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Dear Chump Lady, Why meh? Why not screaming?

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Dear Chump Lady,

My D-day came about reading an email between my husband and his bimbo. When I previously discovered something going on, he swore it was a one-time thing and we were going to therapy to work on the marriage. I blamed myself — dove into gross issues with my father — and then I discovered in this email that it was an ongoing affair and he was sharing the details of our therapy with Bimbo.

Boom.

So there’s that rage, and the rage of the pick-me auditions that followed. (My mother passed and that is when he decided to hold auditions. I thought he was being kind.)

We have 9-year-old twin boys and he sees them two nights a month. This is all he wanted as they interfere in his relationship. Although he acts like dad of the year. He actually drives around with a bucket of baseballs in his car.

So here’s my question — Why meh? How in the world do you get to meh and why is it a desirable place? I am raging. We had kids late in life. We tried so hard and then he just leaves. Leaves me with the falling down house, the dying dog, the furious children… I am raging. My day is about 18 hours long and he struggles with what tequila bar he will go to. Why can’t I rage? Why can’t I scream? Other than a lobotomy, what is the path to meh? Why do I have to pretend I don’t feel as bad as I do?

Not meh 

Dear Not meh,

It’s too soon for meh. You’re in the thick of the shit storm. “Husband”? Where exactly are you in this divorce process? The last thing I’d want you to do right now is pretend you’re fine. On the contrary, the liberation campaign to meh begins with a scream. Many, many screams. And booms. And revelations. And smashed burner phones. And maybe a dance around a flaming pyre of couples’ therapy bills…

Anger is your friend now. Fact is, you’re an excellent candidate for future meh because you ARE enraged. This tells me you’re lucid. You’re not spackling, or pick me dancing — no, you’re FURIOUS at the injustice. Good. Well-channeled anger will armor you. Rage will make you call that lawyer. Anger will engulf any tender feelings you still have for him. Fury asserts your dignity and does not allow you to beg. I will not be devalued! I will not be used! I will NOT protect you from the consequences of your abandonment! 

Rage is exactly where you need to be right now. Not forever, because it’s not sustainable or healthy long-term, but NOW? As you and your sons are being shat upon and there’s separation and divorce looming? Now, when there are assets to divide? Now, when there’s a fuckwit in a tequila bar who thinks he can throw a few baseballs with his 48-hour children and everything is hunky-dory? I’d be worried if you were not furious.

This is what un-chumping feels like. It’s excruciating. (But then again, so is childbirth. New life generally doesn’t arrive without a lot of gore and pushing.) But you know what’s worse than rage? Continual humiliation. Eating the shit sandwich and blaming yourself for his abuse. Collusion with his narrative. Dancing prettier, spackling harder, begging more abjectly…. promising, promising you’ll try harder… to hide your tears, and not ask any more questions. Please don’t hurt us. Begging your partner to show you common decency. Imploring your child’s parent to pretty, pretty please support their offspring.

THAT is worse than rage.

So good. You’re pissed off. You’re starting to trust that he sucks. You’ll get to meh eventually. (It happens on a Tuesday.) Meh isn’t anesthesia. It’s not plastering a phony smile over your sadness. Meh is the liberating sense of acceptance, when you stop getting broadsided by who he is, because you know what he is.

Anger helps with that, keeps you from falling for the impression management. (Dude, your bucket of baseballs FOOLS NO ONE.) Meh is when you stop giving this jerk the power to hurt you. You accept what happened. Doesn’t make it right, or him less of an asshole. It means you see the truth — he sucks. And you realize you can only control yourself here. Not what is done to you — but how you react. How you’re going to march forward anyway.

You control your resilience. You control what kind of person you want to be — a person who faces adversity and builds a new life — or a solid gold pick me dancer who “wins” the Plan B cheater consolation prize. (It comes with a lifetime of therapy luggage set! And a twitch!) Let Bimbo have him.

How in the world do you get to meh and why is it a desirable place?

Meh is sane and peaceful. It’s a great place to raise children. Meh’s stable, unlike Tequila Joe there. Meh doesn’t hurt. In fact, I’m writing to you from the verdant fields of Meh (waving! hi!)

I won’t lie to you, it takes ages to get to meh. The point of this blog is to get you there faster. It’s a journey. (Oh shut up, Tracy. Embroider that on a pillow.) Acceptance comes after the bloody struggle to get free of a fuckwit, physically and then mentally. But I promise you, meh is attainable.

Meh can seem impossible when you’ve bred with a fuckwit, because of course you can escape, but your children cannot. You’ll have set backs, for sure. Anyone who hurts your children, is naturally someone whose face you’d like to rip off. Fuckwits can make things very difficult. (Their faces are so rip-able.) That’s why there are lawyers and child support enforcement and scheduling software. Use them. Learn iron clad boundaries. Learn grey rock. Meh will come.

My son is 20 — let me share a secret with you — kids get to meh about fuckwits too. Some of them get there even sooner than we do. When I left my first fuckwit, my son was 4. This Christmas, like so many Christmases before, his father didn’t see him, or call him, or send him a gift. It’s 16 years since I left that asshole, and to this day I really cannot conceive of anyone doing that to their own child. Ignoring their birthday, graduation, Christmas. Canceling your child’s health insurance without a word. Taking oneself on grand vacations, and neglecting one’s child support. (I read worse on my blog every single day.)

If I think about it, I’ll lose my carefully curated meh. Somewhere in my core, I’m enraged. Weirdly, I’m also meh. That. Is. Who. He Is. I can try and untangle it. Mental illness? Dementia? Not giving a fuck? Or I can accept it. That. Is. Who. He. Is.

Should I let the injustice kill me? The guy sued me for a DECADE. Pro se. He was so weird and vindictive, he faxed a Texas probate judge a four-page-single-spaced-typed screed outlining every grudge and perceived sin (real or imagined) dating back to 1991, so my son couldn’t inherit stock my grandmother left him. (He failed. He always fails. Success isn’t the point. Obstruction is the point.)

MEH.

MEH. I have a GOOD LIFE. The fuckwits didn’t win. Oh sure, they have their spoils from the fuckwit wars. The cheater has Schmoopies 1 through whatever Tinder is doing today. My son’s father has the thousands he hasn’t paid in child support.

I have my son. This big, beautiful creature. This loving, happy, successful kid. I WIN! He’s kind, he works hard, he’s got this libertarian quirk that concerns me, and he’s loathe to wear dress shirts, but OMG, he’s one hell of a kid. (He also has one hell of a stepdad.)

I wish I could wrap my arms around my 34-year-old single mother of a preschooler self and tell her, “It’s going to be okay. It all turns out okay. He’s a good boy. You’re gonna raise him right. You win. They didn’t break you. They didn’t break him. It all turns out fine.”

I can’t go back 16 years in time. All I can give you is this blog. Meh exists. He won’t break you. Hug those little boys. Model resiliency. It all turns out okay. You’re gonna raise them right. You WIN.

Happy 2018.

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Anger is a healthy response to violated boundaries. And he clearly has done that. It is important to use that anger to make the changes as CL explains. Use it to protect yourself by refusing to accept or settle for any more abuse.

    • Yes! Spot on. Anger is the fuel that will get Not Meh out of this mess. I’ve mostly stopped being angry about things recently, it’s 9 months on, and at least for me, I had this strange moment of coming to, and realizing how far removed from the situation I am now. It’s like, falling asleep on a ferry as it pulls out, then waking up later and barely being able to make out the shoreline.

      • lol, I am years out, and I–honest-to-God–can’t remember how I felt accurately and can only remember that I generally walked around like a PTSD victim, over-shared, and thought the whole world was falling apart, and then after I found my footing, a year or so on I was laid off from a job of 21 years and spent 6 months looking for a new job in my field and working substitute jobs until I found my present job.

        After all that, I can honestly laugh at the catastrophizing I did back when I was married to a cheater. Screw that nonsense, get angry but use the anger to get out and protect yourself legally from these self-centered, entitled freaks.

    • It’s a very healthy response, and don’t let any counselor or therapist or professional who is supposed to be helping you heal tell you otherwise. I did one session with a guy who told me I was angry and that I needed help with that, it wasn’t going to save my marriage for me to be angry. Clearly he didn’t get it that I didn’t want to save my marriage, I wanted to save me. Needless to say, never spoke to that guy again.

      My point is this: Be angry. Be furious. Be outraged. Be indignant and use it all to save yourself, your children need you.

      And, just in case no one has told you this little secret – YOU ARE ENOUGH. Maybe your fuckwit wants to make you insecure, maybe Becky down the street makes herself feel better looking down on you, maybe A teacher somewhere tells you your children need two parents, maybe a soccer coach asks where the boy’s father is, maybe a well meaning person tries to tell you how much boys need their father as if their or your best intentions will turn that man into something he is not, a caring human being, please know it may hurt like hell and be exhausting but YOU ARE ENOUGH!

  • As a mother to 2 kids with an ex who’s the biggest lying cheating coward I know. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you.

    • Frumpychumpy,

      I bet you’re not actually “frumpy” and are just one of the most beautiful people out there 🙂

  • Something in this sentence “I wish I could wrap my arms around my 34-year-old single mother of a preschooler self and tell her, “It’s going to be okay. It all turns out okay.” made me burst out in sobs. I wish someone would put their arms around me and tell me the pain will be over, but I’m in a horrific 2 year divorce and can’t see the end of the tunnel. even with a good lawyer, my STBX is a delusional but clever narcissist. With zero integrity. I dream about meh.

    • One thing I hear about people who go through really difficult divorces is that it will help sever any emotional bond you had with Fuckwit. Small consolation as you’re going through the process, but just count on that when you finally get through it you’re going to feel really quite free.

      • Divorcing a fuckwit is like going through a haunted house, you know things are going to jump out but it still scares you.

        Pondering what you seaid about anger helping to sever the emotional bond. I was laying here this morning thinking about New Years past with fuckwit (I know, pass the 2x 4) and how he would say things like it was so important because he felt like it would set the course of the year to be with that person. (Yes, another whack for spackling stupid shit like that)

        Point is, the bond was one way, his part was an illusion so it really is a one sided recovery and anger is a necessary piece. I hope it won’t be at some point- oh, that must be meh.

        One more, I was thinking this morning how I had a recurring dream throughout our marriage that we weren’t really married, just living together and I wanted to get married. It was a dream that really scared me and I would wake up and have to calm myself that we were married. Was that a subconscious reality? Can anyone explain dreams?

        • Feelingit, I had forgotten that while I was married to Satan, I had a recurrent dream that I discovered he was with another woman while we were married. In the dream I was pleading with him to talk to me and trying to get his attention, while he completely ignored me and didn’t care that I was upset.

          I’d wake up feeling so upset, I’d have a sinking feeling in my stomach that would last all day. The dream seemed so realistic, I had a hard time looking at him and could barely speak to him all day.
          I don’t know how to explain dreams but my recurring dream turned out to be a premonition.

          • Oh my gosh, I used to have a very similar dream while married!! That I discovered my husband was having an affair, and when I confronted him he didn’t care about my pain and sadness, and without any empathy just told me he wanted to move on. I would tell my husband about the dreams frequently as well. And in real life when I discovered my husband had several affairs, he reacted essentially the same way as he did in my dream….so bizarre!! I even brought the recurring dream up to him that I’d had and of course he remembered it.

            • Many years ago I had a dream (nightmare?) that my husband was cheating with the exact woman that he left me for twenty five years later. In between this time, she broke up someone else’s marriage, had two kids and got a divorce from him. I can now honestly say that my ex NEVER made any of my dreams come true, but he actually made my nightmares come true!

          • Brit, I can’t believe it but I had that exact same dream repeatedly throughout my marriage with my narc. Right down to uncaring reaction, ignoring me as I cried and pleaded, and waking up with a sinking sick feeling in my stomach all day.

            Perhaps it is a premonition, or as another commenter said, a result of wanting to be more intimate with a distant husband.

            I believe it was my subconscious playing out exactly what I couldn’t face in reality when I was awake.

            He always said he never cheated and never would. That he loved me and only me. But things never added up. He was always late coming home from work. Disappeared for hours just to go “pick up milk”. Threw a fit if I do much as glanced at his phone. Treated me (someone he “loved”) like crap.

            I believe the dreams were simply showing me what I knew deep down all along. He was lying. He was a cheater. He didn’t care about me or my feelings. I was alone in my relationship, crying and begging deep down in my soul for him to love me and be loyal to me.

            My brain knew it before my heart was ready to face it and therefore those images ran through my head as I slept.

            • OMG me too! I had the dream that I caught him with the AP and it was the same person he actually was with. Afterwards I would tell him and laugh at how crazy it was, but he didnt find it funny – said I was crazy and that he wasnt responsible for my dreams. Now I know why! My brain was trying to tell me what I was ignoring and spackling over.

          • OMG! I had those dreams too! I used to dream that Dancing Dick brought a whore home to live with us. In the dream….he couldn’t hear me when I said ” get her out of here.” As if I were invisible. My dream (nightmares)- were right on the money.

        • Your dream to me means you longed to be closer to him. You didn’t feel married to him or that there was any intimacy.

          • Mjo, reading your response gave me chills, you’re right, I did long to be close to him.
            I would feel tension when he was around. No, I didn’t feel married to him or that he loved or cared about me. He gradually became so distant from me that friends mentioned that they noticed he was distant from me. I was oblivious to how bad it was. I did have a feeling that something was “off” whenever I mentioned it to him, he would reassure me that he loved me, and that’s just how he is.
            Looking back I wish I had trusted my intuition or gut feelings and paid more attention to his behavior and took what friends were saying seriously. I trusted that he was who he claimed to be “a man of integrity”. I trusted him so much I began to question my recollection of events. He would tell me he was concerned for my mental health and had me questioning my sanity. He knew all along that I trusted him and believed he was my best friend while he took advantage of my trust and robbed me of my self esteem.
            He has no empathy or conscious and is determined to destroy me.
            Jo, do you have much experience reading dreams? You were very good at reading mine.

            • You have described my exact life with my fuckwit. I would do anything to be rid of him and his impact on me. He emotionally and sexually abused me for so long that I did not even comprehend how I was being abused. I am struggling greatly now and on a direct path of self destruction. It’s like watching my own train wreck and I just can only stand and watch…thank you for sharing. It helps so much when someone can put your pain into words.

              • Perfect life, it sounds like you have some trauma there. Look into therapy that is trauma specific. If you can’t get to it, start listening to you tube on narcissists and healing from abuse. When some fuckhead messes with you that badly, you need more than time to heal.

                But, you can heal, you are whole and enough, just dealing with these assholes shuts part of your neuro processing down. Yoga, or running, meditation if you can pull it off even five minutes. All help a lot. Drinking doesn’t, but sometimes that’s the right thing to do too.

                And Rage! feels soooo good, do it! My fantasies of what I would do to him are pretty vivid. And once I really feel it, I can let it go for a bit. And that bit gets longer and longer.

                If anyone saw the movie I, Tonya, about Tonya Harding- her mother is the portrait of what Tracy says is “just how he is.” It was shocking to see such a perfect portrayal of an ordinary, domestic psychopath. Highly recommend, take tissues.

                Happy, peaceful, prosperous, fuckhead-free New Year to everyone at CN! Be Mighty!

            • I’m not entirely good at reading my own dreams (just like I’m not good at seeing the obvious in my own relationships) but with others I find it easy (my own ego being removed, I suppose).

              Your souls knows what it needs. And the needs tend to be revealed in our dreams. Our subconscious picks up everything. So while you say you loved him, that he was your best friend and that you didn’t have doubts, your true self really did. Your true self wasn’t getting your needs met. Maybe you didn’t want to rock the boat or maybe you were in denial or didn’t want to deal with the truth that he didn’t love you (or was not capable of giving you the love you needed) for fear of being alone, etc. but we can’t hide from who we really are and what we really need, so it came out in your dreams.

            • I felt very alone in my marriage. I didn’t know how to articulate that. We went through the motions of being a married couple- but something was always missing. Like puppy begging for scraps of love…….I remember trying to “squeeze” love and intimacy out of a lying, deceptive pervert. What a first class chump I was. What a great narcissist he was.

              • @Leavingthecrapbehind Ditto. I used to literally beg FIGJAM to talk to me or pay me a compliment and he just couldn’t do it. I was a starved puppy and if he ever accidentally dropped a crumb I thought he was my protector and provider all over again. He got everything he ever wanted from my physically but starved me emotionally. His text messages every day to me were over the top affectionate as a smoke screen for the 4 year affair but in between texts and sex he treated me with absolute disdain. It was like he was married to the television and I was worth more to him when I was away so he could play his games with less chance of being caught. I felt less alone after I kicked him out 2 months ago than I had for the past 4 years of our 26 year marriage …

        • Hey Feelingit — I’d say your intuition is right on!! Your dream explained your reality exactly. You wanted to be married but you weren’t really. (He wasn’t really married, more like it.)

          I often want to state our past this way: we were “married.” In quotes, but not really.

          This rest of your explanation of the dream exactly explained the emotional tenor of your dream.

        • My cheater was a picture perfect husband until the double life was exposed; but, even when I thought things were wonderful, I had a disturbing recurrent dream. I have very long hair which I have to admit I am rather vain about and protective of. I dreamed over and over that we were in a salon and I was supposed to be getting a small trim, but the stylist turned me around and I had been given a really short androgynous cut. Cheater was in the background belly laughing at my shock and horror. Like seriously roaring and knee slapping. You may have no clue what is actually happening, but your heart and soul knows something isn’t right.

          • I too had a dream. I saw him shoot me in the heart with his bow and arrow. He killed me. And I could see myself lying in the ground and he was looking over me with no empathy or concern at all. Just looking at me. He killed me. I told him about the dream and my kids and there was an ongoing “thing” where I would not come around him when he had his bow and arrow out. The truth is he did kill me…the person I was…the person who trusted and loved him. He killed her dead. He killed the young heart who knew nothing of prostitution and Craigslist’s whores. He killed the person I had cultivated for 25 years and the life I had believed was real.

        • Omg, had similar dreams. Mine were I knew I was married, but I didn’t know to who. My subconscious was really spot on there.

        • I used to dream that I couldn’t reach X on the phone. I kept getting a wrong number or I was put “on hold” or he was on the phone with someone else when I called. Those dreams were eerily on point and were telling me he was not available to me in real life either. Dreams are our subconscious telling us what we know, but cannot articulate. I would wake up in a sweat, as my dreams became more frequent and detailed. Now I know I was my head was sending me warning signals that I could not understand, and I always think carefully when a dream like that pops up.

          As for anger, it has a proper place in dumping a cheater. It propels us forward, keeps us from getting played by the cheater. It gives us the power to save ourselves and our families. Think of the fellow who lifts the car off the railroad tracks to save the family inside. That is how anger can be used, too. It only becomes destructive when we turn it against ourselves. So, I think the key to use anger in a way that benefits you, and not in a way that allows the cheater to show everyone how “crazy” you are.

          In time, anger is replaced by other emotions, all of them valid. I still struggle with grief, primarily because of what the fact X is very ill and my kids have to cope with so much. I have learned to embrace that grief, though, because it reminds me of my humanity. Sure, I also am still angry sometimes when I think of what X threw away. Again, for me that’s just part of the deal. Mainly, I try to make each day a reflection of who I am, and I do not want anger to define me.

      • I think you’re right about that MC, but I don’t think it has to be a really difficult divorce for it to work. My divorce was relatively easy – kids were adults, we had lived apart for a couple of years, most assets were already divided, etc. When I pulled the trigger and filed, the Edgar Suit promised that he would do whatever it took to get through the process quickly and as painlessly as possible. But he didn’t. Imagine…a cheater lying out his ass. 😑 He delayed and dragged things as long as possible by every means available even when it was against his own financial interest to do so. Watching him do that, knowingingly hurting not just me but our kids AGAIN, was like having a wound cauterized. Any lingering feelings toward him were burnt away and sealed off for good. He was an important part of my life from age 17 to age 52 and I feel absolutely nothing for him. He is a complete stranger to me and I treat him as I would any stranger who seems *off* in some way. As long as he is a good distance away, I don’t concern myself with him but if he gets too near someone I love, I keep a wary eye on the situation until the danger passes. That’s it.

    • BeouwolfSabrina,

      As horrible as you feel now, keep taking one step at a time and YOU WILL arrive at a place which is the polar opposite.

    • I also cried when reading this paragraph 😢 l even took a screen shot.
      I wish I was angry, I’m just numb I think but luckily for me l have family and friends to be angry for me and make sure I’m not walked all over 😠

      • Lovelife, I remember in the beginning wondering why I wasn’t angry. I too felt numb, now looking back I was in denial. It was incomprehensible to me that the person I was married to for 20 years could be this callous and cruel. I told myself that he was going through a midlife crisis and if I remained calm and understanding he would eventually come to his senses and realize what a wonderful understanding wife I am and we would live happily ever after.

        The day I found CN and started reading the posts gave me clarity to see things as they are and not what I spackled them to be. I had to give myself the gift of acceptance, to accept that he had carefully planned his exit, he knew exactly what he was doing. I was brainwashed by his years of lecturing me on how honest he is and a man of integrity. The truth is he’s manipulative, cunning, dishonest, cruel and vindictive.
        Feeling numb helps us avoid the pain of the truth.
        Trust that they suck and nothing else.

        Acceptance of who he actually is, not who I thought he was, it’s painful to know he purposely took advantage of my trust and humiliated me.
        I’m disappointed that I was so naive and trusting and that he took advantage of my trust.

    • I burst out in tears too. I don’t know why, sometimes I feel meh, sometimes not. My meh is in a state of flux 4 years out.

  • Anger is a good thing. Be pissed off! Use it to keep going and to protect yourself and your children. I know if I didn’t have anger driving me in the first year of my separation, I could NOT have survived the sleeplessness, the worry, the fear and the legal process. Anger rocks while it’s useful, and over time you’ll be able to see when it’s time to start morphing into something else (on the way to meh!). I spent a whole year raging which was useful as anything! After 12 months I felt it was time to change my outlook to protect my health and mental wellbeing, which I did with the help of a counselor.
    Everything in its own time. Good luck to you xx

  • Tracy you’re an inspiration 🙂

    I started last year still with my cheater, miserable, anxious, and abused, but I’m starting 2018 free and well on the road to meh.

    Your blog and book have helped me so much along the way. This post gives me hope that someday I’ll have a life I love and my ex won’t occupy space in my head anymore. Thank you for making the roller coaster ride of recovery feel more normal and giving us all the inspiration we need to keep moving forward.

    • Here’s to ‘not giving a shit’ about shitheads in 2018! 🙂 You’ll still be annoyed by people who text while driving however.

    • There are stages on the way to meh. Everyone goes through them, not necessarily in the same order, and not for any particular period of time. And sometimes we go back and forth, hoping for unicorns, telling ourselves that s/he may be a lousy spouse but still be a good parent.

      First there’s mindfuckery and sympathy: I’m so sorry I hurt your feelings. If I’d been more considerate you wouldn’t have cheated, or gotten shitfaced drunk, or hit me, or wasted so much money. It’s my fault that the kids got away with what they did. I’ll try a lot harder from now on. I promise.

      Next there’s gaslighting and dismay: I’m trying. I really am. I cooked the pot roast just the way your mother does. You never said you hated pot roast. You always told your mother you loved it. What did I do wrong? Why can’t I please you?

      After that there’s discovery and anger: How could you do this to us? I gave you everything you asked for. I went along with your crazy ideas and ignored my family for you. But you cheated anyway. You spent the mortgage money on I-don’t-know-what. You took the heirloom my grandmother gave our daughter and pawned it. AND YOU’RE TEXTING YOUR GIRLFRIEND RIGHT NOW IN FRONT OF ME!

      After anger there’s numbness: I through trying. I already gave everything. Nothing helped. Nothing worked. I can look you in the face and know that I just don’t care. That used to scare me. Go ahead and lash out. I have so many scars that there’s nowhere left you can hurt. If you died today I wouldn’t miss you. Your life insurance is paid up, right… nah, can’t go there, I’d probably get caught.

      Finally there’s meh: I’m past caring. Your feelings don’t matter any more. Your needs don’t matter. You may think you’re a great parent, fine, go be a great parent with your schmoopie’s kids. Our kids know what kind of person you really are. I’m moving on. If I have to look at your face I’m just a gray rock. I see your fancy car, your fancy schmoopie, and the only thing that comes to my mind is a tinge of pity. For your OW/OM. Poor man, so small.

      Chumps, you’ll get there. It takes a while, and might take a lot of scarring first. But no matter how much you’re hurting now you can look forward to the prize. You can look forward to the day when what matters the most is you and your kids, and your cheater just doesn’t matter at all.

      • AC,

        Well said! I went through all those stags with my ex-husband, who filed for divorce 3.5 years ago. Have experienced several of these phases, with the notable exception of Meh, in coming to terms with my ex-boyfriend’s abandonment of me four months ago. In general, I have experienced numbness before anger. I tend to repeatedly cycle through all these phases.

  • As Tracy so wonderfully pointed out, anger IS your friend right now. Getting mad as hell truly puts you soundly on your way to MEH. Embrace it and let it move you toward freeing yourself from that waste of precious oxygen! Tracy is right – you really are the winner in this mess. It may not seem like it right now, but down the road you will discover how much better your life will be without a giant asshole in tow.

    • I just had a vision of a cartoon me dragging a giant asshole down the road and it wasn’t pretty !!! I will keep that picture in my mind. I didn’t start today off well but that picture is helping me !!!

  • I am still angry, I kicked him out in 2012, filed for divorce 2014 and he has made the process as long, painful, and expensive as possible.
    However, a key problem which stops meh for me is not only how these twats treat their children, but the fact that the children accept their crumbs.
    My kids are so keen to have a Dad, they never call him out on any of his shit.
    2 are now young adults, and just accept what little he offers. He left me with the family house to maintain and sell, has argued about every penny of child support, yet has literally millions and goes on holiday endlessly.
    So that still makes me angry.
    He has made them into people who accept rubbish. The gift of being the offspring of a narcissist.

    • Same hear. A long and painful process of a divorce. It’s been two years and no end to this. My kids love him and I let them feel what they feel. He’s their Dad. And Dad is loaded and I have no idea what my settlement will look like.

      I think meh is easier to reach without children. Without hearing the sound of his motor at my house, waiting to pick up the kids. Without hearing the trips he has planned with the kids. It’s constantly in my face. I wish I lived hundred of miles away from him. He’s 3 short blocks down.

      I honestly don’t know I’ll ever move on. My hamster on my wheel now is replaying everything he did that led up to D-day. All his actions I questioned make sense now about infidelity. He still hasn’t owned up to it. And a big part of me is stuck in the phase of disbelief about what he did. Honestly, I’m sure I probably need some therapy because it’s not normal to still be fixated on “how dare he do all that?” “Where was his heart, his conscience?”.

      We had just bought a house a year earlier after renting for 13 years (I had to plead him to and he would say “why does the world have to revolve around you?”) Money was not a problem. We had moved five years before that to the other coast. Uprooted everything. And now at 55 I’m back at work. Not that it’s a bad thing, however there was a pretty safe and secure future I had envisioned. And now? Anxiety. How do I ever invite a man into my life with this?

      Good luck to you, I hope you find the peace and tranquillity you deserve. That we all deserve.

      • Who cares what is “normal”? And what is so desirable about being normal anyway? Plus, u r still in the thick of it. You need your armor. Fight on! ((Hugs))

        • I’m divorced 6 years and still angry, although thankfully my kids are grown, I’m no contact (except for my son’s wedding in July) and we live – oh I don’t know 5,000 miles apart. Two continents apart is good enough for me. At first I was angry that he took a young and pretty, intelligent me with a damn good job and gradually over the years beat me down (physically, mentally and financially). I had such a wonderful life until I met him. I guess he did it to make himself less inadequate. But later I have come to ignore the 350,000 dollars of HIS debt that I got landed with (I don’t make more money than him) because I am dealing with it. Trouble is, over time I always found excuses for his appalling behaviour – oh he didn’t mean it, that was an accident. But then I read someone else’s story on here and my ex hits every one of those damn behaviours. I guess that’s why I’m still angry because I was taken for everything. Maybe I should stay away from CN for a while – but nah, I’ll pass as I love you all so much. Maybe I’ll take up kick-boxing instead!

          • I can’t even begin to imagine being in debt that much and not feeling angry (angry is too light a word). I hope you are blessed with a lot of happiness in the coming years.

      • YES! I’m scared out of my mind about the future. The security of being married and having retirement plans is gone. I don’t look forward to the future. It just seems like more sadness, loneliness and fear.

        • I’ve been divorced for eight years. Our house was supposed to be paid off this past June and we were going to enjoy retirement and travel. I had to refinance the house to get his name off of it and put it on a 30 year loan so I can afford the payments by myself. I’m 60 and can’t even think about retirement now. I’ve been on the fifty bad coffee dates with guys over the years and I just can’t stomach another one. I’ve learned to be really be okay being alone, but it does get lonely there’s no getting around that. It’s hard not to be angry, especially as I see Cheater Xhusband and schmoopie making fabulous plans for their shiny future. Ugh.

          • Fifty shades of lattes anyone? Chumptopia, I’ve been doing the over-50 dating scene too and have met men who either want to take care of me, or want me to take care of them. No thanks. Not that lonely and I can take care of myself. I’ve made some great women friends post-divorce and we ski, work out, eat out, samba drum, hike, camp, play, have fun and no complications!

            • Distant Memory,

              I would LOVE to have a met a man who wanted to take care of me (or at least respect me) as opposed to take advantage of me!

              Glad you are having a great time with female friends!

            • You made me laugh in recognition at the over 50 attitude to divorced women. I had a vestryman at my church want to have an affair with me. A fellow chump was losing his job and selling his house while getting divorced. He seemed to think I would welcome him stalking me on Messenger late at night. A long divorced colleague wanted me to be the alpha female to his beta male. I’m glad to hear there are solid women in your world. I work and most of my married female friends don’t. They distanced themselves.

            • OMG YES!!! That “I’ll take care of you” or “you take care of me” dynamic drove me right out of over 50 online dating. I just want an equal partner to enjoy life with, I don’t need a caregiver or a third child. Ugh.

          • Chumptopia,
            Over 50 years old, I am finally at the point where I cannot stomach one more bad date! I have officially decided to take myself of the market. (I was just paying for Internet subscriptions that bore no fruit, anyway. Might as well give that money to make a more comfortable single woman’s future. I was also spending a lot of precious time on what turned out to be a dissatisfying, demoralizing activity. Instead of spending time trying to date, I am going to spend it doing things that I like that I can do without an intimate partner, e.g., taking care of animals at a shelter, reading books alone, walking on the beach, tutoring my kids, maybe someday finding a cure for Alzheimer’s…)

          • Chumptopia, my heart breaks for you. I guess my heart should break for me too because I’m just about like you minus 5 years old. You are alone for now but if your wish is to find someone please don’t give up hope. I know…sounds crazy to say because they took away so much of our hope. But without it what’s left? Someone is out ther for you. In the meantime, take care of you.

        • I feel the same way, we are not divorced yet, stayed home to raise my child, now at 56 have to go back to work. I have never been more scared and terrified about the future how I’m going to make ends meet etc. i’m tired of being angry but the fear of where to work how to rent a place to live that is affordable etc. is absolutely terrifying I can’t wait to get past this feeling.

          • To all those who are scared of what the future will financially bring (or not bring),

            I was a middle-aged stay at home mother (grad student) when my husband left to openly pursue ‘other opportunities.’ I, too, was very frightened of financial ruin, especially after I spent $100K in attorney’s fees defending my right to continue to see my children. I ‘won’ the children but financially was devastated. After I faced the fact that I had been ‘wiped out,’ I became calm. I do not know the future, but I know can focus on just the (financial) present. I still try to plan a little bit (I was, after all, a financial analyst once), but I can do so with detachment. My vote, in general, is to face the fear sooner rather than later and acknowledge it in it’s deepest, darkest form rather than to run from it as I think that facing the tsunami head on makes the fear subside MORE quickly!

            • Been there done that Rockstarwife!
              I managed to slip the separation papers (which would convert to divorce)- under Dancing Dick’s nose while he was in a state of “faux remorse.” That helped me garnish enough money to flee the marriage (and the state). I bought a tiny condo by the beach and carved out a very “economical lifestyle” so to speak. I had no idea where I work….or what life was going to bring. I just knew that I needed to set myself up in a life that I could afford no matter what.

              I left Dancing Dick when I was 58 years old (a year ago)…after a 31 year marriage full of lies and deceit. When I found out that he was “at it again”- his level of sexual depravity increased to a frightening level.

              He ran and hid in the church where “Christians” were advising him to “ignore that angry wife.” Of course he never told the truth about what he did …and who he was. He found himself a new “head janitor” woman- before the ink on the divorce was dry. That helped me see things even more clearly. The anger started to subside – when I realized I was dealing with a text book narcissist. Now, I’m feeling relieved to be far away from the freak that I once called my husband!

    • Thank you seriously, I have a young adult son who accepts the crumbs his father offers him and any little attention the jackass gives him. My son has learned to accept being treated like garbage as normal.

      It’s really very disturbing. X convinced our son to live with him but when he married his new love she didn’t want our son living with them in his new five bedroom home. What does X do, like any loving caring father, tells our son who has a shitty part time job and going to school that he needs to find his own place. Our son could only afford an apartment in the worst part of town and that’s okay with the jackass.
      Meanwhile the selfish jackass takes expensive vacations with his new wife, buys expensive toys, bought a huge new home, bought all new furniture, new expensive vehicles while I struggle to survive.

      • Seriously, sorry, I got carried away with my story and forgot what I intended to post, thank you for mentioning that our children have learned to accept less than what they deserve because they’re used to accepting crumbs and being treated like they’re not worth anything.
        I have been wondering why my son accepts being treated poorly for example by his employer and doesn’t have higher aspirations for himself. It’s frustrating.

        • My son is the same way Britt and I feel so guilty. Fuckwit has always treated him like shit. Son has a learning difference and he often repeats things aloud in order to process. Fuckwit mocks him for it.

          I spackled his abuse saying at least son doesn’t let people treating him poorly deter him from doing what he wants. Son had a coach who yelled at everybody and kids were quitting right and left. When I questioned son : why do you stay? He responded that he wasn’t going to let this guy stop him from doing what he loved. He said he just tuned him out when he yelled.. I think he had to do that with fuckwit. So sad.

        • I didn’t connect the dots for years…I was so accustomed to being treated bad that it was my normal. When married to nowdeadcheater, my employer was demanding more of me than was legal and by the time I realized it and filed a grievance, the statute of limitations on unpaid wages was past and they did not offer me any back pay.

  • An am-MEH-zing 2018 to you all, Chumps!!!

    Excellent post again, Chump Lady!

    Almost three years since D-Day, Abandonment, wreckonciliation, and divorce, and then finally, meh.

    What my life, my responses to his attempts to engage in confrontation (hint: silence), my grey rock/no contact in between obligated visitation (hasn’t paid child support in almost 4 months, but keeps up visitation? #bitchcookie) all send a message to him — You. Did. Not. Break. Me.

    I remember a line(s) from the novel and movie by Stephen King, Delores Claiborne:
    ““Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to….” “I’m not making an enemy; I’m keepin’ one….”
    “Sometimes you have to be a high riding bitch to survive, sometimes, being a bitch is all a woman has to hang on to.”

    Those lines fired my soul up when I needed it. Even to find the will to get out of bed some mornings. To clean myself up. To get a lawyer’s input (exh2 paid for the uncontested divorce; however, I refused to sign unless it had everything I needed for my Autistic daughter and wanted).
    Anger fueled me for months. Let it fuel you.

    Hell, I’m still angry to be honest, but (like C. L.) I’ve said for years now, “that is who he is”. He sucks.

    What angers me the most is he acts like my daughter and I should be “over it” by now.
    Case in point: DD has to go to exh2 for Christmas week through New Year’s Day every year. This past Thursday, I get this text message:
    Has anything changed with (DD) recently? She’s really off. Will barely eat, takes her forever to go to sleep and won’t sleep by herself.

    I wanted to scream back at him that A) she is used to being at his house at most for 48 hours at a time, longer the week goes by, more over it she is— consequences? Reality? It took me everything not to get her back early, but I didn’t because this is part of being a full-time parent (i.e. what I do 99.99999% of the year); B) of course she’s off— she has to share her dad with two younger step-siblings and step-mom that he left us for to go be super dad to her and her kids— hell yeah, DD is angry and frustrated and cannot express herself with those emotions to her dad; C) this is what happens when you don’t engage with your daughter on a daily level, nor make any effort to spend time with her, of course she isn’t OK after a few days there

    My friend called me “bitter” the other day. Hell yes, I’m bitter.
    You can do what you want to me, but not to my daughter. That’s why I got so angry at his text. Three years later, and he’s still hasn’t acknowledged nor admitted that our daughter didn’t deserve to be abandoned and then thrust into a whole new family and expected to bond with the kids and woman…ugh, I could go on and on, but you all get it.

    Use the anger to fight for yourself, and your kids. Be angry. Cry. Scream. It’s better to process through it then to suck it all in and plaster a fake smile as if it’s all good.
    The process sucks. It’s hell. But it’s finite. It will pass. You will get to Meh.
    In the meantime, stay the course. Use resources available, take care of yourself and your kids.
    ((((((Hugs)))))

    • Anyone that calls you bitter is not a friend. That person has NO place in your life!
      Get rid of that person or at least marginalize them to your very outer circle.

      • I was thinking the same thing. Never refer to someone who calls you names a friend. They mean you harm.

    • Yes, Molly X – you can do what you like to me, but not to my children. How can you expect anyone who is a decent parent not to feel like that? It is nothing to be shamed for.

    • Just a blatant example that your ex has no empathy! It is scary that you have to hand your daughter over to him. Speaks volumes for his new wife too that she is able to ignore such insensitivity. She must be an expert spackler too.

      • @Feelingit :
        Oh, his OWIFE, I call her “Mrs. Dumb-Ass”, is also a chump, so I’m sure she’s an expert spackler.
        She was abandoned the day after her second child was born by her cheating exh1 for a Hooters girl he met overseas — said-second child was not even 2 when she became the OWhore, and within five months, married The Evil One.
        She was a 20-something, single mom living with her parents when she met TEO. Yep, she was either actively dating or she latched onto the first man that came her way.
        I have yet to be introduced to her, nor have I ever spoken two words to her. She won’t even look at me at exchanges.

    • When you are really invested in a relationship, the betrayal of that bond fundamentally shakes who you are and your self-worth. I have trouble feeling anger at my STBXW because I loved her so much I don’t want to believe that she could have shattered my trust and future along with the lives of our great kids. I worry about being there for my kids, and I am furious at the fact that I will miss a lot of little things because our time is split. I am furious that my kids will have to schedule their time in the future when they have kids of their own. That anger is mostly directed at myself because I was told that the infidelity and divorce are happening because I’m just not good enough. That is an issue that I am dealing with slowly, but if anyone had the balls to tell me that I was being bitter, well, I think I would lose it. No friend, no decent human being, should be minimizing a fantastically traumatic event like this. People are uncomfortable with pain and confrontation. And maybe this person just wants you to feel better, but holy shit, how shallow can you be!!

      • I don’t think I ever heard anyone convince me the way you just did that everything I am feeling is ok, Canadian Dad. People tire about hearing our problems for one reason or another (uncomfortable I think is the best answer or they just don’t know what they can do/say/help/fix). I’m in the Montreal area and really need some sort of support group. I can’t fond any for divorce. If you are in this area (I know Canada is vast), please send me an email via CN (She can share my email with you). New Years Day is tough it’s wgen I found out about the other woman.

        Thanks for reminding all of us the amount of pain attached to what we all go through.

        May everyone here find peace of mind and tranquility.

        • Not in Canada, but my Dday was New Year’s Eve. I’ve tried in past years to be strong and tell myself to not let the day bother me, but it doesn’t always work. Hope you are starting this year out cheater free.

        • Mjo – Vikki Stark, who wrote Runaway Husbands, lives in Montreal and often holds workshops in the city and other areas. I’m not certain they have regular meet ups but you can join her blog online and even contact her directly. It certainly couldn’t hurt. (and her book is a must-read also)

          Good luck and hugs to you!

      • Please remember that cheating, lying, and gaslighting are acts of a fundamentally dishonest person. So if she told you “that the infidelity and divorce are happening because [you’re] just not good enough,” she’s lying. She doesn’t have any idea why she behaves this way. Disordered people are notoriously shallow and lack capacity for honest self-reflection. The fact is that disordered people go through predictable cycles of relationships (overvaluation/idealization, devaluation, and discard). In the devaluation and discard phases, they feed us poison about ourselves to justify their actions.

        • LAJ,

          Thank you for eloquently and succinctly reminding me of what I needed to hear (again).

          ‘Cheating, lying, and gaslighting are acts of a fundamentally dishonest person,’ and ‘The fact is that disordered (narcissistic and perhaps borderline) people go through predictable cycles of relationships (overvaluation/idealization, devaluation, and discard). In the devaluation and discard phases, they feed us poison about ourselves to justify their actions. Many months after my ex-boyfriend did the idealization, devaluation, discard cycle for the SECOND time in our 2.5 year intimate relationship, 30 years after we first met, I am gradually accepting the idea that my ex-boyfriend shows several traits of a covert narcissist. (It took much less time to accept the fact that my husband was an overt narcissist as well as an abuser after my husband’s mask fell.) Most people don’t like to take responsibility for their unethical choices or even mistakes; the personality disordered are even less likely to take responsibility and more likely to blame others for problems.

    • Thanks for all of the positive comments.
      I spoke to my friend today and told her that her calling me “bitter” was hurtful.

      She apologized and said that she didnt mean to hurt my feelings. She didnt understand why I was so upset about exh#2/The Evil One’s text and once I explained about it being three years now and exh2 still doesn’t know how to be a parent to DD, thats why I was upset. She understood then.

      She then brought up Christmas Eve in which I was bitchy to exh2, rolling up the window on him and being non-responsive to his attempts at conversation. I told her that I’m pissed that he hasn’t paid child support in over 4 months, and that for me to bring it up (i.e. start a fight) is what he wants (i.e. kibbles, in my opinion) and I wasnt going to do that. She didnt agree, she thinks I should be more confrontational, and I see her point, but I know that kicking up a fight is what he wants, so im not doing it.

      She questioned why I was like that to him, when other times I will be polite and cordial with him, then other times I will be cold and bitchy. That is true, I do that, so I’ll have to keep that in mind.

      In short, I feel better and hopefully my friend will learn about dealing with narcissistic people. 🙂

  • It’s good to be screaming. I suppressed so much of my anger during the separation and divorce process, and only now, 2+ years after separation, am I actually feeling it. I tried so hard to rush to “meh” that I did myself a disservice. Hugs to you and your kids – they are lucky to have you as the sane parent!

    • I know this will sound weird but it’s comforting to hear that after two years you are at anger. I keep pressuring myself to speed it up. I think I suffer from “what other people will think of me” if I’m not over it and then I feel shame.

      • I wish I had come up with this quote myself, but I think it was Nelson Mandela, this gist of it is, “the depth of your anger is connected with the depth of your hurt”. You are hurting because you were committed, lovng, and trusting. Some wounds are deep, some wounds take longers to heal than others. This wasn’t a scratch, this was an amputation.

  • As CL says so perfectly anger can be very helpful and is a natural response to being attacked or hurt or someone harming our children. All I would add to that is to keep a careful watch for times your anger starts to harm you or your relationships with other people. When you’re angry you feel the chemistry in your body change and so many illnesses both physical and mental are thought to have started in the seething psyche. I would suggest that if your anger starts being unproductive try listening to one of the meditation sessions on You Tube. I’ve found them so helpful in restoring that balance and instilling a sense of calm. I know its not easy and we all totally understand how you feel. I’m only two months NC and still early on the journey. You’ve suffered a huge injustice and painful rejection from the person you probably trusted most in the world but please protect yourself from allowing this truly awful violation from poisoning your system and damaging your health.

    Much love and strength to you and your beautiful children xxx

    • Natalia, you are absolutely right. It’s not a place to linger. And I think we all have the sense to actually feel our body change when we hang there too long. Thanks for mentioning it. I heard this one: you are getting a divorce. Do not divorce yourself now, too.

    • oh yes – my anger lasted a bit too long and then I became obsessed about being obsessed. Some good therapy got it under control really fast but it was very uncomfortable for a while. Like Natalia, meditation helps enormously – fabulously! and the internet is chockablock of meditations. I am similar to Superchump – I had just retired, been together for decades, now I have to go back to work, have a mortgage again, go through all the work of settlement – having a few approaches for self-care and compassion are essential. I can accept that the relationship is over and he is gone. But I am not convinced that I have to accept the stupid way he ended it by chasing a young girl, and then sudden abandonment. Right now it is a cowardly, narc, childish, disrespectful act in my book. I will be surprised if I get to some place where I believe “he didn’t know and couldn’t do any better – he did the best he could”

      • Me too. I have worked full-time from the age of 20 (I will be 60 in 2018). I always wanted to be a SAHM but that wasn’t possible, so here I am ADDING years to my working life instead of slowing down while he rode off into “wonderland” and retired with Schmoopie. Still, I just live for the fact that he won’t change for her and he will always be him. Good enough for me.

        • I’m close to 60. Just refi’d the house in my name.

          He will buy a new house to store big truck, big Razr, bigger toy hauler and all his toys, 24 yo and their baby. Everything is bigger, younger, newer.

          And it didn’t make him happier.

          He can’t fill the emptiness in his soul.

          He’s not a better person for her. He love bombed, but now he’s the angry, critical, tantrum throwing man-child with her. They don’t become better people.

  • Hard to get to Meh later in life. After a marriage of many decades. When you are close to retirement, when your choices for a new life are far more limited, when the pain of loosing all your security, everything that you have jointly worked for, for 4 decades are looming. When you learn that he has spent nearly all of his half of the nest egg on schmoopie, and is now eyeing yours. When kids are ready to leave the nest and you look at the big empty house full of the chaos the family accumulated, the mess he has left you with. When you are the sane one, left with all the responsibility, and he is driving around in his big shiny sportscar, with his cool sunglasses. A newborn bachelor, free from responsibility, picking up trashy fluff – anything 25 years older. Meh seems a distant concept, and age plays a role in how fast you can get there, if at all.

    • Ah, SuperChump, I’m sending you hugs. It sounds like you are still grieving, and that’s okay. You can get to Meh, when you are good and ready.

      I too was in a multiple-decades marriage. Divorce at this age really messes with retirement, savings, quality of living, peace of mind, etc. The flip side is, you don’t have to coparent with a disordered cheater.

      In my experience, there might be less options in dating and in the workplace, but there are still options. For me, getting free of the lies and projecting and blame shifting has been so freeing and life changing, that every day is a breath of fresh air. Freedom from his toxicity is a healing balm.

      Please be gentle with yourself and show kindness and self-care to yourself daily. Meh will come. I’m living proof.

      Wishing you a healing and cheater-free 2018.

      • Im in this group of divorcing after 3 decades of living as a prop in his fake life. It does mess with retirement, savings, quality of living, peace of mind, and letting go of the dreams of happily ever after.

        My X broke my heart, then my mind, and finally my body. I got a severe illness of pneumonia and Im trying to regain my strength physically and mentally. Emotionally I have let go of reliving all his lies and escapades that truly broke me. My adult kids, baby grandkids do no deserve his presence in our life. He has no remorse because he is free now to do as he pleases. Every day its easier, I made it through the holidays again alone. We are so programmed to be couples and romantize the special events, I keep in my mind how he ruined every single holiday or occasion by sneaking off to see someone, text someone, look at porn etc. He is a sick perverted, disordered person that I am sorry to say wasted 32 years of my life. But most important thanks to all Ive learned from CL, CN and Divorce Minister (Jesus cheaters suck) to regain my life, I do feel less for him/us and more self care. I want to order a MEH coffee cup but haven’t done it yet. Although I feel I have reached it. No more toxic energy in my home. I breathe life now <3

        2018 = New Beginnings! Happy New Year

      • Ditto this. took my family on a beach vacation for week to begin to build new memories without fuckwit. It was good and I did not miss him. The anger fueled me to get divorced In just a few months after 30 yrs. no way was I going to plead for him to come back. I gave him one chance and he said “his heart was somewhere else”. Done and done for me. It has been extremely painful as we all know. I am a proud woman who has fought hard to achieve my success and to provide a good childhood for my sons and now be a good role model of adjusting to adversity. This is an opportunity to educate and I won’t waste it on negotiating with a liar and a cheater who has proven himself unworthy to share my life. I am sorry for my sons that he is their father and models such bad behavior and values. But it is theirs to manage. I will stand for them as the sane adult regardless of how hard it is. There is a next generation to grow and I sure don’t want them to follow in his footsteps. My son asked him at Christmas what were his values-he couldn’t answer. Happy new year! Being here sharing our stories is part of the journey of unchumping ourselves. Thanks Tracey and all of you!

        • Fireball – I’m also in the camp of almost 4 decades married and suddenly find myself in my 60’s. This is certainly not what I thought I signed up for and I’m having a difficult time trying to maintain meh. Married life gave me my best friend to talk to about anything, do everything with and I thought we had a darned good marriage. It was always us against the world. We didn’t have any kids so I have no family living in this country (an no grandkids like everybody else) and my family is a long way away. I have a couple good friends I go to lunch with but that is about all. All the couple friends just scattered and, besides, who wants a single woman around their precious husband? I accept that. We were supposed to do all this travel and we always had lots of friends around and entertained. My life is now done a 180 and it pisses me off (still) that he could do all this to me, especially without me having anything to say about it. I could never date again so having a man as a companion is just not in my field of vision and I’d feel sorry for the guy. But, I will say I’ve saved a lot of money not going out to dinner anymore. I’ve said it before, infidelity should be a crime!

  • This post couldn’t come at a better time. I am finding it impossible to believe I’ll ever reach ‘meh.’

    My fiancee, (whom I have been friends with since 2006 prior to beginning to date in 2015) sat me down on August 23 and broke up with me. He told me my introverted personality does not meet his emotional needs. Never, previously, did he say that he had needs that were not being met. He added, at the end, “I do not think you will be a good mother.” He thinks I lack the physical energy and mental fortitude for parenthood (utter bullshit, yet still the most hurtful thing I can ever imagine someone saying to me).

    Two weeks later, he said in an email that he had met a woman and gotten to know her at work conferences out of state this summer, and they were planning to get together at the end of September.

    Later that day, distraught, I sat down at our home computer to book myself a hotel for the night. Right on the home screen was an email account showing daily messages between them going back to the first conference in mid-June, very shortly after we had booked our wedding venue and date for April 2018.

    Just a few days after they met in June, they decided to have Schmoopie fly to our city to spend the night. He had an easily believable story for me about why he had to spend the night downtown.

    In August, a weekend after I went wedding dress shopping with my family, best friend, and his mother (a surprise outing that he spent a significant amount of time helping my best friend plan out in great detail), he flew to her house. When he was there, I did more wedding dress shopping. He knew this, and he has admitted that he told Schmoopie what I was doing, too. They consummated their affair that weekend, I have been told.

    After this, he did not break up with me for a week and a half. He just went on continuing the ruse of our lives, including through a vacation to the beach with his mom and my family, which he said he didn’t want to derail.

    They are in a full-blown relationship now (he says he is “extremely happy”), and I am more hurt than I could ever have imagined being in my entire life. He is a phenomenal actor and never changed his loving behavior toward me, so I was entirely blindsided. His mother, who lived with us, was completely shell-shocked herself. My family and friends were stunned.

    For many years, he was the most important person in my life beyond my mother and brother. He has been my best friend, partner, colleague, mentor…a constant presence and form of support…for over a decade of my life. I can’t begin to know how I will get through losing him and in such a devastating fashion. I can’t reconcile that the person that I thought I knew for so long, who treated me well for years, is the person who did this to me.

    I am doing what I can. Family, friends, and coworkers are supportive. I have been in weekly counseling since early September, as well as on a mild anti-anxiety/anti-depressant. I just feel like even though I am able to get through my days, even though I am able to genuinely laugh and smile here and there, and enjoy myself here and there, there is this ball of pain and anger and an insane need for justice/karma that has taken up permanent residence in my brain. I can distract myself from it, but it is always there.

      • ChumpsterFire- he is a disordered narcissist! You REALLY dodged a bullet. Saying those things to you is cruel and obviously untrue. He likes to hurt you. He will do the same with new person. And he’ll circle back around to see if he can hurt you some more. Run! No contact! Make sure you are strong in your love and care for yourself! Sending hugs!

        • Thank you for sending hugs and support! I am almost entirely no contact with him outside of when we have to converse over details of the home we purchased about a year ago. I moved out and transferred ownership to him, and there are just a few lingering details.

          Seriously hope he doesn’t reappear from the “dead,” but if/when he does, CN will be where I come immediately!

          Happy New Year!

      • Thanks. It helps that even though I may be having a hard time right now, others can help me to see that I “dodged a bullet.” Happy New Year!

    • ((Hugs))

      You did dodge a bullet, but even a close call can leave trauma for awhile.

      I am so very sorry this has happened. It will take awhile to adjust and mourn and accept that This.Is.Who. He. Is.

      If things go belly up with the new love, he may very well come back to you. Whatever you do, do not allow him back into your life. You are no one’s Plan B, my love. No matter how contrite or remorseful he is…no. Just no. You deserve better. And that will come to you. But take your time to let it.

      Do the hard work of mourning so that you can become fully healed. Fix your picker, establish boundaries. And the idea of you not being a good mother? Fuck that shit. You have a soul. All good mothers have souls. In fact, he may very well sense what a very good mother you would be, a better mother than he will ever be a father, and that threatens his image.

      Let him be someone else’s problem…not yours.

      • Thank you, Sunflower36. I do want to and am working on fixing my picker. He was so good at hiding his true nature that I thought I had chosen a better man than all of the others I have ever dated. Friends and family have actually apologized to me for not seeing this coming and being able to stop it, as though any of us had any chance of seeing through his narc/sociopathy.

        On the mother comment, it was very telling to me when his best friend of 20+ years told me he truly believes X was projecting onto me his own fears that he will be a terrible father. I had reached out to the best friend and his wife in my deep shock, before I had found out about the affair. Best friend himself said he thinks I will be better off in the end.

        Thank you so much for the advice, and I hope you had a great New Year’s day!

        • Chumpsterfire, I hope you are being kind to yourself, how could you have seen him coming? His disease is that he is an extremely, very selfish person, not feeling real love but mimicking it as closely as possible, like karaoke love. And the false promises and mean trickery of his supposed happiness with you and kindnesses to you are appalling.
          Normal, loving and kind people never dream of such a terrible double life. And whatever “happiness” he has found is likely to be more like enjoyment of novelty, or the very temporary joy of conquest. Ick.
          He is empty of real love and connection, imagine if his level was the best/most love you ever got to experience? Downward spiral hardly begins to describe trying to form or maintain love with that.
          I wish you healing and peace after such shock and grief, may you have a wonderful new year.

          • OtherRebecca,

            Your kind note is such a great example of how very grateful I am to have found CN…I don’t know if I could be surviving this without this community and notes like yours! The fact that my X was falsely loving toward me up until the very end just adds this whole other layer to this experience…trying to understand the psychology and mental psyche of someone who could do this, and how. I’ll probably never understand, but at least w/ CN, we all know we aren’t alone.

            Happiest of New Years to you, too!

    • Im so sorry you went through this. My story has commonality with you in 2 ways…my cheater tried to stop the wedding 2 weeks before but not with a cogent, reasonable explanation…he told me that I wasn’t ready (which I considered foolishness) so rather than see that HE was a huge coward who didn’t want to marry me, I super-spackled and danced to prove that I was ready.

      Many years later when he blew up our marriage, he again did not use respectful phrases like “I have decided to leave this marriage, you are a good woman, but this is my unwavering decision” no…like yours he told me that my failings caused his need to leave. “I need to divorce you, you have been a bad wife” (cue 2 hour laundry list of ever failing and mistake so long that the stuff at the end contradicted the stuff at the beginning.

      The fact that he used your wedding prep activities as ruse to take time with an OW shows how deep his fuckedupness really is. He would have made a HORRID husband…he likely WILL someday be a HORRIBLE spouse…so someone else.

      I have many times reflected on what I might have done in that moment when he told me he wanted to “postpone” our wedding. Parts of me want to reach back in time and scream “RUN LIKE YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE !! but like so many here, we love the kids we got from the fuckwit and I couldn’t imagine wiping them off the face of the earth, even with hopes that I would have had other kids with someone else.
      Being a young prospective bride with dress in hand having to regroup would be hard…my sons former fiancé had to do it because it turned out that he was more like his dad than anyone knew but at least had the courage and decency to tell her the truth to her face and not extend a ruse.

      Your pain in real and you have good reason to be angry…let it help you heal…just DONT go back to than man even if he tries to hoover you back !!!

      • unicornomore,

        Thank you for sharing your story with me, although I am so sorry you had to go through your own experience (yet, you sound quite strong for your kids). It is amazing to me how much these people are able to take on ZERO fault and make everything about us…innocent Chumps. I don’t even know how a person can sit there and say out loud, to their former loved one’s face, a laundry list of “failings.” My therapist uses the word “hostile” to describe it. She says people with compassion and empathy would just say they are so, so very sorry, but the relationship is not working out for them. Period…end of story.

        Happy 2018 to you!!

    • Let me translate for you just in case you have any questions. I don’t have access to the genuine UBT, but I’ve strung together a homemade model. It says:

      “You are too introverted” means “you are thoughtful and kind, and I’m finding it harder and harder to maintain my bullshit persona in front of you. I’m scared of you. Your quietness suggests to me you are thinking, probably about me–I worry about how soon you’ll figure things out, and I need to get all my ducks in a row before you have a chance to out me. God, if you were just loud and dumb this would be so much easier.”

      “You don’t meet my emotional needs” means “I have a boatload of immature emotional needs–like the need for constant praise and new opportunities and the high I get from secrets and betrayal. There’s no way one person can keep up with these, so I’m moving on to my next victim now.”

      “I don’t think you’ll be a good mother” means “I’ll be a jackass father, and if we had kids your example might even manage to make me feel bad about that for 2-3 minutes a couple times a week. I know you will be a fantastic mother and the thought of being in your shadow in any way is just not something I can stomach. In fact, I want to sabotage your confidence about motherhood forever because even after I leave you I never want to think about the fact that you might be loving someone else and doing well.”

      Right now, you are grieving, but I hope that phase is as brief as possible for you. I hope 2018 brings you unexpected joys and surprises–and the confidence in your own worth.

      • Eilonwy,

        I adore your at-home version of the UBT! You have clearly learned a ton from CL/CN/Tracy/your own experiences!

        You are pretty spot-on. Being the narcissist he is, he actually told me that when my introverted self would take my quiet time, he was worried I was “withdrawing from him.” Ummm…I define withdrawing as cheating on your fiancee while she plans the wedding.

        And on the mother comment, his best friend of 20+ years told me he truly believes X was projecting onto me his own fears that he will be a terrible father.

        Rebuilding and protecting my self-worth is a work-in-progress. It can be hard, especially because of what I read in some of their emails to each other (for example, he actually told this woman he only knew for a month or so that he thinks she will be a “great mother.” Versus me…who he knew well since 2006). Sigh. Fortunately, I have a phenomenal support system of close friends and family, and he has very few true friends and no close family besides his mother.

        Happiest of New Years to you, and thank you so much for your kindness!

    • One of my closest friends was in your exact shoes in 1999. We all found out later that her ex-fiancé, who seemed like an amazingly good guy, but had suddenly called off their wedding for no rational reason at all while she was away in her hometown booking their reception venue, was actually cheating on her with the woman he ended up marrying 2 years later. Fifteen years later, he suddenly abandoned his wife and 3 small children, including an infant, after tricking her into a cross-country move in order to be with his male affair partner— who is also married to a woman and his secretly in a gay affair with the ex-fiancé. @ChumpsterFire, YOU ALMOST MARRIED THIS EXACT SAME TYPE OF COVERT NARCISSIST ASSHOLE. Bullet dodged, indeed.

      • Jo,

        Wow. Just wow. These people are so disordered. I hope your close friend is in a wonderful place in her life now.

        I write for a living, and I love that you used the word “covert.” It actually had never occurred to me before, but it is completely the truth! Some of these people are SO phenomenal at hiding their true selves, but it appears that the truth of their characters always comes out, eventually.

        Happy New Year!

        • Chumpster Fire,
          Your ex-fiance sounds disturbingly similar to my ex-boyfriend. Months after the last discard by boyfriend, I am still struggling to reconcile what seem like opposite people in one body (“How could Mr. Nice Guy, the guy I thought was my friend for decades, inhabit the same body as Dishonest, Unloving Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?”) He told me, after much gentle, direct inquiry from me over months that there was nobody else (there was at work) and that nothing was wrong (nothing that he wanted to share with me anyway). But just as he did the first time he dumped me, over a year earlier, out of the blue, after walking hand in hand with me one evening, he told me, ‘I don’t see you in my future, I just want to be happy, and I want to run away from you!’ Wanting to marry him because I thought that he was not quite perfect but heaven sent and having routinely twisted myself into a pretzel to ‘deserve’ him, hearing this was like being slowly tortured to death through hara-kiri with a butter knife! He told me that I didn’t get enough vacation (13 weeks/year at a full-time job is not enough?) and that his career was at its zenith, but mine was just re-starting (guess I didn’t look professionally/financially successful enough for him, although I often paid for things we did together, in spite of me having children and him not and promising to never financially rely upon him–I’m not an irresponsible, uneducated, gold-digger). After this delivery of his, he told me that he loved me! Next morning, he told me that I could ‘stay with him’ if I didn’t expect any ‘lovey dovey’ (romance)’ (basically act as an unpaid prostitute). He later gaslit me, claiming that he never said that my ‘lack’ of vacation and my career history caused him to dump me. Back and forth he went. I discovered various very disturbing lies over the next couple of months. I think that this cat-and-mouse game these liars play can drive even the stablest, most well-adjusted people mad! I am still often shocked (feel robotic), depressed, and extremely angry. You are doing really well if you can laugh and smile sometimes now and still function!

          • RockStarWife,

            I don’t think I will ever really comprehend how the romantic/supportive guy and the lying cheat can exist in the same person! I suppose we aren’t meant to comprehend it, because we have normal mental psyches?

            It sounds like your X was really scraping the bottom of the barrel of lame excuses. I’m so sorry you had to endure this.

            You are not alone. I have underlying depression (and anger) still, too. Lately, I’ve been having a real struggle every day to force myself out of bed. This actually started 3 months after DDay, so it was surprising. Perhaps it marked the move from shock to the next phase…I don’t know.

            I wish you a very wonderful New Year and hope your situation continues to improve every day!

            • Thanks, Chumpster Fire. I think that based on how you describe feeling at various distances away from D-Day, you are ‘thawing out.’ You are doing a great job living through and in spite of the misfortune that befell you!

  • Hello AngryChump!

    Yes, hold onto that anger for now. Let yourself feel that to make sure you go no contact.

    Meh is important to achieve (eventually) because it’s the only productive way to deal with these nutbags. They feed off of any attention you give them. To them, that’s a reward. “Meh” gives them nothing. “Meh” tells them you’re better than them. “Meh” asserts your superiority. “Meh” levels the playing field.

    Kindly tell him to fuck off and enjoy your new life 🙂

  • Well done. You are so mighty. You have figuratively kicked him in the balls.
    Meh will happen. It looks like hosting your annual New Year’s Eve party, and having your godson stay (the one your ex shares and doesn’t even acknowledge), going to the beach (I’m in Australia), then seeing a movie. Meh is stating that January is self-care month. Meh is mighty but anger gets you there. Remember, our emotions aren’t good or bad, they just are. Happy 2018 Chump Lady and Chump Nation. xx

  • I wish I can reach the angry stage instead of staying put at this anxiety/grieving rut.

    Married for 17 years. Recently went through months of physical and emotional detachment from him. Having survived a previous affair 8 years ago, I saw the signs but his continual denial and dribbles of love got me all confused. I was anxious and unsettled all the time, begging him for affection, for reason, for counselling, all to no avail. Till now I still feel a cold fist gripping my heart when I remember how he turned away from me when I prayed over him in bed at night. How he walked away when I was in tears and how he ignored my texts begging him for closure.

    He finally admitted to a OW on 24/11/2017. Despite the signs, I was still in shock cos he was repentant after the first affair and actually thanked me for praying for our marriage and taking him back just recently in June 2017 during a church camp!

    Told him to stop contacting OW and he said if I insist, he will move out immediately. Being the chump, I agreed to status quo as long as he does not contact her in my presence. 2 nights after revelation day he texted her when my 13 year old son and I were in the room. I told him to move out and we have stayed NC till now – a grand total of 37 days.

    Husband travels for work and his current OW works in one of his foreign offices. I don’t know what is he thinking, moving out to be alone.

    He texts son everyday and I peep at their messages. I just wanted to make sure that he still wants to be a part of his life. But I could tell the messages are dwindling.

    I would have thought I could move on faster than this since this is his second affair and his months of neglect would have prepared me for this. However, I still cry over how he treated me, the good times we used to have, how our lives could have been. I cry over my fear of the future, how unnecessary this is and I cry over my helplessness, knowing that he is just a phone call away and how his response will be the same if I were to reach out to him. I cried until there are no more tears left. I am starting to fear getting out of the house cos I frequently get triggered into anxiety and would be crying in public.

    I try to be strong and continued with traditions alone with my son over Christmas and year end countdown but deep inside I am dying. I am like an walking corpse, taking one step at a time. I don’t know how I will get over this but I make sure I minimise my meltdowns in front of my son. Sleep is a problem. I must get my act together. He is enjoying his new found freedom and wouldn’t care if I died from this.

    I don’t want this to be happening. Don’t judge me but I still want my husband and my complete family. Even though rationally I know it is impossible. I just need the emotional part of me to catch up, but how long will this take. Please help me.

    • Badly Hurt stay strong. Stay no contact. He will only hurt you over and over. Your story is so like my own… I know the pain you are feeling. Can you afford a therapist to help with the panic attacks? If so please see one. A good one will help you. If not even a mindfulness app on your phone can help. Darling he’s gone. But you are not, you and your son are here and present. You will get through this. 37 days is a good start so well done x remember all he can ever bring you is more pain. It can never be fixed he will never be good enough for you… But this won’t be all you have in life.. You will have more good things and good people. Take this chance life has offered and try a new path. Hugs and much love

    • Badlyhurt, I know exactly how you feel. I also want my family intact and will do anything to achieve this. I have done, as you have been doing, trying anything in the book – for 18 months now. It hurts, and the hurt accumulates. I have been at it for 18 months. The more I cry and plead, the faster he runs. My new years resolution is to not let his actions affect me as much any more. I have not achieved NC yet, and I have not stopped crying. But I am not begging anymore. And I am crying far less. I am thinking of ways to reclaim my life. I am starting by insisting that he takes all his S#%* out of the house. Schmoopie can deal with his carloads if tools, biker gear, books….. and I will turn the extra space into MY space. The extra cupboard space is great!!! Hang in there – It gets better , slowly, slowly. If I ever get to the ” old me” remains to be seen. But perhaps there is a better stronger Meh at the other end.

      • SuperChump…uh….have some friends help you, but YOU pack his shit up and stick it out on the curb. Put it all in a big ass pile on your curb with a sign that reads FREE and tell him he better come get his shit before it all walks off. Change the locks before doing this.

        When Mr. Twatwaffles said he was leaving me (On my 49th birthday) and when we told the kids a few days later (and he told them he’d move out “slowly” to make it easier on them….to which I took him aside out of their hearing and I said, “Oh bullshit! You’ve got this weekend to get your shit out of my house.” ) I went full-on bitch. Seeing him make our kids cry was the switch for me. Moving out slowly? Fuck that!

        • Moving out slowly would have been absolute TORTURE for your kids. TORTURE!! I’m so glad you made him leave fully.

        • “Oh bullshit! You’ve got this weekend to get your shit out of my house.” BOOM!! Damn straight! @Sunflower36, you are my heroine!!!

      • Extra cupboard space, lower electric bill, less laundry to do, no more body oil stains on the sheets from him, no more dandruff in the drawers attached to the bed, no more cigarette butts in the garage, no more brown soap scum in the tub…….

    • (((Hugs Badly Hurt)))

      I know it doesn’t feel like it right now but time, the support of family and friends and possibly some counselling will help you to get through this truly awful time.

      Please post in the Forums as you will get lots of individual advice and support there from the other lovely chumps. The Forum link is at the top right of the page and you will get the best response if you post in the Private > General forum. Keep going, you’ll get through it. We’re all proof of the power of CL and CN to help you get through this.

    • Have you gone to a lawyer? If not, finding one needs to be your first order of business for 2018. Your lawyer’s job is to make sure you and your son are not subjected to financial abuse and to protect your rights specifically because you are emotionally torn and vulnerable and not able to help yourself in these ways right now.

      You sound worried that if you take action you’ll lose the chance to get him back. You won’t. Again, this is why you let a lawyer handle the business parts. I don’t believe in unicorns but if some day he wants to reconcile with you, and you truly want him back, it will be possible. But if he makes off with the accounts and the funds and signs over property and runs up bills and otherwise uses your angst to feather his nest, it will be somewhere between hard and impossible to regain that ground.

      You are in pain because you are a loving person, and a few weeks is not enough time to come to terms with the horrible way you’ve been treated. Do not feel bad about your pain, but do go find some help. Some of us found it in a therapist–others find it in church or family or friends. And Chump Nation is a god send as well.

      And pat yourself on the back for making it through Christmas. There aren’t any tougher weeks in the year. There will probably never be a holiday this hard again. And you survived it.

    • You poor baby. I wish I could hug you. Many of us are in your spot so this is the place for empathy. Here are some suggestions that help/helped me:

      1) don’t drink. I’m not a drinker anyway, I enjoy drinking social but I made it a point when this happened to me to not go there. It will bring you way down.

      2) Exercise. I mean a lot. If you don’t, start right now. I do Master swim and we swim up to 12km a week. The endorphins are our friend. It will make you more happy than an anti-depressant pill will. You’re body will be trim, you’ll by new clothes, your skin will look great. This will be your BIGGEST revenge.

      3) Find a pkace in your closest to post a piece of paper that says: THIS AAS NOT MY FAULT. I AM WORTHY. I am LOVED.

      4) stay busy. Make a routine. Routines a great during these times. Stick to them. Clean the house when you find yourself wanting to sit and think and drift. Work is good.

      5) make art. I am an artist and it has really helped me. Don’t say you can’t draw/paint! Everyone is creative. Knit, cook, anything.

      6) Make a list of one to four friends you really trust. Use them to help you. Talk, go out for a coffee. Get made up and go for a dinner.

      7) we are not on this planet forever. Our lives have an expiration date. Is that asshole really going to let you lose your will to live? It’s up to you. Only you can decide. This life is your story, in this chapter you got ripped off. How will your story continue? You are the writer.

      It is natural for all us us to be wounded by the betrayal and rejection. Our bodies, down to the cells have imprints of the years we invested together as a couple, as a family. This is why it takes so long to heal.

      Watch this video, you don’t have to agree with what he says (I really have no clue how I fell upon this lol, and if he’s a flake or not, but it helped). Let every message that comes to you here and forward, help you and guide you.

      https://youtu.be/tIeTEmgwKPw

      PS: I may sound like I have my shit together but I don’t. This rejection is a lifelong process to overcome, I think. The trick is not to let it become you/define you.

    • Wow…. I am so sorry. Your post has helped me. I’ve only had Dday1. I don’t think I could handle Dday2.
      What you have posted and what CL wrote…
      You control your resilience. You control what kind of person you want to be — a person who faces adversity and builds a new life — or a solid gold pick me dancer who “wins” the Plan B cheater consolation prize. (It comes with a lifetime of therapy luggage set! And a twitch!) Let Bimbo have him.

      Are one more eye opener. Hugs! I totally get it! As I still want mine back. Blah!

    • This pain lasts awhile and when it subsides, there are still times when the tears flow because of some strange memory that pops up. Carry tissues and wear waterproof make-up if you wear makeup. It is perfectly ok to cry and feel the pain. And keep moving forward with setting yourself up for successful divorce. Get account statements filed, divorce lawyer etc as he probably is hiding money. Hate to tell you that but these people are liars and cheaters in all parts of their life. If he can do this to his family, he will cheat you financially also. For your son get serious about protecting yourself from his irresponsible behavior. Freeze assets, freeze credit, lock him down and cry cry cry. Hugs!

      • Thrive – ^^^^ YES! this!
        People often don’t realize that during the pick-me dance, while they’ve already got one foot out the door, and while they’re willing to go through a few months of ‘therapy’ (and lie throughout it)….they are secretly stealing money from YOU! I NEVER in a million years thought my LT husband would ever do this. But, he wasn’t as smart as I was and I took photos of inventory of assets, cash money and threatened to hire a forensic accountant when he puked up all the money he was trying to steal. It was into the high 6 figures and I had no idea he made that much money. He decided that ‘the truth would set him free’ – gag, so he came forth willingly because, if he was caught doing something fraudulent he would have lost his job.

        Please, everybody – the longer you stay with a loser like this….Reconciliation is a remote and probably silly waste of time, and it just gives them more time to set up their new life with Kimmy.
        GET OUT ASAP!

    • Badly Hurt,

      I, too, wanted an intact family. I, too, wanted to keep my ex-boyfriend, and even, at times, my husband who abused me for many years. I went through two D-days with my husband and multiple break ups with my boyfriend, who would break up with me out of the blue. One thing that you might try that I think will bring you noticeable relief is participation in a Co-Dependents Anonymous group, which I think is great for chumps who constantly give without receiving and are routinely mistreated by significant others.

  • obviously when your loved one cheats on you, you feel great pain. (but if they loved you they wouldn’t cheat). It’s ABOUT THEM not you. My ex still cant be honest, but that’s his choice not mine. Its all the crap that comes with cheating, lies. Stds, financial abuse, ignoring kids. Followed by ow, life won’t and never be perfect, but no one should be treated as second best.

  • Wow. It’s been a long road to MEH, but the anger in 2017 catapulted me on that journey…. divorce is underway, I am settled in a new townhome that was purchased with my inheritance (what was left of it after 33 years of the pick me dance). Even decorated for Christmas, that is how settled I am and how settled I finally feel being away from all the lies and deceit.
    I look back on late 2016 & all of 2017 and see how far I have come!!! I am thankful for the MANY people who have hled my hand and encouraged me through this very painful journey. Tears today and of the future are of joy to be away from the insanity.
    I still am having thoughts of things that happened in the marriage and seeing them for what they truly were… fraudulent! It blows me away that I didn’t see it sooner, but thankful that I can see clearly now!
    Woohoo for 2018. Things can only get better from here! Grateful for the humor and wisdom of CL & CN that has been a catalyst for MEH! XOXO

  • I do struggle with being so angry a lot of the time as it isn’t pleasant really, although I do believe it is justified. However, it has definitely helped me stay strong over the last year and, which is why I think I am so loathe to let go of it, I think still keeps me safe. It is so easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, to let the guard down then boom! comes another grenade. It helps me remember how malignant he is and to maintain my guard.
    For me the biggest anger is for my children – expecting them to adapt to a new “stepmother” and step-siblings within literally 4 weeks of him leaving, and continuing to get married 5 months after leaving, despite my children’s obvious distress, including self-harm and suicidal urges directly caused by the prospect of having to stay with them all from our 14 year old daughter, and her ongoing distress with it all still. I honestly don’t know how I’ll ever let go of that anger, at least not whilst they are still hurting and distressed. I hope, like CL says, they do get to Meh too – if that is the case, I think I there is much more prospect of me being fully meh one day. Actually it was very helpful hearing CL talk about her son being at Meh and also accepting that that is the way he is. It has highlighted for me the need to help, particularly my older daughter, with this. He does do the same things over and over, with them too (particularly her) – and validating this to her is not alienating him.
    I have never achieved meh to date – although I’m only 13 months since he left (although lots of fuckery for years before this of various kinds). I did have little tastes of it towards the end of last year – and it just felt like acceptance that he is the way he is, he will continue to behave in the way he always has and that that is the way it is, without getting tied up in the shoulds and shouldn’ts and the unfairness of it all. It has been rather disrupted by having to have additional contact with mediation just before Christmas, Christmas and New Year with his parents here from overseas (and a few other issues). I am hoping that I get this back in the not too distant future and proceed on a more consistent journey to meh.
    Like CL (and everyone) has said, anger is useful to motivate you to stop being abused and to protect yourself. Until these things are properly established then it probably isn’t something to let go of – only when it stops being useful.
    Meh does sound like a utopia that I am so keen to get to but I guess you can’t force it – it will happen when we have built mighty lives for ourselves and taken the abuser as far out of our lives as we can, made them irrelevant to our wellbeing. Trusting ourselves to trust they suck too.

    • I can’t believe I’m typing this…maybe it’s a sign of meh….

      Whereas once I wanted my kids to reject my ex as I had done, in solidarity with me for walking away from our family, now I am mostly (not fully, but mostly) at ease with the kids having a relationship with him on their terms. And I think that’s what they have.

      I don’t badmouth their father, and never did, even when I wanted to rage that I could not understand why they would spend time with that asshole. People would say, “Oh, Children Need Their Father,” and I would scoff inside. In fact, I understand that we really aren’t going to be able to discuss their father except completely superficially, “Oh, where’d you have dinner? Oh, that’s nice!” Then a different topic ensues.

      I do know that the kids are disappointed that their father chose the path that he did, and I’m not sure they’ll ever approve, nor that it’s necessary. I think that they DO need a father, so that they don’t feel completely abandoned, and so that they don’t lose touch with the guy who held them and coached their teams, and sat at the head of the table and made them laugh. They don’t want to have to say that they don’t have a father or lost touch with him. And so, they take what he is willing to give now, with certain agreements, like the OWife is not their friend, or, like, they are busy, too. I think it was finally understanding this that made me relax about it all. They’re NOT going to ever think that what he did was ok (trust your kids to see). They’re NOT going to see ME through HIS eyes. I think if I were to coach a kid who is new to this, I’d tell them that it’s ok to feel what they are feeling (sadness, betrayal, fear, longing). I would tell them that the relationship has changed, and it’s time now to figure out what that means, and that they can take the pieces they want and leave the rest behind. They have a right to their terms, once they figure out what that is. (We won’t disrupt our social/school lives, we won’t be friends with OW, we will begrudgingly agree to be polite to her in a show of respect TO OUR MOTHER who raised us to be polite.) I think that we have a responsibility to give our kids permission to have a tentative new and awkward relationship with their father, and to walk away from it if he is unreasonable, totally selfish, abusive. (Honestly, every time my ex takes the kids out for dinner, which is RARE, it’s money I don’t spend on food, and it’s time to myself.)

      Hang in there. Your wound is still fresh. But I think you’re doing this thing so right.

      There is something so very not right with your ex. That’s a really interesting psychology he has–what a case.

      • ChumpsterFire, your jackass fiancé is a con artist. He’s capable of breathtaking duplicity. So you’ve had an encounter with someone who is most likely an anti-social personality or a sociopath. Not a lick of empathy or remorse, although of course he didn’t want to ruin that vacation…never mind sticking your family with lots of expenses for a wedding he knew for months would never happen.

        Recovering from a decade-long relationship with someone this selfish and cruel won’t happen over night. And the fact that he likely held too many key roles in your life is likely part of the problem. These types love to be central in every aspect of our lives and then we are all hallowed out when they pull their discard. But as someone who got the discard at age 62, I can tell you that as horrible as your experience has been, it can make your life once you understand the sort of person you were dealing with, the sort of person you were with him, and how these hyenas operate. You won’t be fooled again. And you know now just how strong you can be. Mighty.

        • LovedaJackass,

          Thank you so much! It is not remotely easy, but I am indeed learning that I am way stronger than I ever realized. Understanding who he was/is, is harder…but a work in progress. Even harder will be to not be fooled this spectacularly in the future. But that’s why I am in therapy / here at CN.

          Happy New Year!

      • The above was for ChumpsterFire, No idea why it’s under your post, Stephanie. But I have to say that every chump with kids should read this. It’s so wise and full of heart.

  • Meh is definitely attainable, as Tracy pointed out. When you’re in the midst of incredible pain, heartache, wishing for anyone’s life other than your own, it is hard to imagine that meh exists. But it does. As someone who is 5 years out of the final DDay (stayed with serial cheater for 26 years), my only regret is not leaving sooner. Life is good. Very, very good. I didn’t wake up one day and meh came. Meh came in spurts. And like the tide, it came in, pulled back out but never pulled back to its original state.

    The only way I healed was feeling all the emotions I would rather not feel. These emotions need to be channeled for the good – getting a good lawyer, establishing boundaries, being the sane parent to your children and, most importantly, exercising extreme-self care.

    “Be unspeakably kind” to yourself.

  • My therapist asked, “Where’s your anger?” I had none. After 41 years of putting up with him and doing the pick me dance, I found it, threw him out, and filed.

    He wanted a divorce yet the truth is he wanted me to fight for him once again. Weeks after Dday he already had a vacation planned with her, getting tested for HIV, and treated for an STD.

    For Chumps in the disbelief state, take action. Especially if you are nearing retirement. Believe, and serve up those consequences with a kick ass attorney.

    Personally, my life with him was always about losses. He never wanted the home we purchased and made sure I lost it when I was most vulnerable.

    Meh is attainable later in life. My children were grown and two graduated from college a year after the divorce.

    Instead of thinking of his potential I’ve worked on mine. At 57 I had no assets. He left me with nothing. I switched my focus to my retirement. In three years with raises I’ve paid down my debt and by going without I’m building my retirement account. Now at 61 I struggle yet know I’ll make it by my self.

    There is a peace that comes from pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and making it regardless of the struggle.

    There’s a shift that comes with Meh when you know you’re not alone; you’re free.

    • Doingme, that’s exactly my story. “My life with him was about the losses” and I don’t mean the physical stuff. And you know, people say “well he gave you beautiful children” but to that I say I would have had beautiful children with someone else and THEY wouldn’t have had to be subject to his tyranny. Of course I love my kids though. My biggest losses were the cheerful, happy always smiling young woman that I used to be. Funny, after my divorce one of my friend’s husbands said “oh look, there’s that smile back”. It was great to hear I can tell you.

      • So nice to smile Attie. Before Dday an awareness came over me that this man hated that I was happy. He wanted to wipe the smile off my face.

        I’ve never seen such hatred but it was there and well hidden. Now I laugh at the rage that followed when I told him I’d found my own lawyer. I scheduled for him to get served when he dropped my granddaughter at a public location. His veins were popping out of his neck. He was furious.

        He believed he broke me and I wallowed in that pain for a long time. Fixed his ass. And after it was over he told me he thought about me all the time. Ha, ha, all I wanted was my pension small as it was. I got it free and clear.

    • It was extremely traumatic but the kids were grown and I also told them what he had been up to for our entire marriage. He turned into a monster divorcing him, hiding money, lying, none of which really surprised me. He was who he was. LIAR, cheater, disordered, perverted etc. I did not get 50/50 but I did get my life back, which is peaceful and not filled with someone who was incapable of LOVE. He still moves around, always looking for a higher HIGH! He chose to leave his beautiful family like a coward and at 61 at this rate, Im pretty sure he will die way before me. I don’t look at him as a loss, the man I thought he was NEVER existed. Good bye, good riddance and here’s to another Happy New Year. Im no longer doing happy dances, trying to fit into HIS selfish life and once you walk away Don’t Look Back!!

      • Fireball. I think many of us are confused. Most of my country (USA and Canada) are 50/50. Why isn’t you got your share?
        This just cannot happen in this day and age!!!!

        • @SheChump — I live in USA and everything is negotiable! i dumped the attorney after a year of him loading his pockets not mine. The Xh’s attorney was doing the same so we decided to settle our own. I got what I wanted except for the money he hid and moved around.. I did not get spousal either……… thats what the big fight was over. AHxh kept arguing I could work. True, but that wasn’t the point, These monsters are hell to fight and frankly i wore out. 2 years out now, I can report Im fine, and better off without him but of course I wouldn’t say I am comfortable. 32 years was a waste with him but I have 3 awesome grown kids and 3 grand babies, Money is a great way to hurt them bc they need for f’g around. Im much more content that he lives far away and I have NO CONTACT with him. I get ½ of his retirement bc its mandated in my state. I did have it written in that if he predeceases me I get ALL the retirement for my life no matter what and if I go first he gets NOTHING 😉 it goes to my beneficiaries.
          At some point this shit just has to END and I ended it the way I chose. If you do it different good for you, go for all you can get girl <3

    • Doingme is right. Meh is attainable later in life. I spent my whole adult life chasing the “happy-ever-after” dream with a series of substance abusers and cheaters (sometimes in the same body). It took the pain of D-day to get me to look at the quality of person I allowed in my life, to look at how I failed to value and protect myself from a lying jackass weasel predator. That’s what helped meet to the point where I paid less attention to his various lying, manipulative behaviors and more attention to my own need–and ability– to protect myself.

  • a little reply to Chump Lady’s little political comment-about his “libertarian quirk that concerns me”. I am a political animal, not a libertarian one, but it’s not cause for concern. Your preschooler watched you, lived the life with you charging ahead, overcoming adversity, being independent, self-reliant. These are some aspects of libertarianism, self-responsibility, personal independence and self-reliance. Your example. Connect the dots and reconsider if and why you should be concerned. You always give fab help and advice. Maybe you will see my advice is good.

  • When I lived an active life with nowdeadcheater, he was chronically SO ANGRY. Anger was his default. Anger was his control. I lived in such fear of his anger…I tried any and everything to minimize the anger in our home that I eventually allowed myself ZERO anger when dealing with him as an attempt at coping (which ultimately was dysfunctional and did not work).

    So not allowing myself any anger, I was chronically “hurt”. He hurt me when he did that, he hurt me when he did that. Hurt was my default.

    CL is right about anger being an important step along the way. I desperately wish that I had found mine YEARS earlier. I did not get properly angry until he was dead and I learned he was a serial cheater. I went from crying over him all the time (literally for years) to a place where I couldn’t squeeze out a single tear if you paid me.

    Let anger flow and fuel all the crap you have to do in the creation of a new life.

    • As I am reading your post unicornnomore, I am thinking yes, yes, yes. Fuckwit is the angry one. While I am angry and upset over his cheating and crazy making, I am more perplexed over his anger. I think his anger actually calms me because I can sit back and say he truly is crazy because he doesn’t have anything to be angry at besides himself.

      As I have said before, fuckwit has 2 emotions angry and not angry, and angry is a scale of varying degrees. It is sad because I think that is part of his parents not allowing him to have feelings. I think he was taught to stuff them. They are the same way.

      • He could be a marginally decent person for moments at a time, but once angry, ALL BETS WERE OFF….any behavior he chose to indulge in (screaming, smashing things, filthy curses around our kids, insults, rage) was fair game. Trouble was, he could get angry in a SPLIT SECOND with no warning and in a way that I could not prevent it. One second everything is fine and the next he nicks his finger cutting a bagel and he smashed the knife against the sink, screamed…scared the shit out of everyone.

        Travel was a special sort of hell….anything made him mad and we were generally trapped together in a car, hotel room…whatever. He once walked away from me and 2 toddlers in an airport because I did not follow his (bossy) directions to the letter. 2 kids, 2 carseats and all our carry ons and he disappeared into the crowd. Of course I never told his ass off for that, he would have gotten angry and abused me worse. Massive asshole thing to do.

        • Ah travel, he hated airports, well who doesn’t, mature people just deal with it. If he botched a reservation, it was opps haha! If I would have done that, it would have been you can’t do anything right. He would have been huffy, no laughter, no blowing it off. I hate him.

  • “All I can give you is this blog”

    I have not read all the comments, ( I am cooking a NY’s dinner for everyone),
    But I did read CL’s topic for today Jan 1st, 2018.
    CL your story never ceases to amaze me, as it does all Chumps.
    Getting to meh was a very difficult journey for you, but you did it.
    Your son is amazing, exactly like his Mom.
    ( that his birth father has never supported him or reached out to him is disgusting, more than disgusting, no words for it).

    You always picked up the pieces CL, you stood tall and strong, you raised a wonderful Son, you married a wonderful kind, funny, supportive person
    AND you created this blog.
    “All I can give you is this blog.”
    And what a blog it is.
    To think that newbies, even a few old goldens, can be saved, well that is just the very best gift of ALL.

    The New Year is so blessed to have YOU in it, CL.
    Happy New Year to you and to all CN Chumps.
    Family, like no other!
    http://www.chumplady.com = compassion, understanding, love and laughter!!!!

  • Dear Not Meh-

    I can’t find a timeline in your letter but I assume this all happened recently since you still refer to the cheater as your husband.

    Anger is a normal, healthy and completely justified way to be right now!. Embrace that anger and use it to propel to a pit bull attorney’s office so you can get court ordered child support and wage garnishment if necessary.

    Use that anger to keep him in the “I will only speak to you for matters concerning the children zone” Contact is what keeps our head fuzzy so while you’re at the pit bull attorney’s office, require that everything you guys do from this point forward is through scheduling software.

    And work fast. While he’s covered in a layer of Schmoopie and tequila haze, get what you need before he removes his head from the clouds or a part of his anatomy further south. This is a little known fact but those early days are crucial. Once the realities of life set in and Schmoopie starts making demands of her own he will turn vicious on you and your children.

    Get him to sign what you can now!!!

    Meh shouldn’t be the goal now because now you must derange your life from the fuckwit. Once that happens the healing will begin. First things first though and hold on to that anger!0

    • Eeek this post scares me. I am not moving quickly towards divorce and now that he and millennial are out in the public he seems angrier with me. Seems the more I kiss his ass and don’t make him feel guilty the more likely he is to leave me our house. Lawyer or mediator? We have tons of debt and I’m sure I’ll lose everything as there really is no $. Ugh

      • I think each situation is different. If kissing your ass is working for you then do that. A lot of chumps have had success in the days immediately following dday when the schmoopie kibbles are high and both the deludinoids are so busy making plans for their new awesome life that they only focus on that.

        Each situation is different though. Bottom line is that you have to do what works for you. Some cheaters are so damn narcissistic that the only way you can get a fair settlement is to “play the long game” and if that means eating the shit sandwich by kissing butt then that’s what you should do. I had to do that because I languished in faux reconciliation for three years. I had to pretend we would be besties forever until we went to court and signed on the dotted line. I cut him off completely once I got what I needed. That might be what you have to do too.

        Good luck!

        • Hi, during those three years was he home and we’re you trying to work in things? We are totally separated and he is inviting millennial to family events. Even with our children. I’m so broken. I want them nowhere near her. They don’t know she is the OW. Don’t know he cheated. Should I tell them? She is 28 he is 50. I think they will hate him. Why do I want to protect him.

          • that Is the thing with lying and cheating, you didn’t know what was going on and you were being the faithful loving wife. It is legacy feelings and you don’t want to hurt your children. I agree with others that you need to covertly get your ducks in a row then BOOM. And get the hell away. Don’t lie to children but depending on their age, you may not want to be full disclosure. If that requires you to be seemingly complacent while getting organized so be it. Keep the goal clearly in mind. Yep you will doing a little of your own subversive activity with your freedom and health of family in mind! I tried to be “friendly” with fuckwit until all agreements made and papers were signed. My lawyers told me to get it done while he felt guilty cuz guilt doesn’t last that long. Then I told him to go fuck himself-those were the last words I have spoken to him. And I am happy about that.

  • Like the post above, I have had a problem expressing anger. I’m not generally an angry person, I can always see the other side of things, and that helps to put a lot of things in perspective. I do have anger about my marriage of more than 20 years ending, and the infidelity of my STBXW, but a lot of that anger is directed inward. I keep wondering what I could have done better so that this wouldn’t have happened. The idea that I have now contributed to this future for my kids and even my STBXW is crippling at times. The grieving of the life and future lost is where I am stuck. I have been in therapy, and have been told that me finding a bit of anger towards my STBXW would be a good thing, it would help to put the responsibility for what has happened more in the appropriate place. Anger doesn’t have to be a negative thing. How we channel that anger is the important thing.

    While I continue to beat myself up about what has happened, I have not let it stop me at any point in time. I have continued to be effective and engaged at work, bought a new home, hosted Thanksgiving, a staff Christmas party, and Christmas dinner for my family, and most importantly, I am there for my kids.

    • I think many of us beat ourselves up with what ifs and what could we have done differently. Marriage is not about being perfect. It’s accepting each other’s flaws. It’s about struggling with each other and breaking through those struggles with maturity while gaining wisdom every step of the way. Every marriage struggles. Every single one. Unless there’s abuse or mental illness or addiction (as the saying goes) what happened to through thick and thin? Were they asleep at the alter? I’m starting to believe that they left us because they are incapable of hard times. Everything has to be easy for them or they jump boat. Which means they’ll most likely do it again.

      Write her a good long letter than rip it up. It’s such a cliche suggestion but it really helps with anger.

      • Thanks Mjo, that is definitely how I felt about marriage, and I still feel that way, even though ours is over. Even if my STBXW were to change her mind, which she won’t, I know we can’t go back. I know I will never really be the same person I was before, not after having something like this happen. My goal is to make myself into an even better person because of it.

        Near the beginning of this mess I was talking to a very good friend who was saying that over time we grow apart and feelings change. I know she was doing this to make me feel better, but I think this happens only if you allow it, only if you are thinking only of yourself and not the couple.

        I saw your earlier post about groups, I’m not in Montreal, but I do have to say that after this came about in my life I sadly learned that it is much more common than I would have liked to believe. Find someone who has been through it, I have. I think that personal experience here has no real substitute. I think that is why CL and CN are so important!

  • I have and am still going through all of this. I would love nothing more than to be at meh, but am SO ANGRY at everything he has done and continues to do.

    I served him papers the Friday before Christmas. I had thought I was getting closer to the end. It felt great. He left in February and finally 10 months later we were getting on with it, not with any help from him though. He’s on his second OW and is going out to bars 2-3 x a week. But he let me control the money, so I mistakenly thought that I had mislabeled him as a narcissist.

    Then the day after Christmas, when I was about to make the 4 hour drive back from my parents with our daughter, the texts started coming through.
    “Help me understand these papers”
    “Can’t they write them in laymans terms”
    “I will only have XX amount of money left over”

    He was arguing over the value of the home. Claiming I was trying to steal it. Claiming it was worth much more than it actually is. The amount we have paid off the loan and his 401K are the same amount. He will not accept that as an equal trade. I talked him down and said we could work it out. I just want him out of my life.

    A few days later he read the calendar wrong and forgot to pick up our daughter. The fact that he relies on a calendar that I maintain pisses me off. He’s 43 years old. He should be able to figure out drop off and pick up by himself. But he doesn’t. And since he didn’t think he had to pick up his daughter he went to the bar. He had to admit to being there and I had to pick up our daughter from daycare. He blamed me. I tricked him. He RAGED. The rest of the evening was spent arguing via text and phone and in the end he rescinded $200 from his alimony offer.

    I felt like I was right back in every argument in our marriage. Everything is always my fault. I am a horrible person and owe him everything. When it’s over I feel drained. DRAINED.

    And now when he picks up our child he won’t even get out of the car, as if I am the bad person. And it PISSES ME OFF. He told me that he’s talked to so many people who say I am wrong and trying to fleece him. All these people think I am the problem. And I want to scream at them!

    Right before all of this we had to trade vehicles because I knew after the divorce I would not be able to afford the ridiculous payment on the brand new Outback he talked me into getting in 2015. After a month of having the car, I saw inside of it one day and saw a couple of those things kids hand from their backpacks hanging from the headrest of the car. That’s weird I thought. Why would anyone do that? Someone who wants to give the impression that he is a good dad. Here look! I have kid things in my car so I MUST be a good dad. But you know what? In the divorce he gets his kid 4 days a month. FOUR DAYS. And he wasn’t arguing about that. Because that would interfere with his bar time. All the money he wants isn’t to pay rent or anything because he lives rent free with his mom. In the 10 months he’s been there he has never given here more than $50 in groceries (I know because I can still see in the checking account). But now, NOW he needs that money to help his mom.

    He was arguing with me over $50. Asking me what I was going to do with it. I recently had cancer. I need that money for medication I will be on for the next 5-10 years. He will more than likely use it for beer. But he needs it more. He wanted to cover our daughter on his insurance to save money on child support. I told him the reason I want her on my insurance is that his does not cover her therapist. He thinks she should just find another one. Everyone else is to sacrifice so he does not have to feel too many consequences from the divorce.

    I don’t know how long it will take me to get to meh or if I ever will. I go to therapy. I try as much as I can to hold it together. I would love to scream, break things and light them on fire. But if I react with any anger I am judged harshly by him and the OW.

    In the past year I have been cheated on, left to take care of myself, a child, a diabetic cat and home while I was undergoing treatment for cancer. And I have been continually kicked down in the process. I’ve read the emails to the first OW where he described how awful and boring his homelife was. I’ve had my heart ripped out and stomped on repeatedly. I’ve been painted the bad person and all I am trying to do is survive.

    My court date is set for Feb 2. So until then I have to eat a shit sandwich and play nice just so he will give me enough money to survive. It sucks.

    • He is SUCH a loser. Oh. My god.

      He wants you to mommy him. “Help me understand…” No, FUCKER, that’s what your attorney is for. And he “misread” the calendar. And he won’t get out of the car when he picks the kids up. And he has them 4 days a week. Really. What a loser. Be glad you don’t have an aging adolescent loser to pick up after any more. UGH.

      • He doesn’t have an attorney. That would mean he would actually have to adult. It
        s much easier for him if I do all the work and as an added bonus he can portray a victim because I took everything from him.

    • If you still have anger, keep using it to propel you forward. The thing about these types of people is that they can’t seem to stop when they “win”. They have to make sure you lose as well. Honestly, people who derive pleasure and satisfaction from that are spawns of Satan incarnate. The only thing we can do is not play their game.

    • Well, I hate him.

      And I want you to stop worrying about what he or the OW or any of their other hangers-on say about you. Imagine, for a moment, that your life is a movie. There’s this guy arguing with his STBXW over $50 when she is buying cancer meds and meds for the diabetic cat and raising the kiddo while he’s living rent free and drinking in a bar with his bar skank.

      Yeah. He’s the villain in the film. The audience would hate him. They would think his hangers-on are just as bad. I can’t believe you don’t have an emergency support order. This jackass should get a rude awakening in court. I hope your attorney is tough-minded and makes sure his child support is taken out of his paycheck by his employer. And please–take everything you can. Do not feel one bit guilty.

      If you can, stop talking to him by phone or texting him. I know you are trying to be “nice” because he is giving you money based on his whim right now. But that is now only 30 days. You may need to respond to what he says by text or email but you don’t need to talk to him on the phone. And if he texts you or responds to you, don’t get into “immediate response” mode. Make yourself wait 2-3 hours. Overnight would be better. You can always say, “I was in the shower” or “I wasn’t feeling good.” Remember that he will find fault with whatever you did. Right now you are being “nice” and he’s denying you the most minimal amount of money and punishing you for his mistakes by “rescinding” his alimony offer. So being “nice” isn’t helping you. But you can be sort of “nice” and still build in boundaries to protect yourself. Think about asking the court to require you to use scheduling software because your STBX forgets to pick up kiddo, etc. Scheduling software allows you to put up key dates on the calendar and it has a communication app so you can get him off your text list.

      I understand that being blamed and seen as the “bad person” doubles your pain. But you don’t have to buy into his sick thinking. You aren’t the problem. You know that. He’s angry because he can’t leave without having to PAY. And man up and be a dad 2 or 3 times per month. Every time he opens his mouth, remind yourself: He lies. He blame shifts. He refuses to take responsibility. He is a bully. He’s MEAN. Do not take in his poison. You are mighty.

      • And PS–stop doing the adulting for him. He fired you from that job. Don’t respond to those calls or texts. It’s only 30 days. Then you have to think no contact or very, very low contact. You have to be responsible for you, your kiddo and the cat. That’s it.

        • Trying very hard. Yesterday he texted me because his car wouldn’t start (the 2-year-old car he’s only had for 2 months). I told him to keep me up to date and let me know if I needed to pick up our daughter from his mom’s. He went on and on about the car, telling me how they haven’t been anywhere in 2 days, the service place wasn’t getting back to him and something about there being cheap batteries in new cars. I texted back “I don’t care”.

          How can a guy who days earlier was berating me start texting me like I’m his friend? It’s so weird and annoying.

          I ended up picking up my daughter. Turns out they had been out of the house that day. They went to the movies in his mom’s car and they didn’t bother to move her booster seat to that car. They let her ride without one and told her she was old enough. I calmly waited 2 hours before sending an email about car seat laws and how it is a basic parent requirement to know how to use them. Didn’t hear a word back from him. But at least I have an email documenting it happened.

    • Twitching, I don’t know when you will reach meh but you will. I never, ever thought I could reach meh but I did. My pain was excruciating, I thought I would be the exception and would not reach meh, but reaching meh and living in meh all happened. I faced all my fears, my pain and didn’t run away from them. I went to counseling and learned how to love and appreciate myself and exercise self-care. I got to know myself all over again. I stayed connected with friends and family, sought out support and also have made IRL friends with chumps here by attending chump meet-ups.

      Please hang in there. Meh will come. Take care.

    • I didn’t either; moral indignation is my middle name and I assumed that what my X did would stay central in my life, preventing meh (unless the universe happened to deliver justice in the form of spontaneous combustion of Hannibal Lecher). I am still morally indignant, a significant portion of my time is spent doing research on infidelity & emotional abuse, but I now operate (largely) with a sense of calm.

      You’ll get there, Twitching. Be patient with yourself.

  • I played nice to get my divorce done too. YOU CAN DO IT!

    It totally stinks. We all get that.

    Hang in there.

  • ((Hugs)) Twitching. You will reach meh, I promise. I am one year from DDay/separated (after 17 years married and three children) and I am the closest I have ever been to meh! The pain is excruciating, just like ChumpLady says, but slowly your mind clears and suddenly you start to have more good days than bad. No contact/very limited contact is the key, but that is like going on a diet – hard as hell! 2018 is going to be better! You got this! We got this!

  • Lightbulb moment here… “This is what un-chumping feels like. It’s excruciating. (But then again, so is childbirth. New life generally doesn’t arrive without a lot of gore and pushing.)”

    Trust me, as the mother of 34-year-old triplet sons, there was a lot of gore and pushing to bring those 3 boys into the world!

    Similarly, there was a lot of gore and pushing to finally get my XH of 40 years – including almost continuous visions of him boinking his 14 OWs – out of my daily consciousness.

    Once I got past the first 6 immobilizing months of Pick Me Dancing, Self-Blaming and the catatonic What-Just-Happened? which immediately followed D-Day, righteous anger finally kicked into high gear and that is what single-handedly enabled me to breathe in and out, get out of bed, take a shower, find clean clothes to wear, remember to eat, go into work each day, find a fantastic therapist who understood narcissistic cheating spouses, engage a competent attorney, proactively protect myself financially, buy a house, and plan for my future.

    That anger was my fuel… like gasoline poured on a fire, it’s what kept me going through every 24-hour cycle until I was able to accept just how much my XH sucked, to grasp how fortunate I was to not spend the last third of my life tangled up in his toxic stew of deceit and disrespect, and finally, to truly believe I was not only going to survive the divorce in one piece, but I’d be way better than “just OK”… I’d be much stronger, more resilient, more independent, much happier, and above all, grateful to be free from an inauthentic existence! And that’s exactly what’s happened. New life, indeed!

    NOTE: About 14 months into our 3-year divorce process, I went Zero Contact (best decision ever), and on the 2 occasions when I could not avoid contact (in divorce court and at son’s wedding), I went Gray Rock and gave him nothing to work with!

    Today, the anger is pretty much gone, replaced on most days by 4 parts meh + 1 part disgust mixed in, kind of like a marble pound cake. I’m waiting for the Tuesday when meh is all I’ve got left… it’s coming, I can feel it!

  • Not Meh–anger is your friend. It is the single best emotion for motivating us to action, the rage is justified, and it detaches you from a fuckwit like nobody’s business. I went through several months of the darkest, strongest rage I had ever experienced. Finally had to consider my rage its own entity–a Rage Monkey who sat on my shoulder hissing & spitting & throwing peanuts at passersby. I gave him occupancy in the guest room. He stayed and stayed, and hissed and spit. And then one day, he was calm for 10 minutes, then 20, ….

    Like Tracy, I can still summon the Rage Monkey thinking of the injustice that any of us suffered. But 3 years out, my main emotion is indifference with a frisson of contempt for my X. He thinks the important things in life are status, and designer clothes, and academic accolades. Those feel good, no doubt, but he has lost the respect of his children (youngest will have nothing to do with him), the person with whom he spent most of his adult life (me) loathes him, and he has an empty hole where empathy and compassion should be.

    It will take at least a year, maybe two, but there will come a day when you wake each morning with a lifted spirit that He.Is.No.Longer.With.You. Can I get an alleluia? A smile will come over your face as you realize you don’t have to deal with that fuckwit’s shenanigans and moods and demands that day, nor any other day of your life. Your heart will sing. It doesn’t matter if your plumber is on speed dial, and you are working 16 hours days as largely a single mother; the sense of relief that the X can never come back will be palpable. Yes, you will sometimes slap yourself thinking, “Why did I put up with that loser?” But self-flagellation will dissipate (let yourself off the hook), and the relief will stay and stay.

    Get through your divorce, increase your social support (including here–sign up for the forums, top Right), and give yourself time. Meh takes emotional distance and an acceptance of life as you create it. You can’t sprint a marathon.

    • It is amazing how similar all our stories are. That is what amazed me about this blog. There is nothing unique about my situation. My anger is so uncomfortable. My children are hurting. I can’t understand how they aren’t his first consideration!! But I think what I hear when CL says the is who he is – I am not responsible for his actions. Only mine. I have to pick my face up off of the ground and guide my children through this. My therapist says they rage at me because I am the stable parent who is there for them. They can’t be angry at him because they are afraid he go further away. I am overwhelmed how unfair this all is.

      Thank you chump lady. Overwhelmed but apparently not alone.

    • “Indifference with a frisson of contempt for my X.” Well said, Tempest. And I’d add a touch of… amusement. I’m amused that he’s left yet another job and that his GF looks a lot like his mother. I mean–uncanny resemblance right down to body type. Don’t suppose that will last either but he’s so diminished in my mind that I see him a case study in inadequacy.

      • Yes…and I love Tempest’s use of language.

        I sucked the hopium pipe for years and years and his abuse made me sad. It took me too long to get to real anger and I dont want to stay at “hate” as it wouldnt be good for me and requires too much energy, so I settle for a place I call “Chronic Low Level Distain”

  • Just had a moment of meh.

    Dd told me fuckwit texted her and 2 of her brothers happy new year at around 11:30pm last night. I asked if anyone responded and she said “no, why would we, we were having fun!”Dd and one ds had about 20 school friends over and were playing ping pong, eating snacks and watching the ball drop. I fell asleep upstairs shortly before midnight. At midnight, I woke up to the sounds of their noisemakers and fireworks outside and then peacefully dozed off again.

    At 1 o’clock I was awakened again by a hug and a happy new year from dd before she went into her room with 4 friends that were sleeping over. Couldn’t ask for a better way to start the year! I hope it is a foreshadowing of meh to come!

    • That is awesome! THIS is love. THIS is where real, abiding, deep happiness comes from–not chasing the next whim (err..tail, whatever) that takes you away from your family.

      Hugs, mama!

  • Oh the road to Meh, how I hope to be in your embrace soon. Since my story is unfortunately just getting started, I doubt I will see Meh for a while, but that isn’t going to stop me from barreling towards it.

    I do believe that I am more focused and sane because I have found the CL and CN. Reading everyones posts and their experiences helps me cope with what I am going through.

    May we all get to Meh in 2018!

  • An excellent post as usual. It was interesting reading the other comments and how several of the cheaters (including my own Mme YogaPants) were angry people and used their anger to control their partners. I know that I lived in fear of her anger. Like a well trained lap-dog though she rarely had to use it on me but I saw it all around her.

    Once she started actively cheating on me, her anger exploded beyond imagination. She would go on such rages that I was worried that she would self-harm. I think she kept expecting me after DDay to go on similar rages but I never did.

    One thing that helped me is that other than a couple of Switzerland friends most of the people around me are angry on my behalf and that helps justify and reinforce my own anger. I certainly am angry at what she did and probably always will be. I am not looking to find any sort of forgiveness for her or her actions. I’ve used that anger though like a tool to help me power through this time. I find that reading here helps reinforce my anger. I’ve used that anger to focus on the settlement, making compromises that perhaps hurt me financially but allow me to take those steps towards the “meh” that is necessary for me. Except for a few exceptions which are pretty mild by most standards I’ve never directed my anger at Mme directly.

    How we deal with anger differs from person to person. Many people, including Mme would be explosive – a giant bang that is indiscriminate. I think that one of the things that scared her and perhaps still does is that she knows that I can use it with focus to achieve a goal. I’m going to try to quote a favourite author that I think describes this well. It might not be relevant to others but it is to me.

    So feel your anger. Embrace it. Let it flow through you and let it power you.

    “Something Vimes had learned as a young guard drifted up from memory. If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you’re going to die. So they’ll talk. They’ll gloat.

    They’ll watch you squirm. They’ll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

    So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.”

    • My first therapist used to talk about anger by using the example of someone stepping on your foot. The first time you assume it was either an accident or just careless. Maybe you are annoyed or a little irritated because your foot hurts.

      But then it happens again. And you’re angry because that’s not in the accident category but you are civilized so you say “don’t do that again” and perhaps step back a bit. And next thing you know, the person is standing on your foot and grinding his or her steel toe or spike heel into you. Then the fight is on. You have to get angry with someone who is trying to hurt you. That’s primal. Human. A survival instinct.

      What cheaters do is “weaponize” their emotions. If they are “angry,” it’s because the person whose foot they are breaking is not going on with the program, is not cooperating. Real anger is directed at cruelty and wrongdoing, at those who hurt others and cause pain. “Weaponized emotions” (anger, rage, faux remorse, self-pity, and “love”) are used to manipulate other people and maintain a false front. One of the biggest mistakes chumps make is confusing our real emotions (and our suffering) with whatever “feelings” the disordered person has.

      • LAJ,
        Weaponized emotions–So brilliantly described! I think that my last discard was cast in cement once I discovered that my ex-boyfriend had lied numerous times. As both my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend felt compelled to maintain a ‘nice guy image,’ once I knew the truth about them and stated that I knew that they were lying, I was ‘too dangerous to let live’ (be allowed even minimal contact with them).

  • Dear Not Meh,

    Anger DOES NOT always lead to the
    Darkside.

    Anger can lead to some great stories to reflect on once you’ve reached Meh.

    Here’s one of mine: when I was still with my cheater ex, she was surgically attached to her cheater phone.

    At the beach, she made the mistake of leaving her phone behind while she went for a swim. At that moment her phone rang displaying the APs name. I took that moment to throw her phone far out into the lake where it remains, at the bottom of the lake to this day and for eternity. I thoroughly enjoyed the look of panic on her face as she search for her phone, which I of course had no idea of its whereabouts.

    Not Meh, feel The Force of your anger and use it to develop your Jedi abilities….

  • No matter how far you are in your journey to Meh, you still find so many nuggets of wisdom from CL and CN that continue to push you forward.

    CL—”Meh is when you stop giving this jerk the power to hurt you. You accept what happened. Doesn’t make it right, or him less of an asshole. It means you see the truth — he sucks. And you realize you can only control yourself here. Not what is done to you — but how you react. How you’re going to march forward anyway.”

    I am farther out than some and less than others on this journey to Meh. The emotions and actions take you in many directions. I have raged, contemplated his demise, cried because I missed him, hated him, screamed at the injustice, and questioned my worth. But the acceptance of what happened and righteous anger have helped propel me forward.

    But forward doesn’t always mean linear. There are many curves, turns, and bumps. We all must travel this road, and the journey is different for all of us. However, the objective is to see Meh on the horizon and keep trudging.

    Most days are Meh. I see the truth…he sucks. I can only control myself and how I react. Total Meh…not yet.

    Best wishes, Not meh and all fellow Chumps, on your journey. WE will get there. CL is waving and waiting for us.

    • “But forward doesn’t always mean linear.”

      I am doing well but the rage hit today when I was out with DD and we drove past the inlaw’s condo. All of the sudden it was hitting me that mil lied to me after fuckwit left. When I would meet with her to discuss the situation, she pretended to want to help. She met whore a month after he moved out and didn’t say a word. Total lie by omission.

      Her sister was a shoulder to cry on for many months. She would tell me what fuckwit did was wrong… Yet she met whore Memorial Day 2017 and when I talked and saw her after that, she never mentioned it. Once again, I found out in a deposition. Today when I was driving my thoughts went to that and I wondered how I slipped and sent her a Christmas card.. Never again. I am going no contact with the lot of them.

      F*ck them all! They are all about image, and about as deep as a photo. Such great Christians, yeah, just wait until the judgement day.

      • Same with X’s super Christian family. When push comes to shove, the only thing they really worship is social media and plane tickets from X. I finally said so this Xmas when instead of paying me, X used my alimony money to treat them to National Lampoon’s European vacation with Schmoopie. And X’s family wanted me to look at it on FB and applaud.

  • Good Lord I needed Tracy’s words today and these are spot on. I’m very early on, no where near meh but switching between sobbing and rage. I really hope this gave some others some comfort as well. Happy 2018.

  • 5 years of pick me dancing, and really doing it up in the last year with all the bells and whistles and still the fuckwit chose several bimbos vs. his dd. April will be 4 years from the moment I WALK OUT OF HIS LIFE, and took back the control. He’s not seen his Beautiful amazingly talented daughter since Nov 2016. He Loses. His life has been filled with one Karma experience after another. He loses. She wants nothing more to do with him. He loses. She’s a great kid, young lady, and HE LOSES. She’ll eventually change her last name in 2020 when she’s 18. He really loses.
    I preform both duties, mother and father. And I get to experience all the good, the bad, and the ugly. Lately it’s been good and more good. It wasn’t like that at first. I screamed, cursed God out, made promises, cried and then got angry. That anger fueled my energy to get out. It fueled my strength to be the sane parent and DO THE RIGHT THING for my dd. It’s not been easy, and it’s been a challenge and I’ve made it. Each month I feel like a superhero, accomplishing more then I EVER thought I could.
    Meh? Haven’t gotten to it yet. Will I? Eventually. When I stop giving him residence in my brain, which lessens each passing day, hour, minute.
    You’ll get there. Eventually. First you have much work to do. But you’ll get there. We’ve all had this shit sandwich of a journey to navigate called being Chumped.
    Hugs

  • Love this New Year’s post and all the terrific comments of CN. I am three years out and still on the road to meh, although I am accepting that my meh will not be as clear as some as I have a handicapped son who does not “age out” of visitation EVER and a Fuckwit who continually finds creative and covert ways to break my boundaries, currently through cyberstalking. My boundaries are strong and am very comfortable with triggering lawyers, Adult Protective Services, whoever I need that can really mess with him and put an end quickly to his actions.

    The essential thing that I have learned about anger and all emotions, and many of you have shared this, is that they must be coupled with action. It is totally appropriate to feel whatever you are feeling at the time–rage, anger, sadness, loneliness, joy, boredom, etc, but our emotions can be untrustworthy and lead us astray. It is important to act, do something, anything, as that is where all the power lies. Currently, as I move toward meh, I stop and note what I am feeling and then pay attention to how I have been acting. I feel anger towards my ex for screwing with my privacy again, then what am I going to do about it? When I act, my anger dissipates because of my actions. I feel lonely, but I stop and reality check my actions and realize I have actually been quite busy with friends or figure out something to do. For me, empowerment lies in the actions I take and understanding how the emotions I feel play a role, but don’t control me.

  • Oh! I know what the boys can get their “father” for next Christmas! Oh!

    How about life-size cardboard cut-outs of themselves, and he can stick those in the back seat of his car to remind himself what a great dad he is. It’s along the lines of a bucket of baseballs, but slightly more personal. Still no work, but this way there’s not all that annoying bumping when he turns corners, or the occasional spill. Buckets of balls are SO MUCH WORK and they require attention. Cardboard cut-outs don’t make messes. They don’t make noise. Well…sometimes they get in the way, though, so he might find them a little inconvenient. Ok, maybe just a photograph that he can put in his wallet and post on social media. That involves very little effort, so that might be perfect for him. Maybe? Oh! Maybe with a page ripped out of the cheater handbook–you know, the part about where She’s Alienating Them From Me, or, She Won’t Let Me See My Beloved Children, or, She’s So Bitter And It’s Affecting The Kids But I Keep Trying. I’m just thinking. I’m helpful that way.

  • I love this, Tracy.

    Meh is a long-term goal, after you’ve done all the work of feeling horrible feels, including anger. It’s after you’ve done the heavy lifting of getting their shit out of your space, gotten the divorce and custody arrangements, had therapy or lots of thinking (whatever you do to recognize and organize your memories and other thoughts). It’s your prize, but it doesn’t come easy. That’s one reason I like to tell newbies that they HAVE to feel the hurt. It’s one badge that you earn. It’s swimming through sharks to get to safety. You HAVE to file, you HAVE to gather up their shit. (How much more satisfying is gathering shit, when it’s done with ANGER!! It feels AWESOME. Even better if you can get them to do it, but cheaters are lazy cowards.) I recommend keeping a lot of your anger under wraps at work, with your non-chumped friends, with your kid (ESPECIALLY with your kids). But you can come here, or you can vent to your bestie chump friend (Ohhhhhhhhhh, they are angels, aren’t they?) and you can spill all the rage you want. We get it.
    Eventually that fuckwit will be an annoyance if that. You’ll find that you still think he’s a coward and a jerk, and maybe annoyingly pathetic, too, but that you have other things that you need to focus on besides him. Then you’ve hit meh. Meh! That’s who he is.

  • Oh, I want to say, too, that anger really did propel me during the first few YEARS, but so did fear and humiliation. As I’d posted on the forums, humiliation drove me to live as if to make people wonder what in the hell he was thinking. It made me a little bit (a lot) manic. It caused me to drop way too much weight, but I bought a lot of inexpensive clothes that fit me well, and it provided me with a BRIGHT AND CHEERFUL SMILE! (SEE ME SMILE??!? I’M DOING GREAT!!!)

    Hah. Humiliation and fear and anger kept me company when I was running away from crushing loneliness. It gave me the energy to push through the divorce and to attend to my kids’ needs and remodel (with my own sweat and cuts and bruises) my home. Fear, anger, and humiliation often fuel mightiness, so embrace the emotions you dread. Channel them, my dear. You can do it!!

    I can say from my experience dealing with chumps in real life and here, that it is REALLY common for us to beat ourselves up for not being “over it” already. Some of that is internal–we want the pain to stop. And some of it is external (“Are you still bitter about that?”) from other well-meaning but misguided people who want our pain to stop affecting them or us. But meh comes when it comes, and I find that if you focus too much on what you’re not, or on berating yourself for not being where you’re supposed to be in this process, it’s actually COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Be nice to yourself. Feel what you’re going to feel. There are no shortcuts. If you put a band-aid over rage, hurt, humiliation, fear, you’re just going to get a bad infection, and it’s going to fester and be really bad. Take care of yourself, and let yourself heal naturally. It’s just better that way.

    • For sure the only way to get to Meh is to stay on your road (no matter how hilly or winding) and keep moving away from abuse and disfunction and toward the “truth and the light,” as AllOutofKibble would say.

  • Happy New Year, everyone! I want to share a stiry about anger and self prorection. I used to facilitate personal safety classes for women, along with a local police officer. Once when she was explaining how to use some simple but effective self defense techniques concerning the perp’s face, a young woman winced and said, I don’t think I could ever hurt someone like that. My cofacilitator said, Honey, you’re in danger at that moment. You have to reach down deep and bring out your inner bitch. She may save your life.” I have never forgotten that experience, and it helped me greatly thru the shit storm LadyLiar created.

    • This is a very important point, and not just about cheating. Every human should be in touch with the primal parts of ourselves that can help us survive in a crisis. Too many of us become “civilized” and lose the instincts that can protect us not just from cheaters but all sorts of predators. Spackling for people you don’t know can get you killed. Read Gavin de Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear” and Laurence Gonzales’s book, “Deep Survival.” Or take a really good self-defense class. As a teacher, i think all the time about how I would respond to an active shooter. I plan. Because what we do in an emergency is what we are prepared to do. And both anger and fear are very important emotions designed for our survival (and should never be “weaponized” against other people.

  • You don’t have to pretend. Be as angry as you want. Let it motivate and push you forward to hammer out a divorce that is best for you. I think you have to go through the phases of emotion to eventually reach meh.

  • I am just entering the Meh phase.

    Divorce was final 12/20 after more than a year haggling over spousal support —
    I gave up the big career so he could pursue his which required constant travel.)

    I learned after DDay #2 he had been gaslighting, cheating, lying and deceiving for more than 20 years.

    The rage consumed and engulfed me. I had a train that constantly circled in my head with my arguments about what I deserved coming out of a 25 year marriage to a psychopath. The pain, anguish and regret was debilitating.

    My biggest mistake was revealing too much to my daughter. She was supportive at first, being strong for Mom. But she grew weary from my pain and felt I had checked out as her mom. I hadn’t — I was monitoring her for disengagement and depression, but she didn’t know and more importantly, didn’t feel it. Even though she shunned her father for his betrayal to the family (she knows about his bitchtress, and suspects that there have been others), she eventually sought refuge from him. He felt like the stable one, the sane one.

    I cannot tell you how painful it was to live with her while she was so angry with me. She was either angry, pretending things were normal or ignoring me.

    The moment we settled on an arrangement, her mood shifted. I relaxed, relieved that the battle was over. The divorce agreement was quickly done and we were divorced a month later.

    In the end, we settled in something that worked for both of us. The ex stepped up, stopped listening to the lawyer who was way more invested in squeezing EVERY LAST DIME, and cut a deal with me.

    He earned some level of respect from me for doing that. It means we can coparent our daughter without an undercurrent of continual rage at being taken advantage of in the divorce.

    His shithead lawyer failed to recognize the benefit of being in a cooperative situation in the long term. (I think the lawyer doesn’t have children and cannot relate to the idea of maintaining a relationship with the ex.) in the end, his lawyer caused untold pain and suffering for me, extreme frustration for him, and a lot of money for both of us.

    My point in all of this is to focus on the end game. If he’s not interested in being a father to his children, get the custody sorted out, minimize expectations from your twins and be the single mom they count on — your love will be reflected in them for the rest of your life.

    If he’s an engaged father, accept that your kids want to have a relationship with him and do what you can to support it. If he’s a Disneyland Dad, they will sense it. When things are rough, they will seek you out for support. You will be their safe place.

    Good luck. If you’re diligent, this can all be over by years end. And you can start 2019 in the early stages of Meh.

    • Just a note that it doesn’t matter why the lawyer is in the business of prolonging litigation. One thing I’ve learned since D-Day is that I don’t need to worry about peoples’ motives. I worry about what they DO. That’s what I look at.

  • BeowulfSabrina
    You and I are on similar timelines with similar STBX. I have second mediation coming up (which will fail bc he wants it to) and then JURY trial for our divorce (and no custody issues). My delusional and scary SOB is dragging it out just because he wants to keep me in his (financial) and other control. It’s sick and my therapist gets it and attorneys are just now seeing how manipulative he is.

    In the end, though, I keep telling myself, in the end I WILL be divorced from him. It’s been 2 years since DDay and year and a half since I filed.

    Hugs to you sister.

  • WAYYYYY too early for Meh.

    Also, this is common: “he was sharing the details of our therapy with Bimbo.”

    My now-XW did the same about her “efforts” during our 2 months of MC. Because nothing says “trying in the marriage” like sharing intimate details of your MC with the person you’re secretly fucking on the side (and lying about in MC).

    A good MC is almost as rare as a unicorn.

    • Marriage counseling is not for people who are active cheaters, who are keeping secrets from their partners, or who are using counseling to manipulate a spouse into believing their is hope for a true “marriage.” It’s not a place to punish or further abuse or gaslight people.

      • That’s why chumps should say “no” to marriage counseling and “yes” to doing individual therapy. If the cheater is disordered, nothing is likely to change him or her. But we can change.

  • I wanted to ask a question. It might be a bit off topic, but is it normal for chumps to almost want to be responsible for their marriage blowing up? I guess the reason I’m saying that is because if I accept the blame for things being so bad that my wife needed to go out and have an affair, then I can take some of that responsibility away from her. I think, like most people, I try to protect the ones I love, my kids, even my STBXW. Is that what I’m doing here?

    • CanadianDad – It is very normal to want to be in control of your life. By accepting the blame, you feel like you had agency, that it was causal, instead of something horrible done to you for no cause. Think of it as the bargaining stage of grief, maybe.

    • CanadianDad, join and post on the Forums (top of the page). Post in the ‘General’ forum and you’ll get lots of info, support and discussion.

    • As a responsible adult, you’re looking for the ways you may have contributed to your spouse’s unhappiness.

      There is nothing wrong with that.

      But unhappiness doesn’t cause cheating. There are perfectly happy people who cheat, and perfectly unhappy people who never cheat.

      CL points out how ridiculous the “chump caused the cheating” logic is when applied to other anti-social behavior:

      –if an employee is unhappy at work, can you claim that his boss caused him to embezzle money from the company?
      –if a husband is upset with his wife, can you claim that his wife caused him to beat her?
      –if a friend is mean to you, can you claim that it’s okay to berate her and seduce her husband?

      Etc.

      And yes, you still love your STBX. Your emotions are normal. You’ve created a strong bond with this person, and so it’s hard to accept the reality that she has so little respect for you. So, you want to claim responsibility for her failings, which softens the blow, and maintains some semblance of your false impression of her.

      I was where you were once, but I understand now that it’s wrong. Apply logic; not emotion. When you do, and stick to it, you understand that you can’t take responsibility for your wife’s affair. Understand that she’s not the person you thought she was; she’s NOT your friend.

    • It’s a really bad idea to “take the blame.” That infantilizes your cheater/spouse. It excuses lying, cheating, dissipation of marital assets, putting you and your health at risk, breaking major promises, and abusing you by gaslighting and manipulating you. How is any of that your fault? If you put my good pants in the dryer and shrink them, it’s not an excuse for me to go out and have sex with some man at work. The fact is that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship with a disordered person. One term for taking the blame or responsibility for someone else is “codependency.” Speaking from first-hand knowledge, that’s something you want to change. It’s not “protecting” people to cover up and take blame for their bad deeds; it’s enabling their dysfunction. And it sets a terrible example for the kids. I think coming to grips with the ways that we spackle and enable and cover up for these freaks comes once the anger dies down and we can get some perspective. And perhaps your questions are a sign that you are moving to a new level.

      I hope you do the reading about character disorder. If you don’t get real about what she is, who she is, you risk repeating the

    • Canadian Dad
      You may be co dependant. I term I learnt about recently. Loads of great help on You Tube.
      Basically we caretake the relationship rather than it being a partnership.

  • Use your anger by stating facts to those who try to abuse you, or cross your boundaries, or enable continued abuse. Facts and reality are like kryptonite to these sleazes.

    I reached agreement with X a year ago. In exchange for keeping his dirty laundry out of court, X agreed to repay me significant sums, spent on things like his kids’ first trips to Europe, college, cars and travel. Thought I was well on the way to a new life, but X hasn’t paid up. Told me at the beginning of December that he was broke. So by Xmas, I was pinching pennies. At D-Day, my adult, former stepdaughter (FSD), who professes to be very Christian, had let X have it and asked me to stay in her life and those of her siblings. I agreed, thinking that at least they had feelings for me from the past dozen years. Turns out, staying in her life meant staying friends on social media. My guess is, at D-Day they thought that I was a better bet than the lowlife from a foreign country that their father was bankrolling. Last heard from FSD directly 18 months ago, when I told her that I couldn’t pay off my second car that FSD wanted for her house husband; her father would have to do it. He didn’t.

    Woke up Xmas morning to a social media post of FSD and her husband on a foreign Xmas trip with her father and lowlife. I commented that I was surprised that she would spend Xmas condoning lying, cheating and stealing. FSD responded that she was not responsible for this and I needed to move forward and “forgive.” I then wrote to her, X and lowlife to inform them that X was in arrears over $60K to date, had tried to seduce me this past summer and had refused to move his personal things out of the house, so he could soon be in contempt. I told FSD privately that these were hardly the actions of a healthy person moving forward or allowing me to do the same.

    I felt terrible for days afterward. My brother told me that X always counted on me beating myself up, and most women he knew would have done much worse over the past 3 years. He said, you needed to make a mess to see progress. And I got some – a wire of money within a day.

    Your anger is at the lack of justice. If you are covering for this loser, don’t. Don’t even maintain the extended Fake-book connections if it means you are exposed to reprehensible image management and can’t set the record straight. Channel your anger into enforcing your boundaries and your legal rights.

    • I hope you are considering filing a contempt motion. $60K is a lot of arrears. And don’t give those kids a thing.

      • LAJ,

        I had already filed what I needed to turn our agreement into a court order. Did it before the Xmas blow up, when X claimed to be broke/skint. (After funding at least three expensive trips involving his adult kids in the last 6 months). Toughness and standing up for yourself is the only thing he understands. He chronically seeks kibbles and as this proves, he sees any cordial dealings with him as an invitation to dish out more abuse.

  • I remember talking to a counselor about some truly bizarre things that happened at a funeral – like father and son nearly coming to fisticuffs. The counselor explained that of all the emotions, anger is the easiest to understand. We are GOOD at anger because we get little doses every day – the guy that cut you off in traffic, a lazy coworker, the annoying neighbor, disappointments, and even horrible family. It is familiar. To some extent, it feels good, or at least better than the alternatives. After a big trauma, like death or divorce, people will wrap themselves up in anger like a comfortable sweater until they have some head space to deal with sadness, grief, loss, betrayal, and all of those other complicated emotions. It’s only unhealthy if you never get past anger and deal with the rest.

  • Your son sounds lovely, @Chumplady. And congratulations on this fine young man and on his libertarian streak. I hope that my now-young kids grow up to be loving, honourable and believers in the general scaling back of government’s meddling.

  • Self centered people aka cheaters- never make good parents! They are too busy thinking about their “needs” to even notice their kids.

    Dancing Dick (my ex perv/cheater)- is trying to shove his new girlfriend on my adult kids. My son wants no part of it. He knows what his father is……..so he knows that the new girlfriend is probably screwed up too. Water seeks it’s own level.

  • If you weren’t angry after sexual betrayal…..you probably aren’t normal. After the shock……..comes the anger.

  • Why do I feel so numb? Its been only 3 months since I found out that I was never “the one” true love for him in our 26 yr marriage.
    At first I was crying so much, couldn’t sleep, eat or think straight.
    I admit I went to the clinic for some help and Dr prescibed an anti-anxiety med which used at night to get more than 3 hrs of sleep.
    Then came the anger, so I started going to the gym.
    Now… nothing. I’m numb. Oh, I’ll find myself crying once and a while but mostly I just don’t feel anything. It’s weird.
    Is this normal?

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