and your life. It’s way to soon to worry about dating or “getting to know other people.” You are alone now, as you say most poignantly. Read your own post. What do you have to lose? Leave a cheater and a liar. Gain a life.

    • And how do you get over those dreams of a “united family”? You face the fact that it is not a united family RIGHT NOW. The dream is just a thought in your head now. He smashed it. Time for a new and better dream, one with a happy Lena in it.

    • {{{Hugs}}}

      Dump the MFer now. He’s not worth your tears and pain. He’s made it plain that you don’t count to him except as a Wife Appliance.

      Stop allowing his wants/needs to be your ruling mantra. You deserve better.

      Is it worth all the horrible pain you’re going through just to say you’re married?

      Get your paperwork together, move out if you have to. Divorce the MFer.

    • I’m so sorry for your pain right now Lena. Know that everyone in here has been where you are emotionally. Some days it takes all we can muster to put one step in front of the other. I found that I felt better if I did one thing for myself that I liked. Taking care of me! Then another and really paying attention to my pleasure in the midst of he pain. It might be as simple as making myself my favorite tea and a hot bath with nice music. Also writing writing writing. Sometimes writing a letter to fuckwit and burning it. Get the crap out. There is so much to deal with right now-baby steps. Take care of you. If you feel lonely talk to a friend. Or just write on here. It may be too soon but each day write down 3 things that you are grateful for or that gave you joy in the day. It is easier to tolerate crap if you feel grateful about something in your life. Some days I wrote down that I woke up or the sun was out. That was good enough. We are listening. Hugs.

    • Yes — I’m familiar with this negative loop replaying in the brain. I am so sorry you feel stuck in it right now.

      In order to get beyond it — I first had to really look at his actions (not listen to his words). This forced me to see that he wasn’t even trying. He expected me to just go along to get along — regardless of how much it hurt me or the kids.

      Then I had to find my righteous anger. This part was tough because my self-esteem was really bad at this point. BUT, I was able to get really angry that he wasn’t trying. That he didn’t think our family was worth it … that our kids were being so disrespected. Then I became angry that his horrible (chosen) actions were depleting me and impacting my ability to be a mom.

      So, even when I couldn’t do it for *me*, I was able to do it for our kids. Two older ones (young adults) and one young one — not one of them deserved to have their family disrespected–especially by their own dad. Not one of them needed to see such an unhealthy relationship–or the resulting pain I endured from his maltreatment. My anger was, in the early days, my godsend.

      Being on the other side for about 10 months, I wish I could truly express to you how much healthier it is for the kids … how much healthier I am (which is excellent for my kids to see). It is a tough road getting here, but if I can do it — I absolutely promise you can to.

      Sending you a GIANT, supportive, and understanding (((hug))).

  • Here’s my mighty!

    – My divorce was FINALLY finalized this year, no thanks to a totally incompetent court that lost our case file not once but twice.

    – After D-day, I spent a year homeless (in a family momber’s guest room) and unemployed. When I was finally offered a job in my extremely specialized field, it was in a spectacular but remote location 600 miles from my friends, family, and support system. I accepted the job and set out with my 3-year-old on a new adventure. As much as I loved the place and the job, I struggled with isolation and overwhelm. Luckily I made some good friends, including a fellow chump neighbor who became surrogate family. I spent the next few years applying for jobs closer to home but came up empty handed. Finally this fall, I was offered an amazing new job back home. In the last 6 weeks, I said a very teary goodbye, helped my son say a difficult goodbye to friends and his school, packed up and moved, and started a new job. So far I’m kicking ass, loving the work, and getting the attention of very important people who can help me do a lot of good.

    – My grandmother died the night I moved back home. I spent that night, after a 10-hour drive with my son, notifying my aunts and uncles, helping my dad through it, and making the decision to take her off of life support when neither my dad nor my uncle could decide. I was the mighty, stable force for my family through it all.

    – This year my son is spending Christmas away from me and with his dad and OW for the first time. I’m sad, of course, but otherwise I’m fine. I’m meh about him being with them. I don’t really care about their attempts at playing family. My son will have a great time with his loving family on ex’s side (they’re MUCH better people than ex, and have been kind and supportive of my son and me), and I’ll have some down time. Next Christmas we’ll be in our own house, and we’ll put up 3 trees (my vintage aluminum tree, a real tree, and a kid tree) because we can and to celebrate our own way.

    – It’s been a long push to get back on top of my life after D-day, but I’m almost there. I’ve come out of it with a new life and I finally, FINALLY feel a sense of peace and safety that I never had with ex. And it’s all mine.

    Chump Nation, your Meh is on its way. Mine took 3 1/2 years, but it arrived just like everyone said it would when I washed up on the shores of this blog in 2014 as a broken, tattered mess. I’m not sad about any of it anymore, and I’m proud as hell of the incredible life I’ve built back up for myself. If your Meh is still in transit, know that your Tuesday WILL come.

    Mighty Christmas and Heroic Holidays to all of Chump Nation!

    • This is an amazing post and thank you for sharing. I think that Chumps are the most optimistic and hopeful people in the world and that pushes us to achieve things we thought were impossible.

      I washed up in the nation in 2015. I’m almost at meh, but because I’d still like to drive the Karma bus, back it up and run over him again, then drag him begging to the wood chipper, I’m not quite there yet. Although these thought are now random and no longer hourly. A breathtaking new life can be achieved, but first one must remove the garbage.

  • Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my fellow chumps !!
    In the spirit of Christmas and to give hope, let me summon the ghosts of Laughing Gator’s Christmas Past and Present.

    Christmas Eve 2011: I am “happy so I thought” living with my wife of 16 years and 3 kids in a beautiful house and I have a very successful career. It is also DDay !!
    After I found out, she texted OM and left me with the kids for a Holiday screw and said for me to “act normal and don’t ruin Christmas for the kids”. So I sat watching Rudolph the red nosed reindeer with tears in my eyes and told the kids that that movie made me emotional.

    Christmas Eve 2012: Divorce done and Ex is living with OM and kids 500 miles away. In the divorce I lost 95% of my possessions and money and am living in my RV in an RV park. Even though I have the same job, thanks to massive child support, alimony and losing all of my savings I am living like I work fast food. The shock is over and my only splurge is to pay for my therapist who is helping me. My Ex made Christmas scheduling impossible but I did sell 2 of my 3 guns and that was enough for me to travel and see my kids and buy them some nice clothes for Christmas that they wanted. I later found out that she took the receipt that I innocently and stupidly gave her, returned all of the clothes, got the cash that she then blew on herself and OM and bought the kids some rags at Goodwill.

    Today: I woke up this morning to purring in my face as my cat wanted breakfast. My wife had my coffee ready and gave me a kiss and hug as she left for work. We live in a beautiful apartment and are house hunting. Financially I am in great shape and I started a tradition a few years ago that my wife and I come up to see the kids MLK day weekend in January and we have our Christmas then–works out great with no scheduling issues. I am truly extremely happy !!
    My Ex today ?? After she married OM, alimony ended and he forced her to get a job (she refused to work for most of our marriage). She works at a certain company delivering packages all day and it’s a good job but she really has to work. She and OM fight all of the time mainly over money. The kids meanwhile — oldest is in college and other 2 are in High School. Oldest is staying at school and younger 2 went another 500 miles away and are spending Christmas with my Ex’s Mom who is a sweet woman while my Ex is home with OM and cooking a big Christmas dinner for he and his family who she can’t stand.

    I realize now that I was never happy when I was married to the Ex and there was a reason that my blood pressure was sky high and I was on antidepressants during that time. My family adores my wife and we will have a great Christmas. With my Ex, everyone had to walk on egg shells around her and still we would almost always have to leave early because she would take offense at something someone said.
    For those of you who just had Dday and/or your divorce and are in pain, please please know that things DO get better and you WILL have peace and happiness in your future.

      • Gator,
        Someone should make a movie, akin to ‘It’s a Wondeeful Life,’ about your life. You give me some hope!

  • Yes, it really does get better! 26 yrs married,33 years involved total, left 3 yrs ago in September during the middle of night with things thrown in grocery bags, a moving truck with the help of family, moved from place to place for a couple of weeks, came to our new place during the night to get things for my DD to go to school in NYC. It was a chaotic whirlwind trying to stay a step ahead.
    The first Christmas my DS has no memory of a tree at all.
    Since we left-
    I have purchased a used car on my own. The ex would always show up with huge SUVs that while nice, I always felt were too big. I traded one of the trucks to have a fence built on part of my property so our dog can walk out from the house and run and I also had landscaping done.
    I am slowly remodeling the interior. A family member is helping and I am working along side him to help with cost. We are in the process of completing the master bath which is painted a beautiful pink. I want our home to be a source of pride as opposed to the neglected piece of property we moved from.
    I sold all of the property that I received in the settlement and next goal is to invest.
    I graduated my DS this month. I can say I have successfully helped both kids through homeschooling.
    Both kids live at home. The oldest commutes to a university. I help with expenses as much as possible while the ex said during mediation that he would help when he could but not commit in writing to any amount. His contribution-Zero. She is a strong determined person and totally NC since we left. She works and budgets well, plans to study abroad and move closer to school next year. My DS is in flux about his future which is fine and normal.
    I faced him in court in October for the first time since we left. I had to take the stand against him in three of eight show causes. At this point he decided he did not want to go again and sent a check for the amount owed for the others so they were dismissed. I know that with the nature of his disorder he can’t sustain change so we’ll see how long he will last following the agreement. BUT, I faced him and testified! I never thought I could do that and I don’t think he did either.
    We all continue to go to therapy.
    Christmas-
    The first one was a blur.
    The second one was less of a blur.
    The third one we implemented new traditions and we all agreed that it was the best one ever. A gigantic plus is not having to deal with ex or his family. Yeah, the decorated home, gifts, and meals didn’t magically appear and disappear.
    This the the fourth one one and we are repeating last year with a few additional things added.
    We still have struggles but never would have thought we would feel as free as we do.

  • My mightiness over this past year-
    Moved from the city to the country, a lifelong dream! I even accepted lots of help, I needed it!
    Managing my new place on my own, trying not to go overboard, it was kind of neglected, but I did a bunch of fire safety stuff- great cardio raking up debris, and hauling wood.
    Found a new job, at 63. I start next week, and I have all my fingers crossed. I know I’m a good employee and I hope they think so!
    I’ve enforced many boundaries this year, and I’m very proud I’ve finally learned how 😄
    I hope to reach serenity in the coming year. I’ve worked towards peace and no drama since the divorce, and all signs are pointing that way!
    Happiest of Holidays to all of us in CN!

  • First Christmas without cheating Ex wife, Going to my sister’s for Christmas, and Going to my Ex Mother in law for Christmas eve, Me and our son are welcome there but not Ex’s home wrecking boyfriend.

  • I am still standing (cue the Elton John) and am working on being better than OK. The divorce is filed and waiting on the courts and it has been a whirlwind. Emotional balance is beginning to return somewhat: more time is being devoted to work and a sense of pride and standards, a sense of self is growing and things are becoming more comfortable as they are. I can now see that there will be some type of a future, I will just need to make it and find it. That is on me.

    I thank everyone on this site who has helped educate me from a frightened and hurt man to someone who can stand again and can move forward. A Big Thanks to @srfrgrl who has schooled me on many a subject! Boun Natale to all!

  • Ex-Chump 5-years later:

    3rd DDAy November 2011.

    Divorce finalized May 2015 and sold my house, making sure to discard everything he hoarded up over 20 years.

    Married a wonderful man who shows me he loves me, is financially sound, not a hoarder, and makes sure I laugh every day, November 2017.

    It’s hard, it’s scary, but soooooo worth it!

  • Four and half years post D-day, three and a half post-finalized divorce, and for the first time, I don’t mind being alone on the holidays. In fact, I love it. I am casually dating a guy who I will see a good bit while my kids are with their dad, and my best friend invited me to her house for Christmas, and usually I volunteer on solo holidays, but honestly? Right now I’m thinking that Netflix, my couch, and my puppy are the perfect way to celebrate Christmas Day. For the first time in at least 10 years (since before I met the ex), I’m content being alone.

    In February I’ll have a hearing for the custody battle the ex just initiated (hey, it’s been 2.5 years since he last made me pay a lawyer, so he had to do something to get my attention!), but his complaint is so nonsensical that I literally can’t wait for the hearing. (Like, he lied to his lawyer and left out some key legal information, that’s how bad his complaint is.) There’s a really strong chance I can even get sole custody, which will greatly limit his ability to fuck up my kids’ lives going forward. Also a strong chance that I will get to hear the judge lecture him. I bought myself a new fish tank and some candles for Christmas, but I think that hearing might end up being my favorite present.

    • I so understand the urge to be alone! I am doing a movie by myself on the afternoon of Christmas Eve because the next two days are packed with people.

  • My life? Still a poor facsimile of the life I thought I had. But I’m fighting like hell and I think that’s worthy. I think that’s mighty.

    The last three years have been a whirlwind of loss and grief. I thought I’d lost the love of my life, until last year when my son died and I lost the love of my life. My health and finances launched into a tailspin.

    And yet, I get up. Better yet I’ve entirely lost my capacity to sacrifice my well being to be in a relationship. When I do, my criteria have been entirely different than ever before, and I’m utterly free of any need to change my essential self or accept less to maintain affection. I’ve jettisoned several potential partners and friends with no worries in a way that SHOULD shave been natural for a self respecting human.

    What’s more, I am now managing my money so much better. I have remodeled over half my house myself, with Zero use of credit cards. I look forward to spending my discretionary money on a faucet or slab of countertop. My daughter is seeing me not give up. And replace floors from the joists up. And replace toilets and build a deck. We’re going on vacations, she has her passport, musical instruments, lessons, weekend trips to Chicago and New York.

    Best of all, I feel no compunction about what the cheater is doing. I’m angry that he infected me with HPV after 40 damn years of being disease free. I’m angry that he’s raising a child conceived outside of marriage while I lost a son and virtually lost my stepdaughter. But the whole lot of that circus is not my problem. I’m relieved that so long as they are all occupied with each other, they are not drawing new chumps into their giant Rat King of Dysfunction.

    But I left the Karma Bus Stop lately and I’m glad. I’d rather watch You Tube plumbing videos than ever hear their names out loud again.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I almost lost my son in an accident a few years back. It is devastating and so much worse than this shit sandwich my ex served up. Hugs and good for you! Hugs

    • Luziana,
      If I’ve said it once, I’ve said a hundred times before:
      You are my role model to strive to be. You are such an inspiration for me!!!
      True story:
      I found myself needing to change bulbs on my car headlights last week. Three years ago, I would have asked The Evil One to change them for me. Eighteen months ago, I asked my DS and an male friend to do it. This time, I thought of you and your DD changing out a toilet, and I said, I can do this my damn self. So I got out the user manual, went to the store, got the right bulbs, and wouldn’t ya know???? I did it my damn self!!! Me! Mighty moment for me.
      Thank you, Luziana!!!!
      Merry Christmas to you and your daughter!!!

    • As long as I have been on this site, Luziana, you have been an exemplar of mighty. Even better, funny-mighty. That’s some deep, unfuckable-with juju. Thanks for the inspiration. — HeChump

    • Sorry for the redundancy, but you really are an inspiration Luziana.

      The day after my asshole freaked out and I had to have him hospitalized while I got a restraining order — the front door knob broke. Already panicked about putting safety measures into place (motion sensor lights, etc.) — only to have a front door that wouldn’t stay closed and wouldn’t lock!

      Like Molly’s story, I thought of you and your daughter. I thought of that toilet. So, I looked at my 21 year old daughter and said, it’s time for YouTube. 🙂 While I didn’t have a new one to switch it out with, we were able to fix the knob enough to temporarily secure the door. It took us couple of days and a whole lot of determination, but we got a new (functioning) doorknob in place before asshole got out of the hospital! Such a relief. And, looking back, it was pretty damn awesome … my daughter and me and our toolbox. 🙂

      Thank you, Luziana. For sharing your journey, for modeling mighty. Wishing you a wonderful, peace-filled, and loving Christmas.

      • It’s amazing what we can all do when we have to, isn’t it? We can all dig deeper and do better than we ever thought. Here’s to the Cheater never darkening your door!

  • 8 months from DD and 1month from divorce. Spending Christmas Eve with my sons and grandkids and Christmas Day with my friend and her husband. Ex is supposed to be with son but has not made plans so may have son with me. Typically I made all the plans and he came along for the ride. I decorated with tree and a few lights outside -again as usual. I only have moments of sadness after 30 yrs marriage. Hard to believe. But since he was a part time participant in our marriage over past couple years can’t say I miss him. I am just tired. It has been an exhausting year dealing with this, selling vacation property, organizing divorce, refinancing Home, buying him out and demanding job none of which he lifted a finger to help except to deposit divorce money in his account and act like he is all that for Tramp. Love my friends and sons who have stood by me. Proud of myself for carrying through and on even though my heart was broken.be well my friends. This too shall pass and a new day of freedom from hurt and disappointment will come. Have faith, tides change, moon changes, things change – circle of life. Have a restful holiday! Hugs

  • Chump wisdom is real….you do come out the other side of this in a place where life is better than you could have ever believed, esp. when you’re still in chump bootcamp.

    Holidays go from those of razor sharp pain to holidays of absolute peace and serenity.

    Take action steps and let time work it’s magic:

    – accept and allow whatever thoughts and feelings you have. When they come, they come. Pause, accept it and think it through asking yourself what a strong person would do in this situation. Then do that.

    – keep taking action steps, one step at a time. Eventually you will look up and find yourself in this amazing new life.

    – accept that everything in your life was by your choice. Even your cheater, you made choices that put you in that place to get run over like that. Focus more on what and why you made these past choices. Learn your lessons from these, evolve, get stronger and happier. It absolutely happens.

    – have your exit strategy. Be a warrior in this. Make your own plan, silently, deadly, gather intel, strategize with allies, keep your cheater completely in the dark. Be patient, strong even when dying inside, and you will find the outcome to be so much better than had you been weaker and less deadly.

    – become your own best friend. Take time, learn about yourself, develop strengths, evolve, find what makes YOU happy, get good at being happy when alone. You will find your true relationships grow to such greater depths.

    – don’t be in a rush to have a new partner or finding hookups. When you get to your new strong place, fully assembled, you will be a phenomenal partner to someone else, and will find a true equal partner. BUT…it takes time. Go easy on yourself in the meantime.

    Peace, chump brothers and sisters…….

  • I’m mighty because I lived through the past 13 months. One of my closest young friends died of a gunshot wound, related to domestic abuse. Two others passed from cancer. My BFF got a bad diagnosis. I’m one of the millions scared to death by what’s going on in our government. I’ve been on two huge transitional task forces at my college. I gained weight and am fighting to get back down to my comfort zone. I’m tired. But I made it through and tomorrow is another day.

    The Winter Solstice is my favorite day of the year. It’s the shortest and darkest day. One of its symbols is the rabbit curled up underground, waiting for spring. But it’s the day that turns the world back to the light. It’s a day that reminds up that when we are in a battle against chaos and corruption and evil, we will inevitably have a “darkest hour.” All of the great myths in Western culture are about this fight against the darkness, the hero’s journey to the underground cave to do battle. We are stronger than we think we are. We can lose our way and get up and begin again. That is 2017 for me. Picking myself up and beginning again.

      • And an amazingly wise and loving woman. Both of you ladies are an inspiration to me to keep on keeping on.

        Many hugs to both of you.

    • I’m so sorry you’ve had such a tough year, LaJ. (((Hugs)))

      Your wisdom and strength were a crucial part in helping me find my way to freedom. Thank you for your kindness and amazing advice.

      Wishing you a truly fantastic holiday season and New Year.

      • I second JesssMom, you are amazing LaJ and I’m sorry you’ve had a horrific year. You are strong and amazing and the comfort and laughs you provided me when I first hit this site as truly a life saver.

        I cannot stress enough the dangers of being the victim of intimate partner violence. The most dangerous time is when someone is getting ready to leave or has just left. Please seek out help from the police, a shelter, or from any hospital. They are trained on how to help you leave safely. And this is not just for women. A lot of men are victims and are embarrassed to ask for help. The shelters are full this time of year so if you have a little extra, consider sending in a donation.

  • I’ve lived the past 10 years not celebrating Christmas because X was an atheist – this is not to say that atheists don’t celebrate Christmas, but that was HIS reason for not celebrating, or so he claimed. The real reason that he didn’t celebrate anything – except his own birthday – is because he is a selfish asshole and he couldn’t be bothered enough to have empathy to come up with gifts for others. I remembering reading that tidbit from CL, a few years ago and it really spoke to my experience. X was/is truly incapable of empathy. The gift giving bit was the give away, but yet, he received gifts like a champ!

    I’m happy to report that this year, 2017, I’m celebrating Christmas with my family. I’ve had the happy pleasure of purchasing gifts for others this year – something I was unable to do because X wouldn’t work a job and we didn’t celebrate Christmas. I will also be the ecstatic recipient of gifts from my family. While my bar is set pretty low because X rarely gave me any gifts, let alone at Christmas, I’m just so happy to be participating in a holiday with normal people.

    Life on this other side of this nightmare is not even comparable. I’m glad I know what I know, but I’m also glad I know that I don’t have to live in the nightmare that was my marriage anymore. Woot!

  • For the newbies, there will be ups and downs, but over time the ups outweigh the down times
    This is our 6 xmas since DDay:
    2012: walked around in a haze, but took the kids to a tree farm to cut our own tree and got they picked out their ornaments (yearly tradition)
    2013: first post divorce holiday– took the kids to OZ to see good friends
    2014: a rough year– DD attempted suicide in November; took kids to see my family in FL with a weekend with ex– ex refused to let her see her baby half sister without talking to him
    2015: better, though quiet, as DS went to see his father for xmas
    2016: my twin sister came with her family- they live in Europe, so we do not see them often
    2017– taking the kids to New Orleans, really looking forward to it!

    DD has been up and down, but just last week we found a wonderful group therapy group for her, so I think this is the final piece to help her on her road to recovery.

    DS really wants to live with his father for a year, I am opposed for many disparate reasons. Son has agreed to drop it since I said he could spend more holidays with his father– sob. It means no Thanksgiving and no Christmas together next year, but better than not having him here for a year, and risk having him not return for the rest of high school. I am not going to let it get me down. We can sort it out in the future.

    Happy Holidays to all!

    • I forgot to mention my own self care for next year– I found a new therapist, and I am taking a paid leave for work for a couple of months. Mostly to help daughter, but after 3 years of triage after her suicide attempt (and another planned attempt), work and life has fallen by the wayside. Looking forward to some daily hikes and other things to relax and regroup. Jedi hugs to all!

      • You’ve had a long road, zyx321 — but you’ve been mighty! Your love for your kids resonates through your words. May your Christmases continue to improve and become more peaceful. Sending all my best for you and your kids.

  • This is my 3rd Christmas without the cheater. The gift I have been given is knowledge.
    I know:
    When he texts the adult kids on Christmas that are totally no contact with him that it’s self serving.
    That when he lashes out that they don’t respond he will try to blame it on me. Go for it, I know the truth.
    That he fought with me every single Christmas. I now know it was so he could escape and go see his mistress.
    That he has his own reality, which differs greatly from the truth.
    That he is insignificant and he can no longer hurt me.
    Our lives are happier and more peaceful since he’s been gone.
    That no matter what I had done, this was inevitable. He is who he is.
    That there are good people in the world. I have the right to be selective about who I let in mine.
    That I am in this very good place because of the support I get here.
    Thank you, Merry Christmas!

  • “No” is a complete answer. Let him find an open coffee shop or someplace public. That’s his problem, not yours.

    Do the kids go to visit his parents for any Christmas activities? If so, he can meet them there and give them the gifts.

    NC is the way.

  • First Christmas past D-Day, if you count that the shit was hitting the fan last Christmas. Struggling this year, because my daughter disowned me for being a chump and not kicking the arsehole out immediately. So now there is no cheater (which I do know is a good thing, but still hurts. Hoping it will stop hurting soon), and no daughter. Also struggling because in addition to everything from this past year, I just tested positive for cervical cancer, courtesy of cheater sharing his unprotected pecker with other ladies and then me.
    So good things for this year – autistic son and I decided to do a pizza day on Christmas, rather than do the traditional holiday meal thing. We are also not going to any parties, and will relax together, at home. I am grateful that even in the midst of the hurt, I know that I am a hell of a lot stronger than I ever would have thought. I couldn’t ask for a better gift…

    • Pizza day sounds lovely! One year we had pizza on Christmas. At that time you could buy different doughs at Trader Joes. I premade the rounds and had various sauces and toppings. The results were OK, but everyone liked the idea of build it yourself!

      I’m so sorry about your diagnosis. I hope everything turns out ok.

      Daughters … takes a long time for them grow up!

    • My DD is Autistic, too. She’s 9 and she would love pizza for Christmas dinner!!!
      Alas, she has to go to her fuckwit dad for Christmas week, so who knows what she’ll eat that his in-laws cook.
      Enjoy your day!!!!

  • I have learned to be very mighty and resourceful. After Cheater XH left me for Schmoopie, I landed the best job I’ve ever had in my life. Last summer I had a broken leg and was in a wheel chair for three months. My family, friends, coworkers and neighbors stepped up HUGELY and took care of me. I was humbled by all of the support. Cheater XH paid for nursing assistants to come in three times a week to help me. Guilt? Works for me. (Oh!~ if schmoopie only knew the truth…lol) Get this…..he cheats on her ! Shocking, isn’t it?!

    Although I’m spending Christmas without a partner, I have my goofy, lovable family coming over for a big prime rib feast. It does get better new chumps. It takes what it takes but you’ll get there. God Bless and Merry Christmas !!

  • This is Magneto Christmas 4th year post bomb drop. The anniversary of my old anniversary was last week. This is a rough, rough time for many. For me, Ms. Martha Stewart on crack – holiday dinner was a five grocery store stop, $300 visit in one huge grocery run, tag teaming with kids flying all over — this quiet is like torture.

    Guess what, Chump-a-lators? My fourth go around and I am stuck in >meh, THAT IS A HUGE IMPROVEMENT over years one through three! — Winning! I’ll take it and run with it! Ground zero means I can climb higher from here. Moving forward and moving on.

    Not saying I have haven’t had my moments. I can actually say I’m actually looking forward to a calmer, more scaled back holiday. It has definite benefits.

  • Three Christmases now post-exh2/The Evil One.
    Three Christmases now that I have decorated how and where I want.
    Three Christmases now that I’ve baked when I pleased without worrying about him bitchin about his diabetes and me “over doing it”
    Three Christmases that I have been able to shop and buy for my three kids without worrying about him bitchin about the cost … Truth be told, he hated that I was spending money on other things but him, even though he sucked at buying me gifts.
    Three Christmases without dealing with his parents.
    Two and a half years later since he left, I’ve done my own yard work, enjoyed time with my friends, my children, slept well, and have been improving my health— physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
    Peace and love this holiday season, chumps!!!

  • I just sat and reminisced about lots of Christmases past. For 33 years, I worked so hard to try and make the season special for my family. I did all the decorating, baking, gift buying and entertaining and XH just had to be there and act like the “big man”. When we separated, I tried on the first Christmas to keep doing all these things. Only one son was in the country and I invited several single friends to join us on Christmas day. I see now that I was so shattered, that I kept myself going by being distracted with so much busyness. I was like a whirling maniac.

    Boy, things have changed over the last 6 years. I stopped trying to do it all and to resurrect what I thought having Christmas means. I do a little decorating, but only as the mood strikes. I bake, again only if in the mood. My entertaining is way more limited. I don’t feel I have to make the day perfect for everyone. We are all responsible for making this a family celebration.

    Christmas is now calm and relaxing. My two sons, daughter in law and granddaughter live with me and we go to church Christmas eve and come home to dinner from the slow cooker. Christmas day just unfolds as we get up, enjoy opening gifts and watch Christmas movies on TV during the day. We usually go for a walk if the weather allows. We all pitch in to get the turkey dinner on the table.

    I am no longer a “maniac”. I am relaxed and so thankful for my small family. I have lost any interest in what my XH is doing that day. He really doesn’t exist for us.

    I have said several time on this site that the best thing I ever did was to go NC. I also say over and over that we chumps need time to adjust and if we are kind to ourselves, all will be well, all will be well.

  • I’m 45 months post last D Day & that was finally solid proof that he was a cheater/lier total fake. I am 3 months post divorce. This after we were married in 1975 and owned a business together since 1985. That’s why the divorce was so prolonged. So, this is my 4th Christmas without him and he’s managed to alienate 3/4 of our grown children. And he manages to be hit or miss with the dear grandchildren who range in age from 23 years down to 3 1/2 years. So, the younger one has basically no clue who this gray haired man is, who shows up at their house maybe 2 times a year. (No excuse as he is only 20 min away and I see my daughter and son in law 2/3 times a week and I’m 45 min away) My dear little grandson was a mere 3 weeks old when my ex dropped the 1st bomb. What exquisite timing….Jerk!!!!! Anyway I’ve read on therapy sites that it basically takes 1 month to get over each year you’ve been in a relationship. So 42 years = 42 months. I’d say that formula was quite spot on for me and only with the help of this site and lots of research and a handful of friends and family who stood by all my angst throughout. I’m so looking forward to Christmas Day at my daughters with most of my family. The 3 smaller grands are a total delight who are so funny and charming. And he’s missing all of it. He’s too busy taking care of his sweeties problems with her ailing father because her and her sisters are total idiots who can’t handle stress. I love Karma. Long time coming but it’s oh so sweet. 😉

  • This is my first holiday season since she asked for separation and then I found out she had been cheating on me since at least December of 2016 but likely before. After that request, I found out about AP 1 and 2 – the second of which she moved in with before the divorce was final – November of this year. She started taking our early teen daughters over to his place during her parenting time (we split 50/50) before the divorce was even final. My oldest seems to be OK but my youngest is still very outwardly angry. That could be because AP2 is the father of one of her friends…

    They are both amazing young ladies and I’m doing everything I can to be the sane and strong parent. That intention was thrown into serious doubt when right before the divorce was final, I was diagnosed with skin cancer – melanoma. Still working on getting cleared from that…

    I have my challenges with that being a single dad but I’ve discovered some things:

    I am strong as hell and I can adult like a champ. I’m not going to lie, since my ex wife was a SAHM, I didn’t handle a lot of the household things such as scheduling/ keeping appointments for the kids, grocery shopping, etc. I’ve discovered I can do all of that stuff plus the normal household chores like cleaning/laundry/etc.(I did help with that stuff before btw) while still doing my full time job. So I am still trying to figure out how she couldn’t do some of this stuff while staying at home.

    The pain I felt has unlocked a part of me that I didn’t know existed. I have so much more empathy and my heart has turned soft towards things that wouldn’t have touched me before. I cry at movies now wtf!! I’m actually happy about that.

    I’m just now starting to get to the point where I’m not obsessing over what she is doing – she’s becoming a memory. Not distant yet and probably never will be due to our children, but she is fading and consuming less mind space every day.

    I’ve also figured out that this is my path now. I own the path that my daughters and I are on. Nobody else. I don’t have to answer to her or anyone. I don’t question what is going on over in unicorn land – my girls appear safe and OK. So she damn sure won’t be questioning me.

    My relationship with my immediate family and has grown tremendously as we have rallied together during this time. I couldn’t be more blessed.

    I wish this would have never happened. I miss the girl I married. I miss the girl who carried and delivered my two daughters. I miss the girl with the beautiful smile and who liked to sing harmonies to her favorite songs. But this is my damn life now. That girl is dead and her current shell is void of her.

    Bring this shit on.

    Strength chumps! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

  • This is my second xmas since he-who-shall-not-be-named left. Last year I think it was easier. This year I am very anxious. Not sure why. I think it is because I’m not sure how I will act or feel or respond to hearing about him. I have been completely no contact 3 months and its been great. This holiday feels like contact even though if all goes well not.
    Xmas was always the time of year that he showed up and was truly engaged in family life (some years it was after a Thanksgiving dday). He was always cheerful and loving but once the holidays were over he would revert back.
    Last year he had nowhere to go and sent us all xmas texts and left presents on the doorstep. This year he is with his stupid GF and putting on the sparkles and shine for my kids.
    On the non whiny side..last week I had two days where I felt like my light happy self. Now that I remember what it feels like and will be looking for more of it.
    Happy Holidays All. Much peace and love.

    • Spoonriver, the 1st Christmas you were still in shock from it all. The 2nd Christmas is harder because the shock is over, usually the divorce is settled and the new reality sets in. Enjoy it as much as you can and you will find that he slowly in time becomes a distant memory.

  • We split January of 2016. We had hosted Christmas and New Year. I did it by myself. It went great. I am hosting both things again this year. I don’t have the resentment that comes from having a lazy, entitled fuckwit sit there while you clean up, or in the case of New Year’s Eve, go to bed while you clean up.

    He has also decided he will try mediation rather than court for our settlement. He tried playing chicken with me, and I didn’t blink. Continue to kick arse Chump Nation. Much love this holiday season. xx