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A Valentine’s Day Reset

Dear Chump Lady and CN,

Two years ago on Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be my birthday) I discovered my husband was carrying on an affair with his co-worker that he had eight months prior assured me he had completely ended.

At this point I was already reduced to 85 pounds, on anti-depressants, and for some reason (PTSD) I saw his affair partner everywhere I went. On the L train, in stores and restaurants. I would disguise myself each time I left the house so “she wouldn’t recognize me.”

Like many fellow chumps I had gone through 8 months of pure pick-me-dancing hell as I attempted to contort myself into all sorts of pleasing forms in order to show him I was better than the 25-year old he had chosen over me. I was much cooler, smarter, more beautiful, and a damn good mother and wife…..right? Of course none of that mattered.

My two children (aged two and four years old at the time) had in many ways lost their mother the day D-day first went down. I literally thought the second time around I would not last.

I was alone in New York where we had moved so he could take up a job at a tech-start up (startups being notorious breeding grounds for cheating and narcissism.) I had kept the affair a secret from all my friends and my family in my home country. It was an unbelievable burden.

It was that Valentine’s Day, when I was in the deepest pit of despair that I finally came to realize that I needed to get away. That the situation I was in was certifiable abuse. I remember calling my best friend and confiding in her. She flew down that very day.

I left my husband and the city that had been my home for seven years. There was an uneaten chocolate birthday cake in the fridge and an unwrapped iPhone on the counter (which he thought would make a great birthday present for the wife he had shattered with his infidelity.)

Fast-forward to now. This week, I will mark my Valentine’s Birthday with my two children, in our own home. The home I created for us. My parents and siblings and their wives will celebrate with us over pizza. My sweet and kind boyfriend of just over a year will give me a loving hug and kiss. He understands Valentine’s Day is fraught with difficult emotions for me. We treat this day like a cassette tape. We just record over the old crappy song with a new one, whether that means taking a trip or having a nice dinner out. The old memory is still there, but each year, it fades a little more.

This is the first time I am sharing my story with CN, despite having been a silent follower of this blog for years. I have garnered great strength and wisdom from this community. I wanted to share my story so others can take comfort in it. To maybe give some hope to someone who might be feeling like a frayed thread as I once did. There is light and hope up ahead.

On this Valentine’s Day I am sending real love and hope to all my fellow chumps and a grateful hug to Chump Lady herself.

Iris

Dear Iris,

Happy almost birthday! And thanks so much for sharing your story with CN! May your cassette tape be forever full of mightiness and devoid of bad fuckwit cover bands (and their groupies).

Letters like yours really underscore the Gain a Life message here — it’s not all gloom and despair. A better life is out there. Move towards it. Don’t let anyone devalue you another second.

I love that when you summoned up your courage to tell your friend, she was there for you immediately. Give her a hug from all of us.

I’m curious how other chumps are resetting the Valentine’s Day holiday. (Aside from reading the Infidelity Valentines winners here tomorrow!) Assuming you acknowledge the day at all… It’s not necessary!

Until I married Mr. Chump Lady, my Valentine’s Days went largely uncelebrated, or unrequited. (Yes, even within prior marriages… ugh…) Mostly it was a day of construction paper hearts and glitter glue with my son. We had a lovely tradition there for years of making the school Valentines (the store-bought ones weren’t allowed at his school.) That was fun, but now he’s at college and libertarians don’t do glitter glue. (Or maybe they do, and spell out giant Ayn Rand treatises with it…. ) Anyway, he’s a grown-up and I have a Valentine — my husband.

I confess my years-long Valentine’s Day drought has resulted in an unhealthy accumulation of heart paraphernalia today. I decorate. I’ve got a bowl full of old Valentines, and hearts, and flowers, and some presents for Mr. Chump Lady … (And not only does he reciprocate — he slam dunks this holiday.)

Although last year I WON VALENTINE’S DAY. It was my greatest Valentine’s Day coupe. I won’t reveal all my methods, except to say I pulled off an amazing feat of nerd love — I got Ruth Bader Ginsburg to personally inscribe her book to him!

Mr. Chump Lady is a civil rights lawyer and a big fan of the Notorious RBG. I sent Justice Ginsburg an obsequious love letter with a photo of Mr. Chump Lady at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. carrying a sign that said, “TEXANS KNOW BULLSHIT WHEN THEY SEE IT.”

I hoped that might charm her. (How could any thinking woman fail to be charmed? Hands off, ladies!)  I told Justice Ginsburg how he reveres her, and it would mean a lot… and…

Damn if she didn’t sign his book!

How are you loving the special people in your life this week? Heck, how are you loving yourself this Valentine’s Day? Thanks Iris!

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.
  • Happy valentines a year out from my DDay! To everyone in pain, it slowly eases and the stars reappear. And to CL; thank you for saving my soul and my heart with your plain no nonsense black & white truth. The truth truly did set me free!

    • My Valentine this year is Tracy! and Chump Nation!

      She keeps this blog running as a public service. Care to join me in making a wee little donation to keep CL going and show her the love? (Donation button is on the right and you can even add a personal message).

      • @chumpelladeville

        Excellent suggestion! I am in… 🙂

        As an aside, my wedding day was February 14, 2004. So I definitely need to figure out a “reset.”

        • Girls Night Out! And if your worried about getting carried away with a fellow, go to kiddie stuff like mini golf, go-karts or sledding. Take the kids if you got them. If you ball, you ball, at least you’ve got the friends who understand.

          • Or guys night out! :). I used to not worry much about Valentine’s, but post-D, it became extremely painful, but one year I had a blast at a dueling piano bar, by myself. It was “Elton John” versus “Cher”!

            • I get a Double Treat on Valentine’s Day.

              Not only do I get to celebrate it with this new, incredibly amazing woman who has been in my life for 10 months……it’s also her birthday.

    • I wrote to CL almost a year ago (April 2017) asking how do you know if they really can do a 180 and become the husband you deserve. He was able to hack into my email and read my heart poured out on the table email and all of CN’s responses. I was horrified and from that point on I only read every day CN heart breaking emails and also emails of courage and triumph over cheaters. I followed CL’s advice and I obviously got another email set up, divorced him, came out financially in great shape and am happier than I have ever been in my life. In my mid 60″s it was scary to imagine leaving my home state and starting over but to all of you struggling now you will make it through this and you will be much better off leaving your cheater. You truly will Gain a Life or your life back! When you start getting your life back strange things happen to your persona and you become more attractive to others in a way that new friends just flow your direction. I never knew how closed in I was until I was free. I have found someone that treats me with respect, is kind and tells me everyday how much he loves me. We had dated for two months when he sent me a text that read “Good morning beautiful”. My eyes filled with tears because in 45 years of marriage I was never told that! Never give up even in your darkest hour. Time will bring you clarity and you will be happy again. Happy Valentines Day to all of you and especially CL for helping me reach true happiness.

      • I remember your letter CO Fox. I’m so happy you settled on leaving the cheater! Congratulations for sticking up for yourself and knowing your worth! You are mighty!

      • Thank you CO Fox, I have had a horrific year, and when people ask me when I will be ready to date again, I say, “I don’t know, that is like asking a person with two broken arms when they will be ready to go lift weights,” but you know what, at least I am reaching the point where I can envision it someday thanks to posts like yours.

  • Hi CN and CL,

    Why do I feel warm fuzzies just reading this 😉 ?
    Tomorrow i’ll treat myself with a glass of champagne, celebrating my first non-pick me dance valentine day in years….

  • Also my one year DDay anniversary on Valentines Day. I’m getting my life back together despite the continued rage from cheater ex wife. She is powerless to stop my continued rise without her and despite trying all ways to sabotage, upset and demean me she is losing. The prize of her fellow cheating boyfriend and the devastation they have left in their wake is obviously not enough to keep her twisted mind occupied. I first found chumplady in March last year and wrote a letter to Tracy asking if it would get better. To my surprise the letter was posted on chumplady. The advice I received that day inspired me to push on with my plan to create a new life no matter how hard that road. I will raise a glass this valentines day to toast a new beginning for me and my beautiful girls. This site and the people on here who help each other through one of the most difficult life experiences are amazing.

    • Happy Valentine’s Day Jamie and all the best to you. For me, I intend to love myself and others around me for 365 days, not just today. Love those girls of yours every day. You are doing a wonderful job! Xoxo sweet

    • Stay strong, Jamie. You sound like you’re making good progress and soonshe will be just someone you used to know, whom you’re very glad to be free from.

      Happy know your worth day.

      • There is a great song on YouTube, sung by an outstanding acapella group, Straight No Chaser. As I am technologically challenged, I have no idea of how to post a link, but the song is a great screw you I am so over you song. It’s called Somebody That I Used To Know.

  • This was the only holiday MVM actually celebrated. I would get a rose bush to plant, or, in later years, a Steven Singer gold rose. Gave all those false love tokens back to him btw, when he left.

    Every year I would make a romantic dinner for my family. I carry that tradition on still. We have a nice meal with candles and linen table cloth/napkins and wine glasses full of sparkling grape juice. I buy all my boys boxes of chocolate and a gift they will love and a valentine card. Just to show each of them that they have my heart. Hopefully, this has shown them a little how to show love when they are grown.

    So, my Valentines has always been filled with love, just not so much from cheater, but a love letter to my children. This year only 1 will be at home, but he is still getting his love tokens from momma. The other 2 will get an email from me telling them what is wonderful and loveable about them and how glad I am that they are my sons.

    I don’t think you need to view Valentines Day as just romantic love. Call the people you love that day. Tell them how special they are and why you love them so much. It will brighten their day.

    A special Valentine’s to Tracy and the CN, without all of you- your snark, your encouragement and the 2×4’s-many of us would still be leading lives of desperation trying to hold onto a dead relationship. I know I would be and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping me start living again. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! (((Hugs)))

    • Same here. My cheater was huge on buying expensive, lavish gifts. Most of which had no personal meaning. The kids and I would always decorate the dining room, bake heart-shaped cookies, make homemade cards, and have a special “fancy” dinner. We continue on with that tradition, so the only difference is that cheater isn’t at the dinner table.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Iris.

    I have a question for you, and all the other single parent chumps with young children who have found new love. How did you do it? How did you meet your new partner? Do you have any advice for those of us who never meet new potential partners?

    I’m currently a SAHM. I never get the opportunity to meet single men. I feel like I’m destined to be single forever (a friend actually said “yeah you’ll probably never marry again…”), or at least until I’m 50 or 60!

    • My advice is don’t try to focus on finding a new partner. Focus on YOU. Being a SAHM means IMO you’ve sublimated a LOT of yourself to a partner and children already. Figure out who YOU are, where you are your best self (that with others that aren’t related to you). Know that you’re FINE without a partner.

      Single parenting is hard. It’s also immensely rewarding. But I worry if you’re at all wobbly or dependent on partner status, you will not have that picker sorted out and will be vulnerable to abusers. ***I was*** after my first divorce as a young single mom. And I was quite uninterested in being paired off again, until several years later when I began dating in earnest, and met the serial cheater.

      Seriously, my advice to you is have a full and fulfilling life, and you’re more likely to attract quality people and will know your worth, and can enforce boundaries.

      There is no place to find mates, (under cabbage leaves?) No lucky gold mine. I know that may seem smug to say from the position of partnership, but I spent MANY years alone — in marriage and out of marriage. Please, get strong, go back to school, find a career you love, a vocation. Children grow up and leave us, that’s their job. Be your strongest, most independent, best self — and then consider dating. I know there are days that will be lonely and suck — but it’s really important work. You matter.

      • Best advice ever. No, seriously. This is really, really good advice – from someone who’s living it, and who can see herself never pairing off again.

        And GRATEFUL – so abso-fucking-lutely grateful to be so very single, and so very happy. Being single absolutely rocks, compared to the freak shows I’ve endured with Pod People. I am four years out from my last cheater/last chance saloon, and nearly a year out from my last narco-diddly-oh Pod Person (it only lasted two months, thank God).

        I wake up happy and well-rested. I’m trying to get a bit fitter, and no one is nagging me to do it, or criticising my technique. As a result, I’m actually enjoying exercise for the first time in my life.

        I go to work, where I am happy and fulfilled, competent and praised, and appreciated. I come home where I live with people who I love, and who love me, and who care about me. We ask each other how our day went.

        I go out in the evenings when I feel like it. I cook, when I don’t feel like it. I cook food that I and my family enjoy. I go out to places I enjoy. No one tips shit on me. No one spoils it by being a pouty barnacle (I forget who coined that phrase here, but I love it.)

        I can go to the movies if I want to, any time I want. I can go and browse the farmer’s market, and take as long as I like. I can stop on the way back for coffee with a lady friend, and maybe go to a good bookshop for an afternoon as well. I can go to IKEA and eat meatballs and buy inappropriate cushion covers, and bed linen that’s real linen.

        I belong to several community groups and a church, and they keep me hugely busy when I’m not at work as well, with meetings, fundraising, events, flyers and all that jazz. I also belong to a 12 step group which has already done me a huge amount of good in just six short weeks.

        I am actually looking forward to Valentine’s Day tomorrow, because I know I am not at risk of being given a last-minute bouquet from a gas station, some scratchy cheap nylon panties, some half-melted chocolates and a useless teddy bear, a dinner at a restaurant I don’t like with a man who makes me nervous with his ambivalence, or anything else that I really don’t want, need, or enjoy.

        I began each paragraph here with an I, because I can.

        I am, in short, a hugely constructive and helpful member of society. I harm no one. I do as much good everywhere that I can, all day, every day. And I go to bed at night, tired but happy, and with the clearest of clear consciences. I may read a detective story in bed as well, if I feel like it.

        I walk by the beach and pick up sea-glass. The walls of my house sing again.

        • Exactly how I feel too. It’s like I’ve been let out of prison and the world is mine to enjoy. Not sure I ever want to “couple”again and I’m working hard on just enjoying the “now”! Today’s sunrise, today’s delicious dinner, today’s feeling of contentment and peace! If love shows up again great, if not I plan to enjoy every day of the next 30 years (I hope) just enjoying the life I built and he tried to destroy. Every day is a Valentine to myself!

          • I love that sentiment. I am alone and love every minute of it. If someone comes along, great, but I am not looking at all. Instead, I am enjoying my freedom after years of putting myself last.

            I recently had to be in the presence of X due to my daughter’s wedding and I was extremely anxious. But it all came off without a hitch, even when some of X’s family members really, really misbehaved. One reason I calmly enjoyed the day was because of the love, support and sage advice CN sent my way! I cannot even bring to explain how the support I received made such a difference in the way I handled X. Grey rock all the way.

            So for Valentine’s Day, I am going to enjoy the beautiful leftover flowers, while eating delightful leftover desserts and drinking fine champagne that I would never normally buy for myself. I will happily be doing all of this alone. I will view the day as my day of liberation and gratitude for my new life.

            Eight years ago, my life was in shambles and I was afraid for my future (and that of my children). Today, I am at peace. I have survived what I thought I couldn’t. I am now a strong, independent woman, with a life of my choosing. This Valentine’s Day, I will celebrate the love of the many people who have helped me rediscover this place of peace.

            • Just some backstory: I have been chumped more than once by different partners.

              My picker has been broken most of my life, for both partners and friends. I would have described me a few years ago as a hopeless case.

              It’s taken me decades to get my head out of Taylor Swift World, and into reality. I had that fatal endless drive for the Partner Who Would Fix It All, the horror of singleness, the fear of being alone and pitied by everyone.

              Turns out reality actually doesn’t suck after all. This is seriously the first time in my life that I actually like me – but I think I am a nicer, more confident, kinder, more open person now, and so there’s more of me TO like.

              And that’s after a lot of therapy and a lot of growing up. I gradually got rid of the using friends, which was a great start. ALL my relationships are different now.

              Being partnered is no longer the goal of my life. I have a whole pile of other goals, large and small, and I am so much happier.

        • That’s totally HAWT, LG. I bet you turn heads everywhere you go!

          (Only you don’t care ’cause you’re too busy being AWESOME)

          Cheers to you

          • I don’t think anyone even looks at me, being 50 years old, but that’s also OK. It’s like being a master spy – I blend in effortlessly. Means I can get away with lots of things too …

        • This is amazingly fabulous and I really hope I also get to this point. I am going to copy this and save it on my computer to help me remember to set these goals and achieve them! Congrats LG and everyone in CN who has taken their lives back, even if its literally one minute at a time. One year ago, 4th dday (yes I am very chumpy), this year celebrating the nuptials of a BFF and former chump herself, loving on my kiddos, and planning for my own home! Yes this year has been horrible and wonderful, sometimes simultaneously. Mind open, heart prepared, soul saved – here we go!

        • Oh yeah, truth.

          I am going to paraphrase a saying circulated in 12 step groups……… Divorce didn’t open the gates of heaven and let me in, it opened the gates of hell and let me out. And I will add, gave me the freedom to build my own heaven.

          Go chumps!

      • So much this.

        Regardless of the reason for the divorce, it’s important to take time out to figure out who you are and what you want in life and for yourself.

        Why is this important? Because right now, the only real model of a long-term partnership is the relationship you had with your Cheater. Going headlong into a new relationship has a good chance of getting you back in the same kind of relationship. The statistics on second marriages are worse than for first marriages. This is time to Fix the Picker!

        But you can’t fix the picker without knowing who you are, what you like, where your values lie. And you need to know these on a deep level while being able to articulate them. Enter therapy as well as taking the time out to be with yourself.

        Once you get yourself sorted out, you’re going to be in a different position with respect to finding someone who shares your values and treats you in the way you deserve to be treated.

      • My divorce complaint is being filed tomorrow. Happy Valentine’s Day!

        I was married for 30 years, and I have been separated for a year and believe me, I am in no way worried about meeting another man. I have found that living without eggshells and suspicion is sooooo relaxing. Is this how people really live????

        I have so many friends, new and old, and my hobbies. I am not Meh yet, but getting very close!

    • Off The Crazy Train,

      I had a friend say to me once, “You need to get out there into the dating world”. I was like, “Yeah, can I get the address on that please?” Lol, I had no idea how to go about meeting men either.

      Good grief, why would your friend say such a thing? Did she mean she thought you wouldn’t want to? Listen, if you’re really ready and you really want to meet a guy, it can be done. I’ll tell you what I’ve done.

      I am now working part time, but the guys I’ve dated, I did not meet at work. There’s a little place I like to go to that has music every night. Sometimes I bring a friend, sometimes I just go alone. I met someone there whom I’ve dated off and on for a couple of years. I met someone else through a dating app. This takes some effort and patience; there’s a lot of garbage people on dating sites. But, there are also kind, quality, lonely people on there too. It’s just a matter of finding them.

      For me personally, I’ve learned about myself that I’m not quite ready for a serious long term relationship just yet (I’m two and half years post D-day). But I do like to get out of my house, meet new people, and have fun. I’m very clear in my dating app profile about what kind of dating situation I want (something ongoing but not super serious either). I have managed to find people who are on that same page.

      The most important thing is to rock your fabulous self. Confidence is the key. With confidence, you will find ways to put yourself into the dating world. You’re on this site so I’m assuming you are as big of a chump as the rest of us. That means YOU are a quality human being, one with love in your heart to give to a deserving person who will give back. Go find him!

      I understand being a SAHM, was one for twenty years. But do NOT be buried inside your home 24/7. Get a sitter and get out. You don’t say how old your children are, but if they’re old enough, get them involved in activties and then go volunteer for those organizations (soccer coach for example).

      You are NOT destined to be single forever if you don’t want to be!!

    • I hear you crazy train.

      I’m a single dad, Take care of my kids and grandkids, run two companies, have hobbies where I meet great people, etc.

      However, I feel that meeting a true match is near impossible. Especially with a post chump highly developed bullshit detector radar.

      I’m an island with a huge amount of resources that I ship out to the people I love.

      Sadly there will be no valentines in the mailbox.

      It’s a very strange world we live in

    • Listen to ChumpLady’s advice on this one! Honestly, dating was the last thing on my mind as I was struggling to adapt to my new status as a single parent, trying to secure full-time employment and adjusting to putting my life back together.
      For the first time in my life I poured my energy into re-establishing who I was, what I wanted to do, and un-shackling my identity from the person who was the source of so much pain.
      I met my boyfriend very unexpectedly at my workplace when I WAS NOT LOOKING. I heavily scrutinized his character and very cautiously proceeded. He passed the test with flying colors (it helped that he had first-hand experience suffering from an abusive spouse as well.)
      This newly curated me, that I had worked so hard to put back together was confident, happy and not willing to fall in with another narco-path.
      Beyond kindness, if anyone is to hold your heart in their hands, they must honor your experience and acknowledge the trauma you have gone through.
      Don’t listen to that so-called friend that says you won’t find love again. That’s an unloving thing to say and people inconsiderate enough to say that to you need to be edited out of your life.

    • Agreed with CL, I’m not a fan of “looking” for love as much as living your authentic life and then letting things fall into place. But to directly answer your question, I’ve met available, good men by not staying at home and doing my things. If you’re with kids all the time, in their routines doing their things, it’s tough to meet new people. But if you make time to do your own things, in your own time and space (like hobbies or work or sports or education) it becomes much easier to meet like-minded, cool people. Maybe this is something you can incorporate into your full time SAHM life or maybe this entails changing that a little and re-entering the work force or school or whatever and only being a part-time SAHM.

      Things to remember: being a mom is only one thing that you are. It’s good to be devoted to your children, it’s also good to be devoted to yourself. So, don’t let anyone shame you (or don’t self shame) if you decide that being a SAHM isn’t gonna work for you anymore. Times change and so must our life strategies. The more you immerse yourself in the things of the world outside your home, the more chances you have to find love. And it’s great modeling for your kids to see their mom engaged in life.

      With all that being said, even though I have met some great guys, once I started being more of my authentic self and being more a part of the world (with work and graduate school and what not), I actually didn’t want to date at all. Partnership of any kind felt constraining and cumbersome. And I already have so many meaningful relationships. So I don’t date now anymore. Maybe that will change one day, but right now I’d rather just enjoy MY life, and that does include a lot of time with my daughter–who is very proud of all the things her mom does. : )

  • This Valentine’s Day is actually my uni graduation evening! My two guests will be the most beloved females in my life – my mother (who is proud as punch, and my staunchest supporter), and my 9-yr-old daughter (I want her to see how her mum kicked ass and got a second degree while wading through the shitstorm of infidelity and our family breakdown. A cheating man won’t stop me! Hopefully I’m giving her a strong, positive role model). How’s that for an awesome Valentine’s Day?! 💐💐💐

    Things really do get better once you rid yourself of the dead weight of a cheater. Hugs to all of you 🌷🌷🌷

      • Yay! Thank you. I’m pretty relieved the study is done and dusted. I have a new job and it’s going well so far 👍🏼

      • Thank you!! I’m pretty proud of me too. It took 18months longer than it should have, because my D-Day was at the beginning of my final year of study. I had to withdraw because STRESS! Could not concentrate. Time off and counselling helped me to get back on track. My university was really understanding. I feel very fortunate! 🍀

      • You are getting a standing ovation from all of us in CN!! 👏 👏. We all know deep in our souls how hard this journey is…now go and have a wonderful life!! 🌹🌹

      • Thank you! I think it’s so fitting that my uni graduation was held on Valetine’s Day! 🌹

        Two years ago today, I was forgotten by the cheater on Valentine’s Day. While he went off into the night to be with his mistress, I sat at home alone with my true loves 👩‍👧‍👦

        While he gifted her with expensive perfume, he dropped a wrapped box of Chinese tea (given to him by a client!!) on the bed as my “Valentine’s gift” the following day. Just, wow 😳

        This Valentine’s Day I attended my graduation, 🎓 with my two best gals by my side (my mother and daughter). What a full circle moment!

        Thank you CL and CN for being with me on this tough journey 🙏🏼

    • That’s amazing LHATA! Congratulations on your achievements – graduating AND leaving him at the airport!! In celebration here’s one of my favorite songs which makes me think of you and your awesome screen name. Hugs and a big *high five*

      https://youtu.be/1M7pCS6Jpho (I hope the link works – it’s Miranda Lambert singing Baggage Claim)

      • Hehehehehe, thanks Beth 😘 I love country music – that song is awesome! I also like Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood! Especially the line “I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights” – my kids play TeeBall, and my son’s bat is a Louisville Slugger brand. Makes me laugh everytime I see it 😂

    • This is great to read! I’m in the middle of my second year of a 3 year law program and it is a struggle. I too almost dropped out last semester from divorce stress but thankfully my school was super supportive and helped me get through. I have a 10 year old daughter who is watching all of this closely and hopefully learning that working hard, even through tough times, is important…and that women can do the things!

      • Yasssss! Keep striving forward 👊🏼💪🏼 I had to take a year off, as I had a lot of legal stuff to sort out, across two countries. I had counselling, tried to be gentle on myself. I was lucky, because I moved back in with my parents, and they helped me immensely!! I had all bases covered, all the support I needed. I don’t take it for granted. I know not everybody has that.

        My uni was really great. I had some great mentors who supported me all the way. They knew my situation and were very understanding. They were invested in seeing me SUCCEED!! It was great. Couldn’t have asked for more.

        When you’re done, and walking on the stage to collect your degree, it will have all been worth it. I took my mother and daughter as my two guests. (My dad doesn’t care about study 😅). My daughter was so excited – my mother videoed the moment I went on stage, and my 9yr old girl can be heard in the video saying “Go Mum!!!” So awesome.

        Your daughter will see you up there too one day – and you would have given her the best role model, shown her exactly what strong women can do! Keep going with your studies, even when it seems that it’s never going to end. It will. “This too shall pass”. Hang in there, you can do it 👊🏼💪🏼🎓

  • Hurrah! At our house Valentines Day is no longer the end all and be all of “romance” it used to be, Thank Heavens! It is now filled with the joy of expressing our love to each family member by buying beautiful flowers that are for the whole family to enjoy and celebrating the fact that we care for each other. There is no pressure for anyone to “prove” their love with expensive trinkets. We don’t give it the “weight” that a lot of folks give it. It’s VERY refreshing to just enjoy the flowers and shared special confections that this day brings. It’s wonderful now.

    • My beautiful Mum lost her husband ( my fabulous stepdad of 30 yrs) a couple of yrs ago. She was going through chemo. She went to the hair salon to get her sparse hair trimmed. The girls in the salon had a bouquet of flowers and a valentine card for her telling her how much they admired her.
      She only knew these women for about a year. I thought it was the most lovely thoughtful thing that those women did.
      To see someone hurt, know how hard that day must be. But acknowledge it with her. Don’t think I would ever have thought of doing that.
      True Valentines. Xxx

      • 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 🙌🏼 🙌🏼
        What angels! Such a touching story. Thank you for sharing this 💐

    • Roberta, my Valentine’s wish for all chumps is to get where you are and where Egans’s hair salon stylists are with this holiday. Show someone you love them and don’t forget those who are struggling or lonely. It’s pretty simple.

  • Perhaps we can have a greatest nerd love gestures to change the tone!?

    amen to “gaining a life” – not having to walk on egg shells or be depressed from low level abuse …. And discovering decent people and/or another half who reciprocates is worth all the hard slog of getting rid of the 50kg dead weight I have been carrying around for a long, long time.

        • Treat yourself to a day of no-contact, Patman. When I go to bed after a day of no-contact – even if everything else that day was a huge pile of shit – I rest a little bit easier knowing that by not contacting the cheater I at least did one good thing that day to take care of my own well being.

          And take it easy on yourself for sending flowers. Don’t do that crazy shit again but know that many (most?) of us didn’t get gone on the first try. Don’t stop leaving that cheater in the dust no matter how many times it takes. You deserve to be happy and waiting for a cheater to love you will always leave you sad.

  • Thank you, Iris, for being so mighty.
    I love reading the mighty and meh stories on CL, yours was super good.

    It came at the right time because I’m having a relapse in sadness and un-mehness as I move out of a home with my beloved garden and 39 years of stuff from a marriage that was a farce from year 10, 12, 8, or 20? Who knows. That’s one thing I really don’t care about.

    I love your friend too!

    About breeding grounds for cheating, I used to think that if XH had not been working for a think tank (a notorious bullshit factory, as well a a cheater incubator) he would not have become corrupted. But then, startups and, more so, think tanks are magnets for narcissists. So I think that is what he always was, I just spackled.

    Happy birthday! You are mighty and inspiring!

    • ClearWaters – I’m sorry you are moving from your home and lovely garden. I am in the same spot here soon and it scares the shit outta me. Will you take any of your plants with you? I’m requesting I take my blueberry bushes and the flowers I got from my grand mother’s garden when she passed.

      I hope you find a wonderful home that is perfect for you in every way!

    • Clear Waters, hopefully your move will feel like a fresh start. I had 33 years of marriage and stuff to sort through and move. I actually moved twice. I tried a “retirement” community first and after two years knew it wasn’t for me. So I moved to a regular house in a family neighbourhood. I’ve been here 4 years and love it. I created the nicest garden I have ever had. I only have to please myself, so it has paths and sculptures and a variety of perennials. I put most of my annuals in pots and rearrange things at will. No one criticizes anything (my X used to point out any weeds I missed and always made me feel I should do more).

      X was a salesman and I think this also attracts narcissists. So happy to not be coupled and free to just be me. You will find that things just get better and better. Yes, there may be down moments, but they will lessen over time. You have a wonderful opportunity to create the life you want.

    • Thank you ClearWaters for such sweet birthday wishes!
      I am so sorry you are experiencing a moment of sadness right now. I still have moments like this myself. It’s natural considering the incredible loss you suffered. Consider it a symptom of having gone through something so terribly traumatic. Just feel that sadness. Acknowledge it when it visits you. It eventually leaves.
      Your ex was deeply, deeply flawed. To rob their spouse of a life that took years to build: a safe home, a serene garden, love…that makes him a monster.
      You have a chance to create a safe life for yourself now ClearWaters. YOUR LIFE.
      Let him source his kibbles at his Think-Tank job. I can assure you, people cannot hide their awful character behind a shiny, intellectual facade. He may have some expertise in some field, but he is a living failure when it comes to life.
      Your life will be LIGHT without him.
      Huge hugs,
      Iris

  • I’ve never had a great “traditional” Valentine’s celebration in my entire dating and married life. This year, two years post-divorce, I’ve stocked up on Dove chocolate hearts and I’ll either go to a yoga/guided meditation meetup or out to dinner with my son on Valentine’s night.

    There are times I feel like a stark one in a sea of coupled up twosomes, but I would rather be alone/lonely than have the heartache and stress of a bad dating relationship.

    Celebrate the lives of love we’re creating, CN!

    • kmanning, we are DEFINITELY better off!

      I’m still living in the same house as the Python for now (blech) and he’s already been cheating on the first fuckbuddy he met on a dating website. He found that first one and a month later, he found a second one (on a different dating site – sneaky!) who would take him home for an all-nighter after just meeting him. He even spent the night with fuckbuddy #2, came home and slept a little during the day, then went over for an evening quickie with fuckbuddy #1.

      From reading their text messages, and from looking at the scores of selfies, I think they’re narcs, all of ’em! Those “ladies” (I use the term loosely!) can have him. So much better to be single than to be involved with a pathological liar/cheater!

      I’m obviously not at meh because I still snoop, but at this point I find it helpful because it keeps me in gray rock mode: one thing I know about me is I can be too nice, and though I have no interest in being married to the Python, I might be tempted to engage in friendly chat if I didn’t see how thoroughly disgusting his behavior still is.

      I have the love of family, true friends, and my cat. That’s worth celebrating!

      • You are amazing, @Hopium4years! I don’t know how you keep it together what with the Python slithering around your house-he sounds just awful.

        Do something just for you on 2/14.

        (((((hugs))))) for you!

  • I love reading these stories of successful recovery from infidelity. Trying to reconcile after infidelity is more difficult than leaving a starting new. Staying with the source of your pain trying to love and trust them again is extremely difficult. They say the cheater has to do the heavy lifting, that is bullshit, it is the betrayed that has to do the heavy lifting. The cheater has to apologize and answer uncomfortable questions and that’s about it, that ain’t heavy lifting. The betrayed has to forget and forgive, that is the hard part, that is the heavy lifting.

    • …and right there is your confirmation that you will always be the one doing the heavy lifting in that relationship.

      If someone stabs you in the back and then tells you to get up and stop whining, that’s not someone you want to take your eye off of.

      Pick me dancing is one of those odd life lessons that you just can’t learn the steps to, until you’ve practiced the dance. No matter how many times you are told the pick me dance steps, it doesn’t quite stick until you do the dance yourself. Once you know the dance though… you are knighted with that knowledge and never have to do it again.

    • @TxDude

      I opted to lay down the burden. And, admittedly, it has not been an easy journey… but I am here to tell you that 5+ years out, there is a light so blindingly bright at the end of my tunnel that I have to wear 2 pairs of sunglasses. And, no, it isn’t a train.

      My Tuesday is just around the corner.

      My Valentine’s Day wish for you is that you will soon find the strength, the courage, the self-respect and the self-love to walk towards the light.

      ((hug))

  • So nice to read this. Feeling so low today and not sure why but my grief has completely resurfaced for some reason. Feels really raw again. How weird. Its not because of Valentine’s Day things like that don’t bother me. Its so frustrating when this happens as it seems to have a will of its own almost as though something outside of you is trying to tear down progress you’ve made. I’m sounding like a loony tune now 😊.

    • Natalie, you don’t sound like a loony tune! The grief does resurface small things trigger it and sometimes we aren’t even aware too the; trigger until later. I had a day like that yesterday, so I got in my car and went out did some shopping and just took the long road. For me its the dissonance; I can’t believe he did this and yes he did do this rotten thing to me. It’s almost irreconcilable that someone you completely trusted for 40 years could suddenly turn on you like a viper. I have to revisit the fact that he didn’t sudden turn, he was always like that and I just speckled and speckled. Today is a new day and so far I’m back in my new reality. I suspect there will be more days of bewilderment but gradually if I believe all that’s written here it will subside. So keep the faith this too shall pass!

    • Not at all looney. Quite normal in fact. Every time I think I am over it something happens to trigger it again. These times are farther and farther apart, but they still happen now and again. I am starting to recognize the patterns at least which helps me make sense of it. In my case I am more likely to be triggered just before my period. The trigger usually involves some reminder of the fact that he is still with schmoopie 2.0. It still bothers me sometimes that I wasn’t good enough for him but she is and she isn’t a good person. It is easier to make sense of it when I remind myself that he isn’t a good person either and I can do better.

      • Thank you both. All part of the journey to healing I suppose. As Scarlett says…..”Tomorrow is another day.” 😊

      • Sometimes I think that is why the two cheaters are still together. Because she isn’t a good person. It is easier for him to be with her (and probably more comfortable) because him being with a ‘good’ person it is too hard (insert whining voice there) and too much ‘work’. They would rather take the easy road than actually be the good person you always thought they were.

  • Last Feb. 14th, I got a random email from XH. I ignored it. Finally, curiosity.. you know.
    Apparently he was unpacking, {at his great McMansion my guess with OW}, and noticed in his hurry to abandon us, he had mistakenly taken one of my muck boots and left one of his. Since my feet are smaller, I never noticed.

    I ignored. Meh. Finally after his 3rd or 4th request, I sent back; “Meh, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

    no signature, no nothing. Took a bit to not write “Dear Satan..”

    I’m sure he thought I was going to beg him to come back, or cuss him out, or send a long diatribe.
    It actually felt pretty good. Meh on the horizon?

    So you all get hovering, false apologies, crocodile tears, consider that “normal”. After 30 + years all the salutations I got was a convo about poop boots.

  • Holy cow Chump Lady, I want to be your valentine! I am not jealous of much in this world by your gift to your husband makes the list.

    Iris, way to go! You really embraced your mightiness and moved forward to gain a life! We should all be so strong and empowered by supportive friends and relatives. I really like the cassette tape analogy. I may not go hog wild for Valentine’s Day but I will wake up and celebrate with my son by making a special breakfast. Later the boyfriend and I will cook a special meal together, something we have both want to try. In between I will visit here, and remember that I left a cheater AND I also gained a life. Anyone in the first half of the process please know that it’s better on the other side. There is peace and dignity on the other side. There is warmth and joy on the other side. There is truth and light on the other side. Keep moving forward until you get to the other side,

  • “We treat this day like a cassette tape. We just record over the old crappy song with a new one, whether that means taking a trip or having a nice dinner out. The old memory is still there, but each year, it fades a little more.”

    What a perfect picture of what my husband and I are doing with each other. (Both of us Chumps and survivors who found each other.) So thankful that the old crappy song DOES fade. Slowly, but surely.

  • STBX called Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday. He rarely participated in it. He called my second youngest child the other day to get our oldest daughters dorm number, because he wants to send her flowers. Sounds sweet on the surface, but there’s a whole lot of hidden agendas behind a guy who never previously participated in said holiday.

    1) This is a display he started after I filed for divorce. He mailed roses to our daughters high school and I got a call from the office to come get them because it was a half institute day. Wait for it………….
    Because there was no one there to witness his “dad of the year” display, he sent another round the following day, even though I went and picked up the ones from the day before and my girls had gotten them.

    2) I literally just sent him an email on Friday saying my credit card is maxed out, the electric is scheduled for disconnection and I am unable to provide necessities for the kids (it’s been almost 3 years of dragging out the divorce so he can dissipate every last penny). There’s been no child support, so all the things the kids need go on my credit card. He received my email the day he returned from Cancun with his smoopsie. He can’t provide for the two children in my care, but he has enough money to take lavish vacation and send roses.

    3) Aren’t dads of the year supposed to know the dorm numbers of their children who have been there for 8 months? Oh, he didn’t bother sending her anything for bid week? Or even know that dorm delivery is restricted to bid week. All other packages must go to her mailbox!

    He’s not fooling me with said display, but whatever, everyone else will awe over his display.

    • lol ing and rolling my eyes at your stbx. Valentines day is so easy with reminders everywhere and with internet and credit card, you don’t have to burn extra calories to send flowers. Why would he waste valued space in his brain knowing her number when he the other daughter for that? Freak!

      More of a test is birthdays. You actually have to keep track. Mine almost missed DD’s last year completely and blamed 21 yo son for not reminding him. This year, I noticed he is visiting one of the school options for DS 13 that day. I wonder if he will make the connection and remember to send her his standard $15 gift card.

      • I’m so unimpressed with the superficial after being married to someone who is all about impression management.

        Luckily my kids are on top of reminding their dad of upcoming occasions. They even go so far as to enlist the help of his smoopsie to remind him. Hey, if she doesn’t see that red flag, sorry chump 🤷‍♀️. They know his reliability is about as dependable as a ship with a whole in it.

    • Got-a-brain, do you have a lawyer? A good lawyer? Because 3 years of no child support (even a temporary agreement) is insane. Your lawyer should get an emergency hearing, and argue for garnishment of cheater’s wages. What is happening to you is a crime.

  • I suppose my jaded will show here… But I don’t give a crap about Valentine’s Day anymore. It feels to me like it’s Shadow is more prominent — that those who don’t “have a valentine” end up feeling like they lack something by not having an object upon which to lavish affection, while many of those who do “have valentines” treat them differently one day a year than any other time (often to the tune of a bucketload of money). I would like to treat my person, and be treated by my person, with special care and sweetness regularly. If one day a year stands way out, that feels out of balance to me.

    I realize that it’s a lovely time to give special gifts within a healthy relationship, and I don’t begrudge anyone that. I’m just not that into it. Maybe if I am ever in a relationship where the culture between me and the other person is a lot more consistently affectionate I will change my mind.

    I like to host something for people who are on the receiving end of the painful reminders that the day dredges up for them to help support them through their grief and loneliness. It’s my personal reframe.

    • “I like to host something for people who are on the receiving end of the painful reminders that the day dredges up for them to help support them through their grief and loneliness. It’s my personal reframe.”

      That’s awesome! I’ve often thought about doing something like that on other holidays. My family lives across the country, and when it’s STBX holiday it gets pretty lonely. I know I’m not the only single mom sitting at home alone while co-patented kids celebrate with the other side of their families.

    • St. Valentine’s Day has nothing to do with money, heck, I don’t think it has anything to do with another person – although this is what it’s turned into. It’s a reminder to be love and give love, and even though your ex-fuckwit tried to steal that from you, take a break, and remind yourself, he / she doesn’t have that power over you.

  • I am blessed to have my 12yo son and my “x” 20yo stepdaughter living with me. We are simultaneously navigating 6th grade and college together (while I work full-time). Our house is hectic with comings and goings, but tomorrow night I am taking them for a “romantic” dinner. I want to show my stepdaughter how a woman can celebrate the love for being independent and strong and I want to show my son how to treat a special person in his life. It will be filled with mundane stories about our day and our life… a place where Mr. Sparkles no longer resides… and it will be peaceful (and that part is my Valentine’s Day gift to myself.)

    Love you all so much <3

    • Love your post ICSTMC! I am sure your x would never get that- mundane- what horrors, such poppycock.

      I mentioned to my DD15 other day about a comment I had read that said Valentines day just magnifies who is single. DD got very angry and said “Valentines day is fun and it is about showing love. I am tired of all these people at school who hate on it because they don’t have a boyfriend. I just want to give my friends fun gifts and be happy!” I was so proud of her, it really gave me pause and put me in my place. I tear up thinking about it so while I have candy to give as usual, I want to find something especially fun for her today.

  • This was heartfelt, real, true and vulnerable. Tears streamed out of my eyes. Bravo! My D-Day was 4th of July, he stated it was his Independence Day, but almost 5 years later, I am the one that is free. Lotsa love to Chump Nation, we are mighty, even if we don’t know it.

  • I don’t really care about this year still wading thru the last of this divorce I am just looking forward to my freedom where I can take a deep breath and smile. Side note the moron who is financially a bigger moron says to me “my credit is shot I won’t be able to get the truck I want ” I’m thinking I have to move from my children’s home because where we live is remote and not a good place for me to be. I would be alone all the time. It breaks me to give up the house but I know I can’t afford it nor do I enjoy living here . My son is fine with it but of course my daughter is sad. I’m trying to figure out what is best for the children 19&21 and our future but the moron is worried about a truck. Just when I start to think he gets it he will be 50 in a month he says stupid shit like this. He makes sure he gives the kids plenty which is great but he ruined me financially and now I have to try to rent after being married to this imbecile for 23 years. But we know how important that truck is. Everyday I just shake my head cant wait to breath

    • We are so similar! I was divorced 11 months ago. Moved into a much smaller home but I learned to love it! It suits my modest needs a lot better. No cheater/financial abuser around to cause drama and pain. Kids adjusted. Love and acceptance of them goes a long way.

      • I’m just waiting to begin this new chapter. I always tried very hard to give my kids an amazing life and he pulls this crap. It breaks me to have them worry about stuff. This is not what they should be going thru. One day at a time is all I can do right now

    • WOW, same story as you Takingback…both kids 19+21, never lived anywhere else, but stbx & schmoopie lifestyle and trucks (and guns and golf clubs and skiis…) have got to be upgraded and improved, but no worries that kids and I have NO place to live…..waiting for the meh to arrive

      • This moron told me do you think it’s fair that I am in debt and you get to go live your life with half of my money and pension. I said do you think it’s fair that you wiped out 3 people all because of your little dingy. This piece of shit was screwing all kinds of people. He actually thinks I should give home half the money for my jewlery. I said no friggin way. I’m finding a place for the kids and I to live when they are not in college. I’m taking the dogs. Where is he living with mommy and daddy. This man is a real jerk off. I have all the resposibility and what does he have. Trying to figure out who to screw next. He is pissed because I’m happy to be rid of him. Can’t wait until it’s all over with. I’m sending you my prayers. Some days are good some days are bad but you are a mom and you know we are the glue that hold all this shit together.

  • Here in Colorado, we Chumps are TAKING BACK VALENTINE’S DAY! We’re planning a Colorado Chump Nation get-together with the kids at a local fun place & we are overwriting the event/changing the narrative. For so many of us in this group, it’s either a D-Day or breakup anniversary. No more! We are going to spend V Day with loved ones. Mighty Chump Nation folks and our wonderful kids! It’s a good way to take back our power & make this a celebration of real/authentic caring… not some genuine imitation naugahyde “holiday”. More details in the forums if you want to join us. Organize one for yourselves with your fellow Chumps in your respective cities! Sending love to all my Chump Nation peeps. You are mighty… AND YOU ROCK!!!

  • this year I am my own valentine. I’m redoing a lounge area in my basement. The final piece, a rug, just arrived. It is totally my style. After years of putting everyone else first I am splurging on me. I’m sitting in a funky Art Deco chair as I write this and feeling at peace and ever so grateful that x and his circus are gone. Thanks chump lady and CN for getting me to this point.

  • I invited 3 of my single girlfriends of for dinner. so we’ll be celebrating and laughing!
    No expectations = no disappointments
    A much better Valentines day without our exes.

    Meanwhile, OW will be going to be disappointed that he didn’t do much for her. But you never know, he might be a changed man after all!! (nah)

    Happy Valentines day everyone! you are cheater free, celebrate that, and remember on February 15th, all chocolate is 50% off !!

  • Thank you for this CL, I didn’t expect Valentine’s Day to hit me the way it is. Fourteen months since DDay, so the second VD.
    Yesterday I bought a car, new, dark blue, luxury sedan. It is beautiful. After the purchase I went out to dinner alone to a nice Thai restaurant. I bought roses and strawberry to dip in chocolate.
    Tomorrow I will have a group of ladies in my home for our weekly Mahjong game. We will celebrate the day with lunch , desert and two hours of play.
    I will baby sit my two grands for the evening while daughter and her husband go to dinner.

    The stories here of survival and mighty and loving support have kept me sane this past year.
    Last year, two months past DDay, STBX left grocery store flowers in my garage with a note “ I will always love you”
    Since then he has gone deep NC, rewritten our story to suit his needs and has delayed the divorce. Continues business and recreation trips, and is renovating his new home.
    His mother died last month, youngest daughter came home from school program abroad two days early to be with the family. We were told Gran had 2-3 days to live. STBX left town to attend a celebration in NYC while his mother was dying and placed on hospice. He came home the day after she died.

    I am struggling to process his behavior. I am trying to stop unraveling the skein.
    I am scheduling an EMDR session, hoping it will help with the mind movies and ruminating.

    I attend a divorce care group in my town, and bible study at my church. I have a group of supportive friends but have lost many friends in the split.

    39 years married and I am now seeing how I spackled and how I ignored the red flags and accepted less than what I deserved.
    Peace to all the chumps out there, lets keep looking forward.

  • So many awesome posts today! I will echo the main post: I’m at meh most days, happy, content, peaceful, excited about my future. I got divorced 11 months ago, went completely no contact. DDay was 12/27/14. Gtfo day was 5/20/14 after a 5 month pick me dance that nearly killed me. Tomorrow is the 26th year anniversary of our engagement. I feel like “oh well.” He sucks, we aren’t compatible now, cheaters cheat and I don’t want a partner who cheats.

    My sweet loyal and loving BF was excited he found something to show me how much he loves me. We are going to an early dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant while our teens are at their sporting practices. We are taking teens and their friends on an amazing Hawaiian vacation for winter break in 4 days. We do not live together and have separate rooms but it will be a relaxing and joyful trip. BF is calm and present— wants to be with me and is not confused about that.

    I heard the karma bus hit OW—X (they still live together) is asking people to set him up with woman he is preying on because he says that he and OW are “off again, on again.” Bet that’s news to her! Too bad so sad. Not my monkeys not my circus.

    Hugs great Chump Nation💖💖💖💖

  • After a long string of horrible relationships (some cheated, some didn’t (that I know of) – all were skewed towards disorder), I finally have a wonderful life.

    I worked hard. First on me (a work in progress). Then on reexamining my life and changing the things that weren’t healthy.

    A lot of things (and people) had to go – and that really went against all my loyalty instincts.

    It was a painful renovation.

    But my life is indeed wonderful!

    Boundaries! A voice! Needs no longer made small! Minimal shame!! Self-trust!

    And yes – a new partner. A beautiful man, who for Valentines Day, buys me blue velvet combat boots and a sleek little scandinavian cryo-therapy machine to help ease me into that hip replacement thing later this month (who knew sensible shoes and ice packs could be so sheik?)

    Never in a million years would I have dreamed such things were possible…

  • Yesterday marked exactly 1 year for me. I had unknowingly done the pick me dance for about a year and a half prior. I was told I was a horrible husband. Looking at me made her sick to her stomach. I was so controlling and emotionally abusive that I made her that way. I made her seek attention from other men. Especially at her new job. The one she “worked so hard for.”
    Translated version: I didn’t like her on her phone all evening and I made it clearly known she had priorities other than her phone. Two kids and a husband can’t compete with dating apps and sexting though. She had a horrible self image and now I realized I shouldn’t have encouraged her to stop wearing ass baring skirts and no underwear to her work because that just made her need other mens attention. Ha!! And yes I hated her job. Two kids and a husband now had to compete with dating apps, sexting and a workaholic in a job “she worked so hard for.”

    Valentines Day is going to be extra special this year because I’ll have the two little loves of my life to share it with. They live with her unfortunately but I will habe them tomorrow! Yes its been a year and yes it still hurts but it has gotten better. And capping tomorrow off with pizza and hugs will make it even better. Hang in there everbody, we are worth more than the pick me dance song playing on Valentines Day.

    • They live with her but she can’t be bothered with them on Valentines Day? That’s good for you anyway. You get a date with your kids, people who really matter. She will probably be stuck spending the evening with some idiot loser punk . You win and so do your kids!

    • Love your moniker. Just ate carnitas under a black and white photo of him yesterday.

      You sound like you’re making progress and shedding the power of her lies. Realizing how they spewed so much twisted crap to cover their disordered activities is half the battle.

      Stay strong. Know your worth.

  • Ah, yes, the dreaded Valentine’s Day.
    Both exhs absolutely sucked at holidays, Valentine’s Day, etc. I honestly cannot think of a single one where I felt special or treated any differently.
    It’s whatever, meh.
    I have my Peace.
    I have my freedom.
    I have my life back.
    That’s enough for me.
    Tomorrow I’ll take DD to the donut shop before school and get myself a cup of cawfee, maybe even put on mascara, LOL
    I’m on Mardi Gras break all this week, so I will enjoy my day either way.

  • A book signed by RBG? OMG. That is an amazing gift. Feeling I’m going to have to step up my gift-giving creativity….

  • Lurker here. I am still not ready to lay it down and go NC, but thanks to you guys, I am starting to see that on the horizon. I was inspired to write today because I realized, for the first time, that your odes to being single and happy again made me a little envious, rather than terrified. For me, that’s a MASSIVE step (in the right direction, I think.) So, thank you CN and CL. Just know that your mightiness is not only changing the lives of you and yours for the better, but also inspiring other lurking chumps to rev up their own mightiness engines.

    • You are stronger than you think you are. Once you stop spackling for them and start believing that you deserve better, you can make that first difficult step.

      You have worth. Hugs.

    • I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but your post is a testament to the fact that just because someone is half of a couple, doesn’t mean they’re happier.

      Right? I mean, remember that when you’re in the card aisle and there are all these cards for “My Husband” or, “My Wife,” or, “My Lover.” Doesn’t make it happy.

      Hell, I guess I bought a Valentine card for my husband the last Valentine’s Day we were married, blissfully (ok, maybe not blissfully) unaware that he was shooting his Cupid arrow into some dumb twat he found on Facebook.

      The next few Valentine’s Days, my kids and friends remembered ol’ Single Steph. But, seriously. Being single is awesome in so many ways. It sucks a little, too, from time to time, but SO MUCH LESS than sharing space with and giving effort to a pig.

      You can DO IT!

  • When I was in “a relationship” in the past, and Valentine’s Day rolled around, I always felt a bit “off”. I do not want surface gestures, or things that put a financial strain on the giver. I always wanted a recognition of a special type of caring. My picker was broken in the past, I was shopping for emotional validation at the Sparkly Store. No wonder I didn’t feel valued.

    I have known women who send themselves flowers at work, with a card “signed by” their boyfriend or husband, to show the other women how “loved” they are. They make dinner reservations, pay for the dinner, buy candy or trinkets. All for show. I have also known men who do these things and let everyone know what a great guy they are. Or have their secretary do that. All the trappings of romance, and no love in sight. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

    I would rather have a PB&J sandwich and a home-made card, than all that junk. I would rather have a partner to take out the trash without me asking, or rub my feet or my back when they can see I have had a hard day, not expecting sex as a payoff. I want someone to care, and to listen, when they ask “How was your day.” I don’t need someone to buy me things out of a sense of obligation.

    I am my own Valentine. I make sure I treat myself, because I think I am worth celebrating. If I ever happen upon a fellow who decides I am worth the effort it would take to woo me, I am open to the possibility. I do not expect to meet one, anymore than I expect to accidentally bump into a unicorn on the street. It would be a wonderful surprise, any day of the year. I don’t NEED it, but I wouldn’t refuse it.

    I have to say, being alone does not mean being lonely, and I have become accustomed to some wonderful things about living alone that I never knew before. I was the oldest of 5 children, I lived in a dorm, I lived with husband(s) and children. I now live with a wacky Siamese cat, and we are both content. Lucky me !

    • You sound awesome Portia, you and your wacky cat. I treat myself wonderfully too. I agree with everything you said. I never miss an opportunity to spoil myself. I would love to chat with you in the forums but I can’t get in anymore. I tried resetting my password and it didn’t work. I think I need to talk to Tempest.

      • I don’t know anything about the mechanics of the site, and I have been here a long time. I generally read every day, and comment when I think I might be helpful. It is a kind of pay it forward thing for me. I did not have a chumplady or chump nation when I was going through the worst of it. I had to educate myself, and I had some good friends and a little therapy to round out the healing cocktail. When I started reading here, I realized I had found a group that truly understood, and had a great snarky sense of humor. This site is a gift. The chump nation is awesome in its breadth and depth of knowledge and experience, and most of all resilience. I hope Tempest can help your technical difficulties, hang in there. It is a daily dose of reality, and humor and time both help you heal. The war stories are amazing. Survival is possible, and living well without a cheater is really the best revenge. It is the only type of revenge I know of that doesn’t turn around and bite you. Meh is a wonderful destination — meet you there next Tuesday!

  • As sincere as the exH sounded in inviting me for a V-day dinner during wreckonciliaton, I accepted. As we sat there waiting for our table, his phone buzzed and from a quick glance I saw it was a text from his AP wishing him a grand V-day though she was “super sad” they couldn’t be together! The text included a selfie of her cleavage. I filed for divorce exactly one week later, February 21st. Although it was a tough decision, I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.

    That was Valentine’s Day 2014. That text was the validation I needed in knowing that lining up my ducks during the prior year was the BEST thing to do, despite my unwavering love and commitment to our marriage and my family. Four glorious years on…I’m living the best I can. I have the respect of my daughters and my family, integrity intact. We celebrate our lives everyday and the joy of not being around the narcissist we left behind is exhilarating.

    Yesterday my daughters each received a package via FedEx, return address being exH’s place of employment (cheap bastard can’t even pay his own shipping costs!!!). Anyways…each package contained a small Valentine’s Day teddy bear, the infamous SweeTarts hearts candies and a card. As we are walking out the door this morning for school and work, I glance back into the living room to make sure we aren’t forgetting anything. I notice the candies are eaten, empty boxes on the living room floor along with the cards, the teddy bears and the empty FedEx packaging. A person of few words (except when something is bothering her) DD14 says “The candy was good, but the teddy bear, mom, we’re past that. And the card. He didn’t even sign his name on it – no personal message, nothing.” They shrugged and roll their eyes. We hustle up to the school bus – not another thought.

    So a little bit of advice…look at the past and leave it there. Work in the present to make yourself strong and do what you need to do to save yourselve from future years of destruction. You’ll thank yourself or as in my my case, your children will thank you – endlessly!!!

  • I wanted to mention too… that as a way to get out of feeling sorry for myself about being single (yes, I would like a healthy relationship at some point)… I made a point of sending Valentine’s Day cards to all the special women in my life… some widows from my church, my divorce attorney, some married friends (who’s husbands are shits), and to my nieces… it is a day to celebrate LOVE (thanks Hallmark) in all its many forms. Sometimes putting joy out into the universe is a great deposit in the karma bank.

  • Well let’s see. A year ago (7 months post D Day, 3.5 months post he moved out day) I took the kids on a date and generally had a good time. Meanwhile he was using our joint credit card, paid out of our joint bank account (we were barely getting started on the divorce thing so finances were not separated yet), to buy flowers for Schmoopie. 🙁 This later lead to DD and the others finding out about Schmoopie when I saw said charges while going through finances for the divorce and blew my top where DD overheard.

    Things are better now (fully divorced and finances are no longer tied). I don’t quite know how tomorrow is going to go yet as the plague has been blowing through our house the last few days. If we are all feeling better I may take the kids out or we may just stay at home and have a nice dinner (if appetites are back) and/or homemade hot chocolate.

    Somehow ex managed to swing Valentine’s Day as my night to have the kids instead of his (we alternate Wed/Thurs as his night to have the kids), but if I am feeling healthy enough I will probably go out on Thursday with a guy I have been dating recently. I see no reason why the 15th can’t be as romantic as the 14th. The new guy understands this and will also understand if I am not feeling well enough and will be grateful that I don’t want to get him sick too. Ex would have seen this as me making excuses to avoid him. Come to think of it, he has been sick a lot since DDay. I guess Schmoopie is happy to share sick germs because she cares about him.

    However tomorrow shakes out, I know I will be in better company than ex. 🙂

    • Actually, with the V-Day crowds, you’re probably better off going out on the 15th. No crowds, and a lovely dinner with a nice person. What more can one ask??

  • Trigger warning: sexual coercion.

    My birthday is also tomorrow, Valentines Day. My husband will return from a long business trip, and I will tell him that I have retained counsel.

    The cheating that I know about is mild, but as everyone here says, there is always more. He has been pressuring me to participate in BDSM, when I can barely sleep with him at all due to how absent or dismissive he is during the day. “Life is too short to be with someone who won’t grow sexually.” This, I now understand, is a threat. This, I now understand, is a form of emotional assault. This, I now understand, is unrecoverable.

    The two weeks that he has been gone I have cried and cried and cried. I go to the grocery store and see couples and flowers and think of the two decades of Valentine birthdays I have shared with the father of my children. He has actually shown up for these, most times. I buy myself roses, and try not to sob in the check out line.

    I told my two older teens about my decision, and they cried. “Why can’t you wait until baby brother graduates? It’s only four more years.” Because I can’t. They argued some more. Oh, the cost of knowing that their first response is one of compassion for their younger sibling. Neither of them suggested I stay for myself, or for “family”. They worry about money and logistics, as do I.

    Spare a thought for me, chump nation, as my two weeks of contemplation come to an end, and I find out what my life holds next.

    For you, I have this Valentine: a wish or a prayer that you find love and hope in your liminal spaces.

    “The word liminal comes from the Latin word limen, meaning threshold – any point or place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us.”

    Between the now and the not yet. One more day. Brave is not how you feel; it is what you DO.

    • My dear, know that what you are doing is absolute the best decision you can make, even though it’s a tough one. I just wrote a comment up above about my Valentines Day 2014. I had two DDays, six years apart. After DDay#2, I started lining up my ducks and after the events that conspired on Vday2014, there was no doubt that filing for divorce the following week was my saving grace.

      Your children and YOU will be your own driving force to get yourselves to a happier, HEALTHIER life. Believe it. I understand your children’s POV, but in all reality, the steps you are taking are for the BETTER for them as well, not only you. I worried about finances and everything else under the sun. But I learned that nothing is more important than getting yourself and your children to a safe place, whether it takes a year or two or five! Once you decide enough is enough, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders and this will help you move forward. Model reciliency, truth and honor to your children. They will thank you endlessly in the years to come. Ask me how I know?

      Stay will CL and CN, keep posting and learn from everyone here that life can and does get better. Never second guess yourself. Ever.

    • This Is Not a Thing,

      No spare thoughts for you. But “you are MIGHTY’, “you CAN do this”, “you have WORTH”, and “CN is rooting for YOU” thoughts. Thoughts upon positive thoughts for this next step.

      What your life holds next is joy in being cheater free!!!

      ((((HUGS))))

    • TINAT, what a lovely, lovely post. Word nerd here, so your thoughts on liminal space really moved me. I love that you value yourself enough to get out now even though waiting for that perfect moment (when youngest graduates or whatever it may be) is something we all consider. There will never be a perfect moment other than when you feel it is right within yourself and you are sitting in that moment now. Do it. You and your kids will be just fine. More than fine. That is obvious from the thoughtfulness of your post.

      “Next” is lovely once you do the hard work to get there. You will see. It’s worth every bit of struggle to have a peaceful home.

      • This is not a thing wrote:
        The cheating that I know about is mild, but as everyone here says, there is always more. He has been pressuring me to participate in BDSM, when I can barely sleep with him at all due to how absent or dismissive he is during the day. “Life is too short to be with someone who won’t grow sexually.” This, I now understand, is a threat. This, I now understand, is a form of emotional assault. This, I now understand, is unrecoverable.

        It is also an ultimatum. I’m glad you called him on his bluff. I know from sad experience that if you do something you find degrading and distasteful, he will raise the stakes. Humiliation is also a form of abuse and control. My heart goes out to your children whose world and family are being imploded through no fault of their own. I hope for all your sakes, he slinks off to his sick, dark world and leaves you to refind the sunshine.

        • When I read TINAT’s post I was filled with admiration for her that she recognized so clearly what his comment was: a threat and an ultimatum. My stbx issued one to me, too: “I am a masochist; I want to be punished.” Plus a lot more. I, however, took a lot longer to understand that an ultimatum and a threat are not to be answered with compliance, and that someone who issues one is a narc, pure and simple. He cares nothing for anyone but himself, and that won’t change.
          TINAT, you are mighty!

          • Thank you so much, but this has been going on for over a year.

            I found CN after discovering his research into bondage events that took place at the same time and area of town as our kid’s sports practice. And endured comments like “life is too short to live with someone who won’t grow sexually” and “I won’t be defined by my mistakes (porn and event planning), and I’m going to lose patience waiting for you to get over it” and “you only feel traumatized and unsafe because you choose to feel that way”.

            Yeah. A whole year where I tried to contort myself into someone he’d want: painted my nails black and wore fishnet and went to clubs with him where people came wearing dog collars. No judgment WHATSOEVER, but he would not listen to my gently offered comment that I need to feel safe and close having regular sex first.

            So thanks for the props, but it has taken a daily dose of Tracy for a whole trip around the sun to get me to this point. Lacking an actual other woman (as far as I know), it has been hard to categorize his “exploration” as infidelity. Except for, you know, the MANY times I said I wanted his sexual experiences to be with, you know, me.

            I’m not mighty yet. I tell him tomorrow and all hell will break loose.

    • I have rarely found that freedom from abuse coincides with convenient timing. You are mighty and that is a more important lesson for your children to learn than “you can suck it up for four more years.” This is your time. YOU MATTER.

    • TINAT–You are courageous, and have made exactly the right decision for your own personal growth, as painful as that is (and loved your reference to ‘limen’).
      courage

  • Valentine’s day has been a tough one for me, ever since I realized exhole had made a point to spend it with howorker (now wife) three years in a row. Including Valentine’s Day of 2015, which was a month after D-Day and we were supposedly working on rebuilding our marriage. All under the guise of work trips which I couldn’t really argue with – after all, Valentine’s Day isn’t THAT big of a deal. But I still get a sick pit in my stomach thinking about that last V-day, when I was home alone with my two boys, knowing in my gut that he wasn’t telling the truth, but not wanting to believe it. My day passed without any acknowledgement.
    No call, (he and howorker were in his remote cabin in Alaska with no service), no flowers, nada. And I don’t know why this still sticks in my craw, but it does: before he left he asked me for the recipe for the salad dressing he really likes. Later realized it was for the salad portion of their romantic homemade V-Day dinner. Something about brazenly asking for a recipe I created to make dinner for that slunt speaks such volumes.
    So yeah, I kind of view Valentine’s Day as the apex of my chumpiness, and I’m still working on forgiving myself for being so clueless, and then so desperate to work things out once the blinders were forcibly ripped off.
    This year I’ll celebrate by cooking dinner for my amazing boys who I love to pieces (and the feeling is mutual) and making them watch the Olympics with me 🙂

    • Chumpintraining,

      Your story is shockingly similar to mine. The last three Valentine’s days for me have been without the cheater (on a business trip) or alone with him with no acknowledgment our relationship at all. No card, nice text, flowers or gift, just nothing or he was out of town visiting one of his howorkers (there have been several).

      As I’ve done in all years past, I got my kids some chocolate that they like, a card and a small gift card to show them how much I love them. I still include the grown step sons too – they were part of my family for 20 years and didn’t do anything wrong or hurtful. They tell me they love me and have been very kind.

      Tomorrow I will get my fur babies a treat at the dog bakery and have a glass of wine and some fancy appetizers for dinner. My DD18 is at college and my DD16 will be dining with her boyfriend. My house will be peaceful, they all make me happy and show me love – what more could I ask for?

      • Yes, it’s better to be alone (or with kids and fur babies) than to be with someone who can treat us so callously. Enjoy your wine and your peace Wildcat!

  • Oh, Tracy!

    All Libertarians know that we herald capitalism on Valentine’s Day, and buy chocolates hearts for ourselves.

    😀

  • My Valentine’s Day joy is #MeToo. It gives women, and men, the right and the power to just say NO!!
    Read about Rosa Parks. Her NO was heard around the world. It has taken us a while. We have had a loooong struggle to get here but we are climbing out of the goo a little at the time.
    Lastly, Tracy, your blog is a huge v card. It stands for valentines and VICTORIES.

  • I love the idea of just “taping over” the old, bad memories and making new ones. Iris’s words are better than anything I can muster: “We treat this day like a cassette tape. We just record over the old crappy song with a new one, whether that means taking a trip or having a nice dinner out. The old memory is still there, but each year, it fades a little more.”

    Disordered cheaters destroy everything they touch. But we can take back places, holidays, and traditions, while at the same time putting our individual stamp on what we do. So many Chumps have had their awesomeness and mightiness squelched and crushed by trying to stay in relationships where the other party is either disengaged or directly destructive of them. Part of gaining a new life is figuring out how and what we want to reclaim and renew. And part of it is figuring on what to “demote”– what had outsized attention in our lives before. If someone is distant, cold and cruel 360 days a year, we sometimes put way too much emphasis on birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc., as a sign that they care. (And many cheater screw up even these 4 or 5 days). One of the best things I’ve done is to get holidays into perspective, and that includes figuring out how I can celebrate some of those things in my own way. This year, I am totally “eh” about Valentine’s Day because there are way more exciting things going on.
    For me, getting to “Meh” involved a big and unexpected shift in how I see things like holidays. I enjoy them but don’t lose my mind worrying about where I eat dinner on what day. If Family Christmas is December 28, I’m in. Or Dec. 23. Whatever. So for me, it wasn’t just “taping over,” although that was key in the first 2-3 years; it was also about not giving things I can’t control (like the extended family holiday schedule) more power than they need to have. I’m trying to live well every day, including having some chocolate tomorrow…

  • Three years ago today (Feb. 13) I filed for divorce. Best Valentine”s Day gift I ever gave myself. My son bought me flowers and my daughter got me a cake with “congratulations” on it. It was a really good day. Since then Valentine’s Day has been redesignated Freedom Day for me. That was the beginning of my starting over. Three years later I have a a different life, a different job, a different home, a different last name and most importantly, a different (better) me. Actually, “better” could be substituted for “different” in all of those things. I am happier and more at peace now than I ever believed I could be. I have no regrets about how I have conducted my life because I have always lived my life with integrity and I continue to do so. Something my ex will never be able to claim. Tomorrow I will buy some champagne and chocolate and fix myself a special dinner and while I sip my champagne I will take stock of the many things I love about my life and how grateful I am that I made it through the grief and stress to find peace and happiness on the other side. Cheers CL and CN! I love you all and wish you joy!

    P.S. Personalized signed Notorious RGB book?? From one nerd to another, Tracy, that really was the BEST Valentines gift ever. You will never top that one!

    • Beth,
      What you said really hits home with me. This will be my first holiday after I said I was done. I swore last year that this year I wouldn’t be spending another anniversary (August), another Thanksgiving, another Christmas with my stbx. I love the idea of thinking of this first holiday of my new year as the beginning of starting over, and rethinking holidays in all the wonderful ways you Chumps have described.
      I think that if I hadn’t found Chump Lady and heard all the wisdom here on Chump Nation, I would still be pick me dancing and dancing to his tune.

    • Valentine’s Day has been redesignated Freedom Day for me

      I love this so much! Today my divorce complaint was filed. From now on I will think of Valentine’s Day as my Freedom Day!!

      Thank you Beth and Happy Freedom Day to you.

  • My D Day was a few days after Valentine’s last year, but it was a credit card charge from it, so Valentine’s is the day for me in my head.

    But Valentine’s hasn’t keep the same association for me, strangely enough. After the first few months of sheer horror, I thought less about Valentine’s with bewilderment, grief and pain, but more with gratitude that the day caused him to trip up and for me to no longer being a chump. Thank God, thank God, thank God. Before that, he had broken up with me on New Years, all sad sausage and I didn’t ‘pick me’ but we were talking intimately and he was pledging friendship and suppport. Jeez I write that and it still makes me cringe. The OW must have been laughing her arse off.

    This year, now, I’m in the middle of trying to get the finances split (and to get the fuck away from him and start my new life as I am literally stuck with no money as I gave up my job with the expectation that this would be over and done and I can move away. Yep, I trusted him about what the split would look like and that it would just be paperwork. I know, how dumb). For three months he’s refused to disclose critical finances that I now know is going to hang him. I’ve even given him an out, to just go ahead with what we agreed, and I wouldn’t demand his statements, but he just. refuses. to. gets. this. done. I really don’t understand this as it would allow him to get away with all the money he’s been spending over the last decade plus on his super awesome secret life. So tomorrow he gets notification that I will be filing and will be subpoenaing his financials. Happy Valentines Day, arsehole.

    I kinda expect him to fold and agree to the split (that he stated to many far and wide he had no problems with), as disclosure will expose him as a long term cheater in an undeniable circumstance. Whatever, I’m done and just want to get gone. I’m hopeful that Valentine’s is the day he realises that his financial lies and deception are at an end.

  • My ex-cheater and younger son are not on speaking/visiting terms right now, so I asked my younger son if he would be my valentine (he and I will be alone while his siblings go for their weekday visitation with ex-cheater). We are going to enjoy his choice of dinner for Valentine’s Day– tacos– and hopefully the evening that we spend together will reinforce for him that he has one sane parent who loves him and that he is better off away from his father and stepmother’s toxic behavior that reflects that they are incapable of love.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, CL and CN– make Valentine’s Day about loving yourself and showing yourself the respect that you deserve.

    If you haven’t left your cheater, do it.

    If you haven’t filed for divorce or kicked him/her out of your living space, do it.

    If you are imagining that your ex-cheater and his/her cheater partner are enjoying a terribly romantic Valentine’s Day while you are alone (been there, done that), remember that you want and deserve more than the superficial trappings of a relationship. Cheaters are excellent at faking romantic evenings with roses and chocolates; lovebombing is one of their specialties. You deserve the long-term love and kindness that no cheater is capable of.

    The Valentine’s Days that I have shared with a single girlfriend, watching a fun movie and pigging out on expensive chocolates, have been uplifting and happy. I would rather spend the rest of my Valentine’s Days single than still be shackled to the empty manchild that is my ex.

  • Jamie, you rock! What a strong and super start on your new life.
    I sure wish Chump Lady had started her blog/message earlier to save some of us who had been in the confusion of the info out there at the time a bit earlier. Amazing no one else sees the abuse angle on the whole thing, which is the bedrock of CN IMHO. Somebody has to shake you up to realize your value. Amazing how she (CL) saw through the BS almost as if she were viewing someone else going through it. Thank God for Chump Lady, there is nothing out there like her kick ass style.
    I am going to donate some even if I don’t have a job right now. If we all gave even a little, it would make a big difference.

    Kudos to you Jamie, stay strong! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • I dumped the cheater on Valentine’s Day.

    I’d quietly gathered my proof that he had a secret social media and instant message account he was hiding from me. And that he was demonizing me as abusive, crazy, and controlling to a woman in another town for the concern kibbles, emotional attention, and drama. He was probably also grooming her to get more out of her at a later date too.

    I sat on the information and waited to catch him off guard before confronting him. I didn’t want him thinking on his feet and trying to mindfuck me. I know that I could have just ghosted on him or told him it’s over without any explanation, but I wanted to end it with a show of force. It was something I needed to do for myself.

    He handed my chance to me on Valentine’s Day. He blew off our date night plans with some stupid excuse, so I decided I was done with him. And I did it over the phone.

    I instigated a confrontation that he canceled our plans because he was seeing another woman, got him all worked up and defensive, then casually dropped the woman he had been chatting with online’s name and town into the conversation. It was like throwing the parking brake while speeding down the highway.

    While he was mentally scrambling trying to figure out what I knew and attempting to explain it all away, I kept dropping details and countering all of his excuses. I decided to really rock the boat and said I have her number, why don’t I call her on conference and we’ll get to the bottom of this together. I said she’s the one who contacted me because she thought it was awful how he was trashing me to a stranger online, and I needed to know what he’d been up to.

    Boom went the dynamite! That really freaked him out and he turned on me. I was unstable, crazy, and willing to victimize an innocent stranger by involving her in my drama just to hurt him. And then he hung up on me.

    While I’m talking to him, I had both his secret Facebook page and her Facebook page up on other devices and was referring to them for information. A few minutes after he hung up, his secret account disappeared, then her account disappeared.

    I called him back and he answered. I asked where their Facebook accounts went. Then he started to gaslight me. I was mentally ill, my sick mind fabricated it, I saw what I wanted to see. It wasn’t real, just a hallucination, I really needed professional help and probably an inpatient evaluation. Did I need him to call an ambulance for me, because I was obviously having a psychotic break and imagining things that weren’t there.

    I dropped some more facts I’d gathered about other lies he told me. Where he’d really been times he said he was working late or with his mother. That made him really angry and the verbal abuse started. I’m a stalker, I’m an abuser, I used his “mistake” as an excuse to punish and torture him. I got off on destroying people. I’m a monster.

    Now, during this entire confrontation I kept my voice controlled and my temper even. But by this point he was getting shrill and stumbling over his words. Mentally he was scrambling and panicking and trying to gain control.

    It was glorious.

    By that point he knew it was over and threw out one last Hail Mary play. Was I really going to do this to him while he was mourning the death of his parent.
    He said obviously I was upset, and I needed to get some sleep and we’d talk about it in the morning.

    I told him there’s nothing left to talk about, hung up, and went about blocking him from all means of contact and deleting all my photos of him, gathering up and throwing away everything he’d ever given me. The next morning I sent a no contact notice telling him that he will never have any form of further contact with me or anybody in my family and friends.

    I haven’t heard a peep from him since, it’ll be two years tomorrow night.

    So Valentine’s Day is my victory day. It’s my fuck you cheater day. It’s my found my power and harnessed it day. It’s my I won the battle and the war day. It’s my hold my head high and walk tall day.

  • Personally got a lifetime of Valentine’s Day tapes to record over, and not just from the cheater(s). Mr. Sparkles gave me a very lavish, sparkly V-Day of a trip to a nearby wine country, which was honestly more his thing than mine, and left me feeling physically ill, because I’m not much of a drinker. So much tragic foreshadowing. On that trip I remember saying something to him in the hot tub, along the lines of what scares me about people is what they keep hidden, even from themselves. For once he really listened, nodding gravely…yeah. He knew. ANYWAY, I digress. This year has been all about sweetness and awesomeness with my new (feminist) partner, and even the past ones I’ve had with other boyfriends have not been terrible (I got flowers even after I broke up with someone). With better people in my life, better experiences have ensued. It’s nice to feel safe, and though I can’t say the damage that was done to me is completely erased, every day with new, corrective experiences softens those scars and makes me believe I can live with them in peace.

  • My Valentine’s Days with Asshole™ were usually me worrying what awful, not even close to something I would like, gift would he get me this year. And should I fake liking it or tell him the truth.

    OR me planning the romantic day. OR the few times he said he would do it and then doing it last minute or screwing something up.

    I plan to have lunch with my friends and then go home, get into my PJs, and settle down on the sofa to relax and have a peaceful night.

  • This time last year my cheater wife was cheating and I didn’t even know it. I did all the usual husband things for Valentines- flowers, cards that I make for her and my daughter (I have a little bit of artistic talent) and plans for dinner. My cheater wife had no card for me. I passed it off as nothing. Turned out she was cheating and I was no longer a major thought in her mind. Apparently her AP had an excellent Valentine week- his gift was sex with my wife. She is a corrupt and heartless person and while I will be sad and angry tomorrow I do see a better life for me on the horizon. It is still a little bit out of reach but I will keep trying to move forward to it. I had a good session with my therapist yesterday. Tomorrow night I will spend the evening at the gym exercising and trying not to think about things. I wish the best of Chump Nation that finds themselves in similar circumstances as myself. Keep the hope alive.

    • Zell, I would soooo love a homemade Vday card! And you’re probably underselling your artistic talents, too. May Valentines 2019 have you making a card for someone special and getting meh about your ex.

    • Zell,

      I’ve never met you but based on your previous posts, the fact that you not only give but care enough to MAKE cards, you go the gym, you support others with sage advice and observations makes you a hot commodity!

      The last time I gave my boyfriend a card with a heartfelt message and homemade dinner (to celebrate our anniversary) all I got in return was, ‘Has it been two years?’ That was one of many red flags I ignored because I was deadset on going down with the ship (hanging on to this ‘pseudo-relationship’ until he ended it). I suspect, sadly, that I suck at romantic relationships.

  • I have decided to redefine Valentine’s Day for me. On Natasha Adamo’a site, Post Male Syndrome, I saw a book title ‘Be the CEO Your Parents Always Wanted You to Marry.’ My parents never pushed me to marry an executive or anyone else, but I gravitated toward powerful, successful men. This V-day for me is Victory Day, the day I consciously start to work toward becoming the CEO of my own life. Anyone who wants to accompany me and contribute to my missions can, but I won’t knock myself out trying to persuade others (e.g., prospective intimate partners) to join me and I officially quit molding my life around other adults (namely intimate partners). I lost me for decades trying to support unappreciative intimate partners because I loved them and I wanted them to see my worth so that they would love me. I taking a new approach to the business of living. I may be afraid, but I plan to keep working toward self-sufficiency and self-actializatiom.

    • (((RockStar))))) 🙂 High five sister! Good for you!

      This crap is hard. It takes a minute to round that corner. I think you just put that corner behind you. Good for you.

  • Of the many moving aspects of Iris’ letter, this is the part that made me verklempt: “She flew down that very day.”

    I have been astounded by the kindness shown to me by family, friends and acquaintances alike—from a dear buddy who even now is willing to talk anytime at a moment’s notice, to my barber, who got misty when I told him about my separation and knocked some money off the cost of my cut so I could “buy myself a couple beers.” On Valentine’s Day, I’ll send love and gratitude to those who’ve shown me so much caring and compassion during the last lousy year. That’s been one good thing about the breakup of my marriage—I have been shown vividly that I am, beyond a doubt, loved.

    • I have really got choked up with this letter and all of the responses.
      Last year 2017, We were suppose to be working on our marriage (Dday was August 2015).
      Feb 14, 2017 was a very basic day no fireworks or anything special—maybe because I didn’t feel like anyone special. On Feb 15 the OW Posted a picture of them together which I did not see. On Saturday Feb18 was when the crap hit the fan and I found out about the post and realized that it was really over.
      I am at this point a little numb about this Valentine. I want to believe that this time of the year will be special again or reset even if it is to celebrate myself and my mightiness!
      Love you CN! This too will pass. Meh is coming.

  • It will be 6 years ago tomorrow that he opened the front door and kicked me out of my home in front of my 3 kids with disabilities. It was also our 20th wedding anniversary. He had done nothing for Valentine’s day and i was still expecting some flowers??? Very sad, instead he was threatening to call the police. He had not quite finished cleaning out our company account. I have my 3 kid’s now and the last 6 years have been hard but not as hard as it was being married to the Evil one. He thought i would die, told people i was suicidal (he would have got my pension) I FOUND CHUMP LADY AND CHUMP NATION. Thank u guys, you taught me how to turn my thinking around. Im going to have a good Valentine’s day with my kids

  • Iris,

    Your story inspires me. I am still in the worse part of my divorce and at 17 weeks pregnant, I have felt empty and unlovable. Your story makes me realize that I can get through this and that someday, all of these holidays will be able to be celebrated again. I found out the weekend after Thanksgiving and all of these holidays have hit me especially hard. He took her away this weekend, and is still using marital funds to win his girlfriend over (including 11 Uber rides). It about killed me last night, while laying in bed, not having a Valentine and trying to grow a healthy child (I cried for 6 hours straight and didn’t get out of bed from 3pm-until 7am). However, this morning, reading your story has brought me hope. The hope that this too will pass and this too will be a chapter that I will be very happy to close. Thank you for sharing your story to all of us still in the fight to heal and to find peace. I am proud of you and your friend for leaving that day and I am so extremely happy that you have a wonderful family and friend group to surround you with the love and respect that you deserve, not only on Valentines Day or your birthday but EVERYDAY!

    Thank you and Happy Birthday! 🙂

    • Danielle, document, document, document! Run, do not walk, to your lawyer’s office and take those charges to get a temporary financial order. Please do not hesitate or you will be destitute.

  • The ex never did bother with valentines, he would say he didn’t need a special day to show me how much he loved me. I know there are some who believe that but I would have liked to at least buy each other a card.
    Despite this I still feel kind of sad when I see cards with wife or husband on them. This is for any occasion though and not just valentines. I still struggle with thoughts of not being a good enough wife. These are fewer and far between and most of the time I trust that he sucks but they are not entirely gone.

    • Pregnant Chump,

      I, too, feel sad when I see those cards for husbands and wives. I never really felt married (My husband cheated on me before and during much of our marriage and was aloof and hostile. I told my post-separation boyfriend, who I loved more than anyone, that he was more of a husband to me than my husband ever was. That may be true, but he left me and tried to leave me a few times in a few years and did not treat me honestly and respectfully much of the time we were together. On the surface, he probably looked great, and our relationship looked great, but under the surface…As one respondent here has said, I set the bar for partners really low.) I cannot control who will love me or who will not. (Doesn’t matter how hard I try or how close to ‘perfect’ I get.). I hope to BECOME the wonderful pwrson that is honored and thanked in these cards.

      • pregnantchump and rockstarwife,
        Your cheaters never ever deserved the two beautiful Valentine, full of love hearts, that both of you ladies are.
        I read your posts and find you to be so full of love, seriously, you really are. They threw that all away, fools.

        Be happy sweet ladies on Valentine’s Day. You are so cherished by CN!
        ❤️❤️
        Xxxxxxxxx
        peacekeeper

  • My Dday anniversary is coming up, President’s Day. February 19th. That’s the day I caught Cheater XH and skankwoman sneaking off to a motel room. But before that a whole lot of things weren’t adding up. The week before Valentine’s day he told me that he was going into the city to buy me a gift (something he had seen at a mall during Christmas) On Valentine’s day I received a gift certificate for a massage for a place a mile from home. When I asked him about it, he said he couldn’t find what he was looking for in the city. Uh huh, he was sneaking off to a motel with Schmoopie. It was the beginning of the end. It’s been a long time since dday and I’ve yet to remarry. I don’t know if that will ever happen. I won’t deny that I live a lonely life no matter how hard I try to make it exciting. It is what it is. The Karma Bus never showed up in their lives and from where I’m standing their lives look fine. I’ll never know how happy they really are, but they are still together. I pretty much ignore Valentine’s day, it’s just another day to me.

    • Chumptopia,
      I am lonely, too, even though I can do many different things with a lot of different poeople and animals, partly because I don’t have the close connection that may come with having a long-term committed romantic partner.. I have decided to accept ‘involuntary’ celibacy and the loneliness that might accompany it instead of trying to run from the loneliness. When I tried to run from it, I just made my life worse (often by getting into unhealthy relationships in which my partner abandoned me anyway). And yeah, my exes are still with my replacements and quite likely content. Can’t do anything about that. The Karma bus will probably never show up (justice will often not be done), so I’m just living life as an observer, an accidental tourist on the planet, until I die. Don’t know how things will evolve–and I’m ok with that now.

  • I buy MYSELF a bouquet of flowers on Valentines Day!

    Voldemort did his best to ruin Valentines Day for me. Two V-days ago he was mentally on his way out, but I was still oblivious, and clueless to the REAL reason the married OW (a family friend) was staying with us from out of town in February. Last V-day he took our kids and OW to a nice Valentines Day dinner (while I sat at home alone) and posted the “new family photos” over Facebook. Barf.

    But also last V-day I started my new tradition: I bought MYSELF a huge bouquet of flowers. A lovely mix of daisies, lilies and other flowers just the way I like it. For some reason, doing that for myself felt SO MUCH BETTER than years of getting the obligatory, ubiquitous red roses he’d only buy me on V-day and no other, along with some griping.

    I am casually dating someone now that can be my Valentine this year. He asked about flowers- I said no thank you, I want to continue the tradition of treating myself on this day. Random surprise flowers some other time? Sure. But this is the day I celebrate treating myself.

    • Not Your Plan B,

      I can relate–I think that the one time my last boyfriend bouh e flowers (V-day two years ago), he did so out of societal obligation. Next time I have doubts about whether a guy is emotionally ‘into me’ I’all tell him that the greatest gift he can give me is the leaving of me if he is unsure if his commitment to me! With my track record over the last several years (decades?), though, nobody is banging down my door, I highly doubt that I’ll ever again deal with ‘He loves me; he loved me not’ questions!

  • Ah, yes. Valentine’s Day. Why is it, do you think, that serial cheaters are passionate for illicit sex on special occasions and holidays — like VDay? Several years ago, my STBXH had a fabulous VDay with one of his male employees and a female prostitute. She must have been some dazzling whore in the sack because the employee texted my husband with one word: “WOW” and my husband responded with: “EXCELLENT, YES.” He also wished his employee and the whore a Happy VDay. It must have been a little tricky because the employee was married, too (soon to be divorced). Meanwhile, I was shopping and preparing a gourmet meal for my husband. We weren’t able to afford to have dinner at a nice restaurant. I found out later that year why. It seems as though hookers, hotels, flowers, gifts and expensive sex sites put us in a treacherous financial condition. He was raping our business and retirement funds. But, Chumpy Me saves the day not knowing that my husband was fucking a male employee and a whore — and we all know 3-ways are damned expensive. He most likely paid for a hotel, too. I was hoping the divorce would be over by now, but it’s too much to go into now. A reset? You’re damn right. I’m tempted to send the two of them a Happy Valentine’s card. But, I know that’s not cool. I plan to have a glass or two of bubbly, some delicious dark chocolate, and watch a favorite movie in my Room with a View upstairs — all by myself. You won’t see this Chump in the kitchen!

  • Tomorrow on Valentine’s Day I have to see my EX for a house closing. We were divorced almost one year ago and the discovery day was in July 2016. We were married in August 1979. I have not seen him since July of last year. Sometimes I am amazed at how strong I am and sometimes the triggers appear out of nowhere. I am spending the evening doing self care (sauna, facial, epsom salt bath) and I know I will be okay. The destruction they cause is unbelievable and still not sure how I will handle seeing him. There should be some kind of law that states we never have to see or deal with them again.

  • Great story!

    I’ll be celebrating my freedom from cheater Dickhead this Valentine’s Day with my girlfriends who have been there for me throughout this.
    Dinner at my house, a funny movie and awesome companionship!
    Happy Valentine’s Day Chump Nation!

  • Iris- I’m a Valentine baby too!!

    I love your concept of recording over the bad. That’s genius.

    Enjoy “our” day!

  • Iris, I’m going with it. Your letter was awesome! Here’s mine….

    It started with a comment written in March 2017 – found in November 2017 – fast forward to now.

    I had asked Google for ‘signs of going crazy’. Not Chumplady.
    Skim, scroll, scan, all these comments! No. Not here. This is about cheaters.

    Chumplady. A motley collection of jaded, callous, vulgar women. Furious. Oh God. Venomous! These people only know bitter. They don’t know pain.

    Yah. No. This bore no resemblance to our story – or the reason for my search.

    There were thousands of words on that page, but it was one sentence.

    Beth says
    March 24, 2017 at 10:11 am
    [……..The one that I’m most ashamed of was that I had to drop what I was doing (usually cooking dinner) and greet him at the door when he came home from work. Yep. Me and the dogs running to the door every night to greet the master.……]

    This^!

    Too painful to say why, but this comment. It stopped me cold. And it kept me there.

    It wasn’t the same feeling as the first discovery of infidelity, (that happens only once in this lifetime). It was more like the subsequent discoveries. Eerily similar, but the red hot/ice cold tingle was confined to my body, sparing my being.

    Rarely posting, always reading. CL lingo just part and parcel of my f*tard-free life. No more spackling. “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” on the shelf and in my Audible. Marveling at the joke that was my pick-me-dance mind fuck, skein-unraveling needles be gone. (as is he *dickhead*).

    Sparkles! Unicorns! Glitter! Can we talk about the color pink too, please? Being a girly-girl I love that shit (like in real life love it.). Waiting for Wednesday – who won the contest? Please oh please let it be […….] Grrrr…. Tracy needs a g*damn TEDtalk! And someone, anyone? I want #NigelNoMore!

    I love it here.

    Because I have one more day of NC, righteously earned. And I’m okay with being righteously pissed.

    Because I want to tell my story. Because me and these boys deserve it. Because he doesn’t. Because I see that woman I used to be waiting on the other side. She’s waving at me. Sitting with those that survived it, thrived it, ROCKED it, and now share it.

    Because no matter how long it takes I am holding out. I will wait for it and for “him” (thank you CN men).

    Because I now know that one day I will be mighty. And I will find meh. Because I honor the wisdom of the chumps before me. Maybe, just maybe something in my story – it will help the chump behind me.

    Because the words of another chump stopped me. They held me.

    As I said – Iris. You inspired me. And so….

    To my Valentine, Beth.

    Thank you. You saved me.

    • Grendel… I was so thankful I read this at home this morning so my happy tears were private but nope, re-read your post just now at work and here come more tears. I’m a wreck. I feel like I just won a Nobel prize. I’m having a Sally Fields winning her Oscar acceptance speech moment. I can’t tell you how much your words meant to me. That’s exactly why I continue to come here and share the sometimes embarrassing, sometimes funny details of my story – in hopes that somehow, somewhere, someone is helped because so many people helped me on my journey and I want to give back.

      I’m thrilled to be your Valentine. I wore my prettiest pink (bright pink – loud, in your face, not backing down pink) sweater today in your honor. 💕💕💕💕

      Much love,
      Beth

      • Beth, I look forward to your posts. So much. I would not be where I am, nor get to where I’m going, without the snark, tenderness, compassion, and insight of this community.

        It is a profound service that the Meh Women come back here to sit with us in our suffering. You could be off living your gained life, with ALL of this shit in the rear view. But no. You come back to hold our hands.

        My prior deep faith has somehow evaporated in the last many years, so I hold on to my Christian values: love, mercy, kindness. What meaning is there in this world? Lessen the suffering of others. You all do that. Daily.

        My gift to myself this birthday? Lessen my own.

        Thank you for sharing your story, and ours.

        • TINAT, your words “My prior deep faith has somehow evaporated in the last many years, so I hold on to my Christian values: love, mercy, kindness. What meaning is there in this world? Lessen the suffering of others.” fit what’s in my heart exactly. Faith is gone but core values remain. Live them out loud. That is what I’m trying to do. Thank you for getting it.

          Happy Birthday! {{{hugs}}}

  • I bought a wine glass at the Dollar Store that says “this wine is my Valentine”. 🍷 Best Valentine I’ve ever had!

  • This thinking woman is less charmed by a grown man in a pink hat, carrying a profanity-laced sign, than by a son exploring and embracing libertarian thought.

    Yup, Valentine’s Day can be fraught. Luckily, I never bought into the Great Romance aspect of it. I’ve always seen it as an occasion to mark all forms of love and that’s how I celebrate it, still. Flowers on my dear parents’ graves, phone calls to pals around the country and around the world, hugs and special dessert for my Wee Ones.

  • It is Happy ❤️’S Day Dear CN!
    Happy Birthday Dear Iris,
    Happy Birthday to YOU!

    On DDay my little girl was just over two years old.
    She came into my world on Valentine’s Day.
    I called her “my little Valentine”
    On DDay I was in my first trimester pregnancy, carrying her future beautiful little sister.
    I thank my daughter for coming into the world on such a happy happy day.
    She is a very very strong girl, who has recently lost her young husband , suddenly of unknown cardiac causes.
    I am far away from her this Valentine’s Day, but she knows she is loved far beyond measure.

    On this Valentine’s Day I am happy and thankful for my daughters, for my Grandchildren, for my many many friends that I can see with my eyes.
    Also, I am so thankful for the Chumps of CN who have lovingly reached out to me.
    I cannot see you with my eyes, but I can certainly feel each one of you in my heart.

    Good night, sleep tight Sweet Valentine’s.
    I hope tomorrow is kind to you!

    ❤️

  • Holy crap, Chump Lady and Mr. Chump Lady! Notorious RBG up in here! Dang. Totally fan-boying.

    Thanks to Iris and to CL for the words of hope. Romantic love is nice if you can get it; not a requirement for happiness though, thankfully. Single and cheater-free is pretty damn good too.

    Valentine’s Day can get fucked.

  • My first Valentines day after finding out he had been cheating was still during my time of playing the pick me game. I’m so thankful for amazing girlfriends who were always there, who are still always here to keep me afloat. I turned up at my friend’s house and my amazing Mummy Army had decorated a delicious chocolate cake with the words Happy Galentines Day. They had got me gifts and we had lunch together. I felt so loved.

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